Devil's Dictionary – D (page 2)  Subscribe E-mail  Words Bookshop  Link to this Site  Take Our Survey  Add to Favorites

BORED? Play our free word gamesINTERACTIVE HANGMAN

Devil's Dictionary: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

<< Previous Page Index Page Next Page >>

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.


<< Previous Page Index Page Next Page >>

The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, online at Fun-With-Words.com.

How to Order a Copy of this Book

There are two versions of this book available. First, there is The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, as originally published in 1911. This is identical to the online version on the Fun-With-Words.com website, with almost 1,000 entries.

The second, which we recommend highly, is The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, which has about 1,600 citations.

The Devil's Dictionary The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary
Same as 1911 edition
Approx. 1,000 Citations
Extra material: 1,600 Citations
With additional annotation
Buy from Amazon US Buy from Amazon US
Buy from Amazon UK Buy from Amazon UK

Do you know anyone else who would enjoy this? Email this page to a friend.
Also: Sign up for our free web site updates here.

[Top of Page] [Home Page] ©1999-2014 Fun-with-words.com
Recommended Book:
The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary ...
Buy this book at Amazon
View all in this category:
General Wordplay Books
Hundreds more books at:
Wordplay Book Store




 
achluophobia
is the fear of darkness
Click for more phobia words