Sherlock Holmes Quotes: My List of Holmes' Most Fascinating Sayings!

Sherlock Holmes has many gifts, and one of those gifts is this gift of saying things in an uber-cool way.

He's got style - there's no denying that.

Take a peek at this Sherlock Holmes quote from The Final Problem...

"There is no one who knows the higher criminal world of London so well as I do."

I mean, when was the last time you told someone you know - seriously: There is no one who is as good a programmer as I am.

Or, there's no one who's as good at writing as I am.

Or, there's no one who's as good a dad (or mom) as I am.

It does sound a bit...boastful?

And yet - it is stylish. Because Sherlock Holmes really means it.

He's the best detective out there - and he knows it. He's mind-blowing at deduction and he knows it. And that leads to some cool, some fascinating, some deeply philosophical and some really funny quotes!

Take a look at my 30 most favourite Sherlock Holmes quotes ever.


Holmes quotes on The Art of Deduction

1

"How often have I said that when you have excluded the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

The Sign of Four

Quote Titbit: An interesting fact about this quote is that Sherlock Holmes uses this quote a total of 5 times in different ways - in all the novels and stories.

If there had to be just one Sherlock Holmes quote to represent Holmes' art of detection - I'd say it would have to be this quote.


2

Inspector Lestrade: "Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"

Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."

Lestrade: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."

Holmes: "That was the curious incident."

Silver Blaze

Quote Titbit: This one was ranked the 9th most famous Sherlock Holmes quote by Best of Sherlock.

Everyone ignores the fact that a dog is guarding the 'stolen horse' in the story. They all look at other evidence. The question in Holmes' mind is: why the heck didn't the dog create a ruckus when the horse was stolen?

The answer is quite simple: because the dog knew the thief!

PS: Do check out this interesting mug that provides a fun twist to this quote.


3

 "I make a point of never having any prejudices, and of following docilely where fact may lead me."

The Reigate Squires

Quote Titbit: So many detectives look at a man and say: He looks like he could have done it. 

Holmes has a warning for them: Trust nothing, but facts.

He turns the case on its head in The Reigate Squires, by suspecting a person who no one believes to have had anything to do with the crime. But then, facts don't lie - and Holmes is right.

Holmes telling Watson NOT to have prejudices

4

 "It is a capital mistake to theorize in advance of the facts. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

A Scandal in Bohemia

It is a capital mistake to theorize BEFORE one has all the facts!

Quote Titbit: This is Holmes' second most repeated quote in the stories - Holmes uses it three times. And can you guess what Watson asks Holmes just before this quote?

He says: This is indeed a mystery. What do you imagine it means?

Holmes is like: Dude! I told you not to imagine stuff without us knowing any facts yet, right?


5

 "The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes."

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Quote Titbit: Is it just me, or can you sense some sarcasm there?

Holmes is like: Why can't you guys look around and deduce the obvious things hiding in every nook and corner like I do? Why can't you all look at a person and say: you're obviously a sailor who writes with his left hand and who has spent some time in Japan?


6

"...Women are naturally secretive, and they like to do their own secreting."

A Scandal in Bohemia

Quote Tibit: First things first: Secreting here does not mean 'that' secreting. It just means - 'doing stuff to preserve one's secret.'

What Holmes is trying to say is that women handle their secrets themselves. They don't say to their friends: 'Hey, keep this safely. This is my secret love letter.' 

But yes, that word 'secreting' is so used in a different context these days, that this Sherlock Holmes quote is quite funny!


7

 "You may remember the old Persian saying, ´There is danger for him who taketh the tiger cub, and danger also for whoso snatches a delusion from a woman.´"

A Case of Identity

Quote Titbit: In A Case of Identity, Holmes knows the truth about a certain man. But should he tell the woman who loves this man - the truth?

I think he absolutely should. But then - Holmes says women become tigresses when you snatch their delusions. So he doesn't tell her. Grr. :-)

Snatching a woman's delusion is dangerous according to Holmes.

8

 "...the motives of women are so inscrutable...Their most trivial action may mean volumes, or their most extraordinary conduct may depend upon a hairpin or a curling tongs."

