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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

P

PAIN
n. An uncomfortable frame of mind that may have a physical basis in something that is being done to the body, or may be purely mental, caused by the good fortune of another.
PAINTING
n. The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the critic.
    Formerly, painting and sculpture were combined in the same work:

the ancients painted their statues.  The only present alliance between

the two arts is that the modern painter chisels his patrons.

PALACE
n. A fine and costly residence, particularly that of a great official. The residence of a high dignitary of the Christian Church is called a palace; that of the Founder of his religion was known as a field, or wayside. There is progress.
PALM
n. A species of tree having several varieties, of which the familiar "itching palm" (Palma hominis) is most widely distributed and sedulously cultivated. This noble vegetable exudes a kind of invisible gum, which may be detected by applying to the bark a piece of gold or silver. The metal will adhere with remarkable tenacity. The fruit of the itching palm is so bitter and unsatisfying that a considerable percentage of it is sometimes given away in what are known as "benefactions."
PALMISTRY
n. The 947th method (according to Mimbleshaw's classification) of obtaining money by false pretences. It consists in "reading character" in the wrinkles made by closing the hand. The pretence is not altogether false; character can really be read very accurately in this way, for the wrinkles in every hand submitted plainly spell the word "dupe." The imposture consists in not reading it aloud.
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. When disturbed by his voice the ancient echoes clamor appropriate responses most gratifying to his pride of distinction.
PANTALOONS
n. A nether habiliment of the adult civilized male. The garment is tubular and unprovided with hinges at the points of flexion. Supposed to have been invented by a humorist. Called "trousers" by the enlightened and "pants" by the unworthy.
PANTHEISM
n. The doctrine that everything is God, in contradistinction to the doctrine that God is everything.
PANTOMIME
n. A play in which the story is told without violence to the language. The least disagreeable form of dramatic action.
PARDON
v. To remit a penalty and restore to the life of crime. To add to the lure of crime the temptation of ingratitude.
PASSPORT
n. A document treacherously inflicted upon a citizen going abroad, exposing him as an alien and pointing him out for special reprobation and outrage.
PAST
n. That part of Eternity with some small fraction of which we have a slight and regrettable acquaintance. A moving line called the Present parts it from an imaginary period known as the Future. These two grand divisions of Eternity, of which the one is continually effacing the other, are entirely unlike. The one is dark with sorrow and disappointment, the other bright with prosperity and joy. The Past is the region of sobs, the Future is the realm of song. In the one crouches Memory, clad in sackcloth and ashes, mumbling penitential prayer; in the sunshine of the other Hope flies with a free wing, beckoning to temples of success and bowers of ease. Yet the Past is the Future of yesterday, the Future is the Past of to-morrow. They are one -- the knowledge and the dream.
PASTIME
n. A device for promoting dejection. Gentle exercise for intellectual debility.
PATIENCE
n. A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue.
PATRIOT
n. One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.
PATRIOTISM
n. Combustible rubbish read to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.
    In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the

last resort of a scoundrel.  With all due respect to an enlightened

but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first.

PEACE
n. In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.
    O, what's the loud uproar assailing

        Mine ears without cease?

    'Tis the voice of the hopeful, all-hailing

        The horrors of peace.



    Ah, Peace Universal; they woo it --

        Would marry it, too.

    If only they knew how to do it

        'Twere easy to do.



    They're working by night and by day

        On their problem, like moles.

    Have mercy, O Heaven, I pray,

        On their meddlesome souls!

                                                               Ro Amil

PEDESTRIAN
n. The variable (an audible) part of the roadway for an automobile.
PEDIGREE
n. The known part of the route from an arboreal ancestor with a swim bladder to an urban descendant with a cigarette.
PENITENT
adj. Undergoing or awaiting punishment.
PERFECTION
n. An imaginary state of quality distinguished from the actual by an element known as excellence; an attribute of the critic.
    The editor of an English magazine having received a letter

pointing out the erroneous nature of his views and style, and signed

"Perfection," promptly wrote at the foot of the letter:  "I don't

agree with you," and mailed it to Matthew Arnold.

PERIPATETIC
adj. Walking about. Relating to the philosophy of Aristotle, who, while expounding it, moved from place to place in order to avoid his pupil's objections. A needless precaution -- they knew no more of the matter than he.
PERORATION
n. The explosion of an oratorical rocket. It dazzles, but to an observer having the wrong kind of nose its most conspicuous peculiarity is the smell of the several kinds of powder used in preparing it.
PERSEVERANCE
n. A lowly virtue whereby mediocrity achieves an inglorious success.
    "Persevere, persevere!" cry the homilists all,

    Themselves, day and night, persevering to bawl.

    "Remember the fable of tortoise and hare --

    The one at the goal while the other is -- where?"

