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The Devil's Dictionary - Ambrose Bierce (With Notes)(Biography)(Illustrated)

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The Devil's Dictionary is a satirical dictionary written by American journalist and author Ambrose Bierce. Originally published in 1906 as The Cynic's Word Book, it features Bierce's witty and often ironic spin on many common English words. Retitled in 1911, it has been followed by numerous "unabridged" versions compiled after Bierce's death, which include definitions abse The Devil's Dictionary is a satirical dictionary written by American journalist and author Ambrose Bierce. Originally published in 1906 as The Cynic's Word Book, it features Bierce's witty and often ironic spin on many common English words. Retitled in 1911, it has been followed by numerous "unabridged" versions compiled after Bierce's death, which include definitions absent from earlier editions. Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842 – circa 1914) was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist. Despite his reputation as a searing critic, Bierce was known to encourage younger writers, including the poets George Sterling and Herman George Scheffauer and the fiction writer W. C. Morrow. Bierce employed a distinctive style of writing, especially in his stories. His style often embraces an abrupt beginning, dark imagery, vague references to time, limited descriptions, impossible events, and the theme of war. In 1913, Bierce traveled to Mexico to gain first-hand experience of the Mexican Revolution. He was rumored to be traveling with rebel troops, but was not seen again.


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The Devil's Dictionary is a satirical dictionary written by American journalist and author Ambrose Bierce. Originally published in 1906 as The Cynic's Word Book, it features Bierce's witty and often ironic spin on many common English words. Retitled in 1911, it has been followed by numerous "unabridged" versions compiled after Bierce's death, which include definitions abse The Devil's Dictionary is a satirical dictionary written by American journalist and author Ambrose Bierce. Originally published in 1906 as The Cynic's Word Book, it features Bierce's witty and often ironic spin on many common English words. Retitled in 1911, it has been followed by numerous "unabridged" versions compiled after Bierce's death, which include definitions absent from earlier editions. Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842 – circa 1914) was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist. Despite his reputation as a searing critic, Bierce was known to encourage younger writers, including the poets George Sterling and Herman George Scheffauer and the fiction writer W. C. Morrow. Bierce employed a distinctive style of writing, especially in his stories. His style often embraces an abrupt beginning, dark imagery, vague references to time, limited descriptions, impossible events, and the theme of war. In 1913, Bierce traveled to Mexico to gain first-hand experience of the Mexican Revolution. He was rumored to be traveling with rebel troops, but was not seen again.

30 review for The Devil's Dictionary - Ambrose Bierce (With Notes)(Biography)(Illustrated)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    goodreads, n. Website designed to prevent people who enjoy books from finding time to read them. review, v.i. Demonstrate, through a short essay, appreciation for one's own wit.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cecily

    Ambrose Bierce was an American cynic (A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be) and wit (The salt with which the American humorist spoils his intellectual cookery by leaving it out). This, his most famous (Conspicuously miserable) and enduring work, started as a weekly newspaper column in 1881, was initially published in 1906 as “The Cynic's Word Book”, and then in 1911 as “The Devil's Dictionary”. I think the earlier title is more apt, though the final c Ambrose Bierce was an American cynic (A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be) and wit (The salt with which the American humorist spoils his intellectual cookery by leaving it out). This, his most famous (Conspicuously miserable) and enduring work, started as a weekly newspaper column in 1881, was initially published in 1906 as “The Cynic's Word Book”, and then in 1911 as “The Devil's Dictionary”. I think the earlier title is more apt, though the final choice was probably more provocative at the time. Bierce wasn’t a lexicographer (A pestilent fellow who, under the pretense of recording some particular stage in the development of a language, does what he can to arrest its growth, stiffen its flexibility and mechanize its methods), and this isn’t a conventional dictionary (A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic). Instead, he immodestly (Having a strong sense of one's own merit, coupled with a feeble conception of worth in others) describes it as “a most useful work”. You will find aphorisms (Predigested wisdom) aplenty, along with poems and quotes from other writers. Many of the entries reflect his views on politics (A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage), on religion (A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable) and lawyers (One skilled in circumvention of the law). The political ones are still remarkably relevant today. There are also oddly prosaic words like kilt (A costume sometimes worn by Scotchmen in America and Americans in Scotland) and dentist (A prestidigitator who, putting metal into your mouth, pulls coins out of your pocket) and custard (A detestable substance produced by a malevolent conspiracy of the hen, the cow and the cook). Below, I've listed a few more of my favourite quotations (The act of repeating erroneously the words of another), but not all are quoted in full: Politics VOTE, n. The instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country. ELECTOR, n. One who enjoys the sacred privilege of voting for the man of another man's choice. CONSERVATIVE, n. A statesman who is enamoured of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. OVERWORK, n. A dangerous disorder affecting high public functionaries who want to go golfing fishing. DICTATOR, n. The chief of a nation that prefers the pestilence of despotism to the plague of anarchy. PATRIOTISM, n. 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 that it is the first. INVASION, n. The patriot's most approved method of attesting his love of his country. Religion PRAY, v. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy. 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. FAITH, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel. The Law INNOCENCE, n. The state or condition of a criminal whose counsel has fixed the jury. DICE, n. Small polka-dotted cubes of ivory, constructed like a lawyer to lie on any side, but commonly on the wrong one. JUDGE, n. A person who is always interfering in disputes in which he has no personal interest. An official whose functions, as a great legal luminary recently informed a body of local law-students, very closely resemble those of God. Other KANGAROO, n. An unconventional kind of animal which in shape is farther than any other from being the square of its base. It is assisted in jumping by its tail (which makes very good soup). EDUCATION, n. That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding. EGOTIST, n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me. ALONE, adj. In bad company. CENSOR, n. An officer of certain governments, employed to suppress the works of genius. Among the Romans the censor was an inspector of public morals, but the public morals of modern nations will not bear inspection. LIBERTINE, n. Literally a freedman; hence, one who is in bondage to his passions. LIBERTY, n. One of Imagination's most precious possessions. ACQUAINTANCE, n. A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to. LOVE, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage or by removal of the patient from the influences under which he incurred the disorder… It is sometimes fatal, but more frequently to the physician than to the patient. WHITE, adj. and n. Black. ELOQUENCE, n. [1.] The art of orally persuading fools that white is the color that it appears to be. OPTIMIST, n. A proponent of the doctrine that black is white. OPTIMISM, n. The doctrine, or belief, that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly, everything good, especially the bad, and everything right that is wrong… It is hereditary, but fortunately not contagious. BIRTH, n. The first and direst of all disasters. CHILDHOOD, n. The period of human life intermediate between the idiocy of infancy and the folly of youth — two removes from the sin of manhood and three from the remorse of age. Source and Imitator You can access the whole thing here: www.thedevilsdictionary.com It is of its time, so a few of the definitions do not sit comfortably with modern sensibilities. There is also Rick Bayan's 1994 The Cynic's Dictionary, which I reviewed HERE.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Arthur Graham

