see: "WOMEN"S LIB"
In the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary
for you to make I desire you would remember the ladies and
be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.
--Abigail Adams (17441818)
American first lady [1797-1801], the wife of John Adams,
second president of the United States, and the mother of
John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States.
In a letter to John Adams [31 March 1776].
Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the
husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they
could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the
ladies we are determined to forment a rebellion, and
will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which
we have no voice, or representation.
Men their rights and nothing more;
women their rights and nothing less.
--Susan B(rownwell) Anthony (18201906)
American crusader for the woman suffrage movement.
Motto of the women's suffrage newspaper "The Revolution" .
Sensible and responsible women do not want
to vote. The relative positions to be assumed
by man and woman in the working out of our
civilization were assigned long ago by a higher
intelligence than ours.
--Grover Cleveland (18371908)
22nd [1885-89] and 24th [1893-97] President of the U.S..
In the "Ladies' Home Journal" [April 1905].
The principle which regulates the existing social relations between
the two sexes the legal subordination of one sex to the other
is wrong in itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human
improvement; and [...] and it ought to be replaced by a principle
of perfect equality, admitting no power or privilege on the one
side, nor disability on the other.
--John Stuart Mill (18061873)
English philosopher and social reformer.
_The Subjection of Women_, ch. I 
Equality for women? That is madness. Women are our
property; we are not theirs. They give us children [...]
and belong to us as the fruit-bearing tree belongs to
--Napoleon I (17691821)
Emperor of France [1804-15].
_In the Words of Napoleon_ p. 104, tr. Daniel Savage Gray .
The claim that American women are downtrodden
and unfairly treated is the fraud of the century.
--Phyllis Schlafly (b. 1924)
American author and antifeminist leader.
Quoted in "Ms." magazine [March 1974].
To throw obstacles in the way of a complete education is like putting
out the eyes; to deny the rights of property is like cutting off the hands.
To deny political equality is to rob the ostracized of all self-respect,
of credit in the market place, of recompense in the world of work,
of a voice among those who make and administer the law, a choice
in the jury before whom they are tried, and in the judge who decides
--Elizabeth Cady Stanton (18151902)
Leading figure of the Women's Rights movement.
"The Solitude of Self" in _The Woman's Column_ [23 January 1892].
The Queen is most anxious to enlist everyone who can speak
or write to join in checking this mad, wicked folly of 'Woman's
Rights' with all its attendant horrors on which her poor, feeble
sex is bent, forgetting every sense of womanly feeling and
propiety. It is a subject which makes the Queen so furious
that she cannot contain herself. God created men and women
different then let them remain each in their own position.
--Queen Victoria (18191901)
Queen of the United Kingdom [1837-1901].
Memorandum on women's suffrage [29 May 1870].
see: "SUPERNATURAL", "SUPERSTITION"
see: "KNOWLEDGE" for other related links
Of all the wonders of nature, a tree in summer is
perhaps the most remarkable; with the possible
exception of a moose singing "Embraceable You"
--Woody Allen [Allen Stewart Konigsberg] (b. 1935)
American actor, screenwriter, and director.
"On Seeing a Tree in Summer" (essay)
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform.
--William Cowper (17311800)
English poet and hymnodist.
"Light Shining Out of Darkness" [1779 hymn]
He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand
rapt in awe; is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.
--attributed to Albert Einstein (18791955)
This passage is quoted (unattributed) in Harry Emerson Fosdick
_Living Under Tension: Sermons on Christianity Today_ .
Wonder is the foundation of all philosophy,
inquiry the process, ignorance the end.
--Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (15331592)
French moralist and essayist.
_Essais_ (Essays) [pub. 1580-88], "Of Cripples"
I would rather have a mind opened
by wonder than one closed by belief.
--Gerry Spence (b. 1929)
_How to Argue and Win Every Time_ 
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger.
May you never take one single breath for granted,
And God forbid, love ever leave you empty handed.
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens.
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And if you get the chance to sit it out or dance,
I hope you dance. I hope you dance.
--Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers
"I Hope You Dance" [2000 song] sung by Lee Ann Womack.
