The 120 Best Voltaire Quotes

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.--Voltaire

Voltaire (1694–1778) was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher.

Voltaire was an advocate of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state. He wrote more than 20,000 letters and 2,000 books and pamphlets.

His best-known work and magnum opus, Candide, is a novella which comments on, criticizes, and ridicules many events, thinkers, and philosophies of his time.

Here is A selection of some of Voltaire most famous quotes. Voltaire Quotes on Love, Life and Freedom. Famous, wise, and witty Voltaire quotations.



Voltaire Famous Quotes and Sayings

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.

一>Voltaire

Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.

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Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.

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The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.

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It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

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I don't know where I am going, but I am on my way.

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The more often a stupidity is repeated, the more it gets the appearance of wisdom.

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Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

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Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.

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Common sense is not so common.

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Fools have a habit of believing that everything written by a famous author is admirable. For my part I read only to please myself and like only what suits my taste.

一>Voltaire

Love truth, but pardon error.

一>Voltaire

Everything you say should be true, but not everything true should be said.

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Dare to think for yourself.

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I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it.

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Despite the enormous quantity of books, how few people read! And if one reads profitably, one would realize how much stupid stuff the vulgar herd is content to swallow every day.

一>Voltaire

Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one.

一>Voltaire

It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.

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Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it.

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Many are destined to reason wrongly; others, not to reason at all; and others, to persecute those who do reason.

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The most important decision you make is to be in a good mood.

一>Voltaire

It is better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.

一>Voltaire

The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.

一>Voltaire

Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.

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Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too.

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Every man is a creature of the age in which he lives and few are able to raise themselves above the ideas of the time.

一>Voltaire

The mirror is a worthless invention. The only way to truly see yourself is in the reflection of someone else's eyes.

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Faith consists in believing what reason cannot.

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Ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn't illegal.

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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.

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I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but somehow I am still in love with life. This ridiculous weakness is perhaps one of our more stupid melancholy propensities, for is there anything more stupid than to be eager to go on carrying a burden which one would gladly throw away, to loathe one's very being and yet to hold it fast, to fondle the snake that devours us until it has eaten our hearts away?

一>Voltaire

Let us cultivate our garden.

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The human brain is a complex organ with the wonderful power of enabling man to find reasons for continuing to believe whatever it is that he wants to believe.

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If you want to know who controls you, look at who you are not allowed to criticize.

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Prejudices are what fools use for reason.

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Illusion is the first of all pleasures.

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Don't think money does everything or you are going to end up doing everything for money.

一>Voltaire

We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.

一>Voltaire

The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.

一>Voltaire

The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.

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Men will always be mad, and those who think they can cure them are the maddest of all.

一>Voltaire

What is history? The lie that everyone agrees on.

一>Voltaire

No opinion is worth burning your neighbor for.

一>Voltaire

It is not enough to conquer; one must learn to seduce.

一>Voltaire

Perfect is the enemy of good.

一>Voltaire

Man is free at the instant he wants to be.

一>Voltaire

The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us

一>Voltaire

Sensual pleasure passes and vanishes, but the friendship between us, the mutual confidence, the delight of the heart, the enchantment of the soul, these things do not perish and can never be destroyed.

一>Voltaire

It is clear that the individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because he is not of the same opinion, is a monster.

一>Voltaire

If this is the best of possible worlds, what then are the others?

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Our labour preserves us from three great evils -- weariness, vice, and want.

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He must be very ignorant for he answers every question he is asked.

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Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills.

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It is with books as with men: a very small number play a great part.

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The only way to comprehend what mathematicians mean by Infinity is to contemplate the extent of human stupidity.

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Liberty of thought is the life of the soul.

一>Voltaire

One day everything will be well, that is our hope. Everything's fine today, that is our illusion

一>Voltaire

May God defend me from my friends: I can defend myself from my enemies.

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History never repeats itself. Man always does.

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The happiest of all lives is a busy solitude.

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I loved him as we always love for the first time; with idolatry and wild passion.

一>Voltaire

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.

一>Voltaire

Men are equal; it is not birth but virtue that makes the difference.

一>Voltaire

Behind every successful man stands a surprised mother-in-law.

