Ambrose Bierce - Quotes

There are 156 quotes by Ambrose Bierce at 95quotes.com. Find your favorite quotations and top quotes by Ambrose Bierce from this hand-picked collection about love, life, god, hope, art, thinking, truth, happiness, knowledge. Feel free to share these quotes and sayings on Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr & Twitter or any of your favorite social networking sites.

Bride: A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her.

Bride: A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her.

Future. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured.

Future. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured.

Logic: The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding. ---->>>

Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage.

Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage.

History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.

History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.

Prescription: A physician's guess at what will best prolong the situation with least harm to the patient.

Prescription: A physician's guess at what will best prolong the situation with least harm to the patient.

Women in love are less ashamed than men. They have less to be ashamed of.

Women in love are less ashamed than men. They have less to be ashamed of.

Politeness, n: The most acceptable hypocrisy. ---->>>

Edible - good to eat and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm. ---->>>

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.

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.

Optimism - the doctrine or belief that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly. ---->>>

War is God's way of teaching Americans geography.

War is God's way of teaching Americans geography.

Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.

Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.

Meekness: Uncommon patience in planning a revenge that is worth while.

Meekness: Uncommon patience in planning a revenge that is worth while.

Marriage, n: the state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves, making in all, two.

Marriage, n: the state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves, making in all, two.

Friendless. Having no favors to bestow. Destitute of fortune. Addicted to utterance of truth and common sense. ---->>>

There are four kinds of Homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy. ---->>>

Abstainer: a weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure. ---->>>

The hardest tumble a man can make is to fall over his own bluff. ---->>>

Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

Conservative, n: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others.

Conservative, n: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others.

Belladonna, n.: In Italian a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues. ---->>>

Telephone, n. An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance.

Telephone, n. An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance.

Acquaintance. A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to. ---->>>

Lawsuit: A machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage.

Lawsuit: A machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage.

Cabbage: a familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man's head. ---->>>

Jealous, adj. Unduly concerned about the preservation of that which can be lost only if not worth keeping.

Jealous, adj. Unduly concerned about the preservation of that which can be lost only if not worth keeping.

Religion. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. ---->>>

All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher. ---->>>

Genius - to know without having learned; to draw just conclusions from unknown premises; to discern the soul of things. ---->>>

Life - a spiritual pickle preserving the body from decay. ---->>>

Curiosity, n. An objectionable quality of the female mind. The desire to know whether or not a woman is cursed with curiosity is one of the most active and insatiable passions of the masculine soul. ---->>>

Immortality: A toy which people cry for, And on their knees apply for, Dispute, contend and lie for, And if allowed Would be right proud Eternally to die for. ---->>>

Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility.

Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility.

Patience, n. A minor form of dispair, disguised as a virtue.

Patience, n. A minor form of dispair, disguised as a virtue.

Beauty, n: the power by which a woman charms a lover and terrifies a husband.

Beauty, n: the power by which a woman charms a lover and terrifies a husband.

Laziness. Unwarranted repose of manner in a person of low degree. ---->>>

Coward: One who, in a perilous emergency, thinks with his legs. ---->>>

Painting, n.: The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather, and exposing them to the critic. ---->>>

Doubt, indulged and cherished, is in danger of becoming denial; but if honest, and bent on thorough investigation, it may soon lead to full establishment of the truth.

Doubt, indulged and cherished, is in danger of becoming denial; but if honest, and bent on thorough investigation, it may soon lead to full establishment of the truth.

Experience - the wisdom that enables us to recognise in an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced.

Experience - the wisdom that enables us to recognise in an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced.

Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.

Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.

Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.

Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.

Sabbath - a weekly festival having its origin in the fact that God made the world in six days and was arrested on the seventh. ---->>>

Education, n.: That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding.

Education, n.: That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding.

Perseverance - a lowly virtue whereby mediocrity achieves an inglorious success. ---->>>

Academe, n.: An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught. Academy, n.: A modern school where football is taught.

Academe, n.: An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught. Academy, n.: A modern school where football is taught.

An egotist is a person of low taste - more interested in himself than in me. ---->>>

Pray: To ask the laws of the universe to be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy. ---->>>

Present, n. That part of eternity dividing the domain of disappointment from the realm of hope. ---->>>

Cynic, n: a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. ---->>>

Forgetfulness - a gift of God bestowed upon debtors in compensation for their destitution of conscience. ---->>>

Divorce: a resumption of diplomatic relations and rectification of boundaries. ---->>>

Philosophy: A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing. ---->>>

Debt, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slavedriver. ---->>>

Vote: the instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

Vote: the instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

Faith: Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel. ---->>>

Anoint, v.: To grease a king or other great functionary already sufficiently slippery. ---->>>

Litigation: A machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage. ---->>>

Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another. ---->>>

To apologize is to lay the foundation for a future offense.

