Misquotations


"Famous remarks are very seldom quoted correctly."
by Simeon Strunsky

Like improper word conversions, many malapropisms, spoonerisms, and misquotations have acquired legitimacy through repetition; but their proper use by the knowledgeable writer is as idiom or irony. An incomplete or inaccurate quotation often changes meaning when rectified or placed in context. Specimen misquotes include the following:





`A picture is worth a thousand words.'
"A picture is worth ten thousand words." [Fred Barnard (10 March 1927)]; "Being shown it once is better than being told it a hundred times." [Zhou Chongguo, Han Dynasty; rephrased as: 'One showing is worth a hundred tellings.']; "I like your motto: 'One picture is worth a thousand denials.'" [Ronald Wilson Reagan (18 May 1983)]


`The unexamined life is not worth living.'
"... the unexamined life is not livable for a human being ...." [Socrates in sct 38 of Apology by Plato]


`We are the movers and shapers of the world.'
"Yet we are the movers and shakers / Of the world for ever, it seems." [Arthur O'Shaughnessy]


`dot and tittle' [mark and mark – redundant]
"jot and tittle" [least and mark]


`Man proposes but God disposes.'
"Man devises but God directs." ["A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps." Proverbs 16:9]


`The world is a stage, and we're just actors playing parts.'
"A noble farce, wherein kinds, republics, and emperors have for so many ages played their parts, and to which the whole vast universe serves for a theatre." by Michel Eyquem, Seigneur de Montaigne (1580); "All the world 's a stage, / And all the men and women merely players. / They have their exits and their entrances; / And one man in his time plays many parts," by William Shakespeare (1600); "The world 's a theatre, the earth a stage, / Which God and Nature do with actors fill." by Thomas Heywood (1612)


"Little strokes / Fell great oaks." [Benjamin Franklin Poor Richard's Almanack (Aug 1750)]
"Many strokes overthrow the tallest oaks." [proverbial; and "Many strokes, though with a little axe, / Hew down and fell the hardest timber'd oak." William Shakespeare]


`Asses are ye that sit in judgement.' [Samuel Johnson]
"Speak, ye that ride on white asses, ye that sit in judgment, and walk by the way." [Judges 5:10 Bible]


`Do not cast your pearls before swine ....' [unappreciated]
"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." [Sermon on the Mount, Matthew, 7:6 Bible]


`Saying and doing are two different things.'
"Saying and doing are two things." [Mathew Henry]


`He who runs may read'
"He may run that readeth it" [Habakkuk 2:2]


`As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.'
"Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined." [Alexander Pope]


`You can never go home again.'
"You can't go home again."


`gild the lily'
"To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, ... Is wasteful and ridiculous excess."


`Money is the root of all evil.'
"The love of money is the root of all evil."; "The want of money is the root of all evil."


"Virtue is its own reward." [Matthew Prior]
"Virtue herself is her own fairest reward." [Silius Italicus]; "Virtue was sufficient of herself for happiness." [Diogenes Laertius]; "Virtue is to herself the best reward." [Henry More]; "Virtue is her own reward." [John Dryden]; "Doubt not but angling will prove to be so pleasant that it will prove to be, like virtue, a reward to itself." [Izaak Walton]


`to act according to one's likes' [preference]
"to act according to one's lights" [capacity]


`I am what I am, warts and all.'; `Take me as I am – warts and all.'
"Sir paint me as I am, warts and all." [Oliver Cromwell]


`Pride goeth before a fall.'
"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."; "Pride will have a fall for pride goeth before and shame cometh after."


`To be forewarned is to be forearmed.'
"Forewarned, forearmed." [Latin military proverb: "Praemonitus, praemunitus."; later used by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra in Don Quixote (1604-15) and Benjamin Franklin (Richard Saunders) in Poor Richard's Almanac (1732-1757)]


`If God is dead, then everything is possible for mankind.'
"If God is dead, then all is permitted." [simultaneously and independently by Fyodor M. Dostoevsky and Friedrich W. Nietzsche]


`The good Lord helps those who help themselves.'
"Help thyself, and God will help thee." [George Herbert]; "God helps those who help themselves." [Algernon Sidney]; "God helps them that help themselves." [Benjamin Franklin]


