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  • Nobody ever notices the host at a party, until the drink runs out.

  • Invitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

  • Always at a dance, formal or informal, there are guests who do not dance. ... But 'the guest who does not dance' is one of the unfortunate things the hostess has to put up with at every one of her dances.

  • For some unexplained reason, it's always the other end of the table that's wild and raucous, with screaming laughter and a fella who plays 'Holiday for Strings' on water glasses.

  • ... the person talking to you never looks directly at you, but rather around the room, searching for the answer to the universal cocktail party question, 'Who's here tonight?'

  • Finally ... You have accomplished your mission in going there tonight — you were 'seen,' and you furnished your host and hostess with the sincerest proof of your great love and friendship for them — you endured their cocktail party.

  • 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.

  • [When asked if she'd enjoyed a cocktail party:] Enjoyed it! One more drink and I'd have been under the host.

  • 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. ()
  • To me having a party is something like having a baby. The fact that you got through the last one alive is not somehow sufficiently reassuring now.

  • It is a fact of life that people give dinner parties, and when they invite you, you have to turn around and invite them back. Often they retaliate by inviting you again, and you must then extend another invitation. Back and forth you go, like Ping-Pong balls, and what you end up with is called social life.

  • Without peanuts, it isn't a cocktail party.

  • Parties happened more easily and more often in the olden days; a piano and three or more people constituted a party.

  • The worst thing that happens to people when they dress up and go to a party is that they leave their real selves at home.

    • Marilyn Monroe,
    • in Herb Boyd, Seductive Sayings: Marilyn Monroe Her Own Words ()
  • It's when most of the guests have gone that the party really gets interesting — peering under the table and into the bath to see who's stayed and what shape they're in. It is then that those who are still conscious divulge things you had not known before: sometimes about themselves, sometimes about other people and sometimes about you. It does not necessarily make pleasant hearing but it is always fascinating. In the relaxed atmosphere, in the wake of the hubbub, they unwind and grow confidential — nay, indiscreet. If they are not already, they end up as your closest friends.

  • The fact is, the cocktail party has much in its favor. Going to one is a good way of indicating that you're still alive and about, if such is the case, and that you're glad other people are, without having to spend an entire evening proving it.

  • A person who uses party as a verb is a person who will walk into a shop and walk out wearing a rubber jumpsuit.

  • One cannot have too large a party. A large party secures its own amusement.

  • I feel inauthentic at a party. ... Going to a party is a 'low' activity — the authentic self is compromised, fragmented — one plays 'roles.' One isn't fully present, beyond role-playing. One doesn't (can't) tell the full truth, which means one is lying, even if one doesn't literally tell lies.

    • Susan Sontag,
    • 1970, in David Rieff, ed., As Consciousness is Harnessed to Flesh2012)
  • Cocktail parties ... are usually not parties at all but mass ceremonials designed to clear up at one great stroke a wealth of obligations ...

  • It is a widespread and firm belief among guests that their departure is always a matter of distress to their hosts, and that in order to indicate that they have been pleasantly entertained, they must demonstrate an extreme unwillingness to allow the entertainment to conclude. This is not necessarily true.

  • Originality is not everything. The words hosts most want to hear when the evening is over are 'Thank you, I had a wonderful time' and 'Good night.'

  • ... somehow at parties at which one stays standing up one seems to require to be more concentratedly intelligent than one does at those at which one can sit down.

  • Eventually, life of the party is just like any other job. I've thought of myself that way at times, but it's sort of like holding everybody hostage. It diminishes everyone else. And ultimately, your friends don't require it of you.

  • Her cocktail bouts are long and loud, / She asks a monumental crowd, / For, to be frank, her one concern / Is being feted in return.

  • A party is a slightly artificial event where one learns the rudiments of human behavior at its most admirable: speaking when spoken to, looking somebody in the eye, shaking hands and being friendly under duress.

  • ... leaving a New Year's Eve party at eleven o'clock to go somewhere else is tantamount to telling your host he has doggy breath.

  • The main purpose of children's parties is to remind you that there are children more awful than your own.

  • Some people have family crests, lions, tigers, unicorns, elephants — a whole menagerie — and if my family had a crest, you know what would be on it? A blintze. I mean it. All the good things in my life are measured in blintzes because by us it's not a party if there isn't a blintze ...

