Quotes by Voltaire

Share Your Quotes Join Us Inspire & Move Your Friends

How do you feel today?    I feel ...

François Marie Arouet (who later assumed the name Voltaire) was born in Paris on November 21, 1694. The family was wealthy, his father was a notary and his mother maintained contacts with friends interested in belles-lettres and ...

Add to my favourites Get these quotes on a PDF
May God defend me from my friends; I can defend myself from my enemies.

Judge a person by their questions, rather than their answers.
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
In my life, I have prayed but one prayer: oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it.
It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.
If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.
Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing.
If we do not find anything very pleasant, at least we shall find something new.
We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies it is the first law of nature.
As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities.
To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth.
Common sense is not so common.
The only way to compel men to speak good of us is to do it.
The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.
It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere.
Work banishes those three great evils: boredom, vice and poverty.
Prejudices are what fools use for reason.
It is not love that should be depicted as blind, but self-love.
I know of no great man except those who have rendered great services to the human race.
The husband who decides to surprise his wife is often very much surprised himself.
You must have the devil in you to succeed in the arts.
Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.
Animals have these advantages over man: They have no theologians to instruct them, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills.
It is an infantile superstition of the human spirit that virginity would be thought a virtue and not the barrier that separates ignorance from knowledge.
Originality is nothing but judicious plagiarism.
The punishment of criminals should serve a purpose. When a man is hanged he is useless.
Many are destined to reason wrongly; others, not to reason at all; and others, to persecute those who do reason.
I should like to lie at your feet and die in your arms.
Chance is a word void of sense; nothing can exist without a cause.
I know of nothing more laughable than a doctor who does not die of old age.
A long dispute means that both parties are wrong
Tears are the silent language of grief.
When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.
He must be very ignorant for he answers every question he is asked.
The best government is a benevolent tyranny tempered by an occasional assassination.
To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.
Do well and you will have no need for ancestors.
He is a hard man who is only just, and a sad one who is only wise.
Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.
Anyone who seeks to destroy the passions instead of controlling them is trying to play the angel.
Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung.
Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy; the mad daughter of a wise mother.
The best is the enemy of the good.
All people are equal, it is not birth, it is virtue alone that makes the difference.
Divorce is probably of nearly the same date as marriage. I believe, however, that marriage is some weeks the more ancient.
Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one.
We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.
My life is a battle.
If there were only one religion in England there would be danger of despotism, if there were two, they would cut each other's throats, but there are thirty, and they live in peace and happiness.
Perfection is attained by slow degrees; she requires the hand of time.
Pleasure is the object, duty and the goal of all rational creatures.
Verses which do not teach men new and moving truths do not deserve to be read.
The infinitely little have a pride infinitely great.
No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.
The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess it.
Rest is a good thing, but boredom is its brother.
I believe that there never was a creator of a philosophical system who did not confess at the end of his life that he had wasted his time. It must be admitted that the inventors of the mechanical arts have been much more useful to men that the inventors of syllogisms. He who imagined a ship towers considerably above him who imagined innate ideas.
Shun idleness is the rust that attaches itself to the most brilliant metals.
Men argue, nature acts.
By appreciation, we make excellence in others our own property.
Work keeps at bay, three great evils -- boredom, vice and need.
Truth is a fruit which should not be plucked until it is ripe.
Let us work without theorizing, 'Tis the only way to make life endurable.
In the case of news, we should always wait for the sacrament of confirmation.
Work is often the father of pleasure.
Self-love is the instrument of our preservation.
He who doesn't have the spirit of his time, has all its misery.
Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.
I was never ruined but twice; once when I lost a lawsuit and once when I won one.
Governments need to have both shepherds and butchers.
The great consolation in life is to say what one thinks.
Exaggeration is the inseparable companion of greatness.
The world embarrasses me, and I cannot dream that this watch exists and has no watchmaker.
It is not known precisely where angels dwell -- whether in the air, the void, or the planets. It has not been God's pleasure that we should be informed of their abode.
You can never correct your work well until you have forgotten it.
Paradise is Where I Am.
To announce truths is an infallible receipt for being persecuted.
Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly.
The history of human opinion is scarcely anything more than the history of human errors.
The public is a ferocious beast. One must either chain it up or flee from it.
The pursuit of what is true and the practice of what is good are the two most important objects of philosophy.
Every abuse ought to be reformed, unless the reform is more dangerous than the abuse itself.
We owe respect to the living. To the dead we owe only truth.
Independence in the end is the fruit of injustice.
A witty saying proves nothing.
In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
History is just the portrayal of crimes and misfortunes.
History is nothing but a pack of tricks that we play upon the dead.
Men hate the individual whom they call avaricious only because nothing can be gained from him.
God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best.
God is always on the side of the heaviest battalions.
Liberty, then, about which so many volumes have been written is, when accurately defined, only the power of acting.
What a heavy burden is a name that has become famous too soon.
Men who are occupied in the restoration of health to other men, by the joint exertion of skill and humanity, are above all the great of the earth. They even partake of divinity, since to preserve and renew is almost as noble as to create.
One of the chief misfortunes of honest people is that they are cowardly.
He who dies before many witnesses always does so with courage.
The Pope is an idol whose hands are tied and whose feet are kissed.
All the known world, excepting only savage nations, is governed by books.
In this country it's a good thing to kill an admiral now and then to encourage the others.
Weakness on both sides is, the motto of all quarrels.
Every man is the creature of the age in which he lives; very few are able to raise themselves above the ideas of the time.
Time, which alone makes the reputation of men, ends by making their defects respectable.
Woe to the makers of literal translations, who by rendering every word weaken the meaning! It is indeed by so doing that we can say the letter kills and the spirit gives life.
It is only through timidity that states are lost.
They use thought only to justify their injustices, and speech only to disguise their thoughts.
We cannot always oblige; but we can always speak obligingly.
When he to whom a person speaks does not understand, and he who speaks does not understand himself, that is metaphysics.
Four thousand volumes of metaphysics will not teach us what the soul is.
How I like the boldness of the English, how I like the people who say what they think!
The superfluous is very necessary.
When he who hears does not know what he who speaks means, and when he who speaks does not know what he himself means, that is philosophy.
It is as impossible to translate poetry as it is to translate music.
This poem will never reach its destination. [On Rousseau's Ode To Posterity]
The discover of what is true, and the practice of that which is good, are the two most important objects of philosophy.
My prayer to God is a very short one: O Lord, make my enemies look ridiculous! God has granted it.
I advise you to go on living solely to enrage those who are paying your annuities. It is the only pleasure I have left.
The true character of liberty is independence, maintained by force.
It is fancy rather than taste which produces so many new fashions.
All kinds are good except the kind that bores you.
It is far better to be silent than merely to increase the quantity of bad books.
To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth.
Our work keeps us free of three great evils: boredom, vice, and poverty.
War is the greatest of all crimes, yet there is no agressor who does not color his crime with the pretext of justice.
Divorce is probably of nearly the same date as marriage. I believe, however, that marriage is some weeks more ancient; that is to say, men quarrelled with their wives at the end of five days, beat them at the end of the month, and separated from them after six weeks' cohabitation.