The Second Stain

Quote Titbit: One would think that atleast Holmes - with all his observation skills and deduction powers would be able to decipher women, right?

But there - he's as confused as any other man out there - about what to do when it comes to women. My sympathies, Holmes ;-)


9

"My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don’t know."

The Blue Carbuncle

Quote Titbit: Holmes has this knack of being awesomely dramatic and masterful when he catches his guy.

Here's the exact conversation that occurs between him and a thief he suddenly surprises:

The thief: "You? Who are you? How could you know anything of the matter?”
Holmes: “My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don't know.”
The thief: “But you can know nothing of this?”
Holmes: “Excuse me, I know everything of it."

Holmes loves drama. Period.


10

"I shall be my own Police. When I have spun the web they may take the flies, but not before."

The Five Orange Pips

Quote Titbit: There - you see Holmes entering the realm of metaphors.

Web = Holmes' trap for criminals. Flies = criminals. Holmes = The Spider. The Police? The other spider wanting to lap up what Holmes finds ;-)

When I've caught the flies, you can take them. Not before that guys!

11

 "I trust that age doth not wither nor custom stale my infinite variety."

The Empty House

What's YOUR Favourite Quote?

I'm making a list of readers' top 10 quotes - so if you have an awesome Sherlock Holmes quote in mind - submit it here!

What's YOUR Favourite Quote?

I'm making a list of readers' top 10 quotes - so if you have an awesome Sherlock Holmes quote in mind - submit it here!

Quote Titbit: Ever remember saying, "I rock. Nothing can challenge my cool talents!" to your friend? Well, I would find saying that to be a bit embarrassing.

I like how Holmes states it almost like a fact. "I am cool, get that?"

We get it Holmes :-)


Sherlock Holmes' visiting card, eh?

12

A guy in the story: "Who are you, then?"

Holmes: "My name is Sherlock Holmes."

The guy: "Good Lord!"

The Solitary Cyclist

Quote Titbit: Now that's the kind of reaction you would get if you were Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is face to face with the culprit and another guy in The Solitary Cyclist.

They're all fighting it out when Holmes steps in and says, "Enough of this."

Who are you to stop us? - they ask.

Holmes tells them his name is Sherlock Holmes. They're so awestruck that they shut up. Uber-cool?


13

 "It is best that I should not leave the country. Scotland Yard feels lonely without me, and it causes an unhealthy excitement among the criminal classes."

Lady Frances Carfax

Quote Titbit: Holmes needs to go to Lausanne in Switzerland as he follows Lady Frances Carfax.

That's when he tells Watson in words similar to these: "If I go, all the criminals in London will throw a party. So, YOU should go off to Lausanne, Watson. Done?"

Again, I love the importance Holmes gives to himself. And the interesting part is - what he says is true!


14

Leonard Sterndale: "How do you know that?"

Holmes: "I followed you."

Sterndale: "I saw no one."

Holmes: "That is what you may expect to see when I follow you."

The Devil's Foot

Sherlock Holmes and the explorer Leonard Sterndale

Quote Titbit: In The Devil's Foot, Sherlock Holmes tells Leon Sterndale exactly what he (Sterndale) had done since morning.

Sterndale is like: how do you know what I did?

That's when this cheeky conversation takes place.

What I like here is again Sherlock Holmes' confidence as he says - 'that is what you may expect to see when I follow you (I rock!).'


Holmes' 'I Know I am Cool' Pose!

15

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

A Study in Scarlet

Quote Titbit: No, I'll not say anything about this Sherlock Holmes quote - let the picture above do the talking!


16

"Never trust to general impressions, my boy, but concentrate yourself upon details."

A Case of Identity

Quote Titbit: In A Case of Identity, Holmes asks Watson what he has observed in their client.

Watson goes on and on about her dress, her hat, her gloves and so on. That's when Holmes says something to this effect: Watson, my boy, stop. You've messed it up. Pay attention to the freaking details!

Then he makes some stunning deductions about their client.

