Quotes by Ambrose Bierce

quotes by Ambrose Bierce

Best 979 Quotes by Ambrose Bierce

belladonna n in i quote by ambrose bierce

Belladonna, n.: In Italian a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)
childhood the perio quote by ambrose bierce

Childhood: the period of human life intermediate between the idiocy of infancy and the folly of youth - two removes from the sin of manhood and three from the remorse of age.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)
suffrage noun expr quote by ambrose bierce

Suffrage, noun. Expression of opinion by means of a ballot. The right of suffrage (which is held to be both a privilege and a duty) means, as commonly interpreted, the right to vote for the man of another man's choice, and is highly prized.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)
future that period  quote by ambrose bierce

Future. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)
sabbath   a weekly f quote by ambrose bierce

Sabbath - a weekly festival having its origin in the fact that God made the world in six days and was arrested on the seventh.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

War is God's way of teaching Americans geography.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Marriage, n: the state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves, making in all, two.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Absence blots people out. We really have no absent friends.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

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 (Source: SoberSides.com)

Land: A part of the earth's surface, considered as property. The theory that land is property subject to private ownership and control is the foundation of modern society, and is eminently worthy of the superstructure.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

The best thing to do with the best things in life is to give them up.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Religion. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Bride: A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Academe, n.: An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught. Academy, n.: A modern school where football is taught.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Pray: To ask the laws of the universe to be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Litigant. A person about to give up his skin for the hope of retaining his bones.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Consul - in American politics, a person who having failed to secure an office from the people is given one by the Administration on condition that he leave the country.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Perseverance - a lowly virtue whereby mediocrity achieves an inglorious success.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Eloquence, n. The art of orally persuading fools that white is the color that it appears to be. It includes the gift of making any color appear white.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

What this country needs what every country needs occasionally is a good hard bloody war to revive the vice of patriotism on which its existence as a nation depends.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Ambition. An overmastering desire to be vilified by enemies while living and made ridiculous by friends when dead.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Beauty, n: the power by which a woman charms a lover and terrifies a husband.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

The small part of ignorance that we arrange and classify we give the name of knowledge.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Experience is a revelation in the light of which we renounce our errors of youth for those of age.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Who never doubted, never half believed. Where doubt is, there truth is - it is her shadow.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Painting, n.: The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather, and exposing them to the critic.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Vote: the instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Success is the one unpardonable sin against our fellows.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

I believe we shall come to care about people less and less. The more people one knows the easier it becomes to replace them. It's one of the curses of London.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Philosophy: A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Revolution, n. In politics, an abrupt change in the form of misgovernment.

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A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms agains himself. He makes his failure certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Edible - good to eat and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Edible, adj.: Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Insurance - an ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating the man who keeps the table.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Ambidextrous, adj.: Able to pick with equal skill a right-hand pocket or a left.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Genius - to know without having learned; to draw just conclusions from unknown premises; to discern the soul of things.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Heaven lies about us in our infancy and the world begins lying about us pretty soon afterward.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Women in love are less ashamed than men. They have less to be ashamed of.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

The slightest acquaintance with history shows that powerful republics are the most warlike and unscrupulous of nations.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Day, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Compromise, n. Such an adjustment of conflicting interests as gives each adversary the satisfaction of thinking he has got what he ought not to have, and is deprived of nothing except what was justly his due.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

What is a democrat? One who believes that the republicans have ruined the country. What is a republican? One who believes that the democrats would ruin the country.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

The covers of this book are too far apart.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Cabbage: a familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man's head.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Dawn: When men of reason go to bed.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Anoint, v.: To grease a king or other great functionary already sufficiently slippery.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Patriotism. Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Genealogy, n. An account of one's descent from a man who did not particularly care to trace his own.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run over.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Friendless. Having no favors to bestow. Destitute of fortune. Addicted to utterance of truth and common sense.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Absurdity, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Architect. One who drafts a plan of your house, and plans a draft of your money.

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We submit to the majority because we have to. But we are not compelled to call our attitude of subjection a posture of respect.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Eulogy. Praise of a person who has either the advantages of wealth and power, or the consideration to be dead.

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To be positive is to be mistaken at the top of one's voice.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Forgetfulness - a gift of God bestowed upon debtors in compensation for their destitution of conscience.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Alliance - 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.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

ARMOR, n. The kind of clothing worn by a man whose tailor is a blacksmith.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Christian, n.: one who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Marriage, n.: The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Enthusiasm, n. A distemper of youth, curable by small doses of repentance in connection with outward applications of experience.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Cynic, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are not as they ought to be."

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

DOG: A kind of additional or subsidiary Diety designed to catch the overflow or surplus of the world's worship."

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Hash, x. There is no definition for this word - nobody knows what hash is.Famous, adj. Conspicuously miserable.Dictionary, n. A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic. This dictionary, however, is a most useful work."

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Fear has no brains; it is an idiot. The dismal witness that it bears and the cowardly counsel that it whispers are unrelated."

