A B C D E F G H I J K L M NO PQR S T UVW X Y Z
dvertising: The education of the public as to who you are, where you are, and what you have to offer in the way of skill, talent, or commodity. The only man who should not advertise is the man who has nothing to offer in way of commodity or service.
Abel: The first squealer.
Abyss: 1. The measureless gulf between literature and the American magazine. 2. The distance between a thinker and an editorial writer.
Art:1) The vengeance of the Ideal on the Real. 2) Anything done by a man or woman on paper, canvas, marble or a musical keyboard that people pretend to understand, and sometimes buy. 3) The antithesis of whatever becomes popular in the cultured world. 4) To cast out the dragons of virtue and hypocrisy by committing some imaginary sin and telling the world about it. 5) The beautiful way of doing things. 6) The expression of a man's joy in his work. 7) A matter of hair-cut and neckties. 8) The uplifting of the beautiful so that all may see and enjoy. 9) The utilization of love's exhaust. 10) Love's by-product.
Abnormal:To have intelligence, character or genius; to be less stupid than one's neighbor; to be better than the worst; to be one's self. E.g., the writer of these lines.
Academic:1. Of, or pertaining to, fossils; vegetative; parasitic; the opposite of change, viable, evolution. 2. Relating to a society that promotes the love of the static and the immobile. 3. Apish, parrotlike, phonographic.
Adieu: A prayer of thanksgiving uttered at parting.
Attention: Concentration of the mind on whatever will ultimately put something in the pocket; hence, in law and politics, the frame-up.
Asbestos: 1) The white hope of the damned. 2) The specially prepared paper upon which The Philistine is printed.
Afterward: A space of time in which something happens after something else has happened, as, life, death; love, disillusion; riches, gout; wine, headache; unselfishness, regret.
Acquaintance: Any one we bow to politely at the opera or shake hands with warmly in a barroom, but whom we would kick out of our homes. Hence, any one who has refused us a loan.
Agriculturalist: One who makes his money in town and blows it in the country.
Arson: To be careless in the use of fire. (General Sherman was at times more or less careless in the use of fire on his March to the Sea. - Hon. Henry W. Grady.)
Assembly: The Pantheon of the mediocre.
Athlete Mex: Any man who throws the bull.
Admission: 1) To lie frankly and truthfully about something that can not possibly incriminate you. 2) To go into a place where one is not wanted; as, "A burglar gained admission to my house."
Athens :See Pericles and Aspasia.
Autobiography:1) Auto-intoxication. 2) Things which no one else will say about you, and which therefore you have to say of yourself.
Abode:1) A place where one cleans one's teeth and occasionally sleeps. 2) A long counter with a gutter and a rail at the bottom over which one is served with any liquid in a glass. 3) Dwelling, fireside (obsolete in this sense). 4) A grave.
Ananias:1) The first ad-writer. 2) Any person who adapts the truth to his needs. 3) An ancient St. George who slew the dragon Truth - hence, any popular hero or revealer who displays his grinders.
Army:A body of humanitarians that seeks to impress on another body of men the beauty of non-resistance, by exterminating them.
American Plan:A scheme for shortening human life through overeating.
Art-Collector:A man who operates a morgue for things rich, rare and precious.
Atheist: Any man who does not believe in himself.
Aborigine: (1) A natural, unaffected person; one who has no conscience, who is honest, upright, and always at war. (2) A Deist, a Pantheist, who sees God in everything and feels His presence everywhere, even in his cannibalistic rites; hence, the first thinker in any country. (3) One who hates civilization and the Ladies' Hum Journal. (4) Any one who is mulcted, robbed, murdered, butchered, betrayed, in the name of progress.
Aeronaut: A person who goes up in order to come down. Hence, a metaphysician.
Anarchist: 1) A Christian dilettante; one who casts a shadow on tomorrow while waiting for the Greek Kalends. 2) A mouther of sublime inanities. 3) One who maps and surveys the air and constructs dainty Utopias with the building-blocks quarried from his unbelievable credulity. 4) In the insane asylum of idealists, a man who imagines himself to be God. 5) A militant bourgeois who has deserted both Rome and Reason because he can not stand competition.
Act: 1) Thought in motion. 2) An actor who says he gets three thousand a week.
Albany: 1) A place beyond which Henry Hudson could not go. 2) The lobby of the White House. 3) Famous in history by the biennial meetings of the Blackmailers' Club. 4) Any place wherein a capitol is burned at a pre-established psychological moment. (There is a famous proverb which says, "Those who are in Albany escaped Sing Sing, and those who are in Sing Sing were on their way to Albany.")
Admiration: 1) The smile of Spite. 2) To secretly wish evil to one who has given us pleasure. 3) A form of shamefaced flattery. 4) To murder and go scot-free. E.g., "I admire him very much." "Ah, so that is the reason he has become thoughtful!" From Bean'sMeditations of a Vegetarian.
Anger: 1) A violent blushing and scampering up and down of the blood upon hearing the truth about ourselves; an epileptic condition produced by the presentation of a bill that is not yet due, just due, or overdue. A sudden tumescence of the ego and a furious exaltation of verbal powers upon losing a collar-button. 2) Before election, the righteous wrath of a candidate in the presence of evils that he has invented; after election-day, his wail in the presence of the grave he did not dig. E.g., The devil (after taking final leave of the Lord): "I am in anger with thee, Sire." The Lord: "For thee, son, 't will be a long time between heavens. So go to Hell and take thine Anger with thee."
Atonement: 1) Embolism of the will. 2) To raise a sin from a vice to a virtue. 3) A borax that kills the vermin of remorse, but that can not be relied upon to kibosh their breeding place. 4) An immunity-bath in preparation for transgressions to come. (Among certain religious sects, the Day of atonement is the day on which all gonofs line up for a fresh start.)
Apostle: 1) A machine for recording a lie. 2) A person who has grown round-shouldered from following the spoor of another. 3) A lickspittle needed by philosophers in their business.
rain: A commodity as scarce as radium and more precious, used to fertilize ideas.
Bohemia: A good place in which to camp, but a very poor place in which to settle down.
Businessman: One who gets the business and completes the transaction - all the rest are clerks and laborers.
Blaberino: Any person who tells a person something a person tells about him, which puts fishbones in the throat and brickbats in the Ostermoor of the person told.
