Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

(1809-1894 / Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Quotes

  • ''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, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. writer, physician. The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, ch. 1 (1858).
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  • ''What a comfort a dull but kindly person is, to be sure, at times! A ground-glass shade over a gas-lamp does not bring more solace to our dazzled eyes than such a one to our minds.''
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. writer, physician. The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, ch. 1 (1858).
  • ''How many people live on the reputation of the reputation they might have made!''
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. writer, physician. The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, ch. 3 (1858).
  • ''Life and language are alike sacred. Homicide and verbicide—that is, violent treatment of a word with fatal results to its legitimate meaning, which is its life—are alike forbidden.''
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. writer, physician. The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, ch. 1 (1858).
  • ''Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.''
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. writer, physician. The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, ch. 2 (1858).
  • ''The world's great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men.''
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. writer, physician. The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, ch. 6 (1858).
  • ''Unpretending mediocrity is good, and genius is glorious; but a weak flavor of genius in an essentially common person is detestable. It spoils the grand neutrality of a commonplace character, as the rinsings of an unwashed wine-glass spoil a draught of fair water.''
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. writer, physician. The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, ch. 1 (1858).
  • ''A great calamity ... is as old as the trilobites an hour after it has happened.''
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. writer, physician. The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, ch. 2 (1858).
  • ''Nothing is so common-place as to wish to be remarkable.''
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. writer, physician. The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, ch. 12 (1858).
  • ''It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.''
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), U.S. writer, physician. The Poet at the Breakfast-Table, ch. 10 (1872).

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