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PRIMATE, n. The head of a church, especially a State church supported by involuntary contributions. The Primate of England is the Archbishop of Canterbury, an amiable old gentleman, who occupies Lambeth Palace when living and Westminster Abbey when dead. He is commonly dead.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

R.I.P. A careless abbreviation of "requiescat in pace", attesting to indolent goodwill to the dead. According to the learned Dr. Drigge, however, the letters originally meant nothing more than "reductus in pulvis".

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Homo Creator's testimony to the sound construction and fine finish of Deus Creatus. A popular form of abjection, having an element of pride.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

An absolute monarchy is one in which the sovereign does as he pleases so long as he pleases the assassins.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Accordion, n. An instrument in harmony with the sentiments of an assassin.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

A miracle is an act or event out of the order of nature and unaccountable, as beating a normal hand of four kings and an ace with four aces and a king.

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ADAGE, n. Boned wisdom for weak teeth.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

HOMILETICS, n. The science of adapting sermons to the spiritual needs, capacities and conditions of the congregation.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

ADDER, n. A species of snake. So called from its habit of adding funeral outlays to the other expenses of living.

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Admiral. That part of a warship which does the talking while the figurehead does the thinking.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

MISDEMEANOR, n. An infraction of the law having less dignity than a felony and constituting no claim to admittance into the best criminal society.

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The poor man's price of admittance to the favor of the rich is his self-respect.

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Adolescence: The stage between puberty and adultery.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

MULTITUDE, n. A crowd; the source of political wisdom and virtue. In a republic, the object of the statesman's adoration.

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Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

OBSTINATE, adj. Inaccessible to the truth as it is manifest in the splendor and stress of our advocacy.

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The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog.

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He who thinks with difficulty believes with alacrity.

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In the algebra of psychology, X stands for a woman's heart.

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X, n. In our alphabet being a needless letter has an added invincibility to the attacks of the spelling reformers, and like them, will doubtless last as long as the language.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

REPARTEE, n. Prudent insult in retort. Practiced by gentlemen with a constitutional aversion to violence, but a strong disposition to offend. In a war of words, the tactics of the North American Indian.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

REAR, n. In American military matters, that exposed part of the army that is nearest to Congress.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Amnesty, n. The state's magnanimity to those offenders whom it would be too expensive to punish.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

MUMMY, n. - an ancient Egyptian handy, too, in museums in gratifying the vulgar curiosity that serves to distinguish man from the lower animals.

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SCARABAEUS, n. The sacred beetle of the ancient Egyptians, allied to our familiar "tumble-bug." It was supposed to symbolize immortality, the fact that God knew why giving it its peculiar sanctity.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PYRRHONISM- An ancient philosophy, named for its inventor. It consisted of an absolute disbelief in everything but Pyrrhonism. Its modern professors have added that.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

OVATION, n. n ancient Rome, a definite, formal pageant in honor of one who had been disserviceable to the enemies of the nation. A lesser "triumph."

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PLAGUE, n. In ancient times a general punishment of the innocent for admonition of their ruler, as in the familiar instance of Pharaoh the Immune. The plague today . . . is merely Nature's fortuitous manifestation of her purposeless objectionableness.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

ZOOLOGY, n. The science and history of the animal kingdom, including its king, the House Fly ("Musca maledicta"). The father of Zoology was Aristotle, as is universally conceded, but the name of its mother has not come down to us.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

FREEBOOTER, n. A conqueror in a small way of business, whose annexations lack of the sanctifying merit of magnitude.

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APHORISM, n. Predigested wisdom.

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ROPE, n. An obsolescent appliance for reminding assassins that they too are mortal. It is put about the neck and remains in place one's whole life long.

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April fool, n. The March fool with another month added to his folly.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PROJECTILE, n. The final arbiter in international disputes. With the growth of prudence in military affairs the projectile came more and more into favor, and is now held in high esteem by the most courageous.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

International arbitration may be defined as the substitution of many burning questions for a smoldering one

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

ARSENIC, n. A kind of cosmetic greatly affected by the ladies, whom it greatly affects in turn.

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OWE, v. To have (and to hold) a debt. The word formerly signified not indebtedness, but possession; it meant "own," and in the minds of debtors there is still a good deal of confusion between assets and liabilities.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

OBSERVATORY, n. A place where astronomers conjecture away the guesses of their predecessors.

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UBIQUITY, n. The gift or power of being in all places at one time, but not in all places at all times, which is omnipresence, an attribute of God and the luminiferous ether only.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

HUMORIST, n. A plague that would have softened down the hoar austerity of Pharaoh's heart and persuaded him to dismiss Israel with his best wishes, cat-quick.

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AUSTRALIA, n. A country lying in the South Sea, whose industrial and commercial development has been unspeakably retarded by an unfortunate dispute among geographers as to whether it is a continent or an island.

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Bacchus, n.: A convenient deity invented by the ancients as an excuse for getting drunk.

