21 Oscar Wilde Quotes To Add Some Wit To Your Day

Published June 23, 2016
Updated November 9, 2023
Oscar Wilde Quotes

Wikimedia Commons

Perhaps the quintessential wit of the 19th century, not a single aspect of daily life was immune from Oscar Wilde’s scrutinizing eye. In his relatively short life, the author took aim at all elements of the human condition, using humor and his rapier wit to puncture ego and bring us back down to earth — where life is, quite simply, more fun.

If you don’t have your copy of Dorian Grey or The Importance of Being Earnest handy, these Oscar Wilde quotes make for a fine taste of Wilde’s razor-sharp intelligence:

Oscar Wilde Mask

Rebekah Storring/Compassionate Eye Foundation

1. “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”

2. “If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life.”

3. “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.”

4. “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”

5. “I suppose society is wonderfully delightful. To be in it is merely a bore. But to be out of it is simply a tragedy.”

6. “There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating – people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.”

7. “I sometimes think that God in creating man somewhat overestimated his ability.”

8. “An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.”

9. “How marriage ruins a man! It is as demoralizing as cigarettes, and far more expensive.”

Oscar Wilde Patriotism

Chris Hackett/Getty Images

10. “Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.”

11. “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

12. “I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.”

13. “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”

14. “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”

15. “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”

16. “I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”

17. “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”

18. “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

Oscar Wilde Overdressed

Yuri Arcurs/Getty Images

19. “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”

20. “I don’t want to go to heaven. None of my friends are there.”

21. “Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary.”

Next, read these F. Scott Fitzgerald quotes and these Ernest Hemingway quotes. Then, check out some of history’s best insults and the most memorable Bruce Lee quotes ever.

Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
Citation copied
Cite This Article
Cox, Savannah. "21 Oscar Wilde Quotes To Add Some Wit To Your Day." AllThatsInteresting.com, June 23, 2016, https://allthatsinteresting.com/oscar-wilde-quotes. Accessed May 19, 2024.