170+ Best Oscar Wilde Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, the early 1890s saw him become one of the most popular playwrights in London. Profoundly inspirational Oscar Wilde quotes will encourage you to think a little deeper than you usually would and broaden your perspective.

If you’re searching for inspirational quotes by famous authors that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of profound Jojo Moyes quotes, amazing Stan Lee quotes and top Rudyard Kipling quotes.

Famous Oscar Wilde Quotes

One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry. – Oscar Wilde

People who count their chickens before they are hatched act very wisely because chickens run about so absurdly that it’s impossible to count them accurately. – Oscar Wilde

Friendship is far more tragic than love. It lasts longer. – Oscar Wilde

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. – Oscar Wilde

Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood. – Oscar Wilde

People may fail many times, but they become failures only when they begin to blame someone else. Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much. – Oscar Wilde

My wish isn’t to mean everything to everyone but something to someone. – Oscar Wilde

The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read. – Oscar Wilde

With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy? – Oscar Wilde

It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much and live with her too little. – Oscar Wilde

Pleasure is the only thing one should live for, nothing ages like happiness. – Oscar Wilde

Circumstances should never alter principles! – Oscar Wilde

Art only begins where Imitation ends. – Oscar Wilde

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months. – Oscar Wilde

Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience. – Oscar Wilde

A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament. – Oscar Wilde

I don’t want to earn my living, I want to live. – Oscar Wilde

My great mistake, the fault for which I can’t forgive myself, is that one day I ceased my obstinate pursuit of my own individuality. – Oscar Wilde

Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us. – Oscar Wilde

Don’t be afraid. There are exquisite things in store for you. This is merely the beginning. – Oscar Wilde

Believe me, no civilized man ever regrets a pleasure, and no uncivilized man ever knows what a pleasure is. – Oscar Wilde

What a pity that in life we only get our lessons when they are of no use to us. – Oscar Wilde

What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. – Oscar Wilde

Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary. – Oscar Wilde

Arguments are to be avoided: they are always vulgar and often convincing. – Oscar Wilde

The note of the perfect personality is not rebellion, but peace. – Oscar Wilde

Be yourself; everyone else is taken. – Oscar Wilde

Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion. – Oscar Wilde

The sick do not ask if the hand that smoothes their pillow is pure, nor the dying care if the lips that touch their brow have known the kiss of sin. – Oscar Wilde

It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious. – Oscar Wilde

It is better to be beautiful than to be good. But… it is better to be good than to be ugly. – Oscar Wilde

How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being. – Oscar Wilde

Each of us has heaven and hell in him. – Oscar Wilde

An idea that isn’t risky is hardly worth calling an idea. – Oscar Wilde

With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone. – Oscar Wilde

Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. – Oscar Wilde

The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it. – Oscar Wilde

The moment that an artist takes notice of what other people want, and tries to supply the demand, he ceases to be an artist. – Oscar Wilde

No man is rich enough to buy back his past. – Oscar Wilde

I made art a philosophy, and philosophy an art: I altered the minds of men, and the color of things: I awoke the imagination of my century so that it created myth and legend around me: I summed up all things in a phrase, all existence in an epigram: whatever I touched I made beautiful – Oscar Wilde

The great things in life are what they seem to be. And for that reason, strange as it may sound to you, often are very difficult to interpret (understand). Great passions are for the great of souls. Great events can only be seen by people who are on a level with them. We think we can have our visions for nothing. We cannot. Even the finest and most self-sacrificing visions have to be paid for. Strangely enough, that is what makes them fine. – Oscar Wilde

When bankers get together, they talk about art. When artists get together, they talk about money. – Oscar Wilde

The truth is rarely pure and never simple. – Oscar Wilde

We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities. – Oscar Wilde

If you want to be a grocer, or a general, or a politician, or a judge, you will invariably become it; that is your punishment. If you never know what you want to be, if you live what some might call the dynamic life but what I will call the artistic life, if each day you are unsure of who you are and what you know you will never become anything, and that is your reward. – Oscar Wilde

