Top British Quotes

Browse top 735 famous quotes and sayings about British by most favorite authors.

Favorite British Quotes

1. "As a member of the Protestant British squirearchy ruling Ireland, he was touchy about his Irish origins. When in later life an enthusiastic Gael commended him as a famous Irishman, he replied "A man can be born in a stable, and yet not be an animal."
Author: Arthur Wellesley Wellington
2. "Being a fan of authentic Dada, I find today's art - what I call 'Bankers' Dada' - mind-numbingly dull. The most challenging work I've seen of late is by The British Art Resistance. Their document, 'A Call for Heroes in an Age of Cowards', is apt in these days of witless chancers."
Author: Billy Childish
3. "When I die there may be a paragraph or two in the newspapers. My name will linger in the British Museum Reading Room catalogue for a space at the head of a long list of books for which no one will ever ask."
Author: C. S. Forester
4. "There is a marvelous turn and trick to British arrogance; its apparent unconsciousness makes it twice as effectual."
Author: Catherine Drinker Bowen
5. "I gave my parole once, and it has been shamefully violated by the British Government; I shall not give another to people on whom no faith can be reposed."
Author: Christopher Gadsden
6. "This historic general election, which showed that the British are well able to distinguish between patriotism and Toryism, brought Clement Attlee to the prime ministership. In the succeeding five years, Labor inaugurated the National Health Service, the first and boldest experiment in socialized medicine. It took into public ownership all the vital (and bankrupted) utilities of the coal, gas, electricity and railway industries. It even nibbled at the fiefdoms and baronies of private steel, air transport and trucking. It negotiated the long overdue independence of India. It did all this, in a country bled white by the World War and subject to all manner of unpopular rationing and controls, without losing a single midterm by-election (a standard not equaled by any government of any party since). And it was returned to office at the end of a crowded term."
Author: Christopher Hitchens
7. "It's certainly true that I was brought up in that British amateur tradition, the one which always held that if you were reasonably good at cricket, knew one or two Latin texts and a few zingy Oscar Wilde quotes for dinner parties, you were pretty much ready to go and run some outpost in Hindustan."
Author: Damian Lewis
8. "Good heavens, no! I would not wish a British chef on anyone except the French tax collectors."
Author: Dan Brown
9. "In one line of his poem he said good fences make good neighbors. I'd like to think that Alaska and British Columbia working together can prove that we can be pretty darned good neighbors without fences."
Author: Dan Miller
10. "If these theatres didn't exist, the tradition of British theatre would cease to exist."
Author: David Soul
11. "Nearly 30 years since his only tour of Australia, mention of Tavaré still occasions winces and groans. Despite its continental lilt, his name translates into Australian as a very British brand of obduracy, that Trevor Baileyesque quality of making every ditch a last one."
Author: Gideon Haigh
12. "In five hundred years' time, to the historian writing the Decline and Fall of the British Empire, this little episode would not exist. There will be plenty of other causes. You and me and poor Jones will not even figure in a footnote. It will be all economics, politics, battles."
Author: Graham Greene
13. "It the British System is the most gigantic system of slavery the world has yet seen, and therefore it is that freedom gradually disappears from every country over which England is enabled to obtain control."
Author: Henry Charles Carey
14. "British girls are as temperamental as Americans."
Author: Ivor Novello
15. "...parking was well on the way to becoming the British population's greatest spiritual need."
Author: J.G. Ballard
16. "When I first did a U.S. pilot season, there were very few British actors schlepping around town trying to get into television. That was 1999."
Author: Jamie Bamber
17. "I was at a party in 1989 and Ian McEwan, Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie were sitting on a sofa wondering where the next generation of great British writers would come from. As we talked, it became clear they had never read a word by me."
Author: Jeanette Winterson
18. "British actors behave like Europeans; they are also extremely well trained."
Author: Jean Jacques Annaud
19. "I had to choose between American and British actors, and it didn't take me more than a second to decide: Russians are Europeans and should be played by other Europeans."
Author: Jean Jacques Annaud