The larger the island of knowledge,
the longer the shoreline of wonder.
--anon.; attri. to various
Photograph: Kent Falls State Park,
see: "NATURE" for related links
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
--Robert Frost (18741963)
"The Road Not Taken" 
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
--Robert Frost (18741963)
"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" 
They rustle, they brustle, they crackle, and if you
can crush beech nuts under foot at the same time,
so much the better. But beech nuts aren't essential.
The essential is that you should tramp through very
dry, very crisp, brown leaves a thick drift of them
in the Autumn woods, shuffling through them, kicking
--Vita Sackville-West (18921962)
English writer and landscape gardener.
On BBC Radio _Personal Pleasures_ .
If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each
day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he
spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those
woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is
esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. As if a
town had no interest in its forests but to cut them down!
--Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
American essayist, poet, and practical philosopher.
_Life Without Principle_ 
Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very
silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.
--anon., found in _The Ladies Repository: A Monthly Periodical,
Devoted to Literature, Arts, and Religion_ [September 1874], as
quoted in Jeffrey S. Cramer (ed.) _The Quotable Thoreau_ .
Here lies one Wood
Enclosed in Wood
One Wood within another.
One of these Woods is very good:
We cannot praise the other.
sylvan [SIL-vuhn], adjective:
1. Of or pertaining to woods or forest regions.
2. Living or located in a wood or forest.
3. Abounding in forests or trees; wooded.
see: "LANGUAGE" for related links
see: "COMMUNICATION" for related links
We have too many high sounding words, and
too few actions that correspond with them.
--Abigail Adams (17441818)
American first lady [1797-1801], the wife of John Adams, second president of
the United States, and the mother of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president
of the United States.
Letter to John Adams [16 October 1774].
When words become unclear, I shall focus with
photographs. When images become inadequate,
I shall be content with silence.
--Ansel Easton Adams (19021984)
In James R. Miller _Visions from Earth_, p. 10 .
No man means all he says, and yet very few
say all they mean, for words are slippery
and thought is viscous.
--Henry Brooks Adams (18381918)
American historian & man of letters.
_The Education of Henry Adams_, ch. 31 
I have always been convinced, that the abuse of words
has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery,
of party, faction, and division of society.
--John Adams (17351826)
First VP and second President of the United States.
Letter to J.H. Tiffany [31 March 1819], in _Works of John
Adams_, vol. 10 , ed. by Charles Francis Adams.
For women the best aphrodisiacs are words. The
G-spot is in the ears. He who looks for it below
there is wasting his time.
--attributed to Isabel Allende (b. 1942)
The day of the jewelled epigram is passed and,
whether one likes it or not, one is moving into
the stern puritanical era of the four-letter word.
--No๋l Annan (19162000)
English historian and writer.
In the House of Lords ; quoted in George
Greenfield _Scribblers for Bread_ .
Words of affection, howso'er express'd,
The latest spoken still are deem'd the best.
--Joanna Baillie (17621851)
Scottish poet and dramatist.
"Address to Miss Agnes Baillie on Her Birthday"
One picture is worth a thousand words.
--Fred R. Barnard, _Printer's Ink_ [10 March 1927],
(p. 114). He called it a Chinese Proverb so that people
would take it seriously. Bartlett's credits this information
to: Barton Stevenson, ed., _The Home Book of Proverbs,
Maxims, and Familiar Phrases_, 1948.
One picture is worth ten thousand words.
--"Washington Post" [26 July 1925]
Hinc quam sic calamus saevior ense, patet.
(The pen worse than the sword.)
--Robert Burton (15771640)
English scholar, cleric, and author.
_The Anatomy of Melacholy_ [1621-51], pt. II, sec. 2
Oaths are but words, and words but wind.
--Samuel Butler (16121680)
English poet and satirist.
"Hudibras" , pt. II, canto II, l. 117
Matrimony is not a word, it's a sentence.
--Eddie Cantor (18821964)
American comedian, actor, singer, and songwriter.
Quoted in "Reader's Digest" [March 1934].
Words fascinate me. They always have.
