Welcome to the web’s most comprehensive site of quotations by women. 44,226 quotations are searchable by topic, by author's name, or by keyword. Many of them appear in no other collection. And new ones are added continually.

See All TOPICS Available:
See All AUTHORS Available:

Search by Topic:

  • topic cats
  • topic books
  • topic moon

Find quotations by TOPIC (coffee, love, dogs)
or search alphabetically below.

Search by Last Name:

  • Quotes by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Quotes by Louisa May Alcott
  • Quotes by Chingling Soong

Find quotations by the AUTHOR´S LAST NAME
or alphabetically below.

Search by Keyword:

  • keyword fishing
  • keyword twilight
  • keyword Australie

Dorothy Parker

  • Somehow, no matter how well done an Oscar Wilde play may be, I am always far more absorbed in the audience than in the drama. ... They have a conscious exquisiteness, a deep appreciation of their own culture. ... 'Look at us,' they seem to say. 'We are the cognoscenti. We have come because we can appreciate this thing — we are not as you, poor bonehead, who are here because you couldn't get tickets for the Winter Garden.'

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Vanity Fair ()
  • [On John Drinkwater's Abraham Lincoln] This play holds the season's record, thus far, with a run of four evening performances and one matinee. By an odd coincidence, it ran just five performances too many.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Vanity Fair ()
  • By the time you swear you're his, / Shivering and sighing, / And he vows his passion is / Infinite, undying — / Lady, make a note of this: / One of you is lying.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Unfortunate Coincidence," Enough Rope ()
  • Four be the things I'd been better without: / Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Inventory," Enough Rope ()
  • Four be the things I am wiser to know: / Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Inventory," Enough Rope ()
  • Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song, / A medley of extemporanea; / And love is a thing that can never go wrong; / and I am Marie of Roumania.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Comment," Enough Rope ()
  • Lady, lady, should you meet / One whose ways are all discreet, / One who murmurs that his wife / Is the lodestar of his life, / One who keeps assuring you / That he never was untrue, / Never loved another one ... / Lady, lady, better run!

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Social Note," Enough Rope ()
  • Scratch a lover, and find a foe.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Ballade of a Great Weariness," Enough Rope ()
  • Razors pain you; / Rivers are damp; / Acids stain you; / And drugs cause cramp. / Guns aren't lawful; / Nooses give; / Gas smells awful; / You might as well live.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Résumé," Enough Rope ()
  • Woman wants monogamy; / Man delights in novelty ... / Woman lives but in her lord; / Count to ten, and man is bored. / With this the gist and sum of it, / What earthly good can come of it?

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "General Review of the Sex Situation," Enough Rope ()
  • Why is it no one ever sent me yet / One perfect limousine, do you suppose? / Ah no, it's always just my luck to get / One perfect rose.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "One Perfect Rose," Enough Rope ()
  • Men seldom makes passes / At girls who wear glasses.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "News Item," Enough Rope ()
  • The affair between Margot Asquith and Margot Asquith will live as one of the prettiest love stories in all literature.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Re-Enter Margot Asquith," in The New Yorker ()
  • ... this book of essays ... has all the depth and glitter of a worn dime ...

