Oscar Wilde

The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing.

There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.

A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.

The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.

If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.

Work is the curse of the drinking classes.

Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.

What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.

Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.

True friends stab you in the front.

A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally.

I like men who have a future and women who have a past.

Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)Phrases And Philosophies For The Use Of The Young

Bibliographic Notes:  First published in the 1894 December (and only) issue of the Oxford student magazineThe Chameleon.

The first duty in life is to be as artificial as possible.  What the second duty is no one has as yet discovered.

Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others.

If the poor only had profiles there would be no difficulty in solving the problem of poverty.

Those who see any difference between soul and body have neither.

A really well-maded buttonhole is the only link between Art and Nature.

Religions die when they are proved to be true.  Science is the record of dead religions.

The well-bred contradict other people.  The wise contradict themselves.

Nothing that actually occurs is of the smallest importance.

Dullness is the coming of age of seriousness.

In all unimportant matters, style, not sincerity, is the essential.  In all important matters, style, not sincerity, is the essential.

If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out.

Pleasure is the only thing one should live for.  Nothing ages like happiness.

It is only by not paying one’s bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes.

No crime is vulgar, but all vulgarity is crime.  Vulgarity is the conduct of others.

Only the shallow know themselves.

Time is a waste of money.

One should always be a little improbable.

There is a fatality about all good resolutions.  They are invariably made too soon.

The only way to atone for being occasionally a little over-dressed is by being always absolutely over-educated.

To be premature is to be perfect.

Any preoccupation with ideas of what is right and wrong in conduct shows an arrested intellectual development.

Ambition is the last refuge of the failure.

A truth ceases to be true when more than one person believes in it.

In examinations the foolish ask questions that the wise cannot answer.

Greek dress was in its essence inartistic.  Nothing should reveal the body but the body.

One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.

It is only the superficial qualities that last.  Man’s deeper nature is soon found out.

Industry is the root of all ugliness.

The ages live in history through their anachronisms.

It is only the gods who taste of death.  Apollo has passed away, but Hyacinth, whom men say he slew, lives on.  Nero and Narcissus are always with us.

The old believe everything: the middle-aged suspect everything: the young know everything.

The condition of perfection is idleness: the aim of perfection is youth.

Only the great masters of style ever succeed in being obscure.

There is something tragic about the enormous number of young men there are in England at the present moment who start life with perfect profiles, and end by adopting some useful profession.

To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.

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