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A bad marriage is like an electrical thrilling machine: it makes you dance, but you can't let go.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

BAIT, n. A preparation that renders the hook more palatable. The best kind is beauty.

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NECTAR, n. A drink served at banquets of the Olympian deities. The secret of its preparation is lost, but the modern Kentuckians believe that they come pretty near to a knowledge of its chief ingredient.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Barometer, n.: An ingenious instrument which indicates what kind of weather we are having.

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ROSTRUM, n. In Latin, the beak of a bird or the prow of a ship. In America, a place from which a candidate for office energetically expounds the wisdom, virtue and power of the rabble.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.

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APOTHECARY, n. The physician's accomplice, undertaker's benefactor and grave worm's provider

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Potable, n. Suitable for drinking. Water is said to be potable; indeed, some declare it our natural beverage, although even they find it palatable only when suffering from the recurrent disorder known as thirst, for which it is a medicine.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Bigamy, n. A mistake in taste for which the wisdom of the future will adjudge a punishment called trigamy.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

LOGOMACHY, n. A war in which the weapons are words and the wounds punctures in the swim-bladder of self-esteem - a kind of contest in which, the vanquished being unconscious of defeat, the victor is denied the reward of success.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Clairvoyant, n.: A person, commonly a woman, who has the power of seeing that which is invisible to her patron - namely, that he is a blockhead.

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The hardest tumble a man can make is to fall over his own bluff.

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DIARY, n. A daily record of that part of one's life, which he can relate to himself without blushing.

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Age, with his eyes in the back of his head, thinks it wisdom to see the bogs through which he has floundered.

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REVOLUTION, n. A bursting of the boilers which usually takes place when the safety valve of public discussion is closed.

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Bore, n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Botany, n. The science of vegetables - those that are not good to eat, as well as those that are. It deals largely with their flowers, which are commonly badly designed, inartistic in color, and ill-smelling.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

DIAPHRAGM, n. A muscular partition separating disorders of the chest from disorders of the bowels.

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Brain: an apparatus with which we think we think.

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BRANDY, n. A cordial composed on one part thunder-and-lightning, one part remorse, two parts bloody murder, one part death-hell-and-the-grave and four parts clarified Satan.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

GNU, n. An animal of South Africa, which in its domesticated state resembles a horse, a buffalo and a stag. In its wild condition it is something like a thunderbolt, an earthquake and a cyclone.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

An aged Burgundy runs with a beardless Port. I cherish the fancy that Port speaks sentences of wisdom, Burgundy sings the inspired Ode.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

HYENA, n. A beast held in reverence by some oriental nations from its habit of frequenting at night the burial-places of the dead. But the medical student does that

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Calamities are of two kinds: misfortunes to ourselves, and good fortune to others.

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CALLOUS, adj. Gifted with great fortitude to bear the evils afflicting another.

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Spring beckons! All things to the call respond; the trees are leaving and cashiers abscond.

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RUSSIAN, n. A person with a Caucasian body and a Mongolian soul. A Tartar Emetic.

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GNOSTICS, n. A sect of philosophers who tried to engineer a fusion between the early Christians and the Platonists. The former would not go into the caucus and the combination failed, greatly to the chagrin of the fusion managers.

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CENTAUR, n. One of a race of persons who lived before the division of labor had been carried to such a pitch of differentiation, and who followed the primitive economic maxim, "Every man his own horse."

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CERBERUS, n. The watch-dog of Hades, whose duty it was to guard the entrance - against whom or what does not clearly appear; everybody, sooner or later, had to go there, and nobody wanted to carry off the entrance.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PHOTOGRAPH, n. A picture painted by the sun without instruction in art. It is a little better than the work of an Apache, but not quite so good as that of a Cheyenne.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

HOMOEOPATHY, n. A school of medicine midway between Allopathy and Christian Science. To the last both the others are distinctly inferior, for Christian Science will cure imaginary diseases, and they can not.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

ART, n. This word has no definition. Its origin is related by the ingenious Father Gassalasca Jape as "One day a wag - what would the wretch be at? Shifted a letter of the cipher RAT, And said it was a god's name! . . ."

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

When among the graves of thy fellows, walk with circumspection; thine own is open at thy feet.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

When in Rome, do as Rome does.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

The clarinet is a musical instrument the only thing worse than which is two.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

CLERGYMAN, n. A man who undertakes the management of our spiritual affairs as a method of better his temporal ones.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

A hollow edifice erected for the habitation of man, rat, mouse, beetle, cockroach, fly, mosquito, flea, bacillus, and microbe.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

MONUMENT, n. A structure intended to commemorate something which either needs no commemoration or cannot be commemorated.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

ACCOMPLICE, n. One associated with another in a crime, having guilty knowledge and complicity, as an attorney who defends a criminal, knowing him guilty. This view of the attorney's position in the matter has not hitherto commanded the assent of attorneys, no one having offered them a fee for assenting.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

The Senate is a body of old men charged with high duties and misdemeanors.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Definition: CONNOISSEUR, n. A specialist who knows everything about something and nothing about anything else.

