125+ Best George Orwell Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist and essayist, journalist and critic. His work is characterised by lucid prose, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and outspoken support of democratic socialism. Profoundly inspirational George Orwell quotes will make you look at life differently and help you live a meaningful life.

If you’re searching for meaningful quotes by authors that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of profound Harper Lee quotes, amazing Haruki Murakami quotes and top Helen Keller quotes.

Famous George Orwell Quotes

A world in which it is wrong to murder an individual civilian and right to drop a thousand tons of high explosive on a residential area does sometimes make me wonder whether this earth of ours is not a loony bin made use of by some other planet. Not to have a national anthem would be logical. – George Orwell

Everyone believes in the atrocities of the enemy and disbelieves in those of his own side, without ever bothering to examine the evidence. – George Orwell

Think of something you really care about. Then add hour to hour and calculate the fraction of your life that you’ve actually spent in doing it. And then calculate the time you’ve spent on things like shaving, riding to and from on buses, waiting in railway junctions, swapping dirty stories, and reading the newspapers. – George Orwell

From the totalitarian point of view, history is something to be created rather than learned. – George Orwell

What can you do against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy? – George Orwell

The choice before human beings, is not, as a rule, between good and evil but between two evils. You can let the Nazis rule the world: that is evil; or you can overthrow them by war , which is also evil. There is no other choice before you, and whichever you choose you will not come out with clean hands. – George Orwell

In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia. – George Orwell

In a Society in which there is no law, and in theory no compulsion, the only arbiter of behavior is public opinion. But public opinion, because of the tremendous urge to conformity in gregarious animals, is less tolerant than any system of law. When human beings are governed by thou shalt not, the individual can practice a certain amount of eccentricity: when they are supposedly governed by love or reason, he is under continuous pressure to make him behave and think in exactly the same way as everyone else. – George Orwell

Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. – George Orwell

Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood. – George Orwell

To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle. – George Orwell

In the end I worked out an anarchistic theory that all government is evil, that the punishment always does more harm than the crime and that people can be trusted to behave decently if only you will let them alone. – George Orwell

There is no swifter route to the corruption of thought than through the corruption of language – George Orwell

In a way, the worldview of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane. They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird. – George Orwell

You are a slow learner, Winston. How can I help it? How can I help but see what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four. Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane. – George Orwell

There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them. – George Orwell

Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except the endless present in which the party is always right. – George Orwell

We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men. – George Orwell

Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. – George Orwell

If you have no money, men won’t care for you, women won’t love you; won’t, that is, care for you or love you the last little bit that matters. – George Orwell

The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink – George Orwell

A society becomes totalitarian when its structure becomes flagrantly artificial: that is, when its ruling class has lost its function but succeeds in clinging to power by force or fraud. – George Orwell

You must be an intellectual. A normal person would never believe a thing like that. – George Orwell

It is fatal to look hungry. It makes people want to kick you. – George Orwell

you can’t live life without consequences. They occur regardless of the decision. A consequence is an outcome, good or bad. You can live life without regrets and thats what makes it worth it. Or you could live with regret and end up hanging yourself but thats still good. You paid for the rope so your feeding someones family. Something to be proud of before you kick the bucket – George Orwell

Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting. – George Orwell

When I see a policeman with a club beating a man on the ground, I don’t have to ask whose side I’m on. – George Orwell

I enjoy talking to you. Your mind appeals to me. It resembles my own mind except that you happen to be insane. – George Orwell

The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect. – George Orwell

The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians. – George Orwell

Totalitarianism, however, does not so much promise an age of faith as an age of schizophrenia. A society becomes totalitarian when its structure becomes flagrantly artificial: that is, when its ruling class has lost its function but succeeds in clinging to power by force or fraud. Such a society, no matter how long it persists, can never afford to become either tolerant or intellectually stable. – George Orwell

Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. – George Orwell

The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth. – George Orwell

So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot. – George Orwell

The essence of oligarchical rule is not father-to-son inheritance, but the persistence of a certain worldview and a certain way of life, imposed by the dead upon the living. A ruling group is a ruling group so long as it can nominate its successors. The Party is not concerned with perpetuating its blood but with perpetuating itself. Who wields power is not important, provided that the hierarchical structure remains always the same. – George Orwell

