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The 200 Most Famous Mark Twain Quotes Of All Time

Last Updated: November 5, 2022 by Team

Mark Twain (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910) is the author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Called “the father of American literature” by many, he was a prolific writer who wrote 28 books and many essays, stories, and lectures. One of the most influential writers in America. He wrote books showing glimpses of late 19th century America, which became classic national treasures today. No wonder he was declared the lifeblood of American Literature, as stated by Hemingway.

Are you looking for inspirational, wise, and thought-provoking Mark Twain quotes and sayings? Here’s our collection of Mark Twain quotes that will inspire and help you become the best version of yourself. Enjoy!

200 Inspirational Mark Twain Quotes To Live By

Top 10 Mark Twain Quotes

“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.” – Mark Twain

“A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.” – Mark Twain

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

“Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” – Mark Twain

“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” – Mark Twain

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

“There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.” – Mark Twain

“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” – Mark Twain

“The lack of money is the root of all evil.” – Mark Twain

“Do something every day that you don’t want to do. This is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.” – Mark Twain

Related: Reading Quotes, Writing Quotes

Best Mark Twain Quotes

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“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” – Mark Twain

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” – Mark Twain

“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” – Mark Twain

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear, and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

“Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.” – Mark Twain

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” – Mark Twain

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.” – Mark Twain

“I would rather have my ignorance than another man’s knowledge because I have got so much more of it.” – Mark Twain

“It is good to obey all the rules when you’re young, so you’ll have the strength to break them when you’re old.” – Mark Twain

“Virtue has never been as respectable as money.” – Mark Twain

“Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” – Mark Twain

“Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy, you must have someone to divide it with.” – Mark Twain

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain

“It is better to deserve honours and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.” – Mark Twain

Famous Mark Twain Quotes

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“The lottery is a government institution and the poor its best patrons.” – Mark Twain

“Prosperity is the best protector of principle.” – Mark Twain

“Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.” – Mark Twain

“It is by the goodness of God that in our country, we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either.” – Mark Twain

“Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other.” – Mark Twain

“Name the greatest of all, inventors. Accidents.” – Mark Twain

“Any emotion, if it is sincere, is involuntary.” – Mark Twain

“All kings is mostly rapscallions.” – Mark Twain

“Golf is a good walk, spoiled.” – Mark Twain

“Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.” – Mark Twain

“It is wiser to find out than to suppose.” – Mark Twain

“There are no grades of vanity. There are only grades of ability in concealing it.” – Mark Twain

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” – Mark Twain

“Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other so that we can have some conversation.” – Mark Twain

“Honesty is the best policy – when there is money in it.” – Mark Twain

“A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.” – Mark Twain

“A human being has a natural desire to have more of a good thing than he needs.” – Mark Twain

“Always do right; this will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” – Mark Twain

“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.” – Mark Twain

“The more you explain it, the more I don’t understand it.” – Mark Twain

“Work is a necessary evil to be avoided.” – Mark Twain

“Thunder is good, thunder is impressive, but it is lightning that does the work.” – Mark Twain

“The heart is the real fountain of youth.” – Mark Twain

“Never argue with a fool. An onlooker may not be able to tell the difference.” – Mark Twain

“A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.” – Mark Twain

“Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.” – Mark Twain

“We chase phantoms half the days of our lives. It is well if we learn wisdom even then, and save the other half.” – Mark Twain

“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” – Mark Twain

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” – Mark Twain

“Do not put off till tomorrow what can be put off till day-after-tomorrow just as well.” – Mark Twain

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain

“When you find yourself on the side oft he majority, you should pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

“I have never taken any exercise, except sleeping and resting, and I never intend to take any.” – Mark Twain

“Familiarity breeds contempt – and children.” – Mark Twain

“I am as prompt as a clock if I only know the day a thing is wanted—otherwise I am a natural procrastinaturalist.” – Mark Twain

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” – Mark Twain

“How empty is theory in the presence of fact!” – Mark Twain

“Necessity is the mother of taking chances.” – Mark Twain

“One is apt to overestimate beauty when it is rare.” – Mark Twain

“The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.” – Mark Twain

“Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.” – Mark Twain

“Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.” – Mark Twain

“The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much; if he is an optimist after it, he knows too little.” – Mark Twain

“Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it.” – Mark Twain

“The common eye sees only the outside of things, and judges by that, but the seeing eye pierces through and reads the heart and the soul, finding their capacities which the outside didn’t indicate or promise, and which the other kind couldn’t detect.” – Mark Twain

“Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.” – Mark Twain

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” – Mark Twain

Funny Mark Twain Quotes

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“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d druther not.” – Mark Twain

“When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear.” – Mark Twain

“My books are water; those of the great geniuses are wine — everybody drinks water.” – Mark Twain

“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.” – Mark Twain

“What a man wants with religion in these breadless times, surpasses my comprehension.” – Mark Twain

“The trouble ain’t that there are too many fools, but that the lightning ain’t distributed right.” – Mark Twain

“The secret source of humour itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humour in heaven.” – Mark Twain

“The human race is a race of cowards, and I am not only marching in that procession but carrying a banner.” – Mark Twain

“A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.” – Mark Twain

“Be virtuous, and you will be eccentric.” – Mark Twain

“Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.” – Mark Twain

“Principles have no real force except when one is well-fed.” – Mark Twain

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.” – Mark Twain

“Frankness is a jewel; only the young can afford it.” – Mark Twain

“The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.” – Mark Twain

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Mark Twain

“Do not tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish.” – Mark Twain

“Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.” – Mark Twain

“If we would learn what the human race is at the bottom, we need only observe it in election times.” – Mark Twain

“Who would find out that I am a natural fool if I always kept cool and never let nature come to the surface? Nobody.” – Mark Twain

“There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice.” – Mark Twain

“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” – Mark Twain

“In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.” – Mark Twain

“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” – Mark Twain

“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.” – Mark Twain

“All generalisations are false, including this one.” – Mark Twain

“A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.” – Mark Twain

“There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist, except an old optimist.” – Mark Twain

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” – Mark Twain

“George Washington, as a boy, was ignorant of the commonest accomplishments of youth. He could not even lie.” – Mark Twain

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” – Mark Twain

“Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.” – Mark Twain

“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” – Mark Twain

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.” – Mark Twain

“Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.” – Mark Twain

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.” – Mark Twain

“There’s one way to find out if a man is honest: ask him; if he says yes, you know he’s crooked.” – Mark Twain

“Go to heaven for the climate, hell for the company.” – Mark Twain

“I don’t like to commit myself about heaven and hell – you see, I have friends in both places.” – Mark Twain

“Men are easily dealt with—but when you get the women started, you are in for it, you know.” – Mark Twain

“The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.” – Mark Twain

“It’s good sportsmanship not to pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling.” – Mark Twain

“Words are only painted fire; a look is fire itself.” – Mark Twain

“I always did hate for anyone to know what my plans or hopes or prospects were—for, if I kept people in ignorance in these matters, no one could be disappointed but myself, if they were not realised.” – Mark Twain

“Hunger is the handmaid of genius.” – Mark Twain

“To string incongruities and absurdities together in a wandering and sometimes purposeless way, and seem innocently unaware that they are absurdities, is the basis of the American art if my position is correct.” – Mark Twain

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” – Mark Twain

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” – Mark Twain

“Put all your eggs in one basket — and watch that basket!” – Mark Twain

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” – Mark Twain

“Never try to teach a pig to sing, you waste your time, and you annoy the pig.” – Mark Twain

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” – Mark Twain

“The only reason why God created man is that he was disappointed with the monkey.” – Mark Twain

“Ah, well, I am a great and sublime fool. But then I am God’s fool, and all His works must be contemplated with respect.” – Mark Twain

Inspirational Mark Twain Quotes

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“It is better to have old second-hand diamonds than none at all.” – Mark Twain

“To believe yourself brave is to be brave; it is the one only essential thing.” – Mark Twain

“Will courage you will dare to risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. courage is the foundation of integrity.” – Mark Twain

“It is curious- curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.” – Mark Twain

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

“Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.” – Mark Twain

“Its name is Public Opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it is the voice of God.” – Mark Twain

“The people who are great are not those who try to belittle your ambitions but those who make you feel that you too can become great.” – Mark Twain

“A successful book is not made of what is in it, but of what is left out of it.” – Mark Twain

“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” – Mark Twain

“With courage, you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity.” – Mark Twain

“My mind changes often … People who have no mind can easily be steadfast and firm, but when a man is loaded down to the guards with it, as I am, every heavy sea of foreboding or inclination, maybe of indolence, shifts the cargo.” – Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes About Life

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“I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.” – Mark Twain

“A Christian is a person who wants to give up great things in a real-life, for mediocre things is an imaginary one; more importantly, they demand you do the same.” – Mark Twain

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” – Mark Twain

“Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.” – Mark Twain

“Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.” – Mark Twain

“When a humorist ventures upon the grave concerns of life, he must do his job better than another man or he works harm to his cause.” – Mark Twain