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Conservative, n: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others.

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Infidel, n. In New York, one who does not believe in the Christian religion; in Constantinople, one who does.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Happiness: an agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

USAGE, n. The First Person of the literary Trinity, the Second and Third being Custom and Conventionality. Imbued with a decent reverence for this Holy Triad an industrious writer may hope to produce books that will live as long as the fashion.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Wit - the salt with which the American humorist spoils his intellectual cookery by leaving it out.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Coward: One who, in a perilous emergency, thinks with his legs.

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Creditor. One of a tribe of savages dwelling beyond the Financial Straits and dreaded for their desolating incursions.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Egotism, n: Doing the New York Times crossword puzzle with a pen.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

ADMINISTRATION, n. An ingenious abstraction in politics, designed to receive the kicks and cuffs due to the premier or president. A man of straw, proof against bad-egging and dead-catting.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

CEMETERY, n. An isolated suburban spot where mourners match lies, poets write at a target and stone-cutters spell for a wager.

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HURRICANE, n. An atmospheric demonstration once very common but now generally abandoned for the tornado and cyclone. The hurricane is still in popular use in the West Indies and is preferred by certain old- fashioned sea-captains.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

MISERICORDE, n. A dagger which in mediaeval warfare was used by the foot soldier to remind an unhorsed knight that he was mortal.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PERORATION, n. The explosion of an oratorical rocket. It dazzles, but to an observer having the wrong kind of nose its most conspicuous peculiarity is the smell of the several kinds of powder used in preparing it.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Death is a dignitary who when he comes announced is received with formal manifestations of respect, even by those most familiar with him. In the code of military etiquette silence and fixity are forms of deference

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Mad, adj. Affected with a high degree of intellectual independence.

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Dog - a kind of additional or subsidiary Deity designed to catch the overflow and surplus of the world's worship.

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Impiety. Your irreverence toward my deity.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

MYTHOLOGY, n. The body of a primitive people's beliefs concerning its origin, early history, heroes, deities and so forth, as distinguished from the true accounts which it invents later.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

A subsidiary Deity designed to catch the overflow and surplus of the world's worship . . . . [H]is master works for the means wherewith to purchase the idle wag of the Solomonic tail, seasoned with a look of tolerant recognition.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

DELEGATION, n. In American politics, an article of merchandise that comes in sets.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Deliberation, n.: The act of examining one's bread to determine which side it is buttered on.

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PROPHECY, n. The art and practice of selling one's credibility for future delivery.

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All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Doubt, indulged and cherished, is in danger of becoming denial; but if honest, and bent on thorough investigation, it may soon lead to full establishment of the truth.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Dentist: a prestidigitator who, putting metal into your mouth, pulls coin out of your pocket.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

NOTORIETY, n. The fame of one's competitor for public honors. The kind of renown most accessible and acceptable to mediocrity. A Jacob's-ladder leading to the vaudeville stage, with angels ascending and descending.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

CARNIVOROUS, adj. Addicted to the cruelty of devouring the timorous vegetarian, his heirs and assigns.

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DIAGNOSIS, n. A physician's forecast of disease by the patient's pulse and purse.

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READING, n. The general body of what one reads. In our country it consists, as a rule, of Indiana novels, short stories in "dialect" and humor in slang.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Dictionary: a malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Patriotism, n. Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name. In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit it is the first.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

IMBECILITY, n. A kind of divine inspiration, or sacred fire affecting censorious critics of this dictionary.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

DIGESTION, n. The conversion of victuals into virtues. When the process is imperfect, vices are evolved instead - a circumstance from which that wicked writer, Dr. Jeremiah Blenn, infers that the ladies are the greater sufferers from dyspepsia.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Divorce: a resumption of diplomatic relations and rectification of boundaries.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Telephone, n. An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Education, n.: That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PESSIMISM- philosophy forced upon the convictions of the observer by the disheartening prevalence of the optimist with his scarecrow hope and his unsightly smile.

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predilection, n. The preparatory stage of disillusion.

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DISOBEDIENCE, n. The silver lining to the cloud of servitude.

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Work: a dangerous disorder affecting high public functionaries who want to go fishing.

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Scriptures - The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Laughter--an interior convulsion, producing a distortion of the features, and accompanied by inarticulate noises. It is infectious, and though intermittent, incurable.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Present, n. That part of eternity dividing the domain of disappointment from the realm of hope.

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Incompatibility. In matrimony a similarity of tastes, particularly the taste for domination.