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Re-Enter Margot Asquith," in The New Yorker ()
  • [On William Lyon Phelps's Happiness:] It is second only to a rubber duck as the ideal bathtub companion. It may be held in the hand without causing muscular fatigue ... and it may be read through before the water has cooled. And if it slips down the drain pipe, all right, it slips down the drain pipe.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "The Professor Goes in for Sweetness and Light," in The New Yorker ()
  • Ava was young and slender and proud. And she had It. It, hell; she had Those.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Madame Glyn Lectures on 'It'," in The New Yorker ()
  • Upton Sinclair is his own King Charles' head. He cannot keep himself out of his writings, try though he may; or, by this time, try though he doesn't.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "The Socialist Looks at Literature," in The New Yorker ()
  • Despite his persecutions, Mr. [Upton] Sinclair reveals himself in Money Writes! to be an enviable man. Always the thing he desires to believe is the thing he feels he knows to be true.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "The Socialist Looks at Literature," in The New Yorker ()
  • [On Isadora Duncan:] There was never a place for her in the ranks of the terrible, slow army of the cautious. She ran ahead, where there were no paths.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Poor, Immortal Isadora," in The New Yorker ()
  • Well, there are always those who cannot distinguish between glitter and glamour ... the glamour of Isadora Duncan came from her great, torn, bewildered, foolhardy soul.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Poor, Immortal Isadora," in The New Yorker ()
  • Take me or leave me; or, as is the usual order of things, both.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "A Good Novel, and a Great Story," in The New Yorker ()
  • It may be that this autobiography [Aimee Semple McPherson's] is set down in sincerity, frankness, and simple effort. It may be, too, that the Statue of Liberty is situated in Lake Ontario.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Our Lady of the Loudspeaker," in The New Yorker ()
  • Every year, back Spring comes, with the nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off, and the ground all mucked up with arbutus.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Ethereal Mildness," in The New Yorker ()
  • There is entirely too much charm around, and something must be done to stop it.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "These Much Too Charming People," in The New Yorker ()
  • [ReviewingThe House at Pooh Corner:] ... Tonstant Weader fwowed up.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Constant Reader," in The New Yorker ()
  • Why, that dog is practically a Phi Beta Kappa. She can sit up and beg, and she can give her paw — I don't say she will but she can.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Toward the Dog Days," McCall's ()
  • Byron and Shelley and Keats / Were a trio of lyrical treats.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "A Pig's-Eye View of Literature," Sunset Gun ()
  • If, with the literate, I am / Impelled to try an epigram, / I never seek to take the credit; / We all assume that Oscar said it.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "A Pig's-Eye View of Literature," Sunset Gun ()
  • It costs me never a stab nor squirm / To tread by chance upon a worm. / 'Aha, my little dear,' I say, / 'Your clan will pay me back one day.'

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Thought for a Sunshiny Morning," Sunset Gun ()
  • They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Fair Weather," Sunset Gun ()
  • For art is a form of catharsis, / And love is a permanent flop, / And work is the province of cattle, / And rest's for a clam in a shell, / So I'm thinking of throwing the battle — / Would you kindly direct me to hell?

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Coda," Sunset Gun ()
  • That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "But the One on the Right," in The New Yorker ()
  • A list of our authors who have made themselves most beloved and, therefore, most comfortable financially, shows that it is our national joy to mistake for the first-rate, the fecund rate.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "And Again, Mr. Sinclair Lewis," in The New Yorker ()
  • Surely, if Mr. Lewis in outlining his plot to some friend, had only said, 'Stop me if you've heard this,' more than two hundred pages of Dodsworth need never have been written.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "And Again, Mr. Sinclair Lewis," in The New Yorker ()
  • Oh, it's so easy to be sweet to people before you love them.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "A Telephone Call," Laments for the Living ()
  • She had spent the golden time in grudging it going.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "The Lovely Leave," Laments for the Living ()
  • The man she had was kind and clean / And well enough for every day, / But, oh, dear friends, you should have seen / The one that got away!

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Tombstones in the Starlight: The Fisherwoman," Death and Taxes ()
  • He'd have the best, and that was none too good; / No barrier could hold, before his terms. / He lies below, correct in cypress wood, / And entertains the most exclusive worms.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Tombstones in the Starlight: The Very Rich Man," Death and Taxes ()
  • Every love's the love before / In a duller dress.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Summary," Death and Taxes ()
  • Misfortune, and recited misfortune in especial, may be prolonged to that point where it ceases to excite pity and arouses only irritation.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "No More Fun," in The New Yorker ()
  • [On Lou Tellegen's Women Have Been Kind:] The book ... has all the elegance of a quirked little finger and all the glitter of a pair of new rubbers.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Kiss and Tellegen," in The New Yorker ()
  • ... now that you've got me right down to it, the only thing I didn't like about The Barretts of Wimpole Street was the play.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Kindly Accept Substitutes," in The New Yorker ()
  • [On Give Me Yesterday:] Its hero is caused, by a novel device, to fall asleep and a-dream; and thus he is given yesterday. Me, I should have given him twenty years to life.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in The New Yorker ()
  • [On Dashiell Hammett:] ... he is so hard-boiled you could roll him on the White House lawn.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Oh, Look! — a Good Book!" in The New Yorker ()
  • [On Kay Strozzi in The Silent Witness:] Miss Strozzi ... had the temerity to wear as truly horrible a gown as ever I have seen on the American stage. ... Had she not luckily been strangled by a member of the cast while disporting this garment, I should have fought my way to the stage and done her in, myself.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in The New Yorker ()
  • What writes worse than a Theodore Dreiser? ... Two Theodore Dreisers.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Words, Words, Words," in The New Yorker ()
  • The two most beautiful words in the English language are 'check enclosed.'

