Mark Twain Maxims and Much Much More

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Samuel Langhorne Clemens a.k.a. Mark Twain maxims are possibly the most daily quoted statements in the world. My Webster’s Ninth states a maxim is a general truth, fundamental principal, or rule of conduct, or a saying of proverbial nature.

The origin of the word goes back several centuries into the 1400’s or earlier. The word implies much and great. Every great orator across the globe and throughout eternity has used what we refer to as maxims. I’ve heard it pronounced ‘‘macks- im” and “max-sum” and they are often referred to as proverbs.

My W. Ninth states a proverb is a brief popular epigram or maxim: adage and also a byword. Every culture in the world has used these statements since Adam. In America we quote Lincoln, Franklin, famous celebrities from around the globe, on topics of every nature. Many of the maxims were collected and passed from generation to generation and would often be included in conversation to emphasize a topic. Hence, the origin of a maxim is often in question, “Who said it first?”

Mark Twain said, “Nothing was ever said originally before Adam, and we’re not too sure about that.”

Samuel Clemens worked for hours and even years, taking other peoples statements and trying to improve upon them. As a child he said that Benjamin Franklin’s quotes were force-fed to him in school, to be memorized, which he disliked, and made himself a promise that if he lived long enough, he’d have more original quotes and be quoted more than Benjamin Franklin. I believe he succeeded. Note: I actually think he liked Ben.

I often hear people quoting Mark Twain in the news and am certain they don’t realize it. This can be observed with people in every profession and work environment.

Sam said, “A maxim is a maximum amount of wisdom with a minimum amount of breath.”

There are many people who quote famous people and sayings; I will provide only Mark Twain maxims, quotes, and other Mark Twain material to enhance your imagination. I will provide source documentation. The material may be humorous, it may be sad, but it should engage the grey matter between your ears.

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because a wise man once said….

“Against the assault of Laughter nothing can stand.” – The Mysterious Stranger




Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.

Mark Twain, a Biography

To be good is noble; but to show others how to be good is nobler and no trouble.

– Flyleaf of Following the Equator

Be good and you will be lonesome.

– Flyleaf of Following the Equator

It is the will of God that we must have critics, and missionaries, and congressmen, and humorists, and we must bear the burden.

 – Mark Twain’s Autobiography [1924 ed.]

God puts something good and something lovable in every man His hands create.

Mark Twain’s Speeches [1923 ed.], “The American Vandal”

Without the grace of God I could do nothing.

Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc

No real gentleman will tell the naked truth in the presence of ladies.

The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg, Etc., “A Double-Barreled Detective Story”

…a good and wholesome thing is a little harmless fun in this world; it tones a body up and keeps him human and prevents him from souring.

Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc

The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are in the wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are in the right.

Mark Twain’s Notebook [1935 ed.]

None but the dead have free speech.

Mark Twain’s Notebook [1935 ed.]

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