/ / 110 Most Famous Quotes By Voltaire That Will Change The Way You Think

110 Most Famous Quotes By Voltaire That Will Change The Way You Think

Are you looking for the most famous quotes by Voltaire? Then you’re in the right place. Read on and you might just find a new perspective on life!

Born François-Marie Arouet, Voltaire is one of the most famous French people of all time! A famous French philosopher, historian, and Enlightenment writer, Voltaire’s works and words have not only inspired France but the whole world at large.

Aside from being a prolific writer, whose works included plays, novels, letters, poems, histories, and essays, Voltaire was also a household name in fighting for civil rights and human rights, especially against slavery and advocating for freedom of speech.

He was also known for always criticizing the Catholic church and he believed that the church should be separate from the state.

Voltaire is one of the most famous people from France.

By Nicolas de Largillière, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

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To date, his work is still appreciated and referenced and that’s why I want to shed some light on some of the influential words he said over the years.

Whether you’re a fan of his work or just a Francophile who wants to learn some wise words spoken by one of the most celebrated French writers and philosophers, this article will show you some of the famous quotes by Voltaire that will inspire you or even make you look “smarter” when you start quoting him in your discussions.

From the famous “History never repeats itself. Man always does” to “Perfect is the enemy of good”, here are some of the most famous Voltaire quotes. 

More Quotes and Captions to inspire you:

Famous Quotes By Voltaire

Without any further ado, here are the most famous quotes from Voltaire. I’ll be categorizing them into deep Voltaire quotes, best Voltaire quotes about life, inspirational quotations by Voltaire, and more, to make browsing easier.

You should also note that some of these quotes are from his books, notebooks, essays, letters, and more. And while most were originally written in French, they’ve been translated into English over the years.

Quotes By Voltaire That Will Make You Think Deeper

Voltaire is one of the famous writers of France.
Voltaire’s tomb in the Panthéon, Paris.

These famous quotes from Voltaire will no doubt make you think deeper or even question some aspects of today’s life!

1. “Those who can make people believe absurdities, can make people commit atrocities.”

2. “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”

3. “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

4. “Dare to think for yourself.”

5. “When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.”

6. “For can anything be sillier than to insist on carrying a burden one would continually much rather throw to the ground?”

7. “Men must have somewhat altered the course of nature; for they were not born wolves, yet they have become wolves. God did not give them twenty-four-pounders or bayonets, yet they have made themselves bayonets and guns to destroy each other. In the same category I place not only bankruptcies, but the law which carries off the bankrupts’ effects, so as to defraud their creditors.”

8. “Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills.”

9. “Men will always be mad, and those who think they can cure them are the maddest of all.”

10. “History never repeats itself. Man always does.”

11. “There are some that only employ words for the purpose of disguising their thoughts.”

Best Voltaire Quotes About Life

Portrait of Voltaire

Jacques Augustin Catherine Pajou, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

There is no doubt you’ll learn something new about how to lead your life from these famous quotes by Voltaire below.

12. “Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”

13. “The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.”

14. “Wherever my travels may lead, paradise is where I am.”

15. “Use, do not abuse; neither abstinence nor excess ever renders man happy.”

16. “We all look for happiness, but without knowing where to find it: like drunkards who look for their house, knowing dimly that they have one.”

17. “It is not inequality which is the real misfortune, it is dependence.”

18. “Everything you say should be true, but not everything true should be said.”

19. “The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.”

20. “It is better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.”

21. “Prejudices are what fools use for reason.”

22. “Men argue. Nature acts.”

23. “The only way to make men speak well of us is to do it.”

24. “What most persons consider as virtue, after the age of 40 is simply a loss of energy.”

25. “when man was put into the garden of eden, he was put there with the idea that he should work the land; and this proves that man was not born to be idle.”

26. “It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.”

27. “Don’t think money does everything or you are going to end up doing everything for money.”

28. “Work keeps at bay three great evils: boredom, vice, and need.”

29. “One day everything will be well, that is our hope. Everything’s fine today, that is our illusion.”

30. “In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to another.”

31. “Irregularity is inherent in our very nature; expecting people to be perfectly wise is as crazy as putting wings on dogs or horns on eagles.”

32. “The pursuit of pleasure must be the goal of every rational person.”

33. “Madness is to think of too many things in succession too fast, or of one thing too exclusively.”

34. “The more a man knows, the less he talks.”

35. “To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid – one must also be polite.”

Inspirational Quotations By Voltaire

famous quotes by Voltaire

Be inspired by these famous quotes by Voltaire below.

36. “We are at the end of all our troubles, and at the beginning of happiness.”

37. “‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.”

38. “Fear follows crime and is its punishment.”

39. “Perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time.”

40. “I don’t know where I am going, but I am on my way.” — This is one of my favorite quotes about life.

41. “The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.”

42. “The most important decision you make is to be in a good mood.”

43. “Let us cultivate our garden.”

44. “No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.”

45. “Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her; but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.”

46. “I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health.”

47. “To achieve a goal, a dream, a wish, you must plan it out for success!”

48. “If we do not find anything very pleasant, at least we shall find something new.”

49. “We’re neither pure, nor wise, nor good; we do the best we know.”

