Quotes by Ambrose Bierce

This list of quotes from American writer Ambrose Bierce covers the nature of politics, society and human nature.

Best Ambrose Bierce Quotes

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) was an American writer, editor, and satirist.

Bierce’s writing often dealt with dark and macabre themes, and he is best known for his short stories, including “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” which tells the story of a man’s execution during the Civil War. He was also a keen observer of American society and politics, and his satirical writing frequently criticized government corruption and social injustice.

Bierce’s life and work have been the subject of much study and speculation. He disappeared under mysterious circumstances in 1913 and was never seen again, leading to many theories about his fate. His writing continues to be celebrated for its innovative style and its commentary on American society and culture.

Famous Quotes By Ambrose Bierce

Inhumanity, n. One of the signal and characteristic qualities

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

The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog

VOTE, n. The instrument and symbol of a freeman’s power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

Quotes From Ambrose Bierce

Wisdom is known only by contrasting it with folly; by shadow only we perceive that all visible objects are not flat.

Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage

Brain: an apparatus with which we think we think.

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

Lawyer – One skilled in the circumvention of the law.

Well Known Quotes Ambrose Bierce

Democracy is four wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.

Egotist, n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me.

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

Politeness , n. The most acceptable hypocrisy.

Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.

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

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

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

Revelation, n. A famous book in which St. John the Divine concealed all that he knew. The revealing is done by the commentators, who know nothing.

Admiration, n. Our polite recognition of another’s resemblance to ourselves.

Woman would be more charming if one could fall into her arms without falling into her hands.

I think that I think, therefore I think that I am.

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.

Bore, n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen.

When lost in a forest go always down hill. When lost in a philosophy or doctrine go upward.

Infidel, n. In New York, one who does not believe in the Christian religion; in Constantinople, one who does.

God alone knows the future, but only an historian can alter the past.

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

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

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

Pig, n. An animal () closely allied to the human race by the splendor and vivacity of its appetite, which, however, is inferior in scope, for it sticks at pig.

Prejudice, n. A vagrant opinion without visible means of support.

Quotation, n. The act of repeating erroneously the words of another. The words erroneously repeated.

Road, n. A strip of land along which one may pass from where it is too tiresome to be to where it is futile to go.

Saint, n. A dead sinner, revised and edited.

Selfish, adj. Devoid of consideration for the selfishness of others.

Success, n. The one unpardonable sin against one’s fellows.

Virtues, n. pl. Certain abstentions.

Year, n. A period of three hundred and sixty-five disappointments.

Opportunity, n. A favorable occasion for grasping a disappointment.

Opposition, n. In politics the party that prevents the Government from running amok by hamstringing it.

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

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

Diplomacy, n. The patriotic art of lying for one’s country.

Defenseless, adj. Unable to attack.

Boundary, n. In political geography, an imaginary line between two nations, separating the imaginary rights of one from the imaginary rights of the other.

Absurdity, n. A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one’s own opinion.

Abstainer, n. A weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure.

Abnormal, adj. Not conforming to standards in matters of thought and conduct. To be independent is to be abnormal, to be abnormal is to be detested.

If you would be accounted great by your contemporaries, be not too much greater than they.

If you want to read a perfect book there is only one way: write it.

A popular author is one who writes what the people think. Genius invites them to think something else.

The poor man’s price of admittance to the favor of the rich is his self-respect.

To the eye of failure success is an accident.

Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.

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

Aphorism, n. Predigested wisdom.

Reality, n. The dream of a mad philosopher.

Apologize, v. To lay the foundation for a future offense.

Ambition, n. An overmastering desire to be vilified by enemies while living and made ridiculous by friends when dead.

Alone, adj. In bad company.

Barometer, n. An ingenious instrument which indicates what kind of weather we are having.

Christian, n. One who follows the teachings of Christ so long as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.

Circus, n. A place where horses, ponies and elephants are permitted to see men, women and children acting the fool.

Congratulation, n. The civility of envy.

Conservative, n. A statesman enamored of existing evils, as opposed to a Liberal, who wants to replace them with others.

Dictionary, n. A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic.

Erudition, n. Dust shaken out of a book into an empty skull.

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

Genealogy, n. An account of one’s descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to trace his own.

Infancy, n. The period of our lives when, according to Wordsworth, “Heaven lies about us.” The world begins lying about us pretty soon afterward.

Liberty, n. One of imagination’s most precious possessions.

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

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

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

Zeal, n. A certain nervous disorder afflicting the young and inexperienced. A passion that goeth before a sprawl.

If you would be accounted great by your contemporaries, be not too much greater than they.

The only distinction that democracies reward is a high degree of conformity.

All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusion is called a philosopher.

The hardest tumble a man can take is to fall over his own bluff.

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