The one person who has more illusions than the dreamer is the man of action. – Oscar Wilde

Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious. – Oscar Wilde

The nicest feeling in the world is to do a good deed anonymously-and have somebody find out. – Oscar Wilde

Don’t give a woman advice; one should never give a woman anything she can’t wear in the evening. – Oscar Wilde

Without order nothing can exist-without chaos nothing can evolve. Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing. – Oscar Wilde

They spoil every romance by trying to make it last forever. – Oscar Wilde

Talent borrows, genius steals! – Oscar Wilde

She wore far too much rouge last night and not quite enough clothes. That is always a sign of despair in a woman. – Oscar Wilde

Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship. – Oscar Wilde

The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death. – Oscar Wilde

Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people. – Oscar Wilde

Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals. – Oscar Wilde

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing well. If it is worth having, it is worth waiting for. If it is worth attaining, it is worth fighting for. If it is worth experiencing, it is worth putting aside time for. – Oscar Wilde

Do not be afraid of the past. If people tell you that it is irrevocable, do not believe them. The past, the present and the future are but one moment in the sight of God, in whose sight we should try to live. Time and space, succession and extension, are merely accidental conditions of thought. The imagination can transcend them. – Oscar Wilde

Nowadays, saying what you really think can be a serious error since one risks being misunderstood. – Oscar Wilde

I can’t stand people that do not take food seriously. – Oscar Wilde

The answers are all out there, we just need to ask the right questions. – Oscar Wilde

If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn’t. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism. – Oscar Wilde

Nothing is good in moderation. You cannot know good in anything until you have torn the heart out of it by excess. – Oscar Wilde

It is because Humanity has never known where it was going that it has been able to find its way. – Oscar Wilde

Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others. – Oscar Wilde

A true gentleman is one who is never intentionally rude. – Oscar Wilde

Hatred is blind, as well as love. – Oscar Wilde

Finding the meaning of life is easy. Simply get a dictionary, go to the ‘L’ section, and find the word ‘life.’ – Oscar Wilde

Be happy, be happy; you shall have your red rose. I will build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with my own heart’s-blood. All that I ask of you in return is that you will be a true lover, for Love is wiser than Philosophy, though she is wise, and mightier than Power, though he is mighty. – Oscar Wilde

To give and not expect return, that is what lies at the heart of love. – Oscar Wilde

Consistency is the hallmark of the unimaginative. – Oscar Wilde

The secret to life is to enjoy the pleasure of being terribly, terribly deceived. – Oscar Wilde

What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise – Oscar Wilde

Learn to differentiate between ignorance and stupidity. – Oscar Wilde

In examinations the foolish ask questions that the wise cannot answer. – Oscar Wilde

Society often forgives the criminal; it never forgives the dreamer. – Oscar Wilde

Ah! realize your youth while you have it. Don’t squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. These are the sickly aims, the false ideals, of our age. Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing. – Oscar Wilde

It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you place the blame. – Oscar Wilde

If a man treats life artistically, his brain is his heart. – Oscar Wilde

They’ve promised that dreams can come true – but forgot to mention that nightmares are dreams, too. – Oscar Wilde

Selfishness is not living your life as you wish to live it. Selfishness is wanting others to live their lives as you wish them to. – Oscar Wilde

I like talking to a brick wall- it’s the only thing in the world that never contradicts me! – Oscar Wilde

It’s an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. It must be a delightful city and possess all the attractions of the next world – Oscar Wilde

Behind joy and laughter there may be a temperament, coarse, hard and callous. But behind sorrow there is always sorrow. Pain, unlike pleasure, wears no mask. … For this reason there is no truth comparable to sorrow. There are times when sorrow seems to me to be the only truth. Other things may be illusions of the eye or the appetite, made to blind the one and cloy the other, but out of sorrow have the worlds been built, and at the birth of a child or a star there is pain. – Oscar Wilde