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OBLIVION, n. Cold storage for high hopes. A place where ambitious authors meet their works without pride and their betters without envy. A dormitory without an alarm clock.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Slang is a foul pool at which every dunce fills his bucket, and then sets up as a fountain.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PATRIOT, n. One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PHRENOLOGY, n. The science of picking the pocket through the scalp. It consists in locating and exploiting the organ that one is a dupe with.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

POLITICIAN, n. An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared. When he wriggles, he mistakes the agitation of his tail for the trembling of the edifice.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Electricity is the power that causes all natural phenomena not known to be caused by something else

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ELEGY, n. A composition in verse, in which, without employing any of the methods of humor, the writer aims to produce in the reader's mind the dampest kind of dejection.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

MINISTER, n. An agent of a higher power with a lower responsibility. In diplomacy, an officer sent into a foreign country as the visible embodiment of his sovereign's hostility.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

An ingenious compound of desirability and appearance. Discovery of truth is the sole purpose of philosophy, which is the most ancient occupation of the human mind and has a fair prospect of existing with increasing activity to the end of time.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

TEDIUM, n. Ennui, the state or condition of one that is bored. Many fanciful derivations of the word have been affirmed, but so high an authority as Father Jape says that it comes from a very obvious source --the first words of the ancient Latin hymn _Te Deum Laudamus_. In this apparently natural derivation there is something that saddens.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Death is not the end. There remains the litigation over the estate.

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Faith: Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Evolutionary biology is genuinely scientific, but more than that it opens the door to a world more marvellous than any Christian fundamentalist has ever read into the pages of the Bible.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

In our civilization, and under our republican form of government, intelligence is so highly honored that it is rewarded by exemption from the cares of office.

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PITY, n. A failing sense of exemption, inspired by contrast.

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moral, adj. Conforming to a local and mutable standard of right. Having the quality of general expediency.

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POSITIVISM- A philosophy that denies our knowledge of the Real and affirms our ignorance of the Apparent. Its longest exponent is Comte, its broadest Mill and its thickest Spencer.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

EJECTION, n. An approved remedy for the disease of garrulity. It is also much used in cases of extreme poverty.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

MOUSE, n. An animal which strews its path with fainting women.

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Revelation: a famous book in which St. John the Divine concealed all that he knew. The revealing is done by the commentators, who know nothing.

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FEMALE, n. One of the opposing, or unfair, sex.

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Feast, n. A festival. A religious celebration usually signalized by gluttony and drunkenness, frequently in honor of some holy person distinguished for abstemiousness.

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FIDDLE, n. An instrument to tickle human ears by friction of a horse's tail on the entrails of a cat.

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Fidelity - a virtue peculiar to those who are about to be betrayed.

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ORPHAN, n. A living person whom death has deprived of the power of filial ingratitude . . .

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

RESPIRATOR, n. An apparatus fitted over the nose and mouth of an inhabitant of London, whereby to filter the visible universe in its passage to the lungs.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Experience - the wisdom that enables us to recognise in an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

The fact that boys are allowed to exist at all is evidence of remarkable Christian forbearance among men--were it not for a mawkish humanitarianism, coupled with imperfect digestive powers, we should devour our young, as Nature intended.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

LOGANIMITY, n. The disposition to endure injury with meek forbearance while maturing a plan of revenge.

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When you are ill make haste to forgive your enemies, for you may recover.

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Fork: An instrument used chiefly for the purpose of putting dead animals into the mouth.

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Trial. A formal inquiry designed to prove and put upon record the blameless characters of judges, advocates and jurors.

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FLAG, n. A colored rag borne above troops and hoisted on forts and ships. It appears to serve the same purpose as certain signs that one sees and vacant lots in London

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Nature's fortuitous manifestation of her purposeless objectionableness.

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FROG, n. A reptile with edible legs

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LAST, n. A shoemaker's implement, named by a frowning Providence as opportunity to the maker of puns.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

A statesman who shakes the fruit trees of his neighbors - to dislodge the worms.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

EXISTENCE, n. A transient, horrible, fantastic dream,/ Wherein is nothing yet all things do seem:/ From which we're wakened by a friendly nudge/ Of our bedfellow Death, and cry: "O fudge!"

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Abstainer: a weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure.

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A large stone presented by the archangel Gabriel to the patriarch Abraham, and preserved at Mecca. The patriarch had perhaps asked the archangel for bread.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

MOUTH, n. In man, the gateway to the soul; in woman, the outlet of the heart.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Historian - a broad-gauge gossip.

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GEOGRAPHER, n. A chap who can tell you offhand the difference between the outside of the world and the inside.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Boundary, n. In political geography, an imaginary line between two nations, separating the imaginary rights of one from the imaginary rights of another.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

MONAD, n. The ultimate, indivisible unit of matter (see Molecule). The monad has body without bulk, and mind without manifestation - containing all the powers and possibilities needful to his evolution into a German philosopher . .

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Gout, a physician's name for the rheumatism of a rich patient

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A system of pitfalls thoughtfully prepared for the feet for the self-made man, along the path by which he advances to distinction.

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Opportunity: A favorable occasion for grasping a disappointment.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

GRAVITATION, n. The tendency of all bodies to approach one another with a strength proportioned to the quantity of matter they contain-the quantity of matter they contain being ascertained by the strength of their tendency to approach one another. This is a lovely and edifying illustration of how science, having made A the proof of B, makes B the proof of A.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

LANGUAGE, n. The music with which we charm the serpents guarding another's treasure.