To apologize is to lay the foundation for a future offense.

Fidelity - a virtue peculiar to those who are about to be betrayed. ---->>>

When you doubt, abstain. ---->>>

What is a democrat? One who believes that the republicans have ruined the country. What is a republican? One who believes that the democrats would ruin the country. ---->>>

Mad, adj. Affected with a high degree of intellectual independence.

Mad, adj. Affected with a high degree of intellectual independence.

Absurdity, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion. ---->>>

Death is not the end. There remains the litigation over the estate. ---->>>

Happiness: an agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.

Happiness: an agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.

Positive, adj.: Mistaken at the top of one's voice.

Positive, adj.: Mistaken at the top of one's voice.

Revolution, n. In politics, an abrupt change in the form of misgovernment. ---->>>

The slightest acquaintance with history shows that powerful republics are the most warlike and unscrupulous of nations. ---->>>

We submit to the majority because we have to. But we are not compelled to call our attitude of subjection a posture of respect.

We submit to the majority because we have to. But we are not compelled to call our attitude of subjection a posture of respect.

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.

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.

Amnesty, n. The state's magnanimity to those offenders whom it would be too expensive to punish. ---->>>

Bigot: One who is obstinately and zealously attached to an opinion that you do not entertain. ---->>>

Admiration, n. Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves. ---->>>

Dawn: When men of reason go to bed. ---->>>

Egotist: a person more interested in himself than in me. ---->>>

Success is the one unpardonable sin against our fellows. ---->>>

We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run over. ---->>>

Who never doubted, never half believed. Where doubt is, there truth is - it is her shadow. ---->>>

Deliberation, n.: The act of examining one's bread to determine which side it is buttered on. ---->>>

Fork: An instrument used chiefly for the purpose of putting dead animals into the mouth. ---->>>

Inventor: A person who makes an ingenious arrangement of wheels, levers and springs, and believes it civilization.

Inventor: A person who makes an ingenious arrangement of wheels, levers and springs, and believes it civilization.

Liberty: One of Imagination's most precious possessions.

Liberty: One of Imagination's most precious possessions.

Wit - the salt with which the American humorist spoils his intellectual cookery by leaving it out.

Wit - the salt with which the American humorist spoils his intellectual cookery by leaving it out.

Consult: To seek approval for a course of action already decided upon. ---->>>

Destiny: A tyrant's authority for crime and a fool's excuse for failure. ---->>>

Erudition - dust shaken out of a book into an empty skull. ---->>>

The gambling known as business looks with austere disfavor upon the business known as gambling.

The gambling known as business looks with austere disfavor upon the business known as gambling.

Witticism. A sharp and clever remark, usually quoted and seldom noted; what the Philistine is pleased to call a joke. ---->>>

Absence blots people out. We really have no absent friends. ---->>>

Ability is commonly found to consist mainly in a high degree of solemnity. ---->>>

Ambition. An overmastering desire to be vilified by enemies while living and made ridiculous by friends when dead. ---->>>

Clairvoyant, n.: A person, commonly a woman, who has the power of seeing that which is invisible to her patron - namely, that he is a blockhead. ---->>>

Historian - a broad-gauge gossip. ---->>>

Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt. ---->>>

Rum, n. Generically, fiery liquors that produce madness in total abstainers. ---->>>

To be positive is to be mistaken at the top of one's voice.

To be positive is to be mistaken at the top of one's voice.

Experience is a revelation in the light of which we renounce our errors of youth for those of age. ---->>>

I never said all Democrats were saloonkeepers. What I said was that all saloonkeepers are Democrats. ---->>>

Litigant. A person about to give up his skin for the hope of retaining his bones. ---->>>

The best thing to do with the best things in life is to give them up.

The best thing to do with the best things in life is to give them up.