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in The New York Herald Tribune ()
  • The House Beautiful is the play lousy.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in The New Yorker ()
  • How do people go to sleep? I'm afraid I've lost the knack. I might try busting myself smartly over the temple with the night-light. I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound; if I can remember any of the damn things.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "The Little Hours," in The New Yorker ()
  • And I'll stay off Verlaine too; he was always chasing Rimbauds.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "The Little Hours," in The New Yorker ()
  • Any stigma will do to beat a dogma.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "The Little Hours," in The New Yorker ()
  • If you would learn what God thinks about money, you have only to look at those to whom he has given it.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "The Little Hours," in The New Yorker ()
  • She looked as new as a peeled egg.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Here We Are," The Collected Stories of Dorothy Parker ()
  • You mean those clothes of hers are intentional? My heavens, I always thought she was on her way out of a burning building.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Just a Little One," The Collected Stories of Dorothy Parker ()
  • Three highballs, and I think I'm St. Francis of Assisi.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Just a Little One," The Collected Stories of Dorothy Parker ()
  • She was an authority on where to place monograms on linen, how to instruct working folk, and what to say in letters of condolence. The word 'lady' figured largely in her conversation.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "The Wonderful Old Gentleman," The Collected Stories of Dorothy Parker ()
  • His voice was intimate as the rustle of sheets ...

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Dusk Before Fireworks," The Collected Stories of Dorothy Parker ()
  • Sorrow is tranquility remembered in emotion.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Sentiment," The Collected Stories of Dorothy Parker ()
  • ... all men are the same age.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Advice to the Little Peyton Girl," in Mary Louise Aswell, ed., It's a Woman's World ()
  • Constant use had not worn ragged the fabric of their friendship.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "The Standard of Living," The Portable Dorothy Parker ()
  • ... she inspected her finger nails of so thick and glistening a red that it seemed as if she but recently had completed tearing an ox apart with her naked hands.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Cousin Larry," The Portable Dorothy Parker ()
  • Then she took from her lap a case of gold or some substance near it, and in a minute mirror scanned her face as carefully as if it were verse.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Cousin Larry," The Portable Dorothy Parker ()
  • Drink and dance and laugh and lie / Love, the reeling midnight through / For tomorrow we shall die! / (But, alas, we never do.)

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "The Flaw in Paganism," The Portable Dorothy Parker ()
  • Hickety, pickety, my red hen. / She lays eggs for gentlemen; / But you cannot persuade her with a gun or lariat; / To come across for the proletariat.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • The Portable Dorothy Parker ()
  • ... if you can get through the twilight, you'll live through the night.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • The Portable Dorothy Parker ()
  • When your bank account is so overdrawn it's positively photographic, steps must be taken.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • The Portable Dorothy Parker ()
  • Anthologists are lazy fellows who like to spend a quiet evening at home raiding good books.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Bennett Cerf, Laughing Stock ()
  • Those who have mastered etiquette, who are entirely, impeccably right, would seem to arrive at a point of exquisite dullness.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Mrs. Post Enlarges on Etiquette," in The New Yorker ()
  • The nowadays ruling that no word is unprintable has, I think, done nothing whatever for beautiful letters. ... Obscenity is too valuable a commodity to chuck around all over the place; it should be taken out of the safe on special occasions only.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Esquire ()
  • [On James Gould Cozzens' By Love Possessed:] It is a vast enterprise encompassing all sorts of love, except, naturally, those branches which extend to Jews, Negroes, and people who have lost track of their great-grandparents ...

