10 most unfortunately misattributed quotes

Sometimes, celebrities say stupid things, so we mock them.

Other times, they say something deeply profound, so we admire them. Take this powerful quote from Meryl Streep:

Misattributed Meryl Streep Quote

Deep, right? It was posted all over social media, usually accompanied by an ecstatic “Oh my God, she’s my hero!” exclamation. You may have posted it yourself. And why wouldn’t you? Why not share a quote that makes you admire Streep not only as a talented actress but also as a wise life guru? Meryl Streep rocks!

Except, of course…Meryl Streep never said that. The quote belongs to José Micard Teixeira, a life coach from Portugal. But people rarely care about finding out such trivial details. Who’s José, anyway? It sounds much better coming from Meryl Streep.

In fact, we can be so willfully insistent in our denial that we’ll read a detailed article that specifically talks about how the quote was misattributed to Meryl Streep and yet still leave the following comment on that very article:

Silly Comment

“I no longer have patience for certain things…such as actually processing and understanding the words that I read.”

This isn’t an isolated case. Misattributed quotes are all over the Internet. Morgan Freeman never made that comment about homophobia and Pope Francis, while extremely progressive, never said that the traditional notion of God was outdated. Hell, there are so many false, misunderstood, and misattributed quotes out there that I once wrote a TopTenz article just about that.

This got me thinking…what if we matched some actual quotes to the most ill-suited people imaginable? Could we make these misattributed quotes sound extremely wrong?

So then I tried. Feel free to share these on your Pinstagrams and Facetweets—your friends will love it:

1. “Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.”

Joan of Arc Quote

Actual quote from: Arnold H. Glasow

2. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Freddy Krueger Quote

Actual quote from: Franklin D. Roosevelt

3. “The secret to my success is that I bit off more than I could chew and chewed as fast as I could.”

Mike Tyson Quote

Actual quote (allegedly) from: Paul Hogan

4. “It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.”

Adolf Hitler Quote

Actual quote from: André Gide

5. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

John Wilkes Booth Quote

Actual quote from: Wayne Gretzky

6. “A man is known by the silence he keeps.”

Kanye West Taylor Swift Quote

Actual quote from: Oliver Herford

7. “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

Ron Jeremy Quote

Actual quote from: Henry Ford

8. “Pride makes us artificial; humility makes us real.”

Donald Trump Quote

Actual quote from: Thomas Merton

9. “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

Rupert Murdoch Quote

Actual quote from: Mark Twain

10. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Jack The Ripper Quote

Actual quote from: Dr. Seuss

15 thoughts on “10 most unfortunately misattributed quotes

  1. This quote reminds me that certain people have no boundaries in dishonesty. José Micard Teixeira was a nobody until he attributed his own words to the famous world wide loved and honoured Meryl Streep only to make waves after and “scream” that his “life philosophy” cannot be “thought” by an actress who doesn’t understand the concept: “one of the greatest gifts of the human being is empathy”. Here are the words of José, who should have thought deeper before building such a scheme.

    ¿Por qué no he agregado el “pensamiento” de Meryl Streep junto con las frases de maravillosas mujeres que he compartido?
    Bueno pues porque algo en él no me daba la certeza de que fuera una frase propiamente de la actriz. Algo en sus palabras, sobre todo en la traducción en Ingles no me cuadraban, sobre todo porque una de las frases de esta extraordinaria actriz es la de que “uno de los más grandes dones del Ser humano es la empatía” y en el texto que se movió por internet, que de hecho me parece muy valioso, la idea no necesariamente empataba con la filosofía de la actriz.
    Inclusive provocó que muchos empataran con su filosofía de vida a estas palabras pensando que coincidían con la manera de pensar de la actriz.”

    People love, respect, idolize Meryl Streep, for everything she is, everything she offered us, mere humans. That is why we think like that:

    “It would be a safe bet to assume that attaching the name of a multi-award winning actress such as Meryl Streep to the quote gave it a gravitas that the virtually unknown José could only dream of.”

    Marc Steyn


  2. Daniel- this post AND the one you did in 2012 about celebrities saying stupid stuff is HILARIOUS!!!
    Ending with Jack the Ripper is perfect.
    I’m glad you told us about Jose!


    • Yeah I find that Jack The Ripper is pretty good at…ending…stuff.

      Glad you liked it and enjoy learning more from Jose, if you have the patience for such things!


    • Anything that has to do with Donald Trump is scar, up to and including his feeble attempts at using poor toupees to hide the evil robotic squid that lives inside his skull and serves as his brain.

      Yeah Meryl Streep is the best! I really love her “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” quote. It’s almost up there with her “I have a dream” speech.


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