139 Mark Twain Quotes About Life And Love in 14 Categories
Mark Twain is one of the most famous US writers of the 19th century. Many of his quotes are not just funny, but also inspiring. In this article, we present the best Mark Twain quotes as well as his wisdom about topics such as life, love, travel, cats, politics and education.
In addition to his literary works, Mark Twain is best known for fighting against slavery and racism. He advocated for humanity and tolerance, some of which is reflected in his quotes.
The Best Mark Twain Quotes
In this section, we have collected the best quotes and words of wisdom by Mark Twain for you. They cover topics such as happiness, politics, cats, and love, among others.
The quotes essentially show us how the writer thought about the world. Many of his words of wisdom are still relevant 100 years later and are therefore often quoted.
Mark Twain Quotes about Life
In his life, Mark Twain experienced many wonderful things such as trips to foreign countries and great success as a writer.
On the other hand, he had to deal with a lot of things that he couldn´t change or control, for example, being jobless because of the Civil War and the deaths of his wife and his daughter.
However, he always tried to appreciate the good things in life, as you can see in the following quotes and sayings.
- Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful day of your life.
- Work as if you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt.
Dance like no one is watching.
Sing like no one is listening.
Live as like its heaven on earth.
- When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.
- The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.
- Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.
- If you don’t know where you’re going, don’t be surprised if you end up somewhere else entirely.
- Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she laid an asteroid.
- The right to stupidity is protected by the constitution. It is part of the guarantee for the free development of one’s personality.
- What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is lead in his head, and is known to none but himself.
- Life: we laugh and laugh, then cry and cry, then feebler laugh, then die.
- Do the thing you fear the most and the death of fear is certain.
- Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
- All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.
- Such is life, and the trail of the serpent is over us all.
- Life is short! Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably and do not regret anything that made you smile.
- Life is at best a dream and at worst a nightmare from which you cannot escape.
- Time may heal wounds, but it is a miserable beautician.
- Life is purgatory at all times, and a swindle and a crime – yesterday it was hell.
- It is not likely that any complete life has ever been lived which was not a failure in the secret judgment of the person who lived it. It is not likely that there has ever been a civilized person 65 years old who would consent to live his life over again.
- Only he who has seen better days and lives to see better days again knows their full value.
Mark Twain Quotes about Love
Twain’s great love was his wife Olivia Langdon, who surely inspired him to write the following quotes.
These love quotes discuss the nature of love and give you advice on how to deal with it.
- If you want love and abundance in your life, give it away.
- Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.
- You can’t reason with your heart; it has its own laws, and thumps about things which the intellect scorns.
- Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied.
- When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not with your brain.
- A kiss is a thing that requires both hands.
- Love sharpens all the senses – except the ordinary ones.
- Love is not a product of reasonings and statistics. It just comes-none knows whence-and cannot explain itself.
- Love is madness, if thwarted it develops fast.
- The frankest and freest product of the human mind and heart is a love letter; the writer gets his limitless freedom of statement and expression from his sense that no stranger is going to see what he is writing.
Mark Twain Quotes about Travel
One thing is clear: Mark Twain loved traveling at least as much as he loved his cats.
Moreover, as a steersman, Mark Twain knew how to sail, and went on several voyages around the whole world. For example, in 1867 he spent several months sailing around Europe.
Therefore, many of his quotes are about travel. You will find some of these sayings in the list below.
- Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
- There is no unhappiness like the misery of sighting land (and work) again after a cheerful, careless voyage.
- I have found out there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.
- Travel has no longer any charm for me. I have seen all the foreign countries I want to except heaven & hell and I have only a vague curiosity about one of those.
- Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.
- Take the universe as a whole, and it is a very clever conception and quite competently carried out, but I don’t think much of this globe as a work of art. It would have been better to take more time to it and do it right, it seems to me, than to rush it through, helter-skelter, in six days, just for reputation
Funny Mark Twain Quotes and Sayings
Mark Twain is known for one thing above all: his humor. That’s why the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has been awarding what it calls the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor since 1998.
- Adam and Eve had many advantages, but the principal one was that they escaped teething.
- I don’t like to commit myself about heaven and hell – you see, I have friends in both places.
- Education is the organized defense of adults against youth.
- The Germans are exceedingly fond of Rhine wines; they are put up in tall, slender bottles, and are considered a pleasant beverage. One tells them from vinegar by the label.
- It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.
- There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist, except an old optimist.
- Often it does seem such a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat.
- Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
- A good and wholesome thing is a little harmless fun in this world; it tones a body up and keeps him human and prevents him from souring.
- Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
- Summer is the time when it is too hot to do the job that it was too cold to do last winter.
- Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.
- I like criticism, but it must be my way.
- When you fish for love, bait with your heard, not your brain.
- Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.
Mark Twain Quotes about Cats
Mark Twain really loved cats. At one point he owned up to 19 cats with crazy and extraordinary names. He even 'borrowed' cats on vacation! This love for cats was clear not only in his personal life, but also in his works.
In the following section you can find some quotes about cats, which leave no doubt that he sometimes loved cats more than human beings.
- A cat is more intelligent than people believe, and can be taught any crime.
- If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.
- One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.
- A home without a cat — and a well-fed, well-petted and properly revered cat — may be a perfect home, perhaps, but how can it prove title?
- The cat, having sat upon a hot stove lid, will not sit upon a hot stove lid again. Nor upon a cold stove lid.
- A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.
- I simply can’t resist a cat, particularly a purring one. They are the cleanest, cunningest, and most intelligent things I know, outside of the girl you love, of course.
- When there was room on the ledge outside of the pots and boxes for a cat, the cat was there- in sunny weather- stretched at full length, asleep and blissful, with her furry belly to the sun and a paw curved over her nose.
- That cat will write her autograph all over your leg if you let her.
- By what right has the dog come to be regarded as a "noble" animal? The more brutal and cruel and unjust you are to him the more your fawning and adoring slave he becomes; whereas, if you shamefully misuse a cat once she will always maintain a dignified reserve toward you afterward–you will never get her full confidence again.
- If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man but deteriorate the cat.
- Of all God’s creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the leash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat.
- A person that started in to carry a cat home by the tail was getting knowledge that was always going to be useful to him, and warn’t ever going to grow dim or doubtful.
- Cats are the wildest of the tame and the tamest of the wild.
Mark Twain Quotes about Politics
As a satirist, Mark Twain had a lot to say about politics. He did not hesitate to express his political opinion or discuss social issues.
In the following section you can read what he thought about politics and politicans, and find out his political orientation.
- Truth is something so precious that politicians use it very sparingly.
- Assuming you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
- Why waste your money looking for your family tree? Just go into politics and your opponents will do it for you.
- When politics enter into municipal government, nothing resulting therefrom in the way of crimes and infamies is then incredible. It actually enables one to accept and believe the impossible…
- An honest man in politics shines more there than he would elsewhere.
- Yes, you are right — I am a moralist in disguise; it gets me into heaps of trouble when I go thrashing around in political questions
- To lodge all power in one party and keep it there is to insure bad government and the sure and gradual deterioration of the public morals.
- In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.
Mark Twain Quotes on Education
When he was twelve years old, Twain had to leave school due to the death of his father. Despite this fact, he became a very wise and educated man and had a lot to say about education and school.
- Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned.
- Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you gain at one end you lose at the other. It’s like feeding a dog on his own tail. It won’t fatten the dog.
- It is noble to teach oneself, but still nobler to teach others–and less trouble.
- In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then He made school boards.
- I have never let schooling interfere with my education.
- Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond, and the cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with academic education.
- Everything has its limit–iron ore cannot be educated into gold.
- It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
Famous Mark Twain Quotes
Not only Mark Twain himself, but also his quotes are famous all around the world.
Here we present the most popular quotes and sayings by Mark Twain, some of which you may already be familiar with.
- One gets large impressions in boyhood, sometimes, which he has to fight against all his life.
- Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.
- When in doubt tell the truth.
- The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.
- Be good and you will be lonesome.
- A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read
- It is your human environment that determines the climate.
- The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.
- Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.
- A lie can travel around the world and back again while the truth is lacing up its boots.
- For me, there are more important things in life than school.
- First, God created the man. Then he created the woman. Then God felt sorry for the man, and gave him tobacco.
- A dozen direct censures are easier to bear than one morganatic compliment.
- Be careless in your dress if you must, but keep a tidy soul.
- A burnt child shuns fire – until the next day.
- It’s easy to make friends, but hard to get rid of them.
- Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it.
- Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.
Inspirational Mark Twain Quotes
Mark Twain was a literary genius as well as a traveler. Moreover, he did many charitable things to help discriminated groups of people. In some of his quotes, he says inspirational things that can inspire us to live a more thoughtful life.
- If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.
- You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
- Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
- Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.
- The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
- Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
- Old age does not always bring wisdom. Sometimes it comes alone.
- There’s nothing wrong setting goals, as long as you don’t let it keep you from interesting detours.
- It is curious — curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.
- What is the most rigorous law of our being? Growth.
Mark Twain Quotes about Man
There are few things Mark Twain criticized as often as people and human nature. Find out what the writer thought about civilization below.