For me, browsing in a dictionary is like
being turned loose in a bank.
--Eddie Cantor (18821964)
American comedian, actor, singer, and songwriter.
_The Way I See It_ 
Hast thou not Greek enough to understand thus much:
the end of Man is an Action and not a Thought, though
it were of the noblest.
--Thomas Carlyle (17951881)
Scottish historian and political philosopher.
_Sartor Resartus_, bk. II, ch. vi [1833-34]
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful
tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean neither more
nor less.' 'The question is,' said Alice, whether you *can* make
words mean so many different things.' 'The question is,' said
Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master that's all.'
--Lewis Carroll [Charles Lutwidge Dodgson] (18321898)
English writer and logician.
_Thorough the Looking-Glass_, ch. 6 
Mum's the word.
--Miguel de Cervantes (15471616)
_Don Quixote de la Mancha_, Pt. 2 , bk. 3, ch. 44
If you wish to know the mind of a man, listen to his words.
We should be as careful of our words as of our actions,
and as far from speaking ill as from doing ill.
--Marcus Tullius Cicero (10643 BC)
Roman orator and statesman.
Attributed in J. K. Hoyt & Anna L. Ward (eds.)
_The Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations, English and Latin_ .
It depends on what the meaning of the word
"is" is. If the--if he--if "is" means is and never
has been, that is not--that is one thing. If it
means there is none, that was a completely
--Bill (William Jefferson) Clinton (b. 1946)
American Democratic statesman and president [1993-2001].
Grand jury testimony [17 August 1998].
I like long and unusual words, and anybody who does not
share my tastes is not compelled to read me. Policemen and
politicians are under some obligation to make themselves
comprehensible to the intellectually stunted, but not I. Let
my prose be tenebrous and rebarbative; let my pennyworth
of thought be muffled in gorgeous habilements; lovers of
Basic English will look to me in vain.
--Robertson Davies (19131995)
Canadian author and playwright.
_Samuel Marchbanks' Almanack_ 
The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is
the manipulation of words. If you can control
the meaning of words, you can control the
people who must use the words.
--Philip K. Dick (19281982)
American science fiction writer.
"I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon" in _Playboy_ .
Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes, and prism, are all very
good words for the lips: especially prunes and prism.
--Charles Dickens (18121870)
_Little Dorrit_, bk. 2, ch. 5 
Immodest words admit of no defence,
For want of decency is want of sense.
--Wentworth Dillon, 4th Earl of Roscommon (c. 16301685)
_An Essay On Translated Verse_ 
Words are but pictures of our thoughts.
--John Dryden (16311700)
English poet, critic, and dramatist.
Attributed in J. E. Carpenter _Handbook of Poetry ..._, p. 196 [London, 1868].
A cynic can chill and dishearten with a single word.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
American philosopher and poet.
_Society and Solitude_ , "Success"
Anyone who wishes to become a good writer should endeavor, before he
allows himself to be tempted by the more showy qualities, to be direct,
simple, brief, vigorous, and lucid.
This general principle may be translated into practical rules in the domain
of vocabulary as follows:
Prefer the familiar word to the far-fetched.
Prefer the concrete word to the abstract.
Prefer the single word to the circumlocution.
Prefer the simple word to the long.
Prefer the Saxon word to the Romance.
--Henry W. Fowler (18581933)
English schoolmaster and lexicographer.
_A Dictionary of Modern English Usage_ 
(Les plus beaux mots du monde ne sont que
de vains sons, si on ne les comprend pas.)
The finest words in the world are only vain
sounds, if you cannot comprehend them.
--Anatole France [Jacques Anatole Thibault] (18441924)
French novelist, man of letters, and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921.
_The Literary Life_ [1888-92], Series I: "Propos de rentr้e: la terre et la langue" (Wikiquote)
Tart words make no friends; a spoonful of honey
will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar.
--Benjamin Franklin (17061790)
American politician, inventor, and scientist.
_Poor Richard's Almanack_ 
Honey catches more flies than vinegar.
_Italian Proverbs_ 
In the silence of night I have often wished for
just a few words of love from one man, rather
than the applause of thousands of people.
