Friday, April 24, 2009

Say What?

I just learned some interesting tidbits and I feel I have to share them.

"Hell have no fury like a Woman scorned" is a misquotation. The actual line is "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned."

"Music has charms to soothe the savage beast" is also a misquotation. The real line is "Music has charms to soothe the savage breast." Both of these quotes come from the works of William Congreve. Apparently he was quite adept as a wordsmith and yet no one listened very closely.

While I'm on this kick I might as well do a couple more.

"Pride comes before a fall" is really "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."

"Money is the root of all evil" is actually "For the love of money is the root of all evil...". I'll admit they are close, but I think the connotations are quite different.

And you know what? Sherlock Holmes never said "Elementary, my dear Watson." Although he has said "Elementary" and he has said "Watson". I'm also reasonably confident he has also said "My dear" at some point as well. Just never in conjunction.

It all makes you wonder how these things get started.


  1. you know that "ignorance is bliss" is also a misquotation. it's actually "ignorance is bliss if wisdom is folly." basically, ignorance is never bliss.

    i love finding these things out :)

  2. The misquotations often seem to pervert the original meanings.