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date: 27 February 2024


see also Words
  1. 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 1838–1918 American historian: The Education of Henry Adams (1907) ch. 31
  2. ‘Then you should say what you mean,’ the March Hare went on. ‘I do,’ Alice hastily replied; ‘at least—at least I mean what I say—that's the same thing, you know.’ ‘Not the same thing a bit!’ said the Hatter. ‘Why, you might just as well say that “I see what I eat” is the same thing as “I eat what I see!” ’
    Lewis Carroll 1832–98 English writer and logician: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) ch. 7
  3. You see it's like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word.
    Lewis Carroll 1832–98 English writer and logician: Through the Looking-Glass (1872) ch. 6
  4. The meaning doesn't matter if it's only idle chatter of a transcendental kind.
    W. S. Gilbert 1836–1911 English writer of comic and satirical verse: Patience (1881) act 1
  5. It all depends what you mean by…
    C. E. M. Joad 1891–1953 English philosopher: answering questions on ‘The Brains Trust’ (formerly ‘Any Questions’), BBC radio (1941–8)
  6. God and I both knew what it meant once; now God alone knows.
    Friedrich Klopstock 1724–1803 German poet: C. Lombroso The Man of Genius (1891) pt. 1, ch. 2; see Browning
  7. Any general statement is like a cheque drawn on a bank. Its value depends on what is there to meet it.
    Ezra Pound 1885–1972 American poet: The ABC of Reading (1934)
  8. For you live not by things, but by the meaning of things.
    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 1900–44 French novelist: Citadelle (translated as ‘The Wisdom of the Sands’, 1948) ch. 93
  9. Egad I think the interpreter is the hardest to be understood of the two!
    Richard Brinsley Sheridan 1751–1816 Irish dramatist and Whig politician: The Critic (1779) act 1, sc. 2
  10. The little girl had the making of a poet in her who, being told to be sure of her meaning before she spoke, said, ‘How can I know what I think till I see what I say?’
    Graham Wallas 1858–1932 British politicial scientist: The Art of Thought (1926) ch. 4