Author: Ambrose Bierce

Learning: The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious.

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

Commerce: A kind of transaction in which A plunders from B the goods of C, and for compensation B picks the pocket of D of money belonging to E. 

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

Discriminate: To note the particulars in which one person or thing is, if possible, more objectionable than another.

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

Bride: A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her.

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

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.

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusion is called a philosopher.

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

Reconsider: To seek a justification for a decision already made.

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

Pray: To ask the laws of the universe to be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

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

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

Pain: An uncomfortable frame of mind that may have a physical basis in something that is being done to the body, or may be purely mental, caused by the good fortune of another.

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

Death is not the end; there remains the litigation over the estate.

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

Brain: An apparatus with which we think we think.

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

Auctioneer: The man who proclaims with a hammer that he has picked a pocket with his tongue.

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

Politeness is the most acceptable hypocrisy.

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

Man: An animal [whose]… chief occupation is the extermination of other animals and his own species, which, however, multiplies with such insistent rapidity as to infest the whole habitable earth and Canada.

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

Tariff: A scale of taxes on imports, designed to protect the domestic producer against the greed of his consumer.

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

Circus: A place where horses, ponies and elephants are permitted to see men, women and children acting the fool.

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

I never said all Democrats were saloonkeepers; what I said was that all saloonkeepers are Democrats.

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

Queen: A woman by whom the realm is ruled when there is a king, and through whom it is ruled when there is not.

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

Litigant: A person about to give up his skin for the hope of retaining his bones.

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist

Telephone: An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance.

(1842 – 1914) author & satirist
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