Questionable Quotes

We all love the pithy quote, the clever put-down, the witty bon mot, the scintillating turn of phrase. We store them away in our conversational jewelry boxes, waiting for just the right occasion to decorate our speeches with their sparkle. What we often don’t realize is that many of these glittering linguistic gems are not the real thing, but mere costume jewelry.

Suit, Clothing, Overcoat
Did Keanu Reeves Say ‘The Road to Heaven Isn’t Through Your Yard’? A viral quotation has been around online for years, but only belatedly was the Hollywood...
    Unproven
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Did Nikola Tesla Describe Cell Phones in 1926? "When wireless is perfectly applied, the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain,"...
    Correct Attribution
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Did Einstein Say He Believed in the Pantheistic God of Baruch Spinoza? Einstein wasn’t afraid to question religion as critically as he did scientific theory.
    Correct Attribution
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Did Orwell Write That People Who Elect Corrupt Politicians Are ‘Accomplices’? A seemingly Orwellian quote made a comeback during the 2020 election season.
    False
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Is This a Real Quote by Nelson Mandela? A quote attributed to Mandela, former president of South Africa, said: "Fools divide themselves by...
    Misattributed
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Did Chick-fil-A CEO Say White People Should Shine Black People’s Shoes? CEO Dan Cathy's alleged comments caused some blowback among his conservative audience.
    Mixture
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Did Stalin Pluck a Live Chicken as a Lesson to His Followers? A common tale expresses the thought that a dictator can do anything he wants to...
    Legend
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Did the 1981 ‘Farmer’s Almanac’ Predict COVID-19? An old "prediction" got a new origin story.
    Misattributed
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Did Bill Gates Tell George Magazine That an ‘Over-Populated Planet’ Would Fall to a ‘Lung-Attacking Virus’? Bill Gates was featured in a 1997 issue of George magazine, but so were other...
    Misattributed
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Did This Nobel Prize Winner Say COVID-19 Was Created in a Lab? Keep in mind, the opinion of one person does not outweigh the consensus of the...
    Correct Attribution
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Did Trump Ask, ‘How Can You Possibly Discover Anything If You Already Know Everything?’ Or as former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld might ask, "Do we know what the unknowns...
    Correct Attribution
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Was This Pandemic Poem Written by Kathleen O’Mara in 1919? A global pandemic did indeed inspire this poem. But that's as far as it goes.
    Misattributed
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