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Debaser
08-01-2002, 08:01 PM
Can anyone tell me who first said the famous quote:

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than speak and remove all doubt."

The first thing I thought when asked was Lincoln. But, after trying to verify this by doing a google search I found many sites attributing this quote to varying people.

This site (http://ag.wastholm.net/aphorism/A-1713) credits a Samuel Johnson.

This site (http://expage.com/absolutegenius) credits Lincoln. As do many others.

This site (http://cs.princeton.edu/~blume/plan.html) claims "author unknown".

This yahoo site (http://ask.yahoo.com/ask/20010115.html) is probably the best I found. It has a lenghy explination that basically admits they don't know.

So, Dopers. What say you? Can anybody come up with the source?

hajario
08-01-2002, 08:37 PM
It is usually attributed to Lincoln but there are a couple sites that link it to someone named Silvan Engel. Here (http://users.bestweb.net/~notr/engel.html) is a link where a guy has done some serious searching on the matter. From the Googling that I've done, it doesn't seem that there is a known answer.

Haj

David Simmons
08-01-2002, 08:59 PM
Originally posted by Debaser
Can anyone tell me who first said the famous quote:

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than speak and remove all doubt."

The first thing I thought when asked was Lincoln. But, after trying to verify this by doing a google search I found many sites attributing this quote to varying people.

This site (http://ag.wastholm.net/aphorism/A-1713) credits a Samuel Johnson.

This site (http://expage.com/absolutegenius) credits Lincoln. As do many others.

This site (http://cs.princeton.edu/~blume/plan.html) claims "author unknown".

This yahoo site (http://ask.yahoo.com/ask/20010115.html) is probably the best I found. It has a lenghy explination that basically admits they don't know.

So, Dopers. What say you? Can anybody come up with the source?

I've always heard that it was from Ben Franklin in the character of Poor Richard. However, if Google and others say the origin is obscure, they are probably right.

AWB
08-01-2002, 09:47 PM
I've always thought it was Mark Twain/Samuel Clemmons. But maybe he was just quoting it from one of his predecessors.

mazzer
08-01-2002, 11:56 PM
I had always heard it cited to Voltaire.

Hail Ants
08-02-2002, 01:26 AM
Kwai Chang Caine said it on Kung Fu a few times...

Doo Gettalong
08-05-2010, 12:35 AM
the Proverbs of Solomon 17:28 Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

This is where the quote originated, despite the intentions of those who would discredit the source. In fact, almost all the really good quotes and sayings we still use today originated in the scriptures. Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln were both students of the scriptures!

FUN FACT: Karma is the wrong way to describe the universal principle of "Sowing and Reaping."

...and now you know

JKilez
08-05-2010, 07:06 AM
Wow! Paul Harvey likes brains!!!

minlokwat
08-05-2010, 07:16 AM
I think I remember Lisa (Simpson, of course) crediting Confucius as the originator.

That's good enough for me.

qpw3141
08-05-2010, 08:14 AM
the Proverbs of Solomon 17:28 Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

This is where the quote originated, despite the intentions of those who would discredit the source.

Sorry, but the above is completely invalid.

The quote in question does not talk about someone keeping quiet and appearing wise, it talks about someone keeping quiet and being thought a fool.

And the biblical quote does not mention speaking and thus confirming foolishness.

So, it's only half the quote, the sense of that half is almost the reverse of the quote in question and the element of wry humour is also missing.

lokij
08-05-2010, 09:18 AM
My money is on Odin, from the Hávamál...


The ignorant booby had best be silent
When he moves among other men,
No one will know what a nit-wit he is
Until he begins to talk;
No one knows less what a nit-wit he is
Than the man who talks too much.

CookingWithGas
08-05-2010, 09:43 AM
the Proverbs of Solomon 17:28 Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

This is where the quote originated, despite the intentions of those who would discredit the source. In fact, almost all the really good quotes and sayings we still use today originated in the scriptures. Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln were both students of the scriptures!

FUN FACT: Karma is the wrong way to describe the universal principle of "Sowing and Reaping."

...and now you knowNot sure why you opened an 8-year-old thread when you could have contributed to one from a couple of weeks ago (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=570899). Anyway, engineer_comp_geek beat you to it.

Tom Scud
08-05-2010, 09:48 AM
Although it has a similar meaning, the bible quote lacks the humor of the "and remove all doubt" quote; whoever came up with the later version definitely added value.

Colibri
08-05-2010, 10:31 AM
Given that we have a much more recent thread on this, and this one is so old, I'm going to close this one to avoid confusion. See the link in post #12 for the current thread.

Colibri
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