Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary


EXILE, n. One who serves his country by residing abroad, yet is not an ambassador.


A transient, horrible, fantastic dream,

  Wherein is nothing yet all things do seem:

  From which we’re wakened by a friendly nudge

  Of our bedfellow Death, and cry:  «O fudge!»


EXPERIENCE, n. The wisdom that enables us to recognize as an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced.


To one who, journeying through night and fog,

  Is mired neck-deep in an unwholesome bog,

  Experience, like the rising of the dawn,

  Reveals the path that he should not have gone.


EXPOSTULATION, n. One of the many methods by which fools prefer to lose their friends.


EXTINCTION, n. The raw material out of which theology created the future state