    Why, back there in Dreamland, renewing his lease

    Of life, all his muscles preserving the peace,

    The goal and the rival forgotten alike,

    And the long fatigue of the needless hike.

    His spirit a-squat in the grass and the dew

    Of the dogless Land beyond the Stew,

    He sleeps, like a saint in a holy place,

    A winner of all that is good in a race.

                                                          Sukker Uffro

PESSIMISM
n. A philosophy forced upon the convictions of the observer by the disheartening prevalence of the optimist with his scarecrow hope and his unsightly smile.
PHILANTHROPIST
n. A rich (and usually bald) old gentleman who has trained himself to grin while his conscience is picking his pocket.
PHILISTINE
n. One whose mind is the creature of its environment, following the fashion in thought, feeling and sentiment. He is sometimes learned, frequently prosperous, commonly clean and always solemn.
PHILOSOPHY
n. A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.
PHOENIX
n. The classical prototype of the modern "small hot bird."
PHONOGRAPH
n. An irritating toy that restores life to dead noises.
PHOTOGRAPH
n. A picture painted by the sun without instruction in art. It is a little better than the work of an Apache, but not quite so good as that of a Cheyenne.
PHRENOLOGY
n. The science of picking the pocket through the scalp. It consists in locating and exploiting the organ that one is a dupe with.
PHYSICIAN
n. One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well.
PHYSIOGNOMY
n. The art of determining the character of another by the resemblances and differences between his face and our own, which is the standard of excellence.
    "There is no art," says Shakespeare, foolish man,

        "To read the mind's construction in the face."

    The physiognomists his portrait scan,

        And say:  "How little wisdom here we trace!

    He knew his face disclosed his mind and heart,

    So, in his own defence, denied our art."

                                                         Lavatar Shunk

PIANO
n. A parlor utensil for subduing the impenitent visitor. It is operated by pressing the keys of the machine and the spirits of the audience.
PICKANINNY
n. The young of the Procyanthropos, or Americanus dominans. It is small, black and charged with political fatalities.
PICTURE
n. A representation in two dimensions of something wearisome in three.
    "Behold great Daubert's picture here on view --

    Taken from Life."  If that description's true,

    Grant, heavenly Powers, that I be taken, too.

                                                             Jali Hane

PIE
n. An advance agent of the reaper whose name is Indigestion.
    Cold pie was highly esteemed by the remains.

                                                       Rev. Dr. Mucker

                         (in a funeral sermon over a British nobleman)



    Cold pie is a detestable

    American comestible.

    That's why I'm done -- or undone --

    So far from that dear London.

               (from the headstone of a British nobleman in Kalamazoo)

PIETY
n. Reverence for the Supreme Being, based upon His supposed resemblance to man.
    The pig is taught by sermons and epistles

    To think the God of Swine has snout and bristles.