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Esquire ()
  • Nevil Shute's On the Beach is no Christmas carol, but it seems to me a remarkably fine novel, one which I read, in the peculiarly repulsive phrase, with my eyes glued to the page.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Esquire ()
  • There are those who, in their pride and their innocence, dedicate their careers to writing humorous pieces. Poor dears, the world is stacked against them from the start, for everybody in it has the right to look at their work and say, 'I don't think that's funny.'

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • introduction to S.J. Perelman, The Most of S.J. Perelman ()
  • The writer's way is rough and lonely, and who would choose it while there are vacancies in more gracious professions, such as, say, cleaning out ferryboats?

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • introduction to S.J. Perelman, The Most of S.J. Perelman ()
  • I had thought, on starting this composition, that I should define what humor means to me. However, every time I tried to, I had to go and lie down with a cold wet cloth on my head.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • introduction to S.J. Perelman, The Most of S.J. Perelman ()
  • Humor to me, Heaven help me, takes in many things. There must be courage; there must be no awe. There must be criticism, for humor, to my mind, is encapsulated in criticism. There must be a disciplined eye and a wild mind. There must be a magnificent disregard of your reader, for if he cannot follow you, there is nothing you can do about it.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • introduction to S.J. Perelman, The Most of S.J. Perelman ()
  • [On Edna Ferber's Ice Palace] ... the book, which is going to be a movie, has the plot and characters of a book which is going to be a movie.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Esquire ()
  • He [Robert Benchley] and I had an office so tiny that an inch smaller and it would have been adultery.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Malcolm Cowley, ed., Writers at Work, 1st series ()
  • My verses. I cannot say poems. Like everybody was then, I was following in the exquisite footsteps of Miss Millay, unhappily in my own horrible sneakers.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Malcolm Cowley, ed., Writers at Work, 1st series ()
  • I went to a convent in New York ... I was fired from there, finally, for a lot of things, among them my insistence that the Immaculate Conception was spontaneous combustion.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Malcolm Cowley, ed., Writers at Work, 1st series ()
  • [When asked what was the inspiration for most of her work:] Need of money, dear.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Malcolm Cowley, ed., Writers at Work, 1st series ()
  • [On female novelists:] As artists they're rot, but as providers they're oil wells; they gush. Norris said she never wrote a story unless it was fun to do. I understand Ferber whistles at her typewriter. And there was that poor sucker Flaubert rolling around on his floor for three days looking for the right word.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Malcolm Cowley, ed., Writers at Work, 1st series ()
  • There's a hell of a distance between wisecracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Malcolm Cowley, ed., Writers at Work, 1st series ()
  • I can't write five words but that I change seven.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Malcolm Cowley, ed., Writers at Work, 1st series ()
  • I'd like to have money. And I'd like to be a good writer. These two can come together, and I hope they will, but if that's too adorable, I'd rather have money.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Malcolm Cowley, ed., Writers at Work, 1st series ()
  • I hate almost all rich people, but I think I'd be darling at it.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Malcolm Cowley, ed., Writers at Work, 1st series ()
  • Hollywood money isn't money. It's congealed snow, melts in your hand, and there you are.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Malcolm Cowley, ed., Writers at Work, 1st series ()
  • Once I was coming down a street in Beverly Hills and I saw a Cadillac about a block long, and out of the side window was a wonderfully slinky mink, and an arm, and at the end of the arm was a hand in a white suede glove wrinkled around the wrist, and in the hand was a bagel with a bite out of it.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Malcolm Cowley, ed., Writers at Work, 1st series ()
  • It's not the tragedies that kill us, it's the messes.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Malcolm Cowley, ed., Writers at Work, 1st series ()
  • I misremember who first was cruel enough to nurture the cocktail party into life. But perhaps it would be not too much to say, in fact it would be not enough to say, that it was not worth the trouble.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Esquire ()
  • [On being told party guests were ducking for apples:] There, but for a typographical error, is the story of my life.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • [To a friend whose sick cat had to be put down:] Try curiosity.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • Brevity is the soul of lingerie ...

