From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search
In respect of its substance and the definition which states its essence virtue is a mean, with regard to what is best and right an extreme. ~ Aristotle
Moderation in temper, is always a virtue; but moderation in principle, is a species of vice. ~ Thomas Paine
Be moderate in your walking and your talking. ~ Quran
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. ~ John of Patmos

Moderation is avoidance of extremes.

Arranged alphabetically by author or source:
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations · See also · External links


  • Virtue ... is a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect; and again it is a mean because the vices respectively fall short of or exceed what is right in both passions and actions, while virtue both finds and chooses that which is intermediate. Hence in respect of its substance and the definition which states its essence virtue is a mean, with regard to what is best and right an extreme.


  • Monks, these two extremes ought not to be practiced by one who has gone forth from the household life. What are the two? There is addiction to indulgence of sense-pleasures, which is low, coarse, the way of ordinary people, unworthy, and unprofitable; and there is addiction to self-mortification, which is painful, unworthy, and unprofitable. Avoiding both these extremes, the Tathagata has realized the Middle Path; it gives vision, gives knowledge, and leads to calm, to insight, to enlightenment and to Nibbana. And what is that Middle Path realized by the Tathagata? ... It is the Noble Eightfold Path, and nothing else, namely: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.


  • A formative experience of my life was a lesson that one can have too much of a good thing. I used to love rose- and violet-petal chocolate creams, and once bought a big bag of them to eat in the theater. I finished them before the curtain went up and sat through the play — Ibsen, I think it was — in a state of nausea. I expect that if I read too much Agatha Christie in succession, I should experience the literary equivalent of that sensation. Not too much of a good thing: there must be worse mottos for life.
  • Immoderate desire is the mark of a child, not a man.
    • Democritus (ca. 4th century BC). Tr. Kathleen Freeman, Ancilla to the Pre-Socratic Philosophers: A Complete Translation of the Fragments in Diels, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, 1948.
  • The animal needing something knows how much it needs, the man does not.
    • Democritus (ca. 4th century BC). Tr. Kathleen Freeman, Ancilla to the Pre-Socratic Philosophers: A Complete Translation of the Fragments in Diels, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, 1948.


  • Moderation, in the pursuit of honors or riches, is the only security against disappointment and vexation. A wise man, therefore, will prefer the simplicity of rustic life to the magnificence of courts.
    • Epicurus, as quoted in Ancient and Modern Celebrated Freethinkers (Half-Hours with the Freethinkers) by Charles Bradlaugh, A. Collins, and J. Watts (1877)



  • You may ask what then will become of the fundamental principles of equity and fair play which our constitutions enshrine; and whether I seriously believe that unsupported they will serve merely as counsels of moderation. I do not think that anyone can say what will be left of those principles; I do not know whether they will serve only as counsels; but this much I think I do know — that a society so riven that the spirit of moderation is gone, no court can save; that a society where that spirit flourishes, no court need save; that in a society which evades its responsibility by thrusting upon the courts the nurture of that spirit, that spirit in the end will perish. What is the spirit of moderation? It is the temper which does not press a partisan advantage to its bitter end, which can understand and will respect the other side, which feels a unity between all citizens—real and not the factitious product of propaganda—which recognizes their common fate and their common aspirations—in a word, which has faith in the sacredness of the individual.
    • Learned Hand, "The Contribution of an Independent Judiciary to Civilization" (1942).
  • Essential to Santayana's position is the Greek ideal of the "life of reason," a conception of the good life as requiring a continual commitment to the pursuit of self-knowledge, discipline, and an unromantic determination to harmonize rather than indulge the passions. It is the ideal of sophrosune or moderation venerated by classic philosophers like Aristotle and despised by modern ones like Bertrand Russell.



  • The most necessary disposition to relish pleasures is to know how to be without them.


  • Those words, "temperate and moderate", are words either of political cowardice, or of cunning, or seduction. A thing, moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper, is always a virtue; but moderation in principle, is a species of vice.
    • Thomas Paine, letter to the addressers on the late proclamation against seditious writings; in Moncure D. Conway, ed., The Writings of Thomas Paine (1895), vol. 3, p. 94–95.


  • Be moderate in your walking and your talking.


