50 Memento Mori Quotes to Remind of Death

Finding the most authentic Memento Mori quotes isn’t as easy as you might think. 

To help you, we have created a list of the best Memento Mori quotes.

Besides the quotes, we have also discussed the meaning of the phrase “Memento Mori” and its concept.

So without any further ado, let’s start unfolding the content! 

What is Meant by the Phrase “Memento Mori?”

Memento Mori is a Latin phrase that means “Remember that you must die.” 

It is a famous philosophical concept that dates back centuries ago.

It serves as a reminder that death is inevitable. 

About the Concept of Memento Mori 

This concept has been there for thousands of years.

It is equally accepted in almost every religion and culture.

It serves as a reminder that our life is floating away and death is inevitable. 

The purpose of Memento Mori is to let people understand that they are not staying in this world forever. 

Hence, they must live their lives with moral purpose and intention.

The philosophers from ancient Rome and Greece were the proponents of this concept. 

According to their beliefs, accepting death’s inevitability is essential for humans.

In the teachings of the Stoics, death is referred to as a natural part of life.

They encourage individuals to do the right things and take advantage of the time they have been awarded.

How to Implement Memento Mori in Daily Life

We can embrace this concept in our lives by acknowledging and accepting our mortality. 

Hence, we must live with a purpose and good intentions. 

We must try to pursue our goals and dreams.

Since life is short, we must keep good relationships with others. 

Also, be mindful of the current situation and respect everything God has given us.

This suggests that we must not take anything for granted. 

Below are some of the ways to implement the concept of Memento Mori:

  • Believing in the mortality 
  • Make good use of our time
  • Have friendly relationships with others
  • Take good care of our family members

Modern Times and Memento Mori 

In the prevailing circumstances, embracing the Memento Mori becomes more important than ever.

It has now become an influential concept through media, literature, film, and music propagation. 

For instance, a film named “Memento” is based on the theme of the fleeting nature of life and memory.

Art and Memento Mori 

Memento Mori used to be a famous theme in various art forms. 

The most famous example is the painting by Hans Holbein the Younger, “The Ambassadors.”

This painting symbolizes the inevitability of death. 

Top 10 Memento Mori Quotes 

The list of the top 10 memento mori quotes reminds us about death.

1. “With death comes honesty.” — Salman Rushdie

2. “It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.” Victor Hugo

3. “Death destroys a man: the idea of death saves him.” — E.M Forster

4. “Without an ever-present sense of death, life is insipid.” — Muriel Spark

5. “I cannot escape death, but at least I can escape the fear of it.” Epictetus

6. “No one can confidently say that he will still be living tomorrow.” Euripides

7. “Death never takes a wise man by surprise; he is always ready to go.” — Jean de la Fontaine 

8. “When it’s time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived.” Henry David Thoreau 

9. “Memento mori and obey the Lord. Art and religion love the somber chord.”Robert Frost

10. “Dying men think of funny things – and that’s what we all are here, aren’t we? Dying men?” — Tad Williams 

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Memorable Memento Mori Quotes

Here are some memorable memento mori quotes that you should remember, as they will remind you of death.

11. “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.” — Meditations  2.11

12. “It is difficult for people of advanced years to start remembering they must die. It is best to form the habit while young.” — Muriel Spark

13. “Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand – and melting like a snowflake.” Francis Bacon

14. “No matter how much you’ve been warned, death always comes without knocking. Why now? It is the cry. Why so soon? It’s the cry go a child being called home at dusk.” Margaret Atwood

15. “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason to follow your heart.” Steve Jobs

16. “Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received – only what you have given: a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice, and courage.” Francis of Assisi

17. “Never forget that you must die; that death will come sooner than you expect… God has written the letters of death upon your hands. In the inside of your hands you will see the letters M.M. It means ‘Memento Mori’ – remember you must die.” — John Furniss

18. “One of the things that we talked about was this idea of ‘Memento Mori’ – like the reminder of our own mortality – and so we were sort of trying to express that in our press photos. And it’s one of the themes of the album [Modern Vampires of the City] as well.” — Rostam Batmanglij

19. “There’s something coming for all of us. It’s called death. Rather than fearing it, it can become one of our greatest counselors. So, if this was the last week of your life, what would you cherish most? How would you live? How would you love it? What truth would you tell today?” Tony Robbins

20. “Memento mori – remember death! These are important words. If we kept in mind that we will soon inevitably die, our lives would be completely different. If a person knows that he will die in a half hour, he certainly will not bother doing trivial, stupid, or, especially, bad things during this half hour. Perhaps you have half a century before you die-what makes this any different from a half hour?” Leo Tolstoy

Truthful Memento Mori Quotes 

Confront the truth of our mortality with these thought-provoking Memento Mori quotes. 

