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John WoodenNever make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them.

—  John Wooden, 1910-2010, American basketball coach

Jean CocteauWe must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don’t like?

—  Jean Cocteau, 1889-1963, French artist

Adolf HitlerIf you win, you need not have to explain...If you lose, you should not be there to explain!

—  Adolf Hitler, 1889-1945, German dictator

Dave BarryIn fact, when you get right down to it, almost every explanation Man came up with for anything until about 1926 was stupid.

—  Dave Barry, 1947-, American journalist

ThucydidesIn a democracy, someone who fails to get elected to office can always console himself with the thought that there was something not quite fair about it.

—  Thucydides, 460-394 BC, Ancient Greek historian

Elbert HubbardNever explain. Your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyhow.

—  Elbert Hubbard, 1856-1915, American writer

Benjamin DisraeliNever complain and never explain.

—  Benjamin Disraeli, 1804-1881, British Prime Minister

Winston ChurchillPolitics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.

—  Winston Churchill, 1874-1965, British Prime Minister, Nobel 1953

Benjamin FranklinHe that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.

—  Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790, American politician & writer

Jules RenardThe truly free man is the one who can turn down an invitation to dinner without giving an excuse.

—  Jules Renard, 1864-1910, French writer

Jean-Luc GodardPeople like to say, 'What do you mean exactly?' I would answer, 'I mean, but not exactly.'

—  Jean-Luc Godard, 1930-, French film director

Paul ValeryNothing beautiful can be summarized.

—  Paul Valery, 1871-1945, French poet

Will DurantWherever men do things, other men will arise who will explain to them how things should be done.

—  Will Durant, 1885-1981, American historian & philosopher

Fyodor DostoyevskyThey won't let me ... I can't be ... good!

—  Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1821-1881, Russian writer

Friedrich NietzscheMystical explanations are considered deep; the truth is, they are not even shallow.

—  Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900, German philosopher

Eugene IonescoExplanation separates us from astonishment, which is the only gateway to the incomprehensible.

—  Eugene Ionesco, 1912-1994, French-Romanian playwright

G. K. ChestertonLondon is a riddle. Paris is an explanation.

—  G. K. Chesterton, 1874-1936, English writer & critic

Jean-Luc GodardHe who jumps into the void owes no explanation to those who stand and watch.

—  Jean-Luc Godard, 1930-, French film director

H.L. MenckenFor centuries, theologians have been explaining the unknowable in terms of the-not-worth-knowing.

—  H.L. Mencken, 1880-1956, American columnist & cultural critic

Mark TwainExplaining humor is a lot like dissecting a frog, you learn a lot in the process, but in the end you kill it.

—  Mark Twain, 1835-1910, American writer

Alfred North WhiteheadIt requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious.

—  Alfred North Whitehead, 1861-1947, British philosopher & mathematician

George SantayanaBeauty as we feel it is something indescribable: what it is or what it means can never be said.

—  George Santayana, 1863-1952, Spanish-American philosopher

Jean CocteauArt is science made clear.

—  Jean Cocteau, 1889-1963, French artist

Eugene IonescoYou know, the Cathars believed that the world was not created by God but by a demon who had stolen a few technological secrets from Him and made this world — which is why it doesn’t work.

—  Eugene Ionesco, 1912-1994, French-Romanian playwright

Laurence J PeterAn economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today.

—  Laurence J Peter, 1919-1990, Canadian writer & educator

George WashingtonIt is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.

—  George Washington, 1732-1799, the first American President

Calvin CoolidgeYou don't have to explain something you haven't said.

—  Calvin Coolidge, 1872-1933, American President [1923-1929]

Carl SaganExtraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

—  Carl Sagan, 1934-1996, American astronomer

Vladimir LeninIt is, of course, much easier to shout, abuse, and howl than to attempt to relate, to explain.

—  Vladimir Lenin, 1870-1924, Soviet revolutionary & leader

Latin Quotes

QuintilianWho, what, where, with what, why, how, when.

Quis, quid, ubi, quibus auxiliis, cur, quomodo, quando?

—  Quintilian, 35-96 AD, Roman rhetorician


Funny Quotes

Ambrose BierceReligion, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.

—  Ambrose Bierce, 1842–1914, American writer

Movie Quotes

Marry PoppinsFirst of all, I would like to make one thing quite clear... I never explain anything.

—  from the film Marry Poppins


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2017: Manolis Papathanassiou