135 Notable Oscar Wilde Quotes on Writing and Life

Oscar Wilde was a distinguished Irish writer and poet of the 19th century and is best known for his novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and his comedic masterpieces, “Lady Windermere’s Fan” and “The Importance of Being Earnest”.

Wilde was a product of professional and literary parents. He cultivated his wit and flamboyance at Trinity College, Dublin and Magdalen College, Oxford, before enthralling literary London with his Aestheticism advocacy and sparking satirical rebukes.

Oscar Wilde

His social commentary through art extended to America, where he lectured despite media scorn.

Wilde faced personal challenges in the late 1890s, enduring a high-profile trial and imprisonment over charges of homosexuality.

Post-prison, he resided in France, experiencing financial struggles but remaining resilient.

His life and works offer notable quotes on writing and life, providing timeless wisdom and piercing wit.

Related: Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes and Friedrich Nietzsche Quotes.

In this article, I have picked the most powerful quotes by Oscar Wilde.

Best Oscar Wilde Quotes

1. “Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).


2. “A good friend will always stab you in the front.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

3. “I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

4. “Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

5. “Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

6. “We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

7. “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

8. “I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

9. “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).


10. “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

11. “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

12. “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

13. “An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

Wise Oscar Wilde Quotes

14. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

15. “Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

16. “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).

17. “I don’t want to go to heaven. None of my friends are there.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

18. “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

19. “I am not young enough to know everything.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

20. “I have nothing to declare except my genius.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

21. “Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

22. “No good deed goes unpunished.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

23. “Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

24. “The heart was made to be broken.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

25. “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

26. “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

27. “Anybody can sympathise with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathise with a friend’s success.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).


28. “The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

29. “Hear no evil, speak no evil, and you’ll never be invited to a party.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

30. “The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

31. “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

32. “You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

33. “Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious: both are disappointed.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

34. “A bore is someone who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

35. “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

36. “Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

37. “A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).


38. “No man is rich enough to buy back his past.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

39. “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

40. “If you cannot write well, you cannot think well; if you cannot think well, others will do your thinking for you.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

41. “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

Great Oscar Wilde Quotes

42. “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

43. “Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

44. “To define is to limit.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

45. “Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple, and the simple thing is the right thing.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

46. “Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

47. “The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

48. “Never regret thy fall, O Icarus of the fearless flight For the greatest tragedy of them all Is never to feel the burning light.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

49. “The very essence of romance is uncertainty.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

50. “A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

51. “You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

52. “I am too fond of reading books to care to write them.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

53. “Society often forgives the criminal; it never forgives the dreamer.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

54. “I beg your pardon I didn’t recognise you – I’ve changed a lot.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).


55. “A passion for pleasure is the secret of remaining young.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

56. “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).

57. “Life has been your art. You have set yourself to music. Your days are your sonnets.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

58. “Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and a richness to life that nothing else can bring.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

59. “Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

Top Oscar Wilde Quotes

60. “Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

61. “A writer is someone who has taught his mind to misbehave.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

62. “Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

63. “There are moments when one has to choose between living one’s own life, fully, entirely, completely-or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world in its hypocrisy demands.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

64. “Every woman is a rebel.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

65. “If you don’t get everything you want, think of the things you don’t get that you don’t want.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

66. “For one moment our lives met, our souls touched.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

67. “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

68. “Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

69. “The basis of optimism is sheer terror.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

70. “A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

71. “Man is many things, but he is not rational.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

72. “Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

73. “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).

74. “It is through art, and through art only, that we can realize our perfection.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

Famous Oscar Wilde Quotes

75. “And what sort of lives do these people, who pose as being moral, lead themselves? My dear fellow, you forget that we are in the native land of the hypocrite.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

76. “To be popular one must be a mediocrity.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

77. “When I like people immensely I never tell their names to anyone. It is like surrendering a part of them. I have grown to love secrecy.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

78. “I like talking to a brick wall- it’s the only thing in the world that never contradicts me!” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

79. “Arguments are to be avoided, they are always vulgar and often convincing.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

80. “I knew nothing but shadows and I thought them to be real.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

81. “Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world’s original sin. If the cave-man had known how to laugh, History would have been different.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

82. “I like men who have a future and women who have a past.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

83. “One’s real life is so often the life that one does not lead.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

84. “I never put off till tomorrow what I can possibly do – the day after.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

85. “He wanted to be where no one would know who he was. He wanted to escape from himself.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

86. “The most terrible thing about it is not that it breaks one’s heart – hearts are made to be broken – but that it turns one’s heart to stone.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

87. “When a woman marries again, it is because she detested her first husband. When a man marries again, it is because he adored his first wife. Women try their luck; men risk theirs.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

88. “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).

89. “This wallpaper is dreadful, one of us will have to go.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

90. “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

91. “In old days books were written by men of letters and read by the public. Nowadays books are written by the public and read by nobody.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

92. “Being natural is simply a pose, and the most irritating pose I know.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

93. “One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that would tell one anything.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

94. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

95. “Sin is a thing that writes itself across a man’s face. It cannot be concealed.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

Short Oscar Wilde Quotes

96. “A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

97. “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

98. “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

99. “It is perfectly monstrous,? he said, at last, ’the way people go about nowadays saying things against one behind one’s back that are absolutely and entirely true.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

100. “Its a beautiful woman’s fate to be the subject of conversation wherever she goes.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

101. “There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

102. “A woman will flirt with anybody in the world as long as other people are looking on.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

103. “She is very clever, too clever for a woman. She lacks the indefinable charm of weakness.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

104. “The gods are strange. It is not our vices only they make instruments to scourge us. They bring us to ruin through what in us is good, gentle, humane, loving.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

105. “You have filled my tea with lumps of sugar, and though I asked most distinctly for bread and butter, you have given me cake. I am known for the gentleness of my disposition, and the extraordinary sweetness of my nature, but I warn you, Miss Cardew, you may go too far.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

106. “With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

107. “Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

108. “It takes great deal of courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

Profound Oscar Wilde Quotes

109. “Whenever life sucks, remember you’re going to die someday.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

110. “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

111. “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

112. “Every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

113. “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

114. “Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

115. “With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

116. “Love is a misunderstanding between two fools.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

117. “What of Art? -It is a malady. – Love? -An Illusion. – Religion? -The fashionable substitute for Belief. – You are a sceptic. -Never! Scepticism is the beginning of Faith. – What are you? -To define is to limit.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

118. “Without order nothing can exist-without chaos nothing can evolve. Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

119. “They’ve promised that dreams can come true – but forgot to mention that nightmares are dreams, too.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

120. “Nothing worth knowing can be taught.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

121. “The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly – that is what each of us is here for.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

122. “It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

123. “Let me be surrounded by luxury, I can do without the necessities!” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

124. “Punctuality is the thief of time.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

125. “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. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

Powerful Oscar Wilde Quotes

126. “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

127. “I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

128. “Two men look out a window. One sees mud, the other sees the stars.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

129. “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. We all have clouds above us but some see their silver linings. We all face difficulties but some of us are grateful that they aren’t worse.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

130. “The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

131. “To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

132. “I love acting. It is so much more real than life.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

133. “Memory is the diary we all carry about with us.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

134. “When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

135. “The universe is God. I am God so that means I am the universe.” ~ (Oscar Wilde).

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar