ABASEMENT, n. A decent and customary mental attitude in the presence of wealth or power. Peculiarly appropriate in an employee when addressing an employer.
ABDICATION, n. An act whereby a sovereign attests his sense of the high temperature of the throne.
ABDOMEN, n. The temple of the god Stomach, in whose worship, with sacrificial rights, all true men engage. From women this ancient faith commands but a stammering assent. They sometimes minister at the altar in a half-hearted and ineffective way, but true reverence for the one deity that men really adore they know not. If woman had a free hand in the world's marketing the race would become graminivorous.
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.
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.
ABORIGINIES, n. Persons of little worth found cumbering the soil of a newly discovered country. They soon cease to cumber; they fertilize.
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.
ABSCOND, v.i. To "move in a mysterious way," commonly with the property of another.
ABSENT, adj. Peculiarly exposed to the tooth of detraction; vilified; hopelessly in the wrong; superseded in the consideration and affection of another.
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 Not many absolute monarchies are left, most of them having been replaced by limited monarchies, where the sovereign's power for evil (and for good) is greatly curtailed, and by republics, which are governed by chance.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.
ABSURDITY, n. A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.
ACADEMY, n. [from ACADEME] A modern school where football is taught.
ACCIDENT, n. An inevitable occurrence due to the action of immutable natural laws.
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.
ACCORD, n. Harmony.
ACCORDION, n. An instrument in harmony with the sentiments of an assassin.
ACCOUNTABILITY, n. The mother of caution.
ACCUSE, v.t. To affirm another's guilt or unworth; most commonly as a justification of ourselves for having wronged him.
ACHIEVEMENT, n. The death of endeavor and the birth of disgust.
ACKNOWLEDGE, v.t. To confess. Acknowledgement of one another's faults is the highest duty imposed by our love of truth.
ACQUAINTANCE, n. A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to. A degree of friendship called slight when its object is poor or obscure, and intimate when he is rich or famous.
ACTUALLY, adv. Perhaps; possibly.
ADAGE, n. Boned wisdom for weak teeth.
ADDER, n. A species of snake. So called from its habit of adding funeral outlays to the other expenses of living.
ADHERENT, n. A follower who has not yet obtained all that he expects to get.
ADMINISTRATION, n. An ingenious abstraction in politics, designed to receive the kicks and cuffs due to the premier or president. A man of straw, proof against bad-egging and dead-catting.
ADMIRAL, n. That part of a war-ship which does the talking while the figure-head does the thinking.
ADMIRATION, n. Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves.
ADMONITION, n. Gentle reproof, as with a meat-axe. Friendly warning.
ADORE, v.t. To venerate expectantly.
ADVICE, n. The smallest current coin.
AFFIANCED, pp. Fitted with an ankle-ring for the ball-and-chain.
AFFLICTION, n. An acclimatizing process preparing the soul for another and bitter world.
AGE, n. That period of life in which we compound for the vices that we still cherish by reviling those that we have no longer the enterprise to commit.
AGITATOR, n. A statesman who shakes the fruit trees of his neighbors - to dislodge the worms.
AIR, n. A nutritious substance supplied by a bountiful Providence for the fattening of the poor.
ALDERMAN, n. An ingenious criminal who covers his secret thieving with a pretense of open marauding.
ALIEN, n. An American sovereign in his probationary state.
ALLIANCE, n. 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.
ALONE, adj. In bad company.
ALTAR, n. The place whereupon the priest formerly raveled out the small intestine of the sacrificial victim for purposes of divination and cooked its flesh for the gods. The word is now seldom used, except with reference to the sacrifice of their liberty and peace by a male and a female tool.
AMBIDEXTROUS, adj. Able to pick with equal skill a right-hand pocket or a left.
AMBITION, n. An overmastering desire to be vilified by enemies while living and made ridiculous by friends when dead.
AMNESTY, n. The state's magnanimity to those offenders whom it would be too expensive to punish.
ANOINT, v.t. To grease a king or other great functionary already sufficiently slippery.
ANTIPATHY, n. The sentiment inspired by one's friend's friend.
APHORISM, n. Predigested wisdom.
APOLOGIZE, v.i. To lay the foundation for a future offense.
APOSTATE, n. A leech who, having penetrated the shell of a turtle only to find that the creature has long been dead, deems it expedient to form a new attachment to a fresh turtle.
APOTHECARY, n. The physician's accomplice, undertaker's benefactor and grave worm's provider.
APPEAL, v.t. In law, to put the dice into the box for another throw.
APPETITE, n. An instinct thoughtfully implanted by Providence as a solution to the labor question.
APPLAUSE, n. The echo of a platitude.
APRIL FOOL, n. The March fool with another month added to his folly.
ARCHBISHOP, n. An ecclesiastical dignitary one point holier than a bishop.
ARCHITECT, n. One who drafts a plan of your house, and plans a draft of your money.
ARDOR, n. The quality that distinguishes love without knowledge.
ARENA, n. In politics, an imaginary rat-pit in which the statesman wrestles with his record.
ARISTOCRACY, n. Government by the best men. (In this sense the word is obsolete; so is that kind of government.) Fellows that wear downy hats and clean shirts - guilty of education and suspected of bank accounts.
ARMOR, n. The kind of clothing worn by a man whose tailor is a blacksmith.
ARRAYED, pp. Drawn up and given an orderly disposition, as a rioter hanged to a lamppost.
ARREST, v.t. Formally to detain one accused of unusualness. God made the world in six days and was arrested on the seventh.
ARSENIC, n. A kind of cosmetic greatly affected by the ladies, whom it greatly affects in turn.
ART, n. This word has no definition.
ARTLESSNESS, n. A certain engaging quality to which women attain by long study and severe practice upon the admiring male, who is pleased to fancy it resembles the candid simplicity of his young.
ASPERSE, v.t. Maliciously to ascribe to another vicious actions which one has not had the temptation and opportunity to commit.
AUCTIONEER, n. The man who proclaims with a hammer that he has picked a pocket with his tongue.
AUSTRALIA, n. A country lying in the South Sea, whose industrial and commercial development has been unspeakably retarded by an unfortunate dispute among geographers as to whether it is a continent or an island.
BACCHUS, n. A convenient deity invented by the ancients as an excuse for getting drunk.
BACK, n. That part of your friend which it is your privilege to contemplate in your adversity.
BACKBITE, v.t. To speak of a man as you find him when he can't find you.
BAIT, n. A preparation that renders the hook more palatable. The best kind is beauty.
BAPTISM, n. A sacred rite of such efficacy that he who finds himself in heaven without having undergone it will be unhappy forever.
BAROMETER, n. An ingenious instrument which indicates what kind of weather we are having.
BARRACK, n. A house in which soldiers enjoy a portion of that of which it is their business to deprive others.
BATH, n. A kind of mystic ceremony substituted for religious worship, with what spiritual efficacy has not been determined.
BATTLE, n. A method of untying with the teeth of a political knot that would not yield to the tongue.
BEARD, n. The hair that is commonly cut off by those who justly execrate the absurd Chinese custom of shaving the head.
BEAUTY, n. The power by which a woman charms a lover and terrifies a husband.
BEFRIEND, v.t. To make an ingrate.
BEG, v. To ask for something with an earnestness proportioned to the belief that it will not be given.
BEGGAR, n. One who has relied on the assistance of his friends.
BEHAVIOR, n. Conduct, as determined, not by principle, but by breeding.
BELLADONNA, n. In Italian a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues.
BENEFACTOR, n. One who makes heavy purchases of ingratitude, without, however, materially affecting the price, which is still within the means of all.
BIGAMY, n. A mistake in taste for which the wisdom of the future will adjudge a punishment called trigamy.
BIGOT, n. One who is obstinately and zealously attached to an opinion that you do not entertain.
BIRTH, n. The first and direst of all disasters.
BLACKGUARD, n. A man whose qualities, prepared for display like a box of berries in a market - the fine ones on top - have been opened on the wrong side. An inverted gentleman.
BLANK-VERSE, n. Unrhymed iambic pentameters - the most difficult kind of English verse to write acceptably; a kind, therefore, much affected by those who cannot acceptably write any kind.
BODY-SNATCHER, n. A robber of grave-worms. One who supplies the young physicians with that with which the old physicians have supplied the undertaker.
BONDSMAN, n. A fool who, having property of his own, undertakes to become responsible for that entrusted to another to a third.
BORE, n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen.
BOTANY, n. The science of vegetables - those that are not good to eat, as well as those that are. It deals largely with their flowers, which are commonly badly designed, inartistic in color, and ill-smelling.
BOUNDARY, n. In political geography, an imaginary line between two nations, separating the imaginary rights of one from the imaginary rights of the other.
BOUNTY, n. The liberality of one who has much, in permitting one who has nothing to get all that he can.
BRAIN, n. An apparatus with which we think what we think. That which distinguishes the man who is content to be something from the man who wishes to do something.
BRANDY, n. A cordial composed of one part thunder-and-lightning, one part remorse, two parts bloody murder, one part death-hell-and-the grave and four parts clarified Satan. Dose, a headful all the time. Brandy is said by Dr. Johnson to be the drink of heroes. Only a hero will venture to drink it.
BRIDE, n. A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her.
BRUTE, n. See HUSBAND.
CABBAGE, n. A familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man's head.
CALAMITY, n. A more than commonly plain and unmistakable reminder that the affairs of this life are not of our own ordering. Calamities are of two kinds: misfortune to ourselves, and good fortune to others.
CALLOUS, adj. Gifted with great fortitude to bear the evils afflicting another.
CALUMNUS, n. A graduate of the School for Scandal.
CANNIBAL, n. A gastronome of the old school who preserves the simple tastes and adheres to the natural diet of the pre-pork period.
CANNON, n. An instrument employed in the rectification of national boundaries.
CAPITAL, n. The seat of misgovernment. That which provides the fire, the pot, the dinner, the table and the knife and fork for the anarchist; the part of the repast that himself supplies is the disgrace before meat. Capital Punishment, a penalty regarding the justice and expediency of which many worthy persons - including all the assassins - entertain grave misgivings.
CARNIVOROUS, adj. Addicted to the cruelty of devouring the timorous vegetarian, his heirs and assigns.
CARTESIAN, adj. Relating to Descartes, a famous philosopher, author of the celebrated dictum, Cogito ergo sum - whereby he was pleased to suppose he demonstrated the reality of human existence. The dictum might be improved, however, thus: 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.
CAT, n. A soft, indestructible automaton provided by nature to be kicked when things go wrong in the domestic circle.
CAVILER, n. A critic of our own work.
CEMETERY, n. An isolated suburban spot where mourners match lies, poets write at a target and stone-cutters spell for a wager.
CENTAUR, n. One of a race of persons who lived before the division of labor had been carried to such a pitch of differentiation, and who followed the primitive economic maxim, "Every man his own horse."
CERBERUS, n. The watch-dog of Hades, whose duty it was to guard the entrance - against whom or what does not clearly appear; everybody, sooner or later, had to go there, and nobody wanted to carry off the entrance.
CHILDHOOD, n. The period of human life intermediate between the idiocy of infancy and the folly of youth - two removes from the sin of manhood and three from the remorse of age.
CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.
CIRCUS, n. A place where horses, ponies and elephants are permitted to see men, women and children acting the fool.
CLAIRVOYANT, n. A person, commonly a woman, who has the power of seeing that which is invisible to her patron, namely, that he is a blockhead.
CLARINET, n. An instrument of torture operated by a person with cotton in his ears. There are two instruments that are worse than a clarinet - two clarinets.
CLERGYMAN, n. A man who undertakes the management of our spiritual affairs as a method of bettering his temporal ones.
CLOCK, n. A machine of great moral value to man, allaying his concern for the future by reminding him what a lot of time remains to him.
CLOSE-FISTED, adj. Unduly desirous of keeping that which many meritorious persons wish to obtain.
COENOBITE, n. A man who piously shuts himself up to meditate upon the sin of wickedness; and to keep it fresh in his mind joins a brotherhood of awful examples.
COMFORT, n. A state of mind produced by contemplation of a neighbor's uneasiness.
COMMENDATION, n. The tribute that we pay to achievements that resembles, but do not equal, our own.
COMMERCE, n. A kind of transaction in which A plunders from B the goods of C, and for compensation B picks the pocket of D of money belonging to E.
COMMONWEALTH, n. An administrative entity operated by an incalculable multitude of political parasites, logically active but fortuitously efficient.
COMPROMISE, n. 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.
COMPULSION, n. The eloquence of power.
CONDOLE, v.i. To show that bereavement is a smaller evil than sympathy.
CONFIDANT, CONFIDANTE, n. One entrusted by A with the secrets of B, confided by him to C.
CONGRATULATION, n. The civility of envy.
CONGRESS, n. A body of men who meet to repeal laws.
CONNOISSEUR, n. A specialist who knows everything about something and nothing about anything else.
CONSERVATIVE, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.
CONSOLATION, n. The knowledge that a better man is more unfortunate than yourself.
CONSUL, n. 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.
CONSULT, v.i. To seek another's disapproval of a course already decided on.
CONTEMPT, n. The feeling of a prudent man for an enemy who is too formidable safely to be opposed.
CONTROVERSY, n. A battle in which spittle or ink replaces the injurious cannon-ball and the inconsiderate bayonet.
CONVENT, n. A place of retirement for woman who wish for leisure to meditate upon the vice of idleness.
CONVERSATION, n. A fair to the display of the minor mental commodities, each exhibitor being too intent upon the arrangement of his own wares to observe those of his neighbor.
CORONATION, n. The ceremony of investing a sovereign with the outward and visible signs of his divine right to be blown skyhigh with a dynamite bomb.
CORPORATION, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.
CORSAIR, n. A politician of the seas.
COURT FOOL, n. The plaintiff.
COWARD, n. One who in a perilous emergency thinks with his legs.
CRAYFISH, n. A small crustacean very much resembling the lobster, but less indigestible.
CREDITOR, n. One of a tribe of savages dwelling beyond the Financial Straits and dreaded for their desolating incursions.
CRITIC, n. A person who boasts himself hard to please because nobody tries to please him.
CUI BONO? [Latin] What good would that do me?
CUNNING, n. The faculty that distinguishes a weak animal or person from a strong one. It brings its possessor much mental satisfaction and great material adversity. An Italian proverb says: "The furrier gets the skins of more foxes than asses."
CUPID, n. The so-called god of love. This bastard creation of a barbarous fancy was no doubt inflicted upon mythology for the sins of its deities. Of all unbeautiful and inappropriate conceptions this is the most reasonless and offensive. The notion of symbolizing sexual love by a semisexless babe, and comparing the pains of passion to the wounds of an arrow - of introducing this pudgy homunculus into art grossly to materialize the subtle spirit and suggestion of the work - this is eminently worthy of the age that, giving it birth, laid it on the doorstep of prosperity.
CURIOSITY, n. An objectionable quality of the female mind. The desire to know whether or not a woman is cursed with curiosity is one of the most active and insatiable passions of the masculine soul.
CURSE, v.t. Energetically to belabor with a verbal slap-stick. This is an operation which in literature, particularly in the drama, is commonly fatal to the victim. Nevertheless, the liability to a cursing is a risk that cuts but a small figure in fixing the rates of life insurance.
CYNIC, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.
DANCE, v.i. To leap about to the sound of tittering music, preferably with arms about your neighbor's wife or daughter. There are many kinds of dances, but all those requiring the participation of the two sexes have two characteristics in common: they are conspicuously innocent, and warmly loved by the vicious.
DARING, n. One of the most conspicuous qualities of a man in security.
DAWN, n. The time when men of reason go to bed.
DAY, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent. This period is divided into two parts, the day proper and the night, or day improper - the former devoted to sins of business, the latter consecrated to the other sort. These two kinds of social activity overlap.
DEBAUCHEE, n. One who has so earnestly pursued pleasure that he has had the misfortune to overtake it.
DEBT, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave-driver.
DECIDE, v.i. To succumb to the preponderance of one set of influences over another set.
DEFAME, v.t. To lie about another. To tell the truth about another.
DEFENCELESS, adj. Unable to attack.
DEGENERATE, adj. Less conspicuously admirable than one's ancestors.
DEGRADATION, n. One of the stages of moral and social progress from private station to political preferment.
DEINOTHERIUM, n. An extinct pachyderm that flourished when the Pterodactyl was in fashion. The latter was a native of Ireland, its name being pronounced Terry Dactyl or Peter O'Dactyl, as the man pronouncing it may chance to have heard it spoken or seen it printed.
DEJEUNER, n. The breakfast of an American who has been in Paris. Variously pronounced.
DELEGATION, n. In American politics, an article of merchandise that comes in sets.
DELIBERATION, n. The act of examining one's bread to determine which side it is buttered on.
DELUGE, n. A notable first experiment in baptism which washed away the sins (and sinners) of the world.
DELUSION, n. The father of a most respectable family, comprising Enthusiasm, Affection, Self-denial, Faith, Hope, Charity and many other goodly sons and daughters.
DENTIST, n. A prestidigitator who, putting metal into your mouth, pulls coins out of your pocket.
DEPENDENT, adj. Reliant upon another's generosity for the support which you are not in a position to exact from his fears.
DEPUTY, n. A male relative of an office-holder, or of his bondsman. The deputy is commonly a beautiful young man, with a red necktie and an intricate system of cobwebs extending from his nose to his desk. When accidentally struck by the janitor's broom, he gives off a cloud of dust.
DESTINY, n. A tyrant's authority for crime and fool's excuse for failure.
DIAGNOSIS, n. A physician's forecast of the disease by the patient's pulse and purse.
DIAPHRAGM, n. A muscular partition separating disorders of the chest from disorders of the bowels.
DIARY, n. A daily record of that part of one's life, which he can relate to himself without blushing.
DICTATOR, n. The chief of a nation that prefers the pestilence of despotism to the plague of anarchy.
DICTIONARY, n. A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic. This dictionary, however, is a most useful work.
DIE, n. The singular of "dice." We seldom hear the word, because there is a prohibitory proverb, "Never say die." At long intervals, however, some one says: "The die is cast," which is not true, for it is cut.
DIGESTION, n. The conversion of victuals into virtues. When the process is imperfect, vices are evolved instead.
DIPLOMACY, n. The patriotic art of lying for one's country.
DISABUSE, v.t. The present your neighbor with another and better error than the one which he has deemed it advantageous to embrace.
DISCRIMINATE, v.i. To note the particulars in which one person or thing is, if possible, more objectionable than another.
DISCUSSION, n. A method of confirming others in their errors.
DISOBEDIENCE, n. The silver lining to the cloud of servitude.
DISOBEY, v.t. To celebrate with an appropriate ceremony the maturity of a command.
DISSEMBLE, v.i. To put a clean shirt upon the character.
DISTANCE, n. The only thing that the rich are willing for the poor to call theirs, and keep.
DISTRESS, n. A disease incurred by exposure to the prosperity of a friend.
DIVINATION, n. The art of nosing out the occult. Divination is of as many kinds as there are fruit-bearing varieties of the flowering dunce and the early fool.
DOG, n. A kind of additional or subsidiary Deity designed to catch the overflow and surplus of the world's worship. This Divine Being in some of his smaller and silkier incarnations takes, in the affection of Woman, the place to which there is no human male aspirant.
DRAGOON, n. A soldier who combines dash and steadiness in so equal measure that he makes his advances on foot and his retreats on horseback.
DRAMATIST, n. One who adapts plays from the French.
DUEL, n. A formal ceremony preliminary to the reconciliation of two enemies. Great skill is necessary to its satisfactory observance; if awkwardly performed the most unexpected and deplorable consequences sometimes ensue. A long time ago a man lost his life in a duel.
DULLARD, n. A member of the reigning dynasty in letters and life.
DUTY, n. That which sternly impels us in the direction of profit, along the line of desire.
EAVESDROP, v.i. Secretly to overhear a catalogue of the crimes and vices of another or yourself.
ECCENTRICITY, n. A method of distinction so cheap that fools employ it to accentuate their incapacity.
ECONOMY, n. Purchasing the barrel of whiskey that you do not need for the price of the cow that you cannot afford.
EDIBLE, adj. Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm.
EDUCATION, n. That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding.
EFFECT, n. The second of two phenomena which always occur together in the same order. The first, called a Cause, is said to generate the other - which is no more sensible than it would be for one who has never seen a dog except in the pursuit of a rabbit to declare the rabbit the cause of a dog.
EGOTIST, n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me.
EJECTION, n. An approved remedy for the disease of garrulity. It is also much used in cases of extreme poverty.
ELECTOR, n. One who enjoys the sacred privilege of voting for the man of another man's choice.
ELECTRICITY, n. The power that causes all natural phenomena not known to be caused by something else. It will propel a street car better than a gas jet and give more light than a horse.
ELOQUENCE, n. The art of orally persuading fools that white is the color that it appears to be. It includes the gift of making any color appear white.
ELYSIUM, n. An imaginary delightful country which the ancients foolishly believed to be inhabited by the spirits of the good. This ridiculous and mischievous fable was swept off the face of the earth by the early Christians - may their souls be happy in Heaven!
EMANCIPATION, n. A bondman's change from the tyranny of another to the despotism of himself.
EMOTION, n. A prostrating disease caused by a determination of the heart to the head. It is sometimes accompanied by a copious discharge of hydrated chloride of sodium from the eyes.
ENCOMIAST, n. A special (but not particular) kind of liar.
ENOUGH, pro. All there is in the world if you like it.
ENTERTAINMENT, n. Any kind of amusement whose inroads stop short of death by injection.
ENTHUSIASM, n. A distemper of youth, curable by small doses of repentance in connection with outward applications of experience.
ENVELOPE, n. The coffin of a document; the scabbard of a bill; the husk of a remittance; the bed-gown of a love-letter.
ENVY, n. Emulation adapted to the meanest capacity.
EPAULET, n. An ornamented badge, serving to distinguish a military officer from the enemy - that is to say, from the officer of lower rank to whom his death would give promotion.
ERUDITION, n. Dust shaken out of a book into an empty skull.
ETHNOLOGY, n. The science that treats of the various tribes of Man, as robbers, thieves, swindlers, dunces, lunatics, idiots and ethnologists.
EULOGY, n. Praise of a person who has either the advantages of wealth and power, or the consideration to be dead.
EVANGELIST, n. A bearer of good tidings, particularly (in a religious sense) such as assure us of our own salvation and the damnation of our neighbors.
EXCEPTION, n. A thing which takes the liberty to differ from other things of its class, as an honest man, a truthful woman, etc.
EXCESS, n. In morals, an indulgence that enforces by appropriate penalties the law of moderation.
EXECUTIVE, n. An officer of the Government, whose duty it is to enforce the wishes of the legislative power until such time as the judicial department shall be pleased to pronounce them invalid and of no effect.
EXHORT, v.t. In religious affairs, to put the conscience of another upon the spit and roast it to a nut-brown discomfort.
EXILE, n. One who serves his country by residing abroad, yet is not an ambassador.
EXPERIENCE, n. The wisdom that enables us to recognize as an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced.
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.
FAITH, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.
FAMOUS, adj. Conspicuously miserable.
FASHION, n. A despot whom the wise ridicule and obey.
FELON, n. A person of greater enterprise than discretion, who in embracing an opportunity has formed an unfortunate attachment.
FEMALE, n. One of the opposing, or unfair, sex.
FIB, n. A lie that has not cut its teeth. An habitual liar's nearest approach to truth: the perigee of his eccentric orbit.
FICKLENESS, n. The iterated satiety of an enterprising affection.
FIDDLE, n. An instrument to tickle human ears by friction of a horse's tail on the entrails of a cat.
FIDELITY, n. A virtue peculiar to those who are about to be betrayed.
FINANCE, n. The art or science of managing revenues and resources for the best advantage of the manager. The pronunciation of this word with the i long and the accent on the first syllable is one of America's most precious discoveries and possessions.
FLAG, n. A colored rag borne above troops and hoisted on forts and ships. It appears to serve the same purpose as certain signs that one sees and vacant lots in London - "Rubbish may be shot here."
FLESH, n. The Second Person of the secular Trinity.
FLOP, v. Suddenly to change one's opinions and go over to another party. The most notable flop on record was that of Saul of Tarsus, who has been severely criticised as a turn-coat by some of our partisan journals.
FOLLY, n. That "gift and faculty divine" whose creative and controlling energy inspires Man's mind, guides his actions and adorns his life.
FOOL, n. A person who pervades the domain of intellectual speculation and diffuses himself through the channels of moral activity. He is omnific, omniform, omnipercipient, omniscient, omnipotent. He it was who invented letters, printing, the railroad, the steamboat, the telegraph, the platitude and the circle of the sciences. He created patriotism and taught the nations war - founded theology, philosophy, law, medicine and Chicago. He established monarchical and republican government. He is from everlasting to everlasting - such as creation's dawn beheld he fooleth now. In the morning of time he sang upon primitive hills, and in the noonday of existence headed the procession of being. His grandmotherly hand was warmly tucked-in the set sun of civilization, and in the twilight he prepares Man's evening meal of milk-and-morality and turns down the covers of the universal grave. And after the rest of us shall have retired for the night of eternal oblivion he will sit up to write a history of human civilization.
FOREFINGER, n. The finger commonly used in pointing out two malefactors.
FORGETFULNESS, n. A gift of God bestowed upon doctors in compensation for their destitution of conscience.
FORK, n. An instrument used chiefly for the purpose of putting dead animals into the mouth.
FORMA PAUPERIS. [Latin] In the character of a poor person - a method by which a litigant without money for lawyers is considerately permitted to lose his case.
FREEBOOTER, n. A conqueror in a small way of business, whose annexations lack of the sanctifying merit of magnitude.
FREEDOM, n. Exemption from the stress of authority in a beggarly half dozen of restraint's infinite multitude of methods. A political condition that every nation supposes itself to enjoy in virtual monopoly. Liberty. The distinction between freedom and liberty is not accurately known; naturalists have never been able to find a living specimen of either.
FRIENDLESS, adj. Having no favors to bestow. Destitute of fortune. Addicted to utterance of truth and common sense.
FRIENDSHIP, n. A ship big enough to carry two in fair weather, but only one in foul.
FROG, n. A reptile with edible legs.
FUNERAL, n. A pageant whereby we attest our respect for the dead by enriching the undertaker, and strengthen our grief by an expenditure that deepens our groans and doubles our tears.
FUTURE, n. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured.
GALLOWS, n. A stage for the performance of miracle plays, in which the leading actor is translated to heaven. In this country the gallows is chiefly remarkable for the number of persons who escape it.
GARGOYLE, n. A rain-spout projecting from the eaves of mediaeval buildings, commonly fashioned into a grotesque caricature of some personal enemy of the architect or owner of the building.
GARTER, n. An elastic band intended to keep a woman from coming out of her stockings and desolating the country.
GENEROUS, adj. Originally this word meant noble by birth and was rightly applied to a great multitude of persons. It now means noble by nature and is taking a bit of a rest.
GENEALOGY, n. An account of one's descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to trace his own.
GEOGRAPHER, n. A chap who can tell you offhand the difference between the outside of the world and the inside.
GHOST, n. The outward and visible sign of an inward fear.
GLUTTON, n. A person who escapes the evils of moderation by committing dyspepsia.
GNU, n. An animal of South Africa, which in its domesticated state resembles a horse, a buffalo and a stag. In its wild condition it is something like a thunderbolt, an earthquake and a cyclone.
GOUT, n. A physician's name for the rheumatism of a rich patient.
GRAMMAR, n. A system of pitfalls thoughtfully prepared for the feet for the self-made man, along the path by which he advances to distinction.
GRAVE, n. A place in which the dead are laid to await the coming of the medical student.
GRAVITATION, n. The tendency of all bodies to approach one another with a strength proportion to the quantity of matter they contain - the quantity of matter they contain being ascertained by the strength of their tendency to approach one another.
GUILLOTINE, n. A machine which makes a Frenchman shrug his shoulders with good reason.
GUNPOWDER, n. An agency employed by civilized nations for the settlement of disputes which might become troublesome if left unadjusted.
HABEAS CORPUS. A writ by which a man may be taken out of jail when confined for the wrong crime.
HABIT, n. A shackle for the free.
HAG, n. An elderly lady whom you do not happen to like.
HAND, n. A singular instrument worn at the end of the human arm and commonly thrust into somebody's pocket.
HANDKERCHIEF, n. A small square of silk or linen, used in various ignoble offices about the face and especially serviceable at funerals to conceal the lack of tears.
HANGMAN, n. An officer of the law charged with duties of the highest dignity and utmost gravity, and held in hereditary disesteem by a populace having a criminal ancestry.
HAPPINESS, n. An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.
HARANGUE, n. A speech by an opponent, who is known as an harangue-outang.
HARBOR, n. A place where ships taking shelter from storms are exposed to the fury of the customs.
HASH, x. There is no definition for this word - nobody knows what hash is.
HATCHET, n. A young axe.
HATRED, n. A sentiment appropriate to the occasion of another's superiority.
HEARSE, n. Death's baby-carriage.
HEATHEN, n. A benighted creature who has the folly to worship something that he can see and feel.
HEAVEN, n. A place where the wicked cease from troubling you with talk of their personal affairs, and the good listen with attention while you expound your own.
HEBREW, n. A male Jew, as distinguished from the Shebrew, an altogether superior creation.
HELPMATE, n. A wife, or bitter half.
HERMIT, n. A person whose vices and follies are not sociable.
HERS, pron. His.
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, a one-quarter eagle, which is two dollars and fifty cents in gold. The study of zoology is full of surprises.
HISTORIAN, n. A broad-gauge gossip.
HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.
HOMOEOPATHIST, n. The humorist of the medical profession.
HOMOEOPATHY, n. A school of medicine midway between Allopathy and Christian Science. To the last both the others are distinctly inferior, for Christian Science will cure imaginary diseases, and they can not.
HOMICIDE, n. The slaying of one human being by another. There are four kinds of homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy, but it makes no great difference to the person slain whether he fell by one kind or another - the classification is for advantage of the lawyers.
HONORABLE, adj. Afflicted with an impediment in one's reach. In legislative bodies it is customary to mention all members as honorable; as, "the honorable gentleman is a scurvy cur."
HOPE, n. Desire and expectation rolled into one.
HOSPITALITY, n. The virtue which induces us to feed and lodge certain persons who are not in need of food and lodging.
HOSTILITY, n. A peculiarly sharp and specially applied sense of the earth's overpopulation. Hostility is classified as active and passive; as (respectively) the feeling of a woman for her female friends, and that which she entertains for all the rest of her sex.
HOUSELESS, adj. Having paid all taxes on household goods.
HUMANITY, n. The human race, collectively, exclusive of the anthropoid poets.
HUMORIST, n. A plague that would have softened down the hoar austerity of Pharaoh's heart and persuaded him to dismiss Israel with his best wishes, cat-quick.
HURRICANE, n. An atmospheric demonstration once very common but now generally abandoned for the tornado and cyclone. The hurricane is still in popular use in the West Indies and is preferred by certain old-fashioned sea-captains. It is also used in the construction of the upper decks of steamboats, but generally speaking, the hurricane's usefulness has outlasted it.
HURRY, n. The dispatch of bunglers.
HUSBAND, n. One who, having dined, is charged with the care of the plate.
HYBRID, n. A pooled issue.
HYDRA, n. A kind of animal that the ancients catalogued under many heads.
HYENA, n. A beast held in reverence by some oriental nations from its habit of frequenting at night the burial-places of the dead. But the medical student does that.
HYPOCHONDRIASIS, n. Depression of one's own spirits.
HYPOCRITE, n. One who, profession virtues that he does not respect secures the advantage of seeming to be what he despises.
IDIOT, n. A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling. The Idiot's activity is not confined to any special field of thought or action, but "pervades and regulates the whole." He has the last word in everything; his decision is unappealable. He sets the fashions and opinion of taste, dictates the limitations of speech and circumscribes conduct with a dead-line.
IDLENESS, n. A model farm where the devil experiments with seeds of new sins and promotes the growth of staple vices.
IGNORAMUS, n. A person unacquainted with certain kinds of knowledge familiar to yourself, and having certain other kinds that you know nothing about.
ILLUSTRIOUS, adj. Suitably placed for the shafts of malice, envy and detraction.
IMAGINATION, n. A warehouse of facts, with poet and liar in joint ownership.
IMBECILITY, n. A kind of divine inspiration, or sacred fire affecting censorious critics of this dictionary.
IMMIGRANT, n. An unenlightened person who thinks one country better than another.
IMMODEST, adj. Having a strong sense of one's own merit, coupled with a feeble conception of worth in others.IMMORAL, adj. Inexpedient. Whatever in the long run and with regard to the greater number of instances men find to be generally inexpedient comes to be considered wrong, wicked, immoral.
IMPARTIAL, adj. Unable to perceive any promise of personal advantage from espousing either side of a controversy or adopting either of two conflicting opinions.
IMPENITENCE, n. A state of mind intermediate in point of time between sin and punishment.
IMPIETY, n. Your irreverence toward my deity.
IMPOSTOR n. A rival aspirant to public honors.
IMPROVIDENCE, n. Provision for the needs of to-day from the revenues of to-morrow.
IMPUNITY, n. Wealth.
INCOME, n. The natural and rational gauge and measure of respectability.
INCOMPATIBILITY, n. In matrimony a similarity of tastes, particularly the taste for domination.
INCOMPOSSIBLE, adj. Unable to exist if something else exists. Two things are incompossible when the world of being has scope enough for one of them, but not enough for both - as Walt Whitman's poetry and God's mercy to man.
INCUBUS, n. One of a race of highly improper demons who, though probably not wholly extinct, may be said to have seen their best nights.
INCUMBENT, n. A person of the liveliest interest to the outcumbents.
INDIFFERENT, adj. Imperfectly sensible to distinctions among things.
INDIGESTION, n. A disease which the patient and his friends frequently mistake for deep religious conviction and concern for the salvation of mankind.
INDISCRETION, n. The guilt of woman.
INEXPEDIENT, adj. Not calculated to advance one's interests.
INFANCY, n. The period of our lives when, according to Wordsworth, "Heaven lies about us." The world begins lying about us pretty soon afterward.
INFIDEL, n. In New York, one who does not believe in the Christian religion; in Constantinople, one who does.
INFLUENCE, n. In politics, a visionary quo given in exchange for a substantial quid.
INGRATE, n. One who receives a benefit from another, or is otherwise an object of charity.
INJURY, n. An offense next in degree of enormity to a slight.
INJUSTICE, n. A burden which of all those that we load upon others and carry ourselves is lightest in the hands and heaviest upon the back.
INSCRIPTION, n. Something written on another thing.
INSURANCE, n. 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.
INSURRECTION, n. An unsuccessful revolution. Disaffection's failure to substitute misrule for bad government.
INTENTION, n. The mind's sense of the prevalence of one set of influences over another set; an effect whose cause is the imminence, immediate or remote, of the performance of an involuntary act.
INTERPRETER, n. One who enables two persons of different languages to understand each other by repeating to each what it would have been to the interpreter's advantage for the other to have said.
INTIMACY, n. A relation into which fools are providentially drawn for their mutual destruction.
INTRODUCTION, n. A social ceremony invented by the devil for the gratification of his servants and the plaguing of his enemies.
INVENTOR, n. A person who makes an ingenious arrangement of wheels, levers and springs, and believes it civilization.
IRRELIGION, n. The principal one of the great faiths of the world.
ITCH, n. The patriotism of a Scotchman.
JEALOUS, adj. Unduly concerned about the preservation of that which can be lost only if not worth keeping.
JOSS-STICKS, n. Small sticks burned by the Chinese in their pagan tomfoolery, in imitation of certain sacred rites of our holy religion.
JUSTICE, n. A commodity which is a more or less adulterated condition the State sells to the citizen as a reward for his allegiance, taxes and personal service.
KILL, v.t. To create a vacancy without nominating a successor.
KILT, n. A costume sometimes worn by Scotchmen in America and Americans in Scotland.
KINDNESS, n. A brief preface to ten volumes of exaction.
KISS, n. A word invented by the poets as a rhyme for "bliss." It is supposed to signify, in a general way, some kind of rite or ceremony appertaining to a good understanding; but the manner of its performance is unknown to this lexicographer.
KLEPTOMANIAC, n. A rich thief.
KORAN, n. A book which the Mohammedans foolishly believe to have been written by divine inspiration, but which Christians know to be a wicked imposture, contradictory to the Holy Scriptures.
LABOR, n. One of the processes by which A acquires property for B.
LANGUAGE, n. The music with which we charm the serpents guarding another's treasure.
LAST, n. A shoemaker's implement, named by a frowning Providence as opportunity to the maker of puns.
LAUGHTER, n. An interior convulsion, producing a distortion of the features and accompanied by inarticulate noises. It is infectious and, though intermittent, incurable.
LAWFUL, adj. Compatible with the will of a judge having jurisdiction.
LAWYER, n. One skilled in circumvention of the law.
LAZINESS, n. Unwarranted repose of manner in a person of low degree.
LEARNING, n. The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious.
LECTURER, n. One with his hand in your pocket, his tongue in your ear and his faith in your patience.
LEGACY, n. A gift from one who is legging it out of this vale of tears.
LEXICOGRAPHER, n. A pestilent fellow who, under the pretense of recording some particular stage in the development of a language, does what he can to arrest its growth, stiffen its flexibility and mechanize its methods.
LIAR, n. A lawyer with a roving commission.
LIBERTY, n. One of Imagination's most precious possessions.
LIFE, n. A spiritual pickle preserving the body from decay. We live in daily apprehension of its loss; yet when lost it is not missed.
LIGHTHOUSE, n. A tall building on the seashore in which the government maintains a lamp and the friend of a politician.
LINEN, n. A kind of cloth the making of which, when made of hemp, entails a great waste of hemp.
LITERALLY, adv. Figuratively, as: "The pond was literally full of fish," etc.
LITIGANT, n. A person about to give up his skin for the hope of retaining his bones.
LITIGATION, n. A machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage.
LIVER, n. A large red organ thoughtfully provided by nature to be bilious with.
LOCK-AND-KEY, n. The distinguishing device of civilization and enlightenment.
LODGER, n. A less popular name for the Second Person of that delectable newspaper Trinity, the Roomer, the Bedder, and the Mealer.
LOGIC, n. The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding.
LOGOMACHY, n. A war in which the weapons are words and the wounds punctures in the swim-bladder of self-esteem - a kind of contest in which, the vanquished being unconscious of defeat, the victor is denied the reward of success.
LONGEVITY, n. Uncommon extension of the fear of death.
LOOKING-GLASS, n. A vitreous plane upon which to display a fleeting show for man's disillusion given.
LOQUACITY, n. A disorder which renders the sufferer unable to curb his tongue when you wish to talk.
LOSS, n. Privation of that which we had, or had not. Thus, in the latter sense, it is said of a defeated candidate that he "lost his election"; and of that eminent man, the poet Gilder, that he has "lost his mind."
LOVE, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage or by removal of the patient from the influences under which he incurred the disorder. This disease, like many other ailments, is prevalent only among civilized races living under artificial conditions; barbarous nations breathing pure air and eating simple food enjoy immunity from its ravages. It is sometimes fatal, but more frequently to the physician than to the patient.
LOW-BRED, adj. "Raised" instead of brought up.
LUMINARY, n. One who throws light upon a subject; as an editor by not writing about it.
LYRE, n. An ancient instrument of torture.
MACE, n. A staff of office signifying authority. Its form, that of a heavy club, indicates its original purpose and use in dissuading from dissent.
MACHINATION, n. The method employed by one's opponents in baffling one's open and honorable efforts to do the right thing.
MAD, adj. Affected with a high degree of intellectual independence; not conforming to standards of thought, speech and action derived by the conformants from study of themselves; at odds with the majority; in short, unusual. It is noteworthy that persons are pronounced mad by officials destitute of evidence that themselves are sane.
MAGIC, n. An art of converting superstition into coin. There are other arts serving the same high purpose, but the discreet lexicographer does not name them.
MAGNET, n. Something acted upon by magnetism.
MAGNETISM, n. Something acting upon a magnet.
MAGNIFICENT, adj. Having a grandeur or splendor superior to that to which the spectator is accustomed, as the ears of an ass, to a rabbit, or the glory of a glowworm, to a maggot.
MAGNITUDE, n. Size. Magnitude being purely relative, nothing is large and nothing small.
MAGPIE, n. A bird whose thievish disposition suggested to someone that it might be taught to talk.
MAIDEN, n. A young person of the unfair sex addicted to clueless conduct and views that madden to crime. The genus has a wide geographical distribution, being found wherever sought and deplored wherever found.
MALE, n. A member of the unconsidered, or negligible sex. The male of the human race is commonly known (to the female) as Mere Man. The genus has two varieties: good providers and bad providers.
MALEFACTOR, n. The chief factor in the progress of the human race.
MAMMALIA, n.pl. A family of vertebrate animals whose females in a state of nature suckle their young, but when civilized and enlightened put them out to nurse, or use the bottle.
MAMMON, n. The god of the world's leading religion. The chief temple is in the holy city of New York.
MAN, n. An animal so lost in rapturous contemplation of what he thinks he is as to overlook what he indubitably ought to be. His chief occupation is extermination of other animals and his own species, which, however, multiplies with such insistent rapidity as to infest the whole habitable earth and Canada.
MANES, n. The immortal parts of dead Greeks and Romans. They were in a state of dull discomfort until the bodies from which they had exhaled were buried and burned; and they seem not to have been particularly happy afterward.
MANICHEISM, n. The ancient Persian doctrine of an incessant warfare between Good and Evil. When Good gave up the fight the Persians joined the victorious Opposition.
MANNA, n. A food miraculously given to the Israelites in the wilderness. When it was no longer supplied to them they settled down and tilled the soil, fertilizing it, as a rule, with the bodies of the original occupants.
MARRIAGE, n. The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two.
MARTYR, n. One who moves along the line of least reluctance to a desired death.
MAUSOLEUM, n. The final and funniest folly of the rich.
MAYONNAISE, n. One of the sauces which serve the French in place of a state religion.
ME, pro. The objectionable case of I. The personal pronoun in English has three cases, the dominative, the objectionable and the oppressive. Each is all three.
MEANDER, n. To proceed sinuously and aimlessly. The word is the ancient name of a river about one hundred and fifty miles south of Troy, which turned and twisted in the effort to get out of hearing when the Greeks and Trojans boasted of their prowess.
MEDAL, n. A small metal disk given as a reward for virtues, attainments or services more or less authentic.
MEDICINE, n. A stone flung down the Bowery to kill a dog in Broadway.
MEEKNESS, n. Uncommon patience in planning a revenge that is worth while.
MERCHANT, n. One engaged in a commercial pursuit. A commercial pursuit is one in which the thing pursued is a dollar.
MERCY, n. An attribute beloved of detected offenders.
MESMERISM, n. Hypnotism before it wore good clothes, kept a carriage and asked Incredulity to dinner.
METROPOLIS, n. A stronghold of provincialism.
MILLENNIUM, n. The period of a thousand years when the lid is to be screwed down, with all reformers on the under side.
MIND, n. A mysterious form of matter secreted by the brain. Its chief activity consists in the endeavor to ascertain its own nature, the futility of the attempt being due to the fact that it has nothing but itself to know itself with.
MINE, adj. Belonging to me if I can hold or seize it.
MINISTER, n. An agent of a higher power with a lower responsibility. In diplomacy and officer sent into a foreign country as the visible embodiment of his sovereign's hostility. His principal qualification is a degree of plausible inveracity next below that of an ambassador.
MINOR, adj. Less objectionable.
MIRACLE, n. An act or event out of the order of nature and unaccountable, as beating a normal hand of four kings and an ace with four aces and a king.
MISCREANT, n. A person of the highest degree of unworth. Etymologically, the word means unbeliever, and its present signification may be regarded as theology's noblest contribution to the development of our language.
MISDEMEANOR, n. An infraction of the law having less dignity than a felony and constituting no claim to admittance into the best criminal society.
MISERICORDE, n. A dagger which in mediaeval warfare was used by the foot soldier to remind an unhorsed knight that he was mortal.
MISFORTUNE, n. The kind of fortune that never misses.
MISS, n. The title with which we brand unmarried women to indicate that they are in the market.
MOLECULE, n. The ultimate, indivisible unit of matter. It is distinguished from the corpuscle, also the ultimate, indivisible unit of matter, by a closer resemblance to the atom, also the ultimate, indivisible unit of matter.
MONARCHICAL GOVERNMENT, n. Government.
MONDAY, n. In Christian countries, the day after the baseball game.
MONEY, n. A blessing that is of no advantage to us excepting when we part with it. An evidence of culture and a passport to polite society. Supportable property.
MONKEY, n. An arboreal animal which makes itself at home in genealogical trees.
MONOSYLLABIC, adj. Composed of words of one syllable, for literary babes who never tire of testifying their delight in the vapid compound by appropriate googoogling. The words are commonly Saxon - that is to say, words of a barbarous people destitute of ideas and incapable of any but the most elementary sentiments and emotions.
MONUMENT, n. A structure intended to commemorate something which either needs no commemoration or cannot be commemorated.
MORAL, adj. Conforming to a local and mutable standard of right. Having the quality of general expediency.
MORE, adj. The comparative degree of too much.
MOUSQUETAIRE, n. A long glove covering a part of the arm. Worn in New Jersey. But "mousquetaire" is a might poor way to spell muskeeter.
MOUTH, n. In man, the gateway to the soul; in woman, the outlet of the heart.
MUGWUMP, n. In politics one afflicted with self-respect and addicted to the vice of independence. A term of contempt.
MULATTO, n. A child of two races, ashamed of both.
MUMMY, n. An ancient Egyptian, formerly in universal use among modern civilized nations as medicine, and now engaged in supplying art with an excellent pigment. He is handy, too, in museums in gratifying the vulgar curiosity that serves to distinguish man from the lower animals.
MUSTANG, n. An indocile horse of the western plains. In English society, the American wife of an English nobleman.
MYTHOLOGY, n. The body of a primitive people's beliefs concerning its origin, early history, heroes, deities and so forth, as distinguished from the true accounts which it invents later.
NECTAR, n. A drink served at banquets of the Olympian deities. The secret of its preparation is lost, but the modern Kentuckians believe that they come pretty near to a knowledge of its chief ingredient.
NEIGHBOR, n. One whom we are commanded to love as ourselves, and who does all he knows how to make us disobedient.
NEPOTISM, n. Appointing your grandmother to office for the good of the party.
NEWTONIAN, adj. Pertaining to a philosophy of the universe invented by Newton, who discovered that an apple will fall to the ground, but was unable to say why. His successors and disciples have advanced so far as to be able to say when.
NIHILIST, n. A Russian who denies the existence of anything but Tolstoy. The leader of the school is Tolstoy.
NIRVANA, n. In the Buddhist religion, a state of pleasurable annihilation awarded to the wise, particularly to those wise enough to understand it.
NOBLEMAN, n. Nature's provision for wealthy American minds ambitious to incur social distinction and suffer high life.
NOISE, n. A stench in the ear. Undomesticated music. The chief product and authenticating sign of civilization.
NOMINATE, v. To designate for the heaviest political assessment. To put forward a suitable person to incur the mudgobbling and deadcatting of the opposition.
NOMINEE, n. A modest gentleman shrinking from the distinction of private life and diligently seeking the honorable obscurity of public office.
NON-COMBATANT, n. A dead Quaker.
NONSENSE, n. The objections that are urged against this excellent dictionary.
NOTORIETY, n. The fame of one's competitor for public honors. The kind of renown most accessible and acceptable to mediocrity. A Jacob's-ladder leading to the vaudeville stage, with angels ascending and descending.
NOVEL, n. A short story padded.
NOVEMBER, n. The eleventh twelfth of a weariness.
OATH, n. In law, a solemn appeal to the Deity, made binding upon the conscience by a penalty for perjury.
OBLIVION, n. The state or condition in which the wicked cease from struggling and the dreary are at rest. Fame's eternal dumping ground. Cold storage for high hopes. A place where ambitious authors meet their works without pride and their betters without envy. A dormitory without an alarm clock.
OBSERVATORY, n. A place where astronomers conjecture away the guesses of their predecessors.
OBSOLETE, adj. No longer used by the timid. Said chiefly of words.
OBSTINATE, adj. Inaccessible to the truth as it is manifest in the splendor and stress of our advocacy.
OCCIDENT, n. The part of the world lying west (or east) of the Orient. It is largely inhabited by Christians, a powerful subtribe of the Hypocrites, whose principal industries are murder and cheating, which they are pleased to call "war" and "commerce." These, also, are the principal industries of the Orient.
OCEAN, n. A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.
OFFENSIVE, adj. Generating disagreeable emotions or sensations, as the advance of an army against its enemy.
"Were the enemy's tactics offensive?" the king asked. "I should say so!" replied the unsuccessful general. "The blackguard wouldn't come out of his works!"
OLD, adj. In that stage of usefulness which is not inconsistent with general inefficiency, as an old man. Discredited by lapse of time and offensive to the popular taste, as an old book. OMEN, n. A sign that something will happen if nothing happens.
ONCE, adv. Enough.
OPIATE, n. An unlocked door in the prison of Identity. It leads into the jail yard.
OPPORTUNITY, n. A favorable occasion for grasping a disappointment.
OPPOSE, v. To assist with obstructions and objections.
OPPOSITION, n. In politics the party that prevents the Government from running amuck by hamstringing it.
OPTIMIST, n. A proponent of the doctrine that black is white.
ORATORY, n. A conspiracy between speech and action to cheat the understanding. A tyranny tempered by stenography.
ORPHAN, n. A living person whom death has deprived of the power of filial ingratitude.
ORTHODOX, n. An ox wearing the popular religious joke.
OTHERWISE, adv. No better.
OUTCOME, n. A particular type of disappointment.
OUTDO, v.t. To make an enemy.
OUT-OF-DOORS, n. That part of one's environment upon which no government has been able to collect taxes. Chiefly useful to inspire poets.
OVEREAT, v. To dine.
OVERWORK, n. A dangerous disorder affecting high public functionaries who want to go fishing.
OWE, v. To have (and to hold) a debt. The word formerly signified not indebtedness, but possession; it meant "own," and in the minds of debtors there is still a good deal of confusion between assets and liabilities.
OYSTER, n. A slimy, gobby shellfish which civilization gives men the hardihood to eat without removing its entrails! The shells are sometimes given to the poor.
PAIN, n. An uncomfortable frame of mind that may have a physical basis in something that is being done to the body, or may be purely mental, caused by the good fortune of another.
PAINTING, n. The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the critic.
PANDEMONIUM, n. Literally, the Place of All the Demons. Most of them have escaped into politics and finance, and the place is now used as a lecture hall.
PANTALOONS, n. A nether habiliment of the adult civilized male. The garment is tubular and unprovided with hinges at the points of flexion. Supposed to have been invented by a humorist. Called "trousers" by the enlightened and "pants" by the unworthy.
PANTOMIME, n. A play in which the story is told without violence to the language. The least disagreeable form of dramatic action.
PARDON, v. To remit a penalty and restore to the life of crime. To add to the lure of crime the temptation of ingratitude.
PASSPORT, n. A document treacherously inflicted upon a citizen going abroad, exposing him as an alien and pointing him out for special reprobation and outrage.
PAST, n. That part of Eternity with some small fraction of which we have a slight and regrettable acquaintance.
PASTIME, n. A device for promoting dejection. Gentle exercise for intellectual debility.
PATIENCE, n. A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue.
PATRIOT, n. One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.
PATRIOTISM, n. Combustible rubbish read to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name. The first resort of the scoundrel.
PEACE, n. In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.
PENITENT, adj. Undergoing or awaiting punishment.
PERFECTION, n. An imaginary state of quality distinguished from the actual by an element known as excellence; an attribute of the critic.
PERSEVERANCE, n. A lowly virtue whereby mediocrity achieves an inglorious success.
PESSIMISM, n. A philosophy forced upon the convictions of the observer by the disheartening prevalence of the optimist with his scarecrow hope and his unsightly smile.
PHILANTHROPIST, n. A rich (and usually bald) old gentleman who has trained himself to grin while his conscience is picking his pocket.
PHILOSOPHY, n. A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.
PHONOGRAPH, n. An irritating toy that restores life to dead noises.
PHOTOGRAPH, n. A picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.
PHRENOLOGY, n. The science of picking the pocket through the scalp. It consists in locating and exploiting the organ that one is a dupe with.
PHYSICIAN, n. One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well.
PHYSIOGNOMY, n. The art of determining the character of another by the resemblances and differences between his face and our own, which is the standard of excellence.
PIANO, n. A parlor utensil for subduing the impenitent visitor. It is operated by pressing the keys of the machine and the spirits of the audience.
PICTURE, n. A representation in two dimensions of something wearisome in three. PIE, n. An advance agent of the reaper whose name is Indigestion.
PIETY, n. Reverence for the Supreme Being, based upon His supposed resemblance to man.
PILGRIM, n. A traveler that is taken seriously.
PILLORY, n. A mechanical device for inflicting personal distinction - prototype of the modern newspaper conducted by persons of austere virtues and blameless lives.
PIRACY, n. Commerce without its folly-swaddles, just as God made it.
PITIFUL, adj. The state of an enemy of opponent after an imaginary encounter with oneself.
PITY, n. A failing sense of exemption, inspired by contrast.
PLAGIARISM, n. A literary coincidence compounded of a discreditable priority and an honorable subsequence.
PLAGIARIZE, v. To take the thought or style of another writer whom one has never, never read.
PLAN, v.t. To bother about the best method of accomplishing an accidental result.
PLATONIC, adj. Pertaining to the philosophy of Socrates. Platonic Love is a fool's name for the affection between a disability and a frost.
PLEASE, v. To lay the foundation for a superstructure of imposition.
PLEASURE, n. The least hateful form of dejection.
PLUNDER, v. To take the property of another without observing the decent and customary reticences of theft. To effect a change of ownership with the candid concomitance of a brass band. To wrest the wealth of A from B and leave C lamenting a vanishing opportunity.
POCKET, n. The cradle of motive and the grave of conscience. In woman this organ is lacking; so she acts without motive, and her conscience, denied burial, remains ever alive, confessing the sins of others.
POETRY, n. A form of expression peculiar to the Land beyond the Magazines.
POKER, n. A game said to be played with cards for some purpose to this lexicographer unknown.
POLICE, n. An armed force for protection and participation.
POLITENESS, n. The most acceptable hypocrisy.
POLITICS, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
POLITICIAN, n. An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared. When we wriggles he mistakes the agitation of his tail for the trembling of the edifice. As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive.
POLYGAMY, n. A house of atonement, or expiatory chapel, fitted with several stools of repentance, as distinguished from monogamy, which has but one.
PORTABLE, adj. Exposed to a mutable ownership through vicissitudes of possession.
PORTUGUESE, n.pl. A species of geese indigenous to Portugal. They are mostly without feathers and imperfectly edible, even when stuffed with garlic.
POSITIVE, adj. Mistaken at the top of one's voice.
PRAY, v. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.
PRECEDENT, n. In Law, a previous decision, rule or practice which, in the absence of a definite statute, has whatever force and authority a Judge may choose to give it, thereby greatly simplifying his task of doing as he pleases.
PREDICAMENT, n. The wage of consistency.
PREDILECTION, n. The preparatory stage of disillusion.
PRE-EXISTENCE, n. An unnoted factor in creation.
PREFERENCE, n. A sentiment, or frame of mind, induced by the erroneous belief that one thing is better than another.
PREHISTORIC, adj. Belonging to an early period and a museum. Antedating the art and practice of perpetuating falsehood.
PREJUDICE, n. A vagrant opinion without visible means of support.