    For years now, I've kept the following definition tacked to my cubicle wall: EDITOR, n. A person who combines the judicial functions of Minos, Rhadamanthus and Aeacus, but is placable with an obolus; a severely virtuous censor, but so charitable withal that he tolerates the virtues of others and the vices of himself; who flings about him the splintering lightning and sturdy thunders of admonition till he resembles a bunch of firecrackers petulantly uttering his mind at the tail of a dog; then str For years now, I've kept the following definition tacked to my cubicle wall: EDITOR, n. A person who combines the judicial functions of Minos, Rhadamanthus and Aeacus, but is placable with an obolus; a severely virtuous censor, but so charitable withal that he tolerates the virtues of others and the vices of himself; who flings about him the splintering lightning and sturdy thunders of admonition till he resembles a bunch of firecrackers petulantly uttering his mind at the tail of a dog; then straightway murmurs a mild, melodious lay, soft as the cooing of a donkey intoning its prayer to the evening star. Master of mysteries and lord of law, high-pinnacled upon the throne of thought, his face suffused with the dim splendors of the Transfiguration, his legs intertwisted and his tongue a-cheek, the editor spills his will along the paper and cuts it off in lengths to suit. And at intervals from behind the veil of the temple is heard the voice of the foreman demanding three inches of wit and six lines of religious meditation, or bidding him turn off the wisdom and whack up some pathos. No wonder I've still yet to win employee of the year.... The illustrated Steadman edition is probably the only one worth owning in print, but why buy the book when you can look up all your favorite definitions right online? http://www.alcyone.com/max/lit/devils/

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The devil's dictionary, Ambrose Bierce The Devil's Dictionary is a satirical dictionary written by American Civil War soldier, wit, and writer Ambrose Bierce consisting of common words followed by humorous and satirical definitions. The lexicon was written over three decades as a series of installments for magazines and newspapers. Bierce’s witty definitions were imitated and plagiarized for years before he gathered them into books, first as The Cynic's Word Book in 1906 and then in a more comple ‭‭‎The devil's dictionary, Ambrose Bierce The Devil's Dictionary is a satirical dictionary written by American Civil War soldier, wit, and writer Ambrose Bierce consisting of common words followed by humorous and satirical definitions. The lexicon was written over three decades as a series of installments for magazines and newspapers. Bierce’s witty definitions were imitated and plagiarized for years before he gathered them into books, first as The Cynic's Word Book in 1906 and then in a more complete version as The Devil's Dictionary in 1911. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه فوریه سال 2008 میلادی ع‍ن‍وان‌: فرهنگ شیطان دوزبانه؛ نویسنده: آمبروز بیرس؛ مترجم: رضی هیرمند؛ 1385؛ در 10 و 250 ص؛ شابک: 9648637059؛ چاپ دوم 1386؛ ویراستاران: عبدالله کوثری؛ علی خزائی فر؛ موضوع: هجو و طنز؛ قرن 20 م ع‍ن‍وان‌: دای‍رة ال‍م‍ع‍ارف‌ ش‍ی‍طان؛ نویسنده: آمبروز بیرس؛ مترجم: م‍ه‍ش‍ی‍د م‍ی‍رم‍ع‍زی‌؛ ت‍هران، ان‍ت‍ش‍ارات‌ م‍رواری‍د؛ در س‍ال‌ 1380 ؛ در 209 ص؛ ویراستار: ابراهیم نبوی؛ شابک: 9646026966؛ م‍ن‍ت‍ش‍ر ش‍ده‌ اس‍ت‌ فرهنگ لغتی طنزآمیز برای برخی واژه های انگلیسی در آمریکای اواخر قرن نوزدهم و دهه ی اول قرن بیستم میلادی؛ هر صفحه از دوبخش تشکیل شده است: ترجمه در بالا و متن اصلی در پایین. نیز باید دانست که همه ی واژگان اصل کتاب در این ترجمه آورده نشده اند. ا. شربیانی

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    “CYNIC, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.” A hundred years before Twitter and other social media, uber cynic and epic tough old guy Ambrose Bierce found a way to say everything he meant, ugly and in-yer-face prose but in a scholarly and artful way in the Devil’s Dictionary. “SUCCESS, n. The one unpardonable sin against one's fellows. In literature, and part “CYNIC, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.” A hundred years before Twitter and other social media, uber cynic and epic tough old guy Ambrose Bierce found a way to say everything he meant, ugly and in-yer-face prose but in a scholarly and artful way in the Devil’s Dictionary. “SUCCESS, n. The one unpardonable sin against one's fellows. In literature, and particularly in poetry, the elements of success are exceedingly simple, and are admirably set forth in the following lines by the reverend Father Gassalasca Jape, entitled, for some mysterious reason, "John A. Joyce." The bard who would prosper must carry a book, Do his thinking in prose and wear A crimson cravat, a far-away look And a head of hexameter hair. Be thin in your thought and your body'll be fat; If you wear your hair long you needn't your hat.” Begun in 1881, published in a weekly newspaper and then collected and published in 1906, Bierce took words and attributed to them a different kind of meaning – one in which his cynicism is paraded out amongst the rest of us and his razor’s edge intelligence is demonstrated in definition after definition. “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, like caries and many other ailments, 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, but more frequently to the physician than to the patient.” Most notable for modern readers is the virtuosity of Bierce’s designs. Today we live in a world of terse headlines and hash tag wit, but it is beneficial to revisit Bierce and see a master of the language display a rapier jocularity. “SLANG, n. The grunt of the human hog (Pignoramus intolerabilis) with an audible memory. The speech of one who utters with his tongue what he thinks with his ear, and feels the pride of a creator in accomplishing the feat of a parrot. A means (under Providence) of setting up as a wit without a capital of sense.”

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jokoloyo

    I know I know this is not a real dictionary, but I read the entries randomly, and sometimes I checked a word if there was an amusing definition when I was skimming reading this book. That's why I put it as reference. I am tempted to put it on read shelf, but I admit I haven't read all of the definitions.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Szplug

    Absolutely inspired. Bierce's wit is a literary scalpel honed to a fineness that can slice exceptionalism at the molecular level. Of a kind with the mighty Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary, though featuring fewer multi-paragraph cannonades of cutting, even cruel wit in lieu of more broadly-aimed and concisely-barbed thrusts. Finding myself stuck in a lengthy queue for the cashier when purchasing it (along with a handful of other textual beauties scooped-up second hand), I opened it to A and Absolutely inspired. Bierce's wit is a literary scalpel honed to a fineness that can slice exceptionalism at the molecular level. Of a kind with the mighty Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary, though featuring fewer multi-paragraph cannonades of cutting, even cruel wit in lieu of more broadly-aimed and concisely-barbed thrusts. Finding myself stuck in a lengthy queue for the cashier when purchasing it (along with a handful of other textual beauties scooped-up second hand), I opened it to A and began reading the entries Absurdity, n. A statement of belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion. and damned if I didn't drop my dutifully dour comportment to take on that of an addled adolescent, giggling and snorting and, once or twice, guffawing, causing the other enervated customers idling with their monstrous sprog within the line to eye me askance, trying to decide if I was inebriated, insouciant, or insane. For some reason, the following particularly ignited the mirthful engines within to induce a bout of tittering that proved a struggle to bestill and left a singularly shit-eating grin etched upon my features right up until I managed to make it out the door: Academe, n. An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught. Academy, n. (from academe). A modern school where football is taught. Now, that dual entry does not represent Bierce at even half-strength, yet it struck me immediately with its succinctly-sprung sardonicism. And The Devil's Dictionary is replete with gem after gem, an abundance of droll cynicism and mordant misanthropy that places mankind and the elaborately draped framework it has assembled for living squarely where the author deemed most appropriate: down in the mud. It's an elegant, piquant, aromatic mire, mind you—but mud it be all the same.