Business: 1) Looking a payroll in the eye and kiting checks. 2) A method of reducing a landlady to her lowest terms.
Back: 1) That part of the body to which your friend directs his remarks when he tells you the truth. 2) A smooth surface composed of skin and bones which stretches between Land's End and John O'Groat's.
Beatitude:A rare and evanescent mental state caused by the reception of money that one has not earned. Synonyms: Windfall, remittance.
Beggar:A robber who has lost his nerve - a bandit with a streak of yellow in his ego.
Bughouse:1) A condition of mind. (See Boston.) 2) The place where a person without funds is sent under certain conditions.
Bean:A dynamic spheroid, combustible under certain conditions.
Balivorax: A Battle Creek Bellifiller, made from selected fidoes, fuddies, fresh freddies, chibots and chitterlings. Ladies love it, babies cry for it, and men who eat it are loved by the ladies who love it who have babies who cry for it. This is the filler fidgeted for Juno before she weaned Hercules - who was no bottle-baby - and fed to him afterward. Ask your bagpiper and take no other.
Butler: (1) A Person or Thing that has charge of the servants in a house belonging to another Person or Thing. (2) A tyrant without eyes, ears, organs, dimensions, passions.
Bal-Masque: The coronation of Mephisto.
Booty: 1) Whatever belongs to somebody that really belongs to somebody else, or whatever belongs to somebody else that really belongs to you or ought to belong to you if it did not belong to a third part - hence, anything at all. 2) Property in a transitional stage.
Bread: A foodstuff which the rich occasionally give to the poor as a substitute for cake.
Bloomingdale: A condition of mind.
Biddle: The act of introducing a prize-fight in a Sunday School.
Billysunday: 1) A theological jumping-jack, jerked by financial strings. 2) Anyone with a pious emotional jag. 3) Hypnosis at so much per. 4) A person intent on saving his soul by religious rigmarole at the expense of reason. 5) To paddle away to Paradise in an orthodox canoe, and feel happy in the thought that most of the folks in the Big Ship are going to Hell.
Bard: Anciently a poet; now a Poet-Laureate.
Boredom: 1) The essential nature of monogamy. 2) A period or rest between I Did and I Will. 3) A state of divine revelation wherein for a single moment we are carried by the giant of Eternal Inutility to the abysms and summits of the perpetual Nix.
onsole: To stab one in pain with the bare bodkin of pity.
Co-operation: Doing what I tell you to do, and doing it quick.
Comic: Tragedy viewed from the wings.
College: A place where you have to go in order to find out that there is nothing in it. (See Marriage.)
Creator: A man possessing initiative.
Compliment: A sarcastic remark with a flavor of truth or not, as the case may be.
Critics: Men who quarrel over the motive of a book that never had any.
Consciousness: A state wherein one becomes aware that he is being robbed, swindled or duped, by either a natural or an artificial law. (Aside from his periods of sleep it may be said that man is always in a state of consciousness when voting, making love, or when succumbing to any other form of hypnotic suggestion.)
Confidence: The one big lesson the world needs most to learn.
Courage: 1) A matter of red corpuscle. 2) A matter of getting used to it. (It is oxygen that makes every attack, and without oxygen in his blood to back him, a man attacks nothing - not even a pie.- From Wilbur Nesbit's book, Bunc as I Have Found It.)
Contradiction: 1) Two lies disputing the roadway. 2) A head-on collision in which two trains of thought telescope each other.
College Degree: A social dysgenic, as compared with proof of competence.
Cigarettist: One who is late every morning and fresh every evening.
Curiosity: 1) A gulf that swallows gods, men, creeds, matter, worlds, philosophies. 2) A peep-hole in the brain through which ones sees the pomp and ceremony of the Absurd. 3) A monstrous antenna that feels its way through matter and mind, founders in the Infinite. 4) At its lowest, the instinct that boosts us up to peep over our neighbor's transom, symboled by a knot-hole.
Coquetry: 1) An eyeshade worn by lubricity. 2) The colored glasses of The-Thing-Itself. 3) The death-tumbrel that Passion builds for its dreams.
Caste: A Chinese Wall that deprives you of the society of sensible people.
Children: Exquisite caskets of flesh that hold the scrolls of all our deeds.
Competition:1) The struggle for a cake of ice in hell. 2) The life of trade, and the death of the trader.
Criminal :One who does by illegal means what all the rest of us do legally.
Commonsense:The ability to detect values - to know a big thing from a little one. (I'd rather possess Commonsense than to have six degrees from Oxford. - Fingy Conners' Confessions.)
Clique:Friendship gone to seed.
Clock:1) A telltale; a gossip; a blab. 2) A chink through which the Great Secret leaks. 3) The Big Ben of eternity.
Creed:A metaphor with ankylosis - a figure of speech frozen stiff with fright.
Chicago Tongue: A lengthening of the unruly member to a hammer-like proportion.
Committee:A thing which takes a week to do what one good man can do in an hour.
Conversion:1) To be suddenly seized by fright before a fiction or fact. 2) To execute a mental pirouette from one absurdity to a worse one. 3) To exhaust one pleasure and seek redemption in another. 5) A backslider from your own ideas to those of an inferior.
City:1) Any place where men have builded a jail, a bagnio, a gallows, a morgue, a church, a hospital, a saloon, and laid out a cemetery - hence a center of life. 2) A herding region; any part of the earth where ignorance and stupidity integrate, agglomerate and breed.
Conscience:1) The muzzle of the will. 2) The Pecksniffian mask of the fundamental Bill Sykes. 3) The aspiration of Rocinate to be Pegasus.
Church:1) A place where the Anointed of the Lord palm themselves off on one another. 2) A hall of echoes. 3) A counterpane of the dead. 4) An edifice wherein inspired fogyism gets its final degree.
Credit:The lifeblood of commerce.
Courtesy: (1) The court clothes of two-legged predatory animal. (2) The oil that makes a juggernaut noiseless.
Civilization: A device for increasing human ills; a machine for the perpetuation of the weak; an ingenious contraption for spreading disease and hunger. (See war, harlot, liar, Teddy, Sulzer, Murphy, hypocrisy, newspaper, forger, jail, policeman, lawyer, walking delegate, capitalist, poverty, clergyman.) E.g., "Do you believe in civilization?" "Yep." - From The Confessions of Herr Krupp.
Coffin: 1) L'Envoi, the end of the legend. 2) An ornamental candy-box which no one cares to open. 3) A room without a door or skylight.
Conservative: One who is opposed to the things he is in favor of.
Church Unity: Joining my church.
Chef: The Messiah of gluttons; a Borgia of the scullery; one who crochets sweetbreads instead of cooking them.
Chalk: A deposit found at the top, bottom and middle and in the space between the bottom and middle and between the middle and top of American literature. (Chalk-line, used generally in the phrase, "to walk a chalk-line"; e.g., the shortest way to reach the poorhouse is to walk the chalk-line of probity.)
Carelessness: 1) To have an eye on Eternity, wherein nothing matters. 2) To do a thing in the manner of a god who throws dice for the birth or death of a universe. 3) To perform an act wisely. but not too well.
Charity: 1) A thing that begins at home, and usually stays there. 2) Bracing up Ralph Waldo Emerson's reputation by attributing literary mousetraps which he should have made, but didn't. (See Cheese.)
Chimeric: To follow the right and get left. E.g., A. He was chimeric. B. All the same, he went to the Chair like a man.
Cheek: 1) A drip-pan for tears. 2) Anciently, apart of the face; latterly, among women, the subsoil of rouge. 3) The principal asset of Ex-President Bombastes Furioso.
Chauffeur: The power behind the thrown.
Concoction: 1) An imaginative mosaic distinguished from a lie in this, that a lie is "made up" and a concoction is "put together." 2) A social, religious, economic or political allegory, dogma, creed or program which lands some one in power and flattens out those who believe in it. 3) A mixture of dream and reality, sometimes called "Universe" or "World," put together by two strolling Super-Gentlemen Adventurers, sometimes known as God and Satan.
Cain: The first progressive.
Chums: A condition of sophmorish propinquity that precedes a feud. (See furse and vendetta. A state of chumminess between persons of the opposite sex and suitable ages is more or less in the line of Nature. But that can't-get-along-without-you feeling between persons of the same sex is a form of hate and means that some third party is going to be beaned.)
Circumstance: 1) The fresh banana-peel just around the corner. 2) Ex-post-facto knowledge of a series of incidents, episodes and laws which, had we known before doing something that we should not have done anyhow, we would have done otherwise, in the same way, or not at all. 3) The Shadowy Iago that follows us up and down life's promenades. 4) Man Friday to Chance.
Cerebellum: 1) The knapsack of Intelligence. 2) The pons asinorum between the mind and the cabeza. 3) A place whence, in democracies, politicians draw their strength, and in monarchies where the masses manufacture bombs and guillotines. E.g.; "Now suppose," began Professor Snapnoodle, "that a tiny elevator ran up the spine; we should then call the cerebellum the ceiling of the basement."
Cannibal: 1) The conceiver and first practitioner of the eucharistic rite. 2) A place where a missionary may have a hell of a time. 3) A Pierrot whose pranks are side-splitting. 4) One who appreciates his fellow-being at his true worth. 5) The most subtle form of living ironists. 6) Any one who takes his brother man at his physical valuation.
Cain: The first progressive.
iscord: A guinea-hen, a peacock and a bluejay singing a trio.
Discontent: 1. Inertia on a strike. 2. The mainspring of progress. 3. The starting point in every man's career.
Debt: 1. A rope to your foot, cockleburs in your hair, and a clothespin on your tongue. 2. The devil in disguise.
Dynamo: Any man who has every thing he eats, drinks, smokes and wears, charged.
Doubter: 1) One who picks his teeth, blows his nose on his napkin, and yawns at the Lord's table. 2) A good-for-nothing who does not knock before entering the bathroom of the Faithful.
Disinterested:1) Whatever is inconceivable. 2) A hypothetical ether that surrounds all forms of selfishness and naturalness. 3) That psychological interval when we look the other way before making a grab. 4) A monkey's mental attitude toward a hen.
Disadvantage: Having too many advantages in life.
Disappointment: 1) The cradle of the ideal. 2) The skeleton of Purpose and the skull and crossbones of Desire. 3) A feeling in regard to the past that comes to everyone on the 31st of each December. 4) The final issue of any act begun yesterday, today or tomorrow. 5) The original road to Damascus and Horeb. 6) An alluvium deposited by the waves of Time in the human soul, and which becomes the basis of psychological Mont Blancs.
Duty: A pleasure which we try to make ourselves believe is a hardship.
Diplomacy: An endeavor to side-step Nemesis.
Divorce:1) A legal separation of two persons of the opposite sex who desire to respect and honor each other. 2) A marital derail.
Devil: A god who has been bounced for conduct unbecoming a gentleman.
Diplomat: A man who says "perhaps" when he means no, as opposed to a woman who says "perhaps" when she means yes. (A man who says "no" is not a diplomat, and a man who says "yes" is not a lady.)
Divorcee: (1) A female fugitive from injustice. (2) Any lady who is a post-graduate in Love's Correspondence School.
Death: 1) To stop sinning suddenly. 2) To resign one's membership in the Ananias Club. 3) A readjustment of life's forces.
Dawn: 1) The beginning of a daily installment in a serial that will never end. 2) That mystical hour wherein Dives goes belching into dreamland and Lazurus comes out yawning carrying a dinner-pail.
Dennis: The man who expresses the things he thinks other folks think he thinks.
Dollar: A disk of metal which has eucharistic qualities; a sacred, miraculous object, contact with which is looked upon as a curative and prophylactic.
Democracy: 1) A form of government by popular ignorance. 2) The dwarf's paradise. 3) Any political system where male votes are substitutes for brains. (This word comes from the Abracadabra: "demo," lungs; "crazy," to rule; hence, to rule by caloric.)
Demagogue: One whose highest ambition is to stand on the grave of a great dead industry and boast to an army of unemployed of his bloody deeds.
Diary: 1) To see one's self as no one else cares to see us. 2) A book that describes the birth, effulgence and disappearance of pimples. 3) The lavatory of literature.
Disinherit: 1) The prankish action of the ghosts in cutting the pockets out of trousers. 2) To leave great sums of money to lawyers. 3) A method of insuring post-mortem notoriety - and disappointment.