    • Gertrude Berg,
    • in Gertrude Berg and Myra Waldo, The Molly Goldberg Jewish Cookbook ()
  • We always deeply resent the person at a party who, while he speaks with us, keeps his eyes roving around the room as if in search of someone bigger and better to talk to.

    • Dorothy Walworth,
    • in Herbert Victor Prochnow, Speaker's Handbook of Epigrams and Witticisms ()
  • Small children do not belong at an adult party, and especially should not be used like trained midgets to help serve martinis.

  • Homogeneity is much to be admired — in milk, for instance — but not for parties.

  • Large cocktail parties are an infamous technique for ridding yourself of social obligations to people you usually don't know well or like much, which is such an unpromising beginning that I've rarely known one that recovered and turned into a great party.

  • The origin of a modern party is anthropological: humans meet and share food to lower hostility between them and indicate friendship.

  • Food became, for dinner parties in the sixties, what abstract expressionism had been in the fifties.

  • The joy of a party is the newness of people to each other, renewed strikingness of humanity. They love each other, to distraction. Really to distraction. Before they fall into conversation and separate. ... The strangeness, and the hopes aroused by strangeness, are illusions. Mirages arising wherever people gather expectantly together.

  • Aaa — deliver me from married people's parties. Couples who have bashes all the time, so that the ree-lay-shun-ship may have an audience.

  • Giving a party is like having a baby: its conception is more fun than its completion; and once you have begun it, it is almost impossible to stop.

  • There is nothing more tedious than a constant round of gaiety.

  • You have to take some of your good time to any social gathering.

  • Concocting a good guest list is like seasoning a gourmet sauce. Too many similar ingredients and it's bland. Too much variety in the seasoning and the result may be overpowering.

  • Parties are always full of people who hate parties.

  • If Ruby intended her party to be a salon it was a typographical error.

  • Cocktail party? ... It's a new idea — don't you have them at Oxford? You will soon, mark my words. I rather like them. You're not obliged to talk to anybody and when you get home, it's bedtime.

  • [On a dull party:] It was a fête worse than death.

  • Having your husband at a party is like adding anchovies to a salad. I love anchovies, but you can't taste anything else.

  • A cardinal rule was that you never sat interesting people with bores. You put all the bores at one table. They didn't know they were bores, and they had a marvelous time. And the interesting people, of course, had no problem having a great time, because they were interesting.

  • It is not the correct thing to invite many people who like to monopolize conversation; one of this kind will be found amply sufficient.

  • It's the kind of gathering where one feels a need to apologize for never having been to prison.

  • I know the dying process begins the minute we are born, but sometimes it accelerates during dinner parties.

  • To get fifty people to a cocktail party in New York, you ask one hundred. In Hollywood, you invite twenty.

    • Elsa Maxwell,
    • in Malcolm Forbes, Women Who Made a Difference ()
  • I want a woman guest to be beautiful. Second, I want her to be beautifully dressed. Third, I demand animation and vivacity. Brains are always awkward at a gay and festive party. Brains are only a requisite when the party is limited to a handful of persons, say six or eight. And, fifth, I expect obedience. It is ruinous if guests refuse to cooperate with a hostess. Above all things, a man should be good-looking. Then he should boast a tailor who is an artist. Third, he must not be overly married. This is a matter of attitude. Fourth, men guests must not only dance well but be willing to dance. Finally, all men should have manners. I'd rather they didn't throw bottles out of the window.

    • Elsa Maxwell,
    • in Gene Tierney, with Mickey Herskowitz, Self-Portrait ()
  • Cocktails are society's most enduring invention.

    • Elsa Maxwell,
    • in Stephen Birmingham, The Right People ()
  • If you cannot come to the party, do not cancel at the last minute or give a message to a child to inform the host. And don't bother explaining why you can't attend because anything after 'because' is bullshit.

  • [On how to be a successful host:] When your guests arrive say, 'At last!' And when they leave say, 'So soon!'

    • Anonymous,
    • in Henry O. Dormann, ed., The Speaker's Book of Quotations ()
  • At every party there are two kinds of people — those who want to go home and those who don't. The trouble is, they are usually married to each other.

  • [To people whom she had not invited:] I wanted to ask you to my party, you know, but the State Department crossed you off my list.

  • All you have to do to draw a crowd to a Washington party is to hang a lamb chop in the window.

    • Perle Mesta,
    • in Katharine Graham, Katharine Graham's Washington ()