148+ Best Ernest Hemingway Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American journalist, novelist, short-story writer, and sportsman. His economical and understated style—which he termed the iceberg theory—had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his adventurous lifestyle and his public image brought him admiration from later generations. Profoundly inspirational Ernest Hemingway quotes will challenge the way you think, and make your life worth living.

Famous Ernest Hemingway Quotes

Don’t get discouraged because there’s a lot of mechanical work to writing. I rewrote the first part of Farewell to Arms at least fifty times. – Ernest Hemingway

The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave but one’ (The man who first said that) was probably a coward. He knew a great deal about cowards but nothing about the brave. The brave dies perhaps two thousand deaths if he’s intelligent. He simply doesn’t mention them. – Ernest Hemingway

I drink to make other people more interesting. – Ernest Hemingway

No, that is the great fallacy: the wisdom of old men. They do not grow wise. They grow careful. – Ernest Hemingway

Decadence is a difficult word to use since it has become little more than a term of abuse applied by critics to anything they do not yet understand, or which seems to differ from their moral concepts. – Ernest Hemingway

Hunger is good discipline. – Ernest Hemingway

The best ammunition against lies is the truth, there is no ammunition against gossip. It is like a fog and the clear wind blows it away and the sun burns it off. – Ernest Hemingway

The first draft of anything is sh*t. – Ernest Hemingway

What difference does it make if you live in a picturesque little outhouse surrounded by 300 feeble minded goats and your faithful dog? The question is: Can you write? – Ernest Hemingway

You cannot stop trusting people in life, but I have learned to be a little bit careful. The way to make people trust-worthy is to trust them. – Ernest Hemingway

Everybody is friends when things are bad enough. – Ernest Hemingway

I had an inheritance from my father, it was the moon and the sun. And though I roam all over the world, the spending of it’s never done. – Ernest Hemingway

The further you go in writing the more alone you are. – Ernest Hemingway

Actually, if a writer needs a dictionary he should not write. He should have read the dictionary at least three times from beginning to end and then have loaned it to someone who needs it. There are only certain words which are valid and similes (bring me my dictionary) are like defective ammunition (the lowest thing I can think of at this time). – Ernest Hemingway

If he wrote it, he could get rid of it. He had gotten rid of many things by writing them. – Ernest Hemingway

You’re my religion. You’re all I’ve got. – Ernest Hemingway

To be able to say: I loved this person, we had a hell of a nice time together, it’s over but in a way it will never be over and I do know that I for sure loved this person, to be able to say that and mean it, that’s rare. That’s rare and valuable. – Ernest Hemingway

Courage is grace under pressure. – Ernest Hemingway

The world breaks everyone or nearly everyone, of their childish illusions, assumptions and wishes, often painfully and afterwards due to the personal growth in practical experience, insight and the resulting wisdom many are strong at the broken places just like mended broken bones often are, and some people even have the great insight to be grateful for the purifying fire. – Ernest Hemingway

I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know. – Ernest Hemingway

Life is pain, so live it up while you can. – Ernest Hemingway

There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games. – Ernest Hemingway

All our words from loose using have lost their edge. – Ernest Hemingway

There are some things which cannot be learned quickly, and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. They are the very simplest things and because it takes a man’s life to know them the little that each man gets from life is very costly and the only heritage he has to leave. – Ernest Hemingway

Intelligence is so damn rare and the people who have it often have such a bad time with it that they get bitter or propagandistic and then it’s not much use. – Ernest Hemingway

I don’t like to leave anything,’ the man said. ‘I don’t like to leave things behind. – Ernest Hemingway

Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime, you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry: Worry never fixes anything. – Ernest Hemingway

I’m not going to get into the ring with Tolstoy. – Ernest Hemingway

Why did they make birds so delicate and fine as those sea swallows when the ocean can be so cruel? – Ernest Hemingway

All cowardice comes from not truly loving, or at least, not loving well. – Ernest Hemingway

