to err is human (to forgive divine)

Although known in Latin (humanum est errare, it is human to err) and in earlier English versions, this saying is generally quoted in Pope’s words (quot. 1711). Cf. c 1386 CHAUCER Tale of Melibee 1.1264 The proverbe seith that ‘for to do synne is mannyssh, but certes for to persevere longe in synne is werk of the devel’; 1539 R. MORISON tr. J. L. Vives’ Introduction to Wisdom D7 It is naturally gyuen to al men, to erre, but to no man to perseuer..therein.

1578 H. WOTTON tr. J. Yver’s Courtly Controversy E3 To offend is humaine, to repent diuine, and to perseuere diuelish.

1659 J. HOWELL Proverbs (French) 12 To erre is humane, to repent is divine, to persevere is Diabolicall.

1711 POPE Essay on Criticism 1. 525 Good-Nature and Good-Sense must ever join; To Err is Humane; to Forgive, Divine.

1908 Times Literary Supplement 27 Mar. 1 The modern moralist pardons everything, because he is not certain of anything, except that to err is human.

2000 T. DALRYMPLE Life at Bottom (2001) 222 To err is human, to forgive divine: and the police have now taken up the role of divinities, making allowances for wrongdoers instead of apprehending them.


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  • (To) err is human, to forgive, divine. — To err is human, (to forgive, divine). formal something that you say which means it is natural to make mistakes and it is important to forgive people when they do. You d think he could find it in his heart to forgive her. To err is human and all… …   New idioms dictionary

  • to err is human, to forgive divine — ► to err is human, to forgive divine proverb it is human nature to make mistakes oneself while finding it hard to forgive others. Main Entry: ↑err …   English terms dictionary

  • To err is human, to forgive divine. — См. Гневаться человеческое, а злопамятствовать дьявольское дело. To err is human, to forgive divine. См. Ошибаться человеческое дело, а не сознаваться дьявольское …   Большой толково-фразеологический словарь Михельсона (оригинальная орфография)

  • to err is human, to forgive divine — This idiom is used when someone has done something wrong, suggesting that they should be forgiven …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • to err is human, to forgive divine — proverb it is human nature to make mistakes oneself while finding it hard to forgive others …   Useful english dictionary

  • to err is human, to forgive divine —    This idiom is used when someone has done something wrong, suggesting that they should be forgiven.   (Dorking School Dictionary) …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

  • To err is human, to forgive divine —   This idiom is used when someone has done something wrong, suggesting that they should be forgiven …   Dictionary of English idioms

  • (To) err is human. — To err is human, (to forgive, divine). formal something that you say which means it is natural to make mistakes and it is important to forgive people when they do. You d think he could find it in his heart to forgive her. To err is human and all… …   New idioms dictionary

  • err — ► VERB 1) be mistaken or incorrect. 2) do wrong. ● err on the side of Cf. ↑err on the side of ● to err is human, to forgive divine Cf. ↑to err is human, to forgive divine …   English terms dictionary

  • Human — Hu man, a. [L. humanus; akin to homo man: cf. F. humain. See {Homage}, and cf. {Humane}, {Omber}.] Belonging to man or mankind; having the qualities or attributes of a man; of or pertaining to man or to the race of man; as, a human voice; human… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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