EAT, v.i. To perform successively (and successfully) the functions of
"I was in the drawing-room, enjoying my dinner," said Brillat-
EAVESDROP, v.i. Secretly to overhear a catalogue of the crimes and
A lady with one of her ears applied
To an open keyhole heard, inside,
Two female gossips in converse free --
The subject engaging them was she.
"I think," said one, "and my husband thinks
That she's a prying, inquisitive minx!"
As soon as no more of it she could hear
The lady, indignant, removed her ear.
"I will not stay," she said, with a pout,
"To hear my character lied about!"
ECCENTRICITY, n. A method of distinction so cheap that fools employ
ECONOMY, n. Purchasing the barrel of whiskey that you do not need for
EDIBLE, adj. Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a
EDITOR, n. A person who combines the judicial functions of Minos,
O, the Lord of Law on the Throne of Thought,
A gilded impostor is he.
Of shreds and patches his robes are wrought,
His crown is brass,
Himself an ass,
And his power is fiddle-dee-dee.
Prankily, crankily prating of naught,
Silly old quilly old Monarch of Thought.
Public opinion's camp-follower he,
Thundering, blundering, plundering free.
EDUCATION, n. That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the
EFFECT, n. The second of two phenomena which always occur together in
EGOTIST, n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me.
Megaceph, chosen to serve the State
In the halls of legislative debate,
One day with all his credentials came
To the capitol's door and announced his name.
The doorkeeper looked, with a comical twist
Of the face, at the eminent egotist,
And said: "Go away, for we settle here
All manner of questions, knotty and queer,
And we cannot have, when the speaker demands
To be told how every member stands,
A man who to all things under the sky
Assents by eternally voting 'I'."
EJECTION, n. An approved remedy for the disease of garrulity. It is
ELECTOR, n. One who enjoys the sacred privilege of voting for the man
ELECTRICITY, n. The power that causes all natural phenomena not known
"Monsieur Franqulin, inventor of electricity. This
illustrious savant, after having made several voyages around the
world, died on the Sandwich Islands and was devoured by savages,
of whom not a single fragment was ever recovered."
Electricity seems destined to play a most important part in the
ELEGY, n. A composition in verse, in which, without employing any of
The cur foretells the knell of parting day;
The loafing herd winds slowly o'er the lea;
The wise man homeward plods; I only stay
To fiddle-faddle in a minor key.
ELOQUENCE, n. The art of orally persuading fools that white is the
ELYSIUM, n. An imaginary delightful country which the ancients
EMANCIPATION, n. A bondman's change from the tyranny of another to
He was a slave: at word he went and came;
His iron collar cut him to the bone.
Then Liberty erased his owner's name,
Tightened the rivets and inscribed his own.
EMBALM, v.i. To cheat vegetation by locking up the gases upon which
EMOTION, n. A prostrating disease caused by a determination of the
ENCOMIAST, n. A special (but not particular) kind of liar.
END, n. The position farthest removed on either hand from the
The man was perishing apace
Who played the tambourine;
The seal of death was on his face --
'Twas pallid, for 'twas clean.
"This is the end," the sick man said
In faint and failing tones.
A moment later he was dead,
And Tambourine was Bones.
ENOUGH, pro. All there is in the world if you like it.
Enough is as good as a feast -- for that matter
Enougher's as good as a feast for the platter.
Arbely C. Strunk
ENTERTAINMENT, n. Any kind of amusement whose inroads stop short of
ENTHUSIASM, n. A distemper of youth, curable by small doses of
ENVELOPE, n. The coffin of a document; the scabbard of a bill; the
ENVY, n. Emulation adapted to the meanest capacity.
EPAULET, n. An ornamented badge, serving to distinguish a military
EPICURE, n. An opponent of Epicurus, an abstemious philosopher who,
EPIGRAM, n. A short, sharp saying in prose or verse, frequently
We know better the needs of ourselves than of others. To
serve oneself is economy of administration.
In each human heart are a tiger, a pig, an ass and a
nightingale. Diversity of character is due to their unequal
There are three sexes; males, females and girls.
Beauty in women and distinction in men are alike in this:
they seem to be the unthinking a kind of credibility.
