Aphorisms Galore!

Ambrose Bierce

American author and journalist; b. 1842; d. 1913  ·  29 aphorisms  ·  no comments

Aphorisms Attributed to This Aphorist

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Comment#  ·   Fair (289 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997

It has been observed that one's nose is never so happy as when it is thrust into the affairs of another, from which some physiologists have drawn the inference that the nose is devoid of the sense of smell.

Ambrose Bierce, in Vice and Virtue

Comment#  ·   Fair (163 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997

Knowledge is the small part of ignorance that we arrange and classify.

Ambrose Bierce, in Wisdom and Ignorance

Comment#  ·   Fair (741 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997

Love: A temporary insanity cureable either by marriage or by removal of the influences under which he incurred the disorder. It is sometimes fatal, but more frequently to the physician than the patient.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, in Love and Hate

The Devil's Dictionary (paperback)

Comment#  ·   Fair (481 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997

Misfortune: The kind of fortune that never misses.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, in Success and Failure

The Devil's Dictionary (paperback)

Comment#  ·   Fair (916 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997

Politeness: The most acceptable hypocrisy.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, in Altruism and Cynicism

The Devil's Dictionary (paperback)

Comment#  ·   Fair (1016 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997

Pray: To ask that the laws of the universe be nullified on behalf of a single petitioner, admittedly unworthy.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, in Science and Religion

The Devil's Dictionary (paperback)

Comment#  ·   Fair (743 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997

Prescription: A physician's guess at what will best prolong the situation with least harm to the patient.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, in Health and Disease and Life and Death

The Devil's Dictionary (paperback)

Comment#  ·   Fair (1115 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997

Riot: A popular entertainment given to the military by innocent bystanders.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, in War and Peace

The Devil's Dictionary (paperback)

Comment#  ·   Fair (249 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997

The covers of this book are too far apart.

Ambrose Bierce, in Altruism and Cynicism

Comment#  ·   Fair (420 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997  · 

Vote: The instrument and symbol of a free man's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, in Law and Politics

The Devil's Dictionary (paperback)

Comment#  ·   Fair (292 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997

In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary, "patriotism" is defined as the last resort of the scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer, I beg to submit that it is the first.

Ambrose Bierce, in Law and Politics

Comment#  ·   Fair (382 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997

Incompatibility: In matrimony a similarity of tastes, particularly the taste for domination.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, in Love and Hate

Comment#  ·   Fair (463 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997

Accuse: To affirm another's guilt or unworth; most commonly as a justification of ourselves for having wronged them.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, in Law and Politics

The Devil's Dictionary (paperback)

Comment#  ·   Fair (1221 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997

Alliance: In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted into each others' pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, in Law and Politics and War and Peace

The Devil's Dictionary (paperback)

Comment#  ·   Fair (948 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997

Beauty: That power by which a woman charms a lover and terrifies a husband.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, in Life and Death and Men and Women

The Devil's Dictionary (paperback)

Comment#  ·   Fair (981 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997

Bigot: One who is obstinately and zealously attached to an opinion that you do not entertain.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, in Altruism and Cynicism

The Devil's Dictionary (paperback)

Comment#  ·   Fair (415 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997

Brain: an apparatus with which we think we think.

Ambrose Bierce, in Wisdom and Ignorance

Comment#  ·   Fair (973 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997

Cannon: An instrument used in the rectification of national boundaries.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, in War and Peace

The Devil's Dictionary (paperback)

Comment#  ·   Fair (172 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997

Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum -- "I think that I think, therefore I think that I am."

Ambrose Bierce, in Wisdom and Ignorance

Comment#  ·   Fair (915 ratings)  ·  submitted 1997

Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, in Wealth and Poverty

The Devil's Dictionary (paperback)

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