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The Devil's Dictionary [Paperback]

Ambrose Bierce
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
Price: 8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Hardcover 19.51  
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Paperback, 14 Sep 2012 8.99  

Book Description

14 Sep 2012
The Devil's Dictionary is a comic book about devilish definitions to every day words and situations. This book is intended to those who appreciate humor under any circumstances and love a good laugh as a way to move forward in the day.


Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (14 Sep 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1479173436
  • ISBN-13: 978-1479173433
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,795,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) was one of nineteenth-century America’s most renowned satirists. The author of short stories, essays, fables, poems, and sketches, he was a popular columnist and wrote for several San Francisco and London newspapers during his forty-year journalism career. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining 13 Dec 2003
Format:Paperback
I have found that this dictionary can serve a number of purposes. It can sit on your bookcase and look interesting, you can read it (in which case you'll probably burst out laughing on occasion) and you can learn parts of it to use as wit in conversation.
The last is the most entertaining and this book is packed full of wit (or maybe just honesty).
So buy it, and buy it now.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive collection 29 Dec 2005
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Format:Hardcover
'The Devil's Dictionary' is an interesting, very intellectually cynical collection of proposed definitions to words collected by Ambrose Gwinett Bierce, a journalist, writer, Civil War veteran, and general misanthrope, who disappeared without a trace in Mexico about 1914. In the words of H.L. Mencken, Bierce has produced 'some of the most gorgeous witticism of the English language.' Bierce delights in irreverence and poking fun at all aspects of life.
Bierce's own definition of dictionary gives some insight into his general thought patterns:
'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.'
This would lead us to conclude (most correctly) that Bierce is a world-class cynic. What is a cynic?
'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.'
Originally published under the title 'The Cynic's Word Book', most of the definitions in this book originally appeared as part newspaper columns. There have been many imitators, but this is the first and finest collection. Arranged as a dictionary, it provides an interesting writer's tool for finding a unique perspective on words and phrases. There are more than 1000 entries. A few examples include:
'Outdo, v.t., To make an enemy.'
'Universalist, n. One who foregoes the advantage of a Hell for persons of another faith.'
Fair warning -- those who do not like cynicism and scathing wit will find this book irritating, and sometimes offensive.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is actually as devilish as it looks. I have burst into laughter many times while reading it. The definitions are really creative and shows that the author was very good at observing everything going around him. It tells the truth about the meaning of words, but always with a sense of humour, which they deserve. This dictionary is very entertaining, provocative and, yes, realistic. Mr.Bierce is not afraid to say what the others would not and that is always something I like in an author. It is physically thin but mentally thick, that is, it will provoke you to reconsider the definitions you have in your mind. It is both fun and an eye-opener. Probably the most entertaining dictionary in the world.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Jeremy Walton TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
Last week I was watching an episode of Lewis in which a character described politics as a "strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles". Although he indicated that the thought wasn't original, he didn't have time to mention that he was quoting from this collection of epigrams. Its author has been described as a Yankee Oscar Wilde, although his nickname - "Bitter Bierce" - suggests that the theme of his writing was less varied and more cynical than that of that warm-hearted, legendary wit.

A book like this is made to be read and quoted piecemeal - in fact, reading it all the way through is rather like trying to ingest a crate of lemons - so the best way to give some idea of its contents is to simply quote a few of the (many) definitions that remained in my mind after reading it:

Backbite: To speak of a man as you find him when he can't find you.

Peace: In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.

Effect: 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.

Congratulation: The civility of envy.

Absurdity: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.

Wedding: A ceremony at which two persons undertake to become one, one undertakes to become nothing, and nothing undertakes to become supportable.

Exile: One who serves his country by residing abroad, yet is not an ambassador.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delving deeper. 24 Nov 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ambrose Bierce, who mysteriously disappeared during a reported expedition to link up with Pancho Villa, left the world two great gifts: his beautiful short story "An Incident at Owl Creek Bridge" and "The Devil's Dictionary", this little volume of his definition of words and terms that reveal to the reader the full thrust of Bierce's clear-eyed vision of all that was wrong in the US and all that ought to be made right.

"The Devil's Dictionary" should be, if not at every man's bedside, then at least have pride of place on that little shelf beside his w.c. where inspirational works are left for the greater edification of he who there takes his restful ease.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent
Published 1 month ago by Beatrice
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Curmudgeon
This was a gift for a friend - I have the exact same edition, and this way I can refer to the exact page if I want to point something up. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Timothy J. Haigh
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent humorous dictionatry
I'd always wanted to read Ambrose Bierce's work having heard excerpts from it in the past. It doesn't disappoint although some of his definitions are now somewhat dated and refer... Read more
Published 12 months ago by CJ Twamley
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius
I am a long time admirer of Ambrose Bierce and this book is a must read for any middle aged (or aspiring) cynic. Well worth reading. Read more
Published 16 months ago by ANDREW WILTSHIRE
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!
This is a fabulous book! I've really enjoyed the cover and also the edition is perfect.
And the lovely devil on the cover simply makes me laugh!
Published 23 months ago by Carla
5.0 out of 5 stars Diabolically witty
This famous book, though not to everyone's tastes and certainly not PC, is a gem. Written over 100 years ago, it is a compilation of definitions which originally appeared in an... Read more
Published on 29 Feb 2012 by puzzled94
1.0 out of 5 stars Diabolical formatting from so-called publisher
I wanted a clean, well set out version of this classic for my Kindle, so I trusted the claims of ease of navigation and professional layout by the publisher. Read more
Published on 26 Jan 2012 by Carol P
4.0 out of 5 stars Still devilish
This is a faux-dictionary of tongue-in-cheek definitions of everyday words and phrases. In each case the definition pricks a popular conceit, or reveals the unspoken truth. Read more
Published on 27 Nov 2011 by Stephen Hudson
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor Kindle edition
This is a very poorly formatted edition. Variable fonts, page breaks everywhere, words appearing from nowhere and footnote references with no hyperlink. Read more
Published on 7 Jan 2011 by Badger
4.0 out of 5 stars Honest review
Got this to read from my other half. Its kept in my library, a small collection of books in my toilet. Read more
Published on 25 May 2008 by Mr. Peter M. Gater
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