Over 300 Mark Twain Quotes And Insightful Sayings

Mark Twain is one of the most quoted authors in the world. Here’s over 300 of the best Mark Twain Quotes.

Mark Twain – Writer

Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), and its sequel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called “the Great American Novel”.

Mark Twain was raised in Hannibal, Missouri, which later provided the setting for Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. He served an apprenticeship with a printer and then worked as a typesetter, contributing articles to his older brother Orion’s newspaper. He became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join Orion in Nevada. He referred humorously to his lack of success at mining, turning to journalism for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise.

The next year, he began achieving success with short stories and essays in the new Atlantic Monthly. His wit and satire, in prose and in speech, earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Mark Twain is one of the most quoted authors in the world. This collection of famous quotes by Mark Twain contains over 300!

Best Mark Twain Quotes

Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other.

– Mark Twain


Let men label you as they may, if you alone of all the nation decide one way, and that way be the right way by your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country, hold up your head for you have nothing to be ashamed of.

– Mark Twain


Hunger is the handmaid of genius.

– Mark Twain


A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.

– Mark Twain


Out of all the things I have 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


The more you explain it, the more I don’t understand it.

– Mark Twain


The finest clothing made is a person’s own skin, but, of course, society demands something more than this.

– 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


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 man.

– Mark Twain


To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.

– Mark Twain


I can live for two months on a good compliment.

– Mark Twain


Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.

– Mark Twain


The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’Tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.

– Mark Twain


What would men be without women? Scarce, sir. Mighty scarce.

– Mark Twain


Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it.

– Mark Twain


There is nothing in the world like persuasive speech to fuddle the mental apparatus.

– Mark Twain


Quotes by Mark Twain

The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.

– Mark Twain


Be virtuous and you will be eccentric.

– Mark Twain


The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

– Mark Twain


Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.

– Mark Twain


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


No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot.

– Mark Twain


The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer someone else up.

– Mark Twain

Related: Finding Yourself Quotes


The trouble is not in dying for a friend, but in finding a friend worth dying for.

– Mark Twain


It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.

– Mark Twain


You meet people who forget you. You forget people you meet. But sometimes, you meet those people you can’t forget—those are your friends.

– Mark Twain


Honesty—the best of all the lost arts.

– Mark Twain

Honesty—the best of all the lost arts. - Mark Twain


For he did not seem to know any way to do a person a kindness but by killing him.

– Mark Twain


You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.

– Mark Twain

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


History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

– Mark Twain


If you want love and abundance in your life, give it away.

– Mark Twain

If you want love and abundance in your life, give it away. - Mark Twain


Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.

– Mark Twain


Mark Twain Best Quotes

Love is not a product of reasonings and statistics. It just comes—no one knows whence, and cannot explain itself.

– Mark Twain


Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience—this is the ideal life.

– Mark Twain


Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.

– Mark Twain


His head was an hour-glass; it could stow an idea, but it had to do it a grain at a time, not the whole idea at once.

– Mark Twain


The secret of success is making your vocation your vacation.

– Mark Twain


Classic—a book which people praise and don’t read.

– Mark Twain


It doesn’t make no difference whether you do right or wrong. A person’s conscience ain’t got no sense, and just goes for him anyway.

– Mark Twain


Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.

– Mark Twain


Some people scorn a cat and think it not an essential; but the Clemens tribe are not of these.

– Mark Twain


Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered—either by themselves or by others.

– Mark Twain


Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

– Mark Twain


Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.

– Mark Twain


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

– Mark Twain


A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

– Mark Twain


I know your race. It is made up of sheep. It is governed by minorities, seldom or never by majorities. It suppresses its feelings and its beliefs and follows the handful that makes the most noise.

– Mark Twain


Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

– Mark Twain


Best Quotes Mark Twain

We ought never to do wrong when people are looking.

– Mark Twain


Each must decide for himself or herself alone what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t.

– Mark Twain


Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.

– Mark Twain


English humor is hard to appreciate though, unless you are trained to it. The English papers, in reporting my speeches, always put ‘laughter’ in the wrong place.

