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 © COPYRIGHT 2013 International Education Institute, ATTN: Ken Harvey, 2027 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick WA 99336, USA







The Devil's Dictionary was begun in a weekly paper in 1881, and was  continued in a desultory way at long intervals until 1906.  In that  year a large part of it was published in covers with the title The  Cynic's Word Book, a name which the author had not the power to  reject or happiness to approve.  To quote the publishers of the  present work:

"This more reverent title had previously been forced upon him by  the religious scruples of the last newspaper in which a part of the  work had appeared, with the natural consequence that when it came out  in covers the country already had been flooded by its imitators with a  score of 'cynic' books -- The Cynic's This, The Cynic's That, and  The Cynic's t'Other.  Most of these books were merely stupid, though  some of them added the distinction of silliness.  Among them, they  brought the word 'cynic' into disfavor so deep that any book bearing  it was discredited in advance of publication."

Meantime, too, some of the enterprising humorists of the country  had helped themselves to such parts of the work as served their needs,  and many of its definitions, anecdotes, phrases and so forth, had  become more or less current in popular speech.  This explanation is  made, not with any pride of priority in trifles, but in simple denial  of possible charges of plagiarism, which is no trifle.  In merely  resuming his own the author hopes to be held guiltless by those to  whom the work is addressed -- enlightened souls who prefer dry wines  to sweet, sense to sentiment, wit to humor and clean English to slang.

A conspicuous, and it is hope not unpleasant, feature of the book  is its abundant illustrative quotations from eminent poets, chief of  whom is that learned and ingenius cleric, Father Gassalasca Jape,  S.J., whose lines bear his initials.  To Father Jape's kindly  encouragement and assistance the author of the prose text is greatly  indebted.                                                                  




ABASEMENT, n.  A decent and customary mental attitude in the presence  of wealth of power.  Peculiarly appropriate in an employee when  addressing an employer.

ABATIS, n.  Rubbish in front of a fort, to prevent the rubbish outside  from molesting the rubbish inside.

ABDICATION, n.  An act whereby a sovereign attests his sense of the  high temperature of the throne.

    Poor Isabella's Dead, whose abdication
    Set all tongues wagging in the Spanish nation.
    For that performance 'twere unfair to scold her:
    She wisely left a throne too hot to hold her.
    To History she'll be no royal riddle --
    Merely a plain parched pea that jumped the griddle.

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.  Wherefore the lexicographer adviseth a striving toward the  straiter [sic] resemblance of the Average Man than he hath to himself.   Whoso attaineth thereto shall have peace, the prospect of death and  the hope of Hell.

ABORIGINIES, n.  Persons of little worth found cumbering the soil of a  newly discovered country.  They soon cease to cumber; they fertilize.


    By Abracadabra we signify
        An infinite number of things.
    'Tis the answer to What? and How? and Why?
    And Whence? and Whither? -- a word whereby
        The Truth (with the comfort it brings)
    Is open to all who grope in night,
    Crying for Wisdom's holy light.
    Whether the word is a verb or a noun
        Is knowledge beyond my reach.
    I only know that 'tis handed down.
            From sage to sage,
            From age to age --
        An immortal part of speech!
    Of an ancient man the tale is told
    That he lived to be ten centuries old,
        In a cave on a mountain side.
        (True, he finally died.)
    The fame of his wisdom filled the land,
    For his head was bald, and you'll understand
        His beard was long and white
        And his eyes uncommonly bright.
    Philosophers gathered from far and near
    To sit at his feat and hear and hear,
            Though he never was heard
            To utter a word
        But "Abracadabra, abracadab,
            Abracada, abracad,
        Abraca, abrac, abra, ab!"
            'Twas all he had,
    'Twas all they wanted to hear, and each
    Made copious notes of the mystical speech,
            Which they published next --
            A trickle of text
    In the meadow of commentary.
        Mighty big books were these,
        In a number, as leaves of trees;
    In learning, remarkably -- very!
            He's dead,
            As I said,
    And the books of the sages have perished,
    But his wisdom is sacredly cherished.
    In Abracadabra it solemnly rings,
    Like an ancient bell that forever swings.
            O, I love to hear
            That word make clear
    Humanity's General Sense of Things.
                                                       Jamrach Holobom

ABRIDGE, v.t.  To shorten.
        When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for
    people to abridge their king, a decent respect for the opinions of
    mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel
    them to the separation.
                                                       Oliver Cromwell

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.  Dr. Samuel Johnson beautifully said of another  author's ideas that they were "concatenated without abruption."

ABSCOND, v.i.  To "move in a mysterious way," commonly with the  property of another.
    Spring beckons!  All things to the call respond;
    The trees are leaving and cashiers abscond.
                                                             Phela Orm

ABSENT, adj.  Peculiarly exposed to the tooth of detraction; vilifed;  hopelessly in the wrong; superseded in the consideration and affection  of another.

    To men a man is but a mind.  Who cares
    What face he carries or what form he wears?
    But woman's body is the woman.  O,
    Stay thou, my sweetheart, and do never go,
    But heed the warning words the sage hath said:
    A woman absent is a woman dead.
                                                            Jogo Tyree

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.

    Said a man to a crapulent youth:  "I thought

        You a total abstainer, my son."
    "So I am, so I am," said the scrapgrace caught --
        "But not, sir, a bigoted one."

ABSURDITY, n.  A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with  one's own opinion.

ACADEME, n.  An ancient school where morality and philosophy were  taught.

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.

    "My accountability, bear in mind,"
        Said the Grand Vizier:  "Yes, yes,"
    Said the Shah:  "I do -- 'tis the only kind
        Of ability you possess."
                                                            Joram Tate

ACCUSE, v.t.  To affirm another's guilt or unworth; most commonly as a  justification of ourselves for having wronged him.

ACEPHALOUS, adj.  In the surprising condition of the Crusader who  absently pulled at his forelock some hours after a Saracen scimitar  had, unconsciously to him, passed through his neck, as related by de  Joinville.

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.

ADAMANT, n.  A mineral frequently found beneath a corset.  Soluble in  solicitate of gold.

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.

    Consigned by way of admonition,
    His soul forever to perdition.

ADORE, v.t.  To venerate expectantly.

ADVICE, n.  The smallest current coin.

    "The man was in such deep distress,"
    Said Tom, "that I could do no less
    Than give him good advice."  Said Jim:
    "If less could have been done for him
    I know you well enough, my son,
    To know that's what you would have done."
                                                         Jebel Jocordy

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.

AFRICAN, n.  A nigger that votes our way.

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.

AIM, n.  The task we set our wishes to.

    "Cheer up!  Have you no aim in life?"
        She tenderly inquired.
    "An aim?  Well, no, I haven't, wife;
        The fact is -- I have fired."

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 pretence of open marauding.

ALIEN, n.  An American sovereign in his probationary state.

ALLAH, n.  The Mahometan Supreme Being, as distinguished from the  Christian, Jewish, and so forth.

    Allah's good laws I faithfully have kept,
    And ever for the sins of man have wept;
        And sometimes kneeling in the temple I
    Have reverently crossed my hands and slept.
                                                         Junker Barlow


    This thing Allegiance, as I suppose,
    Is a ring fitted in the subject's nose,
    Whereby that organ is kept rightly pointed
    To smell the sweetness of the Lord's anointed.

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.

ALLIGATOR, n.  The crocodile of America, superior in every detail to  the crocodile of the effete monarchies of the Old World.  Herodotus  says the Indus is, with one exception, the only river that produces  crocodiles, but they appear to have gone West and grown up with the  other rivers.  From the notches on his back the alligator is called a  sawrian.

ALONE, adj.  In bad company.

    In contact, lo! the flint and steel,
    By spark and flame, the thought reveal
    That he the metal, she the stone,
    Had cherished secretly alone.
                                                           Booley Fito

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.

    They stood before the altar and supplied
    The fire themselves in which their fat was fried.
    In vain the sacrifice! -- no god will claim
    An offering burnt with an unholy flame.
                                                           M.P. Nopput

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.

    As sovereigns are anointed by the priesthood,
    So pigs to lead the populace are greased good.

ANTIPATHY, n.  The sentiment inspired by one's friend's friend.

APHORISM, n.  Predigested wisdom.

    The flabby wine-skin of his brain
    Yields to some pathologic strain,
    And voids from its unstored abysm
    The driblet of an aphorism.
                                           "The Mad Philosopher," 1697

APOLOGIZE, v.i.  To lay the foundation for a future offence.

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.
    When Jove sent blessings to all men that are,
    And Mercury conveyed them in a jar,
    That friend of tricksters introduced by stealth
    Disease for the apothecary's health,
    Whose gratitude impelled him to proclaim:
    "My deadliest drug shall bear my patron's name!"

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.
    If I were a jolly archbishop,
    On Fridays I'd eat all the fish up --
    Salmon and flounders and smelts;
    On other days everything else.
                                                              Jodo Rem

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.
                                            The Unauthorized Version

ARSENIC, n.  A kind of cosmetic greatly affected by the ladies, whom  it greatly affects in turn.
    "Eat arsenic?  Yes, all you get,"
        Consenting, he did speak up;
    "'Tis better you should eat it, pet,
        Than put it in my teacup."
                                                             Joel Huck

ART, n.  This word has no definition.  Its origin is related as  follows by the ingenious Father Gassalasca Jape, S.J.
    One day a wag -- what would the wretch be at? --
    Shifted a letter of the cipher RAT,
    And said it was a god's name!  Straight arose
    Fantastic priests and postulants (with shows,
    And mysteries, and mummeries, and hymns,
    And disputations dire that lamed their limbs)
    To serve his temple and maintain the fires,
    Expound the law, manipulate the wires.
    Amazed, the populace that rites attend,
    Believe whate'er they cannot comprehend,
    And, inly edified to learn that two
    Half-hairs joined so and so (as Art can do)
    Have sweeter values and a grace more fit
    Than Nature's hairs that never have been split,
    Bring cates and wines for sacrificial feasts,
    And sell their garments to support the priests.

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.

ASS, n.  A public singer with a good voice but no ear.  In Virginia  City, Nevada, he is called the Washoe Canary, in Dakota, the Senator,  and everywhere the Donkey.  The animal is widely and variously  celebrated in the literature, art and religion of every age and  country; no other so engages and fires the human imagination as this  noble vertebrate.  Indeed, it is doubted by some (Ramasilus, lib.  II., De Clem., and C. Stantatus, De Temperamente) if it is not a  god; and as such we know it was worshiped by the Etruscans, and, if we  may believe Macrobious, by the Cupasians also.  Of the only two  animals admitted into the Mahometan Paradise along with the souls of  men, the ass that carried Balaam is one, the dog of the Seven Sleepers  the other.  This is no small distinction.  From what has been written  about this beast might be compiled a library of great splendor and  magnitude, rivalling that of the Shakespearean cult, and that which  clusters about the Bible.  It may be said, generally, that all  literature is more or less Asinine.
    "Hail, holy Ass!" the quiring angels sing;
    "Priest of Unreason, and of Discords King!"
    Great co-Creator, let Thy glory shine:
    God made all else, the Mule, the Mule is thine!"

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.

AVERNUS, n.  The lake by which the ancients entered the infernal  regions.  The fact that access to the infernal regions was obtained by  a lake is believed by the learned Marcus Ansello Scrutator to have  suggested the Christian rite of baptism by immersion.  This, however,  has been shown by Lactantius to be an error.
    Facilis descensus Averni,
        The poet remarks; and the sense
    Of it is that when down-hill I turn I
        Will get more of punches than pence.
                                                        Jehal Dai Lupe


BAAL, n.  An old deity formerly much worshiped under various names.   As Baal he was popular with the Phoenicians; as Belus or Bel he had  the honor to be served by the priest Berosus, who wrote the famous  account of the Deluge; as Babel he had a tower partly erected to his  glory on the Plain of Shinar.  From Babel comes our English word  "babble."  Under whatever name worshiped, Baal is the Sun-god.  As  Beelzebub he is the god of flies, which are begotten of the sun's rays  on the stagnant water.  In Physicia Baal is still worshiped as Bolus,  and as Belly he is adored and served with abundant sacrifice by the  priests of Guttledom.

BABE or BABY, n.  A misshapen creature of no particular age, sex, or  condition, chiefly remarkable for the violence of the sympathies and  antipathies it excites in others, itself without sentiment or emotion.   There have been famous babes; for example, little Moses, from whose  adventure in the bulrushes the Egyptian hierophants of seven centuries  before doubtless derived their idle tale of the child Osiris being  preserved on a floating lotus leaf.
            Ere babes were invented
            The girls were contended.
            Now man is tormented
    Until to buy babes he has squandered
    His money.  And so I have pondered
            This thing, and thought may be
            'T were better that Baby
    The First had been eagled or condored.
                                                               Ro Amil

BACCHUS, n.  A convenient deity invented by the ancients as an excuse  for getting drunk.
    Is public worship, then, a sin,
        That for devotions paid to Bacchus
    The lictors dare to run us in,
        And resolutely thump and whack us?

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.  It is  performed with water in two ways -- by immersion, or plunging, and by  aspersion, or sprinkling.
    But whether the plan of immersion
    Is better than simple aspersion
        Let those immersed
        And those aspersed
    Decide by the Authorized Version,
    And by matching their agues tertian.

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.

BASILISK, n.  The cockatrice.  A sort of serpent hatched form the egg  of a cock.  The basilisk had a bad eye, and its glance was fatal.   Many infidels deny this creature's existence, but Semprello Aurator  saw and handled one that had been blinded by lightning as a punishment  for having fatally gazed on a lady of rank whom Jupiter loved.  Juno  afterward restored the reptile's sight and hid it in a cave.  Nothing  is so well attested by the ancients as the existence of the basilisk,  but the cocks have stopped laying.

BASTINADO, n.  The act of walking on wood without exertion.

BATH, n.  A kind of mystic ceremony substituted for religious worship,  with what spiritual efficacy has not been determined.
    The man who taketh a steam bath
    He loseth all the skin he hath,
    And, for he's boiled a brilliant red,
    Thinketh to cleanliness he's wed,
    Forgetting that his lungs he's soiling
    With dirty vapors of the boiling.
                                                          Richard Gwow

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.
    Who is that, father?
                          A mendicant, child,
    Haggard, morose, and unaffable -- wild!
    See how he glares through the bars of his cell!
    With Citizen Mendicant all is not well.
    Why did they put him there, father?
    Obeying his belly he struck at the laws.
    His belly?
                Oh, well, he was starving, my boy --
    A state in which, doubtless, there's little of joy.
    No bite had he eaten for days, and his cry
    Was "Bread!" ever "Bread!"
                                What's the matter with pie?
    With little to wear, he had nothing to sell;
    To beg was unlawful -- improper as well.
    Why didn't he work?
                         He would even have done that,
    But men said:  "Get out!" and the State remarked:  "Scat!"
    I mention these incidents merely to show
    That the vengeance he took was uncommonly low.
    Revenge, at the best, is the act of a Siou,
    But for trifles --
                        Pray what did bad Mendicant do?
    Stole two loaves of bread to replenish his lack
    And tuck out the belly that clung to his back.
    Is that all father dear?
                                There's little to tell:
    They sent him to jail, and they'll send him to -- well,
    The company's better than here we can boast,
    And there's --
                    Bread for the needy, dear father?
                                                       Um -- toast.
                                                              Atka Mip

BEGGAR, n.  One who has relied on the assistance of his friends.

BEHAVIOR, n.  Conduct, as determined, not by principle, but by  breeding.  The word seems to be somewhat loosely used in Dr. Jamrach  Holobom's translation of the following lines from the Dies Irae:
        Recordare, Jesu pie,
        Quod sum causa tuae viae.
        Ne me perdas illa die.
    Pray remember, sacred Savior,
    Whose the thoughtless hand that gave your
    Death-blow.  Pardon such behavior.

BELLADONNA, n.  In Italian a beautiful lady; in English a deadly  poison.  A striking example of the essential identity of the two  tongues.

BENEDICTINES, n.  An order of monks otherwise known as black friars.
    She thought it a crow, but it turn out to be
        A monk of St. Benedict croaking a text.
    "Here's one of an order of cooks," said she --
        "Black friars in this world, fried black in the next."
                                   "The Devil on Earth" (London, 1712)

BENEFACTOR, n.  One who makes heavy purchases of ingratitude, without,  however, materially affecting the price, which is still within the  means of all.

BERENICE'S HAIR, n.  A constellation (Coma Berenices) named in honor  of one who sacrificed her hair to save her husband.
    Her locks an ancient lady gave
    Her loving husband's life to save;
    And men -- they honored so the dame --
    Upon some stars bestowed her name.
    But to our modern married fair,
    Who'd give their lords to save their hair,
    No stellar recognition's given.
    There are not stars enough in heaven.

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.

BILLINGSGATE, n.  The invective of an opponent.

BIRTH, n.  The first and direst of all disasters.  As to the nature of  it there appears to be no uniformity.  Castor and Pollux were born  from the egg.  Pallas came out of a skull.  Galatea was once a block  of stone.  Peresilis, who wrote in the tenth century, avers that he  grew up out of the ground where a priest had spilled holy water.  It  is known that Arimaxus was derived from a hole in the earth, made by a  stroke of lightning.  Leucomedon was the son of a cavern in Mount  Aetna, and I have myself seen a man come out of a wine cellar.

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.  The hyena.
    "One night," a doctor said, "last fall,
    I and my comrades, four in all,
        When visiting a graveyard stood
    Within the shadow of a wall.
    "While waiting for the moon to sink
    We saw a wild hyena slink
        About a new-made grave, and then
    Begin to excavate its brink!
    "Shocked by the horrid act, we made
    A sally from our ambuscade,
        And, falling on the unholy beast,
    Dispatched him with a pick and spade."
                                                      Bettel K. Jhones

BONDSMAN, n.  A fool who, having property of his own, undertakes to  become responsible for that entrusted to another to a third.
    Philippe of Orleans wishing to appoint one of his favorites, a  dissolute nobleman, to a high office, asked him what security he would  be able to give.  "I need no bondsmen," he replied, "for I can give  you my word of honor."  "And pray what may be the value of that?"  inquired the amused Regent.  "Monsieur, it is worth its weight in  gold."

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.

BOTTLE-NOSED, adj.  Having a nose created in the image of its maker.

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.
        A single swallow, it is said, devours ten millions of insects
    every year.  The supplying of these insects I take to be a signal
    instance of the Creator's bounty in providing for the lives of His
                                                    Henry Ward Beecher

BRAHMA, n.  He who created the Hindoos, who are preserved by Vishnu  and destroyed by Siva -- a rather neater division of labor than is  found among the deities of some other nations.  The Abracadabranese,  for example, are created by Sin, maintained by Theft and destroyed by  Folly.  The priests of Brahma, like those of Abracadabranese, are holy  and learned men who are never naughty.
    O Brahma, thou rare old Divinity,
    First Person of the Hindoo Trinity,
    You sit there so calm and securely,
    With feet folded up so demurely --
    You're the First Person Singular, surely.
                                                        Polydore Smith

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.  A man of great wealth, or one who has  been pitchforked into high station, has commonly such a headful of  brain that his neighbors cannot keep their hats on.  In our  civilization, and under our republican form of government, brain is so  highly honored that it is rewarded by exemption from the cares of  office.

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.



CAABA, n.  A large stone presented by the archangel Gabriel to the  patriarch Abraham, and preserved at Mecca.  The patriarch had perhaps  asked the archangel for bread.

CABBAGE, n.  A familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and  wise as a man's head.
    The cabbage is so called from Cabagius, a prince who on ascending  the throne issued a decree appointing a High Council of Empire  consisting of the members of his predecessor's Ministry and the  cabbages in the royal garden.  When any of his Majesty's measures of  state policy miscarried conspicuously it was gravely announced that  several members of the High Council had been beheaded, and his  murmuring subjects were appeased.

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.
    When Zeno was told that one of his enemies was no more he was  observed to be deeply moved.  "What!" said one of his disciples, "you  weep at the death of an enemy?"  "Ah, 'tis true," replied the great  Stoic; "but you should see me smile at the death of a friend."

CALUMNUS, n.  A graduate of the School for Scandal.

CAMEL, n.  A quadruped (the Splaypes humpidorsus) of great value to  the show business.  There are two kinds of camels -- the camel proper  and the camel improper.  It is the latter that is always exhibited.

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.

CANONICALS, n.  The motley worm by Jesters of the Court of Heaven.

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.

