Quotes by Oliver Wendell Holmes


It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
A goose flies by a chart which the Royal Geographical Society could not mend.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
A man may fulfill the object of his existence by asking a question he cannot answer, and attempting a task he cannot achieve.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
A new untruth is better than an old truth.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
A pun does not commonly justify a blow in return. But if a blow were given for such cause, and death ensued, the jury would be judges both of the facts and of the pun, and might, if the latter were of an aggravated character, return a verdict of justifiable homicide.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Apology is only egotism wrong side out.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Between two groups of people who want to make inconsistent kinds of worlds, I see no remedy but force.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Chicago sounds rough to the maker of verse. One comfort we have - Cincinnati sounds worse.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Death tugs at my ear and says: Live, I am coming.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Do not be bullied out of your common sense by the specialist; two to one, he is a pedant.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Don't be consistent but be simple true.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Don't you stay at home of evenings? Don you love a cushioned seat in a corner, by the fireside, with your slippers on your feet?
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Even for practical purposes theory generally turns out the most important thing in the end.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Every idea is an incitement...Eloquence may set fire to reason.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Every real thought on every real subject knocks the wind out of somebody or other.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Fame usually comes to those who are thinking about something else.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Fresh air is good if you do not take too much of it; most of the achievements and pleasures of life are in bad air.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Grow we must, if we outgrow all that loves us.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Happiness consists in activity. It is running steam, not a stagnant pool.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Have the courage to act instead of react.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes