Last modified on 9 September 2014, at 14:31


Nothing proceeds from nothingness, as also nothing passes away into non-existence. ~ Marcus Aurelius

Nothingness denotes the nonexistence of something or of anything specifiable, the state of nothing, the property of having nothing, or of being no thing; in nontechnical uses, "nothing" denotes things lacking importance, interest, value, relevance, or significance.


I was in that ultimate moment of terror that is the beginning of life. It is nothing. Simple, hideous nothing. ~ Paddy Chayefsky
Nihilists are not kind;
They believe in nothing. ~ Dude De Ching
  • Nothing proceeds from nothingness, as also nothing passes away into non-existence.
  • Nothing is wholly obvious without becoming enigmatic. Reality itself is too obvious to be true.
    • Jean Baudrillard, in The Perfect Crime (1993), as translated by Ian Michel and William Sarah (1995)
  • Even in the folly of youth we know that nothing lasts, but … even in that folly we are afraid that maybe Nothing will last, that maybe Nothing will last forever, and anything is better than Nothing.… So now, as another poet sings, That Fancy passed me by And nothing will remain; which, praise the gods, is a damned lie, since, praise, O gods! Nothing cannot remain anywhere since nothing is vacuum and vacuum is paradox and unbearable and we will have none of it even if we would, the damned-fool poet's Nothing.
    • William Faulkner, in The Mansion (1957), Ch. 8.
    • The two lines of poetry quoted — not altogether accurately — are from A. E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad (1896), XVIII:

      And now the fancy passes by
      And nothing will remain.

  • Why and Wherefore set out one day,
    To hunt for a wild Negation.
    They agreed to meet at a cool retreat
    On the Point of Interrogation.
    • Oliver Herford, Metaphysics, as quoted in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 561
  • Nothing to do but work,
    Nothing to eat but food,
    Nothing to wear but clothes,
    To keep one from going nude.
  • Nil actum credens, dum quid superesset agendum.
    • Believing nothing done whilst there remained anything else to be done.
    • Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia, Book II. 657
  • Nil igitur fieri de nilo posse putandum es
    Semine quando opus est rebus.
    • We cannot conceive of matter being formed of nothing, since things require a seed to start from.
    • Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, Book I, line 206
  • Haud igitur redit ad Nihilum res ulla, sed omnes
    Discidio redeunt in corpora materiai.
    • Therefore there is not anything which returns to nothing, but all things return dissolved into their elements.
    • Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, Book I. 250
  • Nothing's new, and nothing's true, and nothing matters.
    • Attributed to Lady Morgan, in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 561
  • Gigni
    De nihilo nihil, in nihilum nil posse reverti.
    • Nothing can be born of nothing, nothing can be resolved into nothing.
  • Gratis anhelans, multa agendo nihil agens.
    Sibi molesta, et aliis odiosissima.
    • Out of breath to no purpose, in doing much doing nothing. A race (of busybodies) hurtful to itself and most hateful to all others.
    • Phædrus, Fables, Book II. 5. 3
  • It is, no doubt, an immense advantage to have done nothing, but one should not abuse it.
  • Operose nihil agunt.
    • They laboriously do nothing.
    • Seneca, De Brev, Vitæ, Book I. 13
  • A life of nothing's nothing worth,
    From that first nothing ere his birth,
    To that last nothing under earth.
  • When it comes to giving, some people stop at nothing.
    • Widely used anonymous saying, dating to at least The Catholic Digest, Vol. 27 (1963) where it is tenuously credited to Mary C. Dorsey, p. 141

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