Posts Tagged ‘Ambrose Bierce’


THANKSGIVING, n. 1) A day on which thanks are given that one’s bloated, python-digesting-a-deer feeling will soon pass, and that the day will not recur for another year; 2) A five-course family feast consisting of tension, boredom, anger, recrimination, and guilt, held under the pretense of picking over the carcass of a murdered bird.

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— from The American Heretic’s Dictionary (revised & expanded), the 21st-century successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary. (The link goes to 50 sample definitions and illustrations.)

American Heretic's Dictionary revised and expanded by Chaz Bufe, front cover


"Hell" graphic by J.R. Swanson from "The Devil's Dictionaries"

HELL, n. A place of everlasting torment, much like the United States during an election year.

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— from The American Heretic’s Dictionary (revised & expanded), the 21st-century successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary. (The link goes to 50 sample definitions and illustrations.)


AGNOSTIC, n. 1. An atheist who craves social acceptance; 2) A person who feels superior to atheists by merit of his ignorance of the rules of logic and evidence.

(Adding weight to the second definition, Pew Research Center just released a poll showing that agnostics were two-and-a-half times more likely than atheists to hold at least one irrational new age belief [“new age” being pronounced as a single word starting with “s” according to Penn & Teller] — in spiritual energy; psychics; reincarnation; and/or astrology. Agnostics were only slightly less credulous in this regard than Christians.)

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— from The American Heretic’s Dictionary (revised & expanded), the 21st-century successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary. (The link goes to 50 sample definitions and illustrations.)

American Heretic's Dictionary revised and expanded by Chaz Bufe, front cover


graphic by J.R. Swanson

FREE ENTERPRISE, n. A system in which a few are born owning billions, most are born owning nothing, and all compete to accumulate wealth and power. If those born with billions succeed, it is due to their personal merits. If those born owning nothing fail, it is due to their personal defects.

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— from The American Heretic’s Dictionary (revised & expanded), the 21st-century successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary. (The link goes to 50 sample definitions and illustrations.)

American Heretic's Dictionary revised and expanded by Chaz Bufe, front cover


Ambrose Bierce

LABOR, n. One of the processes by which A acquires property for B.

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–from The Devil’s Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce


Ambrose Bierce

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

–Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary


BIRTHDAY. n. A milepost on the march to death.

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— This one is not from The American Heretic’s Dictionary (revised & expanded), the 21st-century successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary, but it will be if we ever get around to publishing a further expanded edition. (The link goes to 50 sample definitions and illustrations.)

American Heretic's Dictionary revised and expanded by Chaz Bufe, front cover