The Best Ambrose Bierce quotes

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Ambrose Bierce was born on June 24, 1842 in Meigs County, Ohio. He was a journalist and author who is best known for his dark and witty short stories. Despite a successful career, Bierce’s life was plagued with tragedy, which contributed to his cynical worldview. In 1914, he disappeared without a trace while traveling in Mexico. His fate remains unknown to this day. Although Bierce’s life was full of pain and loss, his writing provides insight into the mind of one of America’s most intriguing authors.

Here are the strongest Americans, Politics, Women, Being Dead, Wisdom, Human Beings, Life, World quotes from Ambrose Bierce, and much more.


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About Ambrose Bierce

birth of the author

June 24, 1842

death of the author

Lost/C. 1914 ; Unknown

occupation of the author

Soldier · Journalist · Writer

genre of the author

Satire, Journalism, Short Story, Horror Fiction, War Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Western, Memoir, Humor, Literary Criticism, Poetry

movement of the author

Literary Movement:

award of the author

Notable Works:
“Chickamauga” “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge” “The Death Of Halpin Frayser” “The Moonlit Road” The Devil’s Dictionary Tales Of Soldiers And Civilians

country of the author

United States Of America

date of the author

Years Of Service:

army of the author

First Lieutenant

unit of the author

9Th Indiana Infantry Regiment

army of the author

American Civil War: Battle Of Philippi, Battle Of Laurel Mountain, Battle Of Rich Mountain, Battle Of Corrick’s Ford


True, man does not know woman. But neither does woman. — Ambrose Bierce

Woman absent is woman dead. — Ambrose Bierce

Indiscretion, n. The guilt of woman. — Ambrose Bierce

Bride: A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her. — Ambrose Bierce

true man does not know woman but neither does woman Ambrose Bierce quote

Queen, n. A woman by whom the realm is ruled when there is a king, and through whom it is ruled when there is not. — Ambrose Bierce

Convent–a place of retirement for women who wish for leisure to meditate upon the sin of idleness. — Ambrose Bierce

Women and foxes, being weak, are distinguished by superior tact. — Ambrose Bierce

Mouse, n. An animal which strews its path with fainting women. — Ambrose Bierce

Ugliness, n. A gift of the gods to certain women, entailing virtue without humility. — Ambrose Bierce

woman absent is woman dead Ambrose Bierce quote

Empty wine bottles have a bad opinion of women. — Ambrose Bierce

Woman, n. An animal usually living in the vicinity of Man, and having a rudimentary susceptibility to domestication. — Ambrose Bierce

Miss, n. A title which we brand unmarried women to indicate that they are in the market. — Ambrose Bierce

What a woman most admires in a man is distinction among men. What a man most admires in a woman is devotion to himself. — Ambrose Bierce

Witch, n. (1) Any ugly and repulsive old woman, in a wicked league with the devil. (2) A beautiful and attractive young woman, in wickedness a league beyond the devil. — Ambrose Bierce

indiscretion n the guilt of woman Ambrose Bierce quote

Women in love are less ashamed than men. They have less to be ashamed of. — Ambrose Bierce

Beauty, n: the power by which a woman charms a lover and terrifies a husband. — Ambrose Bierce

Clairvoyant, n.: A person, commonly a woman, who has the power of seeing that which is invisible to her patron–namely, that he is a blockhead. — Ambrose Bierce

Here’s to woman! Would that we could fold into her arms without falling into her hands. — Ambrose Bierce

You are not permitted to kill a woman who has wronged you, but nothing forbids you to reflect that she is growing older every minute. — Ambrose Bierce

bride a woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her Ambrose Bierce quote

When God makes a beautiful woman, the devil opens a new register. — Ambrose Bierce

Exception, n. A thing which takes the liberty to differ from other things of its class, as an honest man, a truthful woman, etc. — Ambrose Bierce

The circus a place where horses, ponies and elephants are permitted to see men, women and children acting the fool. — Ambrose Bierce


Adage, n. Boned wisdom for weak teeth. — Ambrose Bierce

Epigram, n. A short, sharp saying in prose or verse, frequently characterize by acidity or acerbity and sometimes by wisdom. — Ambrose Bierce

adage n boned wisdom for weak teeth Ambrose Bierce quote

Multitude, n. A crowd; the source of political wisdom and virtue. In a republic, the object of the statesman’s adoration. — Ambrose Bierce

Experience–the wisdom that enables us to recognise in an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced. — Ambrose Bierce

Intolerance is natural and logical, for in every dissenting opinion lies an assumption of superior wisdom. — Ambrose Bierce

Human nature is pretty well balanced; for every lacking virtue there is a rough substitute that will serve at a pinch––as cunning is the wisdom of the unwise, and ferocity the courage of the coward. — Ambrose Bierce

Bigamy, n. A mistake in taste for which the wisdom of the future will adjudge a punishment called trigamy. — Ambrose Bierce

Age, with his eyes in the back of his head, thinks it wisdom to see the bogs through which he has floundered. — Ambrose Bierce