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GUILLOTINE, n. A machine which makes a Frenchman shrug his shoulders with good reason.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

GUNPOWDER, n. An agency employed by civilized nations for the settlement of disputes which might become troublesome if left unadjusted.

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Hypocrisy: prejudice with a halo.

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HASH: There is no definition for this word - nobody knows what hash is.

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Patriotism is as fierce as a fever, pitiless as the grave, blind as a stone, and irrational as a headless hen.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Heathen, n. A benighted creature who has the folly to worship something that he can see and feel.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Heaven: A place where the wicked cease from troubling you with talk of their personal affairs, and the good listen with attention while you expound on yours.

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HERMIT, n. A person whose vices and follies are not sociable.

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MALTHUSIAN, adj. Pertaining to Malthus and his doctrines, who believed in artificially limiting population, but found that it could not be done by talking. Herod of Judea, all the famous soldiers have been practical exponents of the Malthusian idea.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

HIBERNATE, v. i. To pass the winter season in domestic seclusion. There have been many singular popular notions about the hibernation of various animals. Many believe that the bear hibernates during the whole winter and subsists by mechanically sucking its paws. It is admitted that it comes out of its retirement in the spring so lean that it has to try twice before it can cast a shadow.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

There are four kinds of Homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Homicide, /n./ The slaying of one human by another. There are four kinds of homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy, but it makes no great difference to the person slain whether he died by one kind or another - the classification is for the advantage of the lawyers.

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HOSPITALITY, n. The virtue which induces us to feed and lodge certain persons who are not in need of food and lodging.

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HYDRA, n. A kind of animal that the ancients catalogued under many heads.

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LAOCOON, n. A famous piece of antique scripture representing a priest of that name and his two sons in the folds of two enormous serpents. The skill and diligence with which the old man and lads support the serpents and keep them up to their work have been justly regarded as one of the noblest artistic illustrations of the mastery of human intelligence over brute inertia.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Immortality: A toy which people cry for, And on their knees apply for, Dispute, contend and lie for, And if allowed Would be right proud Eternally to die for.

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ECCENTRICITY, n. A method of distinction so cheap that fools employ it to accentuate their incapacity.

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Logic: The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

QUIXOTIC, adj. Absurdly chivalric, like Don Quixote. An insight into the beauty and excellence of this incomparable adjective is unhappily denied to him who has the misfortune to know that the gentleman's name is pronounced Ke-ho-tay.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

INCOMPATIBILITY, n. In matrimony a similarity of tastes, particularly the taste for domination. Incompatibility may, however, consist of a meek-eyed matron living just around the corner. It has even been known to wear a moustache.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

renown, n. A degree of distinction between notoriety and fame - a little more supportable than the one and a little more intolerable than the other. Sometimes it is conferred by an unfriendly and inconsiderate hand.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Children who have proven themselves to be incorrigible by the age of twelve should be quickly and quietly beheaded, lest they grow to maturity, marry, and perpetuate the likeness of their being.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Indigestion: A disease which the patient and his friends frequently mistake for deep religious conviction and concern for the salvation of mankind. As the simple Red Man of the Western Wild put it, with, it must be confessed, a certain force: 'Plenty well, no pray; big belly ache, heap God.'

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

It has been observed that one's nose is never so happy as when thrust into the affairs of others from which some physiologists have drawn the inference that the nose is devoid of the sense of smell.

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Nothing is more logical than persecution. Religious tolerance is a kind of infidelity.

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INGRATE, n. One who receives a benefit from another, or is otherwise an object of charity.

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ENTERTAINMENT, n. Any kind of amusement whose inroads stop short of death by injection.

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Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage.

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Epitaph: An inscription on a tomb showing that virtues acquired by death have a retroactive effect.

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Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.

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LEAD, n. A heavy blue-gray metal much used ... as a counterpoise to an argument of such weight that it turns the scale of debate the wrong way. An interesting fact in the chemistry of international controversy is that at the point of contact of two patriotisms lead is precipitated in great quantities.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

INTERPRETER, n. One who enables two persons of different languages to understand each other by repeating to each what it would have been to the interpreter's advantage for the other to have said.

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A violin is the revenge exacted by the intestines of a dead cat.

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Inventor: A person who makes an ingenious arrangement of wheels, levers and springs, and believes it civilization.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Irreligion - the principal one of the great faiths of the world.

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CUNNING, n. The faculty that distinguishes a weak animal or person from a strong one. It brings its possessor much mental satisfaction and great material adversity. An Italian proverb says: "The furrier gets the skins of more foxes than asses."

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

JESTER, n. An officer attached to the king's household to amuse the court by ludicrous actions and utterances . . . the king's own conduct and decrees [being] sufficiently ridiculous for the amusement not only of his court but of all mankind.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

ZEUS /n./ The chief of Grecian gods, adored by the Romans as Jupiter and by the modern Americans as God, Gold, Mob and Dog.

