An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown




Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation. Tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego. His anxiety subsides. His inhuman void spreads on like a gray vegetation.

Jean Arp (1887-1948, French-German artist, poet)


From politics it was an easy step to silence.

Jane Austen (1775-1817, British novelist)


The less said the better.

Jane Austen (1775-1817, British novelist)

Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626, British philosopher, essayist, statesman)


Silence is the virtue of fools.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626, British philosopher, essayist, statesman)

An inability to stay quiet is one of the most conspicuous failings of mankind.'

Walter Bagehot (1826-1977, British economist, critic)


It is more noble by silence to avoid an injury than by argument to overcome it.


Francis Beaumont (1584-1616, British dramatist)


I shall state silences more competently than ever a better man spangled the butterflies of vertigo.


Samuel Beckett (1906-1989, Irish dramatist, novelist)


Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute.


Josh Billings (1815-1885, American humorist, lecturer)


When thou art quiet and silent, then art thou as God was before nature and creature; thou art that which God then wats; thou art that whereof he made thy nature and creature: Then thou hearest and seest even with that wherewith God himself saw and heard in thee, before every thine own willing or thine own seeing began.


Jacob Boehme (1575-1624, German mystic)


There are times when silence has the loudest voice.

Leroy Brownlow

Learn taciturnity and let that be your motto!

Robert Burns (1759-1796, Scottish poet)

Silence is as deep as eternity, speech as shallow as time.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


Silence is more eloquent than words.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


Speech is of time, silence is of eternity.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


Under all speech that is good for anything, there lies a silence that is better. Silence is deep as Eternity; speech is shallow as Time.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


When the oak is felled the whole forest echoes with it fall, but a hundred acorns are sown in silence by an unnoticed breeze.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


I think the first virtue is to restrain the tongue; he approaches nearest to gods who knows how to be silent, even though he is in the right.


Cato The Elder (BC 234-149, Roman statesman, orator)


Silence is the unbearable repartee.

Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874-1936, British author)


Silence is the great teacher, and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it. There is no substitute for the creative inspiration, knowledge, and stability that come from knowing how to contact your core of inner silence.


Deepak Chopra (1946-, East-Indian-American doctor, author, lecturer)

Author's website:


When the eagles are silent the parrots begin to jabber.


Winston Churchill (1874-1965, British statesman, Prime Minister)


Silence is one of the great arts of conversation.

Marcus T. Cicero (c. 106-43 BC, Roman orator, politician)


Silence is foolish if we are wise, but wise if we are foolish.


Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832, British sportsman writer)


Silence is the true friend that never betrays.


Confucius (BC 551-479, Chinese ethical teacher, philosopher)


If you don't say anything, you won't be called on to repeat it.


Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933, American President (30th))


These be three silent things: The Falling snow... the hour before the dawn... the mouth of one just dead.


Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914, American poet)


And now, the silences come in a single lifetime, in a single year... when species die, leaving a silent space in the world song that can never be filled.


Charles Delint


X is work. Y is play. Z is keep your mouth shut.


R A Dickson


Silence is the mother of truth.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881, British statesman, Prime Minister)

When little is done, little is said; silence is the mother of truth.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881, British statesman, Prime Minister)


Not to ask is not be denied.


John Dryden (1631-1700, British poet, dramatist, critic)


Let us be silent that we may hear the whispers of the gods.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Speech is often barren; but silence also does not necessarily brood over a full nest. Your still fowl, blinking at you without remark, may all the while be sitting on one addled egg; and when it takes to cackling will have nothing to announce but that addled delusion.

George Eliot (1819-1880, British novelist)


It was enough just to sit there without words.

Louise Erdrich

There is a time to say nothing, and there is a time to say something, but there is not time to say everything.

Hugo of Fleury


The fool shouts loudly, thinking to impress the world.


Marie De France


I am better able to retract what I did not say than what I did.