  8. 5 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    There may be none, outside of perhaps Rabelais, who may so decorously handle the refuse of the world. The Devil's Dictionary is a guidebook for the mind of man, and perhaps a certain delicacy becomes necessary when exploring something so rude and unappealing. There is perhaps no greater illustration that the answer of 'why do bad things happen to good people' is: because it is much funnier that way.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jareed

    The blurb of my copy sufficiently covers what to expect from this book. Originally entitled The Cynic's Word Book, it is an irreverent word book of cynical and sardonic wit. To provide however a more accurate expectation of the iconoclastic definitions and passages herein contained, here's Bierce's rendition of the Demagogue. Thou shalt no God but me adore: 'Twere too expensive to have more. No images nor idols make For Robert Ingersoll to break. Take not God's name in vain; select A time when it wi The blurb of my copy sufficiently covers what to expect from this book. Originally entitled The Cynic's Word Book, it is an irreverent word book of cynical and sardonic wit. To provide however a more accurate expectation of the iconoclastic definitions and passages herein contained, here's Bierce's rendition of the Demagogue. Thou shalt no God but me adore: 'Twere too expensive to have more. No images nor idols make For Robert Ingersoll to break. Take not God's name in vain; select A time when it will have effect. Work not on Sabbath days at all, But go see the teams play ball. Honour thy parents. That creates for life insurance lower rates. Kill not, abet not those who kill; Thou shall not pay thy butcher's bill. Kiss not thy neighbor's wife, unless Thine own thy neighbor doth caress. Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete Successfully in. Cheat. Bear not false witnes - that is low - But 'hear 'tis rumoured so and so'. Covet thou naught that thou hast not. By hook or crook, or somehow, got. Bierce was nicknamed 'Bitter Bierce' for his distinctive sardonic view of human life, he was further known for sporting his incomparably fitting motto of "Nothing matters". He disappeared without a trace in 1913 in an attempt to cover the Mexican Revolution. This work of his was originally a newspaper publication, and then was published in book in 1906. This is well written and incomparably so, but I strongly recommend not to read this in one sitting but in a multitude of encounters, picking it up occasionally, letting his wit and humor slowly but intricately lull you away from a consummately unrivaled bad day at the office.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Paul Secor

    Bitter, biting, and on the money. Other folks have given examples of Bierce's definitions, but I'll add a few more: Responsibility, n. A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one's neighbor. Railroad, n. The chief of many mechanical devices enabling us to get away from where we are to where we are no better off. Influence, n. In politics, a visionary quo given in exchange for a substantial quid. Bore, n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen. Abscond Bitter, biting, and on the money. Other folks have given examples of Bierce's definitions, but I'll add a few more: Responsibility, n. A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one's neighbor. Railroad, n. The chief of many mechanical devices enabling us to get away from where we are to where we are no better off. Influence, n. In politics, a visionary quo given in exchange for a substantial quid. Bore, n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen. Abscond, v.i. To "move in a mysterious way," commonly with the property of another. Mercy, n. An attribute beloved of detected offenders. Lexicographer, n. A pestilent fellow who, under the pretense of recording some particular stage in the development of a language, does what he can to arrest its growth, stiffen its flexibility and mechanize its methods. An addition: I was rereading sections of The Devil's Dictionary the other day and, thinking about our fearless leader (though I try not to), came across Patriotism: "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 that it is the first."

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Bierce was well known for his caustic wit. This book is literally a small dictionary of words, the definitions of which are a biting commentary on human nature. The man was definitely a pessimist in his attitude toward the human race & I wouldn't recommend reading this in a single sitting, it's hard to put down. I like to pick it up occasionally, especially if I'm in a bad mood. If nothing else, it spruces up your insults.

  12. 4 out of 5

    juan carlos

    Ambrose Bierce, es un genio criticando su sociedad, la religión, la educación y los modos de vida de las personas contemporáneas. A través de sátira y humor negro, va transformando términos y conceptos que ya conocemos y los retuerce de unas maneras inimaginables, que te harán pensar, reír, y gritar ESTOY DE ACUERDO CONTIGO. Es un gran texto de aforismos y sentencias que recomiendo bastantes, además el prologo y la biografía que vienen al inicio de esta obra es sublime, aprendes mucho acerca de Ambrose Bierce, es un genio criticando su sociedad, la religión, la educación y los modos de vida de las personas contemporáneas. A través de sátira y humor negro, va transformando términos y conceptos que ya conocemos y los retuerce de unas maneras inimaginables, que te harán pensar, reír, y gritar ESTOY DE ACUERDO CONTIGO. Es un gran texto de aforismos y sentencias que recomiendo bastantes, además el prologo y la biografía que vienen al inicio de esta obra es sublime, aprendes mucho acerca de la literatura y los diferentes estilos narrativos que puede tener un tema en particular, en este caso el terror como fantasía, el terror gótico y el terror romántico. Otra cosa curiosa de este titulo, es que puedes leerlo de corrido o al azar y podrás disfrutar de el completamente.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. Impiety, n. Your irreverence toward my deity. 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. Selfish, adj. Devoid of cons Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. Impiety, n. Your irreverence toward my deity. 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. Selfish, adj. Devoid of consideration for the selfishness of others.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Igor Ljubuncic

    Perfect. This man is the father of trolling and modern sarcasm. The Internet you have today, you owe it to him. Yup. Without Bierce, there'd be no memes. Or if I may sing (Penny Lane style): Ambrose Bierce is a man with scant few photographs Of every word he's had the pleasure to write And all the people that come and go Stop and say hello On the corner is a married man wearing Crocs The little children laugh at him behind his back And the ladies never give him any slack In the pouring rain, very strange Am Perfect. This man is the father of trolling and modern sarcasm. The Internet you have today, you owe it to him. Yup. Without Bierce, there'd be no memes. Or if I may sing (Penny Lane style): Ambrose Bierce is a man with scant few photographs Of every word he's had the pleasure to write And all the people that come and go Stop and say hello On the corner is a married man wearing Crocs The little children laugh at him behind his back And the ladies never give him any slack In the pouring rain, very strange Ambrose Bierce is in my ears and in my memes Dictionary work to break your dreams I read it, meanwhile back Something like that. Igor

  15. 5 out of 5

    Traveller

    Although the book is great fun, perhaps not so much to a jaded 21st century mind as it must have been when the book was first published. Sorry if I sound a bit crabby compared to the glowing 5-star reviews before this one, but although witty, I just don't find this the wittiest ever, which would have made it thus worthy of 5 stars.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mohammad Ali

