25 Oscar Wilde Quotes That Will Make You Laugh and Think

Via Getty Images/ Heritage Collection

In 1854 a child named Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills, later known as Oscar Wilde, was born to a wealthy family in Dublin, Ireland. Thanks to the family's resources, Oscar was able to attend some of the finest schools in Europe and eventually became a celebrated writer and playwright. He soon lived up to the surname he gave himself, Wilde, and gave the world lasting works of fiction like "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and "The Importance of Being Earnest."

Oscar Wilde soon became the darling of London high society, and his razor-sharp wit was the stuff of legends. Although Wilde died penniless and disgraced in 1900, his clever quips still live on and continue to resonate even in today's modern world.

Since "quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit," read on to discover 25 of Oscar Wilde's wittiest quotes.

01
of 25

Wilde's New Twist on Turning the Other Cheek

"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much."

This is a tried and true approach to moving on. Give the "kill 'em with kindness" approach sometime and see for yourself.

02
of 25

Life Does Have a Way of Smacking Us Down Sometimes

“No good deed goes unpunished.” 

If you've ever tried to help someone and gotten into trouble yourself (and who hasn't?), you too can vouch for the truth in this statement.

03
of 25

It's Always Easier When It's Somebody Else's Life

Via Getty Images/Heritage Images Collection

"The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself."

As Alice said in Alice In Wonderland, "I give myself very good advice but I very seldom follow it."

04
of 25

Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go."

Girl, bye.

05
of 25

They're Much More Interesting That Way

"I like men who have a future and women who have a past."

Are there any other kind?

06
of 25

Truer Words Have Seldom Been Spoken

Via Getty Images/adoc-photos

"The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything."

If you don't believe this is true, take a stroll through your Facebook feed and see it for yourself.

07
of 25

There Are Definitely Some Bad Characters Out There

"The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast."

08
of 25

Holier Than Thou?

"Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike."

Forget religion; this makes way more sense.

09
of 25

Wilde's Views on Notoriety

Oscar Wilde painted portrait
thierry ehrmann Abode of Chaos/ Flickr CC

"There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."

If he were alive today, Oscar Wilde would almost certainly be a "social media influencer."

10
of 25

Work Is Always Getting in the Way of the Fun Stuff

"Work is the curse of the drinking classes."

11
of 25

How Very... Cynical of Him

"What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."

12
of 25

The Everlasting Paradox

Infamous Reading Jail Prepares To Open To The Public For The First Time
Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

"There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it."

Sometimes getting what you want is the worst thing that can happen.

13
of 25

Simple Yet Oh-So-True Words of Advice

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” 

Who'd want to be someone else, anyway? Be like Oscar and let that freak flag fly!

14
of 25

It Does Make Things Easier

Oscar Wilde
Public Domain

"When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is."

Why sugar-coat it?

15
of 25

There's a Big Difference

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” 

Sad but true.

16
of 25

Sounds Totally BORING!

“I don't want to go to heaven. None of my friends are there.” 

Reminds us of that old joke, "Where are we going and why am I in this hand basket?"

17
of 25

Challenge Accepted

“You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”

18
of 25

Some Have More Experience Than Others

Local Landmarks
Moment Editorial/Getty Images / Getty Images

“Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes.” 

19
of 25

Anything but That!

“I can resist anything except temptation.” 

20
of 25

Most of Us Need Coffee First

“Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.” 

21
of 25

And This Was Even Before Cell Phones!

Oscar Wilde Statue
Via Time Out.

“We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.”

Can you imagine what Oscar would think of our modern obsessions with screens and gadgets?

22
of 25

OK, So Maybe We'll Just Get Old

“To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.” 

Slackers of the world, this quote is for you.

23
of 25

Sounds Like Every Person I've Ever Sat Next to on a Plane

“A bore is someone who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company.” 

24
of 25

Freedom of Speech Is Not Freedom From Consequences

“I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an a$$ of yourself.” 

25
of 25

Famous Last Words

Via Getty Images/Brad Elterman

As he lay dying of cerebral meningitis, Oscar Wilde proved that his wit was still very much intact in spite of his body's sad state of affairs. His rumored last words were among the funniest in history and perfectly summed up his fondness for aesthetics over function.

"This wallpaper will be the death of me. One of us will have to go."