I know he doesn't exactly use words like 'you've messed it up', but that's exactly what he means.


17

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

The Red Circle

Quote Titbit: This is deep. And true.

Holmes says this to Watson in The Red Circle when Watson asks him why he's taken up a certain case. 'What have you to gain from it?', says Watson.

That's when Holmes tells him he's taken up the case to learn. Because even he - Holmes - has more to learn.


18

Inspector Lestrade: "And you don't want your name to appear?"

Sherlock Holmes: "Not at all. The work is its own reward."

The Norwood Builder

Holmes often gives the credit of solving the case to Lestrade.

Quote Titbit: Lestrade, the police detective is sad - Holmes has cracked the Norwood Builder's case in style. That's when Holmes rises up there and says something similar to this to Lestrade: Don't add my name, add yours in the report.

Lestrade is stunned.

Why wouldn't Holmes want credit for his work? And Holmes answers with this quote.

This is one of those Sherlock Holmes quotes that really make me respect Holmes. I've not reached that level of letting go of my achievements yet.


Watson on mediocre people and talented people

19

 "Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognizes genius."

The Valley of Fear

Quote Titbit: Some inspectors are jealous of Homes. Some keep competing with him or keep trying to beat him.

But Inspector Mac knows that Holmes is just mind-blowing.

He's therefore talented enough to respect and seek help from Holmes rather than thinking: I'm cool and no one's cooler than me.

This quote is what Watson uses as he introduces Inspector Mac in the story.


20

"The chief proof of man's real greatness lies in his perception of his own smallness."

The Sign of Four

Quote Titbit: An interesting fact about this quote is that it's not actually relevant to The Sign of Four. Sometimes, in Sherlock Holmes stories - Holmes and Watson just talk. Holmes discusses philosophical stuff while they're travelling or just sitting about.

This is one of those quotes. Holmes and Watson are following a dog that's leading them to the culprits...And Holmes is discussing deep stuff as they walk along...

A sign of greatness is knowing the extent of your smallness.

21

"Where there is no imagination there is no horror."

A Study in Scarlet

Quote Titbit: This is definitely one of my favourite Sherlock Holmes quotes ever.

I've seen it so very often in my life that when I'm afraid - it is my imagination that causes the fear - not the actual event itself, which passes so quickly.

 The terror of someone thinking badly about you, for example - is so much about again and again imagining what they will think about you - than it is about the one instant when others will actually think about you.

Well, well - let's come back to Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes says this to Watson in A Study in Scarlet when Watson says that the murder in the story has upset him.

Holmes says something to this effect: This murder case is such that it automatically makes you imagine things. And that's what makes it scarier...


22

"Come, Watson, come! The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!"

The Abbey Grange

Quote Titbit: Without a doubt, this is one of the most exciting Sherlock Holmes quotes ever!

Imagine sleeping peacefully when your friend Sherlock Holmes suddenly tugs your shirt and wakes you up. Then he says something like: Come on dude! An exciting adventure beckons us!

This is exactly what happens to Watson in The Abbey Grange. And what triggers this sudden adventure? A telegram from Inspector Stanley Hopkins - about a murdered man...


23

"There is nothing more stimulating than a case where everything  goes against you."

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Quote Titbit: When things go wrong, we all tend to feel a bit sad.

Honestly, Holmes is no exception - but in The Hound of the Baskervilles, he's quite ready to up his game further. When all of his researches don't lead to results - he takes it in his stride.

He's like: that's the fun part of the case right? If everything were easy, it wouldn't be fun!


24

"If you had killed Watson, you would not have got out of this room alive."

The Three Garridebs

Quote Titbit: Sherlock Holmes is generally pretty dismissive of Watson.

But The Three Garridebs is a unique story. This is the first time someone actually shoots at Watson (while he is with Holmes) and Watson gets injured.

That's when you really, really get to see how much Holmes cares about Watson. It's a touching scene, as Holmes gives the assailant a big blow and rushes to Watson's aid.

Holmes is not a reasoning machine. He's got emotions. Yes sir, he has.