Doctor: 1) A person who has taken seriously the biblical injunction, "Physician, heel thyself!" 2) In Germany, a swashbuckler person with many scars, much admired by small boys and unhappily married ladies, and feared by shopkeepers.
Dogma: 1) A hard substance which forms in a soft brain; a coprolitic idea; a lie imperiously reiterated and authoritatively injected into the mind of one or more persons who believe they believe what someone else believes. 2) A paying thought or doctrine. 3) A recession into the Divine or Imperial - hence, the father of graft.
Dishonorable: 1) To avoid infamy and almost attain respectability. 2) The first feeling we entertain toward each new acquaintance. 3) Any action whatsoever committed by a competitor.
Dream: 1) A place where the starving feel the pangs of gluttony, and the threadbare wear opera hats and spats. 2) A magic mirror wherein the dead appear to mock us with their happiness. 3) A cerebral phenomenon caused on upper Fifth Avenue by eating too much, and on the lower East Side by eating too little. 4) The Valhalla and the Welsh rabbit; the Brocken where the souls of the animals, fish and birds we have eaten hold their revels; a private theater where indigestion is the prompter.
Dignity: 1) A state of spiritual, mental or emotional starchiness that precedes a bluff. 2) A sartorial and tonsorial chef-d'oeuvre. 3) The bodily attitude of a speaker or preacher in the presence of people whose duty it is to believe he is not lying to them. 4) A mask we must wear to hide our ignorance. (Man has dignity, women have poise, animals have power; hence, dignity in a man or woman is anything that is a substitute for power.)
ducation: A form of self-delusion by those who muff every good wheeze.
Economics: The science of the production, distribution and use of wealth, best understood by college professors on half-rations.
Editor: 1) A person employed on a newspaper, whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed. 2) A delicate instrument for observing the development and flowering of the deadly mediocre and encouraging its growth. 3) A seraphic embryo; a smooth bore; a bit of sandpaper applied to all forms of originality by the publisher-proprietor; an emictory.
Experience: 1) The germ of power. 2) The name everyone gives his mistakes. 3) Stinging and getting stung.
Expectancy:An exciting interval between rounds.
Equity: Simply a matter of the length of the judge's ears.
Enthusiasm:The great hill-climber.
Epigram:1) A vividly expressed truth that is so, or not, as the case may be. 2) A dash of wit and a jigger of wisdom, flavored with surprise.
Earth:1) A small bean-shaped planet, full of noise, nonsense and noddies, created in order to swell the pockets of politicians. 2) A blister produced by the constant abrasion of motion against space.
Eyeball: (1) A small, miraculous globe that has the power to fabulize the external universe. (2) The spectacles of the brain; the peephole of consciousness.
Eye: (1) A organ of the human body which sees the universe as it is not, and transmits the same to the brain. (2) The soul's feelers and pickers.
Enemy: (1) A counter-irritant of which you must get a few, or it's you for fatty degeneration of the cerebellum. (2) The friend who stings you into action. (3) Any one who tells you the truth about you.
Equitable: An ironical term meaning you can fool some of the people all of the time.
Emancipated Man: One who has dared to think for himself, and thus added to his list of enemies.
Epitaph: (1) Postponed compliments. (2) Postmortem bull-con. (3) Qualifying for the Ananias Club.
Expression: 1) That mode of creation by which we coin things out of our hearts. (Nothing is of any value except that which you create for yourself, and no joy is save as it is the joy of self-expression.) 2) Mind speaking through its highest instrument, Man.
Emphasis: 1) To italicize a lie; to lay great stress on certain sounds that emanate from a larynx and that are intended to hypnotize a tympanum; to be impressive to the point of almost believing ourselves; the double chin of a declarative sentence; oratorical mothballs.
Executive: A man who can make quick decisions and is sometimes right.
Eat: 1) To prolong pain; to satisfy the anticipatory pleasure of hunger; to deliberately plan the contamination of the drinking-water of a people. 2) The demagogic demands of the belly. 3) A sinful or extravagant act among the destitute. 4) A sacred rite among the rich. 5) An artificial aid to conversation and the repetition of threadbare stories, generally off-color.
Eternity: 1) The Sunday of Time. 2) The sublimest thought of the brain of Ignorance. 3) A symphony written by a Beethoven of the ineffable x dimension. 4) The North Pole of the hours. 5) Monstrance of the Holy O. 6) A corrosive acid that obliterates Before and Afterward.
Expectation: 1) An optimistic feeling about an event that will never occur. 2) The secret of the persecution of the Jews, Christians and Mohammedans by one another. 3) The Goddess of Love. Synonyms: Tomorrow, next week, next year, next century, pretty soon - any imaginary space of time after the present moment.
Existence: 1) A metaphysical term which originally meant joy, but which since the beginning of the Christian era has come to mean pain. 2) To be (used only in the phrase "to be damned"). 3) Merely to live, without eating or drinking. (In London, Paris and New York, this phenomenon is quite common.)
Evolution: 1) A word that has reclassified in an entertaining manner our impermeable and eternal ignorance. 2) The growth of a thing from the simple to the complex, and the wasting away of the complex until it is simpler than ever. 3) The one superstition that is cordially hated by theologues.
Ennui: 1) The fourth dimension of action. 2) The looking glass of the Infinite. 3) A state of time wherein seconds become days and hours become years. 4) A shop that contains nothing but a silent salesman, Death.
Eucharist: Salvation by the pound, or by the pint. (If one should eat, say, a pound of eucharistic chips and drink two quarts of holy water a day, one would be cleansed of all sin and be much richer in bacteria.)
European: An inhabitant of New York City.
Everybody: 1) The square root of zero. 2) The leavings of individuality. 3) An agglomeration of bipeds who subsist on one another's shanks. 4) The Seventh Heaven of stupidity. 5) The cosmos of the pinhead. 6) Nobody in toto. 7) The collective and organized wisdom of the lowest forms of animal intelligence.
ra: A literary silo that feeds the world.
Faith: 1. The effort to believe that which your commonsense tells you is not true. 2. The first requisite of success.
Fortitude: That quality of mind which does not care what happens so long as it does not happen to us.
First Requisites: 1. Belief in yourself. 2. Pride in your work. 3. Useful hands, clear eyes, and good breath.