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • 1914, for Vogue,in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • [After she and Beatrice Lillie met in a doorway and the latter said, 'Age before beauty':] Pearls before swine.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • Excuse me, everybody, I have to go to the bathroom. I really have to telephone, but I'm too embarrassed to say so.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Margaret Case Harriman, The Vicious Circle: The Story of the Algonquin Round Table ()
  • This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • book review (1930), in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • [When asked if she'd enjoyed a cocktail party:] Enjoyed it! One more drink and I'd have been under the host.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • [On Katharine Hepburn's stage performance:] She ran the whole gamut of emotions, from A to B.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • 1933, in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • [On being told their loquacious, domineering host was 'outspoken':] By whom?

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • He's a writer for the ages — for the ages of four to eight.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • [On one of her party guests:] That woman speaks eighteen languages and can't say 'No' in any of them.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • You can't teach an old dogma new tricks.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • [To a snobbish young man who said 'I can't bear fools':] That's queer. Your mother could.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • [Hospitalized and pressing the nurse's button before dictating letters to her secretary:] This should assure us of at least forty-five minutes of undisturbed privacy.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • [To woman bragging about having kept her husband for seven years:] Don't worry, if you keep him long enough, he'll come back in style.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Margaret Case Harriman, The Vicious Circle: The Story of the Algonquin Round Table ()
  • [On hearing that President Coolidge was dead:] How can you tell?

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • 1933, in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • [On naming her canary 'Onan':] Because it spills its seed upon the ground.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • [Playing I-Can-Give-You-A-Sentence with the word 'horticulture':] You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • [On Lucius Beebe's Shoot If You Must:] This must be a gift book. That is to say, a book which you wouldn't take on any other terms.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • [On being shown an apartment by a real estate agent:] Oh, dear, that's much too big. All I need is room enough to lay a hat and a few friends.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • [On being told that world-famous transgender Christine Jorgensen was planning a trip to the States to visit her mother:] And what sex, may I ask, is the mother?

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • [At the reception following her remarriage to Alan Campbell:] People who haven't talked to each other in years are on speaking terms again today — including the bride and groom.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • [On hearing that Clare Boothe Luce was invariably kind to her inferiors:] And where does she find them?

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • [Requesting her epitaph to read this way:] Excuse my dust.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • [Suggesting an epitaph for herself:] This is on me.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • I was the toast of two continents: Greenland and Australia.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in John Keats, You Might As Well Live ()
  • [On her abortion:] It serves me right for putting all my eggs in one bastard.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in John Keats, You Might As Well Live ()
  • [On an actor who'd broken her leg in London:] Oh, how terrible. She must have done it sliding down a barrister.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in John Keats, You Might As Well Live ()
  • [Allegedly said when told an editor urgently needed a promised article:] Tell him I've been too fucking busy — or vice versa.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in John Keats, You Might As Well Live ()
  • I require only three things of a man. He must be handsome, ruthless, and stupid.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in John Keats, You Might As Well Live ()
  • ... ridicule may be a shield, but it is not a weapon.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • 1937, in John Keats, You Might As Well Live ()
  • Sure, you make money writing on the coast ... but that money is like so much compressed snow. It goes so fast it melts in your hand.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in John Keats, You Might As Well Live ()
  • ... her locks had been so frequently and drastically brightened and curled that to caress them, one felt, would be rather like running one's fingers through julienne potatoes.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Lolita," The Portable Dorothy Parker, rev. ed. ()
  • When I was young and bold and strong, / Oh, right was right and wrong was wrong.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "The Veteran," The Portable Dorothy Parker, rev. ed. ()
  • It has lately been drawn to your correspondent's attention that, at social gatherings, she is not the human magnet she would be. Indeed, it turns out that as a source of entertainment, conviviality, and good fun, she ranks somewhere between a sprig of parsley and a single ice-skate.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Wallflower's Lament" (1928), The Portable Dorothy Parker, rev. ed. ()
  • Years are only garments, and you either wear them with style all your life, or else you go dowdy to the grave.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "The Middle or Blue Period" (1944), The Portable Dorothy Parker, rev. ed. ()
  • People ought to be one of two things, young or dead.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "The Middle or Blue Period" (1944), The Portable Dorothy Parker, rev. ed. ()
  • Prince, a precept I'd leave for you, / Coined in Eden, existing yet: / Skirt the parlor, and shun the zoo — / Women and elephants never forget.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "L'Envoi," The Portable Dorothy Parker, rev. ed. ()
  • [After hearing Louella Parsons talk interminably about the death of her dog:] Next time wouldn't it be simpler just to adopt one?

