Ambrose Bierce Quotes & Wallpapers

Ambrose Bierce
Total Quotes: 1380

Potable, n. Suitable for drinking. Water is said to be potable; indeed, some declare it our natural beverage, although even they find it palatable only when suffering from the recurrent disorder known as thirst, for which it is a medicine. Ambrose Bierce

A single swallow, it is said, devours ten millions of insects every year. The supplying of these insects I take to be a signal instance of the Creator's bounty in providing for the lives of His creatures. Ambrose Bierce

A large stone presented by the archangel Gabriel to the patriarch Abraham, and preserved at Mecca. The patriarch had perhaps asked the archangel for bread. Ambrose Bierce

When in Rome, do as Rome does. Ambrose Bierce

GRAPESHOT, n. An argument which the future is preparing in answer to the demands of American Socialism. Ambrose Bierce

Think twice before you speak to a friend in need Ambrose Bierce

MESMERISM, n. Hypnotism before it wore good clothes, kept a carriage and asked Incredulity to dinner. Ambrose Bierce

PROPHECY, n. The art and practice of selling one's credibility for future delivery. Ambrose Bierce

EAT, v.i. To perform successively (and successfully) the functions of mastication, humectation, and deglutition. 'I was in the drawing-room, enjoying my dinner,' said Brillat-Savarin, beginning an anecdote. 'What!' interrupted Rochebriant; 'eating dinner in a drawing-room?' 'I must beg you to observe, monsieur,' explained the great gastronome, 'that I did not say I was eating my dinner, but enjoying it. I had dined an hour before.' Ambrose Bierce

Photograph is a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art. It is a little better than the work of an Apache, but not quite so good as that of a Cheyenne. Ambrose Bierce

Monsieur Franqulin, inventor of electricity. This illustrious savant, after having made several voyages around the world, died on the Sandwich Islands and was devoured by savages, of whom not a single fragment was ever recovered. Ambrose Bierce

UNDERSTANDING, n. A cerebral secretion that enables one having it to know a house from a horse by the roof on the house. Its nature and laws have been exhaustively expounded by Locke, who rode a house, and Kant, who lived in a horse. Ambrose Bierce

RACK, n. An argumentative implement formerly much used in persuading devotees of a false faith to embrace the living truth. As a call to the unconverted the rack never had any particular efficacy, and is now held in light popular esteem. Ambrose Bierce

IMPROVIDENCE, n. Provision for the needs of to-day from the revenues of to-morrow. Ambrose Bierce

PLAGUE, n. In ancient times a general punishment of the innocent for admonition of their ruler, as in the familiar instance of Pharaoh the Immune. The plague today . . . is merely Nature's fortuitous manifestation of her purposeless objectionableness. Ambrose Bierce

CERBERUS, n. The watch-dog of Hades, whose duty it was to guard the entrance - against whom or what does not clearly appear; everybody, sooner or later, had to go there, and nobody wanted to carry off the entrance. Ambrose Bierce

OBLIVION, n. The state or condition in which the wicked cease from struggling and the dreary are at rest. Fame's eternal dumping ground. Ambrose Bierce

PROVIDENTIAL, adj. Unexpectedly and conspicuously beneficial to the person so describing it. Ambrose Bierce

OBSTINATE, adj. Inaccessible to the truth as it is manifest in the splendor and stress of our advocacy. Ambrose Bierce

RIMER, n. A poet regarded with indifference or disesteem. Ambrose Bierce

THEOSOPHY, n. An ancient faith having all the certitude of religion and all the mystery of science. Ambrose Bierce

JOSS-STICKS- Small sticks burned by the Chinese in their pagan tomfoolery, in imitation of certain sacred rites of our holy religion. Ambrose Bierce

Glutton- A person who escapes the evils of moderation by committing dyspepsia. Ambrose Bierce

IMBECILITY, n. A kind of divine inspiration, or sacred fire affecting censorious critics of this dictionary. Ambrose Bierce

Self-restraint is indulgence of the propensity to forgo. Ambrose Bierce

WEAKNESSES, Certain primal powers of Tyrant Woman wherewith she holds dominion over the male of her species, binding him to the service of her will and paralyzing his rebellious energies. Ambrose Bierce

Outdo, v.t. To make an enemy. Ambrose Bierce

DISOBEDIENCE, n. The silver lining to the cloud of servitude. Ambrose Bierce

ADMINISTRATION, n. An ingenious abstraction in politics, designed to receive the kicks and cuffs due to the premier or president. A man of straw, proof against bad-egging and dead-catting. Ambrose Bierce

RIGHTEOUSNESS, n. A sturdy virtue that was once found among the Pantidoodles inhabiting the lower part of the peninsula of Oque. Some feeble attempts were made by returned missionaries to introduce it into several European countries . . Ambrose Bierce

