6 Famous Quotes Attributed to the Totally Wrong Person


Millennials grew up with the internet and know (or should know) enough to be skeptical of unsourced information. But even we can be taken in sometimes.

As a Pinterest board showed recently, putting radical Hitler or Osama bin Laden quotes on pretty Taylor Swift photos results in a lot of repins from gullible users.

Sometimes the historicity of a quote doesn't matter; for example, Nathan Hale's famous line exemplified a revolution whether or not he actually said those exact 14 words. But it's the exception, not the rule.

Accuracy in an age where information can spread in an instant is doubly important. After being taken in a few times myself, I've learned to double-check any quote that I repin, retweet, or otherwise share online.

Here are six famous quotes that are generally credited to the wrong person. (You can go double-check your Pinterest boards now.)

1. "For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day ..."

Pop culture has credited this list of beauty tips to Audrey Hepburn ever since the actress quoted the essay in public — despite the fact that Hepburn always sourced the essay to its true author, humorist Sam Levenson.

Note: The "I believe in pink" quote often sourced to Hepburn is probably made up as well.

2. "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have."

This quote is mistakenly attributed to Thomas Jefferson. It first appeared in 1952 and became known as a Jefferson quote circa 2005.

3. "I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest, and most precious thing in all thinking."

Blogposts and pins frequently attribute this quote to C.S. Lewis, but the words actually came from fellow author George MacDonald, whom Lewis considered a mentor and frequently quoted in his own works.

4. "Well-behaved women rarely make history."

This adage has been attributed to Hillary Clinton, Eleanor Roosevelt, Anne Boleyn and more. The actual line, "Well-behaved women seldom make history," came from an obscure scholarly article by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, who later titled a book after the now-famous quote.

5. "Let them eat cake."

While the quote has become a byword exemplifying callous royalty, historians agree that Marie Antoinette never said it. The much-maligned, tragic queen was actually known as a generous donor to charitable causes and was sensitive to the populace, according to biographer Lady Antonia Fraser.

6. Basically every Marilyn Monroe quote ever

Did the Some Like It Hot star really say all this? The epidemic of fake Marilyn Monroe quotes has spread over the Internet like a rash. If you find an alleged Monroe quote, there’s probably a 90% chance it's made up. Don't repin. Be strong.