ABASEMENT, n. A decent and customary mental attitude in the presence
ABATIS, n. Rubbish in front of a fort, to prevent the rubbish outside
ABDICATION, n. An act whereby a sovereign attests his sense of the
Poor Isabella's Dead, whose abdication
Set all tongues wagging in the Spanish nation.
For that performance 'twere unfair to scold her:
She wisely left a throne too hot to hold her.
To History she'll be no royal riddle --
Merely a plain parched pea that jumped the griddle.
ABDOMEN, n. The temple of the god Stomach, in whose worship, with
ABILITY, n. The natural equipment to accomplish some small part of
ABNORMAL, adj. Not conforming to standard. In matters of thought and
ABORIGINIES, n. Persons of little worth found cumbering the soil of a
By Abracadabra we signify
An infinite number of things.
'Tis the answer to What? and How? and Why?
And Whence? and Whither? -- a word whereby
The Truth (with the comfort it brings)
Is open to all who grope in night,
Crying for Wisdom's holy light.
Whether the word is a verb or a noun
Is knowledge beyond my reach.
I only know that 'tis handed down.
From sage to sage,
From age to age --
An immortal part of speech!
Of an ancient man the tale is told
That he lived to be ten centuries old,
In a cave on a mountain side.
(True, he finally died.)
The fame of his wisdom filled the land,
For his head was bald, and you'll understand
His beard was long and white
And his eyes uncommonly bright.
Philosophers gathered from far and near
To sit at his feat and hear and hear,
Though he never was heard
To utter a word
But "Abracadabra, abracadab,
Abraca, abrac, abra, ab!"
'Twas all he had,
'Twas all they wanted to hear, and each
Made copious notes of the mystical speech,
Which they published next --
A trickle of text
In the meadow of commentary.
Mighty big books were these,
In a number, as leaves of trees;
In learning, remarkably -- very!
As I said,
And the books of the sages have perished,
But his wisdom is sacredly cherished.
In Abracadabra it solemnly rings,
Like an ancient bell that forever swings.
O, I love to hear
That word make clear
Humanity's General Sense of Things.
ABRIDGE, v.t. To shorten.
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for
people to abridge their king, a decent respect for the opinions of
mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel
them to the separation.
ABRUPT, adj. Sudden, without ceremony, like the arrival of a cannon-
ABSCOND, v.i. To "move in a mysterious way," commonly with the
Spring beckons! All things to the call respond;
The trees are leaving and cashiers abscond.
ABSENT, adj. Peculiarly exposed to the tooth of detraction; vilifed;
To men a man is but a mind. Who cares
What face he carries or what form he wears?
But woman's body is the woman. O,
Stay thou, my sweetheart, and do never go,
But heed the warning words the sage hath said:
A woman absent is a woman dead.
ABSENTEE, n. A person with an income who has had the forethought to
ABSOLUTE, adj. Independent, irresponsible. An absolute monarchy is
ABSTAINER, n. A weak person who yields to the temptation of denying
Said a man to a crapulent youth: "I thought
You a total abstainer, my son."
"So I am, so I am," said the scrapgrace caught --
"But not, sir, a bigoted one."
ABSURDITY, n. A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with
ACADEME, n. An ancient school where morality and philosophy were
ACADEMY, n. [from ACADEME] A modern school where football is
ACCIDENT, n. An inevitable occurrence due to the action of immutable
ACCOMPLICE, n. One associated with another in a crime, having guilty
ACCORD, n. Harmony.
ACCORDION, n. An instrument in harmony with the sentiments of an
ACCOUNTABILITY, n. The mother of caution.
"My accountability, bear in mind,"
Said the Grand Vizier: "Yes, yes,"
Said the Shah: "I do -- 'tis the only kind
Of ability you possess."
ACCUSE, v.t. To affirm another's guilt or unworth; most commonly as a
ACEPHALOUS, adj. In the surprising condition of the Crusader who
ACHIEVEMENT, n. The death of endeavor and the birth of disgust.
ACKNOWLEDGE, v.t. To confess. Acknowledgement of one another's
ACQUAINTANCE, n. A person whom we know well enough to borrow from,
ACTUALLY, adv. Perhaps; possibly.
ADAGE, n. Boned wisdom for weak teeth.
ADAMANT, n. A mineral frequently found beneath a corset. Soluble in
ADDER, n. A species of snake. So called from its habit of adding
ADHERENT, n. A follower who has not yet obtained all that he expects
ADMINISTRATION, n. An ingenious abstraction in politics, designed to
ADMIRAL, n. That part of a war-ship which does the talking while the
ADMIRATION, n. Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to
ADMONITION, n. Gentle reproof, as with a meat-axe. Friendly warning.
Consigned by way of admonition,
His soul forever to perdition.
ADORE, v.t. To venerate expectantly.
ADVICE, n. The smallest current coin.
"The man was in such deep distress,"
Said Tom, "that I could do no less
Than give him good advice." Said Jim:
"If less could have been done for him
I know you well enough, my son,
To know that's what you would have done."
AFFIANCED, pp. Fitted with an ankle-ring for the ball-and-chain.
AFFLICTION, n. An acclimatizing process preparing the soul for
AFRICAN, n. A nigger that votes our way.