Edible, adj.: Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm. ---->>>

It is evident that skepticism, while it makes no actual change in man, always makes him feel better. ---->>>

Bacchus, n.: A convenient deity invented by the ancients as an excuse for getting drunk. ---->>>

Bore, n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen. ---->>>

Architect. One who drafts a plan of your house, and plans a draft of your money. ---->>>

Incompatibility. In matrimony a similarity of tastes, particularly the taste for domination. ---->>>

Trial. A formal inquiry designed to prove and put upon record the blameless characters of judges, advocates and jurors. ---->>>

Compromise, n. Such an adjustment of conflicting interests as gives each adversary the satisfaction of thinking he has got what he ought not to have, and is deprived of nothing except what was justly his due. ---->>>

Calamities are of two kinds: misfortunes to ourselves, and good fortune to others. ---->>>

Creditor. One of a tribe of savages dwelling beyond the Financial Straits and dreaded for their desolating incursions. ---->>>

Doubt begins only at the last frontiers of what is possible. ---->>>

Learning, n. The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious.

Learning, n. The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious.

Backbite. To speak of a man as you find him when he can't find you. ---->>>

Convent - a place of retirement for women who wish for leisure to meditate upon the sin of idleness. ---->>>

Insurance - an ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating the man who keeps the table.

Insurance - an ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating the man who keeps the table.

What this country needs what every country needs occasionally is a good hard bloody war to revive the vice of patriotism on which its existence as a nation depends. ---->>>

I believe we shall come to care about people less and less. The more people one knows the easier it becomes to replace them. It's one of the curses of London. ---->>>

Childhood: 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.

Childhood: 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.

Suffrage, noun. Expression of opinion by means of a ballot. The right of suffrage (which is held to be both a privilege and a duty) means, as commonly interpreted, the right to vote for the man of another man's choice, and is highly prized. ---->>>

Land: A part of the earth's surface, considered as property. The theory that land is property subject to private ownership and control is the foundation of modern society, and is eminently worthy of the superstructure. ---->>>

Prejudice - a vagrant opinion without visible means of support. ---->>>

Day, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent. ---->>>

Saint: A dead sinner revised and edited. ---->>>

Brain: an apparatus with which we think we think. ---->>>

Patriotism. Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.

Patriotism. Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.

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.

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.

Doubt is the father of invention.

Doubt is the father of invention.

Impiety. Your irreverence toward my deity. ---->>>

Dog - a kind of additional or subsidiary Deity designed to catch the overflow and surplus of the world's worship. ---->>>

The small part of ignorance that we arrange and classify we give the name of knowledge. ---->>>

Battle, n., A method of untying with the teeth a political knot that would not yield to the tongue. ---->>>

Irreligion - the principal one of the great faiths of the world. ---->>>

Duty - that which sternly impels us in the direction of profit, along the line of desire. ---->>>

Genealogy, n. An account of one's descent from a man who did not particularly care to trace his own. ---->>>

Ambidextrous, adj.: Able to pick with equal skill a right-hand pocket or a left. ---->>>

Confidante: One entrusted by A with the secrets of B confided to herself by C. ---->>>

Impartial - unable to perceive any promise of personal advantage from espousing either side of a controversy. ---->>>

A total abstainer is one who abstains from everything but abstention, and especially from inactivity in the affairs of others. ---->>>

Abscond - to move in a mysterious way, commonly with the property of another. ---->>>

Famous, adj.: Conspicuously miserable.

Famous, adj.: Conspicuously miserable.

A man is known by the company he organizes. ---->>>

Ardor, n. The quality that distinguishes love without knowledge. ---->>>

Enthusiasm - a distemper of youth, curable by small doses of repentance in connection with outward applications of experience. ---->>>

Eulogy. Praise of a person who has either the advantages of wealth and power, or the consideration to be dead. ---->>>

Heaven lies about us in our infancy and the world begins lying about us pretty soon afterward. ---->>>

Mayonnaise: One of the sauces which serve the French in place of a state religion. ---->>>

Spring beckons! All things to the call respond; the trees are leaving and cashiers abscond. ---->>>

The covers of this book are too far apart. ---->>>

Barometer, n.: An ingenious instrument which indicates what kind of weather we are having. ---->>>

Alien - an American sovereign in his probationary state. ---->>>

Eloquence, n. The art of orally persuading fools that white is the color that it appears to be. It includes the gift of making any color appear white. ---->>>

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.

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.

Admiral. That part of a warship which does the talking while the figurehead does the thinking. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: American
Born: June 24, 1842
Birthplace:
Die: 06-21, 2015
Occupation: Journalist
Website:

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842 – circa 1914) was an American Civil War soldier, wit, and writer. Bierce's book The Devil's Dictionary was named as one of "The 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature" by the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration;. His story An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge has been described as "one of the most famous and frequently anthologized stories in American literature"; and his book Tales of Soldiers and Civilians (also published as In the Midst of Life) was named by the Grolier Club as one of the 100 most influential American books printed before 1900 (wikipedia)