I never came across anyone in whom the moral sense was dominant who was not heartless, cruel, vindictive, log-stupid, and entirely lacking in the smallest sense of humanity. Moral people, as they are termed, are simple beasts. – Oscar Wilde

Appearance blinds, whereas words reveal. – Oscar Wilde

It’s beauty that captures your attention. personality which captures your heart. – Oscar Wilde

You are Beautiful when you are happy – Oscar Wilde

A truth ceases to be true when more than one person believes in it. – Oscar Wilde

In war, answered the weaver, the strong make slaves of the weak, and in peace the rich make slaves of the poor. We must work to live, and they give us such mean wages that we die. We toil for them all day long, and they heap up gold in their coffers, and our children fade away before their time, and the faces of those we love become hard and evil. We tread out the grapes, another drinks the wine. We sow the corn, and our own board is empty. We have chains, though no eye beholds them; and are slaves, though men call us free. – Oscar Wilde

Put your talent into your work, but your genius into your life. – Oscar Wilde

A man can be happy with any woman, as long as he does not love her. – Oscar Wilde

The true perfection of man lies not in what man has, but in what man is. – Oscar Wilde

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. – Oscar Wilde

The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. – Oscar Wilde

The aim of the liar is simply to charm, to delight, to give pleasure. He is the very basis of civilized society. – Oscar Wilde

When a love comes to an end, weaklings cry, efficient ones instantly find another love, and the wise already have one in reserve. – Oscar Wilde

I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed man. – Oscar Wilde

One’s dreams must be big enough so as not to lose sight of them. – Oscar Wilde

A man who does not think for himself does not think at all. – Oscar Wilde

If a friend of mine gave a feast, and did not invite me to it, I should not mind a bit. but if a friend of mine had a sorrow and refused to allow me to share it, I should feel it most bitterly. If he shut the doors of the house of mourning against me, I would move back again and again and beg to be admitted so that I might share in what I was entitled to share. If he thought me unworthy, unfit to weep with him, I should feel it as the most poignant humiliation. – Oscar Wilde

The only thing I cannot resist is temptation. – Oscar Wilde

After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own. Music always seems to me to produce that effect. It creates for one a past of which one has been ignorant, and fills one with a sense of sorrows that have been hidden from one’s tears. – Oscar Wilde

Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes. – Oscar Wilde

In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience. – Oscar Wilde

Hear no evil, speak no evil, and you won’t be invited to cocktail parties. – Oscar Wilde

I have learned this: it is not what one does that is wrong, but what one becomes as a consequence of it. – Oscar Wilde

Indeed I have always been of the opinion that hard work is simply the refuge of people who have nothing to do. – Oscar Wilde

If you don’t get everything you want, think of the things you don’t get that you don’t want. – Oscar Wilde

We can have in life but one great experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that experience as often as possible. – Oscar Wilde

If you cannot prove a man wrong, don’t panic. You can always call him names. – Oscar Wilde

An excellent man; he has no enemies; and none of his friends like him. – Oscar Wilde

Every effect that one produces gives one an enemy. To be popular one must be a mediocrity. – Oscar Wilde

I like hearing myself talk. It is one of my greatest pleasures. I often have long conversations all by myself. Sometimes I am so clever I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying. – Oscar Wilde

Just be your self. Everybody else is already taken. – Oscar Wilde

They get up early, because they have so much to do, and go to bed early, because they have so little to think about. – Oscar Wilde

To regret one’s own experiences is to arrest one’s own development. To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul. – Oscar Wilde

Every great man nowadays has his disciples, and it is usually Judas who writes the biography. – Oscar Wilde

I treated Art as the supreme reality and life as a mere mode of fiction. – Oscar Wilde

When both a speaker and an audience are confused, the speech is profound. – Oscar Wilde

The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame. – Oscar Wilde

It takes great deal of courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it. – Oscar Wilde

A man’s face is his autobiography. A woman’s face is her work of fiction. – Oscar Wilde

An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all. – Oscar Wilde

Cats are put on earth to remind us that not everything has a purpose. – Oscar Wilde

The heart was made to be broken. – Oscar Wilde

Some people always know the price, but not the value – Oscar Wilde

Popularity is the crown of laurel which the world puts on bad art. Whatever is popular is wrong. – Oscar Wilde

I quite agree with Dr. Nordau’s assertion that all men of genius are insane, but Dr. Nordau forgets that all sane people are idiots. – Oscar Wilde

A man who pays his bills on time is soon forgotten. – Oscar Wilde

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go. – Oscar Wilde

Be moderate in all things, including moderation. – Oscar Wilde

One does not see anything until one sees its beauty. – Oscar Wilde

A man who moralizes is a hypocrite, and a woman who does so is invariably plain. – Oscar Wilde

It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution. – Oscar Wilde

I have no objection to anyone’s sex life as long as they don’t practice it in the street and frighten the horses. – Oscar Wilde

A mask tells us more than a face. – Oscar Wilde

All charming people, I fancy, are spoiled. It is the secret of their attraction. – Oscar Wilde

Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic. – Oscar Wilde

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. – Oscar Wilde

Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance. – Oscar Wilde

Everyone may not be good, but there’s always something good in everyone. Never judge anyone shortly because every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. – Oscar Wilde

The best people to work for are me, myself and I. – Oscar Wilde

Now, nothing should be able to harm a man except himself. Nothing should be able to rob a man at all. What a man really has, is what is in him. What is outside of him should be a matter of no importance. – Oscar Wilde

To define is to limit. – Oscar Wilde

My dear boy, the people who love only once in their lives are really the shallow people. What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination. Faithfulness is to the emotional life what consistency is to the life of the intellect—simply a confession of failures. Faithfulness! I must analyse it some day. The passion for property is in it. There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up. But I don’t want to interrupt you. Go on with your story. – Oscar Wilde

You like every one; that is to say, you are indifferent to every one. – Oscar Wilde

Loveless marriages are horrible. But there is one thing worse than an absolutely loveless marriage. A marriage in which there is love, but on one side only; faith, but on one side only; devotion, but on one side only, and in which of the two hearts one is sure to be broken. – Oscar Wilde

No man dies for what he knows to be true. Men die for what they want to be true, for what some terror in their hearts tells them is not true. – Oscar Wilde

Religion is like a blind man looking in a black room for a black cat that isn’t there, and finding it. – Oscar Wilde

I made your sorrow mine also, that you might have help in bearing it. – Oscar Wilde

In love, it is better to know and be disappointed, than to not know and always wonder. – Oscar Wilde

A passion for pleasure is the secret of remaining young. – Oscar Wilde

One can live for years sometimes without living at all, and then all life comes crowding into one single hour. – Oscar Wilde

Women are made to be loved, not understood. – Oscar Wilde

After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world. – Oscar Wilde

Placerea este testul naturii, semnul ei aprobator. – Oscar Wilde

It is perfectly possible to get what you think you want and be miserable. It’s possible too, to never get it but deeply enjoy the process of trying. In this world, there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. – Oscar Wilde

I am one of those who are made for exceptions, not for laws. – Oscar Wilde

What the artist is always looking for is the mode of existence in which soul and body are one and indivisible: in which the outward is expressive of the inward: in which form reveals. – Oscar Wilde

The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius. – Oscar Wilde

A writer is someone who has taught his mind to misbehave. – Oscar Wilde

As one reads history one is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted. – Oscar Wilde

I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying. – Oscar Wilde

Know thyself’ was written over the portal of the antique world. Over the portal of the new world, ‘Be thyself’ shall be written. – Oscar Wilde

A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. – Oscar Wilde

An optimist will tell you the glass is half-full; the pessimist, half-empty; and the engineer will tell you the glass is twice the size it needs to be. – Oscar Wilde

Two men look out a window. One sees mud, the other sees the stars. – Oscar Wilde

Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. – Oscar Wilde

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