- I wonder if God created man because He was disappointed with the monkey.
- There is a great deal of human nature in people.
- Man was made at the end of the week’s work, when God was tired.
- The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven not man’s.
- Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.
- A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.
- Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.
- Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied.
- Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
Mark Twain Quotes about Marriage
As a married man, Twain was familiar with the ups and downs of marriage. And of course, he didn’t miss out on the fun of commenting sarcastically on life as a married man.
- There are three things men can do with women: love them, suffer them, or turn them into literature.
- Men and women — even man and wife are foreigners. Each has reserves that the other cannot enter into, nor understand. These have the effect of frontiers.
- Separately, foreign marriages and whisky are bad; mixed, they are fatal.
- Marriage — yes, it is the supreme felicity of life. I concede it. And it is also the supreme tragedy of life. The deeper the love the surer the tragedy. And the more disconsolating when it comes.
- Both marriage and death ought to be welcome: the one promises happiness, doubtless the other assures it.
- A marriage. . .will give a new gladness to the sunshine, a new fragrance to the flowers, a new beauty to the earth, and a new mystery to life.
Mark Twain Quotes about happiness
Mark Twain’s life was marked by many ups, but unfortunately by many downs as well. That’s why the writer knew exactly what happiness feels like, but also what unhappiness feels like.
In this section, you find some of his quotes about his happy days.
- To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.
- When all is said and done, the one sole condition that makes spiritual happiness and preserves it is the absence of doubt.
- Happiness ain’t a thing in itself–it’s only a contrast with something that ain’t pleasant.
- Happiness is a Swedish sunset–it is there for all, but most of us look the other way and lose it.
Wisdoms: Mark Twain Quotes that Make You Think
Mark Twain’s signature writing style is marked by satire and social moralizing. His view of life and (US) society is reflected in the following sayings.
Moreover, these quotes by Mark Twain will really make you think about life and civilization.
- You can’t break a bad habit by throwing it out the window. You’ve got to walk it slowly down the stairs.
- It is easier to stay out than get out.
- The less a man knows the bigger the noise he makes and the higher the salary he commands.
- You may forget where you buried the peace pipe. But you never forget where the battle-axe is.
- f you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.
- Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.
- The most beautiful of all secrets is: to be a genius and to be the only one to know it.
- We can secure other people’s approval, if we do right and try hard; but our own is worth a hundred of it, and no way has been found out of securing that.
- Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.
- Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.
Mark Twain: His Life
Twain was born on November 30, 1835, in a small village in the U.S. state of Missouri, the sixth child of Jane Lampton Clemens and John Marshall Clemens. His civil name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens.
After the death of his father in 1846, Twain served an apprenticeship as a typesetter at the Missouri Courier newspaper.
At the age of 18, Twain left home and worked for various newspapers, including in Philadelphia and New York.
In 1857 he finally became a steersman on a steamship, where he also adopted his pen name Mark Twain. In pilot language, "Mark Twain" means "two fathoms of water deep". After the outbreak of the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), Twain became unemployed.
Three years later, he began writing for the local press in San Francisco. In 1864, Twain’s first stories appeared in the weekly magazine 'The Californian'. His breakthrough came a year later with the short story 'The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.'
During his sea voyage to Europe, which lasted several months, he met his future brother-in-law, who showed him a picture of his sister Olivia Langdon – with whom Twain fell madly in love.
After their marriage in 1870, Twain lived with his wife Olivia and his daughter in the U.S. state of Connecticut, where he worked successfully as an author for almost two decades. His famous works 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' and 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' were also written there.
In 1884, Twain finally founded his own publishing house, The Charles L. Webster Company. The writer gained great renown for his two-volume biography of the Civil War hero Ulysses S. Grant. Besides his writing life, Twain invested his money in technology.
He was even close friends with electrical engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla, who was always introducing Twain to his latest inventions. However, Twain’s later investment in a so-called typesetting machine became his financial undoing – it eventually drove him to bankruptcy.
Therefore, Twain went on a world tour to get his finances back under control. During his trip, his daughter Susy died.
In the following years, Twain suffered two further blows of fate: first, his wife died, and subsequently his youngest daughter. The writer himself died on April 21, 1910, at the age of 74.
Here you will find a brief overview of Mark Twain’s most important works:
- The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County (1865)
- The Innocents Abroad (The New Pilgrims' Progress) (1869)
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)
- A Tramp Abroad (1880)
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)
- Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894)
- Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896)
- Following the Equator (- A Journey Around the World) (1897)
- A Dog’s Tale (1903)
- Extracts from Adam’s Diary (1904)
- Eve’s Diary (1906)
- Autobiography of Mark Twain (1906)