    کتاب جالبیه؛ مدخلایی که آدم ذکاوت و طنزپردازی مؤلف رو تحسین کنه درش کم نیست. البته هم فضای زبانیش و هم فضای فرهنگیش دیگه قدیمی شده؛ ولی کلا این جور کتابی اگه کسی باز می شناسه به منم بگه ترجمه از حیث کلیت مطابقت قابل قبوله - هر چند در مواردی به نظرم اشتباهه و در مواردی هم به نظرم مشکوکه. اما در مورد برابرگزینیِ مفردات، خوب عمل نکرده، دقت ندارن برابرها؛ همپوشانی هم دارن مثلا دو واژه یه چیز ترجمه شدن. اشکال دیگه اینه که مترجم به ما نمی گه چه تعداد از مدخل ها ترجمه نشدن. سوای این نقائص، در ترجمه یه ط کتاب جالبیه؛ مدخلایی که آدم ذکاوت و طنزپردازی مؤلف رو تحسین کنه درش کم نیست. البته هم فضای زبانیش و هم فضای فرهنگیش دیگه قدیمی شده؛ ولی کلا این جور کتابی اگه کسی باز می شناسه به منم بگه ترجمه از حیث کلیت مطابقت قابل قبوله - هر چند در مواردی به نظرم اشتباهه و در مواردی هم به نظرم مشکوکه. اما در مورد برابرگزینیِ مفردات، خوب عمل نکرده، دقت ندارن برابرها؛ همپوشانی هم دارن مثلا دو واژه یه چیز ترجمه شدن. اشکال دیگه اینه که مترجم به ما نمی گه چه تعداد از مدخل ها ترجمه نشدن. سوای این نقائص، در ترجمه یه طنز و شنگولی ای هست و یه ذخیره ی لغاتی که من دوستش دارم - مثلا نگاه کنید به واژه ی مست

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michael Perkins

    Hi, my name is Ambrose Bierce. Chances are, you have never heard of me. Or, if so, likely from my Devil’s Dictionary, which I will quote in parentheses throughout this column. I was once an idealistic youth. I even believed in Santa Claus when I was a small child. But when my mother told me the truth, I was very angry with her and am, to some extent, to this day. I don’t like when people lie to me and the world is full of liars. I have spent my career as a journalist exposing liars and giving th Hi, my name is Ambrose Bierce. Chances are, you have never heard of me. Or, if so, likely from my Devil’s Dictionary, which I will quote in parentheses throughout this column. I was once an idealistic youth. I even believed in Santa Claus when I was a small child. But when my mother told me the truth, I was very angry with her and am, to some extent, to this day. I don’t like when people lie to me and the world is full of liars. I have spent my career as a journalist exposing liars and giving them the rhetorical whipping they deserve. I have had an interesting life. I am 71 years old and embarking on a new adventure. I am headed to Mexico to report on the Revolution, now in its third or fourth year, and to join the forces of Pancho Villa. I am in El Paso and will cross the border to Juarez. In a hotel room in Laredo, I left a trunk of books and a manuscript that exposes that scoundrel William Randolph Hearst, for whom I published my “Prattle” column in the San Francisco Examiner and worked for other of his publications for 30 years. My Civil War stories—you may have heard of or even read “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”—were popular in their day. Those stories are based on my harrowing experiences fighting—at Shiloh, Chickamauga and getting wounded in the head at Kennesaw Mountain— for the Union in the Indiana Infantry Regiment. Later, I helped General Hazew map the far west. When my promised promotion did not happen, I settled in San Francisco to pursue a career in journalism. But the only job i could get was as a night watchman at the Treasury Mint Building. I used my spare time to educate myself by methodically and voraciously reading history and classical literature. And I kept writing and my freelance work was picked up by several San Francisco publications until I got hired by the News-Letter where I published my “Town Crier” column before I moved to London with my wife, Molly, for a three-year stint. When I came back to San Francisco, I started a new column at the Argonaut, titled “The Prattle,” which would later carry over to several publications, including the San Francisco Examiner. I called out hypocrites of all kinds, especially politicians, but also evangelicals who would throw rocks at the Chinese then go into church to praise Jesus. (“Christian: One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor”). I always defended the Chinese, as well as Jews, and the black man against racism, which brings me to the loathsome Denis Kearney who formed the Workingman’s Party. Though an immigrant himself, Irish, Kearney was hostile to immigrants not like himself, especially the Chinese. They were his favorite scapegoat. The Chinese worked on the most dangerous section of the railroad, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, that allowed the Central Pacific and Union Pacific to link in May 1869 in Utah as the first transcontinental railroad. After this, the Chinese came to San Francisco to look for work. Kearney’s solution to the competition was to run the Chinese out of town. But he went too far when his followers armed themselves to destroy the Chinese and overthrow the city government. I regularly attacked that immortal ass, and though they got the bizarre Isaac Kalloch elected for mayor, their fall was just as swift as their rise. For 20 years, I went after the Big Four, the Rail Rogues, led by that scoundrel Stealand Landford. Particularly egregious was the Mussel Slough tragedy in the San Joaquin Valley. Even worse was the Funding Bill that came before Congress that would cancel the Western railroads’ indebtedness to the federal government for land grants and loans. Mr. Hearst sent me to Washington, DC, to lead the newspaper attack there. Rail baron Collis Huntington tried to bribe me on the steps of the Nation’s capital. He told me: “Name your price. Every man has his price.” I shot back, in front of many witnesses, “My price is $75 million to be handed to the Treasurer of the United States.” My efforts are credited with getting the bill defeated. My writing career got started and developed during the period after the Civil War, what my colleague and rival, Mark Twain, called the Gilded Age, a time of rapid industrial and economic growth, but also the consolidation of wealth and power in the hands of a few. I kept a human skull on my desk as a reminder of my mortality. Some call me a cynic (“a blackguard whose faulty vision sees thing as they are”) and a misanthrope, and therefore abnormal (“In matters of thought and conduct, to be independent is to be abnormal, to be abnormal is to be detested.”) Some call me “Bitter Bierce.” I pack a revolver at all times, ever since Charles de Young, the owner of the San Francisco Chronicle, was shot dead by the mayor’s son after the newspaper published a derogatory piece about the mayor. But now, I confess I feel like a hack. My journalism and stories will be forgotten in a generation, if that. I have also been a bad family man, mostly absent from my wife Molly, who divorced me and died young, and my three children. (Some think Molly was a saint, but I have my own idea of what a saint is: “a dead sinner, revised and edited”). Things went bad after we moved to San Rafael, a clime that the doctors thought would be better for my chronic asthma, and my mother-in-law, Mrs. Daly moved in with us. She was a most insufferable woman. No wonder her wealthy husband lived the life of a reclusive in the mining camps. I preferred to stay in the City than going home. When I did go home, I expected the children to be clean, well-mannered, and studious, but did nothing to help them in that regard. I fear I was a bad example to the children, particularly to my older son, Day. My most colorful, productive, and sometimes annoying journalism association was with the newspaper publisher, William Randolph Hearst. His father, George, grew up in a log cabin in Missouri. After the death of his father, George headed for the Gold Rush in California, where he and his partners found gold, but also ran a general store, and raised livestock and did farming. It was in 1859 when they heard of the Comstock Silver Lode in Nevada. They took a stake in a silver mine and managed to pull out 38 tons of high-grade ore and transport it to San Francisco to be smelted. Their fortune was made. George continued to expand his mining interests, including the Homestake gold mine in South Dakota, where I tried my luck, staying in the town of Deadwood, but with no success. Back in Missouri, George met Phoebe (more than 20 years his junior) and they got married and moved to San Francisco where they had their only child, William. George bought a ranch in San Simeon and financed a thoroughbred horse stable. He bought the San Francisco Examiner as payment for a gambling debt. After he died, Phoebe gave to many universities, especially University of California, Berkeley, where she became the first female regent. George sent his reluctant son, William, to Harvard, where he got himself expelled. When he returned to California, his father gave him the San Francisco Examiner as something to keep him occupied, Little did his father know how seriously his son would take it. Only two weeks after he got the paper in February, 1897, Mr. Hearst sailed across the Bay to seek me out in Oakland. I encountered a tall, slender man with pale eyes and a diffident manner. “I am from the San Francisco Examiner,” he explained in a voice like the fragrance of violets made audible, and backed a little away. “Oh,” I said, “You come from Mr. Hearst.” Then that unearthly child lifted his blue eyes and cooed: “I am Mr. Hearst.” Little did I know then that Mr. Hearst would become the P.T. Barnum of publishing, staging current events as much as reporting on them. For example, he had one staff writer get himself committed to an insane asylum by jumping off a steamer in the middle of the San Francisco Bay and rave like a lunatic when the rescuers pulled him out. After a month in the asylum, he emerged perfectly sane to write a harrowing account of his experience there. Another reporter jumped off a ferry boat to test how long it would take to rescue him. If he couldn’t swim, he would have drowned. Winifred Sweet, a redheaded former chorus girl dressed up as a homeless woman, faked a collapse, and was taken to a hospital for the poor where she was successively insulted, pawed, given a hot mustard emetic, and turned back out on to the street. A front page expose in the “Monarch of the Dailies” (as Hearst called the Examiner) led to a staff shakeup at the hospital and a visit to the newsroom by the chief physician, threatening violence. A burly colleague of Miss Sweet knocked him out cold. It was not long before the Examiner circulation reached 300,000. Hearst wanted me to revive my “Prattle” column to help boost the circulation of the Examiner, which was then at 30,000. I was given complete editorial freedom and did not have to come into the office to write. (This kept me away from bores, “people who talk when I wish them to listen”). When I did drop by from time to time, I always seemed to end up in a pub crawl with some of the other journalists to see who could hold their liquor best. Not since drinking with Jack London did I find such even matches. Most people know the story of William Randolph Hearst and his publishing empire, but I want to add this note about him personally: He had not a friend in the world. Nor does he merit one. He is inaccessible to the conception of an unselfish attachment or a disinterested motive. Perhaps he was aware that to befriend means to make an ingrate. Well, I better be off. Mexico is calling. If you hear of my being stood up against a Mexican stone wall and shot to rags please know that I think it’s a pretty good way to depart this life. It beats old age, disease, or falling down the cellar stairs. To be a Gringo in Mexico—ah, that is euthanasia!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    Bierce, Ambrose. THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY. (1911). ****. Bierce (1842-1913?) was born in Ohio and educated in Indiana. He was the tenth of thirteen children whose father gave all of them names starting with an “A”: In order of birth, they were Abigal, Amelia, Ann, Addison, Aurelius, Augustus, Almeda, Andrew, Albert, Ambrose, Arthur, Adelia, and Aurelia. When Civil War broke out, he enlisted in the Union Army’s 9th Indiana Infantry Regiment. The experiences he had participating in various battles, Bierce, Ambrose. THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY. (1911). ****. Bierce (1842-1913?) was born in Ohio and educated in Indiana. He was the tenth of thirteen children whose father gave all of them names starting with an “A”: In order of birth, they were Abigal, Amelia, Ann, Addison, Aurelius, Augustus, Almeda, Andrew, Albert, Ambrose, Arthur, Adelia, and Aurelia. When Civil War broke out, he enlisted in the Union Army’s 9th Indiana Infantry Regiment. The experiences he had participating in various battles, including First Phillipi, Shiloh, and Kennesaw Mountain. After the war, he migrated to San Francisco and entered the field of journalism, primarily as a crime reporter. He is primarily known for his short stories – or “tales” – and for their precise use of language. Most of his work is satirical in nature or borders on the supernatural, but is eminently readable today. His exact date of death is unknown. In 1913, he went to Mexico to report on Mexico’s revolution. He travelled with Villa’s army and ultimately disappeared without a trace after the battle of Tierra Bianca. This work was written over a long period (1881-1911) and was not issued as a single volume until 1911 – included as part of his “complete works.” It reminds one of Votaire’s dictionary, since all of the definitions are steeped in sarcasm. This edition was published by Library of America (disregard the photo) and is bolstered by copious notes. I have the urge to quote extensively from the dictionary, but will keep it to just a few of the definitions. Alone, adj. In bad company. Bacchus, n. A convenient deity invented by the ancients as an excuse for getting drunk. Barometer, n. An ingenious instrument which indicates what kind of weather we are having. Critic, n. A person who boasts himself hard to please because nobody tries to please him. Dentist, n. A prestidigitator who, putting metal into your mouth, pulls co9ins out of your pocket. Die, n. The singular of “dice.” We seldom hear the word because there is a prohimitory proverb, “Never say die.” At long interfals, however, some one says, “The die is cast,” which is not true, for it is cut... Enough. This is a must read. Recommended.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rauf

