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Quotes by Ambrose Bierce

  • American journalist
  • Born June 24, 1842
  • Died 1914

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842 – circa 1914) was an American short story writer, journalist, poet, and Civil War veteran. Bierce's book The Devil's Dictionary was named as one of "The 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature" by the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration. His story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" has been described as "one of the most famous and frequently anthologized stories in American literature"; and his book Tales of Soldiers and Civilians (also published as In the Midst of Life) was named by the Grolier Club as one of the 100 most influential American books printed before 1900.A prolific and versatile writer, Bierce was regarded as one of the most influential journalists in the United States, and as a pioneering writer of realist fiction.


Doubt begins only at the last frontiers of what is possible.




Egotist: a person more interested in himself than in me.


Prejudice - a vagrant opinion without visible means of support.




Anoint, v.: To grease a king or other great functionary already sufficiently slippery.




Politeness, n: The most acceptable hypocrisy.




The best thing to do with the best things in life is to give them up.




Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage.


Experience is a revelation in the light of which we renounce our errors of youth for those of age.




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.




Experience - the wisdom that enables us to recognise in an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced.




Philosophy: A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.


A total abstainer is one who abstains from everything but abstention, and especially from inactivity in the affairs of others.




Ability is commonly found to consist mainly in a high degree of solemnity.




Education, n.: That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding.




Brain: an apparatus with which we think we think.


Alliance - in international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other's pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third.




Acquaintance. A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to.




Faith: Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.




Erudition - dust shaken out of a book into an empty skull.


Wit - the salt with which the American humorist spoils his intellectual cookery by leaving it out.




Genealogy, n. An account of one's descent from a man who did not particularly care to trace his own.




Happiness: an agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.




Revolution, n. In politics, an abrupt change in the form of misgovernment.




We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run over.




Future. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured.




Rum, n. Generically, fiery liquors that produce madness in total abstainers.




Bride: A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her.


What this country needs what every country needs occasionally is a good hard bloody war to revive the vice of patriotism on which its existence as a nation depends.




Cynic, n: a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.




Childhood: 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.



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