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Ambrose Bierce quotes page 1

1842 - 1913, American journalist and satirist

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

War is God's way of teaching Americans geography.
Ambrose Bierce

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

Happiness, n. An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.
Ambrose Bierce

Un-American, adj. Wicked, intolerable, heathenish.
Ambrose Bierce

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.
Ambrose Bierce

Success, n. The one unpardonable sin against one's fellows.
Ambrose Bierce

Democracy, n. Four wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
Ambrose Bierce

Patience, n. A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue.
Ambrose Bierce

Consul, n. 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

Pray, v. To ask the laws of the universe to be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner
confessedly unworthy.
Ambrose Bierce

You don't have to be stupid to be a Christian... but it probably helps.
Ambrose Bierce

Dawn, n. The time when men of reason go to bed.
Ambrose Bierce

Logic, n. The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and
incapacities of the human misunderstanding.
Ambrose Bierce

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

Genealogy, n. An account of one's descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to
trace his own.
Ambrose Bierce

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

Mayonnaise, n. One of the sauces that serve the French in place of a state religion.
Ambrose Bierce

Zeal, n. A certain nervous disorder afflicting the young and inexperienced. A passion that
goeth before a sprawl.
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Lottery, n. A tax on people who are bad at math.
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Belladonna, n. In Italian, a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison.
Ambrose Bierce

Electricity, n. The cause of all natural phenomena not known to be caused by something else.
It is the same thing as lightning, and its famous attempt to strike Dr. Franklin is one of the
most picturesque incidents in that great and good man's career.
Ambrose Bierce

Apologize, v. To lay the foundation for a future offense.
Ambrose Bierce

Learning, n. The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious.
Ambrose Bierce

Back, n. That part of your friend which it is your privilege to contemplate in your adversity.
Ambrose Bierce

Abstainer, n. A weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure. A
total abstainer is one who abstains from everything but abstention, and especially from
inactivity in the affairs of others.
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Virtues, n. pl. Certain abstentions.
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Non-combatant, n. A dead Quaker.
Ambrose Bierce

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

Woman would be more charming if one could fall into her arms without falling into her hands.
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A prejudice is a vagrant opinion without visible means of support.
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Generous, adj. Originally this word meant noble by birth and was rightly applied to a great
multitude of persons. It now means noble by nature and is taking a bit of a rest.
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Birth, n. The first and direst of all disasters.
Ambrose Bierce

Divorce, n. A resumption of diplomatic relations and rectification of boundaries.
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A lawyer is the larval stage of a politician.
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The gambling known as business looks with austere disfavor upon the business known as
gambling.
Ambrose Bierce

Road, n. A strip of land along which one may pass from where it is too tiresome to be to
where it is futile to go.
Ambrose Bierce

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

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