In this country, intellectual cowardice is the worst enemy a writer or journalist has to face … Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and incovenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban … At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. – George Orwell

The totalitarian states can do great things, but there is one thing they cannot do: they cannot give the factory-worker a rifle and tell him to take it home and keep it in his bedroom.That rifle, hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or laborer’s cottage, is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there. – George Orwell

However much you deny the truth, the truth goes on existing. – George Orwell

A totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy, and its ruling caste, in order to keep its position, has to be thought of as infallible. But since, in practice, no one is infallible, it is frequently necessary to rearrange past events in order to show that this or that mistake was not made, or that this or that imaginary triumph actually happened. – George Orwell

It is one of the tragedies of the half-educated that they develop late, when they are already committed to some wrong way of life. – George Orwell

As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents. – George Orwell

That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer’s cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there. – George Orwell

In philosophy, or religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might make five, but when one was designing a gun or an aeroplane they had to make four. – George Orwell

Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks his whip. – George Orwell

Patriotism has nothing to do with Conservatism. It is actually the opposite of Conservatism, since it is a devotion to something that is always changing and yet is felt to be mystically the same. – George Orwell

Stupidity was as necessary as intelligence, and as difficult to attain. – George Orwell

But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. – George Orwell

And in the general hardening of outlook that set in … practices which had been long abandoned … — imprisonment without trial, the use of war prisoners as slaves, public executions, torture to extract confessions, the use of hostages and the deportation of whole populations — not only became common again, but were tolerated and even defended by people who considered themselves enlightened and progressive. – George Orwell

I do not wish to comment on the work; if it does not speak for itself, it is a failure. – George Orwell

It’s frightful that people who are so ignorant should have so much influence. – George Orwell

Free speech is my right to say what you don’t want to hear. – George Orwell

The essential point here is that all people with small, insecure incomes are in the same boat and ought to be fighting on the same side. Probably we could do with a little less talk about’ capitalist’ and ‘proletarian’ and a little more about the robbers and the robbed. – George Orwell

To be corrupted by totalitarianism, one does not have to live in a totalitarian country. – George Orwell

If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out – George Orwell

To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulne­ss while telling carefully constructe­d lies, to hold simultaneo­usly two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradict­ory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy. – George Orwell

Every Joke is a Tiny Revolution – George Orwell

All tyrannies rule through fraud and force, but once the fraud is exposed they must rely exclusively on force. – George Orwell

Rich people are poor people with money. – George Orwell

A thing which I regret, and which I will try to remedy some time, is that I have never in my life planted a walnut. Nobody does plant them nowadays-when you see a walnut it is almost invariably an old tree. If you plant a walnut you are planting it for your grandchildren, and who cares a damn for his grandchildren? – George Orwell

Orthodoxy is unconsciousness. – George Orwell

He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother – George Orwell

You’re only a rebel from the waist downwards,’ he told her. – George Orwell

Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help out that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘he that is not with me is against me’. – George Orwell

We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. – George Orwell

In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act. – George Orwell

The fact is that certain themes cannot be celebrated in words, and tyranny is one of them. No one ever wrote a good book in praise of the Inquisition. – George Orwell

In the face of pain there are no heroes. – George Orwell

Whoever controls the image and information of the past determines what and how future generations will think; whoever controls the information and images of the present determines how those same people will view the past. He who controls the past commands the future. He who commands the future conquers the past. – George Orwell

Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime IS death. – George Orwell

The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield. – George Orwell

Truth becomes untruth if uttered by your enemy – George Orwell

The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. – George Orwell

In our time political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. – George Orwell

We have become too civilized to grasp the obvious. For the truth is very simple. To survive you often have to fight, and to fight you have to dirty yourself. War is evil, and it is often the lesser evil. Those who take the sword perish by the sword, and those who don’t take the sword perish by smelly diseases. – George Orwell

So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose style, to love the surface of the earth, and to take a pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information. – George Orwell

Every war, when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac. – George Orwell

Totalitarianism, if not fought against, could triumph anywhere. – George Orwell

Does Big Brother exist? Of course he exists. The Party exists. Big Brother is the embodiment of the Party. Does he exist in the same way as I exist? You do not exist. – George Orwell

