51 Best Ambrose Bierce Quotes That Are Full Of Satirical Wit

Some of the greatest quotes from Ambrose Bierce are witty!
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Many consider Ambrose Bierce to be one of the leading authors of wit and satire in American Literature and our carefully curated list of quotes by Ambrose Bierce and quotes about Ambrose Bierce will help you understand why it is so.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) was a famous American short story author, essayist, and civil war veteran. Bierce's book, 'The Devil's Dictionary' was named one of the 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature.

Ambrose Bierce was ranked at the level of Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft for his horror stories. Bierce was also considered as an influential journalist in the United States of America and influenced the likes of Stephen Crane and Ernest Hemmingway as a critic. In later years, Bierce gained fame as a fabulist for his poetry.

'The Devil's Dictionary', written by the famous Ambrose Bierce, is a satirical dictionary consisting of common words followed by humorous and satirical definitions. Bierce gathered these witty definitions into books, first as 'The Cynic's Word Book' in 1906 and then in a more complete version as 'The Devil's Dictionary' in 1911.

In 1914, in an attempt to gain first-hand experience of the Mexican Revolution, Ambrose Bierce traveled to Chihuahua in Mexico. Rumored to be traveling with rebel forces, Bierce disappeared and was never found again. Since 1914, all investigations to look into his fate have been proven utterly fruitless. While there is no hard evidence to prove that Bierce had not been to Mexico, there is no evidence to prove that he had gone either. Therefore, in spite of the countless conspiracy theories revolving around his disappearance, many of which include death by suicide, his ultimate fate is still heavily shrouded in mystery.

Let's enjoy some witty Ambrose Bierce quotes and quotes from 'The Devil's Dictionary', his most famous book!

For similar relatable content, take a look at [David Foster Wallace quotes] and [Jonathan Swift Quotes].

'The Devil's Dictionary' Quotes And Definitions

Check out these witty and sarcastic Ambrose Bierce quotes from one of his most famous works, 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

1. "Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

2. "Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

3. "Sweater, n. Garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

4. "Egotist, n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

5. "Patience, n. A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

6. "Selfish, adj. Devoid of consideration for the selfishness of others."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

7. "Pray, v. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner, confessedly unworthy."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

8. "Cynic, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are not as they ought to be."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

9. "Ocean, n. A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man — who has no gills."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

10. "Positive, adj. Mistaken at the top of one's voice."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

11. "Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum -- 'I think that I think, therefore I think that I am'; as close an approach to certainty as any philosopher has yet made."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

12. "Famous, adj. Conspicuously miserable"

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

13. "Religion, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

14. "History – An account mostly false, of events unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

15. "Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

16. "April fool, n. The March fool with another month added to his folly."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

17. "NIHILIST, n. A Russian who denies the existence of anything but Tolstoi. The leader of the school is Tolstoi."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

18. "Day, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

19. "Academe, n.: An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught. Academy, n.: A modern school where football is taught."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

20. "Philosophy - A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

21. "VOTE, n. The instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

22. "Absurdity, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

23. "Peace: A period of cheating between two periods of fighting."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

24. "Birth, n.: The first and direst of all disasters."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

25. "Hippogriff, n. An animal (now extinct) which was half horse and half griffin. The griffin was itself a compound creature, half lion and half eagle. The hippogriff was actually, therefore, only one-quarter eagle, which is two dollars and fifty cents in gold. The study of zoology is full of surprises."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

26. "FUTURE, n. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

27. "Clarinet n. An instrument of torture operated by a person with cotton in his ears. There are two instruments worse than a clarinet – two clarinets."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

28. "TRUTHFUL, adj. Dumb and illiterate."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

29. "BACCHUS, n. A convenient deity invented by the ancients as an excuse for getting drunk."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

30. "Humanity, n. The human race, collectively, exclusive of the anthropoid poets."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

Witty Ambrose Bierce Quotes

Here are a few Ambrose Bierce quotes that will make you laugh out loud!

Named one of the forerunners of wit and satire in American Literature, these cheeky Ambrose Bierce quotes will definitely crack you up!

31. "The covers of this book are too far apart."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

32. "There is nothing new under the sun but there are lots of old things we don't know."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

33. "The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog."

- Ambrose Bierce.

34. "Be as decent as you can. Don't believe without evidence. Treat things divine with marked respect — don't have anything to do with them. Do not trust humanity without collateral security; it will play you some scurvy trick. Remember that it hurts no one to be treated as an enemy entitled to respect until he shall prove himself a friend worthy of affection. Cultivate a taste for distasteful truths. And, finally, most important of all, endeavor to see things as they are, not as they ought to be."

- Ambrose Bierce.

35. "Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

36. "War is God's way of teaching Americans geography."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

37. "Religions are conclusions for which the facts of nature supply no major premises."

- Ambrose Bierce.

38. "They say that hens do cackle loudest when there is nothing vital in the eggs they have laid."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

39. "The hardest tumble a man can make is to fall over his own bluff."

- Ambrose Bierce.

40. "You don't have to be stupid to be a Christian, ... but it probably helps."

- Ambrose Bierce.

41. "Prejudice is a vagrant opinion without visible means of support."

- Ambrose Bierce.

42. "Twice – Once too often."

- Ambrose Bierce.

43. "God alone knows the future, but only an historian can alter the past."

- Ambrose Bierce.

44. "An absolute monarchy is one in which the sovereign does as he pleases so long as he pleases the assassins."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

45. "Human nature is pretty well balanced; for every lacking virtue there is a rough substitute that will serve at a pinch--as cunning is the wisdom of the unwise, and ferocity the courage of the coward."

'A Cynic Looks at Life'.

46. "The gambling known as business looks with austere disfavor upon the business known as gambling."

- 'The Devil's Dictionary'.

Ambrose Bierce Quotes On Horror And Fear

Ambrose Bierce was not only an author who could write satire, but could also scare one out of one's wits.

Ambrose Bierce can very well be termed as one of the leads in horror writing in American Literature, rivaling both Edgard Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. Here are the few of the author's horror quotes for you to enjoy!

47. "He had power only to feel, and feeling was torment."

―'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge'.

48.. "Death is a dignitary who when he comes announced is to be received with formal manifestations of respect, even by those most familiar with him. In the code of military etiquette silence and fixity are forms of deference."

― 'An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge'.

49. "In this world one must have a name; it prevents confusion, even when it does not establish identity. Some, though, are known by numbers, which also seem inadequate distinctions."

―'The Moonlit Road and Other Ghost and Horror Stories'.

50. "Fear has no brains; it is an idiot. The dismal witness that it bears and the cowardly counsel that it whispers are unrelated."

―'The Moonlit Road and Other Ghost and Horror Stories'.

51. "O God! what a thing it is to be a ghost, cowering and shivering in an altered world, a prey to apprehension and despair!"

― 'The Moonlit Road and Other Ghost and Horror Stories'.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Ambrose Bierce quotes, then why not take a look at Mark Twain quotes, or Alexander Pope quotes.

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