“When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear, and life stands explained.” – Mark Twain

“To succeed in life, you need two things ignorance and confidence.” – Mark Twain

“Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful of your life.” – Mark Twain

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would rather have talked.” – Mark Twain

“When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries of life disappear, and life stands explained.” – Mark Twain

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain

“Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts or happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever flowing through one’s head.” – Mark Twain

“There are two times in a man’s life when he should not speculate: when he can’t afford it, and when he can.” – Mark Twain

“If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later.” – Mark Twain

“A good marriage is the union of the two good forgiveness.” – Mark Twain

“Be careless in your dress if you must, but keep a tidy soul.” – Mark Twain

“The finest clothing made is a person’s skin, but, of course, society demands something more than this.” – Mark Twain

“Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.” – Mark Twain

“Now and then we had the hope that if we lived and were good. God would permit us to be pirates.” – Mark Twain

“I make it a rule never to smoke while I’m sleeping.” – Mark Twain

“There are people who can do all fine and heroic things but one: keep from telling their happiness to the unhappy.” – Mark Twain

“Man was made at the end of the week’s work when God was tired.” – Mark Twain

“When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it happened or not.” – Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes About Love

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“Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile.” – Mark Twain

“When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain.” – Mark Twain

“Love is a madness; if thwarted, it develops fast.” – Mark Twain

“Man will do many things to get himself loved. He will do all things to get himself envied.” – Mark Twain

“To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.” – Mark Twain

“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” – Mark Twain

“Out of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most.” – Mark Twain

“Praise is well, a compliment is well, but affection – that is the last and final and most precious reward that any man can win, whether by character or achievement.” – Mark Twain

“The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.” – Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes About Truth

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“A lie can run around the world six times while the truth is still trying to put on its pants.” – Mark Twain

“Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it.” – Mark Twain

“A half-truth is the most cowardly of lies.” – Mark Twain

“Why shouldn’t truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction. after all, has to make sense.” – Mark Twain

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain

“Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing the matter with this, except that it ain’t so.” – Mark Twain

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; the truth isn’t.” – Mark Twain

“You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help.” – Mark Twain

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes About Education

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“Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.” – Mark Twain

“Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.” – Mark Twain

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” – Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes About Travel

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“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.” – Mark Twain

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” – Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes About Writing

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“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it, and the writing will be just as it should be.” – Mark Twain

“When all else fails, write what your heart tells you. You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” – Mark Twain

“The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.” – Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes About Death

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“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” – Mark Twain

“Pity is for the living. Envy is for the dead.” – Mark Twain

“Whoever has lived long enough to find out what life is, knows how deep a debt of gratitude we owe to Adam, the first great benefactor of our race. He brought death into the world.” – Mark Twain

“Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.” – Mark Twain

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” – Mark Twain

“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” – Mark Twain

“Let us endeavour so to live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.” – Mark Twain

“Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered – either by themselves or by others.” – Mark Twain

“Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.” – Mark Twain

“All good things arrive unto them that wait – and don’t die in the meantime.” – Mark Twain

“Modesty died when clothes were born.” – Mark Twain

“The trouble is not in dying for a friend, but in finding a friend worth dying for.” – Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes About Cats

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“One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.” – Mark Twain

“When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade without further introduction.” – Mark Twain

“A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.” – Mark Twain

“If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.” – Mark Twain

“Of all God’s creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the leash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat.” – Mark Twain

“A cat is more intelligent than people believe, and can be taught any crime.” – Mark Twain

“By what right has the dog come to be regarded as a “noble” animal? The more brutal and cruel and unjust you are to him the more your fawning and adoring slave he becomes; whereas, if you shamefully misuse a cat once she will always maintain a dignified reserve toward you afterward–you will never get her full confidence again.” – Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes About Politics

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“What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin.” – Mark Twain

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it.” – Mark Twain

“Conservatism is the blind and fear-filled worship of dead radicals.” – Mark Twain

“All Congresses and Parliaments have a kindly feeling for idiots, and a compassion for them, on account of personal experience and heredity.” – Mark Twain

“An honest man in politics shines more there than he would elsewhere.” – Mark Twain

“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” – Mark Twain

“There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.” – Mark Twain

“Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman can.” – Mark Twain

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” – Mark Twain

“The government is merely a servant―merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.” – Mark Twain

“I suppose, just as an honest man in politics shines more than he would elsewhere.” – Mark Twain

“Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.” – Mark Twain

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