Tag Archives: dry wit

New words to live by: “Biercism”

A young Ambrose Bierce

A young Ambrose Bierce

“Cynic. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.”
–Ambrose Bierce

Biercism, n. dry wit on par with that of Ambrose Bierce.

Old biercism (original): Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage or by removal of the patient from the influences under which he incurred the disorder. This disease, like caries and many other ailments, is prevalent only among civilized races living under artificial conditions; barbarous nations breathing pure air and eating simple food enjoy immunity from its ravages. It is sometimes fatal, but more frequently to the physician than to the patient.

Modern biercism: Love, n. a meeting of the mind and the loins, one hopes somewhere around the heart. A volatile mixture often given to displays of insanity, vitriol, and occasionally violence. The world seems turned upside down by love – and often is. You fall in love and fall out of love, but the violence appears to be less to the shins, knees, hands, arms, or back, and more to the internal organs.

[Editor’s note: one might consider this both a new word to live byand a Devil’s Dictionary entry all mashed up (or rolled up) into one. In our continuing quest to revisit a classic, or even a curiosity from the past and see how relevant it is, we continue with The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. Originally published in newspaper installments from 1881 until 1906. You might be surprised how current many of the entries are.

Click on Devil’s Dictionary in the tags below to bring up the other entries. Click on new word or new words below to see some other new words, such as congressed or obsurd or fogget or awfulizer. Words that should be in the modern lexicon, but aren’t … yet.]


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Filed under Ambrose Bierce, Devil's Dictionary, new word, New words to live by