121+ Best Terry Pratchett Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Sir Terence David John Pratchett OBE was an English humorist, satirist, and author of fantasy novels, especially comical works. Profoundly inspirational Terry Pratchett quotes will challenge the way you think, and make your life worth living.

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Famous Terry Pratchett Quotes

The universe is, instant by instant, recreated anew. There is in truth no past, only a memory of the past. Blink your eyes, and the world you see next did not exist when you closed them. Therefore, the only appropriate state of the mind is surprise. The only appropriate state of the heart is joy. The sky you see now, you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now. Be glad of it. – Terry Pratchett

I was merely endeavoring to indicate that if we do not grab events by the collar they will have us by the throat. -Lord Vetinari – Terry Pratchett

Balance. It was all about balance. That had been one of the first things that she had learned: the centre of the seesaw has neither up nor down, but upness and downness flow through it while it remains unmoved. You had to be the centre of the seesaw so the pain flowed through you, not into you. It was very hard. But she could do it! – Terry Pratchett

Evil in general does not sleep, and therefore doesn’t see why anyone else should. – Terry Pratchett

Down there – he said – are people who will follow any dragon, worship any god, ignore any inequity. All out of a kind of humdrum, everyday badness. Not the really high, creative loathsomeness of the great sinners, but a sort of mass-produced darkness of the soul. Sin, you might say, without a trace of originality. They accept evil not because they say yes, but because they don’t say no. – Terry Pratchett

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head. – Terry Pratchett

Over the centuries, mankind has tried many ways of combating the forces of evil… prayer, fasting, good works and so on. Up until Doom, no one seemed to have thought about the double-barrel shotgun. Eat leaden death, demon… – Terry Pratchett

Mind you, the Elizabethans had so many words for the female genitals that it is quite hard to speak a sentence of modern English without inadvertently mentioning at least three of them. – Terry Pratchett

If you put butter and salt on it, it tastes like salty butter. – Terry Pratchett

Cats will amusingly tolerate humans only until someone comes up with a tin opener that can be operated with a paw. – Terry Pratchett

I’m trying to remember how you tell the time by looking at the sun. -I should leave it for a while, it’s too bright to see the numbers at the moment. – Terry Pratchett

Stupid men are often capable of things the clever would not dare to contemplate. – Terry Pratchett

Most modern fantasy just rearranges the furniture in Tolkien’s attic. – Terry Pratchett

Consider the situation. There you are, forehead like a set of balconies, worrying about the long-term effects of all this new ‘fire’ stuff on the environment, you’re being chased and eaten by most of the planet’s large animals, and suddenly tiny versions of one of the worst of them wanders into the cave and starts to purr. – Terry Pratchett

Goodness is about what you do. Not who you pray to. – Terry Pratchett

And never resist a perfect moment. – Terry Pratchett

Bringing about Armageddon can be dangerous. Do not attempt it in your own home. – Terry Pratchett

Two types of people laugh at the law: those that break it and those that make it. – Terry Pratchett

If you really want to upset a witch, do her a favor which she has no means of repaying. The unfulfilled obligation will nag at her like a hangnail. – Terry Pratchett

As they say in Discworld, we are trying to unravel the Mighty Infinite using a language which was designed to tell one another where the fresh fruit was. – Terry Pratchett

Not all questions are answered, but fortunately some answers are questioned. – Terry Pratchett

All was black, gloomy and awful. There was no light at the end of the tunnel – or if there was, it was an oncoming train. – Terry Pratchett

The Yen Buddhists are the richest religious sect in the universe. They hold that the accumulation of money is a great evil and a burden to the soul. They therefore, regardless of personal hazard, see it as their unpleasant duty to acquire as much as possible in order to reduce the risk to innocent people. – Terry Pratchett

There have been times, lately, when I dearly wished that I could change the past. Well, I can’t, but I can change the present, so that when it becomes the past it will turn out to be a past worth having. – Terry Pratchett

So let’s not get frightened when the children read fantasy. It’s the compost for a healthy mind. It stimulate s the inquisitive nodes, and there is some evidence that a rich internal fantasy life is as good and necessary for a child as healthy soil is for a plant, for much the same reasons. – Terry Pratchett

I’d rather be a rising ape than a falling angel. – Terry Pratchett

One of the recurring philosophical questions is: ‘Does a falling tree in the forest make a sound when there is no one to hear?’ Which says something about the nature of philosophers , because there is always someone in a forest. It may only be a badger, wondering what that cracking noise was, or a squirrel a bit puzzled by all the scenery going upwards, but someone. – Terry Pratchett