`The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.'
"Do not be troubled by Saint Bernard's saying that hell is full of good intentions and wills." [Francis de Sales]; "Hell is full of good meanings and wishings." [George Herbert]; "Hell is paved with good intentions." [Samuel Johnson]; "Hell is paved with good intentions, not with bad ones. All men mean well." [George Bernard Shaw]; "Hell isn't merely paved with good intentions; it's walled and roofed with them. Yes, and furnished too." [Aldous Huxley]; "'Tis the motive exalts the action; / 'Tis the doing, and not the deed." [Margaret Junkin Preston]


`Whom the gods would destroy, first they praise.'; `Whom the gods would bring low, first they elevate.'
"Those whom God wishes to destroy, He first makes mad." [Euripides]; "Whom God would destroy He first sends mad." [James Duport]; "For those whom God to ruin has designed, He fits for fate, and first destroys their mind." [John Dryden]; "Whom the mad would destroy, they first make gods." [Bernard Levin]; "Whom the gods wish to destroy they first call promising." [Cyril Connolly]


`The mill grinds slow but exceedingly fine.'
"Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small." [Friedrich von Logau]; "God's mill grinds slow, but sure." [George Herbert]


`My lips are sealed.'
"I have seldom spoken with greater regret, for my lips are not yet unsealed."


`A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.'
"He that complies against his will is of his own opinion still."


`Do your own thing.'
"Ye been oure lord; dooth with youre owene thyng." [Geoffrey Chaucer]; "But do your thing, and I shall know you." [Ralph Waldo Emerson]


`A poor thing, but my own.'; 'Tis an unlovely thing, but mine own.'
"An ill-favored thing, sir, but mine own."


`the whirligig of taste'
"And thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges."


`Alas, Yorick, I knew him well.'
"Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy."


`to the manor born'
"But to my mind, though I am native here And to the manner born, it is a custom More honored in the breach than the observance." [William Shakespeare, "Hamlet" act 1 sc 4 ln 14-6]


`Ignorance is bliss.'
"Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise." [Thomas Gray]


`Ignorance is innocence.'
"Ignorance is not innocence but sin."


`A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.'
"A little learning is a dangerous thing." ["A lack of knowledge can be a dangerous thing." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe]


`Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.'
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, ...."


`the peace [serenity] that surpasseth all understanding'
"The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." [Philippians 4:7 Bible; Book of Common Prayer, Holy Communion (1662)] [nb: passage used by King James I as ironic allusion to John Donne's poetry: "Doctor Donne's verses are like the peace of God: they pass all understanding."]


`May my Higher-Power grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.'
"God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other." [The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr (1934)]; "May God grant us the serenity to accept the things that cannot be changed, the courage to change the things which can be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish between them."; "May God grant me the serenity to accept whatever I cannot change, the courage to alter whatever I need to change, and the wisdom to know the difference."; "May the Supreme Being grant me the serenity to know that I am a reasonable animal, who is self-regulated by logic. May the Supreme Being grant me the courage to control whatever I can, while trying to understand the rest. And may the Supreme Being grant me the wisdom to seek intellectual reinforcement for my emotional and psychic weaknesses."; "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." [Theodore Roosevelt]; "Life is a battle between faith and reason in which each feeds upon the other, drawing sustenance from it and destroying it." [Reinhold Niebuhr (1928)]


`Let the dead bury the dead.'
"... let the dead bury their own dead." [Matthew 8:22]; "Let the dead Past bury its dead!" [Henry Wadsworth Longfellow]


`Anyone's death makes us all poorer.'
"Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in Mankind."


`not lost but gone'
"Not lost, but gone before." [Mathew Henry commentary on Seneca; also, "Not dead, but gone before." Samuel Rogers]


`A plain unvarnished tale I will relate.'
"I will a round unvarnished tale deliver."


`I'll make assurance doubly sure'
"But yet I'll make assurance double sure ...."


`to fresh woods and fields anew'
"Tomorrow to fresh woods and pastures new."


`a voice crying in the wilderness'; `to cry out in the woods'
"The voice of one crying out in the wilderness ...."; "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness ...." [Matthew 3:3]


`the last infirmity of noble minds'
"... (That last infirmity of noble mind) ...."


