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Ambrose Bierce - The Devils Dictionary

Ambrose Bierce - The Devils Dictionary

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Published by SimonRaoul
A collection of brilliant redefinitions of basically all the world in pure cynicism, a definite laugh!
A collection of brilliant redefinitions of basically all the world in pure cynicism, a definite laugh!

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Published by: SimonRaoul on Nov 17, 2009
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose BierceThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.orgTitle: The Devil's DictionaryAuthor: Ambrose BiercePosting Date: July 26, 2008 [EBook #972]Release Date: July, 1997Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ASCII*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY ***Produced by AloysiusTHE DEVIL'S DICTIONARYby Ambrose BierceAUTHOR'S PREFACE_The Devil's Dictionary_ was begun in a weekly paper in 1881, and wascontinued in a desultory way at long intervals until 1906. In thatyear a large part of it was published in covers with the title _TheCynic's Word Book_, a name which the author had not the power toreject or happiness to approve. To quote the publishers of thepresent work:"This more reverent title had previously been forced upon him bythe religious scruples of the last newspaper in which a part of thework had appeared, with the natural consequence that when it came outin covers the country already had been flooded by its imitators with ascore of 'cynic' books--_The Cynic's This_, _The Cynic's That_, and_The Cynic's t'Other_. Most of these books were merely stupid, thoughsome of them added the distinction of silliness. Among them, theybrought the word 'cynic' into disfavor so deep that any book bearingit was discredited in advance of publication."Meantime, too, some of the enterprising humorists of the countryhad helped themselves to such parts of the work as served their needs,
 
and many of its definitions, anecdotes, phrases and so forth, hadbecome more or less current in popular speech. This explanation ismade, not with any pride of priority in trifles, but in simple denialof possible charges of plagiarism, which is no trifle. In merelyresuming his own the author hopes to be held guiltless by those towhom the work is addressed--enlightened souls who prefer dry winesto sweet, sense to sentiment, wit to humor and clean English to slang.tA conspicuous, and it is hoped not unpleasant, feature of the bookis its abundant illustrative quotations from eminent poets, chief ofwhom is that learned and ingenius cleric, Father Gassalasca Jape,S.J., whose lines bear his initials. To Father Jape's kindlyencouragement and assistance the author of the prose text is greatlyindebted.iA.B.AAAA AAAA ABASEMENT, n. A decent and customary mental attitude in the presenceof wealth or power. Peculiarly appropriate in an employee whenaddressing an employer.aABATIS, n. Rubbish in front of a fort, to prevent the rubbish outsidefrom molesting the rubbish inside.fABDICATION, n. An act whereby a sovereign attests his sense of thehigh temperature of the throne.hPoor Isabella's Dead, whose abdicationSet all tongues wagging in the Spanish nation.For that performance 'twere unfair to scold her:She wisely left a throne too hot to hold her.To History she'll be no royal riddle--Merely a plain parched pea that jumped the griddle.G.J.GGABDOMEN, n. The temple of the god Stomach, in whose worship, withsacrificial rights, all true men engage. From women this ancientfaith commands but a stammering assent. They sometimes minister atthe altar in a half-hearted and ineffective way, but true reverencefor the one deity that men really adore they know not. If woman had afree hand in the world's marketing the race would becomegraminivorous.gABILITY, n. The natural equipment to accomplish some small part ofthe meaner ambitions distinguishing able men from dead ones. In thelast analysis ability is commonly found to consist mainly in a highdegree of solemnity. Perhaps, however, this impressive quality isrightly appraised; it is no easy task to be solemn.r
 
ABNORMAL, adj. Not conforming to standard. In matters of thought andconduct, to be independent is to be abnormal, to be abnormal is to bedetested. Wherefore the lexicographer adviseth a striving toward thestraiter [sic] resemblance of the Average Man than he hath to himself.Whoso attaineth thereto shall have peace, the prospect of death andthe hope of Hell.tABORIGINIES, n. Persons of little worth found cumbering the soil of anewly discovered country. They soon cease to cumber; they fertilize.nABRACADABRA.ABy _Abracadabra_ we signifyAn infinite number of things.'Tis the answer to What? and How? and Why?And Whence? and Whither?--a word wherebyThe Truth (with the comfort it brings)Is open to all who grope in night,Crying for Wisdom's holy light.Whether the word is a verb or a nounIs knowledge beyond my reach.I only know that 'tis handed down.From sage to sage,From age to age--An immortal part of speech!Of an ancient man the tale is toldThat he lived to be ten centuries old,In a cave on a mountain side.(True, he finally died.)The fame of his wisdom filled the land,For his head was bald, and you'll understandHis beard was long and whiteAnd his eyes uncommonly bright.Philosophers gathered from far and nearTo sit at his feet and hear and hear,Though he never was heardTo utter a wordBut "_Abracadabra, abracadab_,_Abracada, abracad_,_Abraca, abrac, abra, ab!_"'Twas all he had,'Twas all they wanted to hear, and eachMade copious notes of the mystical speech,Which they published next--A trickle of textIn the meadow of commentary.Mighty big books were these,In a number, as leaves of trees;In learning, remarkably--very!He's dead,As I said,And the books of the sages have perished,But his wisdom is sacredly cherished.In _Abracadabra_ it solemnly rings,

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