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Ambrose Bierce Quotes

Ambrose Bierce Quote

Ambrose Bierce was an American journalist, satirist, and short-story writer, born on June 24, 1842, in Meigs County, Ohio. Bierce is best known for his dark, often macabre stories and cynical, sardonic wit. He was also a skilled journalist, having worked for several newspapers including the San Francisco Examiner and the Hearst Corporation.

Bierce’s childhood was marked by tragedy; his father disappeared when he was young, and his mother died when he was only 13. Despite these difficulties, Bierce was a bright student and went on to attend the Kentucky Military Institute. After graduation, he enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War, serving in several key battles, including the Battle of Shiloh and the Battle of Chickamauga. Bierce’s experiences in the war would deeply influence his writing, and many of his stories deal with the horrors of war and its psychological effects on soldiers.

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After the war, Bierce moved to San Francisco and began his career as a journalist. He quickly gained a reputation for his biting wit and incisive commentary, earning the nickname “Bitter Bierce.” In addition to his journalism, Bierce began to write short stories, many of which were published in magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly and Harper’s Weekly. His most famous collection, “Tales of Soldiers and Civilians” (also known as “In the Midst of Life”), was published in 1891 and includes such stories as “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” and “Chickamauga.”

Bierce was a prolific writer, producing hundreds of short stories, essays, and poems over the course of his career. He was also known for his acerbic wit and his ability to skewer hypocrisy and pretension with a few well-chosen words. Bierce’s writing was often dark and pessimistic, reflecting his own view of the world as a cruel and unforgiving place.

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In 1913, Bierce decided to travel to Mexico, where a revolution was taking place. He disappeared without a trace, and his ultimate fate is unknown. Despite extensive searches and investigations, no one knows for sure what happened to him. This mysterious disappearance has only added to Bierce’s legend and cemented his place as one of the most fascinating and enigmatic writers in American literature.

Ambrose Bierce leaves an indelible mark with his astute observations on war and politics. Here are some thought-provoking Ambrose Bierce quotes that shed light on these timeless subjects.

Famous Ambrose Bierce Quotes

1.“A temporary insanity curable by marriage.”

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

3. “The covers of this book are too far apart.”

4. “Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.”

5. “Garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.”

6. “A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me.”

A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me. - Ambrose Bierce

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

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

9. “Pray, v. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner, confessedly unworthy.”

10. “Selfish, adj. Devoid of consideration for the selfishness of others.”

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

12. “ A tax on people who are bad at math.”

13. “ A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are not as they ought to be.”

14. “ Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.”

15. “ The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based.”

16. “An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.”

17. “That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding.”

18. “Deliverance of sinners from the penalty of their sin through their murder of the deity against whom they sinned. The doctrine of Redemption is the fundamental mystery of our holy religions, and whoso believeth in it shall not perish, but have everlasting life in which to try to understand it.”

19. “To lay the foundation for a future offence.”

20. “A benighted creature who has the folly to worship something he can see and feel.”

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21. “ A person who talks when you wish him to listen.”

22. “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.”

23. “Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum — “I think that I think, therefore I think that I am;” as close an approach to certainty as any philosopher has yet made.”

24. “ The slaying of one human being by another. There are four kinds of homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy, but it makes no great difference to the person slain whether he fell by one kind or another — the classification is for advantage of the lawyers.”

25. “ Mistaken at the top of one’s voice.”

26. “The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog.”

The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog. - Ambrose Bierce

27. “You are not permitted to kill a woman who has wronged you, but nothing forbids you to reflect that she is growing older every minute.”

28. “ A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.”

29. “ One of the signal and characteristic qualities of humanity.”

30. “You don’t have to be stupid to be a Christian, … but it probably helps.”

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31. “Abstainer: a weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure.

32. “A place where the wicked cease from troubling you with talk of their personal affairs, and the good listen with attention while you expound on yours.”

33. “I keep a conscience uncorrupted by religion, a judgment undimmed by politics and patriotism, a heart untainted by friendships and sentiments unsoured by animosities.”

34. “A nation that will not enforce its laws has no claim to the respect and allegiance of its people.”

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

36. “An election is nothing more than the advanced auction of stolen goods.”

37. “There is nothing new under the sun but there are lots of old things we don’t know.”

38. ” A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling.”

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

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40. “The dream of a mad philosopher. That which would remain in the cupel if one should assay a phantom. The nucleus of a vacuum.”

41. “Death is not the end; there remains the litigation over the estate.”

42. “Reason is fallible and virtue invincible; the winds vary and the needle forsakes the pole, but stupidity never errs and never intermits.”

43. “When publicly censured our first instinct is to make everybody a codefendant.”

When publicly censured our first instinct is to make everybody a codefendant. - Ambrose Bierce

44. “The period of human life intermediate between the idiocy of infancy and the folly of youth — two removes from the sin of manhood and three from the remorse of age.”

45. “An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.”

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

47. “Immoral” is the judgment of the stalled ox on the gamboling lamb.”

48. “The power by which a woman charms a lover and terrifies a husband.”

49. “A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue.”

50. “Patriotism deliberately and with folly aforethought subordinates the interests of a whole to the interests of a part. Worse still, the fraction so favored is determined by an accident of birth or residence.”

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51. “To those who view the voyage of life from the port of departure the bark that has accomplished any considerable distance appears already in close approach to the farther shore.”

52. “Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.”

53. “The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two.”

54. “The creator and arbiter of beauty is the heart; to the male rattlesnake the female rattlesnake is the loveliest thing in nature.”

55. “When God makes a beautiful woman, the devil opens a new register.”

