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"Never argue with idiots": 10 quotes falsely attributed to Mark Twain and other celebrities

What fake quotes were attributed to famous people

The Internet has made it easier than ever to find information, but we cannot trust everything we read, especially when it comes to famous quotes. Social media users love to share these "bits of wisdom," but they are not always attributed to the author of the post.

Some of these famous quotes were attributed to the wrong person, while others were made up without any evidence or justification. Snopes has collected 10 of the most famous fake quotes that have been used by netizens over the years.

"Never argue with idiots" – Mark Twain

''Never argue with idiots'': 10 quotes falsely attributed to Mark Twain and other celebrities

Although an image with a quote and Mark Twain's face went viral on Facebook in 2023, there is no evidence that the writer ever actually said such a thing. However, this is not the first time that this fake quote has gone viral – it has been falsely attributed to Twain since at least 2012. According to the Mark Twain Museum, there is no evidence that the famous writer ever uttered these words.

The "first sign of civilization" in an ancient culture is a femur that has been broken and then fused" – Margaret Mead

''Never argue with idiots'': 10 quotes falsely attributed to Mark Twain and other celebrities

According to many books and sources on the Internet, anthropologist Margaret Mead considered a femur that was broken and healed to be the first sign of civilization, as it indicated that someone had taken the time to care for the wounded. Allegedly, Mead quoted this famous quote in response to a student's question, but there is no evidence that this dialog actually took place.

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making plans" – John Lennon

''Never argue with idiots'': 10 quotes falsely attributed to Mark Twain and other celebrities

Despite the "facts" that try to convince us that John Lennon coined the phrase, there is no evidence that this is actually the case. Although he used the words in his song "Beautiful Boy," he is not the author of the quote. The first time this phrase could be read was in a 1957 issue of Reader's Digest written by journalist Allen Saunders.

"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always" – Robin Williams

''Never argue with idiots'': 10 quotes falsely attributed to Mark Twain and other celebrities

While Robin Williams may have lived a life that embodied the spirit of this quote, there is no evidence that he actually said the words. This quote was first falsely attributed to Williams on the internet shortly after his death in 2014. Variations of it, allegedly spoken or written by others, can be found as far back as 2009.

"World War IV would be fought with sticks and stones" – Albert Einstein

''Never argue with idiots'': 10 quotes falsely attributed to Mark Twain and other celebrities

Although he was an integral part of the team developing nuclear weapons, Albert Einstein often warned against their potential dangers. While this quote is consistent with that attitude, there is no evidence that Einstein said those exact words. Furthermore, even if he did say them, Einstein was not the original source of these sentiments, as other experts believed the same.

"Better to be alone than in bad company" – George Washington

''Never argue with idiots'': 10 quotes falsely attributed to Mark Twain and other celebrities

Although George Washington did know this quote, the former US president was not the original author. Instead, the phrase comes from a list of courtesy rules that was popular in Washington's childhood. As a young man, the politician made a handwritten copy of the rules (including the quote), which can be viewed at the Library of Congress.

"Always forgive your enemies. Nothing irritates them more than that" – Oscar Wilde

''Never argue with idiots'': 10 quotes falsely attributed to Mark Twain and other celebrities

Oscar Wilde may have been a master of witty, biting remarks, but this quote is misattributed to him. Although it is often associated with Wilde on the Internet, the first mention of this quote is by author Percy Colson in a 1949 newspaper. Colson later wrote a book about Wilde, and perhaps this is where the confusion began.

"It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled" – Mark Twain

''Never argue with idiots'': 10 quotes falsely attributed to Mark Twain and other celebrities

Despite the lack of evidence, this is another quote that has been falsely attributed to Mark Twain in the Internet age. Although he never quoted this exact quote, he did argue about the power of lies in his autobiography. So, it is possible that someone tried to paraphrase his words with this phrase, ultimately misattributing a verbatim statement to him.

"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government" – Thomas Jefferson

''Never argue with idiots'': 10 quotes falsely attributed to Mark Twain and other celebrities

This quote has been attributed to Thomas Jefferson since at least the early 2000s. But in fact, the phrase comes from a 1964 essay by the writer Ayn Rand, in which she states: "There are two potential violators of human rights: criminals and government." How and why this quote came to be associated with Jefferson is unknown.

"Don't take seriously the criticism of people you wouldn't ask for advice" – Morgan Freeman

''Never argue with idiots'': 10 quotes falsely attributed to Mark Twain and other celebrities

While some people believe this is a valid statement, there is no evidence that Morgan Freeman ever said it. It seems that netizens began to incorrectly attribute the quote to the actor in 2019.

Only verified information is available on the OBOZ.UA Telegram channel and Viber. Do not fall for fakes!

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