Wisdom is one of the few things that looks bigger the further away it is. – Terry Pratchett

Demons were like genies or philosophy professors – if you didn’t word things exactly right, they delighted in giving you absolutely accurate and completely misleading answers. – Terry Pratchett

Vimes had got around to a Clean Desk policy. It was a Clean Floor strategy that eluded him at the moment. – Terry Pratchett

A bad hunter chases. A good hunter waits. – Terry Pratchett

Sham Harga had run a successful eatery for many years by always smiling, never extending credit, and realizing that most of his customers wanted meals properly balanced between the four food groups: sugar, starch, grease, and burnt crunchy bits. – Terry Pratchett

It was sad music. But it waved its sadness like a battle flag. It said the universe had done all it could, but you were still alive. – Terry Pratchett

The conflict is not between Christianity and Islam or between East and West – instead, it is between stupid people and other stupid people. – Terry Pratchett

I once absent-mindedly ordered Three Mile Island dressing in a restaurant and, with great presence of mind, they brought Thousand Island Dressing and a bottle of chili sauce. – Terry Pratchett

She heard him mutter, ‘Can you take away this grief?’ ‘I’m sorry,’ she replied. ‘Everyone asks me. And I would not do so even if I knew how. It belongs to you. Only time and tears take away grief; that is what they are for. – Terry Pratchett

Unlike wizards, who like nothing better than a complicated hierarchy, witches don’t go in much for the structured approach to career progression. It’s up to each individual witch to take on a girl to hand the area over to when she dies. Witches are not by nature gregarious, at least with other witches, and they certainly don’t have leaders. Granny Weatherwax was the most highly-regarded of the leaders they didn’t have. – Terry Pratchett

She was beautiful, but she was beautiful in the way a forest fire was beautiful: something to be admired from a distance, not up close. – Terry Pratchett

Progress just means bad things happen faster. – Terry Pratchett

Your average witch is not, by nature, a social animal as far as other witches are concerned. There’s a conflict of dominant personalities. There’s a group of ringleaders without a ring. There’s the basic unwritten rule of witchcraft, which is ‘Don’t do what you will, do what I say.’ The natural size of a coven is one. Witches only get together when they can’t avoid it. – Terry Pratchett

He was the sort of person who stood on mountaintops during thunderstorms in wet copper armour shouting ‘All the Gods are bastards.’ – Terry Pratchett

Did I do anything last night that suggested I was sane? – Terry Pratchett

Dickens, as you know, never got round to starting his home page. – Terry Pratchett

I just rearrange words into a pleasing order for money. – Terry Pratchett

This isn’t life in the fast lane, it’s life in the oncoming traffic. – Terry Pratchett

The worst thing you can do is nothing. – Terry Pratchett

I meant, said Ipslore bitterly, what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile? Death thought about it. CATS, he said eventually. CATS ARE NICE. – Terry Pratchett

I grow as many of our vegetables as I can, because my granddad was a professional gardener, and it’s in the blood. – Terry Pratchett

SCIENCE: a way of finding things out and then making them work. Science explains what is happening around us the whole time. So does RELIGION, but science is better because it comes up with more understandable excuses when it’s wrong. – Terry Pratchett

The truth isn’t easily pinned to a page. In the bathtub of history the truth is harder to hold than the soap and much more difficult to find. – Terry Pratchett

It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do the bad things. – Terry Pratchett

Personal’s not the same as important. People just think it is. – Terry Pratchett

My experience in Amsterdam is that cyclists ride where the hell they like and aim in a state of rage at all pedestrians while ringing their bell loudly, the concept of avoiding people being foreign to them. – Terry Pratchett

Last hopeless chances have got to work. Nothing makes sense otherwise. You might as well not be alive. – Terry Pratchett

The purpose of this lectchoor is to let you know where we are. We are in the deep cack. It couldn’t be worse if it was raining arseholes. Any questions? – Terry Pratchett

Everything starts somewhere, though many physicists disagree. But people have always been dimly aware of the problem with the start of things. They wonder how the snowplough driver gets to work, or how the makers of dictionaries look up the spelling of words. – Terry Pratchett

Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life. – Terry Pratchett

There’s a saying that all roads lead to Ankh-Morpork. And it’s wrong. All roads lead away from Ankh-Morpork, but sometimes people just walk along them the wrong way. – Terry Pratchett

Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving. – Terry Pratchett

No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away. – Terry Pratchett

Chaos is found in greatest abundance wherever order is being sought. It always defeats order, because it is better organized. – Terry Pratchett

There is a rumour going around that I have found God. I think this is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist. – Terry Pratchett

I hate cats. Death’s face became a little stiffer, if that were possible. The blue glow in his eye sockets flickered red for an instant. I SEE, he said. The tone suggested that death was too good for cat haters. – Terry Pratchett

Technically, the city of Ankh-Morpork is a Tyranny, which is not always the same thing as a monarchy, and in fact even the post of Tyrant has been somewhat redefined by the incumbent, Lord Vetinari, as the only form of democracy that works. Everyone is entitled to vote, unless disqualified by reason of age or not being Lord Vetinari. – Terry Pratchett

Always remember that the crowd that applauds your coronation is the same crowd that will applaud your beheading. People like a show. – Terry Pratchett

And what would humans be without love? Rare, said Death. – Terry Pratchett

Everything makes sense a bit at a time. But when you try to think of it all at once, it comes out wrong. – Terry Pratchett

The entire universe has been neatly divided into things to (a) mate with, (b) eat, (c) run away from, and (d) rocks. – Terry Pratchett

What did I tell you about Mister Safety Catch?’ said Vimes weakly. When Mister Safety Catch Is Not On, Mister Crossbow Is Not Your Friend,’ recited Detritus, saluting. – Terry Pratchett

Many feel they are called to the priesthood, but what they really hear is an inner voice saying, ‘It’s indoor work with no heavy lifting, do you want to be a ploughman like your father?’ – Terry Pratchett

If you trust in yourself. . .and believe in your dreams. . .and follow your star. . . you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy. – Terry Pratchett

No it’s not! said Constable Visit. Atheism is a denial of a god. Therefore It Is A Religious Position, said Dorfl. Indeed, A True Atheist Thinks Of The Gods Constantly, Albeit In Terms of Denial. Therefore, Atheism Is A Form Of Belief. If The Atheist Truly Did Not Believe, He Or She Would Not Bother To Deny. – Terry Pratchett

The trouble was that he was talking in philosophy but they were listening in gibberish. – Terry Pratchett

Rincewind had always been happy to think of himself as a racist. The One Hundred Meters, the Mile, the Marathon — he’d run them all. – Terry Pratchett

Either all days are holy or none are. – Terry Pratchett

The phrase may you live in interesting times is the lowest in a trilogy of Chinese curses that continue may you come to the attention of those in authority and finish with may the gods give you everything you ask for. I have no idea about its authenticity. – Terry Pratchett

Of course, Ankh-Morpork’s citizens had always claimed that the river water was incredibly pure. Any water that had passed through so many kidneys, they reasoned, had to be very pure indeed. – Terry Pratchett

Don’t look back! Why not? Because I just did! Run faster! – Terry Pratchett

She got on with her education. In her opinion, school kept on trying to interfere with it. – Terry Pratchett

Knowledge is dangerous, which is why governments often clamp down on people who can think thoughts above a certain caliber. – Terry Pratchett

The universe, they said, depended for its operation on the balance of four forces which they identified as charm, persuasion, uncertainty and bloody-mindedness. – Terry Pratchett

If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story. – Terry Pratchett

You get a wonderful view from the point of no return. – Terry Pratchett

Fantasy doesn’t have to be fantastic. American writers in particular find this much harder to grasp. You need to have your feet on the ground as much as your head in the clouds. The cute dragon that sits on your shoulder also craps all down your back, but this makes it more interesting because it gives it an added dimension. – Terry Pratchett

Noble dragons don’t have friends. The nearest they can get to the idea is an enemy who is still alive. – Terry Pratchett

There are times when phrases such as ‘totally astonished’ just don’t do the job. I am of course delighted and honoured and, needless to say, flabbergasted. – Terry Pratchett

Most gods throw dice, but Fate plays chess, and you don’t find out til too late that he’s been playing with two queens all along. – Terry Pratchett

Winners never talk about glorious victories. Thats because they’re the ones who see what the battle field looks like afterwards. Its only the losers who have glorious victories. – Terry Pratchett

