Mediocrity is the state of being mediocre, having only an average degree of quality or skills, and no better than standard. An individual with mediocre abilities or achievements may be referred to as a mediocrity.
- There is plenty of room at the top because very few people care to travel beyond the average route. And so most of us seem satisfied to remain within the confines of mediocrity.
- Nnamdi Azikiwe, My Odyssey (1971), No. 5.
- We mistrust anything that too strongly challenges our ideal of mediocrity.
- Robertson Davies, The Noble Greeks (1993).
- Our democratic dogma has leveled not only all voters but all leaders; we delight to show that living geniuses are only mediocrities, and that dead ones are myths.
- Will Durant, The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time.
- Those who aim at faultless regularity will only produce mediocrity, and no one ever approaches perfection except by stealth, and unknown to themselves.
- William Hazlitt, "Thoughts on Taste", The Edinburgh Magazine, July 1819, final paragraph.
- Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them.
- The generation of an infinite number of bogusly 'objective' sentences in an English of agonizing patchwork mediocrity is no cause for celebration, even if it eventually amounts to a Borgesian paraphrase of our entire universe. [...] I liked the internet better before. The mistakes had flavor, passion, transparent purpose.
- Jonathan Lethem, "All-Star Thinkers on Wikipedia's 10th Anniversary", The Atlantic, 13 January 2011.
- The appearance of a single great genius is more than equivalent to the birth of a hundred mediocrities.
- Cesare Lombroso, The Man of Genius (1891), Pt. II, ch. 2.
- You have the army of mediocrities followed by the multitude of fools. As the mediocrities and the fools always form the immense majority, it is impossible for them to elect an intelligent government.
- Guy de Maupassant, "Sundays of a Bourgeois".
- Never were abilities so much below mediocrity so well rewarded; no, not when Caligula's horse was made Consul.
- John Randolph of Roanoke, referring to Richard Rush, upon Rush's appointment as secretary of the treasury by President John Quincy Adams. Published as an appendix to a new edition of his speech in the House, February 1, 1828, on retrenchment and reform. In William Cabell Bruce, John Randolph of Roanoke, 1773–1833 (1922, reprinted 1970), vol. 2, chapter 7, p. 200. The quote references Caligula, Roman emperor from A.D. 37–41. There is some disagreement whether he actually made his horse, Incitatus, consul to humiliate the Senate, or merely proposed it.
- Life, like war, is a series of mistakes; and he is not the best Christian nor the best general who makes the fewest false steps. Poor mediocrity may secure that; but he is the best who wins the most splendid victories by the retrieval of mistakes. Forget mistakes; organize victory out of mistakes.
- Frederick William Robertson, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 117.
- It is the quality and intensity of the dream only which raises men above the biological norm; and it is fidelity to the dream which differentiates the exceptional figure, the man of heroic stature, from the muddling, aimless mediocrities about him.
- Organisation is, after all, only a means to an end. When it becomes an end in itself, it kills the spirit and the vital initiative of its members and sets up that domination by mediocrity which is the characteristic of all bureaucracies.
- Rudolf Rocker, Anarcho-Syndicalism (1938), Ch. 4 "The Objectives of Anarcho-syndicalism".
- Your merciful God. He destroyed His own beloved rather than let a mediocrity share in the smallest part of His glory. He killed Mozart and kept me alive to torture! 32 years of torture! 32 years of slowly watching myself become extinct. My music growing fainter, all the time fainter till no one plays it at all, and his...
- [to Father Vogler] I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint.
- Most of our pocket wisdom is conceived for the use of mediocre people, to discourage them from ambitious attempts, and generally console them in their mediocrity. And since mediocre people constitute the bulk of humanity, this is no doubt very properly so.