CARMELITE, n.  A mendicant friar of the order of Mount Carmel.
    As Death was a-rising out one day,
    Across Mount Camel he took his way,
        Where he met a mendicant monk,
        Some three or four quarters drunk,
    With a holy leer and a pious grin,
    Ragged and fat and as saucy as sin,
        Who held out his hands and cried:
    "Give, give in Charity's name, I pray.
    Give in the name of the Church.  O give,
    Give that her holy sons may live!"
        And Death replied,
        Smiling long and wide:
        "I'll give, holy father, I'll give thee -- a ride."
        With a rattle and bang
        Of his bones, he sprang
    From his famous Pale Horse, with his spear;
        By the neck and the foot
        Seized the fellow, and put
    Him astride with his face to the rear.
    The Monarch laughed loud with a sound that fell
    Like clods on the coffin's sounding shell:
    "Ho, ho!  A beggar on horseback, they say,
        Will ride to the devil!" -- and thump
        Fell the flat of his dart on the rump
    Of the charger, which galloped away.
    Faster and faster and faster it flew,
    Till the rocks and the flocks and the trees that grew
    By the road were dim and blended and blue
        To the wild, wild eyes
        Of the rider -- in size
        Resembling a couple of blackberry pies.
    Death laughed again, as a tomb might laugh
        At a burial service spoiled,
        And the mourners' intentions foiled
        By the body erecting
        Its head and objecting
    To further proceedings in its behalf.
    Many a year and many a day
    Have passed since these events away.
    The monk has long been a dusty corse,
    And Death has never recovered his horse.
        For the friar got hold of its tail,
        And steered it within the pale
    Of the monastery gray,
    Where the beast was stabled and fed
    With barley and oil and bread
    Till fatter it grew than the fattest friar,
    And so in due course was appointed Prior.

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.
    This is a dog,
        This is a cat.
    This is a frog,
        This is a rat.
    Run, dog, mew, cat.
    Jump, frog, gnaw, rat.

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.  The  inscriptions following will serve to illustrate the success attained  in these Olympian games:
        His virtues were so conspicuous that his enemies, unable to
    overlook them, denied them, and his friends, to whose loose lives
    they were a rebuke, represented them as vices.  They are here
    commemorated by his family, who shared them.
        In the earth we here prepare a
        Place to lay our little Clara.
                                             Thomas M. and Mary Frazer
        P.S. -- Gabriel will raise her.

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."  The  best of the lot was Chiron, who to the wisdom and virtues of the horse  added the fleetness of man.  The scripture story of the head of John  the Baptist on a charger shows that pagan myths have somewhat  sophisticated sacred history.

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.  Cerberus is known to have had three heads, and some of the  poets have credited him with as many as a hundred.  Professor  Graybill, whose clerky erudition and profound knowledge of Greek give  his opinion great weight, has averaged all the estimates, and makes  the number twenty-seven -- a judgment that would be entirely  conclusive is Professor Graybill had known (a) something about dogs,  and (b) something about arithmetic.

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.
    I dreamed I stood upon a hill, and, lo!
    The godly multitudes walked to and fro
    Beneath, in Sabbath garments fitly clad,
    With pious mien, appropriately sad,
    While all the church bells made a solemn din --
    A fire-alarm to those who lived in sin.
    Then saw I gazing thoughtfully below,
    With tranquil face, upon that holy show
    A tall, spare figure in a robe of white,
    Whose eyes diffused a melancholy light.
    "God keep you, strange," I exclaimed.  "You are
    No doubt (your habit shows it) from afar;
    And yet I entertain the hope that you,
    Like these good people, are a Christian too."
    He raised his eyes and with a look so stern
    It made me with a thousand blushes burn
    Replied -- his manner with disdain was spiced:
    "What!  I a Christian?  No, indeed!  I'm Christ."

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.

CLARIONET, n.  An instrument of torture operated by a person with  cotton in his ears.  There are two instruments that are worse than a  clarionet -- two clarionets.

CLERGYMAN, n.  A man who undertakes the management of our spiritual  affairs as a method of better his temporal ones.

CLIO, n.  One of the nine Muses.  Clio's function was to preside over  history -- which she did with great dignity, many of the prominent  citizens of Athens occupying seats on the platform, the meetings being  addressed by Messrs. Xenophon, Herodotus and other popular speakers.

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.
    A busy man complained one day:
    "I get no time!"  "What's that you say?"
    Cried out his friend, a lazy quiz;
    "You have, sir, all the time there is.
    There's plenty, too, and don't you doubt it --
    We're never for an hour without it."
                                                          Purzil Crofe

CLOSE-FISTED, adj.  Unduly desirous of keeping that which many  meritorious persons wish to obtain.
    "Close-fisted Scotchman!" Johnson cried
        To thrifty J. Macpherson;
    "See me -- I'm ready to divide
        With any worthy person."
    Sad Jamie:  "That is very true --
        The boast requires no backing;
    And all are worthy, sir, to you,
        Who have what you are lacking."
                                                         Anita M. Bobe

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.
    O Coenobite, O coenobite,
        Monastical gregarian,
    You differ from the anchorite,
        That solitudinarian:
    With vollied prayers you wound Old Nick;
    With dropping shots he makes him sick.
                                                          Quincy Giles

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.
    This commonwealth's capitol's corridors view,
    So thronged with a hungry and indolent crew
    Of clerks, pages, porters and all attaches
    Whom rascals appoint and the populace pays
    That a cat cannot slip through the thicket of shins
    Nor hear its own shriek for the noise of their chins.
    On clerks and on pages, and porters, and all,
    Misfortune attend and disaster befall!
    May life be to them a succession of hurts;
    May fleas by the bushel inhabit their shirts;
    May aches and diseases encamp in their bones,
    Their lungs full of tubercles, bladders of stones;
    May microbes, bacilli, their tissues infest,
    And tapeworms securely their bowels digest;
    May corn-cobs be snared without hope in their hair,
    And frequent impalement their pleasure impair.
    Disturbed be their dreams by the awful discourse
    Of audible sofas sepulchrally hoarse,
    By chairs acrobatic and wavering floors --
    The mattress that kicks and the pillow that snores!
    Sons of cupidity, cradled in sin!
    Your criminal ranks may the death angel thin,
    Avenging the friend whom I couldn't work in.

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.
    An old wine-bibber having been smashed in a railway collision,  some wine was pouted on his lips to revive him.  "Pauillac, 1873," he  murmured and died.

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  and 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.
    In controversy with the facile tongue --
    That bloodless warfare of the old and young --
    So seek your adversary to engage
    That on himself he shall exhaust his rage,
    And, like a snake that's fastened to the ground,
    With his own fangs inflict the fatal wound.
    You ask me how this miracle is done?
    Adopt his own opinions, one by one,
    And taunt him to refute them; in his wrath
    He'll sweep them pitilessly from his path.
    Advance then gently all you wish to prove,
    Each proposition prefaced with, "As you've
    So well remarked," or, "As you wisely say,
    And I cannot dispute," or, "By the way,
    This view of it which, better far expressed,
    Runs through your argument."  Then leave the rest
    To him, secure that he'll perform his trust
    And prove your views intelligent and just.
                                                    Conmore Apel Brune

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.

CORPORAL, n.  A man who occupies the lowest rung of the military  ladder.
    Fiercely the battle raged and, sad to tell,
    Our corporal heroically fell!
    Fame from her height looked down upon the brawl
    And said:  "He hadn't very far to fall."
                                                         Giacomo Smith

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.
        In this small fish I take it that human wisdom is admirably
    figured and symbolized; for whereas the crayfish doth move only
    backward, and can have only retrospection, seeing naught but the
    perils already passed, so the wisdom of man doth not enable him to
    avoid the follies that beset his course, but only to apprehend
    their nature afterward.
                                                    Sir James Merivale

CREDITOR, n.  One of a tribe of savages dwelling beyond the Financial  Straits and dreaded for their desolating incursions.

CREMONA, n.  A high-priced violin made in Connecticut.

CRITIC, n.  A person who boasts himself hard to please because nobody  tries to please him.
    There is a land of pure delight,
        Beyond the Jordan's flood,
    Where saints, apparelled all in white,
        Fling back the critic's mud.
    And as he legs it through the skies,
        His pelt a sable hue,
    He sorrows sore to recognize
        The missiles that he threw.
                                                            Orrin Goof

CROSS, n.  An ancient religious symbol erroneously supposed to owe its  significance to the most solemn event in the history of Christianity,  but really antedating it by thousands of years.  By many it has been  believed to be identical with the crux ansata of the ancient phallic  worship, but it has been traced even beyond all that we know of that,  to the rites of primitive peoples.  We have to-day the White Cross as  a symbol of chastity, and the Red Cross as a badge of benevolent  neutrality in war.  Having in mind the former, the reverend Father  Gassalasca Jape smites the lyre to the effect following:
    "Be good, be good!" the sisterhood
        Cry out in holy chorus,
    And, to dissuade from sin, parade
        Their various charms before us.
    But why, O why, has ne'er an eye
        Seen her of winsome manner
    And youthful grace and pretty face
        Flaunting the White Cross banner?
    Now where's the need of speech and screed
        To better our behaving?
    A simpler plan for saving man
        (But, first, is he worth saving?)
    Is, dears, when he declines to flee
        From bad thoughts that beset him,
    Ignores the Law as 't were a straw,
        And wants to sin -- don't let 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.


DAMN, v.  A word formerly much used by the Paphlagonians, the meaning  of which is lost.  By the learned Dr. Dolabelly Gak it is believed to  have been a term of satisfaction, implying the highest possible degree  of mental tranquillity.  Professor Groke, on the contrary, thinks it  expressed an emotion of tumultuous delight, because it so frequently  occurs in combination with the word jod or god, meaning "joy."  It  would be with great diffidence that I should advance an opinion  conflicting with that of either of these formidable authorities.

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.

    A savage beast which, when it sleeps,
        Man girds at and despises,
    But takes himself away by leaps
        And bounds when it arises.
                                                          Ambat Delaso

DARING, n.  One of the most conspicuous qualities of a man in  security.

DATARY, n.  A high ecclesiastic official of the Roman Catholic Church,  whose important function is to brand the Pope's bulls with the words  Datum Romae.  He enjoys a princely revenue and the friendship of  God.

DAWN, n.  The time when men of reason go to bed.  Certain old men  prefer to rise at about that time, taking a cold bath and a long walk  with an empty stomach, and otherwise mortifying the flesh.  They then  point with pride to these practices as the cause of their sturdy  health and ripe years; the truth being that they are hearty and old,  not because of their habits, but in spite of them.  The reason we find  only robust persons doing this thing is that it has killed all the  others who have tried it.

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.

DEAD, adj.
    Done with the work of breathing; done
    With all the world; the mad race run
    Though to the end; the golden goal
    Attained and found to be a hole!
                                                        Squatol Johnes

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.
    As, pent in an aquarium, the troutlet
    Swims round and round his tank to find an outlet,
    Pressing his nose against the glass that holds him,
    Nor ever sees the prison that enfolds him;
    So the poor debtor, seeing naught around him,
    Yet feels the narrow limits that impound him,
    Grieves at his debt and studies to evade it,
    And finds at last he might as well have paid it.
                                                        Barlow S. Vode

DECALOGUE, n.  A series of commandments, ten in number -- just enough  to permit an intelligent selection for observance, but not enough to  embarrass the choice.  Following is the revised edition of the  Decalogue, calculated for this meridian.
    Thou shalt no God but me adore:
    'Twere too expensive to have more.
    No images nor idols make
    For Robert Ingersoll to break.
    Take not God's name in vain; select
    A time when it will have effect.
    Work not on Sabbath days at all,
    But go to see the teams play ball.
    Honor thy parents.  That creates
    For life insurance lower rates.
    Kill not, abet not those who kill;
    Thou shalt not pay thy butcher's bill.
    Kiss not thy neighbor's wife, unless
    Thine own thy neighbor doth caress
    Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete
    Successfully in business.  Cheat.
    Bear not false witness -- that is low --
    But "hear 'tis rumored so and so."
    Cover thou naught that thou hast not
    By hook or crook, or somehow, got.

DECIDE, v.i.  To succumb to the preponderance of one set of influences  over another set.
    A leaf was riven from a tree,
    "I mean to fall to earth," said he.
    The west wind, rising, made him veer.
    "Eastward," said he, "I now shall steer."
    The east wind rose with greater force.
    Said he:  "'Twere wise to change my course."
    With equal power they contend.
    He said:  "My judgment I suspend."
    Down died the winds; the leaf, elate,
    Cried:  "I've decided to fall straight."
    "First thoughts are best?"  That's not the moral;
    Just choose your own and we'll not quarrel.
    Howe'er your choice may chance to fall,
    You'll have no hand in it at all.

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.   The contemporaries of Homer were striking examples of degeneracy; it  required ten of them to raise a rock or a riot that one of the heroes  of the Trojan war could have raised with ease.  Homer never tires of  sneering at "men who live in these degenerate days," which is perhaps  why they suffered him to beg his bread -- a marked instance of  returning good for evil, by the way, for if they had forbidden him he  would certainly have starved.

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.
    All hail, Delusion!  Were it not for thee
    The world turned topsy-turvy we should see;
    For Vice, respectable with cleanly fancies,
    Would fly abandoned Virtue's gross advances.
                                                        Mumfrey Mappel

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.
    "Chief Deputy," the Master cried,
    "To-day the books are to be tried
    By experts and accountants who
    Have been commissioned to go through
    Our office here, to see if we
    Have stolen injudiciously.
    Please have the proper entries made,
    The proper balances displayed,
    Conforming to the whole amount
    Of cash on hand -- which they will count.
    I've long admired your punctual way --
    Here at the break and close of day,
    Confronting in your chair the crowd
    Of business men, whose voices loud
    And gestures violent you quell
    By some mysterious, calm spell --
    Some magic lurking in your look
    That brings the noisiest to book
    And spreads a holy and profound
    Tranquillity o'er all around.
    So orderly all's done that they
    Who came to draw remain to pay.
    But now the time demands, at last,
    That you employ your genius vast
    In energies more active.  Rise
    And shake the lightnings from your eyes;
    Inspire your underlings, and fling
    Your spirit into everything!"
    The Master's hand here dealt a whack
    Upon the Deputy's bent back,
    When straightway to the floor there fell
    A shrunken globe, a rattling shell
    A blackened, withered, eyeless head!
    The man had been a twelvemonth dead.
                                                       Jamrach Holobom

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.
    Hearst kept a diary wherein were writ
    All that he had of wisdom and of wit.
    So the Recording Angel, when Hearst died,
    Erased all entries of his own and cried:
    "I'll judge you by your diary."  Said Hearst:
    "Thank you; 'twill show you I am Saint the First" --
    Straightway producing, jubilant and proud,
    That record from a pocket in his shroud.
    The Angel slowly turned the pages o'er,
    Each stupid line of which he knew before,
    Glooming and gleaming as by turns he hit
    On Shallow sentiment and stolen wit;
    Then gravely closed the book and gave it back.
    "My friend, you've wandered from your proper track:
    You'd never be content this side the tomb --
    For big ideas Heaven has little room,
    And Hell's no latitude for making mirth,"
    He said, and kicked the fellow back to earth.
                                                 "The Mad Philosopher"

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.  The word is found in an immortal couplet by that eminent poet  and domestic economist, Senator Depew:
    A cube of cheese no larger than a die
    May bait the trap to catch a nibbling mie.

DIGESTION, n.  The conversion of victuals into virtues.  When the  process is imperfect, vices are evolved instead -- a circumstance from  which that wicked writer, Dr. Jeremiah Blenn, infers that the ladies  are the greater sufferers from dyspepsia.

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.
    His right to govern me is clear as day,
    My duty manifest to disobey;
    And if that fit observance e'er I shut
    May I and duty be alike undone.
                                                         Israfel Brown

DISSEMBLE, v.i.  To put a clean shirt upon the character.
    Let us dissemble.

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.  The Dog  is a survival -- an anachronism.  He toils not, neither does he spin,  yet Solomon in all his glory never lay upon a door-mat all day long,  sun-soaked and fly-fed and fat, while his master worked for the means  wherewith to purchase the idle wag of the Solomonic tail, seasoned  with a look of tolerant recognition.

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.

DRUIDS, n.  Priests and ministers of an ancient Celtic religion which  did not disdain to employ the humble allurement of human sacrifice.   Very little is now known about the Druids and their faith.  Pliny says  their religion, originating in Britain, spread eastward as far as  Persia.  Caesar says those who desired to study its mysteries went to  Britain.  Caesar himself went to Britain, but does not appear to have  obtained any high preferment in the Druidical Church, although his  talent for human sacrifice was considerable.
    Druids performed their religious rites in groves, and knew nothing  of church mortgages and the season-ticket system of pew rents.  They  were, in short, heathens and -- as they were once complacently  catalogued by a distinguished prelate of the Church of England --  Dissenters.

DUCK-BILL, n.  Your account at your restaurant during the canvas-back  season.

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.
    That dueling's a gentlemanly vice
        I hold; and wish that it had been my lot
        To live my life out in some favored spot --
    Some country where it is considered nice
    To split a rival like a fish, or slice
        A husband like a spud, or with a shot
        Bring down a debtor doubled in a knot
    And ready to be put upon the ice.
    Some miscreants there are, whom I do long
        To shoot, to stab, or some such way reclaim
    The scurvy rogues to better lives and manners,
    I seem to see them now -- a mighty throng.
        It looks as if to challenge me they came,
    Jauntily marching with brass bands and banners!
                                                          Xamba Q. Dar

DULLARD, n.  A member of the reigning dynasty in letters and life.   The Dullards came in with Adam, and being both numerous and sturdy  have overrun the habitable world.  The secret of their power is their  insensibility to blows; tickle them with a bludgeon and they laugh  with a platitude.  The Dullards came originally from Boeotia, whence  they were driven by stress of starvation, their dullness having  blighted the crops.  For some centuries they infested Philistia, and  many of them are called Philistines to this day.  In the turbulent  times of the Crusades they withdrew thence and gradually overspread  all Europe, occupying most of the high places in politics, art,  literature, science and theology.  Since a detachment of Dullards came  over with the Pilgrims in the Mayflower and made a favorable report  of the country, their increase by birth, immigration, and conversion  has been rapid and steady.  According to the most trustworthy  statistics the number of adult Dullards in the United States is but  little short of thirty millions, including the statisticians.  The  intellectual centre of the race is somewhere about Peoria, Illinois,  but the New England Dullard is the most shockingly moral.

DUTY, n.  That which sternly impels us in the direction of profit,  along the line of desire.
    Sir Lavender Portwine, in favor at court,
    Was wroth at his master, who'd kissed Lady Port.
    His anger provoked him to take the king's head,
    But duty prevailed, and he took the king's bread,


EAT, v.i.  To perform successively (and successfully) the functions of  mastication, humectation, and deglutition.
    "I was in the drawing-room, enjoying my dinner," said Brillat-  Savarin, beginning an anecdote.  "What!" interrupted Rochebriant;  "eating dinner in a drawing-room?"  "I must beg you to observe,  monsieur," explained the great gastronome, "that I did not say I was  eating my dinner, but enjoying it.  I had dined an hour before."

EAVESDROP, v.i.  Secretly to overhear a catalogue of the crimes and  vices of another or yourself.
    A lady with one of her ears applied
    To an open keyhole heard, inside,
    Two female gossips in converse free --
    The subject engaging them was she.
    "I think," said one, "and my husband thinks
    That she's a prying, inquisitive minx!"
    As soon as no more of it she could hear
    The lady, indignant, removed her ear.
    "I will not stay," she said, with a pout,
    "To hear my character lied about!"
                                                        Gopete Sherany

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.

EDITOR, n.  A person who combines the judicial functions of Minos,  Rhadamanthus and Aeacus, but is placable with an obolus; a severely  virtuous censor, but so charitable withal that he tolerates the  virtues of others and the vices of himself; who flings about him the  splintering lightning and sturdy thunders of admonition till he  resembles a bunch of firecrackers petulantly uttering his mind at the  tail of a dog; then straightway murmurs a mild, melodious lay, soft as  the cooing of a donkey intoning its prayer to the evening star.   Master of mysteries and lord of law, high-pinnacled upon the throne of  thought, his face suffused with the dim splendors of the  Transfiguration, his legs intertwisted and his tongue a-cheek, the  editor spills his will along the paper and cuts it off in lengths to  suit.  And at intervals from behind the veil of the temple is heard  the voice of the foreman demanding three inches of wit and six lines  of religious meditation, or bidding him turn off the wisdom and whack  up some pathos.
    O, the Lord of Law on the Throne of Thought,
        A gilded impostor is he.
    Of shreds and patches his robes are wrought,
                His crown is brass,
                Himself an ass,
        And his power is fiddle-dee-dee.
    Prankily, crankily prating of naught,
    Silly old quilly old Monarch of Thought.
        Public opinion's camp-follower he,
        Thundering, blundering, plundering free.
    Respected contemporaree!
                                                      J.H. Bumbleshook

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.
    Megaceph, chosen to serve the State
    In the halls of legislative debate,
    One day with all his credentials came
    To the capitol's door and announced his name.
    The doorkeeper looked, with a comical twist
    Of the face, at the eminent egotist,
    And said:  "Go away, for we settle here
    All manner of questions, knotty and queer,
    And we cannot have, when the speaker demands
    To be told how every member stands,
    A man who to all things under the sky
    Assents by eternally voting 'I'."