– Mark Twain


A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.

– Mark Twain


Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.

– 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


Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.

– Mark Twain


The gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become until he goes abroad.

– Mark Twain


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 rather not.

– Mark Twain


Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.

– Mark Twain


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

– Mark Twain


Prosperity is the best protector of principle.

– Mark Twain


Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied.

– Mark Twain


Someday, a handful will rise up on the other side and make the most noise—perhaps even a single daring man with a big voice and a determined front will do it, and in a week, all the sheep will wheel and follow him, and witch-hunting will come to a sudden end.

– Mark Twain


I was educated once—it took me years to get over it.

– Mark Twain


Popular Mark Twain Quotes

The higher animals have no religion, and we are told that they are going to be left out in the Hereafter.

– Mark Twain


Let us endeavor so to live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

– Mark Twain


Education—the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.

– Mark Twain


I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.

– Mark Twain


In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are, in almost every case, second-hand and without examination.

– 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


All of us contain music and truth, but most of us can’t get it out.

– Mark Twain


Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.

– Mark Twain

Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to. - Mark Twain


The more things are forbidden, the more popular they become.

– Mark Twain


Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

– Mark Twain


The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

– Mark Twain

The secret to getting ahead is getting started. - Mark Twain


God created war so that Americans would learn geography.

– Mark Twain


Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

– Mark Twain

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


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


Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.

– Mark Twain


If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it.

– Mark Twain


Mark Twain Famous Quotes

Work is a necessary evil to be avoided.

– Mark Twain


I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

– Mark Twain

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain


When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.

– Mark Twain


Only one thing is impossible for God—to find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.

– Mark Twain


All good things arrive unto them that wait and don’t die in the meantime.

– Mark Twain


I make it a rule never to smoke while I’m sleeping.

– Mark Twain


Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.

– 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


Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions.

– Mark Twain


No real gentleman will tell the naked truth in the presence of ladies.

– Mark Twain


Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

– Mark Twain


Be good and you will be lonesome.

– Mark Twain


Necessity is the mother of taking chances.

– Mark Twain

Necessity is the mother of taking chances. - Mark Twain


No sinner is ever saved after the first twenty minutes of a sermon.

– 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


The funniest things are forbidden.

– Mark Twain


Inspirational Quotes by Mark Twain

The only very marked difference between the average civilized man and the average savage is that the one is gilded and the other is painted.

– Mark Twain


It is wiser to find out than suppose.

– Mark Twain

It is wiser to find out than suppose. - Mark Twain


But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?

– Mark Twain


If you want to change the future, you must change what you’re doing in the present.

– Mark Twain


Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.

– Mark Twain


How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and how hard it is to undo that work again!

– Mark Twain


I was born modest, but it didn’t last.

– Mark Twain


God puts something good and lovable in every man His hands create.

– Mark Twain


A full belly is little worth where the mind is starved.

– Mark Twain


Zeal and sincerity can carry a new religion further than any other missionary except fire and sword.

– Mark Twain


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

– 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 of them.

– Mark Twain


The signs of excessive indulgence in this destructive pastime are easily detectable. They are these: a disposition to eat, to drink, to smoke, to meet together convivially, to laugh, to joke, and tell indelicate stories—and mainly, a yearning to paint pictures.

– Mark Twain


Architects cannot teach nature anything.

– Mark Twain


When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain.

– Mark Twain


Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness; and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

– Mark Twain


Mark Twain Famous Quotes

Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.

– Mark Twain

Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination. - 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

Related: 300+ Courage Quotes To Help You Face Fears And Overcome Adversity


Name the greatest of all inventors. Accident.

– Mark Twain


What do we call love, hate, charity, revenge, humanity, forgiveness? Different results of the master impulse—the necessity of securing one’s self-approval.

– Mark Twain


Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.

– Mark Twain


The trouble ain’t that there are too many fools, but that the lightning ain’t distributed right.

– Mark Twain


All generalizations are false, including this one.

– Mark Twain


I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.