I drank a bottle of wine for company. It was Chateau Margaux. It was pleasant to be drinking slowly and to be tasting the wine and to be drinking alone. A bottle of wine was good company. – Ernest Hemingway

Would you please please please please please please please stop talking? – Ernest Hemingway

Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another. – Ernest Hemingway

Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime. – Ernest Hemingway

Being against evil doesn’t make you good. – Ernest Hemingway

All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they really happened and after you are finished reading one you feel that it all happened to you and after which it all belongs to you. – Ernest Hemingway

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places. – Ernest Hemingway

Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. – Ernest Hemingway

The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists. – Ernest Hemingway

At night, never go to bed without knowing what you’ll write tomorrow. – Ernest Hemingway

Home is where the heart is, home is where the fart is. Come let us fart in the home. There is no art in a fart. Still a fart may not be artless. Let us fart and artless fart in the home. – Ernest Hemingway

The clouds were building up now for the trade wind and he looked ahead and saw a flight of wild ducks etching themselves against the sky over the water, then blurring, then etching again and he knew no man was ever alone on the sea. – Ernest Hemingway

When you stop doing things for fun you might as well be dead. – Ernest Hemingway

I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know? – Ernest Hemingway

You won’t do our things with another girl, or say the same things, will you? – Ernest Hemingway

You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason. – Ernest Hemingway

For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn. – Ernest Hemingway

Before you react, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you criticize, wait. Before you quit, try. – Ernest Hemingway

The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them. – Ernest Hemingway

They say the seeds of what we will do are in all of us, but it always seemed to me that in those who make jokes in life the seeds are covered with better soil and with a higher grade of manure. – Ernest Hemingway

Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready. – Ernest Hemingway

By then I knew that everything good and bad left an emptiness when it stopped. But if it was bad, the emptiness filled up by itself. If it was good you could only fill it by finding something better. – Ernest Hemingway

And how much better to die in all the happy period of undisillusioned youth, to go out in a blaze of light, than to have your body worn out and old and illusions shattered. – Ernest Hemingway

Keep right on lying to me. That’s what I want you to do. – Ernest Hemingway

Don’t you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you’re not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you’ve lived nearly half the time you have to live already? – Ernest Hemingway

Any man’s life, told truly, is a novel. – Ernest Hemingway

To me heaven would be a big bull ring with me holding two barrera seats and a trout stream outside that no one else was allowed to fish in and two lovely houses in the town; one where I would have my wife and children and be monogamous and love them truly and well and the other where I would have my nine beautiful mistresses on nine different floors. – Ernest Hemingway

When I am working on a book or a story, I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. . . .When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have e made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through. – Ernest Hemingway

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. – Ernest Hemingway

You never understand anybody that loves you. – Ernest Hemingway

Night is always darker before the dawn and life is the same, the hard times will pass, everything will get better and sun will shine brighter than ever. – Ernest Hemingway

There are only two places in the world where we can live happy: at home and in Paris. – Ernest Hemingway

The only thing that can ruin a good day is people. – Ernest Hemingway

Retirement is the ugliest word in the language. – Ernest Hemingway

Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports… all the others are games. – Ernest Hemingway

You’ll lose it, if you talk about it – Ernest Hemingway

But sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.’ So finally, I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. – Ernest Hemingway

We think. We are not peasants. We are mechanics. But even the peasants know better than to believe in a war. Everybody hates war. There is a class that control a country that is stupid and down not realise anything and never can. That is why we have this war. Also, they make money out of it. – Ernest Hemingway

A man’s got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book. – Ernest Hemingway

The echoes of beauty you’ve seen transpire, Resound through dying coals of a campfire. – Ernest Hemingway

Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing. – Ernest Hemingway

No animal has more liberty than the cat, but it buries the mess it makes. The cat is the best anarchist. – Ernest Hemingway

I know the night is not the same as the day: that all things are different, that the things of the night cannot be explained in the day, because they do not then exist, and the night can be a dreadful time for lonely people once their loneliness has started. – Ernest Hemingway

