“APOLOGIZE, v. To lay the foundation for a future offence.”
By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here
Celebrated storyteller, journalist, and sharp-witted cynic, Ambrose Bierce published what is now known as The Devil’s Dictionary in 1906. It was compiled over several decades, and many of the comic definitions are of the time. Many are timeless. How does Bierce define a dictionary?
Now if it were only funny, it wouldn't be worth mentioning. But it is quite a beautiful piece of work and a splendid bit of trolling. In the same vein of Mark Twain's sarcasm and the satire of The New Yorker, the work is thoroughly engrossing. I have spent hours perusing its pages, thinking about familiar words in a new way. The way it's meant and the way it's popularly used. Sometimes I forget that Bierce was writing this over a hundred years ago. I have a feeling Bierce would have been right at home on Twitter and other social media. A man comically way ahead of his time. Or we are tragically predictable and haven't changed much. I suspect Bierce might say the latter is truer.