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 is the same thing as lightning,  and its famous attempt to strike Dr. Franklin is one of the most  picturesque incidents in that great and good man's career.  The memory  of Dr. Franklin is justly held in great reverence, particularly in  France, where a waxen effigy of him was recently on exhibition,  bearing the following touching account of his life and services to  science:
        "Monsieur Franqulin, inventor of electricity.  This
    illustrious savant, after having made several voyages around the
    world, died on the Sandwich Islands and was devoured by savages,
    of whom not a single fragment was ever recovered."
    Electricity seems destined to play a most important part in the  arts and industries.  The question of its economical application to  some purposes is still unsettled, but experiment has already proved  that it will propel a street car better than a gas jet and give more  light than a horse.

ELEGY, n.  A composition in verse, in which, without employing any of  the methods of humor, the writer aims to produce in the reader's mind  the dampest kind of dejection.  The most famous English example begins  somewhat like this:
    The cur foretells the knell of parting day;
        The loafing herd winds slowly o'er the lea;
    The wise man homeward plods; I only stay
        To fiddle-faddle in a minor key.

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.
    He was a slave:  at word he went and came;
        His iron collar cut him to the bone.
    Then Liberty erased his owner's name,
        Tightened the rivets and inscribed his own.

EMBALM, v.i.  To cheat vegetation by locking up the gases upon which  it feeds.  By embalming their dead and thereby deranging the natural  balance between animal and vegetable life, the Egyptians made their  once fertile and populous country barren and incapable of supporting  more than a meagre crew.  The modern metallic burial casket is a step  in the same direction, and many a dead man who ought now to be  ornamenting his neighbor's lawn as a tree, or enriching his table as a  bunch of radishes, is doomed to a long inutility.  We shall get him  after awhile if we are spared, but in the meantime the violet and rose  are languishing for a nibble at his glutoeus maximus.

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.

END, n.  The position farthest removed on either hand from the  Interlocutor.
    The man was perishing apace
        Who played the tambourine;
    The seal of death was on his face --
        'Twas pallid, for 'twas clean.
    "This is the end," the sick man said
        In faint and failing tones.
    A moment later he was dead,
        And Tambourine was Bones.
                                                         Tinley Roquot

ENOUGH, pro.  All there is in the world if you like it.
    Enough is as good as a feast -- for that matter
    Enougher's as good as a feast for the platter.
                                                      Arbely C. Strunk

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.   Byron, who recovered long enough to call it "entuzy-muzy," had a  relapse, which carried him off -- to Missolonghi.

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.

EPICURE, n.  An opponent of Epicurus, an abstemious philosopher who,  holding that pleasure should be the chief aim of man, wasted no time  in gratification from the senses.

EPIGRAM, n.  A short, sharp saying in prose or verse, frequently  characterize by acidity or acerbity and sometimes by wisdom.   Following are some of the more notable epigrams of the learned and  ingenious Dr. Jamrach Holobom:
        We know better the needs of ourselves than of others.  To
    serve oneself is economy of administration.
        In each human heart are a tiger, a pig, an ass and a
    nightingale.  Diversity of character is due to their unequal
        There are three sexes; males, females and girls.
        Beauty in women and distinction in men are alike in this: 
    they seem to be the unthinking a kind of credibility.
        Women in love are less ashamed than men.  They have less to be
    ashamed of.
        While your friend holds you affectionately by both your hands
    you are safe, for you can watch both his.

EPITAPH, n.  An inscription on a tomb, showing that virtues acquired  by death have a retroactive effect.  Following is a touching example:
    Here lie the bones of Parson Platt,
    Wise, pious, humble and all that,
    Who showed us life as all should live it;
    Let that be said -- and God forgive it!

ERUDITION, n.  Dust shaken out of a book into an empty skull.
    So wide his erudition's mighty span,
    He knew Creation's origin and plan
    And only came by accident to grief --
    He thought, poor man, 'twas right to be a thief.
                                                           Romach Pute

ESOTERIC, adj.  Very particularly abstruse and consummately occult.   The ancient philosophies were of two kinds, -- exoteric, those that  the philosophers themselves could partly understand, and esoteric,  those that nobody could understand.  It is the latter that have most  profoundly affected modern thought and found greatest acceptance in  our time.

ETHNOLOGY, n.  The science that treats of the various tribes of Man,  as robbers, thieves, swindlers, dunces, lunatics, idiots and  ethnologists.

EUCHARIST, n.  A sacred feast of the religious sect of Theophagi.
    A dispute once unhappily arose among the members of this sect as  to what it was that they ate.  In this controversy some five hundred  thousand have already been slain, and the question is still unsettled.

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.

EVERLASTING, adj.  Lasting forever.  It is with no small diffidence  that I venture to offer this brief and elementary definition, for I am  not unaware of the existence of a bulky volume by a sometime Bishop of  Worcester, entitled, A Partial Definition of the Word "Everlasting,"  as Used in the Authorized Version of the Holy Scriptures.  His book  was once esteemed of great authority in the Anglican Church, and is  still, I understand, studied with pleasure to the mind and profit of  the soul.

EXCEPTION, n.  A thing which takes the liberty to differ from other  things of its class, as an honest man, a truthful woman, etc.  "The  exception proves the rule" is an expression constantly upon the lips  of the ignorant, who parrot it from one another with never a thought  of its absurdity.  In the Latin, "Exceptio probat regulam" means  that the exception tests the rule, puts it to the proof, not  confirms it.  The malefactor who drew the meaning from this  excellent dictum and substituted a contrary one of his own exerted an  evil power which appears to be immortal.

EXCESS, n.  In morals, an indulgence that enforces by appropriate  penalties the law of moderation.
    Hail, high Excess -- especially in wine,
        To thee in worship do I bend the knee
        Who preach abstemiousness unto me --
    My skull thy pulpit, as my paunch thy shrine.
    Precept on precept, aye, and line on line,
        Could ne'er persuade so sweetly to agree
        With reason as thy touch, exact and free,
    Upon my forehead and along my spine.
    At thy command eschewing pleasure's cup,
        With the hot grape I warm no more my wit;
        When on thy stool of penitence I sit
    I'm quite converted, for I can't get up.
    Ungrateful he who afterward would falter
    To make new sacrifices at thine altar!

    This "excommunication" is a word
    In speech ecclesiastical oft heard,
    And means the damning, with bell, book and candle,
    Some sinner whose opinions are a scandal --
    A rite permitting Satan to enslave him
    Forever, and forbidding Christ to save him.
                                                            Gat Huckle

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.  Following is an extract from an old book entitled, The  Lunarian Astonished -- Pfeiffer & Co., Boston, 1803:
    LUNARIAN:  Then when your Congress has passed a law it goes
        directly to the Supreme Court in order that it may at once be
        known whether it is constitutional?
    TERRESTRIAN:  O no; it does not require the approval of the
        Supreme Court until having perhaps been enforced for many
        years somebody objects to its operation against himself -- I
        mean his client.  The President, if he approves it, begins to
        execute it at once.
    LUNARIAN:  Ah, the executive power is a part of the legislative. 
        Do your policemen also have to approve the local ordinances
        that they enforce?
    TERRESTRIAN:  Not yet -- at least not in their character of
        constables.  Generally speaking, though, all laws require the
        approval of those whom they are intended to restrain.
    LUNARIAN:  I see.  The death warrant is not valid until signed by
        the murderer.
    TERRESTRIAN:  My friend, you put it too strongly; we are not so
    LUNARIAN:  But this system of maintaining an expensive judicial
        machinery to pass upon the validity of laws only after they
        have long been executed, and then only when brought before the
        court by some private person -- does it not cause great
    TERRESTRIAN:  It does.
    LUNARIAN:  Why then should not your laws, previously to being
        executed, be validated, not by the signature of your
        President, but by that of the Chief Justice of the Supreme
    TERRESTRIAN:  There is no precedent for any such course.
    LUNARIAN:  Precedent.  What is that?
    TERRESTRIAN:  It has been defined by five hundred lawyers in three
        volumes each.  So how can any one know?

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.
    An English sea-captain being asked if he had read "The Exile of  Erin," replied:  "No, sir, but I should like to anchor on it."  Years  afterwards, when he had been hanged as a pirate after a career of  unparalleled atrocities, the following memorandum was found in the  ship's log that he had kept at the time of his reply:
    Aug. 3d, 1842.  Made a joke on the ex-Isle of Erin.  Coldly
    received.  War with the whole world!

    A transient, horrible, fantastic dream,
    Wherein is nothing yet all things do seem:
    From which we're wakened by a friendly nudge
    Of our bedfellow Death, and cry:  "O fudge!"

EXPERIENCE, n.  The wisdom that enables us to recognize as an  undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced.
    To one who, journeying through night and fog,
    Is mired neck-deep in an unwholesome bog,
    Experience, like the rising of the dawn,
    Reveals the path that he should not have gone.
                                                        Joel Frad Bink

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.


FAIRY, n.  A creature, variously fashioned and endowed, that formerly  inhabited the meadows and forests.  It was nocturnal in its habits,  and somewhat addicted to dancing and the theft of children.  The  fairies are now believed by naturalist to be extinct, though a  clergyman of the Church of England saw three near Colchester as lately  as 1855, while passing through a park after dining with the lord of  the manor.  The sight greatly staggered him, and he was so affected  that his account of it was incoherent.  In the year 1807 a troop of  fairies visited a wood near Aix and carried off the daughter of a  peasant, who had been seen to enter it with a bundle of clothing.  The  son of a wealthy bourgeois disappeared about the same time, but  afterward returned.  He had seen the abduction been in pursuit of the  fairies.  Justinian Gaux, a writer of the fourteenth century, avers  that so great is the fairies' power of transformation that he saw one  change itself into two opposing armies and fight a battle with great  slaughter, and that the next day, after it had resumed its original  shape and gone away, there were seven hundred bodies of the slain  which the villagers had to bury.  He does not say if any of the  wounded recovered.  In the time of Henry III, of England, a law was  made which prescribed the death penalty for "Kyllynge, wowndynge, or  mamynge" a fairy, and it was universally respected.

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

FAMOUS, adj.  Conspicuously miserable.
    Done to a turn on the iron, behold
        Him who to be famous aspired.
    Content?  Well, his grill has a plating of gold,
        And his twistings are greatly admired.
                                                       Hassan Brubuddy

FASHION, n.  A despot whom the wise ridicule and obey.
    A king there was who lost an eye
        In some excess of passion;
    And straight his courtiers all did try
        To follow the new fashion.
    Each dropped one eyelid when before
        The throne he ventured, thinking
    'Twould please the king.  That monarch swore
        He'd slay them all for winking.
    What should they do?  They were not hot
        To hazard such disaster;
    They dared not close an eye -- dared not
        See better than their master.
    Seeing them lacrymose and glum,
        A leech consoled the weepers:
    He spread small rags with liquid gum
        And covered half their peepers.
    The court all wore the stuff, the flame
        Of royal anger dying.
    That's how court-plaster got its name
        Unless I'm greatly lying.
                                                            Naramy Oof

FEAST, n.  A festival.  A religious celebration usually signalized by  gluttony and drunkenness, frequently in honor of some holy person  distinguished for abstemiousness.  In the Roman Catholic Church  feasts are "movable" and "immovable," but the celebrants are uniformly  immovable until they are full.  In their earliest development these  entertainments took the form of feasts for the dead; such were held by  the Greeks, under the name Nemeseia, by the Aztecs and Peruvians,  as in modern times they are popular with the Chinese; though it is  believed that the ancient dead, like the modern, were light eaters.   Among the many feasts of the Romans was the Novemdiale, which was  held, according to Livy, whenever stones fell from heaven.

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.
    The Maker, at Creation's birth,
    With living things had stocked the earth.
    From elephants to bats and snails,
    They all were good, for all were males.
    But when the Devil came and saw
    He said:  "By Thine eternal law
    Of growth, maturity, decay,
    These all must quickly pass away
    And leave untenanted the earth
    Unless Thou dost establish birth" --
    Then tucked his head beneath his wing
    To laugh -- he had no sleeve -- the thing
    With deviltry did so accord,
    That he'd suggested to the Lord.
    The Master pondered this advice,
    Then shook and threw the fateful dice
    Wherewith all matters here below
    Are ordered, and observed the throw;
    Then bent His head in awful state,
    Confirming the decree of Fate.
    From every part of earth anew
    The conscious dust consenting flew,
    While rivers from their courses rolled
    To make it plastic for the mould.
    Enough collected (but no more,
    For niggard Nature hoards her store)
    He kneaded it to flexible clay,
    While Nick unseen threw some away.
    And then the various forms He cast,
    Gross organs first and finer last;
    No one at once evolved, but all
    By even touches grew and small
    Degrees advanced, till, shade by shade,
    To match all living things He'd made
    Females, complete in all their parts
    Except (His clay gave out) the hearts.
    "No matter," Satan cried; "with speed
    I'll fetch the very hearts they need" --
    So flew away and soon brought back
    The number needed, in a sack.
    That night earth range with sounds of strife --
    Ten million males each had a wife;
    That night sweet Peace her pinions spread
    O'er Hell -- ten million devils dead!

FIB, n.  A lie that has not cut its teeth.  An habitual liar's nearest  approach to truth:  the perigee of his eccentric orbit.
    When David said:  "All men are liars," Dave,
        Himself a liar, fibbed like any thief.
        Perhaps he thought to weaken disbelief
    By proof that even himself was not a slave
    To Truth; though I suspect the aged knave
        Had been of all her servitors the chief
        Had he but known a fig's reluctant leaf
    Is more than e'er she wore on land or wave.
    No, David served not Naked Truth when he
        Struck that sledge-hammer blow at all his race;
            Nor did he hit the nail upon the head:
    For reason shows that it could never be,
        And the facts contradict him to his face.
            Men are not liars all, for some are dead.
                                                        Bartle Quinker

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.
    To Rome said Nero:  "If to smoke you turn
    I shall not cease to fiddle while you burn."
    To Nero Rome replied:  "Pray do your worst,
    'Tis my excuse that you were fiddling first."
                                                            Orm Pludge

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.

FLY-SPECK, n.  The prototype of punctuation.  It is observed by  Garvinus that the systems of punctuation in use by the various  literary nations depended originally upon the social habits and  general diet of the flies infesting the several countries.  These  creatures, which have always been distinguished for a neighborly and  companionable familiarity with authors, liberally or niggardly  embellish the manuscripts in process of growth under the pen,  according to their bodily habit, bringing out the sense of the work by  a species of interpretation superior to, and independent of, the  writer's powers.  The "old masters" of literature -- that is to say,  the early writers whose work is so esteemed by later scribes and  critics in the same language -- never punctuated at all, but worked  right along free-handed, without that abruption of the thought which  comes from the use of points.  (We observe the same thing in children  to-day, whose usage in this particular is a striking and beautiful  instance of the law that the infancy of individuals reproduces the  methods and stages of development characterizing the infancy of  races.)  In the work of these primitive scribes all the punctuation is  found, by the modern investigator with his optical instruments and  chemical tests, to have been inserted by the writers' ingenious and  serviceable collaborator, the common house-fly -- Musca maledicta.   In transcribing these ancient MSS, for the purpose of either making  the work their own or preserving what they naturally regard as divine  revelations, later writers reverently and accurately copy whatever  marks they find upon the papyrus or parchment, to the unspeakable  enhancement of the lucidity of the thought and value of the work.   Writers contemporary with the copyists naturally avail themselves of  the obvious advantages of these marks in their own work, and with such  assistance as the flies of their own household may be willing to  grant, frequently rival and sometimes surpass the older compositions,  in respect at least of punctuation, which is no small glory.  Fully to  understand the important services that flies perform to literature it  is only necessary to lay a page of some popular novelist alongside a  saucer of cream-and-molasses in a sunny room and observe "how the wit  brightens and the style refines" in accurate proportion to the  duration of exposure.

FOLLY, n.  That "gift and faculty divine" whose creative and  controlling energy inspires Man's mind, guides his actions and adorns  his life.
    Folly! although Erasmus praised thee once
        In a thick volume, and all authors known,
        If not thy glory yet thy power have shown,
    Deign to take homage from thy son who hunts
    Through all thy maze his brothers, fool and dunce,
        To mend their lives and to sustain his own,
        However feebly be his arrows thrown,
    Howe'er each hide the flying weapons blunts.
    All-Father Folly! be it mine to raise,
        With lusty lung, here on his western strand
        With all thine offspring thronged from every land,
    Thyself inspiring me, the song of praise.
    And if too weak, I'll hire, to help me bawl,
    Dick Watson Gilder, gravest of us all.
                                                     Aramis Loto Frope

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, omniscience, 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.

    "Force is but might," the teacher said --
        "That definition's just."
    The boy said naught but through instead,
    Remembering his pounded head:
        "Force is not might but must!"

FOREFINGER, n.  The finger commonly used in pointing out two  malefactors.

FOREORDINATION, n.  This looks like an easy word to define, but when I  consider that pious and learned theologians have spent long lives in  explaining it, and written libraries to explain their explanations;  when I remember the nations have been divided and bloody battles  caused by the difference between foreordination and predestination,  and that millions of treasure have been expended in the effort to  prove and disprove its compatibility with freedom of the will and the  efficacy of prayer, praise, and a religious life, -- recalling these  awful facts in the history of the word, I stand appalled before the  mighty problem of its signification, abase my spiritual eyes, fearing  to contemplate its portentous magnitude, reverently uncover and humbly  refer it to His Eminence Cardinal Gibbons and His Grace Bishop Potter.

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.  Formerly the knife was employed for this  purpose, and by many worthy persons is still thought to have many  advantages over the other tool, which, however, they do not altogether  reject, but use to assist in charging the knife.  The immunity of  these persons from swift and awful death is one of the most striking  proofs of God's mercy to those that hate Him.

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.
    When Adam long ago in Cupid's awful court
        (For Cupid ruled ere Adam was invented)
    Sued for Eve's favor, says an ancient law report,
        He stood and pleaded unhabilimented.
    "You sue in forma pauperis, I see," Eve cried;
        "Actions can't here be that way prosecuted."
    So all poor Adam's motions coldly were denied:
        He went away -- as he had come -- nonsuited.

FRANKALMOIGNE, n.  The tenure by which a religious corporation holds  lands on condition of praying for the soul of the donor.  In mediaeval  times many of the wealthiest fraternities obtained their estates in  this simple and cheap manner, and once when Henry VIII of England sent  an officer to confiscate certain vast possessions which a fraternity  of monks held by frankalmoigne, "What!" said the Prior, "would you  master stay our benefactor's soul in Purgatory?"  "Ay," said the  officer, coldly, "an ye will not pray him thence for naught he must  e'en roast."  "But look you, my son," persisted the good man, "this  act hath rank as robbery of God!"  "Nay, nay, good father, my master  the king doth but deliver him from the manifold temptations of too  great wealth."

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.
    Freedom, as every schoolboy knows,
        Once shrieked as Kosciusko fell;
    On every wind, indeed, that blows
            I hear her yell.
    She screams whenever monarchs meet,
        And parliaments as well,
    To bind the chains about her feet
            And toll her knell.
    And when the sovereign people cast
        The votes they cannot spell,
    Upon the pestilential blast
            Her clamors swell.
    For all to whom the power's given
        To sway or to compel,
    Among themselves apportion Heaven
            And give her Hell.
                                                          Blary O'Gary

FREEMASONS, n.  An order with secret rites, grotesque ceremonies and  fantastic costumes, which, originating in the reign of Charles II,  among working artisans of London, has been joined successively by the  dead of past centuries in unbroken retrogression until now it embraces  all the generations of man on the hither side of Adam and is drumming  up distinguished recruits among the pre-Creational inhabitants of  Chaos and Formless Void.  The order was founded at different times by  Charlemagne, Julius Caesar, Cyrus, Solomon, Zoroaster, Confucious,  Thothmes, and Buddha.  Its emblems and symbols have been found in the  Catacombs of Paris and Rome, on the stones of the Parthenon and the  Chinese Great Wall, among the temples of Karnak and Palmyra and in the  Egyptian Pyramids -- always by a Freemason.

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.
    The sea was calm and the sky was blue;
    Merrily, merrily sailed we two.
        (High barometer maketh glad.)
    On the tipsy ship, with a dreadful shout,
    The tempest descended and we fell out.
        (O the walking is nasty bad!)
                                                     Armit Huff Bettle

FROG, n.  A reptile with edible legs.  The first mention of frogs in  profane literature is in Homer's narrative of the war between them and  the mice.  Skeptical persons have doubted Homer's authorship of the  work, but the learned, ingenious and industrious Dr. Schliemann has  set the question forever at rest by uncovering the bones of the slain  frogs.  One of the forms of moral suasion by which Pharaoh was  besought to favor the Israelities was a plague of frogs, but Pharaoh,  who liked them fricasees, remarked, with truly oriental stoicism,  that he could stand it as long as the frogs and the Jews could; so the  programme was changed.  The frog is a diligent songster, having a good  voice but no ear.  The libretto of his favorite opera, as written by  Aristophanes, is brief, simple and effective -- "brekekex-koax"; the  music is apparently by that eminent composer, Richard Wagner.  Horses  have a frog in each hoof -- a thoughtful provision of nature, enabling  them to shine in a hurdle race.