– Mark Twain


Frankness is a jewel; only the young can afford it.

– Mark Twain


To eat is human; to digest, divine.

– Mark Twain

To eat is human; to digest, divine. - Mark Twain


You are not you—you have no body, no blood, no bones. You are but a thought.

– Mark Twain


Ours is a terrible religion. The fleets of the world could swim in spacious comfort in the innocent blood it has spilt.

– Mark Twain


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


Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.

– Mark Twain

Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else. - Mark Twain


There is no unhappiness like the misery of sighting land and work again after a cheerful, careless voyage.

– 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


Mark Twain Sayings

You can find in a text whatever you bring, if you will stand between it and the mirror of your imagination. You may not see your ears, but they will be there.

– Mark Twain


The heart is the real fountain of youth.

– Mark Twain


I have replaced his tin life with a silver-gilt fiction.

– Mark Twain


It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.

– Mark Twain


Never have a battle of wits with an unarmed person.

– Mark Twain


I do not like an injurious lie, except when it injures somebody else.

– Mark Twain


Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it.

– Mark Twain

Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it. - Mark Twain


A human being has a natural desire to have more of a good thing than he needs.

– Mark Twain


Travel has no longer any charm for me. I have seen all the foreign countries I want to except heaven and hell, and I have only a vague curiosity about one of those.

– Mark Twain


Loyalty to country—always. Loyalty to the government—when it deserves it.

– Mark Twain


Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.

– Mark Twain

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


A half-truth is the most cowardly of lies.

– Mark Twain


Books are the liberated spirits of men.

– Mark Twain


If books are not good company, where will I find it?

– Mark Twain


Any emotion, if it is sincere, is involuntary.

– Mark Twain


Don’t wake up a woman in love. Let her dream, so that she does not weep when she returns to her bitter reality.

– Mark Twain


Quotes from Mark Twain

All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.

– Mark Twain


There are no people who are quite so vulgar as the over-refined.

– Mark Twain


It is better to deserve honors and not have them, than to have them and not deserve them.

– Mark Twain


When your watch gets out of order, you have a choice of two things to do—throw it in the fire or take it to the watch-tinker. The former is the quickest.

– Mark Twain


Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.

– Mark Twain


Always respect your superiors; if you have any.

– Mark Twain


There are lies, damned lies and statistics.

– Mark Twain


I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.

– Mark Twain


You can’t reason with your heart; it has its own laws, and thumps about things which the intellect scorns.

– Mark Twain


In a good bookroom, you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.

– Mark Twain


Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would rather have talked.

– Mark Twain


If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed.

– Mark Twain


Familiarity breeds contempt—and children.

– Mark Twain


The man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.

– Mark Twain


Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you, too, can become great.

– Mark Twain


I did not attend his funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.

– Mark Twain


Quotations by 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


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


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


Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.

– Mark Twain


When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear.

– Mark Twain


If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

– Mark Twain


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

– Mark Twain


Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink under any circumstances.

– Mark Twain


I myself have no existence; I am but a dream—your dream, a creature of your imagination.

– Mark Twain


If you have no will to change it, you have no right to criticize it.

– Mark Twain


The lack of money is the root of all evil.

– Mark Twain

The lack of money is the root of all evil. - Mark Twain


The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.

– Mark Twain


Each of you—for himself or herself, by himself or herself, and on his or her own responsibility—must speak.

– Mark Twain


We have the best government that money can buy.

– Mark Twain


Honor is a harder master than law.

– Mark Twain


Conservatism is the blind and fear-filled worship of dead radicals.

– Mark Twain


Mark Twains Quotes

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


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 harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

– Mark Twain


Golf is a good walk spoiled.

– Mark Twain


The easy confidence with which I know another man’s religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.

– Mark Twain


It liberates the vandal to travel––you never saw a bigoted, opinionated, stubborn, narrow-minded, self-conceited, almighty mean man in your life but he had stuck in one place since he was born and thought God made the world and dyspepsia and bile for his especial comfort and satisfaction.