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To seek a justification for a decision already made.

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KILT, n. A costume sometimes worn by Scotchmen in America and Americans in Scotland.

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Christians and camels receive their burdens kneeling.

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Battle, n., A method of untying with the teeth a political knot that would not yield to the tongue.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Laziness. Unwarranted repose of manner in a person of low degree.

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A leech who, having penetrated the shell of a turtle only to find that the creature has long been dead, deems it expedient to form a new attachment to a fresh turtle.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

LEXICOGRAPHER, n. A pestilent fellow who, under the pretense of recording some particular stage in the development of a language, does what he can to arrest its growth, stiffen its flexibility and mechanize its methods.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

OBSOLETE, adj. No longer used by the timid. Said chiefly of words. A word which some lexicographer has marked obsolete is ever thereafter an object of dread and loathing to the fool writer . . .

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

MAGIC, n. An art of converting superstition into coin. There are other arts serving the same high purpose, but the discreet lexicographer does not name them.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

KISS, n. A word invented by the poets as a rhyme for "bliss." It is supposed to signify, in a general way, some kind of rite or ceremony appertaining to a good understanding; but the manner of its performance is unknown to this lexicographer.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

ABNORMAL, adj. Not conforming to standard. In matters of thought and conduct, to be independent is to be abnormal, to be abnormal is to be detested. Wherefore the lexicographer adviseth a striving toward the straiter [sic] resemblance of the Average Man than he hath to himself. Whoso attaineth thereto shall have peace, the prospect of death and the hope of Hell.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

The bold and discerning writer who, recognizing the truth that language must grow by innovation if it grow at all, makes new words and uses the old in an unfamiliar sense has no following and is tartly reminded that 'it isn't in the dictionary' - although down to the time of the first lexicographer no author ever had used a word that was in the dictionary.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Respectability, n. The offspring of a liaison between a bald head and a bank account.

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LINEN, n. "A kind of cloth the making of which, when made of hemp, entails a great waste of hemp."

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CRAYFISH, n. A small crustacean very much resembling the lobster, but less indigestible.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

REPLICA, n. A reproduction of a work of art, by the artist that made the original. It is so called to distinguish it from a "copy," which is made by another artist. When the two are mae with equal skill the replica is the more valuable, for it is suppose

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Magpie, n.: A bird whose theivish disposition suggested to someone that it might be taught to talk.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Miss, n. A title which we brand unmarried women to indicate that they are in the market.

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Mausoleum, n: the final and funniest folly of the rich.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Mayonnaise: One of the sauces which serve the French in place of a state religion.

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Meekness: Uncommon patience in planning a revenge that is worth while.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

WEATHER, n. The climate of an hour. A permanent topic of conversation among persons whom it does not interest, but who have inherited the tendency to chatter about it from naked arboreal ancestors whom it keenly concerned. The setting up of official weather bureaus and their maintenance in mendacity prove that even governments are accessible to suasion by the rude forefathers of the jungle.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

gratitude, n. A sentiment lying midway between a benefit received and a benefit expected.

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RADIUM, n. A mineral that gives off heat and stimulates the organ that a scientist is a fool with.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Patience, n. A minor form of dispair, disguised as a virtue.

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optimism, n. The doctrine, or belief, that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly, everything good, especially the bad, and everything right that is wrong. It is held with greatest tenacity by those most accustomed to the mischance of falling into adversity, and is most acceptably expounded with disproof - an intellectual disorder, yielding to no treatment but death. It is hereditary, but fortunately not contagious.

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Famous, adj.: Conspicuously miserable.

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An accident is an inevitable occurrence due to the actions of immutable natural laws.

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REALISM, n. The art of depicting nature as it is seem by toads. The charm suffusing a landscape painted by a mole, or a story written by a measuring-worm.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

CLOCK, n. A machine of great moral value to man, allaying his concern for the future by reminding him what a lot of time remains to him.

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PRESIDE, v. To guide the action of a deliberative body to a desirable result. In Journalese, to perform upon a musical instrument; as, "He presided at the piccolo."

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

MUSTANG, n. An indocile horse of the western plains. In English society, the American wife of an English nobleman.

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NEPOTISM, n. Appointing your grandmother to office for the good of the party.

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In each human heart are a tiger, a pig, an ass and a nightingale. Diversity of character is due to their unequal activity.

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NOBLEMAN, n. Nature's provision for wealthy American minds ambitious to incur social distinction and suffer high life.

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Convent - a place of retirement for women who wish for leisure to meditate upon the sin of idleness.

