30 Sherlock Quotes Filled With Wit And Wisdom of A Great Detective

Wisdom from the greatest detective!

Nashrah Ansari

8 months ago|9 min read

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Sherlock Holmes is the brilliant detective in world history and the most depicted literary character in film and TV series, created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a British author who wrote across multiple genres. He is best for his greatest mystery stories ever written on the world's first only 'consulting detective '-Sherlock Holmes.

Like the gears of a clock, Doyle faultlessly stacks layers of mysteries. He slowly uncovers the world of Sherlock Holmes, his masterful deduction skills portraying those desirous thinking in the portraits of Victorian society alongside his best friends, Dr Watson, a doctor by education, acting as eyes to the audience, giving a glimpse into the world of Sherlock Holmes. 

Doyle's tale of Sherlock Holmes acts as a part of modern literature's foundation, leaving a permanent imprint in the world's literature. Sherlock Holmes, the iconic detective of 221B Baker Street, will always be one of the most quotable characters of any century! 

His countless adventures, deduction skill, and cohorts to embark on a journey to solve crimes had timeless appeal and inspired many modern-day authors, TV series, and movie makers. Check out the Sherlock quotes below filled with the wit and wisdom of a great detective:

1) My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people do not know.

It's safe to say that most people are already familiar with these catchy phrases of Sherlock Holmes. This Sherlock phrase is from story seven of twelve in the books of short stories and is about the theft of a priceless gemstone known as the 'Blue Carbuncle.'

2) His ignorance was almost as remarkable as his brilliance.

Here, this is not a Sherlock quote, but it does describe Holmes. Watson describes Holmes owning brilliant powers of deduction. 

However, Watson was astounded that Holmes could distinguish cigars by their ashes but was oblivious to something as familiar as planetary theory. There are many things that he knows nothing of, such that planets orbited around the sun.

3) You know my method. It is founded on the observation of trifles.

This one accurately talks about Paying attention to the little details. One of the main reasons Sherlock Holmes is so effective at what he does is because he pays attention to everything, particularly the small pieces.

4) It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.

In these Sherlock quotes, Watson observes the central elements that set him apart from most everybody else: his constant, systematic discipline of not theorizing before gathering all of the evidence. 

That is why Holmes is Holmes: He understands the obligation of gathering evidence before making any judgment and hence avoids becoming biased.

5) When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?

Like many of Sherlock quotes, this one describes human ignorance and fallacy. As Holmes often demonstrates, the most obvious solution to a problem isn't always the correct one.

Sometimes you need to look deeper into your enigmas to deduce what went wrong, discarding useless explanations and creating new theories as you go.

6) What one man can invent, another can discover.

This is one of the great and memorable lines spoken by Sherlock Holmes in The Adventure of the Dancing Man. 

As Dennis Gabor, Nobel Prize-winning physicist and inventor of holography, once said, "The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented. It was man's ability to invent which has made human society what it is. "

7) But love is an emotional thing, and whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason which I place above all things.

This quote from Sherlock is said upon discovering that Watson is engaged to Mary Morstan. Though Watson is Holmes's best friend, his dedication to logic, he chooses to delay the well-wishing to separate himself from the rest of humanity.

8) But it is better to learn wisdom late than never learn it at all.

Sherlock Holmes is less likely than anyone else to make a mistake, but "The Man with the Twisted Lip" offers a rare moment of humility for Holmes, as he confesses making a minor oversight in a case. 

This quote provides a classic case of learning from one's mistakes, and Holmes is less likely than anyone else to make the same mistake twice.

9) Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another.

To simply summarize, what goes around comes around. This instance is from The Adventure of the Speckled Band, in which Dr Roylott is poisoned by the snake he used to kill Julia.

10) It's every man's business to see justice done.

This Sherlock quote offers moralization as he questions this phrase outside of a crime scene. It certainly makes you want to think about the Holmesian deductions.

11) The game is afoot.

This quote appears in “The Adventure of the Abbey Grange.” When Holmes drags Watson out of bed to investigate a murder, his energy conveys the thrill he gets out of the chase.

12) Education never ends, Watson. It is a series of lessons with the greatest for the last.

Holmes asserts that everyone—even genius detectives, apparently—benefit from continuous education. This isn’t surprising, considering his deep love for knowledge and is quite relevant, as education is never a waste of time. The more you learn, the more knowledgeable you will be!

13) Come at once if convenient—if inconvenient, come all the same.

This hilariously assertive Sherlock quote means of summoning. This Sherlock quotes pretty perfectly sums up Sherlock and Watson’s friendship as characters people begrudgingly adore.

14) Your life is not your own. Keep your hands off it. 

The short story “The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger” offers one of the most profound looks into Holmes’s humanity. Upon hearing a story full of tragedy, grief, passion, and hatred, Holmes utters this quote while parting to the strange woman who summoned him.

15) We balance probabilities and choose the most likely. It is the scientific use of the imagination.

Using probabilities instead of words helps us to avoid misinterpretation. When there is the likelihood of a probabilistic outcome, you have a lot of wiggle room to make yourself look good after the fact.

16) I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix.

This quote pretty much sums the greatest detective ever in the world’s history, adding even more bittersweet depth to his complicated character. It’s not at all surprising that Holmes considers himself this way. He really is the most detailed character ever!