– Mark Twain


Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.

– Mark Twain


I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn’t know.

– Mark Twain


The source of all humor is not laughter, but sorrow.

– Mark Twain

The source of all humor is not laughter, but sorrow. - Mark Twain


The man who is a pessimist before knows too much; if he is an optimist after it, he knows too little.

– Mark Twain


When I was a boy of , my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be , I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.

– Mark Twain


To believe yourself brave is to be brave; it is the only essential thing.

– 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


There is no sadder thing than a young pessimist, except an old optimist.

– Mark Twain


Man was made at the end of the week’s work, when God was tired.

– Mark Twain


We wish to learn all the curious, outlandish ways of all the different countries, so that we can ‘show off’ and astonish people when we get home. We wish to excite the envy of our untraveled friends with our strange foreign fashions which we can’t shake off.

– Mark Twain


Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

– Mark Twain


Mark Twain Quotes About Travel and Adventure

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

– Mark Twain


The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.

– Mark Twain


It is noble to teach oneself, but still nobler to teach others—and less trouble.

– Mark Twain


Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.

– Mark Twain


The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.

– Mark Twain


I have never taken any exercise—except sleeping and resting—and I never intend to take any.

– Mark Twain


Man is kind enough when he is not excited by religion.

– Mark Twain


Human beings can be awful cruel to one another.

– Mark Twain


Man is a religious animal. He is the only religious animal. He is the only animal that has the true religion—several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight.

– Mark Twain


A little more kindness, a little less speed, a little more giving, a little less greed, a little more smile, a little less frown, a little less kicking, a man while he’s down, a little more ‘We’, a little less ‘I’, a little more laugh, a little less cry, a little more flowers, on the pathway of life, and fewer on graves, at the end of the strife.

– Mark Twain


One must travel to learn.

– Mark Twain


Principles have no real force except when one is well-fed.

– Mark Twain


Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that makes you smile.

– Mark Twain


A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.

– Mark Twain


They spell it ‘da Vinci’ and pronounce it ‘da Vinchy.’ Foreigners always spell better than they pronounce.

– Mark Twain

Related: 200+ Leonardo da Vinci Quotes To Inspire The Genius In You


If we were meant to talk more than listen, we would have two mouths and one ear.

– Mark Twain

If we were meant to talk more than listen, we would have two mouths and one ear. - Mark Twain


Travel Quotes by Mark Twain

Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.

– Mark Twain

Don’t wait. The time will never be just right. - Mark Twain


Only the mad can be happy, and not many of those.

– Mark Twain


The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.

– Mark Twain


Laughter without a tinge of philosophy is but a sneeze of humor. Genuine humor is replete with wisdom.

– Mark Twain


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


Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them, the rest of us could not succeed.

– Mark Twain


Every man is a suffering-machine and a happiness-machine combined.

– Mark Twain


Apparently, there is nothing that cannot happen today.

– Mark Twain


Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.

– 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


Action speaks louder than words, but not nearly as often.

– Mark Twain

Action speaks louder than words, but not nearly as often. - Mark Twain


Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.

– Mark Twain


Never put off till tomorrow what may be done the day after tomorrow just as well.

– Mark Twain


Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.

– Mark Twain


If you hold a cat by the tail, you learn things you cannot learn any other way.

– Mark Twain


Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful day of your life.

– Mark Twain


Quotes Mark Twain

I don’t like to commit myself to heaven and hell—you see, I have friends in both places.

– Mark Twain


If we would learn what the human race really is at the bottom, we need only observe it in election times.

– Mark Twain


Nothing exists; all is a dream. God, man, the world, the sun, the moon, the wilderness of stars—a dream, all a dream. They have no existence. Nothing exists save empty space—and you!

– Mark Twain


Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.

– Mark Twain


Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.

– 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



Most Quoted is the home of sayings, words of wisdom and quotes from the most quoted philosophers, writers, artists and thinkers. In addition to this collection of Mark Twain Quotes, you will find hundreds of other quotes lists and collections on this site.

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