--Judy Garland [Frances Gumm] (19221969)
American motion-picture singer and actress.
Attributed in Barbara Rowes _The Book of Quotes_ .
A husband read an article to his wife about how many
words women use a day...30,000 to a man's 15,000. The
wife replied, "The reason has to be because we have to
repeat everything to men...The husband then turned to
his wife and asked, "What?"
Words are chameleons, which reflect
the color of their environment.
--Learned Hand (18721961)
In "Commissioner v. National Carbide Corp." .
Many people, of course, use "sentimentalism" as
a term of abuse for other people's decent feelings,
and "realism" as a disguise for their own brutality.
--G. H. Hardy (18771947)
_A Mathematician's Apology_ 
Words, so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing
in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become,
in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.
--Nathaniel Hawthorne (18041864)
American novelist and short-story writer.
Entry of 18 May 1848 in "Note-Books"
pub. in _The Atlantic Monthly_ [December 1866].
When I speak I put on a mask. When I act, I am forced to take it off.
--Claude-Adrien Helv้tius (17151771)
_A Treatise on Man: His Intellectual Faculties and His Education_ 
Words do not express thoughts very well. They
always become a little different immediately after
they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.
--Hermann Hesse (18771962)
German novelist, poet, and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946.
The German people has the solemn intention of
living in peace and friendship with all civilized
nations and powers [...] And I regard the
maintenance of peace in Europe as especially
desirable. [...] The young Germany, that is led
by me and that finds its expression in the
National Socialist Movement, has only the most
heartfelt desire for an understanding with other
--Adolf Hitler (18891945)
Letter to Herv้, published in the Nazi V๖lkischer Beobachter [26 October 1930].
A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanging;
it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly
in color and content according to the circumstances
and the time in which it is used.
--Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (18411935)
Justice of the United States Supreme Court, legal historian, and philosopher.
In "Towne vs. Eisner" [7 January 1918].
Words sweet as honey from his lips distill'd.
--Homer (c. 850? B.C.)
Greek epic poet.
_The Iliad_, bk. I [c. 800 B.C.]
And once sent out a word takes wing beyond recall.
--Horace [Quintus Horatius Flaccus] (658 B.C.)
Thanks to words, we have been able to rise above the brutes;
and thanks to words, we have often sunk to the level of the
--Aldous Huxley (18941963)
English novelist (Grandson of T.H. Huxley.)
_Adonis and the Alphabet_ 
Summer afternoon summer afternoon; to me
those have always been the two most beautiful
words in the English language.
--Henry James (18431916)
Quoted in Edith Wharton _A Backward Glance_ .
Men hate more steadily than they love; and if I have
said something to hurt a man once, I shall not get
the better of this by saying many things to please
--Samuel Johnson (17091784)
English poet, critic, and lexicographer.
In James Boswell _Life of Samuel Johnson_ .
One of the hardest things in life is having
words in your heart that you can't utter.
--James Earl Jones (b. 1931)
American stage and screen actor.
_Voices and Silences_ , ch. 24 "Journal"
Words, like glasses, obscure everything they do not make clear.
--attributed to Joseph Joubert (17541824)
Words ought to be a little wild for they are
the assault of thoughts on the unthinking.
--John Maynard Keynes (18831946)
"National Self-Sufficiency" in _New Statesman_
(British magazine) [15 July 1933].
Words, are, of course, the most
powerful drugs used by mankind.
--Rudyard Kipling (18651936)
English writer and poet.
Speech [14 February 1923].
As it is the mark of great minds to say many things in
a few words, so it is that of little minds to use many
words to say nothing.
--Fran็ois de La Rochefoucauld (16131680)
French classical author.
_Reflections; or, Sentences and Moral Maxims_ 
In my youth there were words you couldn't
say in front of a girl; now you can't say 'girl'.
--Tom Lehrer (b. 1928)
American songwriter and satirist.
Interview in "The Oldie" .
He can compress the most words into the
smallest ideas of any man I ever met.
--Abraham Lincoln (18091865)
American Republican statesman, President [1861-65].