17) A man always finds it hard to realize that he may have finally lost a woman’s love, however badly he may have treated her.

You will rarely see Holmes underestimating a woman in his investigations. In this quote, he speculates on how he often puts himself in a man’s shoes to follow a crime pattern. He takes record of a certain kind of arrogance among men.

18) My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of existence. These little problems help me to do so.

This quote by Sherlock is from one of the short stories ‘The Red-Headed League’. It shows Holmes deduction skills and his ability to help people with his investigations. The occupation of his brain and the sense of purpose are what keeps him going.

19) Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent.

Sherlock quotes often reflect upon the idiosyncrasies of human nature—no doubt this is one of the things that draw Holmes to mysteries in the first place. This one speaks about our unpredictability.

20) Never trust general impressions, my boy, but concentrate yourself upon details.

What differentiates you from the rest of the people, is your ability to give attention to detail. The bigger picture is visible to anyone and everyone around the situation. But the truth lies only in the minute details.

21) Now is the dramatic moment of fate, Watson, when you hear a step upon the stair which is walking into your life, and you know not whether for good or ill.

Chills. Literal Chills. This quote from the novel The Hound of the Baskervilles inspires goosebumps. For Holmes, at this moment, the step on the stairs is a new client, and it incorporates the thrilling anticipation which makes the novels so exciting.

22) It is stupidity rather than courage to refuse to recognize danger when it is close upon you.

This quote by Sherlock discourses about the grave threat that Professor Moriarty poses. Holmes admits that he's afraid and fear is not the emotion he tends to falter after Watson expresses concern over his strange behaviour.

23) A strange enigma is man. 

While there is seldom a case that Sherlock Holmes can't manage to solve, people remain, to some extent, unpredictable to him. Humans and emotions are a mystery to Holmes, and it's that inscrutability that puzzles the thrill into him for investigations.

24) Work is the best antidote to sorrow, my dear Watson. 

If you're the type who shuns all human contact and prefers to converse only with characters in your books? Then, consider this quote by Sherlock Holmes as the great pieces of life advice from literature. 

This quote is said by Holmes when Sherlock turns up very much alive when Watson is in a state of grief, and the most renowned detective ever pulls his friend into a new crisis—the perfect distraction from all of one's woes.

25) No man lives or has ever lived who has brought the same amount of study and natural talent to the detection of crime, which I have done. 

Observation and deduction are the central themes of A Study in Scarlet. Holmes' observational and determination skills are crucial to his characterization, as these skills originally belonged to the real-life person who inspired Doyle's creation of Holmes: Joseph Bell.

26) To a great mind, nothing is little. 

Among this list of Sherlock quotes, this one is from the first-ever Sherlock Holmes book, "A Study in Scarlet." If you are interested in reading decent fiction, may give it a read, and you will be addicted to its first page onwards. 

The book is worth reading and worthy of all the praise it has gotten over the past century. If you ever want to impact anything ranging from the whole world or to a single person. Just change your perspective of looking at things!

27) The chief proof of man's real greatness lies in his perception of his smallness. 

This Sherlock quote is kind of like when someone said: "A man needs to know his limitations." It can also be read as something along the lines of "It takes a great man to see his weakness." You can perceive your smallness in the greatness of this universe.

28) There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.

This provocative Sherlock quote comes from the short story "The Boscombe Valley Mystery. It's hard not to accept an "obvious" fact that everyone knows is true. 

The "obvious fact" can trip you up in multiple ways, making it easy to resist facts that contradict the apparent truth despite all the evidence and making you want to believe the fact. However, Holmes asserts that one should look deeper and always question everything.

29) You see, but you do not observe.

Sherlock quotes often teach us to be always mindful of our surroundings and not just passively see things, but actively examine and observe the surrounding. To be mindful is to be aware. To observe, not merely to see, with our eyes, as well as the rest of our senses.

30) I have fulfilled my promise of giving you something unusual for your notebook.

In The Dancing Men, Sherlock quotes this line venturing towards the end of the story. In this case, Too True: he has given Watson what might remain, many years after that first reading and relevant to us as this is the end to Sherlock's list of quotes.

Sherlock Quotes

If Conan Doyle had been writing the Legends of Sherlock Holmes today, he would presumably be writing them for television or movies. Some people (like me) seem to think that Sherlock Holmes was a real person; however, regrettably, he is a fictional favourite and kind of is a love-hate character.

People love him because he displays a range of excellent characteristics: dominant, fantastic, extravagant skills, and never seems to give up or fail to do the task of investigating. 

While people may love him, it's no lie that you may sometimes feel resentment towards him partly because he places himself above the law, is big-headed, and unsympathetic. Noticeably, because he doesn't treat his dear friend Watson, who adores Holmes. 

However, those qualities make him the greatest sleuth in the world. Sherlock's quotes are intriguing and captivating. His razor-sharp statements with wit and wisdom secure him the position of one of the greatest detectives in the world's history. 

The above Sherlock quotes are filled with wit and wisdom of a great detective which will surely help you to identify the inner detective in you!

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Nashrah Ansari

I am passionate about writing and love reading poems and novels. Apart from that, I also love getting lost in fictional worlds, for a while since I don't have to deal with my dilemmas. I firmly believe that every upcoming writer should be allowed to represent themselves. I’m so thankful to feeding trends for allowing me to express myself.

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