• French writer
  • Born November 21, 1694
  • Died May 30, 1778

François-Marie Arouet (French: [fʁɑ̃swa maʁi aʁwɛ]; 21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), known by his nom de plume Voltaire (; also US: , French: [vɔltɛːʁ]), was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his criticism of Christianity, especially the Roman Catholic Church, as well as his advocacy of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state. Voltaire was a versatile and prolific writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works.

Wherever there is a settled society, religion is necessary; the laws cover manifest crimes, and religion covers secret crimes.

To the wicked, everything serves as pretext.

Illusion is the first of all pleasures.

A witty saying proves nothing.

The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reason.

The Holy Roman Empire is neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire.

Men use thought only as authority for their injustice, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts.

Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.

Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.

The mouth obeys poorly when the heart murmurs.

The mouth obeys poorly when the heart murmurs.

The public is a ferocious beast; one must either chain it or flee from it.

Tears are the silent language of grief.

One merit of poetry few persons will deny: it says more and in fewer words than prose.

The ancients recommended us to sacrifice to the Graces, but Milton sacrificed to the Devil.

Divorce is probably of nearly the same date as marriage. I believe, however, that marriage is some weeks the more ancient.

The world embarrasses me, and I cannot dream that this watch exists and has no watchmaker.

I am very fond of truth, but not at all of martyrdom.

Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable.

It is said that the present is pregnant with the future.

The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.

One great use of words is to hide our thoughts.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.

Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.

Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.

God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.

The superfluous, a very necessary thing.

The progress of rivers to the ocean is not so rapid as that of man to error.

All styles are good except the tiresome kind.

It is the flash which appears, the thunderbolt will follow.

Use, do not abuse... neither abstinence nor excess ever renders man happy.

Ice-cream is exquisite - what a pity it isn't illegal.

Very often, say what you will, a knave is only a fool.

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.

The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess it.

It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue.

Love has features which pierce all hearts, he wears a bandage which conceals the faults of those beloved. He has wings, he comes quickly and flies away the same.

Froth at the top, dregs at bottom, but the middle excellent.