FRYING-PAN, n.  One part of the penal apparatus employed in that  punitive institution, a woman's kitchen.  The frying-pan was invented  by Calvin, and by him used in cooking span-long infants that had died  without baptism; and observing one day the horrible torment of a tramp  who had incautiously pulled a fried babe from the waste-dump and  devoured it, it occurred to the great divine to rob death of its  terrors by introducing the frying-pan into every household in Geneva.   Thence it spread to all corners of the world, and has been of  invaluable assistance in the propagation of his sombre faith.  The  following lines (said to be from the pen of his Grace Bishop Potter)  seem to imply that the usefulness of this utensil is not limited to  this world; but as the consequences of its employment in this life  reach over into the life to come, so also itself may be found on the  other side, rewarding its devotees:
    Old Nick was summoned to the skies.
        Said Peter:  "Your intentions
    Are good, but you lack enterprise
        Concerning new inventions.
    "Now, broiling in an ancient plan
        Of torment, but I hear it
    Reported that the frying-pan
        Sears best the wicked spirit.
    "Go get one -- fill it up with fat --
        Fry sinners brown and good in't."
    "I know a trick worth two o' that,"
        Said Nick -- "I'll cook their food in't."

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.
    The savage dies -- they sacrifice a horse
    To bear to happy hunting-grounds the corse.
    Our friends expire -- we make the money fly
    In hope their souls will chase it to the sky.
                                                            Jex Wopley

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.
    Whether on the gallows high
        Or where blood flows the reddest,
    The noblest place for man to die --
        Is where he died the deadest.
                                                            (Old play)

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.  This was  especially the case in churches and ecclesiastical structures  generally, in which the gargoyles presented a perfect rogues' gallery  of local heretics and controversialists.  Sometimes when a new dean  and chapter were installed the old gargoyles were removed and others  substituted having a closer relation to the private animosities of the  new incumbents.

GARTHER, 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.

GENTEEL, adj.  Refined, after the fashion of a gent.
    Observe with care, my son, the distinction I reveal:
    A gentleman is gentle and a gent genteel.
    Heed not the definitions your "Unabridged" presents,
    For dictionary makers are generally gents.

GEOGRAPHER, n.  A chap who can tell you offhand the difference between  the outside of the world and the inside.
    Habeam, geographer of wide reknown,
    Native of Abu-Keber's ancient town,
    In passing thence along the river Zam
    To the adjacent village of Xelam,
    Bewildered by the multitude of roads,
    Got lost, lived long on migratory toads,
    Then from exposure miserably died,
    And grateful travelers bewailed their guide.
                                                        Henry Haukhorn

GEOLOGY, n.  The science of the earth's crust -- to which, doubtless,  will be added that of its interior whenever a man shall come up  garrulous out of a well.  The geological formations of the globe  already noted are catalogued thus:  The Primary, or lower one,  consists of rocks, bones or mired mules, gas-pipes, miners' tools,  antique statues minus the nose, Spanish doubloons and ancestors.  The  Secondary is largely made up of red worms and moles.  The Tertiary  comprises railway tracks, patent pavements, grass, snakes, mouldy  boots, beer bottles, tomato cans, intoxicated citizens, garbage,  anarchists, snap-dogs and fools.

GHOST, n.  The outward and visible sign of an inward fear.
            He saw a ghost.
    It occupied -- that dismal thing! --
    The path that he was following.
    Before he'd time to stop and fly,
    An earthquake trifled with the eye
            That saw a ghost.
    He fell as fall the early good;
    Unmoved that awful vision stood.
    The stars that danced before his ken
    He wildly brushed away, and then
            He saw a post.
                                                      Jared Macphester
    Accounting for the uncommon behavior of ghosts, Heine mentions  somebody's ingenious theory to the effect that they are as much  afraid of us as we of them.  Not quite, if I may judge from such  tables of comparative speed as I am able to compile from memories of  my own experience.
    There is one insuperable obstacle to a belief in ghosts.  A ghost  never comes naked:  he appears either in a winding-sheet or "in his  habit as he lived."  To believe in him, then, is to believe that not  only have the dead the power to make themselves visible after there is  nothing left of them, but that the same power inheres in textile  fabrics.  Supposing the products of the loom to have this ability,  what object would they have in exercising it?  And why does not the  apparition of a suit of clothes sometimes walk abroad without a ghost  in it?  These be riddles of significance.  They reach away down and  get a convulsive grip on the very tap-root of this flourishing faith.

GHOUL, n.  A demon addicted to the reprehensible habit of devouring  the dead.  The existence of ghouls has been disputed by that class of  controversialists who are more concerned to deprive the world of  comforting beliefs than to give it anything good in their place.  In  1640 Father Secchi saw one in a cemetery near Florence and frightened  it away with the sign of the cross.  He describes it as gifted with  many heads an an uncommon allowance of limbs, and he saw it in more  than one place at a time.  The good man was coming away from dinner at  the time and explains that if he had not been "heavy with eating" he  would have seized the demon at all hazards.  Atholston relates that a  ghoul was caught by some sturdy peasants in a churchyard at Sudbury  and ducked in a horsepond.  (He appears to think that so distinguished  a criminal should have been ducked in a tank of rosewater.)  The water  turned at once to blood "and so contynues unto ys daye."  The pond has  since been bled with a ditch.  As late as the beginning of the  fourteenth century a ghoul was cornered in the crypt of the cathedral  at Amiens and the whole population surrounded the place.  Twenty armed  men with a priest at their head, bearing a crucifix, entered and  captured the ghoul, which, thinking to escape by the stratagem, had  transformed itself to the semblance of a well known citizen, but was  nevertheless hanged, drawn and quartered in the midst of hideous  popular orgies.  The citizen whose shape the demon had assumed was so  affected by the sinister occurrence that he never again showed himself  in Amiens and his fate remains a mystery.

GLUTTON, n.  A person who escapes the evils of moderation by  committing dyspepsia.

GNOME, n.  In North-European mythology, a dwarfish imp inhabiting the  interior parts of the earth and having special custody of mineral  treasures.  Bjorsen, who died in 1765, says gnomes were common enough  in the southern parts of Sweden in his boyhood, and he frequently saw  them scampering on the hills in the evening twilight.  Ludwig  Binkerhoof saw three as recently as 1792, in the Black Forest, and  Sneddeker avers that in 1803 they drove a party of miners out of a  Silesian mine.  Basing our computations upon data supplied by these  statements, we find that the gnomes were probably extinct as early as  1764.

GNOSTICS, n.  A sect of philosophers who tried to engineer a fusion  between the early Christians and the Platonists.  The former would not  go into the caucus and the combination failed, greatly to the chagrin  of the fusion managers.

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.
    A hunter from Kew caught a distant view
        Of a peacefully meditative gnu,
    And he said:  "I'll pursue, and my hands imbrue
        In its blood at a closer interview."
    But that beast did ensue and the hunter it threw
        O'er the top of a palm that adjacent grew;
    And he said as he flew:  "It is well I withdrew
        Ere, losing my temper, I wickedly slew
        That really meritorious gnu."
                                                           Jarn Leffer

GOOD, adj.  Sensible, madam, to the worth of this present writer.   Alive, sir, to the advantages of letting him alone.

GOOSE, n.  A bird that supplies quills for writing.  These, by some  occult process of nature, are penetrated and suffused with various  degrees of the bird's intellectual energies and emotional character,  so that when inked and drawn mechanically across paper by a person  called an "author," there results a very fair and accurate transcript  of the fowl's thought and feeling.  The difference in geese, as  discovered by this ingenious method, is considerable:  many are found  to have only trivial and insignificant powers, but some are seen to be  very great geese indeed.

    The Gorgon was a maiden bold
    Who turned to stone the Greeks of old
    That looked upon her awful brow.
    We dig them out of ruins now,
    And swear that workmanship so bad
    Proves all the ancient sculptors mad.

GOUT, n.  A physician's name for the rheumatism of a rich patient.

GRACES, n.  Three beautiful goddesses, Aglaia, Thalia and Euphrosyne,  who attended upon Venus, serving without salary.  They were at no  expense for board and clothing, for they ate nothing to speak of and  dressed according to the weather, wearing whatever breeze happened to  be blowing.

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.

    Hail noble fruit! -- by Homer sung,
        Anacreon and Khayyam;
    Thy praise is ever on the tongue
        Of better men than I am.
    The lyre in my hand has never swept,
        The song I cannot offer:
    My humbler service pray accept --
        I'll help to kill the scoffer.
    The water-drinkers and the cranks
        Who load their skins with liquor --
    I'll gladly bear their belly-tanks
        And tap them with my sticker.
    Fill up, fill up, for wisdom cools
        When e'er we let the wine rest.
    Here's death to Prohibition's fools,
        And every kind of vine-pest!
                                                       Jamrach Holobom

GRAPESHOT, n.  An argument which the future is preparing in answer to  the demands of American Socialism.

GRAVE, n.  A place in which the dead are laid to await the coming of  the medical student.
    Beside a lonely grave I stood --
        With brambles 'twas encumbered;
    The winds were moaning in the wood,
        Unheard by him who slumbered,
    A rustic standing near, I said:
        "He cannot hear it blowing!"
    "'Course not," said he:  "the feller's dead --
        He can't hear nowt [sic] that's going."
    "Too true," I said; "alas, too true --
        No sound his sense can quicken!"
    "Well, mister, wot is that to you? --
        The deadster ain't a-kickin'."
    I knelt and prayed:  "O Father, smile
        On him, and mercy show him!"
    That countryman looked on the while,
        And said:  "Ye didn't know him."
                                                         Pobeter Dunko

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.  This is a lovely and  edifying illustration of how science, having made A the proof of B,  makes B the proof of A.

GREAT, adj.
    "I'm great," the Lion said -- "I reign
    The monarch of the wood and plain!"
    The Elephant replied:  "I'm great --
    No quadruped can match my weight!"
    "I'm great -- no animal has half
    So long a neck!" said the Giraffe.
    "I'm great," the Kangaroo said -- "see
    My femoral muscularity!"
    The 'Possum said:  "I'm great -- behold,
    My tail is lithe and bald and cold!"
    An Oyster fried was understood
    To say:  "I'm great because I'm good!"
    Each reckons greatness to consist
    In that in which he heads the list,
    And Vierick thinks he tops his class
    Because he is the greatest ass.
                                                      Arion Spurl Doke

GUILLOTINE, n.  A machine which makes a Frenchman shrug his shoulders  with good reason.
    In his great work on Divergent Lines of Racial Evolution, the  learned Professor Brayfugle argues from the prevalence of this gesture  -- the shrug -- among Frenchmen, that they are descended from turtles  and it is simply a survival of the habit of retracing the head inside  the shell.  It is with reluctance that I differ with so eminent an  authority, but in my judgment (as more elaborately set forth and  enforced in my work entitled Hereditary Emotions -- lib. II, c. XI)  the shrug is a poor foundation upon which to build so important a  theory, for previously to the Revolution the gesture was unknown.  I  have not a doubt that it is directly referable to the terror inspired  by the guillotine during the period of that instrument's activity.

GUNPOWDER, n.  An agency employed by civilized nations for the  settlement of disputes which might become troublesome if left  unadjusted.  By most writers the invention of gunpowder is ascribed to  the Chinese, but not upon very convincing evidence.  Milton says it  was invented by the devil to dispel angels with, and this opinion  seems to derive some support from the scarcity of angels.  Moreover,  it has the hearty concurrence of the Hon. James Wilson, Secretary of  Agriculture.
    Secretary Wilson became interested in gunpowder through an event  that occurred on the Government experimental farm in the District of  Columbia.  One day, several years ago, a rogue imperfectly reverent of  the Secretary's profound attainments and personal character presented  him with a sack of gunpowder, representing it as the sed of the  Flashawful flabbergastor, a Patagonian cereal of great commercial  value, admirably adapted to this climate.  The good Secretary was  instructed to spill it along in a furrow and afterward inhume it with  soil.  This he at once proceeded to do, and had made a continuous line  of it all the way across a ten-acre field, when he was made to look  backward by a shout from the generous donor, who at once dropped a  lighted match into the furrow at the starting-point.  Contact with the  earth had somewhat dampened the powder, but the startled functionary  saw himself pursued by a tall moving pillar of fire and smoke and  fierce evolution.  He stood for a moment paralyzed and speechless,  then he recollected an engagement and, dropping all, absented himself  thence with such surprising celerity that to the eyes of spectators  along the route selected he appeared like a long, dim streak  prolonging itself with inconceivable rapidity through seven villages,  and audibly refusing to be comforted.  "Great Scott! what is that?"  cried a surveyor's chainman, shading his eyes and gazing at the fading  line of agriculturist which bisected his visible horizon.  "That,"  said the surveyor, carelessly glancing at the phenomenon and again  centering his attention upon his instrument, "is the Meridian of  Washington."


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.

HADES, n.  The lower world; the residence of departed spirits; the  place where the dead live.
    Among the ancients the idea of Hades was not synonymous with our  Hell, many of the most respectable men of antiquity residing there in  a very comfortable kind of way.  Indeed, the Elysian Fields themselves  were a part of Hades, though they have since been removed to Paris.   When the Jacobean version of the New Testament was in process of  evolution the pious and learned men engaged in the work insisted by a  majority vote on translating the Greek word "Aides" as "Hell"; but a  conscientious minority member secretly possessed himself of the record  and struck out the objectional word wherever he could find it.  At the  next meeting, the Bishop of Salisbury, looking over the work, suddenly  sprang to his feet and said with considerable excitement:  "Gentlemen,  somebody has been razing 'Hell' here!"  Years afterward the good  prelate's death was made sweet by the reflection that he had been the  means (under Providence) of making an important, serviceable and  immortal addition to the phraseology of the English tongue.

HAG, n.  An elderly lady whom you do not happen to like; sometimes  called, also, a hen, or cat.  Old witches, sorceresses, etc., were  called hags from the belief that their heads were surrounded by a kind  of baleful lumination or nimbus -- hag being the popular name of that  peculiar electrical light sometimes observed in the hair.  At one time  hag was not a word of reproach:  Drayton speaks of a "beautiful hag,  all smiles," much as Shakespeare said, "sweet wench."  It would not  now be proper to call your sweetheart a hag -- that compliment is  reserved for the use of her grandchildren.

HALF, n.  One of two equal parts into which a thing may be divided, or  considered as divided.  In the fourteenth century a heated discussion  arose among theologists and philosophers as to whether Omniscience  could part an object into three halves; and the pious Father  Aldrovinus publicly prayed in the cathedral at Rouen that God would  demonstrate the affirmative of the proposition in some signal and  unmistakable way, and particularly (if it should please Him) upon the  body of that hardy blasphemer, Manutius Procinus, who maintained the  negative.  Procinus, however, was spared to die of the bite of a  viper.

HALO, n.  Properly, a luminous ring encircling an astronomical body,  but not infrequently confounded with "aureola," or "nimbus," a  somewhat similar phenomenon worn as a head-dress by divinities and  saints.  The halo is a purely optical illusion, produced by moisture  in the air, in the manner of a rainbow; but the aureola is conferred  as a sign of superior sanctity, in the same way as a bishop's mitre,  or the Pope's tiara.  In the painting of the Nativity, by Szedgkin, a  pious artist of Pesth, not only do the Virgin and the Child wear the  nimbus, but an ass nibbling hay from the sacred manger is similarly  decorated and, to his lasting honor be it said, appears to bear his  unaccustomed dignity with a truly saintly grace.

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.  The handkerchief is of recent  invention; our ancestors knew nothing of it and intrusted its duties  to the sleeve.  Shakespeare's introducing it into the play of  "Othello" is an anachronism:  Desdemona dried her nose with her skirt,  as Dr. Mary Walker and other reformers have done with their coattails  in our own day -- an evidence that revolutions sometimes go backward.

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.  In some of the American States  his functions are now performed by an electrician, as in New Jersey,  where executions by electricity have recently been ordered -- the  first instance known to this lexicographer of anybody questioning the  expediency of hanging Jerseymen.

HAPPINESS, n.  An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the  misery of another.

HARANGUE, n.  A speech by an opponent, who is known as an harrangue-  outang.

HARBOR, n.  A place where ships taking shelter from stores are exposed  to the fury of the customs.

HARMONISTS, n.  A sect of Protestants, now extinct, who came from  Europe in the beginning of the last century and were distinguished for  the bitterness of their internal controversies and dissensions.

HASH, x.  There is no definition for this word -- nobody knows what  hash is.

HATCHET, n.  A young axe, known among Indians as a Thomashawk.
    "O bury the hatchet, irascible Red,
    For peace is a blessing," the White Man said.
        The Savage concurred, and that weapon interred,
    With imposing rites, in the White Man's head.
                                                           John Lukkus

HATRED, n.  A sentiment appropriate to the occasion of another's  superiority.

HEAD-MONEY, n.  A capitation tax, or poll-tax.
    In ancient times there lived a king
    Whose tax-collectors could not wring
    From all his subjects gold enough
    To make the royal way less rough.
    For pleasure's highway, like the dames
    Whose premises adjoin it, claims
    Perpetual repairing.  So
    The tax-collectors in a row
    Appeared before the throne to pray
    Their master to devise some way
    To swell the revenue.  "So great,"
    Said they, "are the demands of state
    A tithe of all that we collect
    Will scarcely meet them.  Pray reflect:
    How, if one-tenth we must resign,
    Can we exist on t'other nine?"
    The monarch asked them in reply:
    "Has it occurred to you to try
    The advantage of economy?"
    "It has," the spokesman said:  "we sold
    All of our gray garrotes of gold;
    With plated-ware we now compress
    The necks of those whom we assess.
    Plain iron forceps we employ
    To mitigate the miser's joy
    Who hoards, with greed that never tires,
    That which your Majesty requires."
    Deep lines of thought were seen to plow
    Their way across the royal brow.
    "Your state is desperate, no question;
    Pray favor me with a suggestion."
    "O King of Men," the spokesman said,
    "If you'll impose upon each head
    A tax, the augmented revenue
    We'll cheerfully divide with you."
    As flashes of the sun illume
    The parted storm-cloud's sullen gloom,
    The king smiled grimly.  "I decree
    That it be so -- and, not to be
    In generosity outdone,
    Declare you, each and every one,
    Exempted from the operation
    Of this new law of capitation.
    But lest the people censure me
    Because they're bound and you are free,
    'Twere well some clever scheme were laid
    By you this poll-tax to evade.
    I'll leave you now while you confer
    With my most trusted minister."
    The monarch from the throne-room walked
    And straightway in among them stalked
    A silent man, with brow concealed,
    Bare-armed -- his gleaming axe revealed!

HEARSE, n.  Death's baby-carriage.

HEART, n.  An automatic, muscular blood-pump.  Figuratively, this  useful organ is said to be the esat of emotions and sentiments -- a  very pretty fancy which, however, is nothing but a survival of a once  universal belief.  It is now known that the sentiments and emotions  reside in the stomach, being evolved from food by chemical action of  the gastric fluid.  The exact process by which a beefsteak becomes a  feeling -- tender or not, according to the age of the animal from  which it was cut; the successive stages of elaboration through which a  caviar sandwich is transmuted to a quaint fancy and reappears as a  pungent epigram; the marvelous functional methods of converting a  hard-boiled egg into religious contrition, or a cream-puff into a sigh  of sensibility -- these things have been patiently ascertained by M.  Pasteur, and by him expounded with convincing lucidity.  (See, also,  my monograph, The Essential Identity of the Spiritual Affections and  Certain Intestinal Gases Freed in Digestion -- 4to, 687 pp.)  In a  scientific work entitled, I believe, Delectatio Demonorum (John  Camden Hotton, London, 1873) this view of the sentiments receives a  striking illustration; and for further light consult Professor Dam's  famous treatise on Love as a Product of Alimentary Maceration.

