I do not nowadays go to the circus to see a dog chase a rabbit, but if by chance I pass such a race in the fields, it quite easily distracts me even from some serious thought and draws me after it. ... And unless, by showing me my weakness, thou dost speedily warn me to rise above such a sight to thee by a deliberate act of thought—or else to despise the whole thing and pass it by—then I become absorbed in the sight. ~ Augustine
Everything that is new or uncommon raises a pleasure in the imagination, because it fills the soul with an agreeable surprise, gratifies its curiosity, and gives it an idea of which it was not before possessed. ~ Joseph Addison.
Man in his universe is like a baby in a strange room. Just as a baby reaches out to finger or state all the mysterious objects in the room, so man’s curiosity is excited by the wonderful sights, sounds, and smells that greet him whichever way he turns. Ginestra Glovene Amaldi.
Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision - Aldous Huxley.
Curiosity is one form of feminine bravery. ~ Victor Hugo

Curiosity is the desire learn new things by asking questions, investigating and exploring.


  • Curiosity, the overwhelming desire to know, is not characteristic of dead matter. Nor does it seem to be characteristic of some forms of living organism, which, for that very reason, we can scarcely bring ourselves to consider alive.
    • Isaac Asimov, "Gaither's Dictionary of Scientific Quotations", p. 481.
  • An understanding of the natural world and what's in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfillment, but also in the long run, essential to our future survival.
  • In how many of the most minute and trivial things my curiosity is still daily tempted, and who can keep the tally on how often I succumb? How often, when people are telling idle tales, we begin by tolerating them lest we should give offense to the sensitive; and then gradually we come to listen willingly! I do not nowadays go to the circus to see a dog chase a rabbit, but if by chance I pass such a race in the fields, it quite easily distracts me even from some serious thought and draws me after it—not that I turn aside with my horse, but with the inclination of my mind. And unless, by showing me my weakness, thou dost speedily warn me to rise above such a sight to thee by a deliberate act of thought—or else to despise the whole thing and pass it by—then I become absorbed in the sight, vain creature that I am.
  • Curiosis fabricavit inferos.
    • He fashioned hell for the inquisitive.
    • Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, Book XI, Chapter XII. Quoting an unnamed author. Adapted from "Alta, scrutantibus gehennas parabat." God prepared hell, for those who are inquisitive about high things.


  • As children, our imaginations are vibrant, and our hearts are open. We believe that the bad guy always loses and that the tooth fairy sneaks into our rooms at night to put money under our pillow. Everything amazes us, and we think anything is possible. We continuously experience life with a sense of newness and unbridled curiosity.
  • CURIOSITY, n. An objectionable quality of the female mind. The desire to know whether or not a woman is cursed with curiosity is one of the most active and insatiable passions of the masculine soul.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • Curiosity is inherent in man; and, in some measure, accompanies every degree of human understanding, and every modification of the mind. From the philosopher to the peasant, scarcely any one is found who is not desirous of information on one subject or the another; but this curiosity is directed to different objects, in different minds, in proportion to their degrees of elevation, or the extent of their previous improvements.
    • John Bigland, in “Letters on the Study and Use of Ancient and Modern History”, p. 18.
  • The first and the simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is Curiosity. By curiosity, I mean whatever desire we have for, or whatever pleasure we take in, novelty.
    • Edmund Burke, in "The Works of the Right Hon. Edmund Burke: With a Biographical and Critical Introduction, and Portrait After Sir Joshua Reynolds, Volume 1", p. 30.
  • Those things, which engage us, merely by their novelty, cannot attach us for any length of time, curiosity is the most superficial of all affections; it changes its object perpetually, it has an appetite which is very sharp, but very easily satisfied; and it has always an appearance of giddiness, restlessness, and anxiety.
    • Edmund Burke, in "The Works of the Right Hon. Edmund Burke: With a Biographical and Critical Introduction, and Portrait After Sir Joshua Reynolds, Volume 1", p. 30.
  • Each window like a pill'ry appears,
    With heads thrust through nail'd by the ears.


  • In seeking God, the most direct path and the fittest method is, not to attempt with presumptuous curiosity to pry into his essence, which is rather to be adored than minutely discussed, but to contemplate him in his works, by which he draws near, becomes familiar, and in a manner communicates himself to us.
  • "Curiouser and curiouser!" Cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English). "Now I’m opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!" (for when she looked down at her feet they seemed to be almost out of sight, they were getting so far off).
  • Perhaps one day men will no longer be interested in the unknown, no longer tantalized by mystery. This is possible, but when man loses his curiosity one feels he will have lost most of the other things that make him human.
  • Youths’ insatiable curiosity is soon squelched and its breadth of view quickly forced into the furrow cut by the plow of convention.


