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Home --> Questionable Quotes

Questionable Quotes

We all love the pithy quote, the clever put-down, the witty bon mot, the scintillating turn of phrase. We store them away in our conversational jewelry boxes, waiting for just the right occasion to decorate our speeches with their sparkle. What we often don't realize is that many of these glittering linguistic gems are not the real thing, but mere costume jewelry.


Ratings Key

        Green bullet = true
        Red bullet = false
        Multiple status bullet = multiple truth values
        Yellow bullet = undetermined
        White bullet = unclassifiable veracity

Select this link for an expanded
definition of our rating system.


Ali, Muhammad:
Yellow bullet Boxer Muhammad Ali's refusal to wear a seat belt on a plane earns answering quip from stewardess.

Armey, Dick:
Green bullet Rep. Dick Armey offered a humorous quip about President Clinton's troubles during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Armstrong, Neil:
Green bullet Neil Armstrong flubbed the "One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" announcement.
Red bullet "Good luck, Mr. Gorsky!"

Babbin, Jed:
Green bullet Jed Babbin said that "going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion."

Barry, Marion:
Multi-colored bullet Washington D.C. mayor Marion Barry said lots of really dumb things.

Berra, Yogi:
Red bullet Transcript reproduces 2007 commencement address delivered by Yogi Berra at Saint Louis University.

Bush, George W:
Yellow bullet President George W. Bush asked Brazilian president Fernando Cardoso if "Brazil has blacks, too."
Red bullet President George W. Bush proclaimed, "The problem with the French is that they don't have a word for entrepreneur."
Red bullet Collection of memorable misstatements attributed to George W. Bush.

Carey, Mariah:
Red bullet "When I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean, I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff."
Red bullet "I'm inconsolable at the present time. I was a very good friend of Jordan. He was probably the greatest basketball player this country has ever seen; we will never see his like again."

Chief Seattle:
Red bullet In 1854 Chief Seattle gave an impassioned speech about the sanctity of the land.

Cicero:
Red bullet Quotation reproduces Roman statesman Cicero's remarks about balancing the budget, reducing public debt, and curtailing foreign assistance.

Clinton, Bill:
Multi-colored bullet "Yes, the President should resign. He has lied to the American people . . ."
Curtis, Tony:
Red bullet In one of his films, actor Tony Curtis delivered the line, "Yondah lies da castle of my foddah."

de Gaulle, Madame:
White bullet Madame de Gaulle once made an embarrassing quip by mispronouncing the word 'happiness.'

Edison, Thomas:
Green bullet Thomas Edison said that "The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."

Einstein, Albert:
Yellow bullet Albert Einstein once declared compound interest to be "the most powerful force in the universe."
Yellow bullet Albert Einstein predicted that if something eliminated bees from our planet, mankind would soon perish.

Ellison, Larry:
Red bullet Oracle CEO Larry Ellison delivered an unusual commencement address to the Yale class of 2000.

Faraday, Michael:
Red bullet Scientist Michael Faraday told England's prime minister the usefulness of his invention was that 'someday you can tax it.'

Giap, General Vo Nguyen:
Red bullet North Vietnamese general Vo Nguyen Giap's memoirs pinned U.S. military defeat in Vietnam on American anti-war protestors.

Glenn, John:
Green bullet Senate candidate John Glenn delivered a stinging rebuke to a challenger who accused him of never having held a job.*

Goering, Hermann:
Green bullet Hermann Goering proclaimed that although "the people don't want war," they "can always be brought to the bidding of their leaders."

Gore, Al:
Red bullet Vice-President Gore announced during a speech that his favorite Bible verse is John 16:3.*
Red bullet Al Gore claimed that he "invented the Internet."

Holmes, Sherlock:
Red bullet Sherlock Holmes said, 'Elementary, my dear Watson.'"

Jefferson, Thomas:
Red bullet Thomas Jefferson said that "banks and corporations will deprive the people of all property."
Red bullet Thomas Jefferson warned about the dangers of governmental interference in medical care.
Green bullet Thomas Jefferson touted using a gun as a good form of physical and mental exercise.

Julius Caesar:
Red bullet Julius Caesar bade us beware of leaders who bang the drums of war.

Kerry, John:
Red bullet Collection of memorable misstatements attributed to John Kerry.

King, Martin Luther:
Red bullet Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said he "will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy."

Kirk, James:
Red bullet James T. Kirk said that "A meeting is an event where minutes are taken and hours wasted."

Lincoln, Abraham:
Red bullet Abraham Lincoln issued a prophetic warning about the tyranny of capitalism.
Red bullet Abraham Lincoln authored a list of maxims beginning with 'You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.'"

MacArthur, Douglas:
Multi-colored bullet During a 1955 speech at West Point, General Douglas MacArthur told assembled cadets: "The next war will be an interplanetary war. The nations of the earth must someday make a common front against attack by people from other planets."

MacKinnon, Catharine:
Red bullet "All sex is rape."

Mandela, Nelson:
Red bullet Nelson Mandela said that "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."

Nelson, Willie:
Red bullet "It's a good thing I had a bag of marijuana instead of a bag of spinach. I'd be dead by now."

Newman, Paul:
Red bullet Actor Paul Newman authored an essay on the art of marriage.

Olsen, Ken:
Green bullet In 1977, Ken Olsen, the founder and CEO of Digital Equipment Corporation, said, "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home."

Powell, Colin:
Red bullet Colin Powell quipped to an Iraqi reporter about Americans' inability to find Iraq on a map.

Presley, Elvis:
Red bullet "The only thing a nigger can do for me is buy my records and shine my shoes."*
Green bullet "Stick with driving a truck, because you're never going to make it as a singer."*
Green bullet Elvis Presley's backup singers walked out on a concert after his remark that their breath "smelled like catfish."*

Quayle, Dan:
Red bullet "I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn't study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people."

Reagan Ronald:
Multi-colored bullet Ronald Reagan once said (in reference to forest conservation efforts), "If you've seen one redwood, you've seen them all."

Reno, Janet:
Red bullet "A cultist is one who has a strong belief in the Bible and the Second Coming of Christ . . ."

Rock, Chris:
Multi-colored bullet "You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy and the best golfer is a black guy."

Schwarzkopf, Norman:
Red bullet "I believe that forgiving them is God's function. Our job is simply to arrange the meeting."*

Sports Commentators (various):
Yellow bullet Humorous double entrendres from various sports commentators supposedly made during coverage of the Olympics.*

Sutton, Willie:
Red bullet Willie Sutton gave his reason for robbing banks as, "That's where the money is."

Starr, Kenneth:
Red bullet "Public media should not contain explicit or implied descriptions of sex acts . . ."

Tressel, Jim:
Red bullet Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel delivered a stirring "Pre-Championship Game Speech" to his players just before the 2003 Fiesta Bowl.

Truman, Harry S.
Multi-status bullet Collection of anecdotes about honesty includes real quotes from President Harry S. Truman.

Twain, Mark:
Red bullet "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."

Vonnegut, Kurt:
Red bullet Kurt Vonnegut gave an unusual commencement address at MIT in 1997, advising graduates to wear sunscreen.

Washington, George:
Red bullet George Washington said Jews were a dangerous scourge who should be hunted down as pests.

Wilde, Oscar:
Red bullet Oscar Wilde said that "it's very healthy to spend time alone."

Winfrey, Oprah:
Yellow bullet Oprah Winfrey opines on men.

Londoners:
Multi-colored bullet E-mail lists reactions to the London subway bombings purportedly collected from Londoners.

* Entries marked with an asterisk will display in a separate browser window.

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