25

"You can write me down an ass this time, Watson. This was not the bird that I was looking for."

The Bruce-Partington Plans

Quote Titbit: I literally laughed when I read this one ;-)

Holmes says this when he catches the culprit in The Bruce-Partington Plans, finally. The culprit turns out to be a complete surprise to Holmes.

Holmes is like: this guy? This guy! Oops!


26

"I should prefer that you do not mention my name at all in connection with this case, as I choose to be only associated with those crimes which present some difficulty in their solution."

The Cardboard Box

Quote Titbit: Honestly, I think Holmes is just being a tad-bit boastful here. :-)

The reason is - The Cardboard Box is not an easy case at all! In fact, Holmes connects way too many dots to deduce who the culprit is.

In the end however, he doesn't take credit for the case. He's like: Lestrade, you take this one - it was way too easy for me.

If you haven't read The Cardboard Box though, I'd definitely recommend that you do. Don't believe Holmes when he says it was easy. It's a gripping, grotesque case, full of cool deductions.

Holmes finds The Cardboard Box to be an easy case.

27

"Good heavens, Watson, what has become of any brains that God has given me? Quick, man, quick! It's life or death—a hundred chances on death to one on life."

The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax

Quote Titbit: Holmes showing emotions is always fun!

The irony is that this is a very, very serious scene in The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax. Holmes just isn't able to find any solution and everything seems to be slipping out of his hands as he tries to find Lady Frances Carfax.

Suddenly, Holmes gets a brainwave - and the solution strikes him.

He's like: was I crazy till now? Come, Watson - come or she'll die!


28

 "But the Solar System!" I protested.

"What the deuce is it to me? You say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work."

A Study in Scarlet

Quote Titbit: My vote for the most ridiculously unbelievable Sherlock Holmes quote goes to this one! Can you believe these facts?

a) Holmes does not know what the Solar System is.

b) Holmes doesn't care!

Well, I'm feeling a bit sad there...

...But it's true. Got to accept a man the way he is. ;-)

Sherlock Holmes doesn't know about the Solar System!

29

"Come at once if convenient — if inconvenient come all the same."

The Creeping Man

Quote Titbit: Watson is living somewhere else - not in Baker Street - when he receives this note. Holmes wants Watson to come to Baker Street, so that he can share a case's details with him.

What is funny is Holmes' childish desperation here. In his mind, he must be like: Don't tell me you're busy Watson. Just come. Freakin' come! :-)


Holmes in The Dying Detective thinking about oysters

 30

 "You and I, Watson, we have done our part. Shall the world, then, be overrun by oysters? No, no; horrible!"

 The Dying Detective

Quote Titbit: There are funny quotes and there are ridiculously funny quotes.

This is a crazy quote.

If you've read this Sherlock Holmes quote - without having read The Dying Detective, you'll be like: this quotes doesn't make any sense!

Actually, Holmes is ill. Atleast, he's pretending to be ill. And while he's ill, he's talking crazy nonsense to convince Watson that he's ill.

So he says something to this effect: Watson, the oysters are coming. They're taking over the world. Gosh! We're all going to be overrun by oysters.

Obviously, you're going to think Holmes is mad here.

That's what Watson thinks too. And that's what Holmes wants Watson to think in this story - before a fascinating twist blows everything over in the end...


More Quotes!

Have you read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and liked it?

Take a peek at my favourite quotes only from The Adventures right here. and if you love watching BBC's Sherlock, you'll love these fun quotes from BBC Sherlock too!

More Quotes!

Have you read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and liked it?

Take a peek at my favourite quotes only from The Adventures right here. and if you love watching BBC's Sherlock, you'll love these fun quotes from BBC Sherlock too!

Which one of these quotes is your favourite quote?

Or, do you have another favourite quote that I've skipped? Come on, share it below!


What is YOUR Best Sherlock Holmes Quote - the One That's Just 'Awesome'?

Why do you like this quote so much? Tell us all in detail! I plan to create a 'Readers Choice' Top 10 List of Sherlock Holmes quotes based on your favourite quotes.

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