Women of genius commonly have masculine faces, figures and manners. In transplanting brains to an alien soil God leaves a little of the original earth clinging to the roots. Ambrose Bierce

Turkey: A large bird whose flesh, when eaten on certain religious anniversaries has the peculiar property of attesting piety and gratitude. Ambrose Bierce

RASCALITY, n. Stupidity militant. The activity of a clouded intellect. Ambrose Bierce

MAMMON, n. The god of the world's leading religion. The chief temple is in the holy city of New York. Ambrose Bierce

One who, professing virtues that he does not respect, secures the advantage of seeming to be what he despises. Ambrose Bierce

DEJEUNER, n. The breakfast of an American who has been in Paris. Variously pronounced. Ambrose Bierce

CUNNING, n. The faculty that distinguishes a weak animal or person from a strong one. It brings its possessor much mental satisfaction and great material adversity. An Italian proverb says: "The furrier gets the skins of more foxes than asses." Ambrose Bierce

REFLECTION,n: An Action of the mind whereby we obtain a clearer view of our relation to the things of yesterday and are able to avoid the perils that we shall not again encounter Ambrose Bierce

ETHNOLOGY, n. The science that treats of the various tribes of Man, as robbers, thieves, swindlers, dunces, lunatics, idiots and ethnologists. Ambrose Bierce

New York is too strenuous for me; it gets on my nerves. Ambrose Bierce

Calamities are of two kinds: misfortune to ourselves, and good fortune to others. Ambrose Bierce

Buddhism, n. A preposterous form of religious error perversely preferred by about three-fourths of the human race. Ambrose Bierce

The bold and discerning writer who, recognizing the truth that language must grow by innovation if it grow at all, makes new words and uses the old in an unfamiliar sense has no following and is tartly reminded that 'it isn't in the dictionary'-although down to the time of the first lexicographer (Heaven forgive him!) no author ever had used a word that was in the dictionary. Ambrose Bierce

CENTAUR, n. One of a race of persons who lived before the division of labor had been carried to such a pitch of differentiation, and who followed the primitive economic maxim, Every man his own horse. Ambrose Bierce

CUI BONO? [Latin] What good would that do me? Ambrose Bierce

DISSEMBLE, v.i. To put a clean shirt upon the character. Ambrose Bierce

ENTHUSIASM, n. A distemper of youth, curable by small doses of repentance in connection with outward applications of experience. Byron, who recovered long enough to call it entuzy-muzy, had a relapse, which carried him off - to Missolonghi. Ambrose Bierce

HARANGUE, n. A speech by an opponent, who is known as an harrangue-outang. Ambrose Bierce

HOUSELESS, adj. Having paid all taxes on household goods. Ambrose Bierce

HURRICANE, n. An atmospheric demonstration once very common but now generally abandoned for the tornado and cyclone. The hurricane is still in popular use in the West Indies and is preferred by certain old-fashioned sea-captains. Ambrose Bierce

LAUREATE, adj. Crowned with leaves of the laurel. In England the Poet Laureate is an officer of the sovereign's court, acting as dancing skeleton at every royal feast and singing-mute at every royal funeral. Ambrose Bierce

MUMMY, n. An ancient Egyptian... handy, too, in museums in gratifying the vulgar curiosity that serves to distinguish man from the lower animals. Ambrose Bierce

PESSIMISM, n. A philosophy forced upon the convictions of the observer by the disheartening prevalence of the optimist with his scarecrow hope and his unsightly smile. Ambrose Bierce

Mark how my fame rings out from zone to zone: A thousand critics shouting: He's unknown! Ambrose Bierce

Woman would be more charming if one could fall into her arms without falling into her hands. Ambrose Bierce

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

Patriotism, n. Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name. In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit it is the first. Ambrose Bierce

Hope is an explorer who surveys the country ahead. That is why we know so much about the Hereafter and so little about the Heretofore. Ambrose Bierce

When lost in a forest go always down hill. When lost in a philosophy or doctrine go upward. Ambrose Bierce

Scriptures - The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based. Ambrose Bierce

Conservative, n: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others. Ambrose Bierce

Cynic, n: a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Ambrose Bierce

There are four kinds of Homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy. Ambrose Bierce

When you doubt, abstain. Ambrose Bierce

Trial. A formal inquiry designed to prove and put upon record the blameless characters of judges, advocates and jurors. Ambrose Bierce

The best thing to do with the best things in life is to give them up. Ambrose Bierce

Insurance - an ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating the man who keeps the table. Ambrose Bierce

Eulogy. Praise of a person who has either the advantages of wealth and power, or the consideration to be dead. Ambrose Bierce

Doubt begins only at the last frontiers of what is possible. Ambrose Bierce

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

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