20. ". . . I still hold two truths with equal and fundamental certainty. One: the British did terrible things to the Irish. Two: the Irish, had they the power, would have done equally terrible things to the British. And so also for any other paired adversaries I can imagine. The difficulty is to hold on to both truths with equal intensity, not let either one negate the other, and know when to emphasize one without forgetting the other. Our humanity is probably lost and gained in the necessary tension between them both. I hope, by the way, that I do not sound anti-British. It is impossible not to admire a people who gave up India and held on to Northern Ireland. That shows a truly Celtic sense of humor."
Author: John Dominic Crossan
21. "I once heard someone say morality was method. Do you hold with that? I suppose you wouldn't. You would say that morality was vested in the aim, I expect. Difficult to know what one's aims are, that's the trouble, specially if you're British."
Author: John Le Carré
22. "He takes two tea bags in a four-ounce cup and he doesn't mince words: when a pair of earnest British journalists once asked him how he thought the tigers could be saved, his answer, "AIDS," caught them off guard."But don't you care about people?" one of them asked."Not really," he replied. "Especially not the Chinese."
Author: John Vaillant
23. "My hobbies are cooking and gardening, especially growing orchids. I love soccer, my husband and I support a British team called Chelsea, and I also enjoy tennis. We have 3 cats."
Author: Juliet Mills
24. "I have a dialect myself; it's more pronounced, because I have studied theatre and been in England. It's half-British, half-Indian."
Author: Kunal Nayyar
25. "In London in the 1980s some migrants from former British colonies in the Caribbean responded to racist attacks with a powerful slogan: "We are here because you were there."
Author: Laurent Dubois
26. "The British attendees reported a similar difficulty identifying introverts in America because "U.S. Introverts exhibited behavior that in the United Kingdom was associated with Extroversion: sociability, comfort with small talk, disclosure of personal information, energetic and fast-paced conversation, and so forth." Most Americans, whether introverted or extroverted, have learned to look like extroverts."
Author: Laurie A. Helgoe
27. "In British culture, redheads get teased at school. But I've grown up enough to realize I love my hair."
Author: Lily Cole
28. "But you know we couldn't compare what we do with what the British athletes did at the Olympics. We are very proud to be British and if we have done our bit to promote Britain in a historic year for the country that's brilliant."
Author: Louis Tomlinson
29. "At first, I found the music I was making really hard to find a home for. I felt like my attitude was really British, but not the actual sounds I was making. Back in 2003, when I made 'Galang,' there were no clubs that had an 'anything and everything' attitude."
Author: M.I.A.
30. "To cure the British disease with socialism was like trying to cure leukaemia with leeches."
Author: Margaret Thatcher
31. "The usual fiction – that the war would involve precision targeting and the careful avoidance of civilian deaths – was stated by Tony Blair at the beginning of the war. After similar bombing campaigns against Yugoslavia and Iraq, Blair was by now acting as virtual White House spokesperson, providing the pretence of an 'international coalition' in what was clearly a US war. This role was more important than Britain's military contribution, which in the early days of the bombing campaign was token and probably of no military value. The British army did later prove useful, however, when it was..."
Author: Mark Curtis
32. "Were British protesters, armed with little more than a frisbee and a bag of plastic toy soldiers, really in danger of being shot by the US military in Gloucestershire?"
Author: Mark Thomas
33. "The British government says that for Sinn Fein to be involved in talks the guns must be left at the door."
Author: Martin McGuinness
34. "The woman was the kind of woman that the British find breathtakingly sexy and I could never figure out why. She had short, dark hair that was a little bit spiky on top and a curvy little body. She was cute, I supposed, but was no goddess. She wasn't worthy of him. And yet Sean looked like he wanted to eat her up."
Author: Megan Crane
35. "I built up a knowledge of 1960s and '70s British films because my dad used to work nights, and I'd sit up with my mum and watch films - 'How I Won the War' and the films of Richard Lester, Karel Reisz and John Schlesinger."
Author: Nick Moran
36. "Early British pop was helped tremendously by the writing of Bob Dylan who had proved you could write about political and quite controversial subjects. Certainly what we did followed on from what was happening with the angry young men in the theatre."
