Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce, 1842 - 1913/14?
The Devil's Dictionary
Born: 24 June 1842, Meigs County, Ohio
Bierce wrote satiric "dictionary" entries as part of his newspaper columns between 1881 and 1906. He first suggested a Comic Dictionary in a column he wrote for the News Letter of San Francisco in 1869. Between 1877 and 1878 he twice used "The Demon's Dictionary" as a column title in The Argonaut, a weekly San Francisco magazine he edited. Between 1881 and 1906 he used the title The Devil's Dictionary for 88 columns in The Wasp, another San Francisco magazine where he was editor-in-chief, each including 15 to 20 definitions. Doubleday published The Cynic's Wordbook in 1906, featuring 500 definitions from A to L, and in 1911 Volume 7 of The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce was titled The Devil's Dictionary and included another 500, all of which were drawn from his columns for The Wasp. In 1967 an expanded version was published with an additional 851 definitions drawn from work other than the Wasp columns. Our collection is rather smaller than that, but still a great deal of fun to read.
Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary quotes:
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- Abscond, v. To move in a mysterious way, commonly with the property of another. permalink
- Abstainer, n. A weak man who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure. permalink
- Absurdity, n. A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's Own opinion. permalink
- Academy, n. A modern school where football is taught. permalink
- Accord, n. Harmony. permalink
- Accordion, n. An instrument in harmony with the sentiments of an assassin. permalink
- Achievement, n. The death of endeavor and the birth of disgust. permalink
- Acquaintance, n. A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to. A degree of friendship called slight when its object is poor or obscure, and intimate when he is rich or famous. permalink
- Adage, n. Boned wisdom for weak teeth. permalink
- Admiral, n. That part of a warship which does the talking while the figurehead does the thinking. permalink
- Admiration, n. Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves. permalink
- Advice, n. The smallest current coin. permalink
- Advice, n. The suggestions you give someone else which you hope will work for your benefit. permalink
- Alliance, n. In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other's pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third. permalink
- Alligator, n. The crocodile of America, superior in every detail to the crocodile of the effete monarchies of the Old World. permalink
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