On a lawyer colleague, quoted in Anthony Gross, ed.
_Lincoln's Own Stories_, ch. 2 .
I am a bear of very little brain, and long words bother me.
--A. A. (Alan Alexander) Milne (18821956)
English writer for children.
_Winnie-the-Pooh_, ch. 4 
"There is a word in Newspeak," said Syme. "I don't
know whether you know it: duckspeak, to quack like
a duck. It is one of those interesting words that have
two contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent,
it is abuse; applied to someone you agree with, it is
--George Orwell [Eric Blair] (19031950)
_Nineteen Eighty-Four_ , Ch. 1, Section V
[On the most beautiful words in the English language:]
The ones I like [...] are 'cheque' and 'enclosed.'
--Dorothy Parker (18931967)
American critic and humorist.
Quoted in "N.Y. Herald Tribune" [12 December 1932].
[Upon being challenged to use the word 'horticulture' in a sentence:]
You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think.
--Dorothy Parker (18931967)
American critic and humorist.
Quoted in _The Algonquin Wits_ (ed.) Robert E. Drennan .
Kind words produce their own image in men's souls;
and a beautiful image it is. They soothe and quiet
and comfort the hearer. They shame him out of his
sour, morose, unkind feelings. We have not yet begun
to use kind words in such abundance as they ought to
--Blaise Pascal (16231662)
French mathematician, physicist, and moralist.
Attributed in American Unitarian Association _Day Unto Day_ [5th ed. 1873].
But don't you see that the whole trouble lies here. In words, words.
Each one of us has within him a whole world of things, each man
of us his own special world. And how can we ever come to an
understanding if I put in the words I utter the sense and value of
things as I see them; while you who listen to me must inevitably
translate them according to the conception of things each one of
you has within himself. We think we understand each other, but
we never really do.
--Luigi Pirandello (18671936)
Italian dramatist and novelist awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1934.
_Six Characters in Search of an Author_ 
Antiphanes said merrily that in a certain city the cold was
so intense that words were congealed as soon as spoken,
but that after some time they thawed and became audible;
so that the words spoken in winter were articulated next
--Plutarch (A.D. 46?119?)
Greek philosopher and biographer.
"Of Man's Progress in Virtue"
He made no resistance whatever, and was stabbed
in the back [...] I must not dwell upon the fearful
repast [...] Words have no power to impress the
mind with the exquisite horror of their reality.
--Edgar Allan Poe (18091849)
American poet and short-story writer.
_The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket , ch. XII
In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold;
Alike fantastic, if too new, or old:
Be not the first by whom the new are tired,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.
--Alexander Pope (16881744)
_An Essay on Criticism_ 
Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvelous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamourous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
The thing about words is that meanings can twist
just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes
look for them behind words that have changed
--Terry Pratchett (19482015)
English science fiction writer.
_Lords and Ladies_ 
Susurrus... according to her grandmother's
dictionary, it meant "a low soft sound, as of
whispering or muttering." Tiffany liked the
_taste_ of the word. It made her think of
mysterious people in long cloaks whispering
important secrets behind a door: _susurruss-
She'd read the dictionary all the way through.
No one told her you weren't supposed to.
--Terry Pratchett (19482015)
English science fiction writer.
_The Wee Free Men_ 
[Pratchett's ellipsis and _italics_.]
Glint, glisten, glitter, gleam...
Tiffany thought a lot about words, in the long
hours of churning butter.
"Onomatopoeic," she'd discovered in the
dictionary, meant words that sounded like
the noise of the thing they were describing,
like _cuckoo_. But _she_ thought there
should be a word meaning a word that
sounds like the noise a thing would make
if that thing made a noise even though,
actually, it doesn't, but would if it could.
_Glint,_ for example. If light made a noise
as it reflected off a distant window, it'd go
_glint._ And the light of tinsel, all those
little glints chiming together, would make a
noise like _glitterglitter._ _Gleam_ was a
clean, smooth noise from a surface that intended
to shine all day. And _glisten_ was the soft,
almost greasy sound of something rich and
--Terry Pratchett (19482015)
English science fiction writer.
