- The Greeks had a word for it. 1886–1958 American poet and dramatist: title of play (1930)
- A word after a word
after a word is power.
1939– Canadian novelist: ‘Spelling’ (1981)
- There is no use indicting words, they are no shoddier than what they peddle.
Malone Dies (1958) 1906–89 Irish dramatist, novelist, and poet:
- Words easy to be understood do often hit the mark; when high and learned ones do only pierce the air.
The Holy City (1665) 1628–88 English writer and Nonconformist preacher:
- ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.’
Through the Looking-Glass (1872) ch. 6 1832–98 English writer and logician:
- The word Papa, besides, gives a pretty form to the lips. Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes, and prism, are all very good words for the lips: especially prunes and prism.
Little Dorrit (1857) bk. 2, ch. 5 1812–70 English novelist:
- ‘Do you spell it with a “V” or a “W”?’ inquired the judge. ‘That depends upon the taste and fancy of the speller, my Lord,’ replied Sam [Weller].
Pickwick Papers (1837) ch. 34 1812–70 English novelist:
- With words we govern men.
Contarini Fleming (1832) pt. 1, ch. 21 1804–81 British Tory statesman and novelist; Prime Minister 1868, 1874–80:
- Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
Will not stay still.
Four Quartets ‘Burnt Norton’ (1936) pt. 5 1888–1965 American-born British poet, critic, and dramatist:
- I gotta use words when I talk to you.
Sweeney Agonistes (1932) ‘Fragment of an Agon’ 1888–1965 American-born British poet, critic, and dramatist:
- The chief merit of language is clearness, and we know that nothing detracts so much from this as do unfamiliar terms.
ad 129–199 Greek physician: On the Natural Faculties bk. 1, sect. 1
- Some word that teems with hidden meaning—like Basingstoke.
Ruddigore (1887) act 2 1836–1911 English writer of comic and satirical verse:
- It's exactly where a thought is lacking
That, just in time, a word shows up instead.
Faust (1808) 1749–1832 German poet, novelist, and dramatist:
- Words are chameleons, which reflect the colour of their environment.
Commissioner v. National Carbide Corp. (1948) 1872–1961 American judge: in
- Dialect words—those terrible marks of the beast to the truly genteel.
The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886) ch. 20 1840–1928 English novelist and poet:
- Words are wise men's counters, they do but reckon by them: but they are the money of fools, that value them by the authority of an Aristotle, a Cicero, or a Thomas, or any other doctor whatsoever, if but a man.
Leviathan (1651) pt. 1, ch. 4 1588–1679 English philosopher:
- And once sent out a word takes wing beyond recall.
bc Roman poet: Epistles bk. 1, no. 18, l. 71 65–8
- Summer afternoon—summer afternoon…the two most beautiful words in the English language.
A Backward Glance (1934) ch. 10 1843–1916 American novelist: Edith Wharton
- I am not yet so lost in lexicography as to forget that words are the daughters of earth, and that things are the sons of heaven. Language is only the instrument of science, and words are but the signs of ideas: I wish, however, that the instrument might be less apt to decay, and that signs might be permanent, like the things which they denote.
A Dictionary of the English Language (1755) preface; see Madden 1709–84 English poet, critic, and lexicographer:
- Don't, Sir, accustom yourself to use big words for little matters.
Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) 6 August 1763 1709–84 English poet, critic, and lexicographer: James Boswell
- Good words do not last long unless they amount to something. Words do not pay for my dead people.
c.1840–1904 Nez Percé chief: on a visit to Washington in 1879; Chester Anders Fee Chief Joseph (1936)
- I fear those big words, Stephen said, which make us so unhappy.
Ulysses (1922) 1882–1941 Irish novelist:
- Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. 1865–1936 English writer and poet: speech, 14 February 1923
- My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.
Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) ch. 6 1882–1956 English writer for children:
- Whatever we have words for, that we have already got beyond.
Twilight of the Idols (1889) ‘Skirmishes of an Untimely Man’ 1844–1900 German philosopher and writer:
- mike: There's no word in the Irish language for what you were doing.
wilson: In Lapland they have no word for snow.
The Ruffian on the Stair (rev. ed. 1967) 1933–67 English dramatist:
- ‘Refudiate’, ‘misunderestimate’, ‘weewee'd up’. English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin words, too.
following controversy over her use of the word ‘refudiate’
Guardian 20 July 2010 1964– American Republican politician: tweet, 18 July 2010, in
- Words are like leaves; and where they most abound,
Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.
An Essay on Criticism (1711) l. 309 1688–1744 English poet:
- Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that he sometimes has to eat them.
The Wit and Wisdom of Adlai Stevenson (1965) 1900–65 American Democratic politician: