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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.  ~Henry Louis Mencken, A Little Book in C Major, 1916

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

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

No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar.  ~Abraham Lincoln

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

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

A truth that's told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.  ~William Blake, "Auguries of Innocence," Poems from the Pickering Manuscript

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 make is to fall over his own bluff.  ~Ambrose Bierce

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, so I try to conserve 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

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

Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.  ~Thomas Jefferson

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

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

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.  ~Winston Churchill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 is mighty and will prevail.  There is nothing the matter with this, except that it ain't so.  ~Mark Twain, Notebook, 1935

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

A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.  ~Mark Twain

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

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

It takes two to lie.  One to lie and one to listen.  ~"Homer Simpson," from the television show 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

One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.  ~Mark Twain

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

I am different from Washington; I have a higher, grander standard of principle.  Washington could not lie.  I can lie, but I won't.  ~Mark Twain

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Last modified 2008 Nov 29 Sat 16:43 PST

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