Women in love are less ashamed than men. They have less to be
While your friend holds you affectionately by both your hands
you are safe, for you can watch both his.
EPITAPH, n. An inscription on a tomb, showing that virtues acquired
Here lie the bones of Parson Platt,
Wise, pious, humble and all that,
Who showed us life as all should live it;
Let that be said -- and God forgive it!
ERUDITION, n. Dust shaken out of a book into an empty skull.
So wide his erudition's mighty span,
He knew Creation's origin and plan
And only came by accident to grief --
He thought, poor man, 'twas right to be a thief.
ESOTERIC, adj. Very particularly abstruse and consummately occult.
ETHNOLOGY, n. The science that treats of the various tribes of Man,
EUCHARIST, n. A sacred feast of the religious sect of Theophagi.
A dispute once unhappily arose among the members of this sect as
EULOGY, n. Praise of a person who has either the advantages of wealth
EVANGELIST, n. A bearer of good tidings, particularly (in a religious
EVERLASTING, adj. Lasting forever. It is with no small diffidence
EXCEPTION, n. A thing which takes the liberty to differ from other
confirms it. The malefactor who drew the meaning from this
EXCESS, n. In morals, an indulgence that enforces by appropriate
Hail, high Excess -- especially in wine,
To thee in worship do I bend the knee
Who preach abstemiousness unto me --
My skull thy pulpit, as my paunch thy shrine.
Precept on precept, aye, and line on line,
Could ne'er persuade so sweetly to agree
With reason as thy touch, exact and free,
Upon my forehead and along my spine.
At thy command eschewing pleasure's cup,
With the hot grape I warm no more my wit;
When on thy stool of penitence I sit
I'm quite converted, for I can't get up.
Ungrateful he who afterward would falter
To make new sacrifices at thine altar!
This "excommunication" is a word
In speech ecclesiastical oft heard,
And means the damning, with bell, book and candle,
Some sinner whose opinions are a scandal --
A rite permitting Satan to enslave him
Forever, and forbidding Christ to save him.
EXECUTIVE, n. An officer of the Government, whose duty it is to
LUNARIAN: Then when your Congress has passed a law it goes
directly to the Supreme Court in order that it may at once be
known whether it is constitutional?
TERRESTRIAN: O no; it does not require the approval of the
Supreme Court until having perhaps been enforced for many
years somebody objects to its operation against himself -- I
mean his client. The President, if he approves it, begins to
execute it at once.
LUNARIAN: Ah, the executive power is a part of the legislative.
Do your policemen also have to approve the local ordinances
that they enforce?
TERRESTRIAN: Not yet -- at least not in their character of
constables. Generally speaking, though, all laws require the
approval of those whom they are intended to restrain.
LUNARIAN: I see. The death warrant is not valid until signed by
TERRESTRIAN: My friend, you put it too strongly; we are not so
LUNARIAN: But this system of maintaining an expensive judicial
machinery to pass upon the validity of laws only after they
have long been executed, and then only when brought before the
court by some private person -- does it not cause great
TERRESTRIAN: It does.
LUNARIAN: Why then should not your laws, previously to being
executed, be validated, not by the signature of your
President, but by that of the Chief Justice of the Supreme
TERRESTRIAN: There is no precedent for any such course.
LUNARIAN: Precedent. What is that?
TERRESTRIAN: It has been defined by five hundred lawyers in three
volumes each. So how can any one know?
EXHORT, v.t. In religious affairs, to put the conscience of another
EXILE, n. One who serves his country by residing abroad, yet is not
An English sea-captain being asked if he had read "The Exile of
Aug. 3d, 1842. Made a joke on the ex-Isle of Erin. Coldly
received. War with the whole world!
A transient, horrible, fantastic dream,
Wherein is nothing yet all things do seem:
From which we're wakened by a friendly nudge
Of our bedfellow Death, and cry: "O fudge!"
EXPERIENCE, n. The wisdom that enables us to recognize as an
To one who, journeying through night and fog,
Is mired neck-deep in an unwholesome bog,
Experience, like the rising of the dawn,
Reveals the path that he should not have gone.
Joel Frad Bink
EXPOSTULATION, n. One of the many methods by which fools prefer to
EXTINCTION, n. The raw material out of which theology created the