Failure: 1) The man who can tell others what to do and how to do it, but never does it himself. 2) A man who has blundered, but is not able to cash in on the experience.
Fame: To have your name paged by the "buttons" of a fashionable hotel.
Feud: A fool idea fanned into flame by a fool friend.
Forbearance: 1) To forgive an enemy who has been shorn of power. 2) To buy golden opinions of oneself. 3) To slay with irony or pity.
Forehead: 1) The facade of a cosmic bagnio. 2) A screen that hides the obscene. 3) The ramparts of a portable Bastile.
Folderol :Talk or conversation of any kind between a man or woman that does not contain an invitation or a promise.
Fake :An event that occurs every four years in the United States; hence, by extension, anything popular.
Feathers :Secondary sex advertisements made of fiber and horsetails, and used on ladies' lids as eye-gougers and such.
Forum:A safety-valve for letting out superfluous air. E.g. , "Let the Forum always be open to the people, and let the treasury always be open to us." - From Titus Levy'sPsychology of the First Contractor.
Fear:1) A club used by priests, presidents, kings and policemen to keep the people from recovering stolen goods. 2) The thought of admitted inferiority. 3) The rock on which we split.
Forecast: To observe that which has passed, and guess it will happen again; to anticipate the future by guessing at the past; to predict that an event will happen, if it does, by basing calculations on events that have already happened, if they did. (One may forecast and be right, wrong, or neither. It depends.)
Friend: The masterpiece of Nature.
Fly: A sententious, epigrammatic stylist who puts a period after each utterance.
Friendship: 1) Something that by any other name would be as brittle. 2) A tacit agreement between two enemies to work together for common swag. 3) The aspiration to boredom. 4) To do unto some one that which you would not allow him to do unto you.
Fashion: A barricade behind which men hide their nothingness.
Fast Train: One that has no diner.
Farmer: 1) A man who raises early feed for potato bugs. 2) One who supplies raw stock for vaudeville jokes. 3) A man who makes his money in the country and blows it in when he comes to town. (Farms were first devised as an excuse for the Agriculture Department at Washington.)
Family Line: The clothes-line.
Frat: 1) A scheme whereby you lock the world out by shutting yourself in. 2) A non-productive plan of self-incarceration in a brain bastile by a mental midge of either sex, or none. 3) A make-believe compact for purposes of piffle. (See snippety, top-lofty, tabascoish, supercilious.)
Frame-Up: See Brandeisism in the last edition of the Century Dictionary.
Fifth Avenue: 1) The widow's chance. 2) A rabbit-warren. 3) The underworld of the upper world. (Fifth Avenue begins at the Washington Arch and really ends at 59th Street. Above 59th Street one goes into the sacred precincts of monasteries and nunneries. In this district the inhabitants are divided into two classes: those who barely live and those who live barely.)
ood Habits: Mentors and servants that regulate your sleep, your work and your thought.
Government: A kind of legalized pillage.
Glutton: A poor man who eats too much, as contradistinguished from a gourmand, who is a rich man who "lives well."
Genius: 1) One who offends his time, his country and his relatives: hence, any person whose birthday is celebrated throughout the world about 100 years after he has been crucified, burned, ostracized, or otherwise put to death. 2) One who stands at both ends of a perspective; simultaneity of sight; to be one's self plus; to be synonym and antonym to everything. 3) The ability to act wisely without precedent - the power to do the right thing for the first time. 4) A capacity for evading hard work.
Groucherino:One whose life is just one dam kick after another.
Gossip:1. Vice enjoyed vicariously - the sweet, subtle satisfaction without the risk. 2. The lack of a worthy theme.
Gratitude: The lively sense of anticipation concerning favors about to be received.
Gaiety: 1) An effervescence of spirits produced by the expectation or receipt of money. 2) The emotion of a poor person on learning of the death of a rich relative.
Gentleman: One who is gentle toward the friendless.
Gossip: 1) Vice enjoyed vicariously - the sweet, subtle satisfaction without the risk. 2) The lack of a worthy theme.
Gallant :1) To remember one is a gentleman in spite of one's birth and training. 2) To give up your seat in a car to a woman, and on tread on your neighbor's foot to get even. 3) To do a perfectly unselfish act from selfish motives.
Good Sport :A man whose soul is equipped with automatic lubrication.
Giveth: The lisping tense of give. E.g., "He giveth His beloved sleep." - From The Ironic Sayings of Jehovah.
Goddess: A Super-Huzzy mated with an apotheosized Super-Thug.
Glory: The five senses of the dead.
Gutter: The Lourdes of the puritanical mind, where it finds what it seeks.
God and Satan: The Pathe Freres of existence.
God: 1) The John Doe of philosophy and religion. 2) The first atheist. 3) A puzzle-editor.
Great Man: One who perceives the unseen, and knows the obvious.
Guesswork: A shallow depression, pit, or cavity in the consciousness of an editorial writer when he is warning the people.
Gourmand: A rich man who eats the surplus production of the world's foodstuffs that the starving are too niggardly to purchase.
Grief: 1) The telescope of the emotions that unfolds to your eye the meaning of all worlds. 2) The overtones in all joy. 3) The pleasure that last the longest. 4) The tears of Memory. 5) The vice of weakness and the virtue of strength.
Graft: An agrarian expression first used by Ali Baba.
Good Luck: Tenacity of purpose.
Grammar: The grave of letters.
Gent: A chauffeur who has a cab-driver for a chum.
Gumma: A substance that forms in the cabeza by an overindulgence in mint-juleps; hence, to become a Super-Brute or a political Has-Been.
usband: A booby prize in life's lottery.
Has-been: Any man who thinks he has arrived.
House: 1. A building with four walls and a roof. 2. A rendezvous for burglars. 3. A dormitory for servants. 4. The Mecca of Bedbugs. (The difference between a house and a home is this: A house may fall down, a home is broken up.)
Hen:The only animal in Nature that can lie around and make money.
Humor: The tabasco sauce that gives life its flavor.
House: 1) A place where we go to change our clothes so as to go somewhere else. 2) The abode of the heart.
Heart: An organ in the human body whence comes the impulse to get divorced.
Hate: 1) The shoal on which our bark is stranded. 2) A habit.
History: 1) A collection of epitaphs. 2) Gossip well told.