The worst death for anyone is to lose the center of his being, the thing he really is. Retirement is the filthiest word in the language. Whether by choice or by fate, to retire from what you do – and makes you what you are – is to back up into the grave. – Ernest Hemingway

As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary. – Ernest Hemingway

The first and final thing you have to do in this world is to last it and not be smashed by it. – Ernest Hemingway

But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated. – Ernest Hemingway

Never go on trips with anyone you do not love. – Ernest Hemingway

Until the dead are buried they change somewhat in appearance each day. The color change in Caucasian races is from white to yellow, to yellow-green, to black. If left long enough in the heat the flesh comes to resemble coal-tar, especially where it has been broken or torn, and it has quite a visible tarlike iridescence. The dead grow larger each day until sometimes they become quite too big for their uniforms, filling these until they seem blown tight enough to burst. The individual members may increase in girth to an unbelievable extent and faces fill as taut and globular as balloons. – Ernest Hemingway

The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day … you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start. – Ernest Hemingway

I was always embarrassed by the words ‘sacred,’ ‘glorious,’ and ‘sacrifice’ and the expression ‘in vain.’ We had heard them, sometimes standing in the rain almost out of earshot, so that only the shouted words came through, and had read them on proclamations that were slapped up by billposters over other proclamations, now for a long time, and I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stock yards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it. – Ernest Hemingway

You are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering. – Ernest Hemingway

Nobody climbs on skis now and almost everybody breaks their legs but maybe it is easier in the end to break your legs than to break your heart although they say that everything breaks now and that sometimes, afterwards, many are stronger at the broken places. – Ernest Hemingway

I may not be as strong as I think, but I know many tricks and I have resolution. – Ernest Hemingway

For luck you carried a horse chestnut and a rabbit’s foot in your right pocket. The fur had been worn off the rabbit’s foot long ago and the bones and the sinews were polished by the wear. The claws scratched in the lining of your pocket and you knew your luck was still there. – Ernest Hemingway

My only regret in life is that I did not drink more wine. – Ernest Hemingway

Worry destroys the ability to write. – Ernest Hemingway

In the morning there was a big wind blowing and the waves were running high up on the beach and he was awake a long time before he remembered that his heart was broken. – Ernest Hemingway

I didn’t want to kiss you goodbye — that was the trouble — I wanted to kiss you good night — and there’s a lot of difference. – Ernest Hemingway

My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way. – Ernest Hemingway

The best writing is certainly when you are in love – Ernest Hemingway

When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen. – Ernest Hemingway

An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools. – Ernest Hemingway

I can’t stand it to think my life is going so fast and I’m not really living it. – Ernest Hemingway

Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use. – Ernest Hemingway

Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough. – Ernest Hemingway

Find what gave you emotion; what the action was that gave you excitement. Then write it down making it clear so that the reader can see it too. Prose is architecture, not interior decoration, and the Baroque is over. – Ernest Hemingway

You ought to dream. All our biggest businessmen have been dreamers. – Ernest Hemingway

The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed. – Ernest Hemingway

To hell with them. Nothing hurts if you don’t let it. – Ernest Hemingway

The writer’s job is to tell the truth. – Ernest Hemingway

When writing a novel, a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature. – Ernest Hemingway

An aggressive war is the great crime against everything good in the world. A defensive war, which must necessarily turn to aggressive at the earliest moment, is the necessary great counter-crime. But never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime. Ask the infantry and ask the dead. – Ernest Hemingway

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen. – Ernest Hemingway

The rain will stop, the night will end, the hurt will fade. Hope is never so lost that it can’t be found. – Ernest Hemingway

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self. – Ernest Hemingway

Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure only death can stop it. Financial security then is a great help as it keeps you from worrying. – Ernest Hemingway

When you have a child, the world has a hostage. – Ernest Hemingway

Imagination? It is the one thing beside honesty that a good writer must have. The more he learns from experience the more he can imagine. – Ernest Hemingway

A person with increasing knowledge and sensory education may derive infinite enjoyment from wine. – Ernest Hemingway