56. “Youth is Gilead, in which is balm for every wound.”

57. “LAWYER, n. One skilled in circumvention of the law.”

58. “You can effect a change of robbers every four years. Inestimable privilege – to pull off the glutted leech and attach the lean one! And you can not even choose among the lean leeches, but must accept those designated by the programmers and showmen who have the reptiles on tap!”

59. “A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms agains himself. He makes his failure certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it.”

60. “MIND, n. A mysterious form of matter secreted by the brain. Its chief activity consists in the endeavor to ascertain its own nature, the futility of the attempt being due to the fact that it has nothing but itself to know itself with.”

61. “Knowledge is the small part of ignorance that we arrange and classify.”

62. “Perseverance – a lowly virtue whereby mediocrity achieves an inglorious success.”

63. “Saint: A dead sinner revised and edited.”

64. “A warehouse of facts, with poet and liar in joint ownership.”

65. “Consul – in American politics, a person who having failed to secure an office from the people is given one by the Administration on condition that he leave the country.”

66. “Responsibility, n. A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one’s neighbor. In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon a star.”

67. “A wedding is a ceremony at which two persons undertake to become one, one undertakes to become nothing, and nothing undertakes to become supportable.”

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

69. “Fear has no brains; it is an idiot.”

70. “Money. A blessing that is of no advantage to us excepting when we part with it.”

Money. A blessing that is of no advantage to us excepting when we part with it. - Ambrose Bierce

71. “ A proponent of the doctrine that black is white.”

72. “Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.”

73. “Alliance – in international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other’s pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third.”

74. “The partisan strife in which the people of the country are permitted to periodically engage does not tend to the development of ugly traits of character, but merely discloses those that preexist.”

75. ” An animal so lost in rapturous contemplation of what he thinks he is as to overlook what he indubitably ought to be. His chief occupation is extermination of other animals and his own species, which, however, multiplies with such insistent rapidity as to infest the whole habitable earth and Canada.”

76. “A stone flung down the Bowery to kill a dog in Broadway.”

77. “Hypnotism before it wore good clothes, kept a carriage and asked Incredulity to dinner.”

78.“The ultimate, indivisible unit of matter. It is distinguished from the corpuscle, also the ultimate, indivisible unit of matter, by a closer resemblance to the atom, also the ultimate, indivisible unit of matter. Three great scientific theories of the structure of the universe are the molecular, the corpuscular and the atomic. A fourth affirms, with Haeckel, the condensation or precipitation of matter from ether—whose existence is proved by the condensation or precipitation. The present trend of scientific thought is toward the theory of ions. The ion differs from the molecule, the corpuscle and the atom in that it is an ion. A fifth theory is held by idiots, but it is doubtful if they know any more about the matter than the others.”

79. “An arboreal animal which makes itself at home in genealogical trees.”

80. “An animal which strews its path with fainting women.”

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81. “An ancient Egyptian, formerly in universal use among modern civilized nations as medicine, and now engaged in supplying art with an excellent pigment. He is handy, too, in museums in gratifying the vulgar curiosity that serves to distinguish man from the lower animals.”

82. “Pertaining to a philosophy of the universe, invented by Newton, who discovered that an apple will fall to the ground, but was unable to say why. His successors and disciples have advanced so far as to be able to say when.”

83. “A place where astronomers conjecture away the guesses of their predecessors.”

84. “A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man—who has no gills.”

85. ” An unlocked door in the prison of Identity. It leads into the jail yard.”

86. “A large bird to which (for its sins, doubtless) nature has denied that hinder toe in which so many pious naturalists have seen a conspicuous evidence of design. The absence of a good working pair of wings is no defect, for, as has been ingeniously pointed out, the ostrich does not fly.”

87. “A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.”

88. “An irritating toy that restores life to dead noises”

"An irritating toy that restores life to dead noises"-Ambrose Bierce

89. “A picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.”

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90. ” The science of picking the pocket through the scalp. It consists in locating and exploiting the organ that one is a dupe with.”

91. ” One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well.”

92. ” Nature’s fortuitous manifestation of her purposeless objectionableness.”

93. “PLAN, v. t. To bother about the best method of accomplishing an accidental result.”

94. “Suitable for drinking. Water is said to be potable; indeed, some declare it our natural beverage, although even they find it palatable only when suffering from the recurrent disorder known as thirst, for which it is a medicine. Upon nothing has so great and diligent ingenuity been brought to bear in all ages and in all countries, except the most uncivilized, as upon the invention of substitutes for water. To hold that this general aversion to that liquid has no basis in the preservative instinct of the race is to be unscientific—and without science we are as the snakes and toads.”

95. “The rudimentary organ of an elephant which serves him in place of the knife-and-fork that Evolution has as yet denied him.”

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96. “The final arbiter in international disputes. Formerly these disputes were settled by physical contact of the disputants, with such simple arguments as the rudimentary logic of the times could supply —the sword, the spear, and so forth. With the growth of prudence in military affairs the projectile came more and more into favor, and is now held in high esteem by the most courageous. Its capital defect is that it requires personal attendance at the point of propulsion.”

97. “Evidence having a shade more of plausibility than of unlikelihood. The testimony of two credible witnesses as opposed to that of only one.”

98. ” A mineral that gives off heat and stimulates the organ that a scientist is a fool with.”

99. ” The chief of many mechanical devices enabling us to get away from where we are to where we are no better off. For this purpose the railroad is held in highest favor by the optimist, for it permits him to make the transit with great expedition.”

100. “A logical formula consisting of a major and a minor assumption and an inconsequent.”

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