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She blushed and so did he. She greeted him in a faltering voice, and he spoke to her without knowing what he was saying.

一>Voltaire

To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid - one must also be polite.

一>Voltaire

It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere.

一>Voltaire

One great use of words is to hide our thoughts.

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To hold a pen is to be at war.

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I would rather obey a fine lion, much stronger than myself, than two hundred rats of my own species.

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The best is the enemy of good.

一>Voltaire

Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.

一>Voltaire

We are rarely proud when we are alone.

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Injustice in the end produces independence.

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I read only to please myself, and enjoy only what suits my taste.

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If you have two religions in your land, the two will cut each other's throats; but if you have thirty religions, they will dwell in peace

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Madness is to think of too many things in succession too fast, or of one thing too exclusively.

一>Voltaire

Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her; but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.

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Opinions have caused more ills than the plague or earthquakes on this little globe of ours.

一>Voltaire

In every province, the chief occupations, in order of importance, are lovemaking, malicious gossip, and talking nonsense.

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When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.

一>Voltaire

Minds differ still more than faces.

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It is not inequality which is the real misfortune, it is dependence.

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When a man is in love, jealous, and just whipped by the Inquisition, he is no longer himself.

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Let us work without reasoning,' said Martin; 'it is the only way to make life endurable.

一>Voltaire

The more a man knows, the less he talks.

一>Voltaire

Is politics nothing other than the art of deliberately lying?

一>Voltaire

Doctors put drugs of which they know little into bodies of which they know less for diseases of which they know nothing at all.

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Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.

一>Voltaire

The discovery of what is true and the practice of that which is good are the two most important aims of philosophy.

一>Voltaire

I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health.

一>Voltaire

Martin in particular concluded that man was born to live either in the convulsions of misery, or in the lethargy of boredom.

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Four thousand volumes of metaphysics will not teach us what the soul is.

一>Voltaire

Come! you presence will either give me life or kill me with pleasure.

一>Voltaire

Being unable to make people more reasonable, I preferred to be happy away from them

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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.

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If we do not find anything very pleasant, at least we shall find something new.

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Reading nurtures the soul, and an enlightened friend brings it solace.

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Work keeps at bay three great evils: boredom, vice, and need.

一>Voltaire

To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth.

一>Voltaire

It is love; love, the comfort of the human species, the preserver of the universe, the soul of all sentient beings, love, tender love.

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Fools admire everything in an author of reputation.

一>Voltaire

The greatest consolation in life is to say what one thinks.

一>Voltaire

If there's life on other planets, then the earth is the Universe's insane asylum.

一>Voltaire

Men use thought only as authority for their injustice, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts.

一>Voltaire

Answer me, you who believe that animals are only machines. Has nature arranged for this animal to have all the machinery of feelings only in order for it not to have any at all?

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It is not more surprising to be born twice than once; everything in nature is resurrection.

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I know many books which have bored their readers, but I know of none which has done real evil.

一>Voltaire

There are truths which are not for all men, nor for all times.

一>Voltaire

There is a wide difference between speaking to deceive, and being silent to be impenetrable.

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Beware of the words "internal security," for they are the eternal cry of the oppressor.

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Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.

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No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking.

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Discord is the great ill of mankind; and tolerance is the only remedy for it.

一>Voltaire

We all look for happiness, but without knowing where to find it: like drunkards who look for their house, knowing dimly that they have one

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This agglomeration which was called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.

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I hold firmly to my original views. After all I am a philosopher.

一>Voltaire

Sometimes we are less unhappy in being deceived by those we love, than in being undeceived by them.

一>Voltaire

It is far better to be silent than merely to increase the quantity of bad books.

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One always begins with the simple, then comes the complex, and by superior enlightenment one often reverts in the end to the simple. Such is the course of human intelligence.

一>Voltaire

All men are by nature free; you have therefore an undoubted liberty to depart whenever you please, but will have many and great difficulties to encounter in passing the frontiers.

一>Voltaire

Paradise is where I am.

一>Voltaire

God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.

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Whatever you do, crush the infamous thing, and love those who love you.

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Everything's fine today, that is our illusion.

一>Voltaire

I have no morals, yet I am a very moral person.

一>Voltaire


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