Hope:1) A substitute for yesterday. 2) A mask that dying persons wear. 3) A system of metaphysics founded by Ananias. Antonyms: Reason, imagination, experience.
Haggis: The quintessence of all that has been said by all the Presidents, Governors, and Mayors in the United States since Eighteen Hundred Eighty-eight.
Honeymoon: 1) A happiness not quite worn out. 2) A postlude to a wedding-march and a prelude to a funeral march ditto. E.g., "I did not drive Adam and Eve out of Eden because they ate my pet pippin, but because they insisted on carrying on their honeymoon before the modest animals." - From The Private Journal of Demiurge.
Habit: The buffer of our feelings; the armor that protects out nerve-force; the great economizer of energy.
Heaven: 1) The Coney island of the Christian imagination. 2) Largely a matter of digestion. 3) An orphan asylum where institutionalism reigns. 4) A penitential colony where the virtuous and the good are condemned to eternal fellowship for their stupidities uttered on earth.
Hand: 1) A conventionalized bread-hook. 2) An attachment at the end of the human arm which gives to another a lemon, or something that the owner of the arm can no longer use or that is harmful to him.
Helta-Skelta: The new substitute for Strenuosity. Puts you to sleep while you work. Helta-Skelta is a prepossessing product made from posthole polyglot piecrust, and is warranted free from teddine, swaboda, korona, kabo and karezza. Served face-to-face with cream or without, it is spit out as soon as chewed, and can not be swallowed. Locate the lavatory and try a free sample.
Highbrow: 1) A person who has grown so wise that the obvious escapes him. 2) One who reveres knowledge with superstitious awe, and whose worship of observation approaches the ecstatic. 3) One who believes that an atom is a monstrance that conceals the Holy Ghost of Force.
Highflyer: Any man who rides on the running-board, when he might just as well be inside the limousine.
Human Dynamo: Any man who gets everything charged.
Human Love: The one indestructible thing in Nature.
Hell: 1) A Papal bull. 2) An extinct volcano. 3) The pantheon of the brave. 4) An ancient conflagration that was checked when Voltaire invented the asbestos intellect. 5) A theological corn, wart or tumor. 6) The sense of separateness. 7) Three telephones systems in a town. 8) An invitation to go sightseeing. E.g, "If I 'd only had a parachute at the time I would have gone to hell gracefully and taken a record for descent." - From Lucifer's Confessions of a Ticket-o'- Leave Man.
Happiness: 1) Something that might happened yesterday, but which will never happen tomorrow. 2) A post-prandial state of mind, which is most often a presage of acute gastritis.3) A loving-cup, the bottom of which is like a sieve. 4) A mental state compounded of wine, women and tobacco. 5) The exploitation and final triumph of an instinct in the individual that society has branded as wicked or dangerous. 6) Forgetting self in useful effort. 7) A habit - cultivate it.
Humility: 1) The slippered patience of the disinherited. 2) The grogginess of the Ego. 3) To recede to the very bottom of one's own littleness. 4) The Marseillaise of the disappointed. 5) The odor of sanctity. 6) An Iago in plush and lavender. 7) pride getting ready for a Pounce.
Hair: The Olympus of the pediculidae.
ndependence: An achievement, not a bequest.
Initiative: Doing the right thing without being told.
Ingrate: Any person who has got something for nothing, and wants more on the same terms.
Ignoramus: Any man who flatters himself that he is educated.
Ideal Life: Man's normal life, as we shall someday know it.
Irony: The cactus-plant that sprouts over the tomb of our dead illusions.
Intelligence: The grand inquisitor that tortures from every truth the confession that it lies, and from every lie a confession of its divine necessity.
Ideal: 1) The dreams of a sin to come. 2) The mirage of failure. 3) The venom of the lost. 4) An excuse for murder, tyranny or self-aggrandizement. 5) Any theory that justifies our secret itch.
Ingratitude: 1) A girl who is too busy to acknowledge receipt of a Christmas present. 2) The portion of the man who has done well; and a fight with the fox you have warmed into life is imminent.
Imitator: A man who succeeds in being an imitation.
Idealist:1) A glassblower. 2) A somnambulist who insists on stepping out of a solid window into the air. 3) A person who lives in a tower of porcelain and dines on pumpernickel and lobscouse. 4) A man who fills his gasoline-tank with attar of roses and expects the motor to run.
If:1) A tightrope that stretches from But to But. 2) A small, magical, automatic hinge that can swing the doors of Chance in any direction. 3) A fatality endowed with free will. 4) The verbal sword of Damocles. 5) A dizzy precipice at the end of every declarative sentence. 6) A pole around which the future and the past play hide-and-seek. 7) The vorspiel of the piker's threnody. E.g. (Scene: a narrow bridge.): "Let me pass, fellow! my name is Must, and I desire to cross." If (standing in the middle of the bridge): "You damn fool, don't you see I am the end of the bridge? There is no Must nor Might that can go beyond me."
Issue: In physiology, something that comes up and out; in politics, something that goes down and in.
Infusoria: The entire human race with the exception of Homer, Richard Wagner, Dante, Victor Hugo, Balzac, Rodin, Raphael, Ęschylus, Shakespeare, Schopenhauer and Edward Bok, in whose tremendous skulls we live and move and have our being, like a whirlwind of germs in the vats of the Absolute.
Imperialism: Tyranny, hiding behind the sacred name of Humanity.
Infidelity: To remain faithful to one's self, and to be unfaithful to some one else's faith. In religion, to think; in the marriage institution, to fall in love; in business, to do the thing to the other fellow that the other fellow intends to do to you, and do it first.
Imitation: The sincerest form of insult.
Imagination: 1) A marvelous little multicolored drugget that covers the rough and splintered floor of reality. 2) A haunted chateau. 3) A vestibule between Time and Eternity. 4) A giant enemy of reality. 5) The red Pantheon of Lucifer. 6) The candle-gleam of science; the flambeau of the lover; the constellated nebulae of the poet. 7) The glittering west-dust of a hidden innominate sun. 8) The seigniory of untrammeled instincts; the fief of unsanctified dreams; the palfrey that carries us toward nebulous spiritual hills. 9) The plasma of gods. 10) Puck strapped to the back of Balaam's ass. 11) The Shakespeare of mental faculties. 12) The avatar of the emotions. 13) A golden key that unlocks the bastile of logic. 14) A ladder to the fourth dimension. 15) A sublime liar. 16) Taking the halter off your thoughts and giving them a good kick in the behind. 17) Sympathy illumined by brains.
