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Ambrose Bierce quotes (159)

A man is known by the company he organizes.
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A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms agains himself. He makes his failure certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it.
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A total abstainer is one who abstains from everything but abstention, and especially from inactivity in the affairs of others.
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Ability is commonly found to consist mainly in a high degree of solemnity.
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Abscond - to move in a mysterious way, commonly with the property of another.
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Absence blots people out. We really have no absent friends.
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Abstainer: a weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure.
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Absurdity, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.
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Academe, n.: An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught. Academy, n.: A modern school where football is taught.
Ambrose Bierce   Category: Sports

Acquaintance. A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to.
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Admiral. That part of a warship which does the talking while the figurehead does the thinking.
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Admiration, n. Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves.
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Alien - an American sovereign in his probationary state.
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All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher.
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Alliance - in international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other's pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third.
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Ambidextrous, adj.: Able to pick with equal skill a right-hand pocket or a left.
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Ambition. An overmastering desire to be vilified by enemies while living and made ridiculous by friends when dead.
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Amnesty, n. The state's magnanimity to those offenders whom it would be too expensive to punish.
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An egotist is a person of low taste - more interested in himself than in me.
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Anoint, v.: To grease a king or other great functionary already sufficiently slippery.
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Architect. One who drafts a plan of your house, and plans a draft of your money.
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Ardor, n. The quality that distinguishes love without knowledge.
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Bacchus, n.: A convenient deity invented by the ancients as an excuse for getting drunk.
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Backbite. To speak of a man as you find him when he can't find you.
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Barometer, n.: An ingenious instrument which indicates what kind of weather we are having.
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Battle, n., A method of untying with the teeth a political knot that would not yield to the tongue.
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Beauty, n: the power by which a woman charms a lover and terrifies a husband.
Ambrose Bierce   Category: Beauty

Belladonna, n.: In Italian a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues.
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Bigot: One who is obstinately and zealously attached to an opinion that you do not entertain.
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Bore, n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen.
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Brain: an apparatus with which we think we think.
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Bride: A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her.
Ambrose Bierce   Category: Marriage

Cabbage: a familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man's head.
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Calamities are of two kinds: misfortunes to ourselves, and good fortune to others.
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Childhood: 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.
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Clairvoyant, n.: A person, commonly a woman, who has the power of seeing that which is invisible to her patron - namely, that he is a blockhead.
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Compromise, n. Such an adjustment of conflicting interests as gives each adversary the satisfaction of thinking he has got what he ought not to have, and is deprived of nothing except what was justly his due.
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Confidante: One entrusted by A with the secrets of B confided to herself by C.
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Conservative, n: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others.
Ambrose Bierce   Category: Politics

Consul - in American politics, a person who having failed to secure an office from the people is given one by the Administration on condition that he leave the country.
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Consult: To seek approval for a course of action already decided upon.
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Convent - a place of retirement for women who wish for leisure to meditate upon the sin of idleness.
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Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility.
Ambrose Bierce   Category: Business

Coward: One who, in a perilous emergency, thinks with his legs.
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Creditor. One of a tribe of savages dwelling beyond the Financial Straits and dreaded for their desolating incursions.
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Curiosity, n. An objectionable quality of the female mind. The desire to know whether or not a woman is cursed with curiosity is one of the most active and insatiable passions of the masculine soul.
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Cynic, n: a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.
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Dawn: When men of reason go to bed.
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Day, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent.
Ambrose Bierce   Category: Time

Death is not the end. There remains the litigation over the estate.
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Debt, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slavedriver.
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Deliberation, n.: The act of examining one's bread to determine which side it is buttered on.
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Destiny: A tyrant's authority for crime and a fool's excuse for failure.
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Divorce: a resumption of diplomatic relations and rectification of boundaries.
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Dog - a kind of additional or subsidiary Deity designed to catch the overflow and surplus of the world's worship.
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Doubt begins only at the last frontiers of what is possible.
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Doubt is the father of invention.
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Doubt, indulged and cherished, is in danger of becoming denial; but if honest, and bent on thorough investigation, it may soon lead to full establishment of the truth.
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Duty - that which sternly impels us in the direction of profit, along the line of desire.
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Edible - good to eat and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm.
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Edible, adj.: Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm.
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Education, n.: That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding.
Ambrose Bierce   Category: Education

Egotism, n: Doing the New York Times crossword puzzle with a pen.
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Egotist: a person more interested in himself than in me.
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Eloquence, n. The art of orally persuading fools that white is the color that it appears to be. It includes the gift of making any color appear white.
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Enthusiasm - a distemper of youth, curable by small doses of repentance in connection with outward applications of experience.
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Erudition - dust shaken out of a book into an empty skull.
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Eulogy. Praise of a person who has either the advantages of wealth and power, or the consideration to be dead.
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Experience - the wisdom that enables us to recognise in an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced.
Ambrose Bierce   Category: Experience

Experience is a revelation in the light of which we renounce our errors of youth for those of age.
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