PREROGATIVE, n. A sovereign's right to do wrong.
PRESBYTERIAN, n. One who holds the conviction that the government authorities of the Church should be called presbyters.
PRESCRIPTION, n. A physician's guess at what will best prolong the situation with least harm to the patient.
PRESENT, n. That part of eternity dividing the domain of disappointment from the realm of hope.
PRESENTABLE, adj. Hideously appareled after the manner of the time and place.
PRESIDE, v. To guide the action of a deliberative body to a desirable result.
PRESIDENCY, n. The greased pig in the field game of American politics.
PRESIDENT, n. The leading figure in a small group of men of whom - and of whom only - it is positively known that immense numbers of their countrymen did not want any of them for President.
PRICE, n. Value, plus a reasonable sum for the wear and tear of conscience in demanding it.
PRIMATE, n. The head of a church, especially a State church supported by involuntary contributions.
PRIVATE, n. A military gentleman with a field-marshal's baton in his knapsack and an impediment in his hope.
PROBOSCIS, n. The rudimentary organ of an elephant which serves him in place of the knife-and-fork that Evolution has as yet denied him. For purposes of humor it is popularly called a trunk.
PROJECTILE, n. The final arbiter in international disputes.
PROOF, n. Evidence having a shade more of plausibility than of unlikelihood. The testimony of two credible witnesses as opposed to that of only one.
PROOF-READER, n. A malefactor who atones for making your writing nonsense by permitting the compositor to make it unintelligible.
PROPERTY, n. Any material thing, having no particular value, that may be held by A against the cupidity of B. Whatever gratifies the passion for possession in one and disappoints it in all others. The object of man's brief rapacity and long indifference.
PROPHECY, n. The art and practice of selling one's credibility for future delivery.
PROSPECT, n. An outlook, usually forbidding. An expectation, usually forbidden.
PROVIDENTIAL, adj. Unexpectedly and conspicuously beneficial to the person so describing it.
PRUDE, n. A bawd hiding behind the back of her demeanor.
PUBLISH, n. In literary affairs, to become the fundamental element in a cone of critics.
PUSH, n. One of the two things mainly conducive to success, especially in politics. The other is Pull.
QUEEN, n. A woman by whom the realm is ruled when there is a king, and through whom it is ruled when there is not.
QUILL, n. An implement of torture yielded by a goose and commonly wielded by an ass.
QUIXOTIC, adj. Absurdly chivalric, like Don Quixote. An insight into the beauty and excellence of this incomparable adjective is unhappily denied to him who has the misfortune to know that the gentleman's name is pronounced Ke-ho-tay.
QUORUM, n. A sufficient number of members of a deliberative body to have their own way and their own way of having it. In the United States Senate a quorum consists of the chairman of the Committee on Finance and a messenger from the White House; in the House of Representatives, of the Speaker and the devil.
QUOTATION, n. The act of repeating erroneously the words of another. The words erroneously repeated.
QUOTIENT, n. A number showing how many times a sum of money belonging to one person is contained in the pocket of another - usually about as many times as it can be got there.
RABBLE, n. In a republic, those who exercise a supreme authority tempered by fraudulent elections.
RACK, n. An argumentative implement formerly much used in persuading devotees of a false faith to embrace the living truth. As a call to the unconverted the rack never had any particular efficacy, and is now held in light popular esteem.
RANK, n. Relative elevation in the scale of human worth.
RANSOM, n. The purchase of that which neither belongs to the seller, nor can belong to the buyer. The most unprofitable of investments.
RASCAL, n. A fool considered under another aspect.
RASCALITY, n. Stupidity militant. The activity of a clouded intellect.
RASH, adj. Insensible to the value of our advice.
RATIONAL, adj. Devoid of all delusions save those of observation, experience and reflection.
REACH, n. The radius of action of the human hand. The area within which it is possible (and customary) to gratify directly the propensity to provide.
RADICALISM, n. The conservatism of to-morrow injected into the affairs of to-day.
RADIUM, n. A mineral that gives off heat and stimulates the organ that a scientist is a fool with.
RAILROAD, n. The chief of many mechanical devices enabling us to get away from where we are to where we are no better off. For this purpose the railroad is held in highest favor by the optimist, for it permits him to make the transit with great expedition.
RAMSHACKLE, adj. Pertaining to a certain order of architecture, otherwise known as the Normal American. Most of the public buildings of the United States are of the Ramshackle order, though some of our earlier architects preferred the Ironic.
REALISM, n. The art of depicting nature as it is seen by toads. The charm suffusing a landscape painted by a mole, or a story written by a measuring-worm.
REALITY, n. The dream of a mad philosopher. That which would remain in the cupel if one should assay a phantom. The nucleus of a vacuum.
REALLY, adv. Apparently.
REAR, n. In American military matters, that exposed part of the army that is nearest to Congress.
REASON, v.i. To weight probabilities in the scales of desire.
REASON, n. Propensitate of prejudice.
REASONABLE, adj. Accessible to the infection of our own opinions. Hospitable to persuasion, dissuasion and evasion.
REBEL, n. A proponent of a new misrule who has failed to establish it.
RECOLLECT, v. To recall with additions something not previously known.
RECONCILIATION, n. A suspension of hostilities. An armed truce for the purpose of digging up the dead.
RECONSIDER, v. To seek a justification for a decision already made.
RECOUNT, n. In American politics, another throw of the dice, accorded to the player against whom they are loaded.
RECREATION, n. A particular kind of dejection to relieve a general fatigue.
RECRUIT, n. A person distinguishable from a civilian by his uniform and from a soldier by his gait.
RECTOR, n. In the Church of England, the Third Person of the parochial Trinity, the Cruate and the Vicar being the other two.
REDEMPTION, n. Deliverance of sinners from the penalty of their sin, through their murder of the deity against whom they sinned.
REDRESS, n. Reparation without satisfaction.
REFERENDUM, n. A law for submission of proposed legislation to a popular vote to learn the nonsensus of public opinion.
REFLECTION, n. An action of the mind whereby we obtain a clearer view of our relation to the things of yesterday and are able to avoid the perils that we shall not again encounter.
REFORM, v. A thing that mostly satisfies reformers opposed to reformation.
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.
RENOWN, n. A degree of distinction between notoriety and fame - a little more supportable than the one and a little more intolerable than the other. Sometimes it is conferred by an unfriendly and inconsiderate hand.
REPARATION, n. Satisfaction that is made for a wrong and deducted from the satisfaction felt in committing it.
REPARTEE, n. Prudent insult in retort. Practiced by gentlemen with a constitutional aversion to violence, but a strong disposition to offend. In a war of words, the tactics of the North American Indian.
REPLICA, n. A reproduction of a work of art, by the artist that made the original. It is so called to distinguish it from a "copy," which is made by another artist. When the two are made with equal skill the replica is the more valuable, for it is supposed to be more beautiful than it looks.
REPORTER, n. A writer who guesses his way to the truth and dispels it with a tempest of words.
REPOSE, v.i. To cease from troubling.
REPRESENTATIVE, n. In national politics, a member of the Lower House in this world, and without discernible hope of promotion in the next.
REPUBLIC, n. A nation in which, the thing governing and the thing governed being the same, there is only a permitted authority to enforce an optional obedience.
REQUIEM, n. A mass for the dead which the minor poets assure us the winds sing o'er the graves of their favorites. Sometimes, by way of providing a varied entertainment, they sing a dirge.
RESIDENT, adj. Unable to leave.
RESIGN, v.t. To renounce an honor for an advantage. To renounce an advantage for a greater advantage.
RESOLUTE, adj. Obstinate in a course that we approve.
RESPECTABILITY, n. The offspring of a liaison between a bald head and a bank account.
RESPIRATOR, n. An apparatus fitted over the nose and mouth of an inhabitant of London, whereby to filter the visible universe in its passage to the lungs.
RESPONSIBILITY, n. A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one's neighbor. In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon a star.
RESTITUTIONS, n. The founding or endowing of universities and public libraries by gift or bequest.
RESTITUTOR, n. Benefactor; philanthropist.
RETALIATION, n. The natural rock upon which is reared the Temple of Law.
RETRIBUTION, n. A rain of fire-and-brimstone that falls alike upon the just and such of the unjust as have not procured shelter by evicting them.
REVELATION, n. A famous book in which St. John the Divine concealed all that he knew. The revealing is done by the commentators, who know nothing.
REVERENCE, n. The spiritual attitude of a man to a god and a dog to a man.
RIBALDRY, n. Censorious language by another concerning oneself.
RICH, adj. Holding in trust and subject to an accounting the property of the indolent, the incompetent, the unthrifty, the envious and the luckless.
To these excellent definitions the inspired lexicographer feels that he can add nothing of value.
RIDICULE, n. Words designed to show that the person of whom they are uttered is devoid of the dignity of character distinguishing him who utters them.
RIGHT, n. Legitimate authority to be, to do or to have; as the right to be a king, the right to do one's neighbor, the right to have measles, and the like.
RIOT, n. A popular entertainment given to the military by innocent bystanders.
RITE, n. A religious or semi-religious ceremony fixed by law, precept or custom, with the essential oil of sincerity carefully squeezed out of it.
RITUALISM, n. A Dutch Garden of God where He may walk in rectilinear freedom, keeping off the grass.
ROAD, n. A strip of land along which one may pass from where it is too tiresome to be to where it is futile to go.
ROBBER, n. A candid man of affairs.
ROMANCE, n. Fiction that owes no allegiance to the God of Things as They Are.