  • All animals feel Wonder, and many exhibit Curiosity. They sometimes suffer from this latter quality, as when the hunter plays antics and thus attracts them.
  • Energy and curiosity are the lifeblood of universities; the desire to find out, to uncover, to dig deeper, to puzzle out obscurities, is the spirit of the university, and it is a channelling of that unresting curiosity that holds mankind together.
  • So blind is the curiosity by which mortals are possessed, that they often conduct their minds along unexplored routes, having no reason to hope for success, but merely being willing to risk the experiment of finding whether the truth they seek lies there.
  • Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
    • Walt Disney, As quoted in the ending credits of the movie Meet the Robinsons (2007) and also in Jane Sutcliffe Walt Disney, Lerner Publications, 2009, p. 45.
  • The poorest of the sex have still an itch
    To know their fortunes, equal to the rich.
    The dairy-maid inquires, if she shall take
    The trusty tailor, and the cook forsake.
  • The primary relationship between the infant and the care-giver influences the development of curiosity, the ability to use it productively for thinking and for building the internal world. Curiosity, in its schizoparanoid forms, is an attempt at freezing states of primary undifferentiatedness. In its more mature forms, it serves as an integrative agent and signifies both the possibility and the need to know, as well as the boundaries of knowledge. It is an essential element in the individual's psychic fabric and counterbalances splitting and projective identification.
  • By allowing curiosity and surviving it, curiosity is transformed from an expression of destructiveness and disintegrating intrusiveness to a necessary prerequisite for psychological growth, self-discovery and creativity. Several vignettes illustrate the impact of curiosity during therapy.
    • Ofer G, Durban. in "Curiosity: reflections on its nature and functions: Abstract".


  • The important thing is not to stop questioning; curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when contemplating the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of the mystery every day. The important thing is not to stop questioning; never lose a holy curiosity.


The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards. - Anatole France.


  • Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no fibs.


  • Percunctatorem fugito, nam garrulus idem est.
    • Shun the inquisitive person, for he is also a talker.
    • Horace, Epistles, I. 18. 69.


  • Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.



  • Rise up, rise up, Xarifa! lay your golden cushion down;
    Rise up! come to the window, and gaze with all the town!


  • The basic drive behind real philosophy is curiosity about the world, not interest in the writings of philosophers. Each of us emerges from the preconsciousness of babyhood and simply finds himself here, in it, in the world. That experience alone astonishes some people. What is all this — what is the world? And what are we? From the beginning of humanity some have been under a compulsion to ask these questions, and have felt a craving for the answers. This is what is really meant by any such phrase as "mankind's need for metaphysics."
    • Bryan Magee, Confessions of a Philosopher : A Journey Through Western Philosophy (1997), p. 232.
  • I saw and heard, for we sometimes,
    Who dwell this wild, constrained by want, come forth
    To town or village nigh, nighest is far,
    Where aught we hear, and curious are to hear,
    What happens new; fame also finds us out.
  • Platon estime qu'il y ait quelque vice d'impiété à trop curieusement s'enquerir de Dieu et du monde.
    • Plato holds that there is some vice of impiety in enquiring too curiously about God and the world.
    • Michel de Montaigne, Essays, Book II, Chapter XII.


  • Zaccheus, he
    Did climb the tree,
    His Lord to see.
    • New England Primer (1814)
  • Curiosité n'est que vanité. Le plus souvent, on ne veut savoir que pour en parler.
    • Translation: Curiosity is nothing more than vanity. More often than not we only seek knowledge to show it off.
    • Blaise Pascal, Pensées, 152. (1669).


  • We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
  • Incitantur enim homines ad agnoscenda quæ differuntur.
    • Our inquisitive disposition is excited by having its gratification deferred.
    • Pliny the Younger, Epistles, IX. 27.


  • Cognition is autonomous; it refuses to have any answers foisted on it from the outside. Yet it suffers without protest having certain questions prescribed to it from the outside (and it is here that my heresy regarding the unwritten law of the university originates). Not every question seems to me worth asking. Scientific curiosity and omnivorous aesthetic appetite mean equally little to me today, though I was once under the spell of both, particularly the latter. Now I only inquire when I find myself inquired of. Inquired of, that is, by men rather than by scholars. There is a man in each scholar, a man who inquires and stands in need of answers. I am anxious to answer the scholar qua man but not the representative of a certain discipline, that insatiable, ever inquisitive phantom which like a vampire drains whom it possesses of his humanity.


  • I have perceived a most faint neglect of late, which I have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity than as a very pretence and purpose of unkindness.


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