Truth Quotations


Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.


It is a rare qualification to be able to state a fact simply & adequately. To digest some experience cleanly. To say yes and no with authority. To make a square edge. To conceive & suffer the truth to pass through us living & intact.

Journal, 1 November 1851

Truth strikes us from behind, and in the dark, as well as from before and in broad day-light.

Journal, 5 November 1837

To live in relations of truth & sincerity with men is to dwell in a frontier country.

Journal, 12 January 1852

It takes two to speak the truth, — one to speak, and another to hear.

A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

Say what you have to say, not what you ought. Any truth is better than make-believe.


If we dealt only with the false and dishonest, we should at last forget how to speak truth.

A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

No face which we can give to a matter will stead us so well as the truth. This alone wears well.


I am sorry to think that you do not get a man’s most effective criticism until you provoke him. Severe truth is expressed with some bitterness.

Journal, 15 March 1854

In accumulating property for ourselves or our posterity, in founding a family or a state, or acquiring fame even, we are mortal; but in dealing with truth we are immortal, and need fear no change or accident.


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