21. “Through this life, you can never be certain of living long enough to take another breath.” — Huangbo Xiyun

22. “That’s a thing about life; everything feels so permanent, but you can disappear in an instant.” — Jonathan Tropper

23. “All stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true storyteller who would keep that from you.” Ernest Hemingway

24. “Not to live as if you had endless years ahead of you. Death overshadows you. While you’re alive and able—be good.” — Meditations 4.17

25. “Of all the footprints, that of the elephant is supreme. Similarly, of all mindfulness meditation, that on death is supreme.” Buddha

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26. “Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death does not come, and, when death comes, we are not.” Epicurus

27. “Do not act like you had ten thousand years to throw away. Death stands at your elbow. Be good for something while you live, and it is in your power.” Marcus Aurelius

28. “Death, when it approaches, ought not to take one by surprise. It should be part of the full expectancy of life. Without an ever-present sense of death, life is insipid.” — Muriel Spark

29. “Memento mori,” the monarch whispered. “Remember death. Even for those who wield great power, life is brief. There is only one way to triumph over death, and that is by making our lives masterpieces.” — Dan Brown

30. “The very idea of inevitable death, carrying with it the manifest folly of human concerns, is at the core of ruin porn fetish. Memento mori: You and everyone you know will die and become wreckage plowed under and renewed because that’s the way of all things. Fight it and be terrified; accept it and know peace. Live accordingly.” ― Brian Awehali

Cautious Memento Mori Quotes 

Stay mindful and cautious with these Memento Mori quotes. 

31. “No evil is honorable: but death is honorable; therefore death is not evil.” — Zeno of Citium

32. “Each time I fail to think about death, I have the impression of cheating, of deceiving someone in me.” ― Emil M. Cioran

33. “To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.” — Michel de Montaigne

34. “My life is like a memento mori painting from European art: there is always a grinning skull at my side to remind me of the folly of human ambition.” — Yann Martel

35. “Being over seventy is like being engaged in a war. All our friends are going or gone, and we survive amongst the dead and dying as on a battlefield.” — Muriel Spark

36. “Death: something like birth, a natural mystery, elements that split and recombine. Not an embarrassing thing. Not an offense to reason, or our nature.” — Meditations 4.5

37. “Let death and exile, and all other things which appear terrible be daily before your eyes, but chiefly death and you will never entertain any abject thought, nor too eagerly covet anything.” — Epictetus

38. “Try to learn breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.” — Ernest Hemingway 

39. “We are warned by the Word both of our duty, our danger, and our remedy. On the sea of life, there would be many more wrecks if it were not for the divine storm signals, which give the watchful a timely warning. The Bible should be our Mentor, our Monitor, our Memento Mori, our Remembrancer, and the Keeper of our Conscience.” Charles Spurgeon

40. “It is a nostalgic time right now, and photographs actively promote nostalgia. Photography is an elegiac art, a twilight art. Most subjects photographed are, just by virtue of being photographed, touched with pathos. … All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s mortality, vulnerability, and mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.” — Susan Sontag

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More Memorable Memento Mori Quotes 

Here are some other memento mori quotes that you will remember for years.

41. “One must live as it would be forever and is if one might die each moment. Always both at once.” — Mary Renault

42. “If I’m killed, I can die but once; but to live in constant dread of it, is to die over and over again.” Abraham Lincoln

43. “Believing the lie that time will heal all wounds is just a nice way of saying that time deadens us.” — Jonathan Nolan

44. “If you don’t remember Death, Death reminds you to do so. And if you can’t cope with the facts, the next best thing is to go away for a holiday.” — Muriel Spark

45. “Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now, take what’s left and live it properly. What doesn’t transmit light creates its own darkness.” — Marcus Aurelius

46. “The reason I believe in it(death as motivation) is because it’s ultimately practical. It’s the guiding light and the fire and ambition that drives me toward legacy and living my best life.” Gary Vaynerchuk

47. “Let us prepare our minds as if we’d come to the very end of life. Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance life’s books each day. … The one who puts the finishing touches on their life each day is never short of time.” Seneca

48. “Funerals are for the living. If we have not done for the dead while they were yet in flesh, it is too late; let the matter pass at the grave. Day by day we should live for those who are to die; and live so that we may die for those who are to live. Funerals are for the living.” ― Roelif Coe Brinkerhoff

49. “It’s easy to lose track of that mortality, forget time, and think that you’re going to live forever. The idea that you’re gonna die and that life is short is only depressing if you’re thinking about it wrong. If you’re thinking about it right, it should give you a sense of priority. It should even give you a sense of meaning; it should let you know what’s important, what you’re trying to do while you’re here on this planet.” — Ryan Holiday

50. “In a sense, Open City is a kind of Wunderkammer, one of those little rooms assembled with bric-a-brac by Renaissance scholars. I don’t mean it as a term of praise: these cabinets of curiosities contained specific sorts of objects – maps, skulls (as memento mori), works of art, stuffed animals, natural history samples, and books – and Open City contains many of the same sorts of objects. So, I don’t think it’s as simple as literary inclusiveness.” — Teju Cole

Which of these Memento Mori Quotes is your Favorite? 

We hope you find inspiration after reviewing our list of the best Memento Mori quotes.

These quotes are from renowned people, which makes them highly authentic.

Besides, we have divided these quotes into different sections to make it easy for you to find a Memento Mori quote that inspires you the most.

If you have found one, share it with us via the comments section.

We would love to hear from you.

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