HEAT, n.
    Heat, says Professor Tyndall, is a mode
        Of motion, but I know now how he's proving
    His point; but this I know -- hot words bestowed
        With skill will set the human fist a-moving,
    And where it stops the stars burn free and wild.
    Crede expertum -- I have seen them, child.
                                                          Gorton Swope

HEATHEN, n.  A benighted creature who has the folly to worship  something that he can see and feel.  According to Professor Howison,  of the California State University, Hebrews are heathens.
    "The Hebrews are heathens!" says Howison.  He's
        A Christian philosopher.  I'm
    A scurril agnostical chap, if you please,
        Addicted too much to the crime
        Of religious discussion in my rhyme.
    Though Hebrew and Howison cannot agree
        On a modus vivendi -- not they! --
    Yet Heaven has had the designing of me,
        And I haven't been reared in a way
        To joy in the thick of the fray.
    For this of my creed is the soul and the gist,
        And the truth of it I aver:
    Who differs from me in his faith is an 'ist,
        And 'ite, an 'ie, or an 'er --
        And I'm down upon him or her!
    Let Howison urge with perfunctory chin
        Toleration -- that's all very well,
    But a roast is "nuts" to his nostril thin,
        And he's running -- I know by the smell --
        A secret and personal Hell!
                                                           Bissell Gip

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.
    "Now, why is yer wife called a helpmate, Pat?"
        Says the priest.  "Since the time 'o yer wooin'
    She's niver [sic] assisted in what ye were at --
        For it's naught ye are ever doin'."
    "That's true of yer Riverence [sic]," Patrick replies,
        And no sign of contrition envices;
    "But, bedad, it's a fact which the word implies,
        For she helps to mate the expinses [sic]!"
                                                         Marley Wottel

HEMP, n.  A plant from whose fibrous bark is made an article of  neckwear which is frequently put on after public speaking in the open  air and prevents the wearer from taking cold.

HERMIT, n.  A person whose vices and follies are not sociable.

HERS, pron.  His.

HIBERNATE, v.i.  To pass the winter season in domestic seclusion.   There have been many singular popular notions about the hibernation of  various animals.  Many believe that the bear hibernates during the  whole winter and subsists by mechanically sucking its paws.  It is  admitted that it comes out of its retirement in the spring so lean  that it had to try twice before it can cast a shadow.  Three or four  centuries ago, in England, no fact was better attested than that  swallows passed the winter months in the mud at the bottom of their  brooks, clinging together in globular masses.  They have apparently  been compelled to give up the custom and account of the foulness of  the brooks.  Sotus Ecobius discovered in Central Asia a whole nation  of people who hibernate.  By some investigators, the fasting of Lent  is supposed to have been originally a modified form of hibernation, to  which the Church gave a religious significance; but this view was  strenuously opposed by that eminent authority, Bishop Kip, who did not  wish any honors denied to the memory of the Founder of his family.

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.
    Of Roman history, great Niebuhr's shown
    'Tis nine-tenths lying.  Faith, I wish 'twere known,
    Ere we accept great Niebuhr as a guide,
    Wherein he blundered and how much he lied.
                                                           Salder Bupp

HOG, n.  A bird remarkable for the catholicity of its appetite and  serving to illustrate that of ours.  Among the Mahometans and Jews,  the hog is not in favor as an article of diet, but is respected for  the delicacy and the melody of its voice.  It is chiefly as a songster  that the fowl is esteemed; the cage of him in full chorus has been  known to draw tears from two persons at once.  The scientific name of  this dicky-bird is Porcus Rockefelleri.  Mr. Rockefeller did not  discover the hog, but it is considered his by right of resemblance.

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 homocide:  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.

HOMILETICS, n.  The science of adapting sermons to the spiritual  needs, capacities and conditions of the congregation.
    So skilled the parson was in homiletics
    That all his normal purges and emetics
    To medicine the spirit were compounded
    With a most just discrimination founded
    Upon a rigorous examination
    Of tongue and pulse and heart and respiration.
    Then, having diagnosed each one's condition,
    His scriptural specifics this physician
    Administered -- his pills so efficacious
    And pukes of disposition so vivacious
    That souls afflicted with ten kinds of Adam
    Were convalescent ere they knew they had 'em.
    But Slander's tongue -- itself all coated -- uttered
    Her bilious mind and scandalously muttered
    That in the case of patients having money
    The pills were sugar and the pukes were honey.
                                          Biography of Bishop Potter

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.
    Delicious Hope! when naught to man it left --
    Of fortune destitute, of friends bereft;
    When even his dog deserts him, and his goat
    With tranquil disaffection chews his coat
    While yet it hangs upon his back; then thou,
    The star far-flaming on thine angel brow,
    Descendest, radiant, from the skies to hint
    The promise of a clerkship in the Mint.
                                                       Fogarty Weffing

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.

HOURI, n.  A comely female inhabiting the Mohammedan Paradise to make  things cheery for the good Mussulman, whose belief in her existence  marks a noble discontent with his earthly spouse, whom he denies a  soul.  By that good lady the Houris are said to be held in deficient  esteem.

HOUSE, n.  A hollow edifice erected for the habitation of man, rat,  mouse, beelte, cockroach, fly, mosquito, flea, bacillus and microbe.   House of Correction, a place of reward for political and personal  service, and for the detention of offenders and appropriations.   House of God, a building with a steeple and a mortgage on it.   House-dog, a pestilent beast kept on domestic premises to insult  persons passing by and appal the hardy visitor.  House-maid, a  youngerly person of the opposing sex employed to be variously  disagreeable and ingeniously unclean in the station in which it has  pleased God to place her.

HOUSELESS, adj.  Having paid all taxes on household goods.

HOVEL, n.  The fruit of a flower called the Palace.
        Twaddle had a hovel,
            Twiddle had a palace;
        Twaddle said:  "I'll grovel
            Or he'll think I bear him malice" --
    A sentiment as novel
        As a castor on a chalice.
        Down upon the middle
            Of his legs fell Twaddle
        And astonished Mr. Twiddle,
            Who began to lift his noddle.
        Feed upon the fiddle-
            Faddle flummery, unswaddle
    A new-born self-sufficiency and think himself a [mockery.]

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.
    Lo! the poor humorist, whose tortured mind
    See jokes in crowds, though still to gloom inclined --
    Whose simple appetite, untaught to stray,
    His brains, renewed by night, consumes by day.
    He thinks, admitted to an equal sty,
    A graceful hog would bear his company.
                                                        Alexander Poke

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.
    Some heaps of trash upon a vacant lot
    Where long the village rubbish had been shot
    Displayed a sign among the stuff and stumps --
    "Hypochondriasis."  It meant The Dumps.
                                                        Bogul S. Purvy

HYPOCRITE, n.  One who, profession virtues that he does not respect  secures the advantage of seeming to be what he depises.


I is the first letter of the alphabet, the first word of the language,  the first thought of the mind, the first object of affection.  In  grammar it is a pronoun of the first person and singular number.  Its  plural is said to be We, but how there can be more than one myself  is doubtless clearer the grammarians than it is to the author of this  incomparable dictionary.  Conception of two myselfs is difficult, but  fine.  The frank yet graceful use of "I" distinguishes a good writer  from a bad; the latter carries it with the manner of a thief trying to  cloak his loot.

ICHOR, n.  A fluid that serves the gods and goddesses in place of  blood.
    Fair Venus, speared by Diomed,
    Restrained the raging chief and said:
    "Behold, rash mortal, whom you've bled --
    Your soul's stained white with ichorshed!"
                                                             Mary Doke

ICONOCLAST, n.  A breaker of idols, the worshipers whereof are  imperfectly gratified by the performance, and most strenuously protest  that he unbuildeth but doth not reedify, that he pulleth down but  pileth not up.  For the poor things would have other idols in place of  those he thwacketh upon the mazzard and dispelleth.  But the  iconoclast saith:  "Ye shall have none at all, for ye need them not;  and if the rebuilder fooleth round hereabout, behold I will depress  the head of him and sit thereon till he squawk it."

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.
    Dumble was an ignoramus,
    Mumble was for learning famous.
    Mumble said one day to Dumble:
    "Ignorance should be more humble.
    Not a spark have you of knowledge
    That was got in any college."
    Dumble said to Mumble:  "Truly
    You're self-satisfied unduly.
    Of things in college I'm denied
    A knowledge -- you of all beside."

ILLUMINATI, n.  A sect of Spanish heretics of the latter part of the  sixteenth century; so called because they were light weights --  cunctationes illuminati.

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.
    There was once a man in Ispahan
        Ever and ever so long ago,
    And he had a head, the phrenologists said,
        That fitted him for a show.
    For his modesty's bump was so large a lump
        (Nature, they said, had taken a freak)
    That its summit stood far above the wood
        Of his hair, like a mountain peak.
    So modest a man in all Ispahan,
        Over and over again they swore --
    So humble and meek, you would vainly seek;
        None ever was found before.
    Meantime the hump of that awful bump
        Into the heavens contrived to get
    To so great a height that they called the wight
        The man with the minaret.
    There wasn't a man in all Ispahan
        Prouder, or louder in praise of his chump:
    With a tireless tongue and a brazen lung
        He bragged of that beautiful bump
    Till the Shah in a rage sent a trusty page
        Bearing a sack and a bow-string too,
    And that gentle child explained as he smiled:
        "A little present for you."
    The saddest man in all Ispahan,
        Sniffed at the gift, yet accepted the same.
    "If I'd lived," said he, "my humility
        Had given me deathless fame!"
                                                          Sukker Uffro

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.  If man's  notions of right and wrong have any other basis than this of  expediency; if they originated, or could have originated, in any other  way; if actions have in themselves a moral character apart from, and  nowise dependent on, their consequences -- then all philosophy is a  lie and reason a disorder of the mind.

    A toy which people cry for,
    And on their knees apply for,
    Dispute, contend and lie for,
        And if allowed
        Would be right proud
    Eternally to die for.

IMPALE, v.t.  In popular usage to pierce with any weapon which remains  fixed in the wound.  This, however, is inaccurate; to imaple is,  properly, to put to death by thrusting an upright sharp stake into the  body, the victim being left in a sitting position.  This was a common  mode of punishment among many of the nations of antiquity, and is  still in high favor in China and other parts of Asia.  Down to the  beginning of the fifteenth century it was widely employed in  "churching" heretics and schismatics.  Wolecraft calls it the "stoole  of repentynge," and among the common people it was jocularly known as  "riding the one legged horse."  Ludwig Salzmann informs us that in  Thibet impalement is considered the most appropriate punishment for  crimes against religion; and although in China it is sometimes awarded  for secular offences, it is most frequently adjudged in cases of  sacrilege.  To the person in actual experience of impalement it must  be a matter of minor importance by what kind of civil or religious  dissent he was made acquainted with its discomforts; but doubtless he  would feel a certain satisfaction if able to contemplate himself in  the character of a weather-cock on the spire of the True Church.

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.

IMPOSITION, n.  The act of blessing or consecrating by the laying on  of hands -- a ceremony common to many ecclesiastical systems, but  performed with the frankest sincerity by the sect known as Thieves.
    "Lo! by the laying on of hands,"
        Say parson, priest and dervise,
    "We consecrate your cash and lands
        To ecclesiastical service.
    No doubt you'll swear till all is blue
    At such an imposition.  Do."
                                                          Pollo Doncas

IMPOSTOR n.  A rival aspirant to public honors.

    His tale he told with a solemn face
    And a tender, melancholy grace.
        Improbable 'twas, no doubt,
        When you came to think it out,
        But the fascinated crowd
        Their deep surprise avowed
    And all with a single voice averred
    'Twas the most amazing thing they'd heard --
    All save one who spake never a word,
        But sat as mum
        As if deaf and dumb,
    Serene, indifferent and unstirred.
        Then all the others turned to him
        And scrutinized him limb from limb --
        Scanned him alive;
        But he seemed to thrive
        And tranquiler grow each minute,
        As if there were nothing in it.
    "What! what!" cried one, "are you not amazed
    At what our friend has told?"  He raised
    Soberly then his eyes and gazed
        In a natural way
        And proceeded to say,
    As he crossed his feet on the mantel-shelf:
    "O no -- not at all; I'm a liar myself."

IMPROVIDENCE, n.  Provision for the needs of to-day from the revenues  of to-morrow.

IMPUNITY, n.  Wealth.

INADMISSIBLE, adj.  Not competent to be considered.  Said of certain  kinds of testimony which juries are supposed to be unfit to be  entrusted with, and which judges, therefore, rule out, even of  proceedings before themselves alone.  Hearsay evidence is inadmissible  because the person quoted was unsworn and is not before the court for  examination; yet most momentous actions, military, political,  commercial and of every other kind, are daily undertaken on hearsay  evidence.  There is no religion in the world that has any other basis  than hearsay evidence.  Revelation is hearsay evidence; that the  Scriptures are the word of God we have only the testimony of men long  dead whose identity is not clearly established and who are not known  to have been sworn in any sense.  Under the rules of evidence as they  now exist in this country, no single assertion in the Bible has in its  support any evidence admissible in a court of law.  It cannot be  proved that the battle of Blenheim ever was fought, that there was  such as person as Julius Caesar, such an empire as Assyria.
    But as records of courts of justice are admissible, it can easily  be proved that powerful and malevolent magicians once existed and were  a scourge to mankind.  The evidence (including confession) upon which  certain women were convicted of witchcraft and executed was without a  flaw; it is still unimpeachable.  The judges' decisions based on it  were sound in logic and in law.  Nothing in any existing court was  ever more thoroughly proved than the charges of witchcraft and sorcery  for which so many suffered death.  If there were no witches, human  testimony and human reason are alike destitute of value.

INAUSPICIOUSLY, adv.  In an unpromising manner, the auspices being  unfavorable.  Among the Romans it was customary before undertaking any  important action or enterprise to obtain from the augurs, or state  prophets, some hint of its probable outcome; and one of their favorite  and most trustworthy modes of divination consisted in observing the  flight of birds -- the omens thence derived being called auspices.   Newspaper reporters and certain miscreant lexicographers have decided  that the word -- always in the plural -- shall mean "patronage" or  "management"; as, "The festivities were under the auspices of the  Ancient and Honorable Order of Body-Snatchers"; or, "The hilarities  were auspicated by the Knights of Hunger."
    A Roman slave appeared one day
    Before the Augur.  "Tell me, pray,
    If --" here the Augur, smiling, made
    A checking gesture and displayed
    His open palm, which plainly itched,
    For visibly its surface twitched.
    A denarius (the Latin nickel)
    Successfully allayed the tickle,
    And then the slave proceeded:  "Please
    Inform me whether Fate decrees
    Success or failure in what I
    To-night (if it be dark) shall try.
    Its nature?  Never mind -- I think
    'Tis writ on this" -- and with a wink
    Which darkened half the earth, he drew
    Another denarius to view,
    Its shining face attentive scanned,
    Then slipped it into the good man's hand,
    Who with great gravity said:  "Wait
    While I retire to question Fate."
    That holy person then withdrew
    His scared clay and, passing through
    The temple's rearward gate, cried "Shoo!"
    Waving his robe of office.  Straight
    Each sacred peacock and its mate
    (Maintained for Juno's favor) fled
    With clamor from the trees o'erhead,
    Where they were perching for the night.
    The temple's roof received their flight,
    For thither they would always go,
    When danger threatened them below.
    Back to the slave the Augur went:
    "My son, forecasting the event
    By flight of birds, I must confess
    The auspices deny success."
    That slave retired, a sadder man,
    Abandoning his secret plan --
    Which was (as well the craft seer
    Had from the first divined) to clear
    The wall and fraudulently seize
    On Juno's poultry in the trees.

INCOME, n.  The natural and rational gauge and measure of  respectability, the commonly accepted standards being artificial,  arbitrary and fallacious; for, as "Sir Sycophas Chrysolater" in the  play has justly remarked, "the true use and function of property (in  whatsoever it consisteth -- coins, or land, or houses, or merchant-  stuff, or anything which may be named as holden of right to one's own  subservience) as also of honors, titles, preferments and place, and  all favor and acquaintance of persons of quality or ableness, are but  to get money.  Hence it followeth that all things are truly to be  rated as of worth in measure of their serviceableness to that end; and  their possessors should take rank in agreement thereto, neither the  lord of an unproducing manor, howsoever broad and ancient, nor he who  bears an unremunerate dignity, nor yet the pauper favorite of a king,  being esteemed of level excellency with him whose riches are of daily  accretion; and hardly should they whose wealth is barren claim and  rightly take more honor than the poor and unworthy."

INCOMPATIBILITY, n.  In matrimony a similarity of tastes, particularly  the taste for domination.  Incompatibility may, however, consist of a  meek-eyed matron living just around the corner.  It has even been  known to wear a moustache.

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.  Incompossibility, it will be seen, is only  incompatibility let loose.  Instead of such low language as "Go heel  yourself -- I mean to kill you on sight," the words, "Sir, we are  incompossible," would convey and equally significant intimation and in  stately courtesy are altogether superior.

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.  For a complete account of incubi and succubi, including  incubae and succubae, see the Liber Demonorum of Protassus  (Paris, 1328), which contains much curious information that would be  out of place in a dictionary intended as a text-book for the public  schools.
    Victor Hugo relates that in the Channel Islands Satan himself --  tempted more than elsewhere by the beauty of the women, doubtless --  sometimes plays at incubus, greatly to the inconvenience and alarm  of the good dames who wish to be loyal to their marriage vows,  generally speaking.  A certain lady applied to the parish priest to  learn how they might, in the dark, distinguish the hardy intruder from  their husbands.  The holy man said they must feel his brown for horns;  but Hugo is ungallant enough to hint a doubt of the efficacy of the  test.

INCUMBENT, n.  A person of the liveliest interest to the outcumbents.

INDECISION, n.  The chief element of success; "for whereas," saith Sir  Thomas Brewbold, "there is but one way to do nothing and divers way to  do something, whereof, to a surety, only one is the right way, it  followeth that he who from indecision standeth still hath not so many  chances of going astray as he who pusheth forwards" -- a most clear  and satisfactory exposition on the matter.
    "Your prompt decision to attack," said Genera Grant on a certain  occasion to General Gordon Granger, "was admirable; you had but five  minutes to make up your mind in."
    "Yes, sir," answered the victorious subordinate, "it is a great  thing to be know exactly what to do in an emergency.  When in doubt  whether to attack or retreat I never hesitate a moment -- I toss us a  copper."
    "Do you mean to say that's what you did this time?"
    "Yes, General; but for Heaven's sake don't reprimand me:  I  disobeyed the coin."

INDIFFERENT, adj.  Imperfectly sensible to distinctions among things.
    "You tiresome man!" cried Indolentio's wife,
    "You've grown indifferent to all in life."
    "Indifferent?" he drawled with a slow smile;
    "I would be, dear, but it is not worth while."
                                                     Apuleius M. Gokul

INDIGESTION, n.  A disease which the patient and his friends  frequently mistake for deep religious conviction and concern for the  salvation of mankind.  As the simple Red Man of the western wild put  it, with, it must be confessed, a certain force:  "Plenty well, no  pray; big bellyache, heap God."

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.

INFERIAE,n.  [Latin]  Among the Greeks and Romans, sacrifices for  propitation of the Dii Manes, or souls of the dead heroes; for the  pious ancients could not invent enough gods to satisfy their spiritual  needs, and had to have a number of makeshift deities, or, as a sailor  might say, jury-gods, which they made out of the most unpromising  materials.  It was while sacrificing a bullock to the spirit of  Agamemnon that Laiaides, a priest of Aulis, was favored with an  audience of that illustrious warrior's shade, who prophetically  recounted to him the birth of Christ and the triumph of Christianity,  giving him also a rapid but tolerably complete review of events down  to the reign of Saint Louis.  The narrative ended abruptly at the  point, owing to the inconsiderate crowing of a cock, which compelled  the ghosted King of Men to scamper back to Hades.  There is a fine  mediaeval flavor to this story, and as it has not been traced back  further than Pere Brateille, a pious but obscure writer at the court  of Saint Louis, we shall probably not err on the side of presumption  in considering it apocryphal, though Monsignor Capel's judgment of the  matter might be different; and to that I bow -- wow.

INFIDEL, n.  In New York, one who does not believe in the Christian  religion; in Constantinople, one who does.  (See GIAOUR.)  A kind of  scoundrel imperfectly reverent of, and niggardly contributory to,  divines, ecclesiastics, popes, parsons, canons, monks, mollahs,  voodoos, presbyters, hierophants, prelates, obeah-men, abbes, nuns,  missionaries, exhorters, deacons, friars, hadjis, high-priests,  muezzins, brahmins, medicine-men, confessors, eminences, elders,  primates, prebendaries, pilgrims, prophets, imaums, beneficiaries,  clerks, vicars-choral, archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors,  preachers, padres, abbotesses, caloyers, palmers, curates, patriarchs,  bonezs, santons, beadsmen, canonesses, residentiaries, diocesans,  deans, subdeans, rural deans, abdals, charm-sellers, archdeacons,  hierarchs, class-leaders, incumbents, capitulars, sheiks, talapoins,  postulants, scribes, gooroos, precentors, beadles, fakeers, sextons,  reverences, revivalists, cenobites, perpetual curates, chaplains,  mudjoes, readers, novices, vicars, pastors, rabbis, ulemas, lamas,  sacristans, vergers, dervises, lectors, church wardens, cardinals,  prioresses, suffragans, acolytes, rectors, cures, sophis, mutifs and  pumpums.

