They Didn’t Say That: Commonly Misattributed Quotes

Commonly Misattributed Quotes

Sometimes, we slip and misattribute a famous quote—whether it's crediting "the coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco" to Mark Twain, or "dance like no one's watching" to Gandhi (cringe). Lucky for you, not everyone has the upper arm strength to carry around a giant copy of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, so you're unlikely to be called out for incorrect name-dropping.

But, to help you out in the future (and to prevent the spreading of fake news), we've rounded up a list of the most commonly misattributed quotes. That way, at least you can save the misquotes for more complex, esoteric sound bites.

"I can see Russia from my house."

 - Sarah Palin Tina Fey

"On the whole, I would rather be in Philadelphia."

W.C. Fields Vanity Fair Magazine

"The ends justify the means."

- Machiavelli Ovid

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend your right to say it."

- Voltaire Voltaire biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall

"Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing."

 - Vince Lombardi Red Sanders

"If you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will."

- Abraham Lincoln Screenwriter David Swift

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

- Albert Einstein Novelist Rita Mae Brown

"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song."

 - Maya Angelou Poet Joan Walsh Anglund

"Be nice to nerds. Chances are, you'll end up working for one."

 - Bill Gates Author Charles J. Sykes

"I did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in heels."

 - Ginger Rogers Comic Bob Thaves

"Let them eat cake."

 - Marie Antoinette Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Speak softly and carry a big stick."

 - Teddy Roosevelt African Proverb

"Well-behaved women rarely make history."

- Marilyn Monroe Historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

"Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 1999, wear sunscreen."

Baz Luhrmann Columnist Mary Schmich

Sign up for our Newsletter!
Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Dictionary Is More Than The Word Of The Day

Enter your email for quizzes, quotes, and word facts in your inbox every day.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.