`Fine by degrees and beautifully small.'
"Fine by degrees, and beautifully less." [Matthew Prior]; "Fine by defect, and delicately weak." [Alexander Pope]


`I took the road less traveled.'
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, ..." [Robert Lee Frost]; "Footfalls echo in the memory Down the passage which we did not take ..." [T.S. Eliot]


`They kept the even tenor of their way.'
"They kept the noiseless tenor of their way."


`Only death and taxes are unavoidable.'
"... an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." [Benjamin Franklin]; "Death and taxes and childbirth! There's never any convenient time for any of them!" [Margaret Mitchell]


`Everyone is born naked, ....'; `We came into this world naked, and shall leave it the same way.'
"As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labor." [Ecclesiastes 5:15; "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21]


`the best laid plans of mice and men'
"The best laid schemes o' mice an' men ...."


`Man was born free, but he is everywhere enslaved.'
"Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself the master of others, and still remains a greater slave than they." [Jean Jacques Rousseau]; "It is often safer to be in chains than to be free." [Franz Kafka]


`I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.'
"I am escaped with the skin of my teeth."


`All is lost, save life and honor.'
"The only thing left to me is honor, and my life is saved."


`To whom much is given, much more is expected.'
"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." [Luke 12:48, NIV]; "Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more." [Luke 12:48, ESV Bible]


`From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.'
"In a higher phase of communist society ... only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be fully left behind and society inscribe on its banners: from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." [Karl H. Marx, quoting Comte de Saint-Simon; originating in the "primitive communism" of early Christianity: "gave to each according to his ability" (Matthew 25:15); "according to each day's need" (Kings 8:59)]; "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them." [Romans 12:6]; "... from each according to his ability, to each according to his possibility." [Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn]


`Don't swap horses in midstream.'
"Don't swap horses." [1864 Republican campaign motto; based upon 1840s-era joke, told 9 June 1864 as an anecdote by Abraham Lincoln: "It is not best to swap horses when crossing streams."] [nb: parodied as "Don't swap barrels when going over Niagara Falls!" in 1932 campaign by Democrats about Republicans; then adopted exactly as 1864 motto for Democrat slogan in both 1940 and 1944 campaigns]


`You're either with me or against me.'
"He who is not with me is against me," Matthew 12:30 Bible]


`If you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem.'
"Be part of the answer, not part of the problem, as the American revolution proceeds." [Buell Gallagher at 1964 CCNY address; "You're either part of the solution or part of the problem." Eldridge Cleaver at 1968 San Francisco speech]


`rebel rouser'
"rabble rouser"


"... and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from earth." [19 Nov 1863 Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln]
"... government, made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people" [26 Jan 1830 U.S. Senate speech by Daniel Webster]; "This is what I call the American idea – a government of all the people, by all the people, for all the people." [1850 Boston speech by Theodore Parker]


`That government which governs least governs best.'
"Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one." [Thomas Paine (1776)]; "Government is an evil; it is only the thoughtlessness and vices of men that make it a necessary evil. When all men are good and wise, government will of itself decay." [Percy Bysshe Shelley (1812)]; "All government is evil.... The best government is that which governs least." [John L. O'Sullivan (1837)]; "That government is best which governs least." [Henry David Thoreau (1844)]; "... that country is governed best which is governed least." [Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1851)]; "In the kingdom the multiplication of prohibitive enactments increases the poverty of the people; the more implements to add to their profit that the people have, the greater disorder is there in the state and clan; the more acts of crafty dexterity that men possess, the more do strange contrivances appear; the more display there is of legislation, the more thieves and robbers there are." [Lao-Tzu, Tao Te Ching #57 (?600BC)]


`For evil to triumph, it is only necessary for good men to do nothing.'
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." [attributed to Edmund Burke by John F. Kennedy, but is probably a paraphrase of Burke's "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one...." (1770)] [also, "The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato by the Constitution Party (1952)] ["He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it." Martin Luther King Jr (1958); also "some men wish evil and accomplish it ... [most] just let it happen." Stephen Vincent Benet (1928)]