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OBLIVION, n. The state or condition in which the wicked cease from struggling and the dreary are at rest. Fame's eternal dumping ground.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

SIREN, n. One of several musical prodigies famous for a vain attempt to dissuade Odysseus from a life on the ocean wave. Figuratively, any lady of splendid promise, dissembled purpose and disappointing performance.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Nominee. A modest gentleman shrinking from the distinction of private life and diligently seeking the honorable obscurity of public office.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

An old wine-bibber having been smashed in a railway collision, some wine was poured on his lips to revive him.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Snow pursued by the wind is not wholly unlike a retreating army. In the open field it ranges itself in ranks and battalions; where it can get a foothold it makes a stand; where it can take cover it does so. You may see whole platoons of snow cowering behind a bit of broken wall.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

OPIATE, n. An unlocked door in the prison of Identity. It leads into the jail yard.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

OSTRICH, n. A large bird to which (for its sins, doubtless) nature has denied that hinder toe . . . . The absence of a good working pair of wings is no defect, for, as has been ingeniously pointed out, the ostrich does not fly.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PALMISTRY, n. The 947th method . . . of obtaining money by false pretences [by] "reading character" in the wrinkles [of] the hand. The pretence is not altogether false. . . for the wrinkles in every hand submitted plainly spell the word "dupe."

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PANDEMONIUM, n. Literally, the Place of All the Demons. Most of them have escaped into politics and finance, and the place is now used as a lecture hall by the Audible Reformer.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Pantheism, n. The doctrine that everything is God, in contradistinction to the doctrine that God is everything.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PANTOMIME, n. A play in which the story is told without violence to the language. The least disagreeable form of dramatic action.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

The partisan strife in which the people of the country are permitted to periodically engage does not tend to the development of ugly traits of character, but merely discloses those that preexist.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

RIGHTEOUSNESS, n. A sturdy virtue that was once found among the Pantidoodles inhabiting the lower part of the peninsula of Oque. Some feeble attempts were made by returned missionaries to introduce it into several European countries . .

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

OATH, n. In law, a solemn appeal to the Deity, made binding upon the conscience by a penalty for perjury.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

MANICHEISM, n. The ancient Persian doctrine of an incessant warfare between Good and Evil. When Good gave up the fight the Persians joined the victorious Opposition.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

A pessimist asked God for relief. Ah, you wish me to restore your hope and cheerfulness, said God. No, replied the petitioner, I wish you to create something that would justify them. The world is all created,said God, but you have overlooked something

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Philanthropist, n.: A rich (and usually bald) old gentleman who has trained himself to grin while his conscience is picking his pocket.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Witticism. A sharp and clever remark, usually quoted and seldom noted; what the Philistine is pleased to call a joke.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PHILISTINE, n. One whose mind is the creature of its environment, following the fashion in thought, feeling and sentiment. He is sometimes learned, frequently prosperous, commonly clean and always solemn.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

RUBBISH, n. Worthless matter, such as the religions, philosophies, literatures, arts and sciences of the tribes infesting the regions lying due south from Boreaplas.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Phoenix, n. The classical prototype of the modern 'small hot bird.'

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PHONOGRAPH, n. An irritating toy that restores life to dead noises.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PHYSICIAN, n. One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PHYSIOGNOMY, n. The art of determining the character of another by the resemblances and differences between his face and our own, which is the standard of excellence.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Life - a spiritual pickle preserving the body from decay.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Litigation: A machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PIG, n. An animal ("Porcus omnivorus") closely allied to the human race by the splendor and vivacity of its appetite, which, however, is inferior in scope, for it sticks at pig.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PIRACY, n. Commerce without its folly-swaddles, just as God made it.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PLATONIC, adj. Pertaining to the philosophy of Socrates. Platonic Love is a fool's name for the affection between a disability and a frost.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PLEBEIAN, n. An ancient Roman who in the blood of his country stained nothing but his hands. Distinguished from the Patrician, who was a saturated solution.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Admiration, n. Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Politeness, n: The most acceptable hypocrisy.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

The circus a place where horses, ponies and elephants are permitted to see men, women and children acting the fool.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PLATITUDE, n. The fundamental element and special glory of popular literature. A thought that snores in words that smoke. All that is mortal of a departed truth. A jelly-fish withering on the shore of the sea of thought. A desiccated epigram.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

PERIPATETIC, adj. Walking about. Relating to the philosophy of Aristotle, who, while expounding it, moved from place to place in order to avoid his pupil's objections. A needless precaution - they knew no more of the matter than he.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

predicament, n. The wage of consistency.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Prejudice - a vagrant opinion without visible means of support.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Jealous, adj. Unduly concerned about the preservation of that which can be lost only if not worth keeping.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

FINANCE, n. The art or science of managing revenues and resources for the best advantage of the manager. The pronunciation of this word with the i long and the accent on the first syllable is one of America's most precious discoveries and possessions.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Economy, n. Purchasing the barrel of whiskey that you do not need for the price of the cow that you cannot afford.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

GOOSE, n. A bird that supplies quills for writing. These [quills] when inked and drawn mechanically across paper by a person called an "author," there results a very fair and accurate transcript of the fowl's thought and feeling.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)

Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.

Ambrose Bierce (Source: SoberSides.com)