Wisdom is known only by contrasting it with folly; by shadow only we perceive that all visible objects are not flat. Yet Philanthropos would abolish evil! — Ambrose Bierce

Aphorism, n. Predigested wisdom. The flabby wine–skin of his brain Yields to some pathologic strain, And voids from its unstored abysm The driblet of an aphorism. ‘The Mad Philosopher,’ 1697 — Ambrose Bierce


Saint. a dead sinner revised and edited. — Ambrose Bierce

A violin is the revenge exacted by the intestines of a dead cat. — Ambrose Bierce

saint a dead sinner revised and edited Ambrose Bierce quote

Reconciliation, n. A suspension of hostilities. An armed truce for the purpose of digging up the dead. — Ambrose Bierce

Eulogy. Praise of a person who has either the advantages of wealth and power, or the consideration to be dead. — Ambrose Bierce

Grave, n. A place in which the dead are laid to await the coming of the medical student. — Ambrose Bierce

Funeral: a pageant whereby we attest our respect for the dead by enriching the undertaker, and strengthen our grief by an expenditure that deepens our groans and doubles our tears. — Ambrose Bierce

Ambition. An overmastering desire to be vilified by enemies while living and made ridiculous by friends when dead. — Ambrose Bierce

a violin is the revenge exacted by the intestines of a dead cat Ambrose Bierce quote

A leech who, having penetrated the shell of a turtle only to find that the creature has long been dead, deems it expedient to form a new attachment to a fresh turtle. — Ambrose Bierce


Alien. an american sovereign in his probationary state. — Ambrose Bierce

Dejeuner, n. The breakfast of an American who has been in Paris. Variously pronounced. — Ambrose Bierce

Kilt, n. A costume sometimes worn by Scotchmen in America and Americans in Scotland. — Ambrose Bierce

Yankee, n. In Europe, an American. In the Northern States of our Union, a New Englander. In the Southern States the word is unknown. — Ambrose Bierce

alien an american sovereign in his probationary state Ambrose Bierce quote

War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography. — Ambrose Bierce

At war with savages and idiots. To be a Frenchman abroad is to be miserable; to be an American abroad is to make others miserable. — Ambrose Bierce

Grapeshot, n. An argument which the future is preparing in answer to the demands of American Socialism. — Ambrose Bierce

Zeus /n./ The chief of Grecian gods, adored by the Romans as Jupiter and by the modern Americans as God, Gold, Mob and Dog. — Ambrose Bierce

Rear, n. In American military matters, that exposed part of the army that is nearest to Congress. — Ambrose Bierce

dejeuner n the breakfast of an american who has been in paris variously pronounced Ambrose Bierce quote

Mustang, n. An indocile horse of the western plains. In English society, the American wife of an English nobleman. — Ambrose Bierce

Presidency, n. The greased pig in the field game of American politics. — Ambrose Bierce

Nobleman, n. Nature’s provision for wealthy American minds ambitious to incur social distinction and suffer high life. — Ambrose Bierce

Recount, n. In American politics, another throw of the dice, accorded to the player against whom they are loaded. — Ambrose Bierce

Wit–the salt with which the American humorist spoils his intellectual cookery by leaving it out. — Ambrose Bierce

kilt n a costume sometimes worn by scotchmen in america and americans in scotland Ambrose Bierce quote


Enough, pro. All there is in the world if you like it. — Ambrose Bierce

Redundant Thematics

In Ambrose Bierce Statements


Geographer, n. A chap who can tell you offhand the difference between the outside of the world and the inside. — Ambrose Bierce

Alligator: The crocodile of America, superior in every detail to the crocodile of the effete monarchies of the Old World. — Ambrose Bierce

Irreligion–the principal one of the great faiths of the world. — Ambrose Bierce

Tail, n. The part of an animal’s spine that has transcended its natural limitations to set up an independent existence in a world of its own. — Ambrose Bierce

enough pro all there is in the world if you like it Ambrose Bierce quote

Heaven lies about us in our infancy and the world begins lying about us pretty soon afterward. — Ambrose Bierce

The world has suffered more from the ravages of ill–advised marriages than from virginity. — Ambrose Bierce

Cynicism is that blackguard defect of vision which compels us to see the world as it is, instead of as it should be. — Ambrose Bierce

Deluge, n. A notable first experiment in baptism which washed away the sins (and sinners) of the world. — Ambrose Bierce

The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog. — Ambrose Bierce

irreligion the principal one of the great faiths of the world Ambrose Bierce quote

Inadmissible–not competent to be considered. Hearsay evidence is inadmissible … but there is no religion in the world that has any other basis than hearsay evidence. — Ambrose Bierce

Sabbath–a weekly festival having its origin in the fact that God made the world in six days and was arrested on the seventh. — Ambrose Bierce

Ocean, n. A body of water occupying about two–thirds of a world made for man–who has no gills. — Ambrose Bierce

In this world one must have a name; it prevents confusion, even when it does not establish identity. Some, though, are known by numbers, which also seem inadequate distinctions. — Ambrose Bierce

