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Quotations about Honesty

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It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place. ~H. L. Mencken, A Little Book in C Major, 1916

If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything. ~Mark Twain, 1894

Who lies for you will lie against you. ~Bosnian Proverb

Grant us the truth in creed, in trade and state,
The truth in systems, methods, laws, innate,
Falsehoods, illusions, myths may sound more sweet,
Fallacious, false, framed but to dupe and cheat.
The weak may hug a lie and call it good,
Yet truth is right, when fully understood.
~Lydia Platt Richards

Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure there is one less rascal in the world. ~Thomas Carlyle

A half truth is a whole lie. ~Yiddish Proverb

A lie will easily get you out of a scrape, and yet, strangely and beautifully, rapture possesses you when you have taken the scrape and left out the lie. ~Charles Edward Montague, Disenchantment

Every lie is two lies — the lie we tell others and the lie we tell ourselves to justify it. ~Robert Brault,

Those who think it is permissible to tell white lies soon grow color-blind. ~Austin O'Malley

The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold. ~Aristotle

The most dangerous untruths are truths moderately distorted. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Dare to be true: nothing can need a lie: A fault, which needs it most, grows two thereby. ~George Herbert

With lies you may get ahead in the world — but you can never go back. ~Russian Proverb

Honesty is the rarest wealth anyone can possess, and yet all the honesty in the world ain't lawful tender for a loaf of bread. ~Josh Billings

The hardest tumble a man can take is to fall off his own bluff. ~Ambrose Bierce, Epigram. (c.1906) Quoted by Ralph Alfred Habas, Morals for Moderns, p.214  [Source information per Burton Egbert Stevenson (1872–1962) —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

A lie has speed, but truth has endurance. ~Edgar J. Mohn

When you stretch the truth, watch out for the snapback. ~Bill Copeland

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

Honesty is never seen sitting astride the fence. ~Lemuel K. Washburn, Is The Bible Worth Reading And Other Essays, 1911

A lie may take care of the present, but it has no future. ~Author Unknown

I said, and said, and said those words.
I said them. But I lied them.
~Dr. Seuss, "What was I Scared of?," Sneetches and Other Stories, 1961

I never lie because I don't fear anyone. You only lie when you're afraid. ~John Gotti

Worse than telling a lie is spending the rest of your life staying true to a lie. ~Robert Brault,

A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.
~William Blake (1757-1827), "Auguries of Innocence"

We tell lies when we are afraid... afraid of what we don't know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger. ~Tad Williams

Truth fears no questions. ~Unknown

There are only two ways of telling the complete truth — anonymously and posthumously. ~Thomas Sowell

Whether the succeeding generation is to be more virtuous than their predecessors I cannot say; but I am sure they will have more worldly wisdom, and enough, I hope, to know that honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Nathaniel Macon, 1819 January 12th

I don't mind lying, but I hate inaccuracy. ~Samuel Butler, Note-Books, 1912

There is no well-defined boundary between honesty and dishonesty. The frontiers of one blend with the outside limits of the other, and he who attempts to tread this dangerous ground may be sometimes in one domain and sometimes in the other. ~O. Henry, Rolling Stones, 1912

Pretty much all the honest truth telling in the world is done by children. ~Oliver Wendell

I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It's awful. If I'm on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say I'm going to the opera. It's terrible. ~J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, 1951

When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. ~Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner, 2003

Alternative facts are not facts, they're falsehoods. ~Chuck Todd, 2017 January 22nd, to Kellyanne Conway, Meet the Press (NBC)

The truth brings with it a great measure of absolution, always. ~R.D. Laing

Every good lie gets bad when told. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Occasionally he stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened. ~Winston Churchill, “ear-witness” quoting c.1936 about Stanley Baldwin, per Kay Halle’s Irrepressible Churchill: A Treasury of Winston Churchill’s Wit  (Thanks, Garson O’Toole of!)

If you want to ruin the truth, stretch it. ~Author Unknown

Ha, ha! what a fool Honesty is! and Trust, his
sworn brother, a very simple gentleman!
~William Shakespeare, Winter's Tale, c.1610  [IV, 4, Autolycus]

I may be a liar, but at least I'm a gentleman. ~W. C. Fields

The truth is more important than the facts. ~Frank Lloyd Wright

Like all valuable commodities, truth is often counterfeited. ~James Cardinal Gibbons

Dare to be honest and fear no labor. ~Robert Burns

Respect for the truth is an acquired taste. ~Mark Van Doren, Liberal Education, 1943

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on. ~Winston Churchill

Always telling the truth is no doubt better than always lying, although equally pathological. ~Robert Brault,

Whitewashing always comes off. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1906, George Horace Lorimer, editor

When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness' sake. But don't make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than adults, and evasion simply muddles 'em. ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960

If falsehood, like truth, had but one face, we would be more on equal terms. For we would consider the contrary of what the liar said to be certain. But the opposite of truth has a hundred thousand faces and an infinite field. ~Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Advertising a lie makes it bigger. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1906, George Horace Lorimer, editor

When a man lies, he murders some part of the world. ~Rospo Pallenberg and John Boorman, Excalibur, based on Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Malory