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in George Eells, Hedda and Louella ()
  • [About the head of Paramount who was five-foot-four:] A pony's ass.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Adela Rogers St. John, Some Are Born Great ()
  • [To a barroom bore during the period of her blacklisting in the '40s:] With the crown of thorns I wear, why should I be bothered with a prick like you?

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Gary Herman, The Book of Hollywood Quotes ()
  • The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant — and let the air out of the tires.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Frank Muir, Frank Muir on Children ()
  • Guido Natso is natso guido.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Ned Sherrin, Cutting Edge ()
  • [From a window in the Writer's Building at MGM, which overlooked a cemetery:] Hello down there. It might interest you to know that up here we are just as dead as you are.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • 1932, in Sheilah Graham, Hollywood Revisited ()
  • [On the ringing of her doorbell or telephone:] What fresh hell is this?

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Marion Meade, Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This? ()
  • [The transatlantic crossing was] so rough that the only thing I could keep on my stomach was the first mate.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Marion Meade, Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This? ()
  • [Telegram sent (collect) after an ostentatious pregnancy:] Good work, Mary. We all knew you had it in you.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • 1915, in Marion Meade, Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This? ()
  • [To the British actor who annoyed her by repeated references to his busy 'shedule':] I think you're full of skit.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Marion Meade, Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This? ()
  • Listen, Fred, don't feel badly when I die, because I've been dead for a long time.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • 1967, in Marion Meade, Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This? ()
  • When asked by Harold Ross, editor of The New Yorker, why she hadn't been in the office for a week to write her article:] Someone was using the pencil.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in S.T. Brownlow, ed., The Sayings of Dorothy Parker ()
  • The only 'ism' Hollywood really believes in is plagiarism.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in K. Madsen Roth, ed., Hollywood Wits ()
  • [On a gay British actor:] He simply buggers description.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Stuart Y. Silverstein, Not Much Fun: The Lost Poems of Dorothy Parker ()
  • Scratch an actor and you'll find an actress.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Stuart Y. Silverstein, Not Much Fun: The Lost Poems of Dorothy Parker ()
  • [To a federal agent:] Listen, I can't even get my dog to stay down. Do I look to you like someone who could overthrow the government?

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Stuart Y. Silverstein, Not Much Fun: The Lost Poems of Dorothy Parker ()
  • [Completely bored by a country weekend, wiring to a friend:] For heaven's sake, rush me a loaf of bread, enclosing saw and file.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Stuart Y. Silverstein, Not Much Fun: The Lost Poems of Dorothy Parker ()
  • Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • Skiing is difficult and none of my business.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • If you attend this drama and if you don't knit, bring a book.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • She wore a low but futile décolletage.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • [Seeing Henry and Clare Boothe Luce:] Here come Arsenic and Old Luce!

