Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

Weil ich vorgestern zu wenig Bierce zitieren konnte:

Excerpts from The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce
(written from 1881 to 1906)

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.

Adam’s Apple, n.

A protuberance in the throat of man, thoughtfully provided by Nature to keep the rope in place.

Antagonist, n.

The miserable scoundrel who won’t let us.

Comedy, n.

A play in which none of our fellow-actors are visibly killed.

Comet, n.

An excuse for being out late at night and going home drunk in the morning.

Corpse, n.

A person who manifests the highest possible degree of indifference that is consistent with a civil regard for the solicitude of others.

Culprit, n.

The other fellow.

Debauchee, n.

One who has so earnestly pursued pleasure that he has had the misfortune to overtake it.

Defame, v.t.

To lie about another. To tell the truth about another.

Dejeuner, n.

The breakfast of an American who has been in Paris. Variously pronounced.

Deluge, n.

A notable first experiment in baptism which washed away the sins (and sinners) of the world.

Egotist, n.

A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me.

Friendless, adj.

Having no favors to bestow. Destitute of fortune. Addicted to the utterance of truth and common sense.

Invasion, n.

The patriot’s most approved method of attesting his love of his country.

Inventor, n.

A person who makes an ingenious arrangement of wheels, levers and springs, and believes it civilization.

Kleptomaniac, n.

A rich thief.

Mine, adj.

Belonging to me if I can hold or seize it.

Once, adv.


Opiate, n.

An unlocked door in the prison of Identity. It leads into the jail yard.

Pedestrian, n.

The variable (and audible) part of the roadway for an automobile.

Positive, adj.

Mistaken at the top of one’s voice.

Postscript, n.

The only portion of a lady’s letter which you need read, if you are in a hurry.

Quack, n.

A murderer without a license.

Really, adv.


Reconsider, v.

To seek a justification for a decision already made.

Self-Evident, adj.

Evident to one’s self and to nobody else.

Truce, n.


(Das ganze Buch kann man zum Beispiel bei herunterladen, wie auch die ausgezeichneten Kurzgeschichten von Bierce.)

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