Ugly Words

Sunday, September 22, 2019 – Ugly Words

We have put our words on steroids and amped the language up so high that unless we communicate in overdrive and hyperbole, we believe – perhaps correctly – that nobody will hear us. In the process, we’ve sacrificed nuance and judgement and distinction, and thereby cheapened the conversation. ~ Frank Luntz

When I started in this business, everybody said the Democrats were the better communicators because they sounded like social workers, and Republicans were awful because they sounded like morticians. In some cases they actually dressed like morticians. ~ Frank Luntz

A compelling story, even if factually inaccurate, can be more emotionally compelling than a dry recitation of the truth. ~ Frank Luntz

Words, as is well known, are the great foes of reality. ~ Joseph Conrad

Man is a creature who lives not upon bread alone, but primarily by catchwords. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

A good catchword can obscure analysis for fifty years. ~ Wendell L. Willkie

The word “good” has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man. ~ G. K. Chesterton

Words used carelessly, as if they did not matter in any serious way, often allowed otherwise well-guarded truths to seep through. ~ Douglas Adams

Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking. ~ John Maynard Keynes

Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

We should have a great fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves. ~ John Locke

Words signify man’s refusal to accept the world as it is. ~ Walter Kaufmann

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

Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery. ~ Mark Amidon

I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain. ~ Jane Wagner

Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work. ~ Carl Sandburg, New York Times, 13 February 1959

What words say does not last. The words last. Because words are always the same, and what they say is never the same. ~ Antonio Porchia

I like the word “indolence.” It makes my laziness seem classy. ~ Bern Williams

Our language is funny – a fat chance and a slim chance are the same thing. ~ J. Gustav White

If the English language made any sense, lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers. ~ Doug Larson

There is a certain age at which a child looks at you in all earnestness and delivers a long, pleased speech in all the true inflections of spoken English, but with not one recognizable syllable. There is no way you can tell the child that if language had been a melody, he had mastered it and done well, but that since it was in fact a sense, he had botched it utterly. ~ Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Whenever ideas fail, men invent words. ~ Martin H. Fischer

Human speech is like a cracked cauldron on which we bang out tunes that make bears dance, when what we want is to move the stars to pity. ~ Gustave Flaubert

To handle a language skillfully is to practice a kind of evocative sorcery. ~ Charles Baudelaire

I feed on good soup, not beautiful language. ~ Moliere

Every American child should grow up knowing a second language, preferably English. ~ Mignon McLaughlin

When a German dives into a sentence, you won’t see him again until he emerges at the other end with the verb between his teeth. ~ Mark Twain

The German language speaks Being, while all the others merely speak of Being. ~ Martin Heidegger

The Germans and I no longer speak the same language. ~ Marlene Dietrich

French is the language that turns dirt into romance. ~ Stephen King

In general, every country has the language it deserves. ~ Jorge Luis Borges

A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Parents should conduct their arguments in quiet, respectful tones, but in a foreign language. You’d be surprised what an inducement that is to the education of children. ~ Judith Martin

A riot is the language of the unheard. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world. ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein

Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language. ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein

Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often. ~ Mark Twain

A mind enclosed in language is in prison. ~ Simone Weil

Every legend, moreover, contains its residuum of truth, and the root function of language is to control the universe by describing it. ~ James A. Baldwin

We inhabit a language rather than a country. ~ Emile M. Cioran

A language is a more ancient and inevitable thing than any state. ~ Joseph Brodsky

Language is a virus from outer space. ~ William S. Burroughs

It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs. ~ Thomas Hardy

Language is the armory of the human mind, and at once contains the trophies of its past and the weapons of its future conquests. ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Life is a foreign language; all men mispronounce it. ~ Christopher Morley

Language can only deal meaningfully with a special, restricted segment of reality. The rest, and it is presumably the much larger part, is silence. ~ George Steiner

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. ~ Lao Tzu

In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet. ~ Winston Churchill

Human life is driven forward by its dim apprehension of notions too general for its existing language. ~ Alfred North Whitehead

Learning preserves the errors of the past, as well as its wisdom. For this reason, dictionaries are public dangers, although they are necessities. ~ Alfred North Whitehead

Dictionaries are like watches; the worst is better than none, and the best cannot be expected to go quite true. ~ Samuel Johnson

A man thinks that by mouthing hard words he understands hard things. ~ Herman Melville

Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause. ~ Victor Hugo

One man’s frankness is another man’s vulgarity. ~ Kevin Smith

Euphemisms are unpleasant truths wearing diplomatic cologne. ~ Quentin Crisp

The short words are best, and the old words are the best of all. ~ Winston Churchill

The nature of oratory is such that there has always been a tendency among politicians and clergymen to oversimplify complex matters. From a pulpit or a platform even the most conscientious of speakers finds it very difficult to tell the whole truth. ~ Aldous Huxley

I sometimes marvel at the extraordinary docility with which Americans submit to speeches. ~ Adlai E. Stevenson

Oratory is the power to talk people out of their sober and natural opinions. ~ Joseph Chatfield

Liberty don’t work as good in practice as it does in speeches. ~ Will Rogers

Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. ~ Elie Wiesel

You don’t have to be singing about love all the time in order to give love to the people. You don’t have to keep flashing those words all the time. ~ Jimi Hendrix

It’s strange that words are so inadequate. Yet, like the asthmatic struggling for breath, so the lover must struggle for words. ~ T. S. Eliot

The words of truth are always paradoxical. ~ Lao Tzu

All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time. ~ Ernest Hemingway

Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society. ~ John Adams

When ideas fail, words come in very handy. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A politician’s words reveal less about what he thinks about his subject than what he thinks about his audience. ~ George Will

Words are loaded pistols. ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Sticks and stones will break our bones, but words will break our hearts. ~ Robert Fulghum

My words in her mind: cold polished stones sinking through a quagmire. ~ James Joyce

I put the words down and push them a bit. ~ Evelyn Waugh

Words, words, words! They shut one off from the universe. Three quarters of the time one’s never in contact with things, only with the beastly words that stand for them. ~ Aldous Huxley

Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. ~ Rudyard Kipling

Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it. ~ Robert Frost

Words are a wonderful form of communication, but they will never replace kisses and punches. ~ Ashleigh Brilliant

People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they’ll have good voice boxes in case there’s ever anything really meaningful to say. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

English is the perfect language for preachers because it allows you to talk until you think of what to say. ~ Garrison Keillor

One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say. ~ Will Durant

Never miss a good chance to shut up. ~ Will Rogers

Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing. ~ Robert Benchley