Trifles are things of little importance or worth.
- Seeks painted trifles and fantastic toys,
And eagerly pursues imaginary joys.
- Mark Akenside, The Virtuoso (1737), Stanza 10.
- I feel my belief in sacrifice and struggle getting stronger. I despise the kind of existence that clings to the miserly trifles of comfort and self-interest. I think that a man should not live beyond the age when he begins to deteriorate, when the flame that lighted the brightest moment of his life has weakened.
- Fidel Castro, letter from prison (19 December 1953).
- This is a gimcrack
That can get nothing but new fashions on you.
- John Fletcher, The Elder Brother (c. 1625; 1637), Act III, scene 3.
- These little things are great to little man.
- Oliver Goldsmith, The Traveller (1764), line 42.
- At every trifle scorn to take offence;
That always shows great pride or little sense.
- What dire offence from amorous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things.
- Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock (1712), Canto I, line 1.
- And many strokes, though with a little axe,
Hew down and fell the hardest-timber'd oak.
- Come, gentlemen, we sit too long on trifles,
And waste the time, which looks for other revels.
- A snapper-up of unconsidered trifles.
- Think nought a trifle, though it small appear;
Small sands the mountain, moments make the year.
- Edward Young, Love of Fame (1725-28), Satire VI, line 205.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 815-16.
- Little drops of water, little grains of sand
Make the mighty ocean, and the pleasant land.
- Julia Fletcher Carney, Little Things.
- Little deeds of kindness, little words of love,
Help to make earth happy, like the heaven above.
Changed by later compilers to "make this earth an Eden."
- Julia Fletcher Carney, Little Things.
- He that contemneth small things shall fall by little and little.
- Ecclesiasticus, XIX. 1.
- He that despiseth small things will perish by little and little.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Prudence.
- Small things are best:
Grief and unrest
To rank and wealth are given;
But little things
On little wings
Bear little souls to Heaven.
- Rev. Frederick William Faber, Written in a Little Lady's Little Album.
- Das kleinste Haar wirft seinen Schatten.
- The smallest hair throws its shadow.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Sprüche in Prosa, III.
- Coups d'épingle.
- Policy of pin pricks.
- L. M. de la Haye, Vicomte de Cormenin. "Des coups d'épée … Mais pas de coups d'épingle." A stroke of the sword … but not a pin prick. Alphonse Daudet, Tartarin de Tarascon. Part of title of Chapter XI. Phrase at end of chapter. "J'aime à réver, mais ne veux pas / Qu'à coups d'épingle on me réveille." I love to dream, but do not wish / To have a pin prick rouse me. As used by Jacques Delille, La Conversation, earlier than Daudet. "Ce ne sont jamais les coups d'épingle qui décident de la fortune des États." It is never the pin pricks which decide the fortune of states. De Vergennes, Letter to D'Angiviller (August 11, 1777).
- Hæ nugæ seria ducent
- These trifles will lead to serious mischief.
- Horace, Ars Poetica (18 BC), 451.
- For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.
- Isaiah, XXVIII. 10.
- A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation.
- Isaiah. LX. 22.
- Atque utinam his potius nugis tota illa dedisset
- Would to heaven he had given up to trifles like these all the time which he devoted to cruelty.
- Juvenal, Satires, IV. 150.
- Ex parvis sæpe magnarum momenta rerum pendent.
- Events of great consequence often spring from trifling circumstances.
- Lily, Annales, XXVII. 9.
- The soft droppes of raine perce the hard Marble, many strokes overthrow the tallest Oke.
- John Lyly, Euphues. Arber's reprint (1579), p. 81.
- They made light of it.
- Matthew, XXII. 5.
- It was possible to live under the regulations established by Sir George [Cockburn], but now we are tortured to death by pin-point wounds.
- Napoleon, according to Lady Malcolm, Diary of St. Helena.
- For the maintenance of peace, nations should avoid the pin-pricks which forerun cannon-shots.
- Napoleon to the Czar Alexander, at Tilsit (June 22, 1807).
- De multis grandis acervus erit.
- Out of many things a great heap will be formed.
- Ovid, Remedia Amoris, 424.
- Peu de chose nous console, parceque peu de chose nous afflige.
- A trifle makes a dream, a trifle breaks.
- Alfred Tennyson, Sea Dreams, line 140.
- Magno iam conatu magnas nugas.
- By great efforts obtain great trifles.
- Terence, Heauton timorumenos, IV. 1. 8.
- For who hath despised the day of small things?
- Zechariah, IV. 10.