    This work is fantastic. It is not a starter kit for a demonic ritual or anything. It's a mock dictionary. Almost every word in it is defined in a sarcastic and delightful fashion. Some of my favourite are: MISFORTUNE, n. the kind of fortune that never missed. POLITENESS, n. the most acceptable hypocrisy. BRIDE, n. A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her. BRUTE, n. See HUSBAND. IMAGINATION, n. A warehouse of facts, with poet and liar in joint ownership. APRIL FOOL, n. The March fool with an This work is fantastic. It is not a starter kit for a demonic ritual or anything. It's a mock dictionary. Almost every word in it is defined in a sarcastic and delightful fashion. Some of my favourite are: MISFORTUNE, n. the kind of fortune that never missed. POLITENESS, n. the most acceptable hypocrisy. BRIDE, n. A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her. BRUTE, n. See HUSBAND. IMAGINATION, n. A warehouse of facts, with poet and liar in joint ownership. APRIL FOOL, n. The March fool with another month added to his folly. BRAIN, n. An apparatus with which we think what we think. YEAR, n. A period of three hundred and sixty-five disappointments. WORMS'-MEAT, n. The finished product of which we are the raw material. The contents of the Taj Mahal, the Tombeau Napoleon and the Granitarium. This work is availabel at Project Guttenberg.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pewterbreath

    This is the perfect coffee-table/bathroom book. Thumbing around this thing one finds tons of amusement. Some of it cuts pretty deep though, and cynicism floods every page. An acid-tinged classic.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Vaishali

