Peaches and Plumbs Booksellers

The Devil's Dictionary


The Devil's Dictionary


Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary is a classic that stands alongside the best work of satirists such as Twain, Mencken, and Thurber.

The definitions that make up The Devil’s Dictionary were originally written in serial form, under the title A Cynic's Word Book, for newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst, who was a fan of Bierce. (This was before Bierce skipped off to join the revolution in Mexico in 1913 and was never heard from again).

There was nothing inoffensive about Ambrose Bierce, and the words he shaped into verbal pitchforks a century ago - with or without the devil's help - can still draw blood today.

These caustic aphorisms helped earn Ambrose Bierce the epithets Bitter Bierce, the Devil's Lexicographer, and the Wickedest Man in San Francisco.

According to writer Tom Hodgkinson, Bierce believed that people were hopelessly mean, selfish and greedy; the world full of lies.

If people were free to say what they really thought, the world would be a lot like the one alluded to in The Devil's Dictionary: there, a bore is "a person who talks when you wish him to listen," and happiness is "an agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another."


AMBROSE BIERCE (1842-1914) was an American journalist, short story writer, and satirist, most celebrated for The Devil’s Dictionary, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, and Fantastic Fables, a collection of his poetry.


Add To Cart