    • Dorothy Parker
  • Just before they made S.J. Perelman, they broke the mold.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • Hollywood is one place in the world where you can die of encouragement.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • Youth is a disease from which we all recover.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • People are more fun than anyone.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • I don't know much about being a millionaire, but I'm sure I'd be darling at it.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • Love is like quicksilver in the hand. Leave the fingers open, and it stays. Clutch it, and it darts away.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • Genius can write on the back of old envelopes but mere talent requires the finest stationery available.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • [Epitaph:] Involved in a plot.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • [On Alan Campbell, whom she married twice:] Oh, don't worry about Alan ... Alan will always land on somebody's feet.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • I love to drink Martinis, / Two at the very most / Three, I'm under the table; / Four, I'm under the host.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second-greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first-greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they're happy.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • Heterosexuality is not normal, it's just common.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • Lips that taste of tears, they say / Are the best for kissing.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Threnody," Enough Rope ()
  • In youth, it was a way I had / To do my best to please, / And change, with every passing lad, / To suit his theories. / But now I know the things I know, / And do the things I do, / And if you do not like me so, / To hell, my love, with you!

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Indian Summer," The Portable Dorothy Parker ()
  • Already he is hailed as great / By cultural minorities, / For all his works have been, to date, / Suppressed by the authorities. / Our literati have confessed / Nothing succeeds like the suppressed.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Our Own Home Talent," Life ()
  • [During a party, a big thump on the ceiling came from the inveterate name-dropper's apartment overhead:] All right, George! Drop the other name!

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Billy Wilder, "The Talk of the Town," The New Yorker ()
  • [On James Thurber's editorship of The New Yorker:] It always seems to be the same old story about somebody's childhood in Pakistan.

  • I'll never see — and don't I know 'em! — / A critic lovely as a poem.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • [On being confronted by a woman asking if she was Dorothy Parker:] Yes, do you mind?

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits ()
  • [To her assistant, after Mrs. Peabody, a movie studio executive's wife, personally delivered a dinner invitation and then left Dorothy's office:] After a decent interval, write a note to those illiterate, phony bores that I can't make their damned party ... [Mrs. Peabody re-entered the office] ... because I'm dining that evening with the Peabody's.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Edward Gross, Embarrassment in Everyday Life ()
  • I'd like to have a martini, / Two at the very most. / After three I'm under the table, / After four I'm under my host.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • Don't look at me in that tone of voice.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • I hate writing, I love having written.

    • Dorothy Parker
  • I heard someone say, and so I said it, too, that ridicule is the most effective weapon. I don't suppose I ever really believed it, but it was easy, and so I said it. Well, now I know. I know that there are things that never have been funny, and never will be. And I know that ridicule may be a shield, but it is not a weapon.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Heywood Broun, "It Seems to Me," My World Telegram ()
  • [On her mother-in-law:] Hortense is the only woman I know who pronounces the word 'egg' with three syllables.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Leslie Frewin, The Late Mrs. Dorothy Parker ()
  • [On Graham Greene's A Burnt-Out Case:] I sometimes wish that Mr. Greene had not joined the church quite so vehemently.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Esquire ()
  • Hemingway has an unerring sense of selection. He discards details with a magnificent lavishness; he keeps his words to their short path. His is, as any reader knows, a dangerous influence. The simple thing he does looks so easy to do.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in The New Yorker ()
  • [On Fannie Hurst's Back Pay:] The stage hands had to keep sweeping up periodic sentences, so that they wouldn't clutter up the wings and the actors climbed laboriously over stacks of similes every time they made an entrance or an exit.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Ainslie's ()
  • [On being asked by David Susskind what upsets her:] Many things. Injustice, Intolerance, Smugness, Stupidity ... Segregation. I'm very disturbed about that. [She left her estate to the NAACP.]

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • on "Open End" television show ()
  • The ugliest modern gesture — that of a man looking at his wrist-watch.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in S.T. Brownlow, The Sayings of Dorothy Parker ()
  • [On George Sand:] What time the gifted lady took / Away from paper, pen, and book, / She spent in amorous dalliance / (They do those things so well in France).

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "A Pig's Eye View of Literature," The Collected Dorothy Parker ()

Dorothy Parker, U.S. writer, humorist, critic, poet

(1893 - 1967)

Full name: Dorothy Rothschild Parker.