The Devil's Dictionary
by Ambrose Bierce
I first read about Ambrose Bierce and his "devil's dictionary" in the Young World Saturday supplement of The Hindu. That was back when I was in school. Several years later, I came across an all-text version of the dictionary on the Internet. To make it more usable, I compiled this free PDF version using HTMLDoc.
The Devil's Dictionary by the great American writer Ambrose Bierce a great repository of brutally frank and unusually cynical descriptions for popular words and phrases in English. Do not be surprised if you are already familiar with some of them. Even in his time, his work was liberally copied by others. Here is a small dose.
- 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.
- BRIDE, n. A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her.
- 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.
- DEBAUCHEE, n. One who has so earnestly pursued pleasure that he has had the misfortune to overtake it.
- EXTINCTION, n. The raw material out of which theology created the future state.
- FEMALE, n. One of the opposing, or unfair, sex.
- GUILLOTINE, n. A machine which makes a Frenchman shrug his shoulders with good reason.
- HAPPINESS, n. An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.
- IGNORAMUS, n. A person unacquainted with certain kinds of knowledge familiar to yourself, and having certain other kinds that you know nothing about.
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