INFLUENCE, n.  In politics, a visionary quo given in exchange for a  substantial quid.

INFALAPSARIAN, n.  One who ventures to believe that Adam need not have  sinned unless he had a mind to -- in opposition to the  Supralapsarians, who hold that that luckless person's fall was decreed  from the beginning.  Infralapsarians are sometimes called  Sublapsarians without material effect upon the importance and lucidity  of their views about Adam.
    Two theologues once, as they wended their way
    To chapel, engaged in colloquial fray --
    An earnest logomachy, bitter as gall,
    Concerning poor Adam and what made him fall.
    "'Twas Predestination," cried one -- "for the Lord
    Decreed he should fall of his own accord."
    "Not so -- 'twas Free will," the other maintained,
    "Which led him to choose what the Lord had ordained."
    So fierce and so fiery grew the debate
    That nothing but bloodshed their dudgeon could sate;
    So off flew their cassocks and caps to the ground
    And, moved by the spirit, their hands went round.
    Ere either had proved his theology right
    By winning, or even beginning, the fight,
    A gray old professor of Latin came by,
    A staff in his hand and a scowl in his eye,
    And learning the cause of their quarrel (for still
    As they clumsily sparred they disputed with skill
    Of foreordination freedom of will)
    Cried:  "Sirrahs! this reasonless warfare compose:
    Atwixt ye's no difference worthy of blows.
    The sects ye belong to -- I'm ready to swear
    Ye wrongly interpret the names that they bear.
    You -- Infralapsarian son of a clown! --
    Should only contend that Adam slipped down;
    While you -- you Supralapsarian pup! --
    Should nothing aver but that Adam slipped up.
    It's all the same whether up or down
    You slip on a peel of banana brown.
    Even Adam analyzed not his blunder,
    But thought he had slipped on a peal of thunder!

INGRATE, n.  One who receives a benefit from another, or is otherwise  an object of charity.
    "All men are ingrates," sneered the cynic.  "Nay,"
        The good philanthropist replied;
    "I did great service to a man one day
    Who never since has cursed me to repay,
                Nor vilified."
    "Ho!" cried the cynic, "lead me to him straight --
        With veneration I am overcome,
    And fain would have his blessing."  "Sad your fate --
    He cannot bless you, for AI grieve to state
                This man is dumb."
                                                            Ariel Selp

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.

INK, n.  A villainous compound of tannogallate of iron, gum-arabic and  water, chiefly used to facilitate the infection of idiocy and promote  intellectual crime.  The properties of ink are peculiar and  contradictory:  it may be used to make reputations and unmake them; to  blacken them and to make them white; but it is most generally and  acceptably employed as a mortar to bind together the stones of an  edifice of fame, and as a whitewash to conceal afterward the rascal  quality of the material.  There are men called journalists who have  established ink baths which some persons pay money to get into, others  to get out of.  Not infrequently it occurs that a person who has paid  to get in pays twice as much to get out.

INNATE, adj.  Natural, inherent -- as innate ideas, that is to say,  ideas that we are born with, having had them previously imparted to  us.  The doctrine of innate ideas is one of the most admirable faiths  of philosophy, being itself an innate idea and therefore inaccessible  to disproof, though Locke foolishly supposed himself to have given it  "a black eye."  Among innate ideas may be mentioned the belief in  one's ability to conduct a newspaper, in the greatness of one's  country, in the superiority of one's civilization, in the importance  of one's personal affairs and in the interesting nature of one's  diseases.

IN'ARDS, n.  The stomach, heart, soul and other bowels.  Many eminent  investigators do not class the soul as an in'ard, but that acute  observer and renowned authority, Dr. Gunsaulus, is persuaded that the  mysterious organ known as the spleen is nothing less than our  important part.  To the contrary, Professor Garrett P. Servis holds  that man's soul is that prolongation of his spinal marrow which forms  the pith of his no tail; and for demonstration of his faith points  confidently to the fact that no tailed animals have no souls.   Concerning these two theories, it is best to suspend judgment by  believing both.

INSCRIPTION, n.  Something written on another thing.  Inscriptions are  of many kinds, but mostly memorial, intended to commemorate the fame  of some illustrious person and hand down to distant ages the record of  his services and virtues.  To this class of inscriptions belongs the  name of John Smith, penciled on the Washington monument.  Following  are examples of memorial inscriptions on tombstones:  (See EPITAPH.)
    "In the sky my soul is found,
    And my body in the ground.
    By and by my body'll rise
    To my spirit in the skies,
    Soaring up to Heaven's gate.
    "Sacred to the memory of Jeremiah Tree.  Cut down May 9th, 1862,  aged 27 yrs. 4 mos. and 12 ds.  Indigenous."
        "Affliction sore long time she boar,
            Phisicians was in vain,
        Till Deth released the dear deceased
            And left her a remain.
    Gone to join Ananias in the regions of bliss."
    "The clay that rests beneath this stone
    As Silas Wood was widely known.
    Now, lying here, I ask what good
    It was to let me be S. Wood.
    O Man, let not ambition trouble you,
    Is the advice of Silas W."
    "Richard Haymon, of Heaven.  Fell to Earth Jan. 20, 1807, and had  the dust brushed off him Oct. 3, 1874."

    "See," cries the chorus of admiring preachers,
    "How Providence provides for all His creatures!"
    "His care," the gnat said, "even the insects follows:
    For us He has provided wrens and swallows."
                                                         Sempen Railey

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.
    INSURANCE AGENT:  My dear sir, that is a fine house -- pray let me
        insure it.
    HOUSE OWNER:  With pleasure.  Please make the annual premium so
        low that by the time when, according to the tables of your
        actuary, it will probably be destroyed by fire I will have
        paid you considerably less than the face of the policy.
    INSURANCE AGENT:  O dear, no -- we could not afford to do that. 
        We must fix the premium so that you will have paid more.
    HOUSE OWNER:  How, then, can I afford that?
    INSURANCE AGENT:  Why, your house may burn down at any time. 
        There was Smith's house, for example, which --
    HOUSE OWNER:  Spare me -- there were Brown's house, on the
        contrary, and Jones's house, and Robinson's house, which --
    INSURANCE AGENT:  Spare me!
    HOUSE OWNER:  Let us understand each other.  You want me to pay
        you money on the supposition that something will occur
        previously to the time set by yourself for its occurrence.  In
        other words, you expect me to bet that my house will not last
        so long as you say that it will probably last.
    INSURANCE AGENT:  But if your house burns without insurance it
        will be a total loss.
    HOUSE OWNER:  Beg your pardon -- by your own actuary's tables I
        shall probably have saved, when it burns, all the premiums I
        would otherwise have paid to you -- amounting to more than the
        face of the policy they would have bought.  But suppose it to
        burn, uninsured, before the time upon which your figures are
        based.  If I could not afford that, how could you if it were
    INSURANCE AGENT:  O, we should make ourselves whole from our
        luckier ventures with other clients.  Virtually, they pay your
    HOUSE OWNER:  And virtually, then, don't I help to pay their
        losses?  Are not their houses as likely as mine to burn before
        they have paid you as much as you must pay them?  The case
        stands this way:  you expect to take more money from your
        clients than you pay to them, do you not?
    INSURANCE AGENT:  Certainly; if we did not --
    HOUSE OWNER:  I would not trust you with my money.  Very well
        then.  If it is certain, with reference to the whole body of
        your clients, that they lose money on you it is probable,
        with reference to any one of them, that he will.  It is
        these individual probabilities that make the aggregate
    INSURANCE AGENT:  I will not deny it -- but look at the figures in
        this pamph --
    HOUSE OWNER:  Heaven forbid!
    INSURANCE AGENT:  You spoke of saving the premiums which you would
        otherwise pay to me.  Will you not be more likely to squander
        them?  We offer you an incentive to thrift.
    HOUSE OWNER:  The willingness of A to take care of B's money is
        not peculiar to insurance, but as a charitable institution you
        command esteem.  Deign to accept its expression from a
        Deserving Object.

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.

INTERREGNUM, n.  The period during which a monarchical country is  governed by a warm spot on the cushion of the throne.  The experiment  of letting the spot grow cold has commonly been attended by most  unhappy results from the zeal of many worthy persons to make it warm  again.

INTIMACY, n.  A relation into which fools are providentially drawn for  their mutual destruction.
    Two Seidlitz powders, one in blue
    And one in white, together drew
    And having each a pleasant sense
    Of t'other powder's excellence,
    Forsook their jackets for the snug
    Enjoyment of a common mug.
    So close their intimacy grew
    One paper would have held the two.
    To confidences straight they fell,
    Less anxious each to hear than tell;
    Then each remorsefully confessed
    To all the virtues he possessed,
    Acknowledging he had them in
    So high degree it was a sin.
    The more they said, the more they felt
    Their spirits with emotion melt,
    Till tears of sentiment expressed
    Their feelings.  Then they effervesced!
    So Nature executes her feats
    Of wrath on friends and sympathetes
    The good old rule who don't apply,
    That you are you and I am I.

INTRODUCTION, n.  A social ceremony invented by the devil for the  gratification of his servants and the plaguing of his enemies.  The  introduction attains its most malevolent development in this century,  being, indeed, closely related to our political system.  Every  American being the equal of every other American, it follows that  everybody has the right to know everybody else, which implies the  right to introduce without request or permission.  The Declaration of  Independence should have read thus:
        "We hold these truths to be self-evident:  that all men are
    created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
    inalienable rights; that among these are life, and the right to
    make that of another miserable by thrusting upon him an
    incalculable quantity of acquaintances; liberty, particularly the
    liberty to introduce persons to one another without first
    ascertaining if they are not already acquainted as enemies; and
    the pursuit of another's happiness with a running pack of

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.


J is a consonant in English, but some nations use it as a vowel --  than which nothing could be more absurd.  Its original form, which has  been but slightly modified, was that of the tail of a subdued dog, and  it was not a letter but a character, standing for a Latin verb,  jacere, "to throw," because when a stone is thrown at a dog the  dog's tail assumes that shape.  This is the origin of the letter, as  expounded by the renowned Dr. Jocolpus Bumer, of the University of  Belgrade, who established his conclusions on the subject in a work of  three quarto volumes and committed suicide on being reminded that the  j in the Roman alphabet had originally no curl.

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

JESTER, n.  An officer formerly attached to a king's household, whose  business it was to amuse the court by ludicrous actions and  utterances, the absurdity being attested by his motley costume.  The  king himself being attired with dignity, it took the world some  centuries to discover that his own conduct and decrees were  sufficiently ridiculous for the amusement not only of his court but of  all mankind.  The jester was commonly called a fool, but the poets and  romancers have ever delighted to represent him as a singularly wise  and witty person.  In the circus of to-day the melancholy ghost of the  court fool effects the dejection of humbler audiences with the same  jests wherewith in life he gloomed the marble hall, panged the  patrician sense of humor and tapped the tank of royal tears.
    The widow-queen of Portugal
        Had an audacious jester
    Who entered the confessional
        Disguised, and there confessed her.
    "Father," she said, "thine ear bend down --
        My sins are more than scarlet:
    I love my fool -- blaspheming clown,
        And common, base-born varlet."
    "Daughter," the mimic priest replied,
        "That sin, indeed, is awful:
    The church's pardon is denied
        To love that is unlawful.
    "But since thy stubborn heart will be
        For him forever pleading,
    Thou'dst better make him, by decree,
        A man of birth and breeding."
    She made the fool a duke, in hope
        With Heaven's taboo to palter;
    Then told a priest, who told the Pope,
        Who damned her from the altar!
                                                            Barel Dort

JEWS-HARP, n.  An unmusical instrument, played by holding it fast with  the teeth and trying to brush it away with the finger.

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.


K is a consonant that we get from the Greeks, but it can be traced  away back beyond them to the Cerathians, a small commercial nation  inhabiting the peninsula of Smero.  In their tongue it was called  Klatch, which means "destroyed."  The form of the letter was  originally precisely that of our H, but the erudite Dr. Snedeker  explains that it was altered to its present shape to commemorate the  destruction of the great temple of Jarute by an earthquake, circa  730 B.C.  This building was famous for the two lofty columns of its  portico, one of which was broken in half by the catastrophe, the other  remaining intact.  As the earlier form of the letter is supposed to  have been suggested by these pillars, so, it is thought by the great  antiquary, its later was adopted as a simple and natural -- not to say  touching -- means of keeping the calamity ever in the national memory.   It is not known if the name of the letter was altered as an additional  mnemonic, or if the name was always Klatch and the destruction one  of nature's pums.  As each theory seems probable enough, I see no  objection to believing both -- and Dr. Snedeker arrayed himself on  that side of the question.

KEEP, v.t.
    He willed away his whole estate,
        And then in death he fell asleep,
    Murmuring:  "Well, at any rate,
        My name unblemished I shall keep."
    But when upon the tomb 'twas wrought
    Whose was it? -- for the dead keep naught.
                                                     Durang Gophel Arn

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.

KING, n.  A male person commonly known in America as a "crowned head,"  although he never wears a crown and has usually no head to speak of.
    A king, in times long, long gone by,
        Said to his lazy jester:
    "If I were you and you were I
    My moments merrily would fly --
        Nor care nor grief to pester."
    "The reason, Sire, that you would thrive,"
        The fool said -- "if you'll hear it --
    Is that of all the fools alive
    Who own you for their sovereign, I've
        The most forgiving spirit."
                                                             Oogum Bem

KING'S EVIL, n.  A malady that was formerly cured by the touch of the  sovereign, but has now to be treated by the physicians.  Thus 'the  most pious Edward" of England used to lay his royal hand upon the  ailing subjects and make them whole --
                    a crowd of wretched souls
    That stay his cure:  their malady convinces
    The great essay of art; but at his touch,
    Such sanctity hath Heaven given his hand,
    They presently amend,

as the "Doctor" in Macbeth hath it.  This useful property of the  royal hand could, it appears, be transmitted along with other crown  properties; for according to "Malcolm,"
                            'tis spoken
    To the succeeding royalty he leaves
    The healing benediction.
    But the gift somewhere dropped out of the line of succession:  the  later sovereigns of England have not been tactual healers, and the  disease once honored with the name "king's evil" now bears the humbler  one of "scrofula," from scrofa, a sow.  The date and author of the  following epigram are known only to the author of this dictionary, but  it is old enough to show that the jest about Scotland's national  disorder is not a thing of yesterday.
    Ye Kynge his evill in me laye,
    Wh. he of Scottlande charmed awaye.
    He layde his hand on mine and sayd:
    "Be gone!"  Ye ill no longer stayd.
    But O ye wofull plyght in wh.
    I'm now y-pight:  I have ye itche!
    The superstition that maladies can be cured by royal taction is  dead, but like many a departed conviction it has left a monument of  custom to keep its memory green.  The practice of forming a line and  shaking the President's hand had no other origin, and when that great  dignitary bestows his healing salutation on
                        strangely visited people,
    All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,
    The mere despair of surgery,

he and his patients are handing along an extinguished torch which once  was kindled at the altar-fire of a faith long held by all classes of  men.  It is a beautiful and edifying "survival" -- one which brings  the sainted past close home in our "business and bosoms."

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.

    Once a warrior gentle of birth,
    Then a person of civic worth,
    Now a fellow to move our mirth.
    Warrior, person, and fellow -- no more:
    We must knight our dogs to get any lower.
    Brave Knights Kennelers then shall be,
    Noble Knights of the Golden Flea,
    Knights of the Order of St. Steboy,
    Knights of St. Gorge and Sir Knights Jawy.
    God speed the day when this knighting fad
    Shall go to the dogs and the dogs go mad.

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.

LAND, n.  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.  Carried to its logical conclusion, it means that some  have the right to prevent others from living; for the right to own  implies the right exclusively to occupy; and in fact laws of trespass  are enacted wherever property in land is recognized.  It follows that  if the whole area of terra firma is owned by A, B and C, there will  be no place for D, E, F and G to be born, or, born as trespassers, to  exist.
    A life on the ocean wave,
        A home on the rolling deep,
    For the spark the nature gave
        I have there the right to keep.
    They give me the cat-o'-nine
        Whenever I go ashore.
    Then ho! for the flashing brine --
        I'm a natural commodore!

LANGUAGE, n.  The music with which we charm the serpents guarding  another's treasure.

LAOCOON, n.  A famous piece of antique scripture representing a priest  of that name and his two sons in the folds of two enormous serpents.   The skill and diligence with which the old man and lads support the  serpents and keep them up to their work have been justly regarded as  one of the noblest artistic illustrations of the mastery of human  intelligence over brute inertia.

LAP, n.  One of the most important organs of the female system -- an  admirable provision of nature for the repose of infancy, but chiefly  useful in rural festivities to support plates of cold chicken and  heads of adult males.  The male of our species has a rudimentary lap,  imperfectly developed and in no way contributing to the animal's  substantial welfare.

LAST, n.  A shoemaker's implement, named by a frowning Providence as  opportunity to the maker of puns.
    Ah, punster, would my lot were cast,
        Where the cobbler is unknown,
    So that I might forget his last
        And hear your own.
                                                          Gargo Repsky

LAUGHTER, n.  An interior convulsion, producing a distortion of the  features and accompanied by inarticulate noises.  It is infectious  and, though intermittent, incurable.  Liability to attacks of laughter  is one of the characteristics distinguishing man from the animals --  these being not only inaccessible to the provocation of his example,  but impregnable to the microbes having original jurisdiction in  bestowal of the disease.  Whether laughter could be imparted to  animals by inoculation from the human patient is a question that has  not been answered by experimentation.  Dr. Meir Witchell holds that  the infection character of laughter is due to the instantaneous  fermentation of sputa diffused in a spray.  From this peculiarity he  names the disorder Convulsio spargens.

LAUREATE, adj.  Crowned with leaves of the laurel.  In England the  Poet Laureate is an officer of the sovereign's court, acting as  dancing skeleton at every royal feast and singing-mute at every royal  funeral.  Of all incumbents of that high office, Robert Southey had  the most notable knack at drugging the Samson of public joy and  cutting his hair to the quick; and he had an artistic color-sense  which enabled him so to blacken a public grief as to give it the  aspect of a national crime.

LAUREL, n.  The laurus, a vegetable dedicated to Apollo, and  formerly defoliated to wreathe the brows of victors and such poets as  had influence at court.  (Vide supra.)

LAW, n.
    Once Law was sitting on the bench,
        And Mercy knelt a-weeping.
    "Clear out!" he cried, "disordered wench!
        Nor come before me creeping.
    Upon your knees if you appear,
    'Tis plain your have no standing here."
    Then Justice came.  His Honor cried:
        "Your status? -- devil seize you!"
    "Amica curiae," she replied --
        "Friend of the court, so please you."
    "Begone!" he shouted -- "there's the door --
    I never saw your face before!"

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.

LEAD, n.  A heavy blue-gray metal much used in giving stability to  light lovers -- particularly to those who love not wisely but other  men's wives.  Lead is also of great service as a counterpoise to an  argument of such weight that it turns the scale of debate the wrong  way.  An interesting fact in the chemistry of international  controversy is that at the point of contact of two patriotisms lead is  precipitated in great quantities.
    Hail, holy Lead! -- of human feuds the great
        And universal arbiter; endowed
        With penetration to pierce any cloud
    Fogging the field of controversial hate,
    And with a sift, inevitable, straight,
        Searching precision find the unavowed
        But vital point.  Thy judgment, when allowed
    By the chirurgeon, settles the debate.
    O useful metal! -- were it not for thee
        We'd grapple one another's ears alway:
    But when we hear thee buzzing like a bee
        We, like old Muhlenberg, "care not to stay."
    And when the quick have run away like pellets
    Jack Satan smelts the dead to make new bullets.

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.

LEONINE, adj.  Unlike a menagerie lion.  Leonine verses are those in  which a word in the middle of a line rhymes with a word at the end, as  in this famous passage from Bella Peeler Silcox:
    The electric light invades the dunnest deep of Hades.
    Cries Pluto, 'twixt his snores:  "O tempora! O mores!"
    It should be explained that Mrs. Silcox does not undertake to  teach pronunciation of the Greek and Latin tongues.  Leonine verses  are so called in honor of a poet named Leo, whom prosodists appear to  find a pleasure in believing to have been the first to discover that a  rhyming couplet could be run into a single line.

LETTUCE, n.  An herb of the genus Lactuca, "Wherewith," says that  pious gastronome, Hengist Pelly, "God has been pleased to reward the  good and punish the wicked.  For by his inner light the righteous man  has discerned a manner of compounding for it a dressing to the  appetency whereof a multitude of gustible condiments conspire, being  reconciled and ameliorated with profusion of oil, the entire  comestible making glad the heart of the godly and causing his face to  shine.  But the person of spiritual unworth is successfully tempted to  the Adversary to eat of lettuce with destitution of oil, mustard, egg,  salt and garlic, and with a rascal bath of vinegar polluted with  sugar.  Wherefore the person of spiritual unworth suffers an  intestinal pang of strange complexity and raises the song."