_The Wee Free Men_ 
Over the course of the succeeding decades, as the laws of war
or, as they came to be known, international humanitarian law
evolved and expanded, the ICRC [International Committee of the
Red Cross] became the legally recognized guardian of these
regulations. And yet, the paradox of the success of the Red Cross
movement, the advance of international law, and, after World War
II, the worldwide diffusion of the concept of human rights and new
authority for it, is that all these developments coincide not with
a new era in which Kant's perpetual peace was ushered in, but
rather with the hideous course of the twentieth century itself.
No century has had better norms and worse realities. In the period
from the signing of the first Geneva Convention and the subsequent
conferences of 1899 and 1907 in The Hague, to the outbreak of
World War I, the rights of individuals in wartime were expanded,
"aggressive force" was outlawed, and protections for civilians were
expanded. Then came the mass slaughter in the trenches of World
War I and the Armenian genocide to make a mockery of all that.
In the aftermath of that war, in a Europe shocked by the toll exacted
by gas attacks, another Hague conference outlawed the use of poison
gas and other forms of chemical and biological warfare. Three years
later, the Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawed war itself. Those whom the
gods wish to destroy they first allow to set international legal norms.
Nine years later, the Japanese army was murdering Chinese civilians
by the hundreds of thousands in Nanking. Four years after that, the
Germans put in motion the Final Solution. Four years after that,
twenty million Russians were dead and Europe was in ruins.
--David Rieff (b. 1952)
American journalist and author.
_A Bed For the Night, Humanitarianism In Crisis_ 
Words are loaded pistols.
--Jean-Paul Sartre (19051980)
French philosopher, novelist, and dramatist;
winner of the 1964 Nobel Prize for literature.
_What is Literature?_ 
To use many words to communicate few thoughts is
everywhere the unmistakable sign of mediocrity. To
gather much thought into few words stamps the man
--Arthur Schopenhauer (17881860)
"The Art of Literature" in _Essays of Arthur
Schopenhauer_, tr. T. Bailey Saunders .
keep the shape of the wind
even when the wind has fled and is no longer there,
guard the shape of man
even when the man has fled and is no longer there.
--George Seferis [Giorgios Stylianou Seferiades] (19001971)
Greek poet, essayist, and diplomat who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1963.
_On Stage_ 
Our words should aim not to please, but to help.
--Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C. 65 A.D.)
Roman philosopher and poet.
"On the Diseases of the Soul" in _Moral Letters
to Lucilius_ tr. Richard M. Gummere .
These words are razors to my wounded heart.
--William Shakespeare (15641616)
_Titus Andronicus_, I, iv [early 1590s]
True courage scorns to vent her prowess in a storm
of words; and to the valiant action speaks alone.
--Tobias George Smollett (17211771)
English satirical novelist.
Attributed in Adam Wool้ver (comp.)
_Treasury of Wisdom, Wit and Humor_, p. 79 [4th ed. 1881].
Her words but wind, and all her tears but water.
--Edmund Spenser (1552/531599)
_The Faerie Queen_, bk. VI, canto vi [1590-96]
A writer lives in awe of words for they can be cruel or
kind, and they can change their meanings right in front
of you. They pick up flavors and odors like butter in a
--John Ernst Steinbeck (19021968)
1956 letter to Peter Benchley, quoted in Elaine Steinbeck &
Robert Wallsten (eds.) _Steinbeck: A Life in Letters_ .
Man does not live by words alone, despite
the fact that he sometimes has to eat them.
--Adlai E. Stevenson (19001965)
American Democratic politician.
Speech to the Colorado Volunteers for Stevenson
dinner, Denver, Colorado [5 September 1952].
Colors fade, temples crumble, empires fall, but wise words endure.
--Edward Thorndike (18741949)
American educator and psychologist.
Quoted in "Forbes" .
James Thurber (18941961)
American cartoonist and humorist.