    Hilarious! A sarcastic compilation of definitions, published in 1906. If you cannot stomach sexist and racist jokes, proceed gingerly. Here are some cleaner hits : ============================== Abominable adj. The quality of another’s opinions. Abroad adj. At war with savages and idiots. To be a Frenchman abroad is to be miserable; to be an American abroad is to make others miserable. Abuse n. The goal of debate. Accuracy n. A certain uninteresting quality carefully excluded from human statements. Achi Hilarious! A sarcastic compilation of definitions, published in 1906. If you cannot stomach sexist and racist jokes, proceed gingerly. Here are some cleaner hits : ============================== Abominable adj. The quality of another’s opinions. Abroad adj. At war with savages and idiots. To be a Frenchman abroad is to be miserable; to be an American abroad is to make others miserable. Abuse n. The goal of debate. Accuracy n. A certain uninteresting quality carefully excluded from human statements. Achievement n. The death of endeavor and the birth of disgust. Acquaintance n. A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to. Actually adv. Perhaps ; possibly. Adam’s Apple n. A protuberance on the throat of a man, thoughtfully provided by Nature to keep the rope in place. Admirability n. My kind of ability, as distinguished from your kind of ability. Admonition n. Gentle reproof, as with a meat-axe. Friendly warning. Apathetic adj. Six weeks married. Bald adj. Destitute of hair from hereditary or accidental causes—never from age. Betrothed pp. The condition of a man and woman who, pleasing to one another and objectionable to their friends, are anxious to propitiate society by becoming unendurable to each other. Bore n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen. Boundary n. In political geography, an imaginary line between two nations, separating the imaginary rights of one from the imaginary rights of the other. Bride n. A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her. Brute n. See Husband. Calamity n. A more than commonly plain and unmistakable reminder that the affairs of this life are not of our own ordering. Calamities are of two kinds: misfortune to ourselves, and good fortune to others. Canonize v.t. To make a saint out of a dead sinner. Caterpillar n. The capitalist of insects before he gets his start in life. Circumlocution n. A literary trick whereby the writer who has nothing to say breaks it gently to the reader. Client n. A person who has made the customary choice between the two methods of being legally robbed. Comfort n. A state of mind produced by contemplation of a neighbor’s uneasiness. Confession n. A place where the priest sits to forgive the big sins for the pleasure of hearing about the little ones. Congratulation n. The civility of envy. Consolation n. The knowledge that a better man is more unfortunate than yourself. Corporation n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility. Day n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent. Delusion n. The father of a most respectable family, comprising Enthusiasm, Affection, Self-denial, Faith, Hope, Charity and many other goodly sons and daughters. Deposit n. A charitable contribution to the support of a bank. Dice n. Small polka-dotted cubes of ivory, constructed like a lawyer to lie on any side, but commonly on the wrong one. Disenchant v.t. To free the soul from the chains of illusion in order that the lash of truth may draw blood at a greater number of points. Distance n. The only thing that the rich are willing from the poor to call theirs, and keep. Economy n. Purchasing the barrel of whisky that you do not need for the price of the cow that you cannot afford. Egotist n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me. Elope v.i. To exchange the perils and inconveniences of a fixed residence for the security and comfort of travel. Equal adj. As bad as something else. Expectation n. The state or condition of mind which in the procession of human emotions is preceded by hope and followed by despair. Fault n. One of my offenses, as distinguished from one of yours, the latter being crimes. Feast n. A festival. A religious celebration usually signalized by gluttony and drunkenness, frequently in honor of some holy person distinguished for abstemiousness. Fidelity n. A virtue peculiar to those who are about to be betrayed. Fraud n. The life of commerce, the soul of religion, the bait of courtship and the basis of political power. Genealogy n. An account of one’s descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to trace his own. Gratitude n. A sentiment lying midway between a benefit received and a benefit expected. Habit n. A shackle for the free. Heaven n. A place where the wicked cease from troubling you with talk of their personal affairs, and the good listen with attention while you expound your own. History n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools. Home n. The place of last resort — open all night. Homesick adj. Dead broke abroad. Houseless adj. Having paid all taxes on household goods. Idiot n. A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling. Ignoramus n. A person unacquainted with certain kinds of knowledge familiar to yourself, and having certain other kinds that you know nothing about. Immaculate adj. Not as yet spotted by the police. Infancy n. The period of our lives when, according to Wordsworth, ‘‘Heaven lies about us.’’ The world begins lying about us pretty soon afterward. Leisure n. Lucid intervals in a disordered life. Luminary n. One who throws light upon a subject; as an editor by not writing about it. Marriage n. The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves, making in all, two. Meekness n. Uncommon patience in planning a revenge that is worthwhile. Misfortune n. The kind of fortune that never misses. Morning n. The end of night and dawn of dejection. Mortality n. The part of immortality that we know about. Mosquito n. The spore of insomnia, as distinguished from Conscience, the bacillus of the same disease. ‘‘I am the master of all things!’’ Man cried. ‘‘Then, pray, what am I?’’ the Mosquito replied. Optimist n. A proponent of the doctrine that black is white. Out-of-doors n. That part of one’s environment upon which no government has been able to collect taxes. Perdition n. The loss of one’s soul; also the place in which it can be found. 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. Philosophy n. A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing. Picture n. A representation in two dimensions of something wearisome in three. Pillage v. To carry on business candidly. Pray v. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy. Prescription n. A physician’s guess at what will best prolong the situation with least harm to the patient. Present n. That part of eternity dividing the domain of disappointment from the realm of hope. Read v. To get the sense of something written, if it has any. Commonly, it has not. Responsibility n. A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one’s neighbor. Riches n. The savings of many in the hands of one. Rite n. A religious or semi-religious ceremony fixed by law, preceptor, and customs with the essential oil of sincerity carefully squeezed out of it. Sauce n. The one infallible sign of civilization and enlightenment. Twice adv. Once too often. Vote n. The instrument and symbol of a freeman’s power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country. Wit n. The salt with which the American humorist spoils his intellectual cookery by leaving it out. Year n. A period of three hundred and sixty-five disappointments. .