I do not in fact use many puns. Certainly there are far fewer than people believe. But I suspect the ones I do occasionally use tend to hang around in people’s memories for a while. – Terry Pratchett

Lots of ingenuity gets you through times with no money better than money gets you through times of no ingenuity. – Terry Pratchett

The Monks of Cool, whose tiny and exclusive monastery is hidden in a really cool and laid-back valley in the lower Ramtops, have a passing-out test for a novice. He is taken into a room full of all types of clothing and asked: Yo, my son, which of these is the most stylish thing to wear? And the correct answer is: Hey, whatever I select. – Terry Pratchett

The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it. – Terry Pratchett

I have to write because if I don’t get something down then after a while I feel it’s going to bang the side of my head off. – Terry Pratchett

There isn’t a way things should be. There’s just what happens, and what we do. – Terry Pratchett

When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. – Terry Pratchett

He’d been wrong, there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and it was a flamethrower. – Terry Pratchett

Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things. – Terry Pratchett

There’s always a story. It’s all stories, really. The sun coming up every day is a story. Everything’s got a story in it. Change the story, change the world. – Terry Pratchett

Five exclamation marks: the sure sign of an insane mind. – Terry Pratchett

People flock in, nevertheless, in search of answers to those questions only librarians are considered to be able to answer, such as Is this the laundry? How do you spell surreptitious? and, on a regular basis, Do you have a book I remember reading once? It had a red cover and it turned out they were twins. – Terry Pratchett

Divide by cucumber error. Please reinstall universe and reboot. – Terry Pratchett

Neither of my parents went to church, but they did everything that you needed to do to be Christian. That’s something a Quaker would call an intimation of the divine. – Terry Pratchett

And so the children of the revolution were faced with the age-old problem: it wasn’t that you had the wrong kind of government, which was obvious, but that you had the wrong kind of people. As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn’t measure up. – Terry Pratchett

I’m a witch. It’s what we do. When it’s nobody else’s business, it’s my business. – Terry Pratchett

It’s going to look pretty good, then, isn’t it, said War testily, the One Horseman and Three Pedestrians of the Apocalypse. – Terry Pratchett

What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter. – Terry Pratchett

Ninety percent of most magic merely consists of knowing one extra fact. – Terry Pratchett

You’re not allowed to call them dinosaurs any more, said Yo-less. It’s speciesist. You have to call them pre-petroleum persons. – Terry Pratchett

The stories never said why she was wicked. It was enough to be an old woman, enough to be all alone, enough to look strange because you have no teeth. It was enough to be called a witch. If it came to that, the book never gave you the evidence of anything. It talked about a handsome prince… was he really, or was it just because he was a prince that people called handsome? As for a girl who was as beautiful as the day was long… well, which day? In midwinter it hardly ever got light! The stories don’t want you to think, they just wanted you to believe what you were told. – Terry Pratchett

She was not, herself, hugely in favour of motherhood in general. Obviously it was necessary, but it wasn’t exactly difficult. Even cats managed it. But women acted as if they’d been given a medal that entitled them to boss people around. It was as if, just because they’d got the label which said mother, everyone else got a tiny part of the label that said child. – Terry Pratchett

I didn’t go to university. Didn’t even finish A-levels. But I have sympathy for those who did. – Terry Pratchett

The shortest unit of time in the multiverse is the New York Second, defined as the period of time between the traffic lights turning green and the cab behind you honking. – Terry Pratchett

In ancient times cats were worshiped as gods; they have not forgotten this. – Terry Pratchett

A push-and-go wooden duck on wheels can cause quite a lot of damage if wielded with enough force. – Terry Pratchett

They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it’s not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance. – Terry Pratchett

The pen is mightier than the sword … if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp. – Terry Pratchett

A European says: I can’t understand this, what’s wrong with me? An American says: I can’t understand this, what’s wrong with him? I make no suggestion that one side or other is right, but observation over many years leads me to believe it is true. – Terry Pratchett

The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they’ve found it. – Terry Pratchett

I may be daft but I’m no’ stupid! – Terry Pratchett

The secret is not to dream, she whispered. The secret is to wake up. Waking up is harder. I have woken up and I am real. I know where I come from and I know where I’m going. You cannot fool me any more. Or touch me. Or anything that is mine. – Terry Pratchett

The female mind is certainly a devious one, my lord. Vetinari looked at his secretary in surprise. Well, of course it is. It has to deal with the male one. – Terry Pratchett

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