`Anyone who is not liberal before midlife has no heart; and anyone who is still liberal after midlife has no head!'
"Any man who is not liberal when young has no heart; and any man who is not conservative when old has no head!" [Theodore Roosevelt; also "Any man who is not something of a socialist before he is forty has no heart. Any man who is still a socialist after he is forty has no head." Wendell L. Willkie]


`Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.'
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." [by Wendell Phillips (1852); misattributed to Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry]
"The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance." [John Philpot Curran (1790)]


`peace at any price'; `peace at any cost'
"Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?" [Patrick Henry] (also: "Everyone speaks for peace at any price, and since war has been brought to their own homes, they look desponding to the last degree, and begin to believe that they have been vastly deceived by engaging in it ...." [Lafayette McLaws]; "That doctrine [of `peace at any price'] has done more mischief than any I can well recall that have been afloat in this country. It has occasioned more wars than any of the most ruthless conquerors. It has disturbed and nearly destroyed that political equilibrium so necessary to the liberties and the welfare of the world." [Benjamin Disraeli])


`with charity for all and malice toward none'
"In charity to all mankind, bearing no malice or ill-will to any human being, and even compassionating those who hold in bondage their fellow-men, not knowing what they do." [John Quincy Adams, 30 July 1838 letter to A. Bronson]; "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations." [Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address (4 March 1865)]


`Although cowards die many times, heroes die but once.'
"Cowards die many times before their deaths; / The valiant never taste of death but once." [William Shakespeare]


`Never have so many owed so much to so few.'
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." [Winston L.S. Churchill (20 Aug 1940)]


`the lion shall lay down with the lamb'
"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them." [Isaiah 11:6 Bible]


`The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.'
"The only thing I am afraid of is fear." [Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington] [also: "Nothing is to be so much feared as fear." by Henry David Thoreau (7 Sep 1851); "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself, nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." by Franklin Delano Roosevelt (4 March 1933)]


`Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.'
"Out of life's school of war: What does not destroy me, makes me stronger."; "What does not destroy us, we destroy, and it makes us stronger." [Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche]


`No pain, no gain!'
"There are no gains without pains." [Benjamin Franklin Poor Richard's Almanack (1745); "No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown." by William Penn (1669)]


`My strength is multiplied because my thoughts are noble and my heart is pure.'
"My strength is as the strength of ten, / Because my heart is pure." [re: Sir Galahad by Alfred Tennyson]; "What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted? / Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just; / And he but naked, though locked up in steel, / Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted." [William Shakespeare]; "No one is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart: for his purity, by definition, is unassailable." [James Baldwin]


"Yours is not to reason why, yours is but to do and die." by J. Rudyard Kipling
"Theirs not to make reply, / Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die." by Lord Alfred Tennyson


`The difficult gets done immediately, but the impossible takes longer.'
"If it is only difficult, it is done; if it is impossible, we shall see." [Charles-Alexandre de Calonne]; "The difficult is done at once; the impossible takes a little longer." [Anthony Trollope]; "While they were saying among themselves it cannot be done, it was done." [Helen A. Keller]; "He started to sing as he tackled the thing / That couldn't be done, and he did it." [Edgar A. Guest]; "'Difficulties' is the name given to things which it is our business to overcome." [ADM Ernest J. King, USN CNO]; "The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little longer." [U.S. Army Service Forces motto]


`do six impossible things before breakfast'
"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." [Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)]


`God give me strength'; `Lord, lend us strength'
"Strengthen me, O Lord God of Israel, this day." [re: assassination of Holofernes, Judith 13:7]; "Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart." [Psalms 31:24]; "Be strengthened with might by (God's) Spirit in the inner man." [Ephesians 3:16]; "Seek not out the things that are too hard for thee, neither search the things that are above thy strength." [Ecclesiasticus 3:21]; "God does not give us strength, He rewards it." [John Adams]; "Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men." [John F. Kennedy]


"A woman is like a teabag – only in hot water do you realize how strong she is." by Nancy Reagan ["Observer" (29 March 1981)]
"A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it's in hot water." by Eleanor Roosevelt [You Learn by Living (1960)]


"My honor is my loyalty." by Heinrich Himmler [The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt (1951)]
"My honor signifies faithfulness." [Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression vol 5 by USGPO (1946-8)]


