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Quotations by author » Ambrose Bierce
American Writer, Journalist and Editor, 1842-1914
Quotes: 21 - 40 of 1217 Pages: First Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next ... Last
ABILITY, n. The natural equipment to accomplish some small part of the meaner ambitions distinguishing able men from dead ones. In the last analysis ability is commonly found to consist mainly in a high degree of solemnity. Perhaps, however, this impressive quality is rightly appraised; it is no easy task to be solemn.
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ABNORMAL, adj. Not conforming to standard. In matters of thought and conduct, to be independent is to be abnormal, to be abnormal is to be detested. Wherefore the lexicographer adviseth a striving toward the straiter [sic] resemblance of the Average Man than he hath to himself. Whoso attaineth thereto shall have peace, the prospect of death and the hope of Hell.
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Aborigines, n.: Persons of little worth found cumbering the soil of a newly discovered country. They soon cease to cumber; they fertilize.
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ABRACADABRA.
By _Abracadabra_ we signify An infinite number of things.
'Tis the answer to What? and How? and Why? And Whence? and Whither? --a word whereby The Truth (with the comfort it brings) Is open to all who grope in night, Crying for Wisdom's holy light.
Whether the word is a verb or a noun Is knowledge beyond my reach. I only know that 'tis handed down. From sage to sage, From age to age -- An immortal part of speech!
Of an ancient man the tale is told That he lived to be ten centuries old, In a cave on a mountain side.
(True, he finally died.) The fame of his wisdom filled the land, For his head was bald, and you'll understand His beard was long and white And his eyes uncommonly bright.
Philosophers gathered from far and near To sit at his feat and hear and hear, Though he never was heard To utter a word But "_Abracadabra, abracadab_,
_Abracada, abracad_,
_Abraca, abrac, abra, ab!_"
'Twas all he had,
'Twas all they wanted to hear, and each Made copious notes of the mystical speech, Which they published next -- A trickle of text In the meadow of commentary. Mighty big books were these, In a number, as leaves of trees; In learning, remarkably --very!
He's dead, As I said, And the books of the sages have perished, But his wisdom is sacredly cherished. In _Abracadabra_ it solemnly rings, Like an ancient bell that forever swings. O, I love to hear That word make clear Humanity's General Sense of Things. --Jamrach Holobom
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ABRIDGE, v.t. To shorten.
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for people to abridge their king, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. --Oliver Cromwell
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ABRIDGE, v.t. To shorten.
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ABRUPT, adj. Sudden, without ceremony, like the arrival of a cannon- shot and the departure of the soldier whose interests are most affected by it. Dr. Samuel Johnson beautifully said of another author's ideas that they were "concatenated without abruption."
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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.
Absence
ABSENT, adj. Peculiarly exposed to the tooth of detraction; vilifed; hopelessly in the wrong; superseded in the consideration and affection of another.
To men a man is but a mind. Who cares What face he carries or what form he wears? But woman's body is the woman. O, Stay thou, my sweetheart, and do never go, But heed the warning words the sage hath said: A woman absent is a woman dead. --Jogo Tyree
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ABSENTEE, n. A person with an income who has had the forethought to remove himself from the sphere of exaction.
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ABSOLUTE, adj. Independent, irresponsible. An absolute monarchy is one in which the sovereign does as he pleases so long as he pleases the assassins. Not many absolute monarchies are left, most of them having been replaced by limited monarchies, where the sovereign's power for evil (and for good) is greatly curtailed, and by republics, which are governed by chance.
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ABSTAINER, n. A weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure. A total abstainer is one who abstains from everything but abstention, and especially from inactivity in the affairs of others.
Said a man to a crapulent youth: "I thought You a total abstainer, my son."
"So I am, so I am," said the scrapgrace caught --
"But not, sir, a bigoted one." --G.J.
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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.
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Academe, n.: An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught. Academy, n.: A modern school where football is taught.
Football
Academy: A modern school where football is taught.
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ACCIDENT, n. An inevitable occurrence due to the action of immutable natural laws.
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ACCOMPLICE, n. One associated with another in a crime, having guilty knowledge and complicity, as an attorney who defends a criminal, knowing him guilty. This view of the attorney's position in the matter has not hitherto commanded the assent of attorneys, no one having offered them a fee for assenting.
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Quotes: 21 - 40 of 1217 Pages: First Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next ... Last
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