Author: Pete Townshend
37. "I felt a little like saying 'Eeeeeeeeek!' myself, but seeing Myrtle so afraid reminded me that I was British, and must be brave."
Author: Philip Reeve
38. "The actor Richard Burton once wrote an article for the New York Times about his experience playing the role of Winston Churchill in a television drama:"In the course of preparing myself...I realized afresh that I hate Churchill and all of his kind. I hate them virulently. They have stalked down the corridors of endless power all through history.... What man of sanity would say on hearing of the atrocities committed by the Japanese against British and Anzac prisoners of war, 'We shall wipe them out, everyone of them, men, women, and children. There shall not be a Japanese left on the face of the earth? Such simple--minded cravings for revenge leave me with a horrified but reluctant awe for such single--minded and merciless ferocity."--"
Author: Richard Francis Burton
39. "I suppose I miss the British cynicism and the humor."
Author: Rod Stewart
40. "The British are so funny."
Author: Rose Byrne
41. "American grammar doesn't have the sturdiness of British grammar (a British advertising man with a proper education can make magazine copy for ribbed condoms sound like the Magna goddam Carta), but it has its own scruffy charm"
Author: Stephen King
42. "The British invasion was the most important event of my life. I was in New Jersey and the night I saw the Beatles changed everything. I had seen Elvis before and he had done nothing for me, but these guys were in a band."
Author: Steven Van Zandt
43. "British people might wonder 'What the hell is Kenneth Branagh doing directing 'Thor?'' but the person asking that the most was Kenneth Branagh. I think he was more surprised than anyone else to find himself doing this kind of film."
Author: Tadanobu Asano
44. "I know that small-town silence, I'd run into it before, intangible as smoke and solid as stone. We honed it on the British for centuries and it's ingrained, the instinct for a place to close up like a fist when the police come knocking. Sometimes it means nothing more than that; but it's a powerful thing, that silence, dark and tricky and lawless. It still hides bones buried somewhere in the hills, arsenals cached in pigsties. The British underestimated it, fell for the practiced half-witted looks, but I knew and Sam knew: it's dangerous."
Author: Tana French
45. "I wil not compare the education of an ancient Spartan with that of a British nobleman."
Author: Thomas Day
46. "An enormous semiofficial drug-smuggling operation was established in order to improve Britain's unfavorable balance of payments with China—the direct result of the British love of tea."
Author: Tom Standage
47. "I love London. I would move here. I like British people; everybody is so down to earth."
Author: Verne Troyer
48. "London was like a machine. We were all being shot backwards and forwards on this plain foundation to make some pattern. The British Museum was another department of the factory. The swing-doors swung open; and there one stood under the vast dome, as if one where a thought in the huge bald fore head which is so splendidly encircled by a band of famous names."
Author: Virginia Woolf
49. "This was the period when I used all the influence I had to get the British to abandon their export trade, and as much as possible convert all of their manufacturing facilities to the immediate needs of the war, including civilian, as well as military requirements."
Author: W. Averell Harriman
50. "The first Embassy to Afghanistan by a western power left the Company's Delhi Residency on 13 October 1808, with the Ambassador accompanied by 200 calvary, 4,000 infantry, a dozen elephants and no fewer than 600 camels. It was dazzling, but it was also clear from this attempt to reach out to the Afghans that the British were not interested in cultivating Shah Shuja's friendship for its own sake, but were concerned only to outflank their imperial rivals: the Afghans were perceived as mere pawns on the chessboard of western diplomacy, to be engaged or sacrificed at will. It was a precedent that was to be followed many other times, by several different powers, over the years and decades to come; and each time the Afghans would show themselves capable of defending their inhospitable terrain far more effectively than any of their would-be manipulators could possibly have suspected."
Author: William Dalrymple

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Passion has more applications than just about anything. If you don't have a fire in your belly about something, you should go start one."
Author: Cassandra Duffy

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