`might is right'
"Might makes right, and hoary folly totters on in her mad career escorted by armies and navies." [Adin Ballou (1846)]; "Where might is, the right is" [A.C. Swinburne]; "Those who can, do what they will; and those who can't, do what they must." [Thucydides]; "Let us have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it." [Abraham Lincoln]


`an eye for an eye'
"And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe." [Exodus 21:23-25]; "You have heard that it was said, `An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well ...." [Matthew 5:38-40]


`swords into plowshares'
"Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weakling say, `I am strong!'" [Joel 3:10 Bible]; "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." [Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:3 Bible]


`War is a terrible thing, but not the worst of things.'
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things ...." [John Stuart Mill]; "War is a horrible thing but such a war as this army has waged for nearly two years most horrible of all. Battle after battle has been given and no decisive victory." [Gouverneur K. Warren]; "How horrible is war!" [Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson]; "War is a dreadful thing, and unjust war is a crime against humanity." [Theodore Roosevelt]; "Wars are, of course, as a rule to be avoided; but they are far better than certain kinds of peace." [Theodore Roosevelt]; "Although war is evil, it is occasionally the lesser of two evils." [McGeorge Bundy]; "Unfortunately there are innocent casualties in every war, it's inevitable. It's a horrible thing, but war is a horrible thing." [Donald Rumsfeld]


`War is just politics by other means.'
"... war is only a continuation of state policy by other means."; "War is regarded as nothing but the continuation of state policy with other means." [Karl von Clausewitz]


"Hold the fort! For I am coming." [1874 song by Philip Paul Bliss]
"Hold out. Relief is coming." [signal by William Tecumseh Sherman to John Murray Corse at the 5 Oct 1864 battle of Allatoona Pass]


`Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!'
"Damn the torpedoes! Go ahead!" [also reported as: "Damn the torpedoes! Captain Drayton, go ahead. Jouett, full speed!" by David Glasgow Farragut at the 5 Aug 1864 battle of Mobile Bay]


`Walk softly but carry a big stick.'
"Speak softly and carry a big stick." [Theodore Roosevelt; misattributed to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson]


`I can only offer blood, sweat, and tears.'
"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." [nb: book entitled "Blood, Sweat, and Tears" by Sir Winston L.S. Churchill collects his speeches from May 1938 to February 1941]; "The high sentiments always win in the end, the leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time." [George Orwell]


`Millions for defense, sir; but not a single penny for tribute!'
"Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute." [Robert Goodloe Harper, as toast at Congressional dinner for John Marshall following the "XYZ Affair" in France; often misattributed to Charles C. Pinckney, who actually said: "Not a penny! Not a penny!" (or possibly "No, no, not a sixpence."), when refusing to bribe French officials]


`no rest for the wicked'; `no rest for the weary'
"There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary be at rest." [Job 3:17 Bible]


`washed in the blood of the lamb'
"These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." [Revelations 7:14 KJV Bible]


`I am the resurrection and the light.'
"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;" [John 11:25 Bible]


`Even the Devil can quote Scriptures for his own purpose.'
"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose."


`Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.'
"He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." [John 8:7 KJV; "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." John 8:7 NIV Bible]


`wearing your heart on your sleeve' [caring, sensitive]
"I will wear my heart upon my sleeve For daws to peck at." [uncaring, insensitive]


`I am my brother's keeper.'; `You should be your brother's keeper.'
"Then the LORD said to Cain, `Where is your brother Abel?' `I don't know,' he replied. `Am I my brother's keeper?'" [Genesis 4:9 Bible]; "Our tasks are definite ... that we may maintain the spiritual impulses in our people for generous giving and generous service – in the spirit that each is his brother's keeper." [Herbert Hoover]; "We can throw away anything we own. But we cannot throw away broken men. For we are made our brother's keeper ... and in God's name we try to straighten and repair." [St Leonard's House 1966 rehab brochure]; "Today we know that World War II began not in 1939 or 1941 but in the 1920's and 1930's when those who should have known better persuaded themselves that they were not their brother's keeper." [Hubert H. Humphrey]; "There is always a chance that he who sets himself up as his brother's keeper will end up by being his jailkeeper." [Eric Hoffer]