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ken Moten

    READING, n. The general body of what one reads. In our country it consists, as a rule, of Indiana novels, short stories in "dialect" and humor in slang. REVIEW, v.t. To set your wisdom (holding not a doubt of it, Although in truth there's neither bone nor skin to it) At work upon a book, and so read out of it The qualities that you have first read into it. I have been procrastinating reviewing this book out of laziness(n. Unwarranted repose of manner in a person of low degree.) and the fact that READING, n. The general body of what one reads. In our country it consists, as a rule, of Indiana novels, short stories in "dialect" and humor in slang. REVIEW, v.t. To set your wisdom (holding not a doubt of it, Although in truth there's neither bone nor skin to it) At work upon a book, and so read out of it The qualities that you have first read into it. I have been procrastinating reviewing this book out of laziness(n. Unwarranted repose of manner in a person of low degree.) and the fact that there are other things I wanted to read but I have always came back to this book. This book is simply a satirical-cynical parody of your standard 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.) It is a fun read to just look-up common words and see what Bierce's smart-ass definition of it is. For instance since this site deals with books let's see another reading definition: NOVEL, n. A short story padded. A species of composition bearing the same relation to literature that the panorama bears to art. As it is too long to be read at a sitting the impressions made by its successive parts are successively effaced, as in the panorama. Unity, totality of effect, is impossible; for besides the few pages last read all that is carried in mind is the mere plot of what has gone before. To the romance the novel is what photography is to painting. Its distinguishing principle, probability, corresponds to the literal actuality of the photograph and puts it distinctly into the category of reporting; whereas the free wing of the romancer enables him to mount to such altitudes of imagination as he may be fitted to attain; and the first three essentials of the literary art are imagination, imagination and imagination. The art of writing novels, such as it was, is long dead everywhere except in Russia, where it is new. Peace to its ashes -- some of which have a large sale. This was written in 1906 to understand the context. How about some definitions from the W's: WALL STREET, n. A symbol for sin for every devil to rebuke. That Wall Street is a den of thieves is a belief that serves every unsuccessful thief in place of a hope in Heaven. WAR, n. A by-product of the arts of peace. WASHINGTONIAN, n. A Potomac tribesman who exchanged the privilege of governing himself for the advantage of good government. In justice to him it should be said that he did not want to. (This man was an oracle). WEATHER, n. The climate of the hour. A permanent topic of conversation among persons whom it does not interest, but who have inherited the tendency to chatter about it from naked arboreal ancestors whom it keenly concerned WITCH, n. (1) Any ugly and repulsive old woman, in a wicked league with the devil. (2) A beautiful and attractive young woman, in wickedness a league beyond the devil. Most of the book is like that; it doesn't take itself seriously and it dares you to take it seriously. All it serves is to make you laugh or smirk at a particular definition. I'm surprised this whole book isn't entered into the Goodreads quote section.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nick Black

    One of the most surprising books I know -- by far the best book I've read sans preconceptions, or at least presuggestions, of greatness. Ambrose was one clever guy. Although... ...Some purists might claim that the only measure of cleverness that counts is whether one avoids "disappearing into Mexico without a trace, especially for want of something better to do"; in the spirit of The Devil's Dictionary, let me reply to this contextomic litotes without any preciousness regarding the Madero revolut One of the most surprising books I know -- by far the best book I've read sans preconceptions, or at least presuggestions, of greatness. Ambrose was one clever guy. Although... ...Some purists might claim that the only measure of cleverness that counts is whether one avoids "disappearing into Mexico without a trace, especially for want of something better to do"; in the spirit of The Devil's Dictionary, let me reply to this contextomic litotes without any preciousness regarding the Madero revolution: - "disappearing into Mexico" - walking into a war zone like a goddamn fool, then asking around "hey what does a très unflappable journalist from the Gilded Lands of the North do for panache and elan around here?" while being hustled into a basement. - "get in the basement and start begging for death now" - It might not be an actual basement. The begging for death part is right on. - "sometime in 1914" - about five minutes into this Very Bad Idea. yeah. it's a fucking tragedy the way they'll waste a perfectly good white boy in the Tlaxcala. - "Tlaxcala" - 1. A powerful neurotoxin brought to you by Dow(TM). 2. A paralyzing, necrotizing and ultimately fatal bacterial infection marked by pungent suppurations and a "frothing" effluvia known colloquially as "Caliente Huevos Rancheros el Diablo" ("the Hot Breakfast Eggs of Satan (or The Devil)"), "the Wave Which Breaks Both Ways", "Matando Güeros", or "the quivering pytchmole". 3) A state in Mexico, but don't think it's not going to kill you just the same. - "without a trace" - Idiom. 1) Without leaving a record or artifact. 2) Leaving only the fair assumption, rather than notarized multimedia record, that one was bludgeoned with an iron rod, repeatedly gangraped by an eager troop of Red Flaggers, fed what the donkey eats, raped again while it's determined that, without cell phones and contact info, ransoms don't work, shot and finally consumed by birds. - Magnesium Powder - 1. Element number 11, symbol Mg. 2. Rumored as worse to have packed around and gushing from one's shredded asshole than sand, dysentery and a sepsis you can hear, like the roar of a thousand Yugos, or the sizzle of viscera under the harsh sun of Veracruz. - "Kick ass" and "chew chicle" - The two things we came to do. - Chicle - Gum. Looks like we are all out of it. - "Equidad en la Justicia" - "In the end, we are all carrion for vultures to eat. Until then, better to be the gang than the bang." - "Gringo!" - "Looks like you're the bang." I mean, I know the Illuminati were after you and McKinley wanted you served up on flatsilver but even before 2666, it didn't take Ambrose Bierce's brain to know the only ways back from 1913 Mexico were "without a trace" or "on a pike". Anyway, funny book, good times.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ana-Maria Petre

    Ambrose Bierce is that funny, sardonic uncle who always disagrees with your father at family reunions. He's a highly intelligent person who probably knows they're the smartest in most rooms and laughs at the stupidity and hypocrisy of others, but subtly enough not to be understood by them. I must admit I loved this book. I tend to be cynical myself at times, and so agree with Mr. Bierce. I think cynics are bluntly honest with themselves, and their distrust of people relies in a high awareness of Ambrose Bierce is that funny, sardonic uncle who always disagrees with your father at family reunions. He's a highly intelligent person who probably knows they're the smartest in most rooms and laughs at the stupidity and hypocrisy of others, but subtly enough not to be understood by them. I must admit I loved this book. I tend to be cynical myself at times, and so agree with Mr. Bierce. I think cynics are bluntly honest with themselves, and their distrust of people relies in a high awareness of their own feelings and motives. And they are usually smart men. It is well-known that intelligent people have a keen sense of self-irony and sarcasm, because they see the truth in things (which is not a happy truth). Laughing at it is the best weapon against madness. However, it's a depressing way to see the world, and it involves a certain blindness to the light. People are bad, that's true. They are dishonest, deceitful, greedy and cruel. But people are also beautiful, and kind, and wise. It's kind of twisted to see the world in just one way, and although cynics claim to understand the truth, they only grasp half of it and close their eyes to the other. I have not removed any starts for disagreeing with the book's philosophy. Bierce gets his point across well; as I said, he's a clever guy. There are some parts of this book that are outdated, though, and don't make much sense today, so I couldn't five-star it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    I do recognize the genius of Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary. I giggled, I guffawed, I snorted, and I laughed in turns. I smiled at some particularly insightful bits of satire. I nodded happily when Bierce's wit assaulted his peers or scored a palpable hit on an issue or a word I wanted to see skewered. I wanted so badly to enjoy Bierce's classic more than I did, but for every entry I enjoyed there was another that made me bored (I should mention, however, that there was nothing that I h I do recognize the genius of Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary. I giggled, I guffawed, I snorted, and I laughed in turns. I smiled at some particularly insightful bits of satire. I nodded happily when Bierce's wit assaulted his peers or scored a palpable hit on an issue or a word I wanted to see skewered. I wanted so badly to enjoy Bierce's classic more than I did, but for every entry I enjoyed there was another that made me bored (I should mention, however, that there was nothing that I hated), and I found myself slogging through to the next definition rather than enjoying where I was at. Bierce was particularly somnolent when he turned to humorous verse to flesh out his definitions. The man had a gift for prose, but he had no gift for poetry. His verse was, occasionally, funny -- I will concede that -- but much of it simply made me yawn. Some of this could be me, some of this could be the distance in time between Bierce and myself, but some of it must be Bierce too. I recognize The Devil's Dictionary's place as a classic, and it certainly deserves the title; I also think everyone should have a copy lying around to pick up and put down whenever they need something stimulating to read (it could be the perfect toilet book, and I don't mean that in a bad way). But, sadly, my feelings about the book never surpassed contented enjoyment. Would you care to riposte, Mr. Bierce? "CRITIC, n. A person who boasts himself hard to please because nobody tries to please him. There is a land of pure delight, Beyond the Jordan's flood, Where saints, apparelled all in white, Fling back the critic's mud. And as he legs it through the skies, His pelt a sable hue, He sorrows sore to recognize The missiles that he threw. Orrin Goof" P.S. That verse isn't too bad ;)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Quiver

