51 Thought-Provoking Quotes on Being a Real Gentleman

Is being a gentleman an old-fashioned concept or is it relevant today? Does the word “gentleman” mean a man dining in a five-star restaurant, an ancient knight in armor fighting for her princess, or a man wearing expensive suits or tipping his hat?

In the modern era, the definition of the word “gentleman” has changed, and it is for the better. The ancient notions have changed and being a gentleman is not associated with a man of a higher hierarchy in the society or a wealthy one. Nowadays, being a gentleman is just a matter of choice. You earn this title through your unwavering commitment to improving your character with a renewed pursuit of excellence.

A gentleman is not pretentious, stiff, or focused on elevating themselves, but they strive to succeed while helping the people around them succeed too. A gentleman cares about how his choices affect those around him, thus it is typically about human connection. Gentlemen still exist today, but they are rare. It is hard to maintain character.

Below is a collection of quotes from the minds of famous philosophers, celebrities, and other experts on true gentlemen. These are the best quotes to show to your boyfriend, husband, or male colleagues to inspire them to start behaving like a modern gentleman.

Gentleman Quotes

1. “A gentleman is never rude except on purpose – I can honestly be nasty sober, believe you me.”– Christopher Hitchens

2. “I get very annoyed when people think I’m nice or diffident or a polite English gentleman. I’m a nasty piece of work, and people should know that.”– Hugh Grant

3. “For me, the best thing you can do as a man in loving someone is to do your best, go on that walk, and at the end of that walk be as much of a gentleman as you were in the beginning.”– Ryan Adams

4. “The policeman must be a minister, a social worker, a diplomat, a tough guy, and a gentleman. And, of course, he’d have to be a genius… For he will have to feed a family on a policeman’s salary.”– Paul Harvey

5. “A man does what he must—in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures—and that is the basis of all human morality.”– Winston Churchill

6. “Being male is a matter of birth. Being a man is a matter of age. But being a gentleman is a matter of choice.”– Vin Diesel

7. “Masculinity is not something given to you, but something you gain. And you gain it by winning small battles with honor.”– Norman Mailer

8. “The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.”– Benjamin Mays

9. “Thoughtfullness for others, generosity, modesty, and self-respect are the qualities which make a real gentleman.”– Thomas Henry Huxley

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10. “She was so delicate that, while we sat beneath the linden branches, a leaf would fall and drift down and touch her skin, and it would leave a bruise. So as we sat in the afternoon hour, beneath that fragrant linden bower, I had to chase all of the leafs that fell away.”– Roman Payne

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11. “About this business of being a gentleman: I paid so heavily for the fourteen years of my gentleman’s education that I feel entitled, now and then, to get some sort of return.”– Robert Graves

12. “A rich rogue nowadays is fit company for any gentleman; and the world, my dear, hath not such a contempt for roguery as you imagine.”– John Gay

13. “A gentleman can see a question from all sides without bias. The small man is biased and can see a question only from one side.”– Confucius

14. “Manners must adorn knowledge, and smooth its way through the world. Like a great rough diamond, it may do very well in a closet by way of curiosity, and also for its intrinsic value.”– Lord Chesterfield

15.” It doesn’t matter how many A-levels you have, what kind of a degree you have, if you have good manners, people will like you.”– Kate Reardon

16. “No gentleman can be without three copies of a book: one for show, one for use, and one for borrowers.”– Richard Heber

17. “If the gentleman has ability, he is magnanimous, generous, tolerant, and straightforward, through which he opens the way to instruct others.”– Xunzi

18. “A true gentleman is one that apologizes anyways, even though he has not offended a lady intentionally. He is in a class all of his own because he knows the value of a woman’s heart.”– Shannon L. Alder

19. “A gentleman is one who doesn’t and cant forgive himself for self-committed mistake even if others forget it and the self-criticism is a mark of his right attitude towards life.”– Anuj Somany

20. “The only infallible rule we know is, that the man who is always talking about being a gentleman never is one.”– Robert Smith Surtees

21. “Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure.”– Thorstein Veblen

22. “That man will never be a perfect gentleman who lives only with gentlemen. To be a man of the world we must view that world in every grade and in every perspective.”– Edward Bulwer

23. “There is a growing interest in Confucianism in China and other parts of the world. More and more followers of Confucianism are advocating a deeper study of his philosophies. Confucius’ ideals stand true even today. His philosophy on how to be a Junzi or the perfect gentleman is based on the simple ideology of love and tolerance.”– Confucius