`the right stuff'
"That crew of Liverpool hard cases had in them the right stuff" [Joseph Conrad ("Youth")]; "It is for us of the New World to sit at the feet of Gamaliel of the Old; then, if we have the right stuff in us, we can show that Paul in his turn can become a teacher as well as a scholar." [Theodore Roosevelt ("Citizenship in a Republic")]; "The Right Stuff" by Tom Wolfe (1979)


`No greater love hath a man than that he lay down his life for another.'
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." [John 15:13 Bible]


`The sins of the fathers are visited on their children unto the third and fourth generation.'
"The gods visit the sins of the fathers upon the children." [Euripides]; "... I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments." [Exodus 20:5-6]


`Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.'
"Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."; "Those who rise by the sword will fall by the sword."


`bite the dust'
"May many of his men fall about him prone in the dust and bite the earth!" [by Homer The Iliad]


`on the side of the angels'
"That question is this: Is man an ape or an angel? I, my lord, am on the side of the angels." [Benjamin Disraeli]; "Don't be on the side of the angels, it's too lowering." [D.H. Lawrence]


`Do to others what you would want them to do to you.'
(insert versions of Golden Rule here) "What you do not wish upon yourself, extend not to others." [Confucius]; "Violence and injury enclose in their net all that do such things, and generally return upon him who began." [Titus Lucretius Carus]; "His hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him." [Genesis 16:12 Bible]; "Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee." [Jeremiah 39:12 KJV Bible]; "I am convinced we do not only love ourselves in others but hate ourselves in others too." [G.C. Lichtenberg]; "As we are, so we do; and as we do, so is it done to us; we are the builders of our fortunes." [Ralph Waldo Emerson]; "The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbor as ourselves: we do unto others as we do unto ourselves. We hate others when we hate ourselves." [Eric Hoffer]; "Absolutely speaking, Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you is by no means a golden rule, but the best of current silver. An honest man would have but little occasion for it. It is golden not to have any rule at all in such a case." [Henry David Thoreau]; "If you forgive my faults, I will forgive yours." [unknown]; "Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same." [George Bernard Shaw]; "Do unto the other feller the way he'd like to do unto you, an' do it fust." [Edward Noyes Westcott]; "I do unto others what they do unto me, only worse." [Jimmy Hoffa]


`No good deed ever goes unpunished.'
"No good deed goes unpunished." [Clare Boothe Luce]


`The law is a jealous mistress, and requires a long and constant courtship.'
"The law is a jealous mistress. He who would win her must woo her." [cf: "Art is a jealous mistress, and if a man have a genius for painting, poetry, music, architecture or philosophy, he makes a bad husband and an ill provider, and should be wise in season and not fetter himself with duties which will embitter his days and spoil him for his proper work."; "Music is a jealous mistress."; "I've had a novel in my drawer many years now, but ... the damn novel really is a jealous mistress, and demands too much time."; "Science is a jealous mistress, and any contemplated infidelity of mine stands every chance of being squelched."; "Occult Science is a jealous mistress, which allows not even the shadow of self-indulgence."]


`Out of the mouths of babes comes truth.'; `... wisdom.'
"Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength." [Psalms 8:2 Bible] [also: "Out of the unconscious lips of babes and sucklings are we satirized." Mark Twain]


'Man does not live by bread alone, ....'
"Man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live." [Deuteronomy 8:3; and "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4] [also: "Science is analytical, descriptive, informative. Man does not live by bread alone, but by science he attempts to do so. Hence the deadliness of all that is purely scientific." Eric Gill]


`By the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread.'
"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." [Genesis 3:19]


`apple rotten to the core'
"A goodly apple rotten at the heart: O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!"; "An evil soul producing holy witness Is like a villain with a smiling cheek, A goodly apple rotten at the heart."


`Water, water, every where, and not a drop to drink.'
"Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink."


`First catch your hare' [Mrs Beaton]
"Take your hare when it is cased...." ["The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy" by Hannah Glasse (1747); "And it is commonly said that you must first catch your deer, and afterwards, when it is caught, skin it." by Bracton (ca1300)]


`let us eat, drink, and be merry.'; `Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we shall die.'
"Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die."; "Drink, and dance and laugh and lie, Love the reeling midnight through, For tomorrow we shall die! But, alas, we never do."; "Let us eat, drink, and think not of tomorrow; for he who does, misses the moment."


