Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pickings from The Devil's Dictionary: The Letter A

Courtesy of Ambrose Bierce

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.

ABORIGINIES, n. Persons of little worth found cumbering the soil of a newly discovered country. They soon cease to cumber; they fertilize.

ABSENT, adj. Peculiarly exposed to the tooth of detraction; vilifed; hopelessly in the wrong; superseded in the consideration and affection of another

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

ACCIDENT, n. An inevitable occurrence due to the action of immutable natural laws.

ACCUSE, v.t. To affirm another's guilt or unworth; most commonly as a justification of ourselves for having wronged him.

ACHIEVEMENT, n. The death of endeavor and the birth of disgust.

ACKNOWLEDGE, v.t. To confess. Acknowledgement of one another's faults is the highest duty imposed by our love of truth.

ACQUAINTANCE, n. A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to.

ACTUALLY, adv. Perhaps; possibly.

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

ADORE, v.t. To venerate expectantly.

ADVICE, n. The smallest current coin.

ALIEN, n. An American sovereign in his probationary state.

ALONE, adj. In bad company.

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

APOLOGIZE, v.i. To lay the foundation for a future offence.

ARREST, v.t. Formally to detain one accused of unusualness.