What is moral is what you feel good after. – Ernest Hemingway

And another thing. Don’t ever kid yourself about loving someone. It is just that most people are not lucky enough ever to have it. You never had it before and now you have it. What you have with Maria, whether it lasts just through today and a part of tomorrow, or whether it lasts for a long life is the most important thing that can happen to a human being. There will always be people who say it does not exist because they cannot have it. But I tell you it is true and that you have it and that you are lucky even if you die tomorrow. – Ernest Hemingway

The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself. – Ernest Hemingway

Never give up hope. Never give in to pessimism. Never despair. No horse named Morbid ever won a race! – Ernest Hemingway

If a writer stops observing he is finished. Experience is communicated by small details intimately observed. – Ernest Hemingway

But in the night, he woke and held her tight as though she were all of life and it was being taken from him. He held her feeling she was all of life there was, and it was true. – Ernest Hemingway

If my Valentine you won’t be, I’ll hang myself on your Christmas tree. – Ernest Hemingway

He’s a great writer. If I didn’t think so I wouldn’t have tried to kill him… I was the champ and when I read his stuff, I knew he had something. So, I dropped a heavy glass skylight on his head at a drinking party. But you can’t kill the guy. He’s not human. – Ernest Hemingway

There are many good fishermen and some great ones. But there is only one you. – Ernest Hemingway

The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much and forgetting that you are special too. – Ernest Hemingway

When you work hard all day with your head and know you must work again the next day what else can change your ideas and make them run on a different plane like whisky? – Ernest Hemingway

In modern war… you will die like a dog for no good reason. – Ernest Hemingway

All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. – Ernest Hemingway

In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you’ll dull and blunt the instrument you write with. But I would rather have it bent and dull and know I had to put it to the grindstone again and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and know that I had something to write about, than to have it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well-oiled in the closet, but unused. – Ernest Hemingway

My heart’s broken,’ he thought. ‘If I feel this way my heart must be broken. – Ernest Hemingway

Fascism is a lie told by bullies. – Ernest Hemingway

A bottle of wine was good company. – Ernest Hemingway

There will always be people who say it does not exist because they cannot have it. But I tell you it is true and that you have it and that you are lucky even if you die tomorrow. – Ernest Hemingway

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast. – Ernest Hemingway

Why, darling, I don’t live at all when I’m not with you. – Ernest Hemingway

I loved you when I saw you today and I loved you always but I never saw you before. – Ernest Hemingway

If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it. – Ernest Hemingway

Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know. – Ernest Hemingway

As long as you can start, you are all right. The juice will come. – Ernest Hemingway

The only decent bone in her body was mine. – Ernest Hemingway

The story was writing itself and I was having a hard time keeping up with it. – Ernest Hemingway

War is no longer made by simply analyzed economic forces if it ever was. War is made or planned now by individual men, demagogues and dictators who play on the patriotism of their people to mislead them into a belief in the great fallacy of war when all their vaunted reforms have failed to satisfy the people they misrule. – Ernest Hemingway

You must be prepared to work always without applause. – Ernest Hemingway

I rewrote the ending of ‘Farewell to Arms’ 39 times before I was satisfied. – Ernest Hemingway

I don’t think I ever owned twenty pencils at one time. Wearing down seven number-two pencils is a good day’s work. – Ernest Hemingway

Anyone who says he wants to be a writer and isn’t writing, doesn’t. – Ernest Hemingway

I love you for all that you are, all that you have been, all that you’re yet to be. – Ernest Hemingway

You’re not a moron. You’re only a case of arrested development. – Ernest Hemingway

How little we know of what there is to know. – Ernest Hemingway

My life used to be full of everything. Now if you aren’t with me I haven’t a thing in the world. – Ernest Hemingway

Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called the Masai ‘Ngaje Ngai’, the House of God. Close to the western summit there is a dried and frozen carcas of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude. – Ernest Hemingway

Never sit a table when you can stand at the bar. – Ernest Hemingway

Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors. – Ernest Hemingway

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