Honesty doesn't always pay, but dishonesty always costs. ~Michael Josephson,

A lie is just the truth waiting to be itself. ~Terri Guillemets

It is not without good reason said, that he who has not a good memory should never take upon him the trade of lying. ~Michel de Montaigne, translated from French

People who are brutally honest get more satisfaction out of the brutality than out of the honesty. ~Richard J. Needham

There is always a way to be honest without being brutal. ~Arthur Dobrin

If we were all given by magic the power to read each other's thoughts, I suppose the first effect would be to dissolve all friendships. ~Bertrand Russell

It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime. ~Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

Beware of the half truth. You may have gotten hold of the wrong half. ~Author Unknown

When truth is divided, errors multiply. ~Eli Siegel, Damned Welcome

Truth is such a rare thing, it is delightful to tell it. ~Emily Dickinson

Honesty pays, but it don't seem to pay enough to suit some people. ~Frank McKinney "Kin" Hubbard

A little candor never leaves me. It is what protects me. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

Cherish the friend who tells you a harsh truth, wanting ten times more to tell you a loving lie. ~Robert Brault,

It is not difficult to deceive the first time, for the deceived possesses no antibodies; unvaccinated by suspicion, she overlooks lateness, accepts absurd excuses, permits the flimsiest patching to repair great rents in the quotidian. ~John Updike

No mask like open truth to cover lies,
As to go naked is the best disguise.
~William Congreve

Truth that is naked is the most beautiful, and the simpler its expression the deeper is the impression it makes; this is partly because it gets unobstructed hold of the hearer’s mind without his being distracted by secondary thoughts, and partly because he feels that here he is not being corrupted or deceived by the arts of rhetoric, but that the whole effect is got from the thing itself. ~Arthur Schopenhauer, translated from German

Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing the matter with this, except that it ain't so. ~Mark Twain, 1898

Reality is bad enough. Why should I tell the truth? ~Patrick Sky

Speak the truth, but leave immediately after. ~Slovenian Proverb

Always tell the truth. Even if you have to make it up. ~Author Unknown

The cruelest lies are often told in silence. ~Adlai Stevenson

The truth is the only thing worth having, and, in a civilized life, like ours, where so many risks are removed, facing it is almost the only courageous thing left to do. ~E.V. Lucas

The highest compact we can make with our fellow is — "Let there be truth between us two forevermore." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Often the surest way to convey misinformation is to tell the strict truth. ~Mark Twain, Following the Equator

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

Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true. ~Robert Brault,

The truth needs so little rehearsal. ~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

Society can exist only on the basis that there is some amount of polished lying and that no one says exactly what he thinks. ~Lin Yutang

As important in a trusting relationship as the truths you share are the lies you never have to tell. ~Robert Brault,

A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation. ~Saki

Some people will not tolerate such emotional honesty in communication. They would rather defend their dishonesty on the grounds that it might hurt others. Therefore, having rationalized their phoniness into nobility, they settle for superficial relationships. ~Author Unknown

Somewhere between the honest truth and the deceptive lie is the deceptive truth and the honest lie. ~Robert Brault,

It takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen. ~Homer Simpson, The Simpsons

There's one way to find out if a man is honest — ask him. If he says, "Yes," you know he is a crook. ~Groucho Marx

Someday a computer will give a wrong answer to spare someone's feelings, and man will have invented artificial intelligence. ~Robert Brault,

It is always the best policy to tell the truth, unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar. ~Jerome K. Jerome

Always tell the truth. If you can't always tell the truth, don't lie. ~Author Unknown

Am I lying to you if I tell you the same lie I tell myself? ~Robert Brault,

  • Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it... ~Jonathan Swift, 1710
  • Falsehood will fly, as it were, on the wings of the wind, and carry its tales to every corner of the earth; whilst truth lags behind; her steps, though sure, are slow and solemn, and she has neither vigour nor activity enough to pursue and overtake her enemy... ~Thomas Francklin, 1787
  • [E]rror will run half over the world while truth is putting on his boots to pursue her... ~The New-England Magazine, 1834
  • [A] lie will travel many leagues, while truth is putting on his boots! ~A Review of The Lady Superior's Reply to "Six Months in A Convent," Being a Vindication of Miss Reed, 1835
  • Error will travel over half the globe, while truth is pulling on her boots. ~Brownson's Quarterly Review, 1846
  • From time to time he would quote two of Mark Twain's sayings. One was that a lie will travel three times round the world while Truth is putting on her shoes to go in pursuit... ~South Australiana, 1967
  • Mark Twain supposedly once said that a lie will travel around the world while the truth is putting on its shirt. ~Richard E. Cheney, 1978
  • A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. ~Mark Twain, listed as "attributed," in The Wit & Wisdom of Mark Twain edited by Alex Ayres, 1987
  • [T]his is probably no more than another example of the rule, "When in doubt, say Mark Twain said it." ~Nigel Rees, 1989
  • I've also seen variations of this quote cited as a Chinese proverb and a Spanish proverb, in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Rees, Shapiro, Keyes, and O'Toole, among others, have all tackled this one. View a more complete history of this quotation as well as further examples at —tεᖇᖇ¡·g

Related Quotations:  TrustIntegrityRelationshipsPromisesForgivenessResponsibilityHypocrisySelf‑RespectExcusesApologyFriendshipFamily

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Last saved 2021 Jan 24 Sun 13:55 PST

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