You are using Internet Explorer 8 to view this site. IE8 is a 6-year-old browser that does not display modern web sites properly. Please upgrade to a newer browser to make best use of this site. Contact your local library branch if you require assistance. For more information, see this FAQ page.
Born in Ohio in 1842, journalist, short-story writer and critic Ambrose Bierce developed into one of this country's most celebrated and cynical wits -- a merciless "American Swift" whose literary barbs were aimed at folly, self-delusion, politics, business, religion, literature and the arts. In this splendid "dictionary" of epigrams, essays, verses and vignettes, you'll find over 1,000 pointed definitions, e.g. Congratulation ("The civility of envy"), Coward ("One who in a perilous emergency thinks with his legs") and Historian ("A broad-gauge gossip"). Anyone who likes to laugh will love The Devil's Dictionary. Anyone looking for a bon mot to enliven their next speech, paper or conversation will have a field day thumbing through what H. L. Mencken called "some of the most gorgeous witticisms in the English language."