Famous quotes on writing from master wordsmith Oscar Wilde

The wit of Wilde

As many of you may have guessed, I named this site after Oscar Wilde, one of Ireland’s most famous and celebrated writers. Of course, our little island boasts many wonderful writers, and I chose Wilde over the others because of his famously quick wit and ability to get straight to the point.

So what can PR and Marketing pros learn from Wilde’s words? Here are some of his most famous quotes about reading and writing that everyone who works in communications should read:

  1. “I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.”
  2. “The imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates.”
  3. “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.”
  4. “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”oscar-wiled-writing-quotes
  5. “I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”
  6. “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”
  7. “Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.”
  8. “The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.”
  9. “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written.”
  10. “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”
  11. “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”
  12. “Words! Mere words! How terrible they were! How clear, and vivid, and cruel! One could not escape from them. And yet what a subtle magic there was in them!”


What’s your favourite Oscar Wilde quote? Do you have a favourite play or story?

Leave us a comment – we want to hear your thoughts.

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Comment (21)

  • Marta| June 3, 2016

    Wilde was incredibly observant, and actually he would make a great social media expert these days :)For example, the third one – how true! Try to post some inconvenient truth and you get million haters, unless you do it in a funny way (then just fewer haters ;)) And I love no 5 too – we tend to get carried away with the way we want to convey our inspiration our readers don’t really follow…

    • Wilde Words| June 3, 2016

      Very true. I would definitely follow Oscar Wilde on Twitter – I imagine his usual acerbic commentary would translate well there!

  • Francis H Powell| June 3, 2016

    I have long admired the work and wisdom of Oscar Wilde, his quotes are both intelligent as well as obviously witty. The world would a much better and certainly entertaining colorful place if there were more of the likes of Oscar Wilde (instead of dreary politicians and bureaucrats). Maybe he is from a bygone era when some people played with language, and didn’t speak in the prosaic banal way they do these days.

  • maryam| June 3, 2016

    Even tho I’m not too much into literature, Oscar wilde is a person that you can’t not know. The 8th quote is so true.

  • Emma| June 3, 2016

    I am so clever, that sometimes I don’t even know what I am saying” I love that one!! Haha made me giggle

  • IamVagabond| June 3, 2016

    Great quotes.. Each one of them. I especially like the one about mistakes being called experiences 🙂

  • Katrine| June 4, 2016

    I love his dry sense of humour – sharp and precise, with a good twist of personality! Fabulous!

  • Ana De- Jesus| June 4, 2016

    I love Wilde and his book ‘ Portrait of Dorian Grey’ is one of my favourite classic books of all time.

  • Bernadette Callahan| June 4, 2016

    He is such a good mind. He has some very true words. I especially like the one about most people being other people. How odd that I am sure so many use and reuse those words to be their own self only being someone else.

  • Subhadrika Sen| June 4, 2016

    I remember the first story I had read of Wilde was The Selfish Giant, and i liked it so much that I actually got his whole volume and read them. there is a strange innocence, truth and relevance in his stories to contemporary situations. That is what attracts me more towards his writings.

  • Karla| June 5, 2016

    I love smart quotes. I am particularly fond of #5. I may have to start saying that!

  • Louisa| June 5, 2016

    Witty words from Oscar Wilde. The first quote was off the bat correct for me at least. Sometimes you change things only to have hem back to their original state.

  • Ana S| June 5, 2016

    Oscar Wilde was a great man. Nice selection there. His quotes were very simple, but so true and clever. I enjoyed very much “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and one of my favorite quote is from it: “The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.” Because it doesn’t only apply to book, but it’s general.

  • MakeUp Fun| June 5, 2016

    Such nice pealrs of wisdom! My favorite is “Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.” So true! When you’re experienced it means that you know things because you learnt what was wrong with them.

  • Rose Sahetapy| June 6, 2016

    His quotes quite satire but so relevant to our lives. Number 5 and number 6 of his quotes are my favourite one because they’re just like a mirror to my struggle now.

  • Anna-Maria| June 6, 2016

    Love this quotes and definitely love Oscar Wilde, his writings are genious and always thought provoking

  • Jessica| June 7, 2016

    No. 11 is a must! Not only for trains but as well as for planes. Lol. You selected great lines from a great man.

  • Denisa| June 8, 2016

    I love o.wilde, he was such an incredible observant and very logic and pragmatic at the same time. The guy was genius

  • Lizelle Cruz| June 9, 2016

    Quote #7 is my favorite. I really admire Oscar Wilde and his writing. He has a lot to teach you.

  • Lady Cookie| October 9, 2016

    I love his quote “I may not agree with you,but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself” Anyway,I simply adore Oscar Wilde and my obsession over him is increasing day by day!! That man was a GENIUS!!!!!

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