70 Oscar Wilde Quotes on Life & Its Humorous Side

View life through a different lens with the help of these top 70 Oscar Wilde quotes.

Oscar Wilde was an Irish poet who lived most of his life writing and speaking about his unique point of view.

You may not be wholly familiar with him, but you might have come across his famous works like The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest.

His themes varied and danced around topics of beauty, suffering, authority, and more.

He was a revolutionary, both in his thoughts and actions, but he was tried and convicted of sodomy because of his preferences.

However, life behind bars did not chain Oscar Wilde’s desire to share his thoughts with the world. One of his most famous poems, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, was published in 1898 as his plea to improve and reform prison conditions.

Oscar Wilde wrote about profound philosophical topics, but he did so with a unique flair that no one could ever match.

He was full of wit, imagination, and creativity. Read through our collection below to get a better understanding of him!

Start here.

Best Oscar Wilde Quotes

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

2. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

3. “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell the truth.”

4. “The answers are all out there, we just need to ask the right questions.”

5. “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”

6. “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”

7. “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

8. “It takes a great deal of courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it.”

9. “The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.”

10. “Everyone may not be good, but there’s always something good in everyone. Never judge anyone shortly because every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”

Meaningful Oscar Wilde Quotes

11. “They’ve promised that dreams can come true, but forgot to mention that nightmares are dreams, too.”

12. “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”

13. “Questions are never indiscreet, answers sometimes are.”

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

15. “A man’s face is his autobiography. A woman’s face is her work of fiction.”

16. “Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.”

17. “The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.”

18. “The world is divided into two classes—those who believe the incredible and those who do the improbable.”

19. “Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending for one.”

20. “Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals.”

Also read: Mark Twain Quotes

Witty Oscar Wilde Quotes

21. “I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.”

22. “I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”

23. “It is better to be beautiful than to be good. But it is better to be good than to be ugly.”

24. “There is no sin except stupidity.”

25. “Always forgive your enemies—nothing annoys them so much.”

26. “You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you have never had the courage to commit.”

27. “I have nothing to declare except my genius.”

28. “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

29. “I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.”

30. “It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.”

Oscar Wilde Quotes on Life

31. “Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.”

32. “Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.”

33. “Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.”

34. “Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple, and the simple thing is the right thing.”

35. “There are only two tragedies in life—one is not getting what one wants and the other is getting it.”

Oscar Wilde Quotes About Love

36. “Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and a richness to life that nothing else can bring.”

37. “Who, being loved, is poor?”

38. “The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death.”

39. “Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.”

40. “Women are made to be loved, not understood.”

41. “Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary.”

42. “The very essence of romance is uncertainty.”

43. “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

44. “Men always want to be a woman’s first love; women like to be a man’s last romance.”

45. “There is always something ridiculous about the emotions of people whom one has ceased to love.”

Short Oscar Wilde Quotes for Your Curious Minds

46. “A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.”

47. “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

48. “To define is to limit.”

49. “The advantage of the emotions is that they lead us astray.”

50. “I am not young enough to know everything.”

51. “No man is rich enough to buy back his past.”

52. “We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.”

53. “To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.”

54. “With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?”

55. “A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.”

56. “Experience is one thing you can’t get for nothing.”

Oscar Wilde Quotes We Can All Learn From

57. “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.”

58. “Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.”

59. “True friends stab you in the front.”

60. “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”

61. “Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.”

62. “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”

63. “Between men and women, there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.”

64. “Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious—both are disappointed.”

65. “Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.”

Funny Oscar Wilde Quotes

66. “Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.”

67. “I can resist everything except temptation.”

68. “He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.”

69. “Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.”

70. “All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.”

Did These Oscar Wilde Quotes Offer You New Ways of Viewing the World?

What a lot of people didn’t know about Oscar Wilde was that he suffered from cerebral meningitis. This is because Wilde was just so articulate, imaginative, and creative. He never lost his wit, even in the last years of his life.

Through his writings, we are reminded that we should do our best to live extraordinary lives. To do that, one must be unique and genuinely himself, optimistic, fearless, and curious. After all, so much of life would be lost if we kept to ourselves and never went out of our comfort zones.

More than that, his wit inspires us to live life with humor. Let’s not take life too seriously; find joy and laughter in even the simplest things. Also, remember that even in the darkest moments of our lives, if we remain open to the possibility of goodness, the light will find a way.

Let Oscar Wilde’s views on life, love, and humor awaken your desire to move through life meaningfully. Make the most out of everything, and be the best you can be. Bookmark this list now, so you’ll have something to look back on whenever you need a laugh or a push in the right direction.

Have you read any of Oscar Wilde’s works? Which quote had the most impact on you? Comment your thoughts below!

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Karen Danao

Hi, I’m Karen, a content curator and writer for Quote Ambition; I’m also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, I’m someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics I love writing about! However, my true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

With the many places I’ve been to, I found that love, inspiration, and happiness are some things that bring people together. No matter how different we are on the outside, I’m a true believer that our emotions don’t lie; if you dig deep into our psyche, we’re all the same inside.

This belief was further amplified when I joined Quote Ambition. Through the quotes I’ve read, collected, organized, and written about, I found that humans are resilient, creative, and compassionate.

We take from each others’ hearts and courage, and it’s through our individual experiences that we learn how to rise above our challenges and pain. In so many ways, Quote Ambition is a platform that allows people from all over the world to gain the inspiration they need anytime, anywhere!

You can find me on MuckRack and LinkedIn.

9 thoughts on “70 Oscar Wilde Quotes on Life & Its Humorous Side”

  1. Dear Ms. Finn, I have a poorly-remembered quote that you may recognize from Wilde. Something to the effect of: “that the poet is a poisoner does not ruin his verse.” If you have any insights here, I would be most appreciative.

    Thank you and have a pleasant day.

  2. Fantastic collection! Thank you for compiling it and sharing it with other quote aficionados!

  3. Did Wilde ever say “ I’m so far down the dumps that all I can see are the stars?”

  4. Hey. I doubt that. There is a quote though, that’s somehow related: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

  5. Hello, William. Thank you for your comment. I’ve researched for several hours for the quote you’re talking about and haven’t found it unfortunately.

  6. I have been seeking a quote to the effect that people with professions become that profession and wake up every morning knowing what they are. That is their tragedy. Artists wake up every morning not knowing who they are. That is their tragedy.
    I read this once and havent been able to find it again. Thanks for your work

  7. Hey, Grant. Here’s the quote you’re talking about:

    “If you want to be a grocer, or a general, or a politician, or a judge, you will invariably become it; that is your punishment. If you never know what you want to be, if you live what some might call the dynamic life but what I will call the artistic life, if each day you are unsure of who you are and what you know you will never become anything, and that is your reward.”

  8. I think Oscar Wilde once said something to the effect of, “If two men happen to look into each other’s eyes for 30 seconds, they will either fight, or make love.” I’m hoping to find who said this, and the proper wording. 🙂

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