Don’t Ask Winston Churchill To Fly Kite

Find out why I say don’t ask Winston Churchill to fly kite against the wind so you don’t wind up sharing this misquote.

The quote:

“Kites rise highest against the wind and not with it.”

It is attributed to Winston Churchill.

But as to date, no one has has yet to locate its original source.

The International Churchill Society is also still trying to verify the authenticity source of this quote.

Nevertheless, this quote which is ascribed to Winston Churchill is widely published in books and blindly shared by websites all over the Internet.

don't ask Winston Churchill to fly kite

I managed to find the quote: “Kites rise highest against the wind and not with the wind” as quoted by someone named Olefingerson, who wrote to the editor of St. Hilaire MN Spectator, dated July 13, 1896 via Old Fulton.

Don't Ask Winston Churchill To Fly Kite

I also found this Churchill kites-against-the-wind quote published in El Paso Times back in 1963.

(El Paso Times, Texas, Tuesday, June 11, 1963, P. 4) source

Note: To view the quote. click on the ‘OCR‘ at the bottom of the page.

But, there is no mention of its source.

So we cannot verify that this line is actually by Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill.

If Sir Winston Churchill knew this quote wrongly attributed to him, I think he might have remarked:

“Never, never, never give in to misqoutes!”

There are lots of quotes wrongly ascribed to Sir Winston Churchill.

Here is is another popular misquote:

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” credited to Henry Ford

Again this quotation is still unverified.

No one has ever cited its reliable source.

By the way this is another quote wrongly attributed to Henry Ford:

As we advance in life, we learn the limits of our abilities.”

These days, Pinterests is one of the notorious sites for spreading and sharing fake quotes and misquotes.

Anyway, there is this authentic so-called kite-against-wind quote:

“Kites rise against not with the wind…” by author and critic John Neal.

This particular line is taken from John Neal’s essay titled “Enterprise and Perseverance”published in the “Weekly Mirror” of New York on 31 January, 1846.

See image below:

Kites rise against not with the wind john neal

In fact this quote by John Neal was published in numerous publications, including Rome Sentinel, March 20, 1846 and The Western Literary Messenger, February 21, 1846.

Talking about wind, here are three authentic wind quotes:


“You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down.” – Clive Staples Lewis

(Christian Behaviour: A Further Series Of Broadcast Talks By Clive Staples Lewis, London: Macmillan, 1946, P. 63) source


“We may by care and skill be able to trim our ship, to steer our course, or to keep our reckoning; but we cannot control the winds, or subdue deceitful currents, or prevent disasters.” – Sailors

(The Sailors’ Prayer Book: A Manual Of Devotion For Sailors At Sea, And Their Families At Home, Sermon: The God Of Sailors, London: John Snow, 1852, First Week, Serman, The God Of Sailor, P. 7) source


“The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.” – Joan Didion

(We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live:Collected Nonfiction By Joan Didion, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006, Slouching Towrds Bethlehem, Los Angeles Notebook, 1, P. 164) source

(The quote is also found here.)

* Check out my selection of triumph over adversity quotes.