Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Discretion

"An ounce of discretion is worth a pound of learning." - Thomas Adams

"Foremost among the barriers to equality is the system which ignores the mother’s service to Society in making a home and rearing children. The mother is still the uncharted servant of the future, who receives from her husband, at his discretion, a share in his wages." - Katharine Anthony, fully Katharine Susan Anthony

"Discretion, the best part of valor." -

"Discretion and hardy valor are the twins of honor, and, nursed together, make a conqueror; divided, but a talker." -

"Discretion is the perfection of reason, and a guide to us in all the duties of life; cunning is a kind of instinct, that only looks after our immediate interests and welfare. Discretion is only found in men of strong sense and good understanding; cunning is often to be met with in brutes themselves, and in persons who are but the fewest removes from them." - Jean de La Bruyère

"One can pass on responsibility, but not the discretion that goes with it." - Benvenuto Cellini

"Politeness is a mixture of discretion, civility, complaisance and circumspection spread over all we do and say." - Charles de Saint-Évremond, fully Charles Marguetel de Saint-Denis, seigneur de Évremond

"Knowledge is the treasure of the mind, but discretion is the key to it, without which it is useless. The practical part of wisdom is the best." - Owen Feltham

"Great ability without discretion comes almost invariably to a tragic end." -

"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education." - Thomas Jefferson

"It is not good to speak of evil of all whom we know bad; it is worse to judge evil of any who may prove good. To speak ill upon knowledge shows a want of charity; to speak ill upon suspicion shows a want of honesty. I will not speak so bad as I know of many; I will not speak worse than I know of any. To know evil of others and not speak it, is sometimes discretion; to speak evils of others and not know it, is always dishonesty. He may be evil himself who speaks good of others upon knowledge, but he can never be good himself who speaks evil of others upon suspicion." - Arthur Warwick

"Silence, when nothing need be said, is the eloquence of discretion." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"A sound discretion is not so much indicted by never making a mistake, as by never repeating it." - John Christian Bovee

"Discretion is the perfection of reason, and a guide to us in all the duties of life. It is only found in men of sound sense and understanding." - Jean de La Bruyère

"Madness must necessarily have more followers than discretion." - Miguel de Cervantes, fully Miguel de Cervantes Saaversa

"There can be no true pleasantry without discretion." - Miguel de Cervantes, fully Miguel de Cervantes Saaversa

"Politeness is a mixture of discretion, civility, complaisance, and circumspection spread over all we do and say." - Charles de Saint-Évremond, fully Charles Marguetel de Saint-Denis, seigneur de Évremond

"Offices are given, but not discretion." - John Florio

"Great ability without discretion comes almost invariably to a tragic end." - Léon Gambetta

"Philosophy is nothing but discretion." - John Selden

"An ounce of good fortune is worth a pound of discretion." -

"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education." - Thomas Jefferson

"Discretion is being able to raise your eyebrow instead of your voice." - Author Unknown NULL

"If to talk to oneself when alone is folly, it must be doubly unwise to listen to oneself in the presence of others... In conversation discretion is more important than eloquence." - Baltasar Gracián

"Discretion is the better part of valor" - English Proverbs

"Bashfulness is a great hindrance to a man, both in uttering his sentiments and in understanding what is proposed to him; it is therefore good to press forward with discretion, both in discourse and company of the better sort." - Francis Bacon

"Discretion of speech is more than eloquence; and to speak agreeably to him with whom we deal is more than to speak in good words or in good order." - Francis Bacon

"It is good discretion not to make too much of any man at the first; because one cannot hold out that proportion." - Francis Bacon

"Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through a long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness." - George Santayana

"Perish discretion when it interferes with duty." - Hannah More

"The pleasantest part of a man’s life is generally that which passes in courtship, provided his passion be sincere, and the party beloved kind with discretion. Love, desire, hope, all the pleasing emotions of the soul, rise in the pursuit." - Joseph Addison

"Cunning is only the mimic of discretion, and may pass upon weak men, as vivacity is often mistaken for wit, and gravity for wisdom." - Joseph Addison

"There are many shining qualities on the mind of man; but none so useful as discretion. It is this which gives a value to all the rest, and sets them at work in their proper places, and turns them to the advantage of their possessor. Without it, learning is pedantry; wit, impertinence; virtue itself looks like weakness; and the best parts only qualify a man to be more sprightly in errors, and active to his own prejudice. Though a man has all other perfections and wants discretion, he will be of no great consequence in the world; but if he has this single talent in perfection, and but a common share of others, he may do what he pleases in his station of life." - Joseph Addison

"Judgment is not upon all occasions required, but discretion always is." - Lord Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

"God... created man; He has also created the circumstances under which he lives and acts; but still He has endowed man with discretion to choose how to act... And as he can exercise his discretion or his will in doing a thing or not doing it, he is responsible for his own deeds, and made to suffer the consequences." - Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.

"Discretion is the mother of virtue." - Saint Benedict of Nursia NULL

"Cowardice is not synonymous with prudence. It often happens that the better part of discretion is valour." - William Hazlitt

"The better part of valour is discretion." -

"The better part of valor is discretion." -

"Discretion and hardy valor are the twins of honor, and, nursed together, make a conqueror; divided, but a talker." - Beaumont and Fletcher, Francis Beaumont (c.1585-1614) and John Fletcher

"So long as the laws remain such as they are today, employ some discretion: loud opinion forces us to do so; but in privacy and silence let us compensate ourselves for that cruel chastity we are obliged to display in public." - Marquis de Sade, born Donatien Alphonse François de Sade

"Depart from discretion when it interferes with duty. " -

"Depart from discretion when it interferes with duty. " - Hannah More

"By placing discretion in the hands of an official to grant or deny a license, such a statute creates a threat of censorship that by its very existence chills free speech. " - Harry Blackmun, fully Harold "Harry" Andrew Blackmun

"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions. " - James Madison

"Absolute discretion is a ruthless master. It is more destructive of freedom than any of man's other inventions." - William O. Douglas, fully Judge William Orville Douglas

"Living in the present moment requires discretion toward memory. Without memory we’d have amnesia. What good would there be in that? Offer discretion and discernment for our past with a broad spectrum of forgiveness. As for our present moment, delight. And dedication to remain fully present to all the possibility" - Mary Anne Radmacher

"At times discretion should be thrown aside, and with the foolish we should play the fool." - Menander, aka Menander of Athens NULL

"It’s a sign of troubled times when the concept of “pressure” becomes an acceptable excuse for ethical shortcuts and moral shortcomings. Pressures are just temptations in disguise and it’s never been acceptable to give in to temptation. Ethics is about the way things ought to be, not about the way things are. When it comes to ethics, motive is very important. A person of character does the right thing for the right reason. Compliance is about what we must do; ethics is about what we should do. Ethical people often do more than the law requires and less than it allows. The area of discretion between the legal “must” and the moral “should” tests our character. Noble talk and framed ethics statements are no substitute for principled conduct. The test is doing the right thing." - Michael S. Josephson