From Ambrose Bierce
The Devil's Dictionary
ACADEME, n. An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught.
ACADEMY, n. (from academe). A modern school where football is taught.
AIR, n. A nutritious substance supplied by a bountiful Providence for the fattening of the poor.
AMBIDEXTROUS, adj. Able to pick with equal skill a right-hand pocket or a left.
ARMOR, n. The kind of clothing worn by a man whose tailor is a blacksmith.
BRIDE, n. A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her.
CONSERVATIVE, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.
CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.
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.
FIDDLE, n. An instrument to tickle the human ears by friction of a horse's tail on the entrails of a cat.
FORK, n. An instrument used chiefly for the purpose of putting dead animals into the mouth.
FROG, n. A reptile with edible legs.
GALLOWS, n. A stage for the performance of miracle plays, in which the leading actor is translated to heaven.
HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.
HOMICIDE, n. The slaying of one human being by another. There are four kinds of homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable and praiseworthy.
LAWYER, n. One skilled in circumvention of the law.
LOVE, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage or by removal of the patient from the influences under which he incurred the disorder. This disease is prevalent only among civilized races living under artificial conditions; barbarous nations breathing pure air and eating simple food enjoy immunity from its ravages. It is sometimes fatal.
MAN, n. An animal so lost in rapturous contemplation of what he thinks he is as to overlook what he indubitably ought to be. His chief occupation is extermination of other animals and his own species, which, however, multiplies with such insistent rapidity as to infest the whole habitable earth and Canada.
MARRIAGE, n. The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two.
PEACE, n. In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.
PHONOGRAPH, n. An irritating toy that restores life to dead noises.
SCRIPTURES, n. The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based.
SENATE, n. A body of elderly gentlemen charged with high duties and misdemeanors.
TELEPHONE, n. An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance.
UN-AMERICAN, adj. Wicked, intolerable, heathenish.
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