Countless quotes are attributed to the man who spent roughly nine years of his life as England’s prime minister, but not all of them rightly so. So much of this has happened that there’s even a term for it.
Coined by Nigel Rees, a gnomologist (someone who studies aphorisms) and creator and host of BBC’s Quote … Unquote, Churchillian Drift describes what Rees calls “the process whereby the actual originator of a quotation is often elbowed to one side and replaced by someone more famous. So to Churchill or Napoleon would be ascribed what, actually, a lesser-known political figure had said.” Which means the aphorisms go the way of the spoils — to the victor. Just like 21st Secretary of State William L. Marcy said (at least I think that’s what he said …).
Here are some of the most famous or infamous Churchillian pearls. (After you read them, click here to find out which ones are real and which should be cast to the peccary.)
1. “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
2. “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”
3. “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.”
4. “If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.”
5. “With integrity, nothing else counts. Without integrity, nothing else counts.”
Read more about Winston Churchill in Jeff Nilsson’s World War II blog post, “Never Give In.”