Ambrose Bierce Lives!

Ambrose Bierce was a veteran of the Civil war, a reporter, poet and author. He is best remembered for two things. The Devil’s Dictionary and his disappearance in 1914.

Ambrose Bierce, reporter, author and poet

Yeah, so what? Bierce wrote The Devils Dictionary. In it he provides alternate definitions for common terms. Here are some examples, for those of you too lazy to hit the link.

G – The Devil’s Dictionary Dot-Com (

BELLADONNAn. In Italian a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues.
FAITHn. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.
LIBERTARIANn. One who is compelled by the evidence to believe in free-will, and whose will is therefore free to reject that doctrine.

  • The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious.
  • The kind of ignorance affected by (and affecting) civilized races, as distinguished from Ignorance, the sort of learning incurred by savages. See NONSENSE.

PARDONv. To remit a penalty and restore to a life of crime. To add to the lure of crime the temptation of ingratitude.
PLEBISCITEn. A popular vote to ascertain the will of the sovereign.
MALEn. 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.
FEMALEn. One of the opposing, or unfair, sex.
GENDERn. The sex of words.
POLITICSn. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
SELF-ESTEEMn. An erroneous appraisement.

Mark Twain could have been right when he said:

“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”

Mark Twain

Stanford University proves up Twain’s statement by coming up with the “Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative.” On the other hand, this could be taken as proof that Ambrose Bierce is alive and well and a member of the Stanford faculty.

Ambrose Bierce went down to Mexico in 1914 to cover the Mexican revolution. He was never seen or heard from again. In the 70’s he was reincarnated by Gregory Peck in the film, “The Old Gringo.” His Devil’s Dictionary is enjoying a resurgence in 2022, in the form of Stanford report. According to Powerline blog, the manifesto was posted online and then quickly taken down.