The Devil's Dictionary: Complete & Unabridged

The Devil's Dictionary: Complete & Unabridged

3.5 62
by Ambrose Bierce
     
 

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"Bore: A person who talks when you wish him to listen." "Lawyer: One skilled in circumvention of the law." "Positive: Mistaken at the top of one's voice." These and more than 1,000 other comic definitions appear in Ambrose Bierce's wicked satire of conventional dictionaries. An ideal gift for lovers of language, this classic of American humor

Overview


"Bore: A person who talks when you wish him to listen." "Lawyer: One skilled in circumvention of the law." "Positive: Mistaken at the top of one's voice." These and more than 1,000 other comic definitions appear in Ambrose Bierce's wicked satire of conventional dictionaries. An ideal gift for lovers of language, this classic of American humor features a wealth of quips praised by H. L. Mencken as "some of the most gorgeous witticisms in the English language."

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This enjoyable abridgment is an updated version of a classic lexicon by one of the 19th century's most famous satirists. Originally published between 1881 and 1886 as a regular feature in the Wasp, a San Francisco journal, and again in 1904 in Hearst papers, Bierce's 700 definitions are just as humorous, witty, and satiric today as they were then. They mock social, professional, and religious conventions while also providing a small glimpse into late 19th-century society. Entries include, for example, "Apologize" ("To lay the foundation for a future offence"); "Beggar" ("One who has relied on the assistance of his friends"); and "Saint" ("A dead sinner revised and edited"). Illustrations by satiric cartoonist Steadman complement the text, while Angus Calder's (The People's War) introduction provides basic biographical data on Bierce's life and works and a brief bibliography. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Laurie Selwyn, Grayson Cty. Law Lib., Sherman, TX Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Dana Gioia
Forget the Summer of Love. Bierce is the real voice of San Francisco—mordant, worldly, skeptical, and witty.
The Hungry Mind Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780486482248
Publisher:
Dover Publications
Publication date:
05/19/2011
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
1,095,887
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Roy Morris, Jr., is the editor of America's Civil War and the author of Ambrose Bierce: Alone in Bad Company and Sheridan: The Life and Wars of General Phil Sheridan. He lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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The Devil's Dictionary 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
younger-self More than 1 year ago
The Devil's Dictionary is required reading for the student of sarcasm and humor. It was written by a bitter intellectual, at a time in history when North America had its share of major problems and the rest of the world was getting closer to facing disasters of every type. Ambrose Bierce was a romantic realist, dissatisfied with politics, with authority, with human nature, with art, but still a believer in all those things. He was the forerunner of European intellectualism, one of the first cult figures in literary history and an inspiration to generations of Don Quijotes as well as the dadaists, existentialists and absurdists of the twentieth century. I strongly believe that writers, politicians and people desiring to be interesting conversationalists will benefit from having this small book nearby.
AnaMardoll More than 1 year ago
The Devil's Dictionary / 978-1-411-43027-3 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. This "dictionary" by Ambrose Bierce is witty, scathing, and totally hilarious. In his characteristic style, he dishes out his contempt and distaste for those societal norms which he sees as foolish, hypocritical, and dangerous. This is not a book to read, but - truly - a dictionary to reference whenever the mood takes. The aphorisms ring true, even today, and the only real complaint is that we would wish for so much more - the dictionary is "only" 219 pages long, and while that is quiet a fair lot of words, oh, we wish he could have left us even more... ~ Ana Mardoll
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bierce started The Devils Dictionary as a weekly article written in 1881 in a local San Francisco paper. Yet when you read his comments and observations, you must feel that he truly did not belong to his age, but more to ours!
PuceEmu More than 1 year ago
I got this book for my 16 year old sister who is very capable of being scathing and contemptuous, but also she is very, very witty. With this book she is able to put a different spin on "regular" definitions. Particularly useful for the morbidly comical in an English class, this book provides the darkest definitions for even the brightest of events. "birth is the first day you start dying" type thing. If you take this book seriously, it could make you angry or sad.. but if you use it to make your english papers more entertaining... Use it as a source for any paper in school and it will be hilarious, and a actual source. It was a perfect gift for my sister, just don't take it seriously.
Eruditic More than 1 year ago
The Devil's Dictionary is a great read if you enjoy pointed insights concerning popular culture. However, the book isn't for everyone, since it IS a dictionary, albeit one filled with humorous witticisms, but the definitions are definitely worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book to get different definitions for certain words I am using in my first attempt to write. It has very interesting definitions of many words, makes me laugh out loud when I read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Learn proper spelling before giving a "DUMB" review...how stupid!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It stinks
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writer_in_progress More than 1 year ago
Interesting if you can get past the format, but largely useless.
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