ROPE, n. An obsolescent appliance for reminding assassins that they too are mortal. It is put about the neck and remains in place one's whole life long. It has been largely superseded by a more complex electrical device worn upon another part of the person; and this is rapidly giving place to an apparatus known as the preachment.
ROSTRUM, n. In Latin, the beak of a bird or the prow of a ship. In America, a place from which a candidate for office energetically expounds the wisdom, virtue and power of the rabble.
RUBBISH, n. Worthless matter, such as the religions, philosophies, literatures, arts and sciences of the tribes infesting the regions lying due south from Boreaplas.
RUIN, v. To destroy. Specifically, to destroy a maid's belief in the virtue of maids.
RUM, n. Generically, fiery liquors that produce madness in total abstainers.
RUMOR, n. A favorite weapon of the assassins of character.
SABBATH, n. A weekly festival having its origin in the fact that God made the world in six days and was arrested on the seventh. Among the Jews observance of the day was enforced by a Commandment of which this is the Christian version: "Remember the seventh day to make thy neighbor keep it wholly."
SACRAMENT, n. A solemn religious ceremony to which several degrees of authority and significance are attached. Rome has seven sacraments, but the Protestant churches, being less prosperous, feel that they can afford only two, and these of inferior sanctity. Some of the smaller sects have no sacraments at all - for which mean economy they will indubitable be damned.
SAINT, n. A dead sinner revised and edited.
SALACITY, n. A certain literary quality frequently observed in popular novels, especially in those written by women and young girls, who give it another name and think that in introducing it they are occupying a neglected field of letters and reaping an overlooked harvest. If they have the misfortune to live long enough they are tormented with a desire to burn their sheaves.
SATIETY, n. The feeling that one has for the plate after he has eaten its contents, madam.
SATIRE, n. An obsolete kind of literary composition in which the vices and follies of the author's enemies were expounded with imperfect tenderness.
SAUCE, n. The one infallible sign of civilization and enlightenment. A people with no sauces has one thousand vices; a people with one sauce has only nine hundred and ninety-nine. For every sauce invented and accepted a vice is renounced and forgiven.
SAW, n. A trite popular saying, or proverb. (Figurative and colloquial.) So called because it makes its way into a wooden head.
SCRAP-BOOK, n. A book that is commonly edited by a fool. Many persons of some small distinction compile scrap-books containing whatever they happen to read about themselves or employ others to collect.
SCRIBBLER, n. A professional writer whose views are antagonistic to one's own.
SCRIPTURES, n. The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based.
SEINE, n. A kind of net for effecting an involuntary change of environment. For fish it is made strong and coarse, but women are more easily taken with a singularly delicate fabric weighted with small, cut stones.
SELF-ESTEEM, n. An erroneous appraisement.
SELF-EVIDENT, adj. Evident to one's self and to nobody else.
SELFISH, adj. Devoid of consideration for the selfishness of others.
SENATE, n. A body of elderly gentlemen charged with high duties and misdemeanors.
SIREN, n. One of several musical prodigies famous for a vain attempt to dissuade Odysseus from a life on the ocean wave. Figuratively, any lady of splendid promise, dissembled purpose and disappointing performance.
SOPHISTRY, n. The controversial method of an opponent, distinguished from one's own by superior insincerity and fooling.
SORCERY, n. The ancient prototype and forerunner of political influence. It was, however, deemed less respectable and sometimes was punished by torture and death.
STORY, n. A narrative, commonly untrue.
SUCCESS, n. The one unpardonable sin against one's fellows.
SUFFRAGE, n. Expression of opinion by means of a ballot. The right of suffrage (which is held to be both a privilege and a duty) means, as commonly interpreted, the right to vote for the man of another man's choice, and is highly prized.
TAIL, n. The part of an animal's spine that has transcended its natural limitations to set up an independent existence in a world of its own.
TAKE, v.t. To acquire, frequently by force but preferably by stealth.
TALK, v.t. To commit an indiscretion without temptation, from an impulse without purpose.
TARIFF, n. A scale of taxes on imports, designed to protect the domestic producer against the greed of his consumer.
TEETOTALER, n. One who abstains from strong drink, sometimes totally, sometimes tolerably totally.
TELEPHONE, n. An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance.
TELESCOPE, n. A device having a relation to the eye similar to that of the telephone to the ear, enabling distant objects to plague us with a multitude of needless details. Luckily it is unprovided with a bell summoning us to the sacrifice.
TENACITY, n. A certain quality of the human hand in its relation to the coin of the realm. It attains its highest development in the hand of authority and is considered a serviceable equipment for a career in politics.
TRIAL, n. A formal inquiry designed to prove and put upon record the blameless characters of judges, advocates and jurors. In order to effect this purpose it is necessary to supply a contrast in the person of one who is called the defendant, the prisoner, or the accused.
TRUCE, n. Friendship.
TRUTH, n. An ingenious compound of desirability and appearance. Discovery of truth is the sole purpose of philosophy, which is the most ancient occupation of the human mind and has a fair prospect of existing with increasing activity to the end of time.
TRUTHFUL, adj. Dumb and illiterate.
TRUST, n. In American politics, a large corporation composed in greater part of thrifty working men, widows of small means, orphans in the care of guardians and the courts, with many similar malefactors and public enemies.
TURKEY, n. A large bird whose flesh when eaten on certain religious anniversaries has the peculiar property of attesting piety and gratitude. Incidentally, it is pretty good eating.
TWICE, adv. Once too often.
TYPE, n. Pestilent bits of metal suspected of destroying civilization and enlightenment, despite their obvious agency in this incomparable dictionary.
UGLINESS, n. A gift of the gods to certain women, entailing virtue without humility.
ULTIMATUM, n. In diplomacy, a last demand before resorting to concessions.
UN-AMERICAN, adj. Wicked, intolerable, heathenish.
UNDERSTANDING, n. A cerebral secretion that enables one having it to know a house from a horse by the roof on the house. Its nature and laws have been exhaustively expounded by Locke, who rode a house, and Kant, who lived in a horse.
UNIVERSALIST, n. One who forgoes the advantage of a Hell for persons of another faith.
URBANITY, n. The kind of civility that urban observers ascribe to dwellers in all cities but New York.
USAGE, n. The First Person of the literary Trinity, the Second and Third being Custom and Conventionality. Imbued with a decent reverence for this Holy Triad an industrious writer may hope to produce books that will live as long as the fashion.
UXORIOUSNESS, n. A perverted affection that has strayed to one's own wife.
VALOR, n. A soldierly compound of vanity, duty and the gambler's hope.
VANITY, n. The tribute of a fool to the worth of the nearest ass.
VIRTUES, n.pl. Certain abstentions.
VOTE, n. The instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.
WALL STREET, n. A symbol for sin for every devil to rebuke. That Wall Street is a den of thieves is a belief that serves every unsuccessful thief in place of a hope in Heaven.
WAR, n. A by-product of the arts of peace.
WASHINGTONIAN, n. A Potomac tribesman who exchanged the privilege of governing himself for the advantage of good government. In justice to him it should be said that he did not want to.
WEAKNESSES, n.pl. Certain primal powers of Tyrant Woman wherewith she holds dominion over the male of her species, binding him to the service of her will and paralyzing his rebellious energies.
WEATHER, n. The climate of the hour. A permanent topic of conversation among persons whom it does not interest, but who have inherited the tendency to chatter about it from naked arboreal ancestors whom it keenly concerned.
WEDDING, n. A ceremony at which two persons undertake to become one, one undertakes to become nothing, and nothing undertakes to become supportable.
WHEAT, n. A cereal from which a tolerably good whisky can with some difficulty be made, and which is used also for bread.
WHITE, adj. and n. Black.
WIDOW, n. A pathetic figure that the Christian world has agreed to take humorously, although Christ's tenderness towards widows was one of the most marked features of his character.
WINE, n. Fermented grape-juice known to the Women's Christian Union as "liquor," sometimes as "rum." Wine is God's next best gift to man.
WIT, n. The salt with which the American humorist spoils his intellectual cookery by leaving it out.
WITCH, n. (1) Any ugly and repulsive old woman, in a wicked league with the devil. (2) A beautiful and attractive young woman, in wickedness a league beyond the devil.
WITTICISM, n. A sharp and clever remark, usually quoted, and seldom noted; what the Philistine is pleased to call a "joke."
WOMAN, n. An animal usually living in the vicinity of Man, and having a rudimentary susceptibility to domestication.
WORMS'-MEAT, n. The finished product of which we are the raw material. The contents of the Taj Mahal, the Tombeau Napoleon and the Granitarium. Worms'-meat is usually outlasted by the structure that houses it, but "this too must pass away." Probably the silliest work in which a human being can engage is construction of a tomb for himself. The solemn purpose cannot dignify, but only accentuates by contrast the foreknown futility.
YANKEE, n. In Europe, an American. In the Northern States of our Union, a New Englander. In the Southern States the word is unknown. (See DAMNYANK.)
YEAR, n. A period of three hundred and sixty-five disappointments.
YESTERDAY, n. The infancy of youth, the youth of manhood, the entire past of age.
YOUTH, n. The Period of Possibility, when Archimedes finds a fulcrum, Cassandra has a following and seven cities compete for the honor of endowing a living Homer.
ZEAL, n. A certain nervous disorder afflicting the young and inexperienced. A passion that goeth before a sprawl.
ZIGZAG, v.t. To move forward uncertainly, from side to side, as one carrying the white man's burden.