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American author & humorist (1835-1910)

Mark Twain quote

When angry, count four; when very angry, swear.

MARK TWAIN, The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson

I have been studying the traits and dispositions of the "lower animals" (so called) and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man. I find the result humiliating to me.

MARK TWAIN, Letters from the Earth

What's the use you learning to do right, when it's troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?

MARK TWAIN, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

All kings is mostly rapscallions.

MARK TWAIN, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

"Classic." A book which people praise and don't read.

MARK TWAIN, Following the Equator

To string incongruities and absurdities together in a wandering and sometimes purposeless way, and seem innocently unaware that they are absurdities, is the basis of the American art, if my position is correct.

MARK TWAIN, "How to Tell a Story"

The common eye sees only the outside of things, and judges by that, but the seeing eye pierces through and reads the heart and the soul, finding there capacities which the outside didn't indicate or promise, and which the other kind couldn't detect.

MARK TWAIN, Joan of Arc

In order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain.

MARK TWAIN, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Whoever has lived long enough to find out what life is, knows how deep a debt of gratitude we owe to Adam, the first great benefactor of our race. He brought death into the world.

MARK TWAIN, The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson

Do not put off till tomorrow what can be put off till day-after-tomorrow just as well.

MARK TWAIN, Mark Twain's Notebook

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

MARK TWAIN, editorial in the Hartford Courant, Aug. 24, 1897

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear -- not absence of fear.

MARK TWAIN, The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson

Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.

MARK TWAIN, Mark Twain's Notebook

Government is merely a servant – merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.

MARK TWAIN, The Bible According to Mark Twain

The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.

MARK TWAIN, Mark Twain's Notebook

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

MARK TWAIN, Autobiography

It were not best that we should all think alike; it is difference of opinion that makes horse races.

MARK TWAIN, The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson

Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing the matter with this, except that it ain't so.

MARK TWAIN, Mark Twain's Notebooks

The elastic heart of youth cannot be compressed into one constrained shape long at a time.

MARK TWAIN, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The humorous story is told gravely; the teller does his best to conceal the fact that he even dimly suspects that there is anything funny about it.

MARK TWAIN, "How to Tell a Story"

Mark Twain quote

Golf is a good walk spoiled.

MARK TWAIN, Greatly Exaggerated: The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

The holy passion of friendship is so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring in nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.

MARK TWAIN, The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson

Its name is Public Opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it is the voice of God.

MARK TWAIN, Europe and Elsewhere

When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.

MARK TWAIN, Mark Twain's Notebook

Put all your eggs in one basket -- and watch that basket!

MARK TWAIN, The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson

The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven.

MARK TWAIN, Following the Equator

Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.

MARK TWAIN, The Mysterious Stranger

The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.

MARK TWAIN, Following the Equator

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

MARK TWAIN, Innocents Abroad

After a few months’ acquaintance with European “coffee,” one’s mind weakens, and his faith with it, and he begins to wonder if the rich beverage of home, with its clotted layer of yellow cream on top of it, is not a mere dream after all, and a thing which never existed.

MARK TWAIN, A Tramp Abroad

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

MARK TWAIN, quoted in Greg Tanghe's Pearls

Grief can take care of itself; but to get the full value of a joy you must have someone to divide it with.

MARK TWAIN, The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson

The lack of money is the root of all evil.

MARK TWAIN, Mark Twain's Notebook

It is better to have old second-hand diamonds than none at all.

MARK TWAIN, Following the Equator

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

MARK TWAIN, The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.

MARK TWAIN, Mark Twain's Notebook

There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.

MARK TWAIN, Following the Equator

Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.

MARK TWAIN, The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson

Familiarity breeds contempt -- and children.

MARK TWAIN, Mark Twain's Notebook

When a humorist ventures upon the grave concerns of life he must do his job better than another man or he works harm to his cause.

MARK TWAIN, letter to W. D. Howells, Aug. 23, 1876

What a man wants with religion in these breadless times, surpasses my comprehension.

MARK TWAIN, letter to Orion Clemens, Mar. 1860

I always did hate for anyone to know what my plans or hopes or prospects were—for, if I kept people in ignorance in these matters, no one could be disappointed but myself, if they were not realized.

MARK TWAIN, letter to Mrs. Moffett, Oct. 25, 1861

Men are easily dealt with—but when you get the women started, you are in for it, you know.

MARK TWAIN, letter to Mrs. Jane Clemens and Mrs. Moffett, Feb. 8, 1862

We chase phantoms half the days of our lives. It is well if we learn wisdom even then, and save the other half.

MARK TWAIN, letter to Orion Clemens, Feb. 21, 1868

The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.

Who would find out that I am a natural fool if I kept always cool and never let nature come to the surface? Nobody.

MARK TWAIN, letter to Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Jan. 28, 1870

Ah, well, I am a great and sublime fool. But then I am God's fool, and all His works must be contemplated with respect.

MARK TWAIN, letter to W. D. Howells, 1877

my mind changes often ... People who have no mind can easily be steadfast and firm, but when a man is loaded down to the guards with it, as I am, every heavy sea of foreboding or inclination, maybe of indolence, shifts the cargo.

MARK TWAIN, letter to James Redpath, Aug. 8, 1871

I would rather have my ignorance than another man's knowledge, because I have got so much more of it.

MARK TWAIN, letter to William Dean Howells, Feb. 10, 1875

My interest in my work dies a sudden and violent death when the work is done.

MARK TWAIN, letter to Dr. John Brown, Sep. 4, 1874

People who always feel jolly, no matter where they are or what happens to them—who have the organ of hope preposterously developed—who are endowed with an uncongealable sanguine temperament—who never feel concerned about the price of corn—and who cannot, by any possibility, discover any but the bright side of a picture—are very apt to go to extremes, and exaggerate with 40-horse microscopic power.

MARK TWAIN, letter to Mrs. Jane Clemens and Mrs. Moffett, Feb. 8, 1862

I am as prompt as a clock, if I only know the day a thing is wanted—otherwise I am a natural procrastinaturalist.

MARK TWAIN, letter to W. D. Howells, Dec. 8, 1874

Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.

MARK TWAIN, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Words are only painted fire; a look is the fire itself.

MARK TWAIN, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either.

MARK TWAIN, Following the Equator

The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.

MARK TWAIN, Christian Science

Principles have no real force except when one is well fed.

MARK TWAIN, Adam's Diary

Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.


Browse Mark Twain Quotes II

Browse Mark Twain Quotes III

Mark Twain Trivia - a trivia quiz on his life and works.

Mark Twain Monologues - a collection of monologues from the works of Mark Twain.

Mark Twain Poems - a collection of his poetry.

Mark Twain - Wikipedia article.

The Mark Twain House - Tour the Hartford home where Mark Twain lived and worked from 1874 to 1891.

Mark Twain Museum - His boyhood home in Hannibal, Missouri.


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