The Best One-Liners of All Time

I’m not sure these are, in fact, the best one-liners (short jokes or funny/clever remarks), but I thought these were pretty good when I saw them recently in a magazine.

~ Lucy


“If you can’t say something good about someone, come, sit right here by me.”
Alice Roosevelt Longworth
(She was the oldest child of President Theodore Roosevelt.  This is a takeoff (different version) of the popular saying, “If you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything at all.”)

“Well-behaved women seldom make history.”
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
(She is a historian at Harvard University.)449px-dolly_parton_in_nashville_cropped

“The reward for conformity (doing what is expected of us socially) is that everyone likes you except yourself.”
Rita Mae Brown
(She is an American novelist.)

“It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.”
– Dolly Parton on her signature (unique; distinctive) look
(She is a very well known country singer, most popular in the 1970s and 1980s.)

And, finally:

“A facility (ability to do something easily and well) for quotation covers the absence (being without) of original thought.
Lord Peter Wimsey
(He is a character in Dorothy Sayers’ classic mystery novels from 1930s and 1940s.)

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17 Responses to The Best One-Liners of All Time

  1. Bakhtyar says:

    there is proverb – behind great man lies great woman- Lucy i think those are awesome and most exciting one-liners you have been choosing them.

    thank you

    P.S : actually -well-behaved women seldom make history, really dazzling one liner

  2. Peter says:

    Dear Lucy ,

    Allow Me to Add one more insightful quote to the collection:

    You can give without loving, but you can not love without giving.

    Amy Carmichel

  3. elcomandant says:

    These are really some beautiful one-liners.

    I like read one-liners because always tells us many things in few words.

    Unfortunately we can find as well one-liners (rather, phrases) which try to be clever or funny but actually they are really without value. Most of the time they are said by people who have the same value that his phrase.

    Obviusly I won’t refer to any of these, however I would like to contribute with one of the best one-liner for me.

    Due to the fact that I know this phrase in Spanish, I’ll try to translate it to English. I hope I were capable. I think so, because it is very simple.

    “If you need one hand, do remember that I have got two.” [San Agustín (354-439) Bishop and Philosopher.]

    P.S. Drs. Lucy and Jeff, have I used well the imperative, when I said “… do remember that …”?

    Thanks and Regards.

  4. elcomandant says:

    I forgot to mention in my previous replay that what San Agustín said isn’t a joke, but it is a very good thought. That’s why I decided to put it here.
    Maybe this wasn’t the correct place but it’s done.


  5. ahmad says:

    thank you for your post.. i would like to ask about the saying” never fight with pig.. you both get dirty but the pig enjoy it”
    what does this mean..

    kind regareds

  6. gregorex says:

    I like this one:
    Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.
    Albert Schweitzer

  7. Peter says:

    I like A man Who Grins when he fights.


    Dear Lucy I guess the most famous one liners (if it couns as one-liners) is “Read my lips” by Churchil ,I think

  8. emiliano says:

    “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others”.
    This phrase was told by Groucho Marx but it is very similar to what our President tells us every moment.

    “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies”.
    This one was told by Groucho Marx also but I think is quite right always everycountry and every time.

    I like very much clever remarks and among them this one “The reward of conformity…… ” is great.
    Thank you Lucy.

  9. inma says:

    Well, I like this one-liner from Gandhi, I’ going to try to translate it to English : An eye for an eye and at the end everybody will die.

    And this one from Einstein is very funny: there are two things that are endless: the universe and the human stupidity. But I’m not sure about the first one.

  10. inma says:

    I make a mistake before, Gandhi’ s one-liner is: “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind”. I was thinking in the meaning and mixed the sentence.

  11. tania says:

    Hi ! All the one-liners mentioned by our friends are very clever and very famous , indeed .
    It is a pleasure to read them . Every country with its originality . It is wonderful !
    But dr. Lucy , I can’t understand : You mentioned the first “If you can’t say something good about … ” .
    Is this very special for the Americans ? I am watching a lot of American movies and I am fascinated as the Americans are very direct people , they say what they think . For instance when someone is very ill … he/she must know the truth .
    Contrary , in this case in my country we say a lot of stupidities , somehow we lie , that means much hypocrisy .
    On the other hand , if you say nothing … to ignore is worse in my opinion .

    All the best for you all .
    Love ,


  12. Peter says:

    searching for the past,she stumbled to the future(sorry , the name of the author scape me)
    Let ur net be always cast. in the least pool you will find the fish

  13. fatima says:

    thank you Lucy, really pretty good (the first is funny.. and true 😉

    and thanks Peter, ‘yours’ are lovely
    gregorex: fantastic!!
    emiliano: unquestionably Groucho was one of the best
    Tania, where are you from?

    my contribution:

    Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. – Woody Allen

    Better to understand little than to misunderstand a lot.

  14. Keochua says:

    Oh my dear Mr.Jeff and Mss.Lucy; your guys my larger then life, my the best in the wild west; vietnamese guy in America

  15. Rick says:

    According to the last one, they covered the original thought of our lovely Dr. Lucy Tse.

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