REf Dictionaries Atlas Language Guides Writing Guides Learn more Bestsellers
The Devil's Dictionary and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
$1.00
Qty:1
  • List Price: $3.50
  • Save: $2.50 (71%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Want it Friday, April 25? Order within and choose Two-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Devil's Dictionary (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – Unabridged


See all 86 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback, Unabridged
"Please retry"
$1.00
$0.67 $0.01 $8.28
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$3.50

Frequently Bought Together

The Devil's Dictionary (Dover Thrift Editions) + The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce + Civil War Stories (Dover Thrift Editions)
Price for all three: $21.28

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Big Spring Books
Editors' Picks in Spring Releases
Ready for some fresh reads? Browse our picks for Big Spring Books to please all kinds of readers.

Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Reprint edition (May 20, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486275426
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486275420
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An enjoyable work, fun to read as well as thought-provoking....Just because the dictionary is 90 years old doesn't make it any less apropos for modern readers."--Naples Daily News --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

<! - This edition is NOT an ebook - > <! - This edition is not included in the Amazon Search under either Ambrose Bierce or The Devil's Dictionary - > --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

If you want to ignite your brain and enjoy some delicious fun, read this book.
Margaret E. Pollock
This is Bierce at his best, mixing comedy with social commentary, unleashing his anarchistic convictions to the hilt!
Eric Petersen
Bierce's wicked sarcasm would probably appeal to those who enjoy the dry humor of Britcoms!
Elaine Kellner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Schenker VINE VOICE on June 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
I first acquired this book about five years ago, after reading Bierce's fictional works. I could not put it down. You don't read this book sequentially, but rather it is a book to leaf through, stopping where you find a word that interests you. With the format of a dictionary, Bierce sets up the look and feel of the official word, which is what we expect from a dictionary. Then, reading the definitions, you at first think, "Bierce is being a wise guy." But after a few more definitions, you realize that Bierce is actually delivering a concise treatise on Western Culture by giving you a shot-by-shot commentary, using as his basis the essential element of any society -- its language. Birece may not have realized it when he wrote the book, but The Devil's Dictionary aligns with some 21st-century literary experimentations with concise presentation, irony, and non-linear exploration. Even reading it non-linearly, however, you soon find you've read every entry in the book. Then, of course, you'll want to start again...
My favorites are the definitions pertaining to religion.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
68 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on August 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
Beginning in 1881 and continuing to 1906, Ambrose Bierce created a series of sardonic word definitions of his own. Many of these were collected and published as The Cynic's Word Book, which he later protested was "a name which the author had not the power to reject or happiness to approve." So in 1911, he pulled together a collection that was more to his own liking and called it The Devil's Dictionary. The entries are a tad uneven in quality, but most are amusing and some are great. Each reader will have his own favorites, some of mine are as follows : ACQUAINTANCE, n. A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to. A degree of friendship called slight when its object is poor or obscure, and intimate when he is rich or famous. ALLIANCE, n. 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. BIGOT, n. One who is obstinately and zealously attached to an opinion that you do not entertain. BORE, n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen. CONSULT, v.i. To seek another's disapproval of a course already decided on. CYNIC, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision. DICTIONARY, n. A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic. This dictionary, however, is a most useful work. DISCRIMINATE, v.i. To note the particulars in which one person or thing is, if possible, more objectionable than another. EDUCATION, n. That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding. FUTURE, n.Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The Bloomsbury edition illustrated by Ralph Steadman is ABRIDGED. Do not purchase unless you are buying it for the drawings.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
'The Devil's Dictionary' is an interesting, very intellectually cynical collection of proposed definitions to words collected by Ambrose Gwinett Bierce, a journalist, writer, Civil War veteran, and general misanthrope, who disappeared without a trace in Mexico about 1914. In the words of H.L. Mencken, Bierce has produced 'some of the most gorgeous witticism of the English language.' Bierce delights in irreverence and poking fun at all aspects of life.
Bierce's own definition of dictionary gives some insight into his general thought patterns:
'Dictionary, n. A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic. This dictionary, however, is a most useful work.'
This would lead us to conclude (most correctly) that Bierce is a world-class cynic. What is a cynic?
'Cynic, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.'
Originally published under the title 'The Cynic's Word Book', most of the definitions in this book originally appeared as part newspaper columns. There have been many imitators, but this is the first and finest collection. Arranged as a dictionary, it provides an interesting writer's tool for finding a unique perspective on words and phrases. There are more than 1000 entries. A few examples include:
'Outdo, v.t., To make an enemy.'
'Universalist, n. One who foregoes the advantage of a Hell for persons of another faith.'
Fair warning -- those who do not like cynicism and scathing wit will find this book irritating, and sometimes offensive.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Texas Lawyer on March 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
I'd skip this and purchase the UNABRIDGED version. Some of the definitions left out in this version are among Bierce's best. Also, the complete work is not so long: no reason to abridge something that in full length is only 100 or so pages long.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By M. Frimley on October 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Bierce's misanthropy and glorious cynicism remain a breath of fresh air, never having lost their ring of truth for the better part of a century. His aversion for hypocrisy, formal education (He was of humble origins and self-educated), and religious self-righteousness are appropriately barbed. His disillusionment with concepts such as patriotism ("The first refuge of a scoundrel"), are particularly interesting, considering his rural midwestern upbringing and heroic service in the Civil War. The most consistent and I think interesting theme throughout this volume is his disdain for the institution of marriage. Long before marriage was seen by many as a burden and divorce became unstigmatized and commonplace, Bierce's definition seems prophetic for his time: "An institution consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves, making in all two."
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xa3a3e5a0)

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?