Quotes by Ambrose Bierce

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Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (born June 24, 1842, Horse Cave Creek, Meigs County, Ohio, USA date of death uncertain, possibly December 1913 or early 1914, presumably in Mexico) was an American satirist, critic, poet, short story writer, editor, and journalist. more

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Eulogy. Praise of a person who has either the advantages of wealth and power, or the consideration to be dead.

Admiration; is our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves.
A prejudice is a vagrant opinion without visible means of support.
Prophecy: The art and practice of selling one's credibility for future delivery.
Nominee. A modest gentleman shrinking from the distinction of private life and diligently seeking the honorable obscurity of public office.
The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.
Insurrection. An unsuccessful revolution; disaffection's failure to substitute misrule for bad government.
Revolution is an abrupt change in the form of misgovernment.
Saint. A dead sinner revised and edited.
Erudition. Dust shaken out of a book into an empty skull.
Backbite. To speak of a man as you find him when he can't find you.
Success is the one unpardonable sin against one's fellows.
Take not God's name in vain; select a time when it will have effect.
Learning. The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious.
Laziness. Unwarranted repose of manner in a person of low degree.
Litigant. A person about to give up his skin for the hope of retaining his bones.
Laughter -- An interior convulsion, producing a distortion of the features and accompanied by inarticulate noises. It is infectious and, though intermittent, incurable.
Witticism. A sharp and clever remark, usually quoted and seldom noted; what the Philistine is pleased to call a joke.
Impiety. Your irreverence toward my deity.
Insurance: An ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating the man who keeps the table.
Impartial. Unable to perceive any promise of personal advantage from espousing either side of a controversy.
Alien. An American sovereign in his probationary state.
Habit is a shackle for the free.
The gambling known as business looks with severe disfavor on the business known as gambling.
Future: That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured.
A funeral is a pageant whereby we attest our respect for the dead by enriching the undertaker.
Experience is a revelation in the light of which we renounce our errors of youth for those of age.
Enthusiasm. A distemper of youth, curable by small doses of repentance in connection with outward applications of experience.
An egotist is a person interested in himself than in me!
Duty. That which sternly impels us in the direction of profit, along the line of desire.
Opiate. An unlocked door in the prison of Identity. It leads into the jail yard.
Consul. In American politics, a person who having failed to secure an office from the people is given one by the Administration on condition that he leave the country.
Destiny. A tyrant's authority for crime and a fool's excuse for failure.
Deliberation. The act of examining one's bread to determine which side it is buttered on.
Forgetfulness. A gift of God bestowed upon debtors in compensation for their destitution of conscience.
Abscond. To move in a mysterious way, commonly with the property of another.
Creditor. One of a tribe of savages dwelling beyond the Financial Straits and dreaded for their desolating incursions.
A coward is one who in a perilous emergency thinks with his legs.
Conservative. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from a Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.
The Senate is a body of old men charged with high duties and misdemeanors.
Compromise. Such an adjustment of conflicting interests as gives each adversary the satisfaction of thinking he has got what he ought not to have, and is deprived of nothing except what was justly his due.
When in Rome, do as Rome does.
Heaven lies about us in our infancy and the world begins lying about us pretty soon afterward.
To be positive: to be mistaken at the top of one's voice.
Don't steal; thou it never thus compete successfully in business. Cheat.
Bigot, one who is obstinately and zealously attached to an opinion that you do not entertain.
Admiral. That part of a warship which does the talking while the figurehead does the thinking.
Architect. One who drafts a plan of your house, and plans a draft of your money.
Genealogy. An account of one's descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to trace his own.
Ambition. An overmastering desire to be vilified by enemies while living and made ridiculous by friends when dead.
Alliance. In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other's pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third.
An acquaintance is someone we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to.
Idiot, n. A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling.
Conservative, n. A statesman enamored of existing evils, as opposed to a Liberal, who wants to replace them with new ones.
Friendless, adj. Having no favors to bestow. Destitute of fortune. Addicted to utterance of truth and common sense.
Scriptures, n. The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based.
BAPTISM, n. A sacred rite of such efficacy that he who finds himself in heaven without having undergone it will be unhappy forever. It is performed with water in two ways--by immersion, or plunging, and by aspersion, or sprinkling. But whether the plan of immersion Is better than simple aspersion Let those immersed And those aspersed Decide by the Authorized Version, And by matching their agues tertian. (G.J.)
ACADEME, n. An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught. ACADEMY, n. (from academe). A modern school where football is taught.
Wit. The salt with which the American humorist spoils his intellectual cookery by leaving it out.