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Reputation is the public opinion or evaluation of a person, group or organization.


  • Ought I not to have been more careful to win the good opinion of others, more determined to conquer their hostility or indifference? It would have been a joy to me to be smiled upon, loved, encouraged, welcomed, and to obtain what I was so ready to give, kindness and goodwill. But to hunt down consideration and reputation—to force the esteem of others—seemed to me an effort unworthy of myself, almost a degradation.
  • I hold it as certain, that no man was ever written out of reputation but by himself.
  • A lost good name is ne'er retriev'd.
    • John Gay, Fables (1727), The Fox at the Point of Death, line 46
  • They please, are pleased, they give to get esteem,
    Till, seeming blest, they grow to what they seem.
  • How many people live on the reputation of the reputation they might have made!
  • A man may be reputed an able man this year, and yet be a beggar the next: it is a misfortune that happens to many men, and his former reputation will signify nothing.
    • Holt, Lord Chief Justice, Regina v. Swendsen (1702), 14 How. St. Tr. 596, reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 220.
  • The tree is known by his fruit.
    • Jesus, The Gospel according to Matthew, 12:33.
  • The blaze of a reputation cannot be blown out, but it often dies in the socket.
  • The love of esteem is the life and soul of society; it unites us to one another : I want your approbation, you stand in need of mine. By forsaking the converse of men, we forsake the virtues necessary for society; for when one is alone, one is apt to grow negligent; the world forces you to have a guard over yourself.
  • Would you be esteemed? live with persons that are estimable.
  • And I honor the man who is willing to sink
    Half his present repute for the freedom to think,
    And, when he has thought, be his cause strong or weak,
    Will risk t'other half for the freedom to speak.
  • Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.
    • Thomas Paine, reported in Hialmer Day Gould and Edward Louis Hessenmueller, Best Thoughts of Best Thinkers (1904), p. 429.
  • Are you not ashamed that you give your attention to acquiring as much money as possible, and similarly with reputation and honor, and give no attention or thought to truth and understanding and the perfection of your soul?
  • In those days, when people were not wise like you young people, they were content to listen to a tree or a rock in simple openness, just as long as it spoke the truth, but to you, perhaps, it makes a difference who is speaking and where he comes from.
    • Socrates in Plato, Phaedrus 275c, as quoted in introduction to Aristotle's Physics: A Guided Study (2011), p.1.
  • In various talk th' instructive hours they past,
    Who gave the ball, or paid the visit last;
    One speaks the glory of the British queen,
    And one describes a charming Indian screen;
    A third interprets motions, looks, and eyes;
    At every word a reputation dies.
    • Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock (1712), Part III, line 11. (This stanza not found in his printed works).
  • The art of being able to make a good use of moderate abilities wins esteem and often confers more reputation than real merit.
    • Also translated as: "The art of using moderate abilities to advantage wins praise, and often acquires more reputation than real brilliancy."
    • François de La Rochefoucauld Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims (1665–1678) maxim 162.
  • Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.
  • Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.
  • Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
    Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
    Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
    'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
    But he that filches from me my good name,
    Robs me of that which not enriches him,
    And makes me poor indeed.
  • The purest treasure mortal times afford
    Is spotless reputation; that away,
    Men are but gilded loam or painted clay.
  • Thy death-bed is no lesser than thy land
    Wherein thou liest in reputation sick.
  • Fame's a weed, but repute is a slow-growing oak, and all we can do during our lifetimes is hop around like squirrels and plant acorns.
  • The things people say of a man do not alter a man. He is what he is. Public opinion is of no value whatsoever. Even if people employ actual violence, they are not to be violent in turn. That would be to fall to the same low level. After all, even in prison, a man can be quite free. His soul can be free. His personality can be untroubled. He can be at peace. And, above all things, they are not to interfere with other people or judge them in any way. Personality is a very mysterious thing. A man cannot always be estimated by what he does. He may keep the law, and yet be worthless. He may break the law, and yet be fine. He may be bad, without ever doing anything bad. He may commit a sin against society, and yet realise through that sin his true perfection.
  • See that your character is right, and in the long run your reputation will be right.
    • Author unknown, reported in Hialmer Day Gould and Edward Louis Hessenmueller, Best Thoughts of Best Thinkers (1904), p. 429.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 667-68.
  • It is a maxim with me that no man was ever written out of reputation but by himself.
  • Negligere quid de se quisque sentiat, non solum arrogantis est, sed etiam omnino dissoluti.
    • To disregard what the world thinks of us is not only arrogant but utterly shameless.
    • Cicero, De Officiis (44 B.C.), 1. 28.
  • Nemo me lacrymis decoret, nec funera fletu.
    Faxit cur? Volito vivu' per ora virum.
    • Let no one honour me with tears, or bury me with lamentation. Why? Because I fly hither and thither, living in the mouths of men.
    • Attributed to Ennius. Quoted by Cicero, Tusc. Quæst. 15, 34. Latter part said to be Ennius' Epitaph.
  • Denn ein wanderndes Mädchen ist immer von schwankendem Rufe.
  • Ich hulte nichts von dem, der von sich denkt
    Wie ihn das Volk vielleicht erheben möchte.
    • I consider him of no account who esteems himself just as the popular breath may chance to raise him.
    • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Iphigenia auf Tauris, II. 1. 140.
  • That man is thought a dangerous knave,
    Or zealot plotting crime,
    Who for advancement of his kind
    Is wiser than his time.
  • Guard yourself against accusations, even if they are false; for the multitude are ignorant of the truth and look only to reputation. In all things resolve to act as though the whole world would see what you do; for even if you conceal your deeds for the moment, later you will be found out. But most of all will you have the respect of men, if you are seen to avoid doing things which you would blame others for doing.
  • Reputation is but a synonyme of popularity: dependent on suffrage, to be increased or diminished at the will of the voters.
  • Reputations, like beavers and cloaks, shall last some people twice the time of others.
  • How many worthy men have we seen survive their own reputation!
  • To be pointed out with the finger.
  • Das Aergste weiss die Welt von mir, und ich
    Kann sagen, ich bin besser als mein Ruf.
    • The worst of me is known, and I can say that I am better than the reputation I bear.
    • Friedrich Schiller, Marie Stuart, III. 4. 208.
  • Convey a libel in a frown,
    And wink a reputation down!

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
  • "Thou shalt not get found out" is not one of God's commandments, and no man can be saved by trying to keep it.
  • It is a maxim with me that no man was ever written out of reputation but by himself.
  • The two most precious things this side the grave are our reputation and our life.

See also

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