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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!" --G.J.


Ambrose Bierce

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PEDIGREE, n. The known part of the route from an arboreal ancestor with a swim bladder to an urban d...
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ACCUSE, v.t. To affirm another's guilt or unworth; most commonly as a justification of ourselves for...
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EMBALM, v.i. To cheat vegetation by locking up the gases upon which it feeds. By embalming their dea...
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SERIAL, n. A literary work, usually a story that is not true, creeping through several issues of a n...
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ACQUAINTANCE, n. A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to. A...
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PANTALOONS, n. A nether habiliment of the adult civilized male. The garment is tubular and unprovide...
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BOUNTY, n. The liberality of one who has much, in permitting one who has nothing to get all that he ...
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EXTINCTION, n. The raw material out of which theology created the future state.
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ROBBER, n. A candid man of affairs. It is related of Voltaire that one night he and some traveling c...
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Absurdity, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.
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LUNARIAN, n. An inhabitant of the moon, as distinguished from Lunatic, one whom the moon inhabits. T...
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WINE, n. Fermented grape-juice known to the Women's Christian Union as "liquor," sometimes as "rum."...
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QUORUM, n. A sufficient number of members of a deliberative body to have their own way and their own...
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Land: A part of the earth's surface, considered as property. The theory that land is property su...
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ARRAYED, pp. Drawn up and given an orderly disposition, as a rioter hanged to a lamppost.
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PREDILECTION, n. The preparatory stage of disillusion.
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Pitted against hard drinking Christians the abstemious Mahometans go down like grass before the scyt...
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Coward: One who, in a perilous emergency, thinks with his legs.
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Opportunity is a favorable occasion for grasping a disappointment.
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UGLINESS, n. A gift of the gods to certain women, entailing virtue without humility.
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From the vast, invisible ocean of moonlight overhead fell, here and here, a slender, broken stream t...
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He who thinks with difficulty believes with alacrity.
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You don't have to be stupid to be a Christian, ... but it probably helps.
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Edible. Good to eat and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pi...
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Consult. To seek another's approval of a course already decided on.
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They say that hens do cackle loudest when there is nothing vital in the eggs they have laid.
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Impiety. Your irreverence toward my deity.
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Deliberation. The act of examining one's bread to determine which side it is buttered on.
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PROPHECY, n. The art and practice of selling one's credibility for future delivery.
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Admiration; is our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves.
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Optimism. The doctrine or belief that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly.
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An optimist is a proponent of the doctrine that black is white.
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Appeal. In law, to put the dice into the box for another throw.
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Wit. The salt with which the American humorist spoils his intellectual cookery by leaving it out.
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To apologize is to lay the foundation for a future offense.
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The gambling known as business looks with austere disfavor upon the business known as gambling.
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Consul. In American politics, a person who having failed to secure an office from the people is give...
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Forgetfulness. A gift of God bestowed upon debtors in compensation for their destitution of conscien...
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The covers of this book are too far apart.
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The Senate is a body of old men charged with high duties and misdemeanors.
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To be positive: to be mistaken at the top of one's voice.
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Censor, n. An officer of certain governments, employed to supress the works of genius. Among the Rom...
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Genealogy. An account of one's descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to trace his o...
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Woman absent is woman dead.
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DIPLOMACY, n. Lying in state, or the patriotic art of lying for one's country.
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Calamities are of two kinds. Misfortune to ourselves, and good fortune to others.
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YANKEE, n. In Europe, an American. In the Northern States of our Union, a New Englander. In the So...
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Politeness, n. The most acceptable hypocrisy.
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Calamities are of two kinds: misfortunes to ourselves, and good fortune to others.
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