  • Souhaitez donc mediocrité.


  • Magni pectoris est inter secunda moderatio.
    • It is the sign of a great spirit to be moderate in prosperity.
    • Seneca the Elder, Suasoriae, ch. 1, sect. 3; translation from Michael Winterbottom (trans.) Declamations of the Elder Seneca (London: Heinemann, 1974) vol. 2, p. 489.
  • Be moderate, be moderate.
    Why tell you me of moderation?
    The grief is fine, full, perfect, that I taste,
    And violenteth in a sense as strong
    As that which causeth it: how can I moderate it?

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 520.
  • This only grant me, that my means may lie
    Too low for envy, for contempt too high.
    • Abraham Cowley, Essays in Prose and Verse, Of Myself. (Translation of Horace).
  • Aus Mässigkeit entspringt ein reines Glück.
  • Auream quisquis mediocritatem deligit tutus caret obsoleti sordibus tecti, caret invidenda sobrius aula.
    • Who loves the golden mean is safe from the poverty of a tenement, is free from the envy of a palace.
    • Horace, Carmina, II. 10. 5.
  • Est modus in rebus, sunt certi denique fines
    Quos ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum.
    • There is a mean in all things; and, moreover, certain limits on either side of which right cannot be found.
    • Horace, Satires, I. 1. 106.
  • Le juste milieu.
    • The proper mean.
    • Phrase used by Louis Philippe in an address to the deputies of Gaillac. First occurs in a letter of Voltaire's to Count d'Argental (Nov. 29, 1765). Also in Pascal—Pensées.
  • Medio tutissimus ibis.
    • Safety lies in the middle course.
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book II, line 136.
  • Take this at least, this last advice, my son:
    Keep a stiff rein, and move but gently on:
    The coursers of themselves will run too fast,
    Your art must be to moderate their haste.
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, Story of Phaeton, Book II, line 147. Addison's translation.
  • Modus omnibus in rebus, soror, optimum est habitu;
    Nimia omnia nimium exhibent negotium hominibus ex se.
    • In everything the middle course is best: all things in excess bring trouble to men.
    • Plautus, Pænulus, I. 2. 29.
  • He knows to live who keeps the middle state,
    And neither leans on this side nor on that.
  • Give me neither poverty nor riches.
    • Proverbs, XXX. 8.
  • Modica voluptas laxat animos et temperat.
    • Moderate pleasure relaxes the spirit, and moderates it.
    • Seneca the Younger, De Ira, II. 20.
  • Bonarum rerum consuetudo pessima est.
    • The too constant use even of good things is hurtful.
    • Syrus, Maxims.
  • Id arbitror
    Adprime in vita esse utile, Ut ne quid nimis.
    • Excess in nothing,—this I regard as a principle of the highest value in life.
    • Terence, Andria, I. 1. 33.
  • There is a limit to enjoyment, though the sources of wealth be boundless,
    And the choicest pleasures of life lie within the ring of moderation.
  • Give us enough but with a sparing hand.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Wikipedia has an article about:

AltruismAsceticismBeneficenceBenevolenceBraveryCarefulnessCharityCheerfulnessCleanlinessCommon senseCompassionConstancyCourageDignityDiligenceDiscretionEarnestnessFaithFidelityForethoughtForgivenessFriendshipFrugalityGentlenessGoodnessGraceGratitudeHolinessHonestyHonorHopeHospitalityHumanityHumilityIntegrityIntelligenceJusticeKindnessLoveLoyaltyMercyModerationModestyOptimismPatiencePhilanthropyPietyPrudencePunctualityPovertyPuritySelf-controlSimplicitySinceritySobrietySympathyTemperanceTolerance

AggressionAngerApathyArroganceBigotryContemptCowardiceCrueltyDishonestyDrunkennessEgotismEnvyEvil speakingGluttonyGreedHatredHypocrisyIdlenessIgnoranceImpatienceImpenitenceIngratitudeInhumanityIntemperanceJealousyLazinessLustMaliceNeglectObstinacyPhilistinismPrejudicePretensionPrideRecklessnessSelf-righteousnessSelfishnessSuperficialityTryphéUnkindnessUsuryVanityWorldliness