Power of words

"No man means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous."

Henry Brooks ADAMS
The Education of Henry Adams, 1907
American historian (1838-1918)

"Never express yourself more clearly than you think."

Niels BOHR
Danish physicist (1885-1962)

"Only the suppressed word is dangerous."

Karl Ludwig BÖRNE
German journalist (1786-1837)

"Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill."

Siddhartha Gotoma or BUDDHA
(probably from 563 to 483 B.C.)

"But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew, upon a thought produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions think."

Lord George Gordon BYRON
English poet (1788-1824)

"You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police. Yet in their hearts there is unspoken - unspeakable! - fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts! Words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home, all the more powerful because they are forbidden. These terrify them. A little mouse - a little tiny mouse! - of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic."

Winston Leonard Spencer CHURCHILL
English statesman and writer (1874-1965)

"Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know men."

Chinese statesman and philosopher (551-478 B.C.)

"The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words."

Philip K. DICK
American science fiction writer (1930-1982)

"I really do inhabit a system in which words are capable of shaking the entire structure of government, where words can prove mightier than ten military divisions."

Vaclav HAVEL
Czech dramatist, essayist, political leader and president (1936-)

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind."

English author, b. Bombay, India (1905-1883)

"I had lost faith in the word. Censorship gave it back to me."

Stanislaw Jerzey LEC
Polish writer (

"Words have no legs, yet they walk."
  MALI proverb
(Bambara people)
"Nobody believes the official spokesman... but everybody trusts an unidentified source."


"Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."

Eric Arthur Blair or George ORWELL
British novelist and essayist (1903-1950)

"I know of no book which has been a source of brutality and sadisticconduct, both public and private, that can compare with the Bible."

Lord James PAGET
British Surgeon, pathologist (1814-1899)

"Properly, we should read for power. Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one's hand."

Ezra Loomis POUND
American poet, critic, and translator (1885-1972)

"All of the books in the world contain no more information than is broadcast as video in a single large American city in a single year. Not all bits have equal value."

American astronomer and popularizer of science (1934 -)

"It is not fitting that all people should know these stories. Those who are subject, the people, will be spoiled and the land will be twisted."

Advisor to Aztec Emperor Montezuma I, who ruled 1440–69

"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint."

Samuel Langhorne Clemens or Mark TWAIN
American author (1835-1910)

"The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbors, kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all."

Francois Marie Arouet VOLTAIRE
French philosopher and writer (1694-1778)

Last update: 26 January 2007

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