LEVIATHAN, n.  An enormous aquatic animal mentioned by Job.  Some  suppose it to have been the whale, but that distinguished  ichthyologer, Dr. Jordan, of Stanford University, maintains with  considerable heat that it was a species of gigantic Tadpole (Thaddeus  Polandensis) or Polliwig -- Maria pseudo-hirsuta.  For an  exhaustive description and history of the Tadpole consult the famous  monograph of Jane Potter, Thaddeus of Warsaw.

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.  For your lexicographer, having written his  dictionary, comes to be considered "as one having authority," whereas  his function is only to make a record, not to give a law.  The natural  servility of the human understanding having invested him with judicial  power, surrenders its right of reason and submits itself to a  chronicle as if it were a statue.  Let the dictionary (for example)  mark a good word as "obsolete" or "obsolescent" and few men  thereafter venture to use it, whatever their need of it and however  desirable its restoration to favor -- whereby the process of  improverishment is accelerated and speech decays.  On the contrary,  recognizing the truth that language must grow by innovation if it grow  at all, makes new words and uses the old in an unfamiliar sense, has  no following and is tartly reminded that "it isn't in the dictionary"  -- although down to the time of the first lexicographer (Heaven  forgive him!) no author ever had used a word that was in the  dictionary.  In the golden prime and high noon of English speech; when  from the lips of the great Elizabethans fell words that made their own  meaning and carried it in their very sound; when a Shakespeare and a  Bacon were possible, and the language now rapidly perishing at one end  and slowly renewed at the other was in vigorous growth and hardy  preservation -- sweeter than honey and stronger than a lion -- the  lexicographer was a person unknown, the dictionary a creation which  his Creator had not created him to create.
    God said:  "Let Spirit perish into Form,"
    And lexicographers arose, a swarm!
    Thought fled and left her clothing, which they took,
    And catalogued each garment in a book.
    Now, from her leafy covert when she cries:
    "Give me my clothes and I'll return," they rise
    And scan the list, and say without compassion:
    "Excuse us -- they are mostly out of fashion."
                                                       Sigismund Smith

LIAR, n.  A lawyer with a roving commission.

LIBERTY, n.  One of Imagination's most precious possessions.
    The rising People, hot and out of breath,
    Roared around the palace:  "Liberty or death!"
    "If death will do," the King said, "let me reign;
    You'll have, I'm sure, no reason to complain."
                                                      Martha Braymance

LICKSPITTLE, n.  A useful functionary, not infrequently found editing  a newspaper.  In his character of editor he is closely allied to the  blackmailer by the tie of occasional identity; for in truth the  lickspittle is only the blackmailer under another aspect, although the  latter is frequently found as an independent species.  Lickspittling  is more detestable than blackmailing, precisely as the business of a  confidence man is more detestable than that of a highway robber; and  the parallel maintains itself throughout, for whereas few robbers will  cheat, every sneak will plunder if he dare.

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.   The question, "Is life worth living?" has been much discussed;  particularly by those who think it is not, many of whom have written  at great length in support of their view and by careful observance of  the laws of health enjoyed for long terms of years the honors of  successful controversy.
    "Life's not worth living, and that's the truth,"
    Carelessly caroled the golden youth.
    In manhood still he maintained that view
    And held it more strongly the older he grew.
    When kicked by a jackass at eighty-three,
    "Go fetch me a surgeon at once!" cried he.
                                                             Han Soper

LIGHTHOUSE, n.  A tall building on the seashore in which the  government maintains a lamp and the friend of a politician.

LIMB, n.  The branch of a tree or the leg of an American woman.
    'Twas a pair of boots that the lady bought,
        And the salesman laced them tight
        To a very remarkable height --
    Higher, indeed, than I think he ought --
        Higher than can be right.
    For the Bible declares -- but never mind:
        It is hardly fit
    To censure freely and fault to find
    With others for sins that I'm not inclined
        Myself to commit.
    Each has his weakness, and though my own
        Is freedom from every sin,
        It still were unfair to pitch in,
    Discharging the first censorious stone.
    Besides, the truth compels me to say,
    The boots in question were made that way.
    As he drew the lace she made a grimace,
        And blushingly said to him:
    "This boot, I'm sure, is too high to endure,
    It hurts my -- hurts my -- limb."
    The salesman smiled in a manner mild,
    Like an artless, undesigning child;
    Then, checking himself, to his face he gave
    A look as sorrowful as the grave,
        Though he didn't care two figs
    For her paints and throes,
    As he stroked her toes,
    Remarking with speech and manner just
    Befitting his calling:  "Madam, I trust
        That it doesn't hurt your twigs."
                                                      B. Percival Dike

LINEN, n.  "A kind of cloth the making of which, when made of hemp,  entails a great waste of hemp." -- Calcraft the Hangman.

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.  The sentiments and emotions which every literary  anatomist now knows to haunt the heart were anciently believed to  infest the liver; and even Gascoygne, speaking of the emotional side  of human nature, calls it "our hepaticall parte."  It was at one time  considered the seat of life; hence its name -- liver, the thing we  live with.  The liver is heaven's best gift to the goose; without it  that bird would be unable to supply us with the Strasbourg pate.

LL.D.  Letters indicating the degree Legumptionorum Doctor, one  learned in laws, gifted with legal gumption.  Some suspicion is cast  upon this derivation by the fact that the title was formerly LL.d.,  and conferred only upon gentlemen distinguished for their wealth.  At  the date of this writing Columbia University is considering the  expediency of making another degree for clergymen, in place of the old  D.D. -- Damnator Diaboli.  The new honor will be known as Sanctorum  Custus, and written $$c.  The name of the Rev. John Satan has been  suggested as a suitable recipient by a lover of consistency, who  points out that Professor Harry Thurston Peck has long enjoyed the  advantage of a degree.

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.  The  basic of logic is the syllogism, consisting of a major and a minor  premise and a conclusion -- thus:
    Major Premise:  Sixty men can do a piece of work sixty times as  quickly as one man.
    Minor Premise:  One man can dig a posthole in sixty seconds;  therefore --
    Conclusion:  Sixty men can dig a posthole in one second.
    This may be called the syllogism arithmetical, in which, by  combining logic and mathematics, we obtain a double certainty and are  twice blessed.

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.
    'Tis said by divers of the scholar-men
    That poor Salmasius died of Milton's pen.
    Alas! we cannot know if this is true,
    For reading Milton's wit we perish too.

LOGANIMITY, n.  The disposition to endure injury with meek forbearance  while maturing a plan of revenge.

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.
    The King of Manchuria had a magic looking-glass, whereon whoso  looked saw, not his own image, but only that of the king.  A certain  courtier who had long enjoyed the king's favor and was thereby  enriched beyond any other subject of the realm, said to the king:   "Give me, I pray, thy wonderful mirror, so that when absent out of  thine august presence I may yet do homage before thy visible shadow,  prostrating myself night and morning in the glory of thy benign  countenance, as which nothing has so divine splendor, O Noonday Sun of  the Universe!"
    Please with the speech, the king commanded that the mirror be  conveyed to the courtier's palace; but after, having gone thither  without apprisal, he found it in an apartment where was naught but  idle lumber.  And the mirror was dimmed with dust and overlaced with  cobwebs.  This so angered him that he fisted it hard, shattering the  glass, and was sorely hurt.  Enraged all the more by this mischance,  he commanded that the ungrateful courtier be thrown into prison, and  that the glass be repaired and taken back to his own palace; and this  was done.  But when the king looked again on the mirror he saw not his  image as before, but only the figure of a crowned ass, having a bloody  bandage on one of its hinder hooves -- as the artificers and all who  had looked upon it had before discerned but feared to report.  Taught  wisdom and charity, the king restored his courtier to liberty, had the  mirror set into the back of the throne and reigned many years with  justice and humility; and one day when he fell asleep in death while  on the throne, the whole court saw in the mirror the luminous figure  of an angel, which remains to this day.

LOQUACITY, n.  A disorder which renders the sufferer unable to curb  his tongue when you wish to talk.

LORD, n.  In American society, an English tourist above the state of a  costermonger, as, lord 'Aberdasher, Lord Hartisan and so forth.  The  traveling Briton of lesser degree is addressed as "Sir," as, Sir 'Arry  Donkiboi, or 'Amstead 'Eath.  The word "Lord" is sometimes used, also,  as a title of the Supreme Being; but this is thought to be rather  flattery than true reverence.
    Miss Sallie Ann Splurge, of her own accord,
    Wedded a wandering English lord --
    Wedded and took him to dwell with her "paw,"
    A parent who throve by the practice of Draw.
    Lord Cadde I don't hesitate to declare
    Unworthy the father-in-legal care
    Of that elderly sport, notwithstanding the truth
    That Cadde had renounced all the follies of youth;
    For, sad to relate, he'd arrived at the stage
    Of existence that's marked by the vices of age.
    Among them, cupidity caused him to urge
    Repeated demands on the pocket of Splurge,
    Till, wrecked in his fortune, that gentleman saw
    Inadequate aid in the practice of Draw,
    And took, as a means of augmenting his pelf,
    To the business of being a lord himself.
    His neat-fitting garments he wilfully shed
    And sacked himself strangely in checks instead;
    Denuded his chin, but retained at each ear
    A whisker that looked like a blasted career.
    He painted his neck an incarnadine hue
    Each morning and varnished it all that he knew.
    The moony monocular set in his eye
    Appeared to be scanning the Sweet Bye-and-Bye.
    His head was enroofed with a billycock hat,
    And his low-necked shoes were aduncous and flat.
    In speech he eschewed his American ways,
    Denying his nose to the use of his A's
    And dulling their edge till the delicate sense
    Of a babe at their temper could take no offence.
    His H's -- 'twas most inexpressibly sweet,
    The patter they made as they fell at his feet!
    Re-outfitted thus, Mr. Splurge without fear
    Began as Lord Splurge his recouping career.
    Alas, the Divinity shaping his end
    Entertained other views and decided to send
    His lordship in horror, despair and dismay
    From the land of the nobleman's natural prey.
    For, smit with his Old World ways, Lady Cadde
    Fell -- suffering Caesar! -- in love with her dad!

LORE, n.  Learning -- particularly that sort which is not derived from  a regular course of instruction but comes of the reading of occult  books, or by nature.  This latter is commonly designated as folk-lore  and embraces popularly myths and superstitions.  In Baring-Gould's  Curious Myths of the Middle Ages the reader will find many of these  traced backward, through various people son converging lines, toward a  common origin in remote antiquity.  Among these are the fables of  "Teddy the Giant Killer," "The Sleeping John Sharp Williams," "Little  Red Riding Hood and the Sugar Trust," "Beauty and the Brisbane," "The  Seven Aldermen of Ephesus," "Rip Van Fairbanks," and so forth.  The  fable with Goethe so affectingly relates under the title of "The Erl-  King" was known two thousand years ago in Greece as "The Demos and the  Infant Industry."  One of the most general and ancient of these myths  is that Arabian tale of "Ali Baba and the Forty Rockefellers."

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."  It is in the former and more legitimate sense, that the  word is used in the famous epitaph:
    Here Huntington's ashes long have lain
    Whose loss is our eternal gain,
    For while he exercised all his powers
    Whatever he gained, the loss was ours.

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 caries and 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.

LUNARIAN, n.  An inhabitant of the moon, as distinguished from  Lunatic, one whom the moon inhabits.  The Lunarians have been  described by Lucian, Locke and other observers, but without much  agreement.  For example, Bragellos avers their anatomical identity  with Man, but Professor Newcomb says they are more like the hill  tribes of Vermont.

LYRE, n.  An ancient instrument of torture.  The word is now used in a  figurative sense to denote the poetic faculty, as in the following  fiery lines of our great poet, Ella Wheeler Wilcox:
    I sit astride Parnassus with my lyre,
    And pick with care the disobedient wire.
    That stupid shepherd lolling on his crook
    With deaf attention scarcely deigns to look.
    I bide my time, and it shall come at length,
    When, with a Titan's energy and strength,
    I'll grab a fistful of the strings, and O,
    The word shall suffer when I let them go!
                                                    Farquharson Harris


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.
    So plain the advantages of machination
    It constitutes a moral obligation,
    And honest wolves who think upon't with loathing
    Feel bound to don the sheep's deceptive clothing.
    So prospers still the diplomatic art,
    And Satan bows, with hand upon his heart.

MACROBIAN, n.  One forgotten of the gods and living to a great age.   History is abundantly supplied with examples, from Methuselah to Old  Parr, but some notable instances of longevity are less well known.  A  Calabrian peasant named Coloni, born in 1753, lived so long that he  had what he considered a glimpse of the dawn of universal peace.   Scanavius relates that he knew an archbishop who was so old that he  could remember a time when he did not deserve hanging.  In 1566 a  linen draper of Bristol, England, declared that he had lived five  hundred years, and that in all that time he had never told a lie.   There are instances of longevity (macrobiosis) in our own country.   Senator Chauncey Depew is old enough to know better.  The editor of  The American, a newspaper in New York City, has a memory that goes  back to the time when he was a rascal, but not to the fact.  The  President of the United States was born so long ago that many of the  friends of his youth have risen to high political and military  preferment without the assistance of personal merit.  The verses  following were written by a macrobian:
    When I was young the world was fair
        And amiable and sunny.
    A brightness was in all the air,
        In all the waters, honey.
        The jokes were fine and funny,
    The statesmen honest in their views,
        And in their lives, as well,
    And when you heard a bit of news
        'Twas true enough to tell.
    Men were not ranting, shouting, reeking,
    Nor women "generally speaking."
    The Summer then was long indeed:
        It lasted one whole season!
    The sparkling Winter gave no heed
        When ordered by Unreason
        To bring the early peas on.
    Now, where the dickens is the sense
        In calling that a year
    Which does no more than just commence
        Before the end is near?
    When I was young the year extended
    From month to month until it ended.
    I know not why the world has changed
        To something dark and dreary,
    And everything is now arranged
        To make a fellow weary.
        The Weather Man -- I fear he
    Has much to do with it, for, sure,
        The air is not the same:
    It chokes you when it is impure,
        When pure it makes you lame.
    With windows closed you are asthmatic;

    Open, neuralgic or sciatic.

    Well, I suppose this new regime

        Of dun degeneration

    Seems eviler than it would seem

        To a better observation,

        And has for compensation

    Some blessings in a deep disguise

        Which mortal sight has failed

    To pierce, although to angels' eyes

        They're visible unveiled.

    If Age is such a boon, good land!

    He's costumed by a master hand!

                                                        Venable Strigg

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.  For  illustration, this present (and illustrious) lexicographer is no  firmer in the faith of his own sanity than is any inmate of any  madhouse in the land; yet for aught he knows to the contrary, instead  of the lofty occupation that seems to him to be engaging his powers he  may really be beating his hands against the window bars of an asylum  and declaring himself Noah Webster, to the innocent delight of many  thoughtless spectators.

MAGDALENE, n.  An inhabitant of Magdala.  Popularly, a woman found  out.  This definition of the word has the authority of ignorance, Mary  of Magdala being another person than the penitent woman mentioned by  St. Luke.  It has also the official sanction of the governments of  Great Britain and the United States.  In England the word is  pronounced Maudlin, whence maudlin, adjective, unpleasantly  sentimental.  With their Maudlin for Magdalene, and their Bedlam for  Bethlehem, the English may justly boast themselves the greatest of  revisers.

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.

    The two definitions immediately foregoing are condensed from the  works of one thousand eminent scientists, who have illuminated the  subject with a great white light, to the inexpressible advancement of  human knowledge.

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.  If everything in the universe were increased  in bulk one thousand diameters nothing would be any larger than it was  before, but if one thing remain unchanged all the others would be  larger than they had been.  To an understanding familiar with the  relativity of magnitude and distance the spaces and masses of the  astronomer would be no more impressive than those of the microscopist.   For anything we know to the contrary, the visible universe may be a  small part of an atom, with its component ions, floating in the life-  fluid (luminiferous ether) of some animal.  Possibly the wee creatures  peopling the corpuscles of our own blood are overcome with the proper  emotion when contemplating the unthinkable distance from one of these  to another.

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 clewless  conduct and views that madden to crime.  The genus has a wide  geographical distribution, being found wherever sought and deplored  wherever found.  The maiden is not altogether unpleasing to the eye,  nor (without her piano and her views) insupportable to the ear, though  in respect to comeliness distinctly inferior to the rainbow, and, with  regard to the part of her that is audible, bleating out of the field  by the canary -- which, also, is more portable.

    A lovelorn maiden she sat and sang --

        This quaint, sweet song sang she;

    "It's O for a youth with a football bang

        And a muscle fair to see!

                The Captain he

                Of a team to be!

    On the gridiron he shall shine,

    A monarch by right divine,

        And never to roast on it -- me!"

                                                         Opoline Jones

MAJESTY, n.  The state and title of a king.  Regarded with a just  contempt by the Most Eminent Grand Masters, Grand Chancellors, Great  Incohonees and Imperial Potentates of the ancient and honorable orders  of republican America.

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.

MALTHUSIAN, adj.  Pertaining to Malthus and his doctrines.  Malthus  believed in artificially limiting population, but found that it could  not be done by talking.  One of the most practical exponents of the  Malthusian idea was Herod of Judea, though all the famous soldiers  have been of the same way of thinking.

MAMMALIA,  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.

    He swore that all other religions were gammon,

    And wore out his knees in the worship of Mammon.

                                                            Jared Oopf

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 earh and Canada.

    When the world was young and Man was new,

        And everything was pleasant,

    Distinctions Nature never drew

        'Mongst kings and priest and peasant.

        We're not that way at present,

    Save here in this Republic, where

        We have that old regime,

    For all are kings, however bare

        Their backs, howe'er extreme

    Their hunger.  And, indeed, each has a voice

    To accept the tyrant of his party's choice.

    A citizen who would not vote,

        And, therefore, was detested,

    Was one day with a tarry coat

        (With feathers backed and breasted)

        By patriots invested.

    "It is your duty," cried the crowd,

        "Your ballot true to cast

    For the man o' your choice."  He humbly bowed,

        And explained his wicked past:

    "That's what I very gladly would have done,

    Dear patriots, but he has never run."

                                                         Apperton Duke

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.

MATERIAL, adj.  Having an actual existence, as distinguished from an  imaginary one.  Important.

    Material things I know, or fell, or see;

    All else is immaterial to me.

                                                      Jamrach Holobom

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.

    It is related of Bismark, who had been awarded a medal for  gallantly rescuing a drowning person, that, being asked the meaning of  the medal, he replied:  "I save lives sometimes."  And sometimes he  didn't.

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.

    M is for Moses,

        Who slew the Egyptian.

    As sweet as a rose is

    The meekness of Moses.

    No monument shows his

        Post-mortem inscription,

    But M is for Moses

        Who slew the Egyptian.

                                           The Biographical Alphabet MEERSCHAUM, n.  (Literally, seafoam, and by many erroneously supposed  to be made of it.)  A fine white clay, which for convenience in  coloring it brown is made into tobacco pipes and smoked by the workmen  engaged in that industry.  The purpose of coloring it has not been  disclosed by the manufacturers.

    There was a youth (you've heard before,

        This woeful tale, may be),

    Who bought a meerschaum pipe and swore

        That color it would he!

    He shut himself from the world away,

        Nor any soul he saw.

    He smoke by night, he smoked by day,

        As hard as he could draw.

    His dog died moaning in the wrath

        Of winds that blew aloof;

    The weeds were in the gravel path,

        The owl was on the roof.

    "He's gone afar, he'll come no more,"

        The neighbors sadly say.

    And so they batter in the door

        To take his goods away.

    Dead, pipe in mouth, the youngster lay,

        Nut-brown in face and limb.

    "That pipe's a lovely white," they say,

        "But it has colored him!"

    The moral there's small need to sing --

        'Tis plain as day to you:

    Don't play your game on any thing

        That is a gamester too.

                                                      Martin Bulstrode

MENDACIOUS, adj.  Addicted to rhetoric.

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.  From the Latin mens, a fact unknown  to that honest shoe-seller, who, observing that his learned competitor  over the way had displayed the motto "Mens conscia recti,"  emblazoned his own front with the words "Men's, women's and children's  conscia recti."

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.

MINSTREL, adj.  Formerly a poet, singer or musician; now a nigger with  a color less than skin deep and a humor more than flesh and blood can  bear.

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.

    By misdemeanors he essays to climb

    Into the aristocracy of crime.

    O, woe was him! -- with manner chill and grand

    "Captains of industry" refused his hand,

    "Kings of finance" denied him recognition

    And "railway magnates" jeered his low condition.

    He robbed a bank to make himself respected.

    They still rebuffed him, for he was detected.