    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. Having many times come across piercingly disquieting quotes from Bierce, I decided to read the dictionary itself, cantankerous literary warts and all. Some of the references have aged better than others; some will be better understood by American readers. But what remains, distilled and universal, is dark, dark stuff. Bierce exhibits 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. Having many times come across piercingly disquieting quotes from Bierce, I decided to read the dictionary itself, cantankerous literary warts and all. Some of the references have aged better than others; some will be better understood by American readers. But what remains, distilled and universal, is dark, dark stuff. Bierce exhibits the blackest parts of the human soul—to the eventual chagrin of every reader. Yes. For no matter how much you're keen on cynical humour, no matter how much you chuckle at the first 65 definitions, the 66th (for example, I'm not being precise here) will make you cringe. Perhaps there's a reason why abridged versions exist and why it would be best to take only an occasional sip from this particularly bitter fountain of wit. Here are some of my favourite definitions beginning with A. Abstainer, n. A weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure. Achievement, n. The death of endeavor and the birth of disgust. Adore, v.t. To venerate expectantly. Advice, n. The smallest current coin. Air, n. A nutritious substance supplied by a bountiful Providence for the fattening of the poor. Allegory, n. A metaphor in three volumes and a tiger. Alliance, n. In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other’s pocket that they cannot separately plunder a third. Alone, adj. In bad company. April Fool, n. The March fool with another month added to his folly. Argue, v.t. To tentatively consider with the tongue. If you enjoyed that, this dictionary may be to your liking. However, you have been warned: small sips only.

  27. 4 out of 5

    ALLEN

    If you're a fan of sardonic wit, as I am, you want the biggest possible DEVIL'S DICTIONARY. This one has over 400 pages, as compared to one budget edition with only 144 pages. Wikipedia proclaims Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) an "American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist." It's in the last capacity, as satirist, that Bierce's DEVIL'S DICTIONARY (1911) achieved and maintained its gloriously irritable fame. This book is chock-full of mini-masterpieces of snark, arra If you're a fan of sardonic wit, as I am, you want the biggest possible DEVIL'S DICTIONARY. This one has over 400 pages, as compared to one budget edition with only 144 pages. Wikipedia proclaims Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) an "American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist." It's in the last capacity, as satirist, that Bierce's DEVIL'S DICTIONARY (1911) achieved and maintained its gloriously irritable fame. This book is chock-full of mini-masterpieces of snark, arranged in parody-dictionary format, such as: Barometer: An ingenious instrument which indicates what kind of weather we are having. Bore: A person who talks when you wish him to listen. Painting: The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the critic. -- and my favorite -- Politics: Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. This book may not be for everybody, but to paraphrase Alice Longworth Roosevelt, if you like this sort of thing, come sit by me! Highly recommended for the arch wit and Americana as well.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Baylee

    Se vi piace vedere il mondo da una prospettiva meno usuale e più cinica, non potete perdervi questo piccolo, geniale dizionario. Sebbene non tutte le definizioni abbiano la stessa forza, alcune sono memorabili. emetico (agg. sost.) - Sostanza che suscita nello stomaco un improvviso e vivace interesse per quel che succede di fuori. merito (s.m.) - Le qualità che dimostrano il nostro buon diritto a ottenere ciò che qualcun altro si prende. prossimo (s.m.) - Uno che ci è stato imposto di amare come no Se vi piace vedere il mondo da una prospettiva meno usuale e più cinica, non potete perdervi questo piccolo, geniale dizionario. Sebbene non tutte le definizioni abbiano la stessa forza, alcune sono memorabili. emetico (agg. sost.) - Sostanza che suscita nello stomaco un improvviso e vivace interesse per quel che succede di fuori. merito (s.m.) - Le qualità che dimostrano il nostro buon diritto a ottenere ciò che qualcun altro si prende. prossimo (s.m.) - Uno che ci è stato imposto di amare come noi stessi e che fa di tutto per farci disubbidire. Semplice e brillante. Un dizionario scherzoso, che fa ridere, ma fa anche molto riflettere. Sembra che dal 1906 (anno della prima pubblicazione) alcune "peculiarità" umane non siano cambiate per nulla... mentre altre sono entrate nel comune sentire e nella saggezza popolare (o forse ci sono sempre state). sacerdote (s.m.) - Un uomo che si assume la cura della nostra vita spirituale per migliorare le condizioni della sua vita temporale.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Η τελειότης στον κυνισμό και την κοφτερή γλώσσα. Μου θύμισε Όσκαρ Ουάιλντ. Η ίδια οξυδέρκεια. Και πόσο επίκαιρη γραφή! Μου άρεσε πολύ. Ευαγγέλιο! Και επειδή έχω ένα θέμα με τη φιλία, ιδού τι λέει ο μετρ : Φιλία : ένα πλοίο αρκετά μεγάλο για να μεταφέρει δύο άτομα όταν έχει καλό καιρό, αλλά μόνο ένα όταν πιάσει φουρτούνα. Πλάτη : το μέρος του φίλου σου που μπορείς να παρατηρείς με την άνεση σου, όταν έχεις προβλήματα. Ζητιάνος : αυτός που υπολόγιζε στη βοήθεια των φίλων του. Το ένα αστέρι είναι για Η τελειότης στον κυνισμό και την κοφτερή γλώσσα. Μου θύμισε Όσκαρ Ουάιλντ. Η ίδια οξυδέρκεια. Και πόσο επίκαιρη γραφή! Μου άρεσε πολύ. Ευαγγέλιο! Και επειδή έχω ένα θέμα με τη φιλία, ιδού τι λέει ο μετρ : Φιλία : ένα πλοίο αρκετά μεγάλο για να μεταφέρει δύο άτομα όταν έχει καλό καιρό, αλλά μόνο ένα όταν πιάσει φουρτούνα. Πλάτη : το μέρος του φίλου σου που μπορείς να παρατηρείς με την άνεση σου, όταν έχεις προβλήματα. Ζητιάνος : αυτός που υπολόγιζε στη βοήθεια των φίλων του. Το ένα αστέρι είναι για την εικονογράφηση.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Víctor Antón

    No es que lo haya leído, es que lo releo constantemente. Lo utilizo para asentar relatos propios, para sacar ideas, para calmarme cuando el día ha sido duro. Y es que al abrirlo es como si abriera una caja de agujas para pinchar la ira, la preocupación y el estrés. Bierce en su salsa, tan irónico y mordaz que no se puede hacer más que entregarse a lo que dice y cómo lo dice. Para mi una obra imprescindible.

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