24. “Putting on a beautifully designed suit elevates my spirit, extols my sense of self, and helps define me as a man to whom details matter.”– Gay Talese

25. “Good grooming is integral and impeccable style is a must. If you don’t look the part, no one will want to give you time or money.”– Daymond John

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26. “Hair is the first thing. And teeth the second. Hair and teeth. A man got those two things he’s got it all.”–James Brown

27. “I gasp. The profoundness of such a gesture, from a self-seeking fae, touches my soul. The only thing predictable about my future king is his unpredictability. “You once told me you wouldn’t be a gentleman. You lied.”– A.G Howard

28. “There is only one thing that makes you a man. that is, by the way you treat a woman and a greater man? when she says you are a gentleman.”– Dido Stargaze

29. “Any gentleman can tell a lie; any scoundrel can talk truth.”– Imogen Hermes, Gowar

30. “[…] being a gentleman by birth certainly did not make one worthy of the name. Indeed, far too often it seemed to make one the opposite, by promising a man insulation from the consequences of sin.”–  Roseanna M. White

31. “It is almost a definition of a gentleman to say that he is one who never inflicts pain.”– John Henry Newman

32. “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.”– Bob Dylan

33. “I was brought up to be a gentleman. That means you know how to walk, talk and dress the part.”– Brian McKnight

34. “My kids have played sports all their life, and one thing I’ve tried to teach them when you lose, you try to be a gentleman about it.”– Vern Buchanan

35. “The very first thing you learn if you’re a gentleman is that you never compare one woman to another. That’s the way of all death.”– Patrick Macnee

36. “The nameless loser in Jay McInerney’s ‘Bright Lights, Big City’ is going to the dogs like a gentleman. He is too smart to blame anyone for the impasse he has come to, hip enough to know he does not know enough, too sophisticated to masquerade as an anti-hero.”– Darryl Pinckney

37. “Hollywood does not write parts for people like me, an elderly gentleman, and when they find out you’re crippled, forget about it. No, I’ll never work again.”– Ricardo Montalban

38. “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”– Dalai Lama

39. “Treat people the way you want to be treated. Talk to people the way you want to be talked to. Respect is earned, not given.”– Hussein Nishah

40. “Money must be so far beneath a gentleman that it is hardly worth troubling about.”– Fyodor Dostoevsky

41. “The only principles of public conduct that are worthy of a gentleman or a man are to sacrifice estate, ease, health, and applause, and even life, to the sacred calls of his country.”– James Otis

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42. “What is a gentleman? It is to be honest, to be gentle, to be generous, to be brave, to be wise; and possessed of all these qualities to exercise them in the most graceful manner.”– William Makepeace Thackeray

43. “A gentleman is one who puts more into the world than he takes out.”– George Bernard Shaw

44. “Believe me, there exists no such dilemma as that in which a gentleman is placed when he is forced to reply to a blackguard.”– Edgar Allan Poe

45. “This is the final test of a gentleman: his respect for those who can be of no possible service to him.”– William Lyon Phelps

46. “It’s easy to play a character who is suffering with a disease or has a psychological problem. ‘Gentleman’ is completely opposite. There are both positives and negatives in the role, and it is the most challenging role I have done so far.”– Nani

47. “If we must have a tyrant, let him at least be a gentleman who has been bred to the business, and let us fall by the axe and not by the butcher’s cleaver.”– Lord Byron

48. “I’m a gentleman, if nothing else. It’s taken me years to become one, but finally I have a sense of propriety.”– Eric Stoltz

49. “Prayer gives a man the opportunity of getting to know a gentleman he hardly ever meets. I do not mean his maker, but himself.”– William Inge

50. “Man is never so manly as when he feels deeply, acts boldly and expresses himself with frankness and with fervor.”– Benjamin Disraeli

51. “Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company and reflection must finish him.”– John Locke


Being a true gentleman is not a trait you acquire within a single night. It needs a lifetime of hard work and consistent behavior. Gentlemen are successful and they are also liked. The first step to becoming a gentleman is by understanding the lifestyle and traits you are expected to lead.

It is possible to achieve this if you develop a plan and abide by the rules regardless of the situation. Although the path to excellence is full of challenges, the final results are worth it. Share  these gentlemen quotes with all men out there who need guidance and inspiration to real gentlemen.

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