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10 Dorothy Parker Quotes That Will Make You Laugh and Think

Discover the timeless wit and wisdom of Dorothy Parker with these famous literary quotes. Immerse yourself in her witty quotes and sayings, and be inspired by the brilliance of this iconic woman writer.
by The Blinkist Team | Dec 7 2023
Credits: Anthony Calvacca

Dorothy Parker, a renowned American writer and poet, left an indelible mark on the literary world with her sharp wit and biting social commentary. Born in 1893, Parker’s work remains relevant today, as she fearlessly tackled topics such as love, relationships, and societal norms. Her unique writing style and satirical voice continue to captivate readers, making her an influential figure in the world of literature.

Dorothy Parker was known for her sharp wit and biting humor. Her words have the power to make you burst into laughter while also making you pause and reflect on the deeper truths of life. In this article, we have gathered 10 of Dorothy Parker’s most hilarious and thought-provoking quotes that are sure to leave you both amused and contemplative. So get ready to laugh out loud and delve into the profound wisdom of one of the wittiest minds in literary history.

10 Witty and Wise Dorothy Parker Quotes to Brighten Your Day

If all the young ladies who attended the Yale promenade dance were laid end to end, no one would be the least surprised.

Dorothy Parker

This line highlights the humorous and satirical nature of the quote. It suggests that the Yale promenade dance is attended by a large number of young ladies, and the speaker implies that this is a well-known fact. The use of the phrase “laid end to end” adds a playful tone, as it is a comical exaggeration often used to emphasize the length or quantity of something. Overall, this quote pokes fun at the predictability or lack of surprises at the Yale promenade dance.

Honesty means nothing until you are tested under circumstances where you are sure you could get away with dishonesty.

Dorothy Parker

This quote emphasizes the significance of honesty and integrity, particularly in challenging situations where the opportunity to be dishonest presents itself. It suggests that true honesty is not merely a concept or value, but rather a virtue that is tested and proven when faced with temptations or circumstances where dishonesty would go unnoticed or unpunished. This quote highlights the importance of staying true to our principles and values, even when it may be easier or more convenient to act dishonestly. It reminds us that the true test of honesty lies in our ability to maintain our integrity when no one is watching.

Heterosexuality is not normal, it’s just common.

Dorothy Parker

This quote highlights the perspective that heterosexuality, while common in society, should not be considered the norm or the only valid form of sexual orientation. It challenges the notion that any one sexual orientation is inherently superior or more “normal” than others. By stating that heterosexuality is not normal but merely common, this quote encourages a broader understanding and acceptance of diverse sexual orientations, promoting equality and inclusivity for all individuals.

Don’t look at me in that tone of voice.

Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker offers a witty and sarcastic remark on the power of nonverbal communication. This quote playfully suggests that a person’s tone of voice can convey just as much meaning and attitude as their actual words. It highlights the importance of paying attention to subtle cues and nuances in our interactions with others. Parker’s quote reminds us to be mindful of how we communicate, both verbally and nonverbally, and the impact it can have on our relationships and understanding.

You can’t teach an old dogma new tricks.

Dorothy Parker

This quote highlights the resistance to change that can often be found in established beliefs and traditions. It suggests that it is difficult, if not impossible, to teach someone who is set in their ways to adopt new ideas or perspectives. The phrase “old dogma” refers to deeply ingrained beliefs or ideologies that are resistant to change. This quote serves as a reminder that sometimes it is necessary to challenge and question long-held beliefs in order to grow and evolve. It encourages us to be open-minded and willing to embrace new ideas, even if they challenge our existing beliefs.

Years are only garments, and you either wear them with style all your life, or else you go dowdy to the grave.

Dorothy Parker

Once again, Dorothy Parker delivers a sharp and witty observation about the passage of time and the choices we make in how we live our lives. This quote suggests that the years we accumulate are like garments, and it is up to us to wear them with style and grace. It serves as a reminder that we have the power to shape our own experiences and leave a lasting impression. Parker’s words encourage us to live life to the fullest, embracing each year with flair and refusing to let our spirits fade as we age.

You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.

Dorothy Parker

This quote, from Dorothy Parker’s witty repertoire, cleverly plays with the phrase “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” With her characteristic humor, Parker twists the saying to highlight the limitations of trying to change someone’s mindset or intellectual capacity. It suggests that while one may be able to guide or influence someone’s actions, it is impossible to force them to think in a certain way. This quote serves as a reminder to accept and respect the individuality of others, recognizing that intellectual growth and curiosity cannot be imposed upon someone unwillingly.

If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second-greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first-greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.

Dorothy Parker

This line emphasizes the importance of honing one’s writing skills and understanding the fundamentals of language. It humorously suggests that aspiring writers should familiarize themselves with The Elements of Style, a renowned guide to writing, in order to improve their craft. The playful remark about shooting them while they’re happy is a tongue-in-cheek way of highlighting the challenges and frustrations that often come with pursuing a career in writing. Ultimately, the quote underscores the value of knowledge and continuous learning in the pursuit of creative endeavors.

The only dependable law of life – everything is always worse than you thought it was going to be.

Dorothy Parker

This quote emphasizes the unpredictable and often disappointing nature of life. It suggests that our expectations and perceptions of reality are often skewed, leading to a constant state of dissatisfaction. The quote implies that no matter how optimistic or hopeful we may be, life will always find a way to disappoint us. It serves as a reminder to approach life with a sense of realism and to not place too much faith in our expectations, as they are likely to be shattered.

If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

Dorothy Parker

Parker offers a witty and thought-provoking observation on the paradoxical nature of love and desire. By questioning why lingerie, a visual and sensual expression of attraction, remains popular if love is blind, she challenges conventional notions of love and highlights the complexities of human relationships. This quote showcases Parker’s sharp wit and ability to use humor to shed light on deeper truths about love, attraction, and the contradictions inherent in human nature.

In conclusion, Dorothy Parker’s quotes are a testament to her unparalleled wit and ability to blend humor with profound insights. From her witty one-liners to her sharp observations about human nature, Parker’s words continue to entertain and provoke thought. Each quote has the power to make us laugh, but also to make us question our assumptions and reflect on the complexities of life. So, the next time you need a dose of laughter and a moment of reflection, turn to Dorothy Parker and be prepared to be amused and inspired.


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