AGE, n. That period of life in which we compound for the vices that
AGITATOR, n. A statesman who shakes the fruit trees of his neighbors
AIM, n. The task we set our wishes to.
"Cheer up! Have you no aim in life?"
She tenderly inquired.
"An aim? Well, no, I haven't, wife;
The fact is -- I have fired."
AIR, n. A nutritious substance supplied by a bountiful Providence for
ALDERMAN, n. An ingenious criminal who covers his secret thieving
ALIEN, n. An American sovereign in his probationary state.
ALLAH, n. The Mahometan Supreme Being, as distinguished from the
Allah's good laws I faithfully have kept,
And ever for the sins of man have wept;
And sometimes kneeling in the temple I
Have reverently crossed my hands and slept.
This thing Allegiance, as I suppose,
Is a ring fitted in the subject's nose,
Whereby that organ is kept rightly pointed
To smell the sweetness of the Lord's anointed.
ALLIANCE, n. In international politics, the union of two thieves who
ALLIGATOR, n. The crocodile of America, superior in every detail to
ALONE, adj. In bad company.
In contact, lo! the flint and steel,
By spark and flame, the thought reveal
That he the metal, she the stone,
Had cherished secretly alone.
ALTAR, n. The place whereupon the priest formerly raveled out the
They stood before the altar and supplied
The fire themselves in which their fat was fried.
In vain the sacrifice! -- no god will claim
An offering burnt with an unholy flame.
AMBIDEXTROUS, adj. Able to pick with equal skill a right-hand pocket
AMBITION, n. An overmastering desire to be vilified by enemies while
AMNESTY, n. The state's magnanimity to those offenders whom it would
ANOINT, v.t. To grease a king or other great functionary already
As sovereigns are anointed by the priesthood,
So pigs to lead the populace are greased good.
ANTIPATHY, n. The sentiment inspired by one's friend's friend.
APHORISM, n. Predigested wisdom.
The flabby wine-skin of his brain
Yields to some pathologic strain,
And voids from its unstored abysm
The driblet of an aphorism.
"The Mad Philosopher," 1697
APOLOGIZE, v.i. To lay the foundation for a future offence.
APOSTATE, n. A leech who, having penetrated the shell of a turtle
APOTHECARY, n. The physician's accomplice, undertaker's benefactor
When Jove sent blessings to all men that are,
And Mercury conveyed them in a jar,
That friend of tricksters introduced by stealth
Disease for the apothecary's health,
Whose gratitude impelled him to proclaim:
"My deadliest drug shall bear my patron's name!"
APPEAL, v.t. In law, to put the dice into the box for another throw.
APPETITE, n. An instinct thoughtfully implanted by Providence as a
APPLAUSE, n. The echo of a platitude.
APRIL FOOL, n. The March fool with another month added to his folly.
ARCHBISHOP, n. An ecclesiastical dignitary one point holier than a
If I were a jolly archbishop,
On Fridays I'd eat all the fish up --
Salmon and flounders and smelts;
On other days everything else.
ARCHITECT, n. One who drafts a plan of your house, and plans a draft
ARDOR, n. The quality that distinguishes love without knowledge.
ARENA, n. In politics, an imaginary rat-pit in which the statesman
ARISTOCRACY, n. Government by the best men. (In this sense the word
ARMOR, n. The kind of clothing worn by a man whose tailor is a
ARRAYED, pp. Drawn up and given an orderly disposition, as a rioter
ARREST, v.t. Formally to detain one accused of unusualness.
God made the world in six days and was arrested on the seventh.
The Unauthorized Version
ARSENIC, n. A kind of cosmetic greatly affected by the ladies, whom
"Eat arsenic? Yes, all you get,"
Consenting, he did speak up;
"'Tis better you should eat it, pet,
Than put it in my teacup."
ART, n. This word has no definition. Its origin is related as
One day a wag -- what would the wretch be at? --
Shifted a letter of the cipher RAT,
And said it was a god's name! Straight arose
Fantastic priests and postulants (with shows,
And mysteries, and mummeries, and hymns,
And disputations dire that lamed their limbs)
To serve his temple and maintain the fires,
Expound the law, manipulate the wires.
Amazed, the populace that rites attend,
Believe whate'er they cannot comprehend,
And, inly edified to learn that two
Half-hairs joined so and so (as Art can do)
Have sweeter values and a grace more fit
Than Nature's hairs that never have been split,
Bring cates and wines for sacrificial feasts,
And sell their garments to support the priests.
ARTLESSNESS, n. A certain engaging quality to which women attain by
ASPERSE, v.t. Maliciously to ascribe to another vicious actions which
ASS, n. A public singer with a good voice but no ear. In Virginia
"Hail, holy Ass!" the quiring angels sing;
"Priest of Unreason, and of Discords King!"
Great co-Creator, let Thy glory shine:
God made all else, the Mule, the Mule is thine!"
AUCTIONEER, n. The man who proclaims with a hammer that he has picked
AUSTRALIA, n. A country lying in the South Sea, whose industrial and
AVERNUS, n. The lake by which the ancients entered the infernal
Facilis descensus Averni,
The poet remarks; and the sense
Of it is that when down-hill I turn I
Will get more of punches than pence.
Jehal Dai Lupe