Immortality: 1) A reward given to infidels and atheists by a somewhat humorous God, for not groveling before Him and annoying Him with importunities. 2) A system of punishment for suicides, which makes suicide impossible, thereby putting one over on the ingrate who was tired of the gift of life, by compelling him to live forever, willy-nilly. 3) A valueless thing, because unlimited in quantity, which those hotly intent upon achieving will forfeit through the law which provides that that for which we clutch we lose. 4) A condition sought be political officeholders where the incumbent never either dies or resigns. 5) A state of being encouraged by annuitants, and those who live in the Garden of Allah-Money. 6) A flimflam offer by a theologian of inchoate title to improved real estate in the Sky for real estate, rentals and cash on Earth. 7 ) A doctrine that the rich teach the poor for good and sufficient reasons. 8) Divine Compensation for the starving. 9) A superfluous addition to life; to go on living after one desires and hopes to remain dead.
ournalist: A newspaperman out of a job.
Justice: A system of revenge where the State imitates the criminal.
Jury: 1) The stupidity of one brain multiplied by twelve. 2) A collection of sedentary owls. 3) The humble apology of Civilization to Savagery. e.g., "Whatever exists may be touched, but a jury is an exception to this universal law - it must be reached."
John Dough Proceedings:A hunt for graftheimers.
Judge: (1) A man with ankylosis of the ego, who is jealous of the stenographer for sufficient reasons. (2) One who learns law from lawyers and is excluded from the game, getting his in honors.
Judicious: 1) A state of mind wherein things are weighed in an imponderable scale; a conjunction of two negatives in a void. 2) To be wanting in foolishness, character or brains. 3) An exquisite and delicate perception of the difference between two things that are exactly alike, or the total unlikeness between two things that are absolutely different. 4) An umbrella to be carried on clear days as well as rainy ones, thus protecting the possessor from everything. 5) To lie flat on your puss while the juggernaut of Opinion goes over you; to stand perfectly still between two streetcars going in opposite directions. 6) To see what's coming and avoid it by taking all sides.
indergarten: The greatest scheme ever devised - for the education of parents.
Knocking: A slow but sure way of putting the skids under your prospects. Push in the door slowly, and all things are yours - knock and nothing shall be opened unto you.
Knowledge:The distilled essence of our intuitions, corroborated by experience. Knowledge is what I know; wisdom is what I see; theology is what I guess.
King: (1) In the presence of genius, a pleb. (2) A vestige. (3) One whose chief diversion lately has been to watch himself grow beautifully less. (4) A First Cause run to seed. (5) Divine Right tempered by bombs.
oafer: The man who is usually busy keeping someone else from working.
Lonely: A peculiar feeling caused by the presence of one or more bores.
Lovers: Unconscious comedians.
Laughter: 1) The sound you always hear when you chase your hat down the street. 2) Nature's cure for tired nerves. 3) The solace of the sad. 4) A facial sunburst that is fatal to the glooms.
Litigation: A form of hell whereby money is transferred from the pockets of the proletariat to that of lawyers.
Literature: The art of saying a thing by saying something else just as good.
Love: The third rail for Life's Empire State Express. The beginning of all wisdom, all sympathy, all compassion, all art, all religion.
Living: A mode of wasting time from cradle to grave consecrated by immemorial usage.
Logic: An instrument used for bolstering a prejudice.
Lawyer: 1) A person who takes this from that, so the result that That hath not where to lay his head. 2) An unnecessary evil. 3) The only man in whom ignorance of the law is not punished.
Library: A place where the dead lie.
Lie: The weapon of defense that kind Providence provides for the protection of the oppressed.
Learn :To add to one's ignorance by extending the knowledge we have of the things we can never know.
Law:1) A scheme for protecting the parasite and prolonging the life of the rogue, averting the natural consequences which would otherwise come to them. 2) The crystallization of public opinion.
Language: The tool of the mind.
Levitation: The creeping up of your trousers when you ride horseback, so that they supply you a necktie.
Liberty: 1) A password in universal use, and hence of no value. 2) The slogan of a party or sect that seeks to enslave some other party or sect. 3) The lost latchkey to the Citadel of Power. 4) The sacred aeroplane of King Ego. 5) The right to go forth unimpeded from any place, and also to come back. 7) The thing Patrick Henry asked for when the bartender asked him what he would have. 8) Only a comparative term. 9) Responsibility - that is why most men dread it.
Later: The Utopia of Postponement; a marvelous door of gold at the end of every perspective, to which Procrastination holds the keys. The Concierge of tomorrow. (Some things are done sooner, others are done now, but most things are done later; hence, manana, dreams and regrets.)
Life: 1) An antemortem statement; the intrigue of force and matter; the insomnia of death; a log-jam on the stream of life. 2) The pursuit of the superfluous. 3) The copula of a tomb. 4) A game something like Blind Man's Bluff. 5) The paradise of liars. 6) A compromise between Fate and Freewill. 7) A warfare between the sexes. 8) What you choose to make it. 9) A bank account with so much divine energy at our disposal. 10) Just one wrong number after another. 11) The interval between the time your teeth are almost through and you are almost through with your teeth. 12) An affirmative between two negatives.
Libelous: To be tactless in type.
Liar: 1) One who tells the truth about something that never happened; hence, a poet, a preacher, a politician, or an Arctic explorer. 2) An expert witness on the side of the Prosecution, or any witness called by the Defense. 3) One who reasons far ahead of his time; a seer. (As all combinations of facts must occur in endless time, the liar, no matter how absurd his statement, is uttering a truth, because he is stating a fact that has occurred or will occur at some future date. Thus, a liar, in the sense of one who utters a falsehood, can be said, strictly speaking, to exist. As dirt is merely nectar in the process of evolving, so a liar is an observer born out of his time. He is the victim of a divine prank.)
otherhood: The headliner in God's great vaudeville.
Mental Dissolution: That condition where you find you are perfectly satisfied with you religion, education and government.
Martyr: Any man who is willing to sacrifice others for his "cause."