Ibn Gabirol


Silence is the ultimate weapon of power.

Charles De Gaulle (1890-1970, French president during World War II)


Your heart knows in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931, Lebanese poet, novelist)


The silent influence of books is a mighty power in the world; and there is a joy in reading them known only to those who read them with desire and enthusiasm. Silent, passive, and noiseless though they be, they yet set in action countless multitudes, and change the order of nations.


Henry Giles


Talk uses up ideas.... Once I have spoken them aloud, they are lost to me, dissipated into the noisy air like smoke. Only if I bury them, like bulbs, in the rich soil of silence do they grow


Doris Grumbach


Silence is argument carried on by other means.


Che Guevara


Talking too much, too soon, and with too much self-satisfaction has always seemed to me a sure way to court disaster.


Meg Greenfield


Talking too much, too soon, and with too much self-satisfaction has always seemed to me a sure way to court disaster.


Meg Greenfield


A story is told as much by silence as by speech.


Susan Griffin


That man's silence is wonderful to listen to.


Thomas Hardy (1840-1928, British novelist, poet)


Next to entertaining or impressive talk, a thoroughgoing silence manages to intrigue most people.


Florence Hurst Harriman


Love understands love; it needs no talk.


Frances Ridley Havergal


I like people who refuse to speak until they are ready to speak.


Lillian Hellman (1905-1984, American playwright)


Well-timed silence is the most commanding expression.


Mark Helprin


Touch not the flute when drums are sounding around; when fools have the word, the wise will be silent.


Johann Gottfried Von Herder (1744-1803, German critic and poet)


And Silence, like a poultice, comes to heal the blows of sound.


Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894, American author, wit, poet)


The man who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.


Elbert Hubbard (1859-1915, American author, publisher)


Silence is as full of potential wisdom and wit as the unshown marble of great sculpture. The silent bear no witness against themselves.


Aldous Huxley (1894-1963, British author)


It takes more time and effort and delicacy to learn the silence of a people than to learn its sounds. Some people have a special gift for this. Perhaps this explains why some missionaries, notwithstanding their efforts, never come to speak properly, to communicate delicately through silences. Although they "speak with the accent of natives" they remain forever thousands of miles away. The learning of the grammar of silence is an art much more difficult to learn than the grammar of sounds.


Ivan Illich (1926-, Austrian-born American theologian, author)


Silence propagates itself, and the longer talk has been suspended, the more difficult it is to find anything to say.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


What she doesn't say is just as important as what she does say -- but there's so much more of it. I think from now on I'm going to stick to what she actually does say because I don't have that kind of time.


Jonathan Katz


The unspoken word never does harm.


Lajos Kossuth (1802-1894, Hungarian statesman, a leader of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution)


It is most difficult to speak when we are ashamed of being silent.


Francois De La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680, French classical writer)


Silence is the safest policy for he who distrusts himself.


Francois De La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680, French classical writer)


When not prompted by vanity, we say little.


Francois De La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680, French classical writer)


One sees intelligence far more than one hears it. People do not always say transcendental things, but if they are capable of saying them, it is always visible.


Marie Leneru


The silence of a man who loves to praise is a censure sufficiently severe.


Charlotte Lennox


Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us all without words?


Marcel Marceau (1923-, French mime artist)


We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature -- trees, flowers, grass -- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls.


Mother Teresa (1910-1997, Albanian-born Roman Catholic missionary)


The eternal silence of those infinite spaces frightens me.


Blaise Pascal (1623-1662, French scientist, religious philosopher)


A word out of season may mar a whole lifetime.


Greek Proverb (Sayings of Greek  origin)


'Tis best to be silent in a bad cause.


Ovid (BC 43-18 AD, Roman poet)


True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.


William Penn (1644-1718, British religious leader, founder of Pennsylvania)


The tree of silence bears the fruit of peace.


