Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Quotes

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

US jurist (1841 - 1935)

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The advice of their elders to young men is very apt to be as unreal as a list of the hundred best books.

Categorized under Advice

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Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all.

Categorized under Religion

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A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimension.

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A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimension.

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Lawyers spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke.

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The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract.

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It is now the moment when by common consent we pause to become conscious of our national life and to rejoice in it, to recall what our country has done for each of us, and to ask ourselves what we can do for our country in return.

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The character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done.

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We should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe.

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Our test of truth is a reference to either a present or imagined future majority in favour of our view.

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A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanging, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in colour and content according to the circumstances and time in which it is used.

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It is the province of knowledge to speak
And it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.

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I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving -- we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it -- but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.

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The ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas [and] the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.

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We should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe.

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As life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time, at the peril of being not to have lived.

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To be 70 years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be 40 years old.

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We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible. You cannot educate a man wholly out of superstitious fears which were implanted in his imagination, no matter how utterly his reason may reject them.

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The great act of faith is when a man decides he is not God.

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To know is not less than to feel.

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The great thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving.

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A page of history is worth a pound of logic.

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A new and valid idea is worth more than a regiment and fewer men can furnish the former than command the latter.

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Every year, if not every day, we have to wager our salvation upon some prophecy based upon imperfect knowledge.

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Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all.

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To live is to function. That is all there is in living.

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People talk fundamentals and superlatives and then make some changes of detail.

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The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in which direction we are moving.

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Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at the touch, nay, you may kick it about all day like a football, and it will be round and full at evening.

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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 time in which it is used.

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Nothing is so frequent as to mistake an ordinary human gift for a special and extraordinary endowment.

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Every event that a man would master must be mounted on the run, and no man ever caught the reins of a thought except as it galloped past him.

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