If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself. – George Orwell

Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations. – George Orwell

Creeds like pacifism or anarchism, which seem on the surface to imply a complete renunciation of power, rather encourage this habit of mind. For if you have embraced a creed which appears to be free from the ordinary dirtiness of politics … the more you are in the right (and) everybody else should be bullied into thinking otherwise. – George Orwell

One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool. – George Orwell

In all the modern talk about energy, efficiency, social service and the rest of it, what meaning is there except Get money, get it legally, and get a lot of it? Money has become the grand test of virtue. – George Orwell

One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship. – George Orwell

By using stale metaphors, similes and idioms, you save much mental effort, at the cost of leaving your meaning vague, not only for your reader but for yourself. – George Orwell

Lack of money means discomfort, means squalid worries, means shortage of tobacco, means ever-present consciousness of failure-above all, it means loneliness. – George Orwell

He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it. – George Orwell

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. – George Orwell

The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable.’ – George Orwell

The war is not meant to be won; it is meant to be continuous. – George Orwell

Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. – George Orwell

The people will believe what the media tells them they believe. – George Orwell

The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude. – George Orwell

The real test of character is how you treat someone who has no possibility of doing you any good. – George Orwell

Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. – George Orwell

A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? – George Orwell

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history. – George Orwell

England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles, it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse racing to suet puddings. It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during God save the King than of stealing from a poor box. – George Orwell

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. – George Orwell

Man serves the interests of no creature except himself. – George Orwell

Fate seemed to be playing a series of extraordinarily unamusing jokes. – George Orwell

One cannot really be a Catholic and grown up. – George Orwell

When I talk to anyone or read the writings of anyone who has any axe to grind, I feel that intellectual honesty and balanced judgement have simply disappeared from the face of the earth. Everyone’s thought is forensic, everyone is simply putting a case with deliberate suppression of his opponent’s point of view, and, what is more, with complete insensitiveness to any sufferings except those of himself and his friends. – George Orwell

One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘ Socialism ‘ and ‘ Communism ‘ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England. – George Orwell

The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better. – George Orwell

All that was required of them (i.e. the brain-washed masses) was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer working hours or shorter rations. And even when they became discontented, as they sometimes did, their discontent led nowhere, because, being without general ideas, they could only focus it on petty specific grievances. The larger evils invariably escaped their notice. – George Orwell

Those who ‘abjure’ violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf. – George Orwell

The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it. – George Orwell

It is curious how people take it for granted that they have a right to preach at you and pray over you as soon as your income falls below a certain level. – George Orwell

Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent. – George Orwell

To accept civilization as it is practically means accepting decay. – George Orwell

We are in a strange period of history in which a revolutionary has to be a patriot and a patriot has to be a revolutionary. – George Orwell

Myths which are believed in tend to become true. – George Orwell

War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it. – George Orwell

I understand HOW. I do not understand WHY – George Orwell

The prime necessities for success in life are money, athleticism, tailor made clothes and a charming smile. – George Orwell

The writers I care about most and never grow tired of are: Shakespeare, Swift, Fielding, Dickens, Charles Reade, Flaubert and, among modern writers, James Joyce, T. S. Eliot and D. H. Lawrence. But I believe the modern writer who has influenced me most is Somerset Maugham, whom I admire immensely for his power of telling a story straightforwardly and without frills. – George Orwell

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously and accepting both of them. – George Orwell

Happiness can exist only in acceptance. – George Orwell

News is something somebody doesn’t want printed; all else is advertising. – George Orwell

Big Brother is watching you. – George Orwell

To write or even speak English is not a science but an art. There are no reliable words. Whoever writes English is involved in a struggle that never lets up even for a sentence. He is struggling against vagueness, against obscurity, against the lure of the decorative adjective, against the encroachment of Latin and Greek, and, above all, against the worn-out phrases and dead metaphors with which the language is cluttered up. – George Orwell

When I see an actual flesh-and-blood worker in conflict with his natural enemy, the policeman, I do not have to ask myself which side I am on. – George Orwell

We control matter because we control the mind. Reality is inside the skull. – George Orwell

He drove his mind into the abyss where poetry is written. – George Orwell