Arabian Proverb (Sayings of Arabian origin)


Silence is the answer to many things.


Dutch Proverb (Sayings of Dutch origin)


Better to say nothing, than to say something not to the purpose.


English Proverb (Sayings of British origin)


Still waters run deep.


English Proverb (Sayings of British origin)


Sometimes silence is the proper answer.


Estonian Proverb


A silent mouth is melodious.


Irish Proverb (Sayings of Irish origin)


Silence and reserve will give anyone a reputation for wisdom.


Myrtle Reed


A wise old owl sat on an oak; The more he saw the less he spoke; The less he spoke the more he heard; Why aren't we like that wise old bird?


Edward Hersey Richards


Absolute silence leads to sadness. It is the image of death.


Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778, Swiss political philosopher, educationist, essayist)


Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


Silence is the perfectos herald of joy. I were but little happy if I could say how much.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616, British poet, playwright, actor)


My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.


Dame Edith Sitwell (1887-1964, British poet)


His enemies might have said before that he talked rather too much; but now he has occasional flashes of silence, that make his conversation perfectly delightful.


Sydney Smith (1771-1845, British writer, clergyman)


It is great wisdom to know how to be silent and to look at neither the remarks, nor the deeds, nor the lives of others.


St. John of the Cross (1542-1591, Spanish Christian mystic and poet)


All the feeling which my father could not put into words was in his hand -- any dog, child, or horse would recognize the kindness of it.


Freya Stark (1893-1993, British travel writer)


I often regret that I have spoken; never that I have been silent.


Publilius Syrus (85 BC- 43BC, Roman writer)


Let a fool hold his tongue and he will pass for a sage.


Publilius Syrus (85 BC- 43BC, Roman writer)


And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.


The Holy Bible (Sacred scriptures of Christians and Judaism)


Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.


The Holy Bible (Sacred scriptures of Christians and Judaism)

Source: Proverbs 17:28


I have been breaking silence these twenty-three years and have hardly made a rent in it.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, naturalist)


Silence is the universal refuge, the sequel to all dull discourses and all foolish acts, a balm to our every chagrin, as welcome after satiety as after disappointment; that background which the painter may not daub, be he master or bungler, and which, however awkward a figure we may have made in the foreground, remains ever our inviolable asylum, where no indignity can assail, no personality can disturb us.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, naturalist)


Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech.


Martin Tupper (1810-1889, British author, poet, inventor)


The Pause; that impressive silence, that eloquent silence, that geometrically progressive silence which often achieves a desired effect where no combination of words, however so felicitous, could accomplish it.


Mark Twain (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


Consider the whale: it never gets into trouble until it comes up and starts spouting.


Author Unknown


I don't know whether to keep silent and let people think I am ignorant -- or open my mouth and release all doubts.


Author Unknown


I went down with the ship but I kept my mouth shut so I didn't drown like the rest of them.


Author Unknown


Keep your mouth closed until your mind is in gear.


Author Unknown


Silence implies consent.


Author Unknown


Silence is never more golden than when you hold it long enough to get all the facts before you speak.


Author Unknown


Sometimes silence is not golden -- just yellow.


Author Unknown


The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence; not in silence, but restraint.


Author Unknown


The greatest admiration gives rise not to words, but to silence.


Author Unknown


The silent dog is the first to bite.


Author Unknown


There's nothing wrong with having nothing to say -- unless you insist on saying it.


Author Unknown


Those that are silent profess consent.


Author Unknown


You are a slave to what you do say, a master of what you don't say.


Author Unknown


I have often repented speaking, but never of holding my tongue.


Xenocrates of Chalcedon (396-314 BC, Greek philosopher)


Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.


Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951, Austrian philosopher)


Silence may be golden, but can you think of a better way to entertain someone than to listen to him?


Brigham Young (1801-1877, American Mormon leader)


Silence is the sanctuary of the prudent, it conceals not only secrets but also imperfections.




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