When words are scarce they are seldom spent in vain.
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out.
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
George Orwell, 1984
A vocabulary of truth and simplicity will be of service throughout your life.
The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.
We lay aside letters never to read them again, and at last we destroy them out of discretion, and so disappears the most beautiful, the most immediate breath of life, irrecoverable for ourselves and for others.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?
Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.
Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.
C. S. Lewis
Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.
A man with a scant vocabulary will almost certainly be a weak thinker. The richer and more copious one’s vocabulary and the greater one’s awareness of fine distinctions and subtle nuances of meaning, the more fertile and precise is likely to be one’s thinking. Knowledge of things and knowledge of the words for them grows together. If you do not know the words, you can hardly know the thing.
Henry Hazlitt, Thinking as a Science
The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.
Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.
The limits of my language means the limits of my world.
In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous.
Henry Brooks Adams
A drop of ink may make a million think.
George Gordon Byron
You can change your world by changing your words… Remember, death and life are in the power of the tongue.
Words used carelessly, as if they did not matter in any serious way, often allowed otherwise well-guarded truths to seep through.
Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.
Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.
Words are like eggs dropped from great heights; you can no more call them back than ignore the mess they leave when they fall.
Jodi Picoult, Salem Falls
Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds.
Words do two major things: They provide food for the mind and create light for understanding and awareness.
Words are but the vague shadows of the volumes we mean. Little audible links, they are, chaining together great inaudible feelings and purposes.
I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.
A politician’s words reveal less about what he thinks about his subject than what he thinks about his audience.
If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
One great use of words is to hide our thoughts.
A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.
Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking.
John Maynard Keynes
To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music the words make.
Words … They’re innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. But when they get their corners knocked off, they’re no good any more… I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little or make a poem which children will speak for you when you’re dead.
Tom Stoppard, The Real Thing: A Play
Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.
Edgar Allan Poe
The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
Kind words do not cost much. They never blister the tongue or lips. They make other people good-natured. They also produce their own image on men’s souls, and a beautiful image it is.
Eating words has never given me indigestion
The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter—it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.
Mark Twain in a Letter to George Bainton, 10/15/1888
When ideas fail, words come in very handy.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
If you wouldn’t write it and sign it, don’t say it.
Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
All our words from loose using have lost their edge.
To see evil and call it good, mocks God. Worse, it makes goodness meaningless. A word without meaning is an abomination, for when the word passes beyond understanding the very thing the word stands for passes out of the world and cannot be recalled.
Stephen R. Lawhead, Arthur
It is with words as with sunbeams, the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn.
Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.
When you have spoken the word, it reigns over you. When it is unspoken you reign over it.
The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night and a smooth road all the way to your door.
Words are loaded pistols.
One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment.
I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels.
Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
Words are also actions, and actions are a kind of words.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
In words are seen the state of mind and character and disposition of the speaker.
A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the other one.
Speak properly, and in as few words as you can, but always plainly; for the end of speech is not ostentation, but to be understood.
The flood of careless, unconsidered, cheap words is the greatest enemy of the profound word.
Stephen L. Talbott
But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.
Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken.
Orson Rega Card
Words are wise men’s counters, they do but reckon with them, but they are the money of fools.
Language has three important uses–it expresses thought, conceals thought, and takes the place of thought.
Words can make a deeper scar than silence can heal.
Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Words are the physicians of a mind diseased.
He that uses many words for the explaining any subject doth, like the cuttlefish, hide himself for the most part in his own ink.
There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes.
William Makepeace Thackeray
There’s a great power in words, if you don’t hitch too many of them together.
Don’t, Sir, accustom yourself to use big words for little matters.
Dr. Samuel Johnson
Words, words, words! They shut one off from the universe. Three quarters of the time one’s never in contact with things, only with the beastly words that stand for them.
Be obscure clearly.
The maker of a sentence launches out into the infinite and builds a road into Chaos and old Night, and is followed by those who hear him with something of wild, creative delight.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Silence is better than unmeaning words.
Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.
A torn jacket is soon mended; but hard words bruise the heart of a child.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Of all the weapons of destruction that man could invent, the most terrible-and the most powerful-was the word. Daggers and spears left traces of blood; arrows could be seen at a distance. Poisons were detected in the end and avoided. But the word managed to destroy without leaving clues.
Be not a slave of words.