Representative, n. In national politics, a member of the Lower House in this world, and without discernible hope of promotion in the next. — Ambrose Bierce


Diary, n. A daily record of that part of one’s life, which he can relate to himself without blushing. — Ambrose Bierce

Life is a hideous thing, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous. — H. P. Lovecraft

The appeal of the spectrally macabre is generally narrow because it demands from the reader a certain degree of imagination and a capacity for detachment from everyday life. — H. P. Lovecraft

Life. a spiritual pickle preserving the body from decay. — Ambrose Bierce

Christian–one who follows the teachings of Christ insofar as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin. — Ambrose Bierce

life a spiritual pickle preserving the body from decay Ambrose Bierce quote

Age–that period of life in which we compound for the vices that remain by reviling those we have no longer the vigor to commit. — Ambrose Bierce

Pardon, v. To remit a penalty and restore to the life of crime. To add to the lure of crime the temptation of ingratitude. — Ambrose Bierce

Calamity, n. A more than commonly plain and unmistakable reminder that the affairs of this life are not of our own ordering. Calamities are of two kinds: misfortune to ourselves, and good fortune to others. — Ambrose Bierce

A single swallow, it is said, devours ten millions of insects every year. The supplying of these insects I take to be a signal instance of the Creator’s bounty in providing for the lives of His creatures. — Ambrose Bierce

Along the road of life are many pleasure resorts, but think not that by tarrying in them you will take more days to the journey. The day of your arrival is already recorded. — Ambrose Bierce

To those who view the voyage of life from the port of departure the bark that has accomplished any considerable distance appears already in close approach to the farther shore. — Ambrose Bierce

Phonograph, n. An irritating toy that restores life to dead noises. — Ambrose Bierce

Childhood: the period of human life intermediate between the idiocy of infancy and the folly of youth–two removes from the sin of manhood and three from the remorse of age. — Ambrose Bierce

Life, n. A spiritual pickle preserving the body from decay. We live in daily apprehension of its loss; yet when lost it is not missed. — Ambrose Bierce

Nominee. A modest gentleman shrinking from the distinction of private life and diligently seeking the honorable obscurity of public office. — Ambrose Bierce

Opera, n. A play representing life in another world, whose inhabitants have no speech but song, no motions but gestures and no postures but attitudes. — Ambrose Bierce

Folly, n. That ‘gift and faculty divine’ whose creative and controlling energy inspires Man’s mind, guides his actions and adorns his life. — Ambrose Bierce


You cannot adopt politics as a profession and remain honest. — Ambrose Bierce

Mugwump, n. In politics one afflicted with self–respect and addicted to the vice of independence. A term of contempt. — Ambrose Bierce

Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. — Ambrose Bierce

you cannot adopt politics as a profession and remain honest Ambrose Bierce quote

Pandemonium, n. Literally, the Place of All the Demons. Most of them have escaped into politics and finance, and the place is now used as a lecture hall by the Audible Reformer. — Ambrose Bierce

Push, n. One of the two things mainly conducive to success, especially in politics. The other is Pull. — Ambrose Bierce

I keep a conscience uncorrupted by religion, a judgment undimmed by politics and patriotism, a heart untainted by friendships and sentiments unsoured by animosities. — Ambrose Bierce

Arena, n. In politics, an imaginary rat–pit in which the statesman wrestles with his record. — Ambrose Bierce

Administration, n. An ingenious abstraction in politics, designed to receive the kicks and cuffs due to the premier or president. A man of straw, proof against bad–egging and dead–catting. — Ambrose Bierce

politics n strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles Ambrose Bierce quote

Alliance–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. — Ambrose Bierce


In each human heart are a tiger, a pig, an ass and a nightingale. Diversity of character is due to their unequal activity. — Ambrose Bierce

Logic: The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding. — Ambrose Bierce

Idiot, n. A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling. — Ambrose Bierce

Fiddle, n. An instrument to tickle human ears by friction of a horse’s tail on the entrails of a cat. — Ambrose Bierce

Pig, n. An animal (‘Porcus omnivorus’) closely allied to the human race by the splendor and vivacity of its appetite, which, however, is inferior in scope, for it sticks at pig. — Ambrose Bierce

To me, there is nothing but puerility in a tale in which the human form–and local human passions and conditions and standards–are depicted as native to other worlds and universes. — H. P. Lovecraft

Male, A member of the unconsidered or negligible gender. The male of the human race is commonly known to the female as Mere Man. The Genus has two varieties: good providers and bad providers. — Ambrose Bierce

Hand, n. A singular instrument worn at the end of the human arm and commonly thrust into somebody’s pocket. — Ambrose Bierce


Ambrose Bierce was definitely onto something when he said, “There is nothing so absurd but some philosopher has said it. The insights of great thinkers have the potential to change the way we see the world and can be a powerful source of motivation. We hope these quotes from Ambrose Bierce have inspired you as much as they have us and that you will check out our online courses to learn more about how to apply them to your own life.

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