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Ambrose Bierce – 81 Quotes

 

81 Quotes by Ambrose Bierce

 

Convent – a place of retirement for women who wish for leisure to meditate upon the sin of idleness.

– Ambrose Bierce


Who never doubted, never half believed. Where doubt is, there truth is – it is her shadow.

– Ambrose Bierce


Friendless. Having no favors to bestow. Destitute of fortune. Addicted to utterance of truth and common sense.

– Ambrose Bierce


Doubt, indulged and cherished, is in danger of becoming denial but if honest, and bent on thorough investigation, it may soon lead to full establishment of the truth.

– Ambrose Bierce


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

– Ambrose Bierce


Inventor: A person who makes an ingenious arrangement of wheels, levers and springs, and believes it civilization.

– Ambrose Bierce


Telephone, n. An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance.

– Ambrose Bierce


Success is the one unpardonable sin against our fellows.

– Ambrose Bierce


Perseverance – a lowly virtue whereby mediocrity achieves an inglorious success.

– Ambrose Bierce


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

– Ambrose Bierce


Land: A part of the earth’s surface, considered as property. The theory that land is property subject to private ownership and control is the foundation of modern society, and is eminently worthy of the superstructure.

– Ambrose Bierce


Mayonnaise: One of the sauces which serve the French in place of a state religion.

– Ambrose Bierce


Vote: the instrument and symbol of a freeman’s power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

– Ambrose Bierce


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

– Ambrose Bierce


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.

– Ambrose Bierce


Positive, adj.: Mistaken at the top of one’s voice.

– Ambrose Bierce


To be positive is to be mistaken at the top of one’s voice.

– Ambrose Bierce


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

– Ambrose Bierce


Conservative, n: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others.

– Ambrose Bierce


Consul – in American politics, a person who having failed to secure an office from the people is given one by the Administration on condition that he leave the country.

– Ambrose Bierce


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.

– Ambrose Bierce


Patriotism. Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.

– Ambrose Bierce


Patience, n. A minor form of dispair, disguised as a virtue.

– Ambrose Bierce


Meekness: Uncommon patience in planning a revenge that is worth while.

– Ambrose Bierce


Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man – who has no gills.

– Ambrose Bierce


Architect. One who drafts a plan of your house, and plans a draft of your money.

– Ambrose Bierce


Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.

– Ambrose Bierce


Dawn: When men of reason go to bed.

– Ambrose Bierce


Women in love are less ashamed than men. They have less to be ashamed of.

– Ambrose Bierce


Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt.

– Ambrose Bierce


Marriage, n: the state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves, making in all, two.

– Ambrose Bierce


Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage.

– Ambrose Bierce


Lawsuit: A machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage.

– Ambrose Bierce


Ardor, n. The quality that distinguishes love without knowledge.

– Ambrose Bierce


The small part of ignorance that we arrange and classify we give the name of knowledge.

– Ambrose Bierce


Jealous, adj. Unduly concerned about the preservation of that which can be lost only if not worth keeping.

– Ambrose Bierce


Mad, adj. Affected with a high degree of intellectual independence.

– Ambrose Bierce


Liberty: One of Imagination’s most precious possessions.

– Ambrose Bierce


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

– Ambrose Bierce


Litigant. A person about to give up his skin for the hope of retaining his bones.

– Ambrose Bierce


Present, n. That part of eternity dividing the domain of disappointment from the realm of hope.

– Ambrose Bierce


The slightest acquaintance with history shows that powerful republics are the most warlike and unscrupulous of nations.

– Ambrose Bierce


History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.

– Ambrose Bierce


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

– Ambrose Bierce


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

– Ambrose Bierce


Irreligion – the principal one of the great faiths of the world.

– Ambrose Bierce


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

– Ambrose Bierce


In our civilization, and under our republican form of government, intelligence is so highly honored that it is rewarded by exemption from the cares of office.

– Ambrose Bierce


Edible – 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.

– Ambrose Bierce


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.

– Ambrose Bierce


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.

– Ambrose Bierce


War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.

– Ambrose Bierce


Forgetfulness – a gift of God bestowed upon debtors in compensation for their destitution of conscience.

– Ambrose Bierce


Sabbath – a weekly festival having its origin in the fact that God made the world in six days and was arrested on the seventh.

– Ambrose Bierce


To apologize is to lay the foundation for a future offense.

– Ambrose Bierce


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

– Ambrose Bierce


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

– Ambrose Bierce


Famous, adj.: Conspicuously miserable.

– Ambrose Bierce


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

– Ambrose Bierce


Destiny: A tyrant’s authority for crime and a fool’s excuse for failure.

– Ambrose Bierce


A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms agains himself. He makes his failure certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it.

– Ambrose Bierce


Enthusiasm – a distemper of youth, curable by small doses of repentance in connection with outward applications of experience.

– Ambrose Bierce


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

– Ambrose Bierce


Learning, n. The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious.

– Ambrose Bierce


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

– Ambrose Bierce


Death is not the end. There remains the litigation over the estate.

– Ambrose Bierce


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

– Ambrose Bierce


It is evident that skepticism, while it makes no actual change in man, always makes him feel better.

– Ambrose Bierce


Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility.

– Ambrose Bierce


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

– Ambrose Bierce


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

– Ambrose Bierce


Prescription: A physician’s guess at what will best prolong the situation with least harm to the patient.

– Ambrose Bierce


Beauty, n: the power by which a woman charms a lover and terrifies a husband.

– Ambrose Bierce


We submit to the majority because we have to. But we are not compelled to call our attitude of subjection a posture of respect.

– Ambrose Bierce


Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.

– Ambrose Bierce


Painting, n.: The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather, and exposing them to the critic.

– Ambrose Bierce


Logic: The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding.

– Ambrose Bierce


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.

– Ambrose Bierce


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

– Ambrose Bierce


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

– Ambrose Bierce


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.

– Ambrose Bierce


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