`There's no free lunch!'
"There is no such thing as a free lunch." [Robert A. Heinlein, "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" ch 11 (1966); but often misattributed to Milton Friedman (1975), and Alistair Cooke (1973), from the 19th Century practice of offering snacks to saloon customers]


`Buddy can you spare a dime?'
"Brother, can you spare a dime?"


`Neither a borrower nor a lender be.'
"Neither a borrower nor a lender be, For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry."


`honor among thieves'; `no honor among thieves'
"Honor is sometimes found among thieves." [Walter Scott]


`in one fell swoop' [in a single act; all at once]
"in one fell swoop" [an imprudent but irrevocable act, derived from deadly + sudden: "All my pretty ones? Did you say all? Oh Hell-Kite! All? What! All my pretty Chickens, and their Damme At one fell swoope?" by William Shakespeare, "Macbeth" act 4 sc 3 (re: murder of Lady MacDuff and her children) (1605)]


`Go west, young man.'
"Go west, young man, go west." [John B.L. Soule (1850 editorial) "Terre Haute Express"]; "Go West, young man, and grow up with the country." [Horace Greeley (1851 editorial) "New York Tribune"]


`That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.'
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."


`Had I been consulted I would have recommended something simpler.'
"Had I been present at the Creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe."


`ex nihilo' [created from nothing; belief, faith]
"ex nihilo nihil fit"; "nihil ex nihilo" [nothing from nothing; non-creation]; "creatio ex nihilo" [created from nothing]


`The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.'
"The hand that rocks the cradle / Is the hand that rules the world." [W.R. Wallace (1865)]


"The pen is mightier than the sword." [Edward Bulwer-Lytton ("Beneath the rule of men entirely great, The pen is mightier than the sword.")]
"So far had the pen under the king the superiority over the sword ...." [Comte de Saint-Simon] "The pen worse than the sword." [Robert Burton]


`Don't one of you shoot till you can see the whites of their eyes.'
"Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes." [William Prescott]; "Silent till you see the whites of their eyes." [Prussian Prince Charles]; and "No firing till you see the whites of their eyes." [Frederick the Great]


`Git thar fustest with the mostest.'
"I just took the short cut and got there first with the most men." [nb: implied ignorance of Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was the most successful Confederate leader in the American Civil War]


`Forgive your enemy.'; `Forgive thine enemies.'
"Cosmus, Duke of Florence, was wont to say of perfidious friends, that `We read that we ought to forgive our enemies; but we do not read that we ought to forgive our friends.'" [Francis Bacon, Apothegms #206]; "Love thine enemies." [Matthew 5:44 (Sermon on the Mount) Bible]


`We've seen the enemy, and it is us.'
"We have met the enemy and he is us." [cf: "Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blasts on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us," by Walt Kelly, "The Pogo Papers" (1953); "We have met the enemy and they are ours ...." by Oliver Hazard Perry (1813)]


`If you lay down with dogs, you'll get up with fleas.'
"He who lies down with dogs will rise with fleas." ["If you associate with unsavory characters some of it is bound to rub off on you." John Florio]


`to rant and rave'
"to ramp and rage"


`We have ways of making you talk.'
"We have ways of making men talk."


`You dirty rat!'
"You dirty double-crossing rat!"


`We don't need no stinkin' badges!'
"Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges."


`Shove it where the sun don't shine!'
"Fold it five-ways and stick it where the moon don't shine."


`Elementary my dear Watson.'
"`Excellent!' I cried. `Elementary,' said he."


`Better here than Philadelphia.'
"On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia."


`Meet me in the kasbah.'; `We'll go to the kasbah.'
"Come with me to the Casbah." [catch-phrase popularized by 1938 movie "Algiers", and misattributed to the Gallic character played by Charles Boyer]


`I want to be alone.'
"I want to be let alone." [line by Greta Garbo in 1932 "Grand Hotel" movie]; "I want to be left alone."


"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." [1939 film]
"My dear, I don't give a damn." [1936 book]


`Come up and see me some time.'
"Why don't you come up sometime and see me?"


`Play it again, Sam.'
"Play it, Sam. Play `As Time Goes By'."; "If she can stand it, I can. Play it!"