The Devil's Dictionary

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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 feet 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

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

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."

ABSCOND, v.i. To "move in a mysterious way," commonly with the property of another.

Spring beckons! All things to the call respond; The trees are leaving and cashiers abscond.

Phela Orm

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 Peculiarly exposed to the tooth of detraction; vilifed; hopelessly in the wrong; superseded in the consideration and affection of another.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

ABSENTEE, n. A person with an income who has had the forethought to remove himself from the sphere of exaction.

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.

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 scapegrace caught -- "But not, sir, a bigoted one."

G.J.

ABSURDITY, n. A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.

ACADEME, n. An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught.

ACADEMY, n. [from ACADEME] A modern school where football is taught.

ACCIDENT, n. An inevitable occurrence due to the action of immutable natural laws.

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