                                                          S.V. Hanipur

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.  Miss, Missis (Mrs.) and Mister (Mr.) are  the three most distinctly disagreeable words in the language, in sound  and sense.  Two are corruptions of Mistress, the other of Master.  In  the general abolition of social titles in this our country they  miraculously escaped to plague us.  If we must have them let us be  consistent and give one to the unmarried man.  I venture to suggest  Mush, abbreviated to Mh.

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.  Three great scientific theories of the  structure of the universe are the molecular, the corpuscular and the  atomic.  A fourth affirms, with Haeckel, the condensation of  precipitation of matter from ether -- whose existence is proved by the  condensation of precipitation.  The present trend of scientific  thought is toward the theory of ions.  The ion differs from the  molecule, the corpuscle and the atom in that it is an ion.  A fifth  theory is held by idiots, but it is doubtful if they know any more  about the matter than the others.

MONAD, n.  The ultimate, indivisible unit of matter.  (See  Molecule.)  According to Leibnitz, as nearly as he seems willing to  be understood, the monad has body without bulk, and mind without  manifestation -- Leibnitz knows him by the innate power of  considering.  He has founded upon him a theory of the universe, which  the creature bears without resentment, for the monad is a gentlmean.   Small as he is, the monad contains all the powers and possibilities  needful to his evolution into a German philosopher of the first class  -- altogether a very capable little fellow.  He is not to be  confounded with the microbe, or bacillus; by its inability to discern  him, a good microscope shows him to be of an entirely distinct  species.

MONARCH, n.  A person engaged in reigning.  Formerly the monarch  ruled, as the derivation of the word attests, and as many subjects  have had occasion to learn.  In Russia and the Orient the monarch has  still a considerable influence in public affairs and in the  disposition of the human head, but in western Europe political  administration is mostly entrusted to his ministers, he being  somewhat preoccupied with reflections relating to the status of his  own head.


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.

    The man who writes in Saxon

    Is the man to use an ax on


MONSIGNOR, n.  A high ecclesiastical title, of which the Founder of  our religion overlooked the advantages.

MONUMENT, n.  A structure intended to commemorate something which  either needs no commemoration or cannot be commemorated.

    The bones of Agammemnon are a show,

    And ruined is his royal monument,

but Agammemnon's fame suffers no diminution in consequence.  The  monument custom has its reductiones ad absurdum in monuments "to the  unknown dead" -- that is to say, monuments to perpetuate the memory of  those who have left no memory.

MORAL, adj.  Conforming to a local and mutable standard of right.   Having the quality of general expediency.

        It is sayd there be a raunge of mountaynes in the Easte, on  one syde of the which certayn conducts are immorall, yet on the other  syde they are holden in good esteeme; wherebye the mountayneer is much  conveenyenced, for it is given to him to goe downe eyther way and act  as it shall suite his moode, withouten offence.

                                                 Gooke's Meditations

MORE, adj.  The comparative degree of too much.

MOUSE, n.  An animal which strews its path with fainting women.  As in  Rome Christians were thrown to the lions, so centuries earlier in  Otumwee, the most ancient and famous city of the world, female  heretics were thrown to the mice.  Jakak-Zotp, the historian, the only  Otumwump whose writings have descended to us, says that these martyrs  met their death with little dignity and much exertion.  He even  attempts to exculpate the mice (such is the malice of bigotry) by  declaring that the unfortunate women perished, some from exhaustion,  some of broken necks from falling over their own feet, and some from  lack of restoratives.  The mice, he avers, enjoyed the pleasures of  the chase with composure.  But if "Roman history is nine-tenths  lying," we can hardly expect a smaller proportion of that rhetorical  figure in the annals of a people capable of so incredible cruelty to a  lovely women; for a hard heart has a false tongue.

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.

MULTITUDE, n.  A crowd; the source of political wisdom and virtue.  In  a republic, the object of the statesman's adoration.  "In a multitude  of consellors there is wisdom," saith the proverb.  If many men of  equal individual wisdom are wiser than any one of them, it must be  that they acquire the excess of wisdom by the mere act of getting  together.  Whence comes it?  Obviously from nowhere -- as well say  that a range of mountains is higher than the single mountains  composing it.  A multitude is as wise as its wisest member if it obey  him; if not, it is no wiser than its most foolish.

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.

    By means of the Mummy, mankind, it is said,

    Attests to the gods its respect for the dead.

    We plunder his tomb, be he sinner or saint,

    Distil him for physic and grind him for paint,

    Exhibit for money his poor, shrunken frame,

    And with levity flock to the scene of the shame.

    O, tell me, ye gods, for the use of my rhyme:

    For respecting the dead what's the limit of time?

                                                          Scopas Brune

MUSTANG, n.  An indocile horse of the western plains.  In English  society, the American wife of an English nobleman.

MYRMIDON, n.  A follower of Achilles -- particularly when he didn't  lead.

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.

    Juno drank a cup of nectar,

    But the draught did not affect her.

    Juno drank a cup of rye --

    Then she bad herself good-bye.


NEGRO, n.  The piece de resistance in the American political  problem.  Representing him by the letter n, the Republicans begin to  build their equation thus:  "Let n = the white man."  This, however,  appears to give an unsatisfactory solution.

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  Tolstoi.  The leader of the school is Tolstoi.

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.

NOSE, n.  The extreme outpost of the face.  From the circumstance that  great conquerors have great noses, Getius, whose writings antedate the  age of humor, calls the nose the organ of quell.  It has been observed  that one's nose is never so happy as when thrust into the affairs of  others, from which some physiologists have drawn the inference that  the nose is devoid of the sense of smell.

        There's a man with a Nose,

        And wherever he goes

    The people run from him and shout:

        "No cotton have we

        For our ears if so be

    He blow that interminous snout!"

        So the lawyers applied

        For injunction.  "Denied,"

    Said the Judge:  "the defendant prefixion,

        Whate'er it portend,

        Appears to transcend

    The bounds of this court's jurisdiction."

                                                         Arpad Singiny

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.

NOUMENON, n.  That which exists, as distinguished from that which  merely seems to exist, the latter being a phenomenon.  The noumenon is  a bit difficult to locate; it can be apprehended only be a process of  reasoning -- which is a phenomenon.  Nevertheless, the discovery and  exposition of noumena offer a rich field for what Lewes calls "the  endless variety and excitement of philosophic thought."  Hurrah  (therefore) for the noumenon!

NOVEL, n.  A short story padded.  A species of composition bearing the  same relation to literature that the panorama bears to art.  As it is  too long to be read at a sitting the impressions made by its  successive parts are successively effaced, as in the panorama.  Unity,  totality of effect, is impossible; for besides the few pages last read  all that is carried in mind is the mere plot of what has gone before.   To the romance the novel is what photography is to painting.  Its  distinguishing principle, probability, corresponds to the literal  actuality of the photograph and puts it distinctly into the category  of reporting; whereas the free wing of the romancer enables him to  mount to such altitudes of imagination as he may be fitted to attain;  and the first three essentials of the literary art are imagination,  imagination and imagination.  The art of writing novels, such as it  was, is long dead everywhere except in Russia, where it is new.  Peace  to its ashes -- some of which have a large sale.

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.

OBSESSED, p.p.  Vexed by an evil spirit, like the Gadarene swine and  other critics.  Obsession was once more common than it is now.   Arasthus tells of a peasant who was occupied by a different devil for  every day in the week, and on Sundays by two.  They were frequently  seen, always walking in his shadow, when he had one, but were finally  driven away by the village notary, a holy man; but they took the  peasant with them, for he vanished utterly.  A devil thrown out of a  woman by the Archbishop of Rheims ran through the trees, pursued by a  hundred persons, until the open country was reached, where by a leap  higher than a church spire he escaped into a bird.  A chaplain in  Cromwell's army exorcised a soldier's obsessing devil by throwing the  soldier into the water, when the devil came to the surface.  The  soldier, unfortunately, did not.

OBSOLETE, adj.  No longer used by the timid.  Said chiefly of words.   A word which some lexicographer has marked obsolete is ever thereafter  an object of dread and loathing to the fool writer, but if it is a  good word and has no exact modern equivalent equally good, it is good  enough for the good writer.  Indeed, a writer's attitude toward  "obsolete" words is as true a measure of his literary ability as  anything except the character of his work.  A dictionary of obsolete  and obsolescent words would not only be singularly rich in strong and  sweet parts of speech; it would add large possessions to the  vocabulary of every competent writer who might not happen to be a  competent reader.

OBSTINATE, adj.  Inaccessible to the truth as it is manifest in the  splendor and stress of our advocacy.

    The popular type and exponent of obstinacy is the mule, a most  intelligent animal.

OCCASIONAL, adj.  Afflicting us with greater or less frequency.  That,  however, is not the sense in which the word is used in the phrase  "occasional verses," which are verses written for an "occasion," such  as an anniversary, a celebration or other event.  True, they afflict  us a little worse than other sorts of verse, but their name has no  reference to irregular recurrence.

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.

    "Old books?  The devil take them!" Goby said.

    "Fresh every day must be my books and bread."

    Nature herself approves the Goby rule

    And gives us every moment a fresh fool.

                                                           Harley Shum

OLEAGINOUS, adj.  Oily, smooth, sleek.

    Disraeli once described the manner of Bishop Wilberforce as  "unctuous, oleaginous, saponaceous."  And the good prelate was ever  afterward known as Soapy Sam.  For every man there is something in the  vocabulary that would stick to him like a second skin.  His enemies  have only to find it.

OLYMPIAN, adj.  Relating to a mountain in Thessaly, once inhabited by  gods, now a repository of yellowing newspapers, beer bottles and  mutilated sardine cans, attesting the presence of the tourist and his  appetite.

    His name the smirking tourist scrawls

    Upon Minerva's temple walls,

    Where thundered once Olympian Zeus,

    And marks his appetite's abuse.

                                                           Averil Joop

OMEN, n.  A sign that something will happen if nothing happens.

ONCE, adv.  Enough.

OPERA, n.  A play representing life in another world, whose  inhabitants have no speech but song, no motions but gestures and no  postures but attitudes.  All acting is simulation, and the word  simulation is from simia, an ape; but in opera the actor takes for  his model Simia audibilis (or Pithecanthropos stentor) -- the ape  that howls.

    The actor apes a man -- at least in shape;

    The opera performer apes and ape.

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.

    How lonely he who thinks to vex

    With bandinage the Solemn Sex!

    Of levity, Mere Man, beware;

    None but the Grave deserve the Unfair.

                                                     Percy P. Orminder

OPPOSITION, n.  In politics the party that prevents the Government from  running amuck by hamstringing it.

    The King of Ghargaroo, who had been abroad to study the science of  government, appointed one hundred of his fattest subjects as members  of a parliament to make laws for the collection of revenue.  Forty of  these he named the Party of Opposition and had his Prime Minister  carefully instruct them in their duty of opposing every royal measure.   Nevertheless, the first one that was submitted passed unanimously.   Greatly displeased, the King vetoed it, informing the Opposition that  if they did that again they would pay for their obstinacy with their  heads.  The entire forty promptly disemboweled themselves.

    "What shall we do now?" the King asked.  "Liberal institutions  cannot be maintained without a party of Opposition."

    "Splendor of the universe," replied the Prime Minister, "it is  true these dogs of darkness have no longer their credentials, but all  is not lost.  Leave the matter to this worm of the dust."

    So the Minister had the bodies of his Majesty's Opposition  embalmed and stuffed with straw, put back into the seats of power and  nailed there.  Forty votes were recorded against every bill and the  nation prospered.  But one day a bill imposing a tax on warts was  defeated -- the members of the Government party had not been nailed to  their seats!  This so enraged the King that the Prime Minister was put  to death, the parliament was dissolved with a battery of artillery,  and government of the people, by the people, for the people perished  from Ghargaroo.

OPTIMISM, n.  The doctrine, or belief, that everything is beautiful,  including what is ugly, everything good, especially the bad, and  everything right that is wrong.  It is held with greatest tenacity by  those most accustomed to the mischance of falling into adversity, and  is most acceptably expounded with the grin that apes a smile.  Being a  blind faith, it is inaccessible to the light of disproof -- an  intellectual disorder, yielding to no treatment but death.  It is  hereditary, but fortunately not contagious.

OPTIMIST, n.  A proponent of the doctrine that black is white.

    A pessimist applied to God for relief.

    "Ah, you wish me to restore your hope and cheerfulness," said God.

    "No," replied the petitioner, "I wish you to create something that  would justify them."

    "The world is all created," said God, "but you have overlooked  something -- the mortality of the optimist."

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 -- a privation appealing with a particular  eloquence to all that is sympathetic in human nature.  When young the  orphan is commonly sent to an asylum, where by careful cultivation of  its rudimentary sense of locality it is taught to know its place.  It  is then instructed in the arts of dependence and servitude and  eventually turned loose to prey upon the world as a bootblack or  scullery maid.

ORTHODOX, n.  An ox wearing the popular religious joke.

ORTHOGRAPHY, n.  The science of spelling by the eye instead of the  ear.  Advocated with more heat than light by the outmates of every  asylum for the insane.  They have had to concede a few things since  the time of Chaucer, but are none the less hot in defence of those to  be conceded hereafter.

    A spelling reformer indicted

    For fudge was before the court cicted.

        The judge said:  "Enough --

        His candle we'll snough,

    And his sepulchre shall not be whicted."

OSTRICH, n.  A large bird to which (for its sins, doubtless) nature  has denied that hinder toe in which so many pious naturalists have  seen a conspicuous evidence of design.  The absence of a good working  pair of wings is no defect, for, as has been ingeniously pointed out,  the ostrich does not fly.

OTHERWISE, adv.  No better.

OUTCOME, n.  A particular type of disappointment.  By the kind of  intelligence that sees in an exception a proof of the rule the wisdom  of an act is judged by the outcome, the result.  This is immortal  nonsense; the wisdom of an act is to be juded by the light that the  doer had when he performed it.

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.

    I climbed to the top of a mountain one day

        To see the sun setting in glory,

    And I thought, as I looked at his vanishing ray,

        Of a perfectly splendid story.

    'Twas about an old man and the ass he bestrode

        Till the strength of the beast was o'ertested;

    Then the man would carry him miles on the road

        Till Neddy was pretty well rested.

    The moon rising solemnly over the crest

        Of the hills to the east of my station

    Displayed her broad disk to the darkening west

        Like a visible new creation.

    And I thought of a joke (and I laughed till I cried)

        Of an idle young woman who tarried

    About a church-door for a look at the bride,

        Although 'twas herself that was married.

    To poets all Nature is pregnant with grand

        Ideas -- with thought and emotion.

    I pity the dunces who don't understand

        The speech of earth, heaven and ocean.

                                                       Stromboli Smith

OVATION, n.  n ancient Rome, a definite, formal pageant in honor of  one who had been disserviceable to the enemies of the nation.  A  lesser "triumph."  In modern English the word is improperly used to  signify any loose and spontaneous expression of popular homage to the  hero of the hour and place.

    "I had an ovation!" the actor man said,

        But I thought it uncommonly queer,

    That people and critics by him had been led

            By the ear.

    The Latin lexicon makes his absurd

        Assertion as plain as a peg;

    In "ovum" we find the true root of the word.

            It means egg.

                                                          Dudley Spink

OVEREAT, v.  To dine.

    Hail, Gastronome, Apostle of Excess,

    Well skilled to overeat without distress!

    Thy great invention, the unfatal feast,

    Shows Man's superiority to Beast.

                                                             John Boop

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.

    Formerly, painting and sculpture were combined in the same work:   the ancients painted their statues.  The only present alliance between  the two arts is that the modern painter chisels his patrons.

PALACE, n.  A fine and costly residence, particularly that of a great  official.  The residence of a high dignitary of the Christian Church  is called a palace; that of the Founder of his religion was known as a  field, or wayside.  There is progress.

PALM, n.  A species of tree having several varieties, of which the  familiar "itching palm" (Palma hominis) is most widely distributed  and sedulously cultivated.  This noble vegetable exudes a kind of  invisible gum, which may be detected by applying to the bark a piece  of gold or silver.  The metal will adhere with remarkable tenacity.   The fruit of the itching palm is so bitter and unsatisfying that a  considerable percentage of it is sometimes given away in what are known  as "benefactions."

PALMISTRY, n.  The 947th method (according to Mimbleshaw's  classification) of obtaining money by false pretences.  It consists in  "reading character" in the wrinkles made by closing the hand.  The  pretence is not altogether false; character can really be read very  accurately in this way, for the wrinkles in every hand submitted  plainly spell the word "dupe."  The imposture consists in not reading  it aloud.

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 by the Audible Reformer.  When disturbed by his voice the  ancient echoes clamor appropriate responses most gratifying to his  pride of distinction.

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.

PANTHEISM, n.  The doctrine that everything is God, in  contradistinction to the doctrine that God is everything.

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.  A moving line called the  Present parts it from an imaginary period known as the Future.  These  two grand divisions of Eternity, of which the one is continually  effacing the other, are entirely unlike.  The one is dark with sorrow  and disappointment, the other bright with prosperity and joy.  The  Past is the region of sobs, the Future is the realm of song.  In the  one crouches Memory, clad in sackcloth and ashes, mumbling penitential  prayer; in the sunshine of the other Hope flies with a free wing,  beckoning to temples of success and bowers of ease.  Yet the Past is  the Future of yesterday, the Future is the Past of to-morrow.  They  are one -- the knowledge and the dream.

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.

    In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the  last resort of a scoundrel.  With all due respect to an enlightened  but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first.

PEACE, n.  In international affairs, a period of cheating between two  periods of fighting.

    O, what's the loud uproar assailing

        Mine ears without cease?

    'Tis the voice of the hopeful, all-hailing

        The horrors of peace.

    Ah, Peace Universal; they woo it --

        Would marry it, too.

    If only they knew how to do it

        'Twere easy to do.

    They're working by night and by day

        On their problem, like moles.

    Have mercy, O Heaven, I pray,

        On their meddlesome souls!

                                                               Ro Amil

PEDESTRIAN, n.  The variable (an audible) part of the roadway for an  automobile.

PEDIGREE, n.  The known part of the route from an arboreal ancestor  with a swim bladder to an urban descendant with a cigarette.

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.

    The editor of an English magazine having received a letter  pointing out the erroneous nature of his views and style, and signed  "Perfection," promptly wrote at the foot of the letter:  "I don't  agree with you," and mailed it to Matthew Arnold.

PERIPATETIC, adj.  Walking about.  Relating to the philosophy of  Aristotle, who, while expounding it, moved from place to place in  order to avoid his pupil's objections.  A needless precaution -- they  knew no more of the matter than he.

PERORATION, n.  The explosion of an oratorical rocket.  It dazzles,  but to an observer having the wrong kind of nose its most conspicuous  peculiarity is the smell of the several kinds of powder used in  preparing it.

PERSEVERANCE, n.  A lowly virtue whereby mediocrity achieves an  inglorious success.

    "Persevere, persevere!" cry the homilists all,

    Themselves, day and night, persevering to bawl.

    "Remember the fable of tortoise and hare --

    The one at the goal while the other is -- where?"

    Why, back there in Dreamland, renewing his lease

    Of life, all his muscles preserving the peace,

    The goal and the rival forgotten alike,

    And the long fatigue of the needless hike.

    His spirit a-squat in the grass and the dew

    Of the dogless Land beyond the Stew,

    He sleeps, like a saint in a holy place,

    A winner of all that is good in a race.

                                                          Sukker Uffro

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.

PHILISTINE, n.  One whose mind is the creature of its environment,  following the fashion in thought, feeling and sentiment.  He is  sometimes learned, frequently prosperous, commonly clean and always  solemn.

PHILOSOPHY, n.  A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.

PHOENIX, n.  The classical prototype of the modern "small hot bird."

PHONOGRAPH, n.  An irritating toy that restores life to dead noises.

PHOTOGRAPH, n.  A picture painted by the sun without instruction in  art.  It is a little better than the work of an Apache, but not quite  so good as that of a Cheyenne.

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.

    "There is no art," says Shakespeare, foolish man,

        "To read the mind's construction in the face."

    The physiognomists his portrait scan,

        And say:  "How little wisdom here we trace!

    He knew his face disclosed his mind and heart,

    So, in his own defence, denied our art."

                                                         Lavatar Shunk

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.

PICKANINNY, n.  The young of the Procyanthropos, or Americanus  dominans.  It is small, black and charged with political fatalities.

PICTURE, n.  A representation in two dimensions of something wearisome in three.

    "Behold great Daubert's picture here on view --

    Taken from Life."  If that description's true,

    Grant, heavenly Powers, that I be taken, too.

                                                             Jali Hane

PIE, n.  An advance agent of the reaper whose name is Indigestion.

    Cold pie was highly esteemed by the remains.

                                                       Rev. Dr. Mucker

                         (in a funeral sermon over a British nobleman)

    Cold pie is a detestable

    American comestible.

    That's why I'm done -- or undone --

    So far from that dear London.

               (from the headstone of a British nobleman in Kalamazoo)