One of Thurber's favorite stories concerned a conversation
he had with a nurse while he was in the hospital. 'What
seven-letter word has three u's in it?' he asked. The
nurse pondered and then said, 'I don't know, but it must
--_Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes_
edited by Clifton Fadiman and Andr้ Bernard [2000 ed.]
What a fearful thing it is that any language should have a word expressive
of the pleasure which men feel at the calamities of others, for the existence
of the word bears testimony to the existence of the thing. And yet in more
than one is such a word to be found [...] In Greek epichairekakia, in the
--R. C. Trench (18071886)
Irish Archbishop of Dublin, theologian, poet, and amateur philologist.
_On the Study of Words_, (ed. 3) II. 29. 
As far as I'm concerned, "whom" is a word that was
invented to make everyone sound like a butler.
--Calvin Trillin (b. 1935)
American journalist, humorist, and novelist.
In "The Nation" (weekly magazine).
The difference between the *almost*-right
word and the *right* word is really a large
matter it's the difference between the
lightning-bug and the lightning.
--Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (18351910)
American humorist, novelist, journalist, and river pilot.
Letter to George Bainton [15 October 1888].
For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: 'It might have been!'
--John Greenleaf Whittier (18071892)
"Maud Muller" , st. 53
If, of all words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are, `It might have been,'
More sad are these we daily see;
`It is, but hadn't ought to be!'
--[Francis] Bret Harte (18361902)
_Mrs. Judge Jenkins_ 
catachresis (noun) [kๆ-t๊-'kree-sis]
The abuse of words or phrases.
etymology (noun) [e-t๊-'mah-l๊-ji]
The scientific study of the history of words and how
their sounds and meanings change over time.
euphemism (noun) ['yu-f๊-mi-zm]
A less offensive word substituted for an offensive one.
janitor = custodian
crippled = impaired
homograph [HOM-uh-graf], noun:
A word of the same written form as another but of
different meaning, whether pronounced the same
way or not.
hornswoggle (verb) ['horn-swah-g๊l]
(Slang) To cheat, swindle, hoodwink,
Etymology: We do not know the origin of hornswoggle.
It belongs to a group of fancified words that were
particularly popular in the American West in the 19th
century, words exhibiting the frontier skepticism
toward educated speech. "Hornswoggle" first appeared
in print in Kentucky in 1929. Other words of this ilk
are "stick-to-it-iveness," first appearing in 1867,
"skedaddle," which appeared in 1861 somewhere in
Missouri, and "discombobulate," in 916. "Bamboozle"
first appeared in England around 1700, indicating an
earlier tradition of such concocted words.
logomachy [loh-GOM-uh-kee], noun:
1. A dispute about or concerning words.
2. An argument or debate marked by the
reckless or incorrect use of words.
mot juste [moh-ZHOOST], noun:
A word or phrase that exacts fits the case.
neologism [nee-OLL-uh-jiz-um], noun:
1. A new word or expression.
2. A new use of a word or expression.
3. The use or creation of new words or expressions.
onomatopoeia (noun) [ah-n๊-mๆ-t๊-'pee-y๊]
The reference of a word to a sound resembling
the pronunciation of the word itself.
e.g. "whizz," "thud," "thump," "hiss," "moo,"
"quack," "hoot," "howl," "whack."
palindrome [PAL-in-drohm], noun:
A word, phrase, sentence, or verse that reads
the same backward or forward.
A few examples:
* Madam, I'm Adam. (Adam's first words to Eve?)
* A man, a plan, a canal -- Panama! (The history
of the Panama Canal in brief.)
* Able was I ere I saw Elba. (Napoleon's lament.)
* Mom, Dad.
paronym (noun) ['pๆ-r๊-nim]
A derivation from another word, a word related
to another by derivation, as "derivation" and
"derivative" are derived from "derive;" they
also are paronyms of "derive."
pleonasm [PLEE-uh-naz-uhm], noun:
The use of more words than are necessary to
express an idea; as, "I saw it with my own eyes."
Synonyms: redundancy, circumlocution
sesquipedalian (adjective) [ses-kw๊-p๊-'dey-ly๊n]
Long (said of words), made up of many syllables. Also,
a sesquipedalian word. Containing or given to using
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