Mummy: 1) An unobjectionable party whose motives are not questioned. 2) One who is not in business for his health. 3) Any one who does not advertise.
Mastership: Industry, concentration, self-confidence.
Morality: 1) The formaldehyde of theology. 2) The line of conduct that pays.
Metaphysics: 1) An attempt to define a thing and by doing so escape the bother of understanding it. 2) The explanation of a thing by a person who does not understand it.
Music: 1) Anything that has charms to soothe the savage beast. 2) Unnecessary noises heard in restaurants and cheap hotels. 3) The only one of the arts that can not be prostituted to a base use. 4) An attempt to express the emotions that are beyond speech. 5) A noise less objectionable than any other noise.
Martyrdom: The sweet apotheosis of the things we do not care to avoid.
Morgue: The pantheon of the unremembered; Death's shop-window.
Midnight: 1) The pole of the hours; a pincushion on which sparkle all the seconds of the day; the keel of the good ship Tomorrow. 2) A chimney whence the dreams of today issue in smoke.
Minute: 1) The crutch on which the Hour leans as it limps into Eternity. 2) A space of time in which we dream of something that will never come true, or form a resolution that another minute effaces.
Mathematics: A tentative agreement that two and two make four.
Militarism A fever for conquest, with Peace for a shield, using music and brass buttons to dazzle and divert the Populace.
Mistress:1) A Female who has rights, as distinguished from a married woman, who has duties. 2) One whose respect and love some married men may hold without the non-transferable license in the bottom of a trunk.
Master-Man: A man who is master of one person - himself.
Mammon: The Pope of Protestantism.
Middleman: One who works both ends against the middle.
Mephisto: The fourth person in the Holy Trinity.
Marriage: 1) A legal or religious ceremony by which two persons of the opposite sex solemnly agree to harass and spy on each other for 99 years, or until death do them join. 2) A way-station, not the end of the journey. 3) The aspiration of two vowels to be a diphthong. 4) Love's demitasse.
Mahin: A jumbo of publicity who puts it over.
Muckraker: One who sits on the fence and defames American enterprise as it marches by.
Moralist: 1) A beatified eunuch. 2) One self-elected to make the stupid more stupid. 3) Any one skilled in the science of pornography. 4) A retired roue. 5) One of the Sacred Legion of Coprolitis.
Mystic: 1) One who guzzles his God. 2) A person who is puzzled before the obvious, but who understands the nonexistent. 3) To stand over the vasty deep to summon monsters and slip in. 4) Sap that has lost its way. 5) A gymnast who turns flip-flops between the Here and the Not-Here. (Plato was the first mystic. It was he who announced the discovery of the Non-Existent. Hegel was the last mystic, for it was he who proved the Non-Existent was and was not, might have been and never could be, has was, is now and never shall be.)
Mercy: 1) The charity of tyrants. 2) The forgiveness of one scoundrel by another. 3) The culmination of the Will-Power and its final apotheosis. 4) A quality which, like soup, the more it is strained the less soup and the more water you have. 5) In a war a universal mode of subjugating a people.
Munsey: 1) Any publisher who does much business on small mental capital. 2) Verb: To munsey - to print much and say nothing. 3) A literary laxative. 4) To put up money for a monkey monarchy.
Murderer: 1) A savior of society. Synonyms: Soldier, hangman, doctor. 2) A man born ahead of or after his time.
Missionaries: Sincere, self-deceived persons suffering from meddler's itch.
Mankind: 1) A nomadic savage that has wandered over the face of the earth from east to West in order to reach the East so it could go West again. It has left many traces of its life - barrooms, brothels, jails, churches, gallows, best sellers, etc. 2) In the animal kingdom, a surreptitious and supposititious supererogation. 3) Among the Simians a place equivalent to our hell. "Oh, you go to Mankind," is quite frequently heard in the African jungle, even in the best society.
Man : 1) A super-simian. 2) Holy dicebox of the devil. 3) God's scrapbook. 4) Anything allowed to stand at a public bar. 5) A biped with feathers in his or her hat. 6) A being said to be the highest work of God - and who admits it. 7) Any creature that creates a Creator in his own image. 8) A god in the crib.
Modesty: 1) A beau-catcher that young ladies wear and women affect. 2) In a sweetmeat, the souffle through which we dig to reach the plums. 3) The blush on the face of Desire at the consciousness of its own immodesty. 4) Among men modesty is the will-to-wait and seize. 5) Venom, who sidles into corners and shuns the limelight, so that he may better see. 6) The attitude of the mind that precedes the pounce. 7) The subtlest symptom of paranoia. 8) Egotism turned wrong side out.
Matteawan: The antechamber of liberty for a murder-gent.
Manholes: The apertures in a peekaboo shirtwaist.
Man-Hater: A woman who, finding herself no longer acceptable to man, flirts with with Mephisto.
Mayor: 1) Particeps criminis. 2) The head and front of our offending. 3) Polonius Pecksniff, who plays bottom for a stipend. 4) A chaste, honorable, virtuous person whose private life is made inviolable by the libel laws. 5) A prickly sensation in the back of Folly and Revelry. 6) The culmination, zenith, equator and pediment of self-sufficient mediocrity. 7) A crow's nest from which one may see the perpetually receding horizons of the Governorship and the Presidency. 8) A chef of morality. 9) Any person afflicted with primary, secondary or tertiary holiness. 10) A palm reader. 11) A nebulous cluster of thought-embryons resolved into a gaseous state. 12) The nosebag of public decency. 13) The alter ego of organized cant. 14) The critic of impure reason. 15) Lobster emeritus. 16) A person who takes an oath to love, honor and obey Tartuffe.
Miracle: 1) A happening seen by four men at once, but no man in particular - hence, a collective, but otherwise untrue, fact. 2) The minutiae of cosmologies. 3) A physical event described by those to whom it was related by men who did not see it. 4) A portent that precedes the coming of a Liar with letters patent from Nowhere, or a series of extraordinary occurrences that attend his comings and goings and mouthings that in no way equal in majesty, beauty or mystery the simplest commonplace of his life. (No god, demigod, or other parasite of human ignorance is complete without miracles, for it is only the natural and commonplace that are unbelievable.)
To return to the Main Webpage of the Roycrofters.