Friendship And Love Quotes by Voltaire

Love Quotes by Voltaire

Below are some of the famous quotes by Voltaire on the topic of love and friendship.

50. “Love truth, but pardon error.”

51. “When a man is in love, jealous, and just whipped by the Inquisition, he is no longer himself.”

52. “It is love; love, the comfort of the human species, the preserver of the universe, the soul of all sentient beings, love, tender love.”

53. “Where there is friendship, there is our natural soil.”

54. “Whatever you do, crush the infamous thing, and love those who love you.”

55. “The heart has its own reasons that reason can’t understand.”

Voltaire’s Quotes About God

Wth his criticism of the church, Voltaire always had something to say about God! Below are some of those quotes.

56. “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it.”

57. “In the beginning God created man in His own image, and man has been trying to repay the favor ever since.”

58. “God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.”

59. “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”

60. “May God defend me from my friends: I can defend myself from my enemies. ”

61. “God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.”

Voltaire’s Quotes About Freedom of Speech

62. “Man is free at the instant he wants to be.”

63. “Liberty of thought is the life of the soul.”

63. “The right to free speech is more important than the content of the speech.”

General Quotes of Voltaire

General Quotes of Voltaire

You’ll definitely find at least one phrase that relates to today’s world among the Voltaire quotes below.

64. “Common sense is not so common.”

65. “Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.”

66. “Perfect is the enemy of good.”

67. “Being unable to make people more reasonable, I preferred to be happy away from them.”

68. “There are truths which are not for all men, nor for all times.”

69. “By appreciation, we make excellence in others our own property.”

70. “It is not sufficient to see and to know the beauty of a work. We must feel and be affected by it.”

71. “Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?”

72. “Many are destined to reason wrongly; others, not to reason at all; and others, to persecute those who do reason.”

73. “The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbours, kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.”

74. “Tears are the silent language of grief.”

75. “The mirror is a worthless invention. The only way to truly see yourself is in the reflection of someone else’s eyes.”

76. “All men are by nature free; you have therefore an undoubted liberty to depart whenever you please, but will have many and great difficulties to encounter in passing the frontiers.”

Voltaire portrait on money

77. “History is the study of the world’s crime.”

78. “All is for the best in the best of possible worlds.”

79. “The man who leaves money to charity in his will is only giving away what no longer belongs to him.”

80. “Once the people begin to reason, all is lost.”

81. “Those who can make people believe absurdities, can make people commit atrocities.”

82. “So it is the human condition that to wish for the greatness of one’s fatherland is to wish evil to one’s neighbors. The citizen of the universe would be the man who wishes his country never to be either greater or smaller, richer or poorer.”

83. “My friend, you see how perishable are the riches of this world; there is nothing solid but virtue.”

84. “Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung.”

85. “What a heavy burden is a name that has become too famous.”

86. “All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds”

87. “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”

88. “The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out.”

89. “Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.”

90. “Originality is nothing but judicious imitation.”

Voltaire is one of the most famous people from France.

Voltaire By Nicolas de Largillière, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

91. “Opinion has caused more trouble on this little earth than plagues or earthquakes.”

92. “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

93. “Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing.”

94. “It is clear that the individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because he is not of the same opinion, is a monster.”

95. “We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.”

96. “The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”

97. “Work spares us from three evils: boredom, vice, and need.”

98. “Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.”

99. “Men use thoughts only to justify their wrongdoings, and speech only to conceal their thoughts.”

100. “We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies.”

101. “One great use of words is to hide our thoughts.”

102. “Men are equal; it is not birth but virtue that makes the difference.”

103. “Fools have a habit of believing that everything written by a famous author is admirable.”

104. “Every man is a creature of the age in which he lives and few are able to raise themselves above the ideas of the time.”

105. “If this is the best of possible worlds, what then are the others?”

106. “The discovery of what is true and the practice of that which is good are the two most important aims of philosophy.”

107. “It is the characteristic of the most stringent censorships that they give credibility to the opinions they attack.”

108. “Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.”

109. “It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind.”

110. “The more often a stupidity is repeated, the more it gets the appearance of wisdom.”

Final Thoughts on The Famous Quotes of Voltaire

There is no doubt Voltaire was an intelligent man who said and wrote many philosophical words that are true even in today’s world.

Though this article is just scratching the surface, I believe there is a Voltaire quote that will make you think deeper about life in general.

Are there any specific famous quotes by Voltaire that resonated with you the most? Let me know which ones they are in the comments below.

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Are you looking for the most famous quotes by Voltaire? Then you're in the right place. From the famous “History never repeats itself. Man always does” to “Perfect is the enemy of good”, here are some of the most famous Voltaire quotes. they've been categorized into deep Voltaire quotes, best Voltaire quotes about life, inspirational quotations by Voltaire, and more, to make browsing easier.

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  1. Where could I find a copy of “Le Marsalad?” which as I understand it was the battle cry song for the French Revolution? Thank you very much!
    Sincerely yours,
    Lang Leatherman

    1. Hi Lang,
      Not sure if you got that name right because I don’t know it. Probably what you mean’t is “La Marseillaise” which is actually the French national anthem! If this is the one, you can easily find it on Youtube.

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