                                                              Judibras

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.
PIGMY
n. One of a tribe of very small men found by ancient travelers in many parts of the world, but by modern in Central Africa only. The Pigmies are so called to distinguish them from the bulkier Caucasians -- who are Hogmies.
PILGRIM
n. A traveler that is taken seriously. A Pilgrim Father was one who, leaving Europe in 1620 because not permitted to sing psalms through his nose, followed it to Massachusetts, where he could personate God according to the dictates of his conscience.
PILLORY
n. A mechanical device for inflicting personal distinction -- prototype of the modern newspaper conducted by persons of austere virtues and blameless lives.
PIRACY
n. Commerce without its folly-swaddles, just as God made it.
PITIFUL
adj. The state of an enemy of opponent after an imaginary encounter with oneself.
PITY
n. A failing sense of exemption, inspired by contrast.
PLAGIARISM
n. A literary coincidence compounded of a discreditable priority and an honorable subsequence.
PLAGIARIZE
v. To take the thought or style of another writer whom one has never, never read.
PLAGUE
n. In ancient times a general punishment of the innocent for admonition of their ruler, as in the familiar instance of Pharaoh the Immune. The plague as we of to-day have the happiness to know it is merely Nature's fortuitous manifestation of her purposeless objectionableness.
PLAN
v.t. To bother about the best method of accomplishing an accidental result.
PLATITUDE
n. The fundamental element and special glory of popular literature. A thought that snores in words that smoke. The wisdom of a million fools in the diction of a dullard. A fossil sentiment in artificial rock. A moral without the fable. All that is mortal of a departed truth. A demi-tasse of milk-and-mortality. The Pope's-nose of a featherless peacock. A jelly-fish withering on the shore of the sea of thought. The cackle surviving the egg. A desiccated epigram.
PLATONIC
adj. Pertaining to the philosophy of Socrates. Platonic Love is a fool's name for the affection between a disability and a frost.
PLAUDITS
n. Coins with which the populace pays those who tickle and devour it.
PLEASE
v. To lay the foundation for a superstructure of imposition.
PLEASURE
n. The least hateful form of dejection.
PLEBEIAN
n. An ancient Roman who in the blood of his country stained nothing but his hands. Distinguished from the Patrician, who was a saturated solution.
PLEBISCITE
n. A popular vote to ascertain the will of the sovereign.
PLENIPOTENTIARY
adj. Having full power. A Minister Plenipotentiary is a diplomatist possessing absolute authority on condition that he never exert it.
PLEONASM
n. An army of words escorting a corporal of thought.
PLOW
n. An implement that cries aloud for hands accustomed to the pen.
PLUNDER
v. To take the property of another without observing the decent and customary reticences of theft. To effect a change of ownership with the candid concomitance of a brass band. To wrest the wealth of A from B and leave C lamenting a vanishing opportunity.
POCKET
n. The cradle of motive and the grave of conscience. In woman this organ is lacking; so she acts without motive, and her conscience, denied burial, remains ever alive, confessing the sins of others.
POETRY
n. A form of expression peculiar to the Land beyond the Magazines.
POKER
n. A game said to be played with cards for some purpose to this lexicographer unknown.
POLICE
n. An armed force for protection and participation.
POLITENESS
n. The most acceptable hypocrisy.
POLITICS
n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
POLITICIAN
n. An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared. When we wriggles he mistakes the agitation of his tail for the trembling of the edifice. As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive.
POLYGAMY
n. A house of atonement, or expiatory chapel, fitted with several stools of repentance, as distinguished from monogamy, which has but one.
POPULIST
n. A fossil patriot of the early agricultural period, found in the old red soapstone underlying Kansas; characterized by an uncommon spread of ear, which some naturalists contend gave him the power of flight, though Professors Morse and Whitney, pursuing independent lines of thought, have ingeniously pointed out that had he possessed it he would have gone elsewhere. In the picturesque speech of his period, some fragments of which have come down to us, he was known as "The Matter with Kansas."
PORTABLE
adj. Exposed to a mutable ownership through vicissitudes of possession.
    His light estate, if neither he did make it

    Nor yet its former guardian forsake it,

    Is portable improperly, I take it.

                                                        Worgum Slupsky

PORTUGUESE
n.pl. A species of geese indigenous to Portugal. They are mostly without feathers and imperfectly edible, even when stuffed with garlic.
POSITIVE
adj. Mistaken at the top of one's voice.
POSITIVISM
n. A philosophy that denies our knowledge of the Real and affirms our ignorance of the Apparent. Its longest exponent is Comte, its broadest Mill and its thickest Spencer.
POSTERITY
n. An appellate court which reverses the judgment of a popular author's contemporaries, the appellant being his obscure competitor.
POTABLE
n. Suitable for drinking. Water is said to be potable; indeed, some declare it our natural beverage, although even they find it palatable only when suffering from the recurrent disorder known as thirst, for which it is a medicine. Upon nothing has so great and diligent ingenuity been brought to bear in all ages and in all countries, except the most uncivilized, as upon the invention of substitutes for water. To hold that this general aversion to that liquid has no basis in the preservative instinct of the race is to be unscientific -- and without science we are as the snakes and toads.
POVERTY
n. A file provided for the teeth of the rats of reform. The number of plans for its abolition equals that of the reformers who suffer from it, plus that of the philosophers who know nothing about it. Its victims are distinguished by possession of all the virtues and by their faith in leaders seeking to conduct them into a prosperity where they believe these to be unknown.
PRAY
v. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.
PRE-ADAMITE
n. One of an experimental and apparently unsatisfactory race of antedated Creation and lived under conditions not easily conceived. Melsius believed them to have inhabited "the Void" and to have been something intermediate between fishes and birds. Little its known of them beyond the fact that they supplied Cain with a wife and theologians with a controversy.
PRECEDENT
n. In Law, a previous decision, rule or practice which, in the absence of a definite statute, has whatever force and authority a Judge may choose to give it, thereby greatly simplifying his task of doing as he pleases. As there are precedents for everything, he has only to ignore those that make against his interest and accentuate those in the line of his desire. Invention of the precedent elevates the trial-at-law from the low estate of a fortuitous ordeal to the noble attitude of a dirigible arbitrament.
PRECIPITATE
adj. Anteprandial.
    Precipitate in all, this sinner

    Took action first, and then his dinner.

                                                              Judibras

PRECEDENT
n. In Law, a previous decision, rule or practice which, in the absence of a definite statute, has whatever force and authority a Judge may choose to give it, thereby greatly simplifying his task of doing as he pleases. As there are precedents for everything, he has only to ignore those that make against his interest and accentuate those in the line of his desire. Invention of the precedent elevates the trial-at-law from the low estate of a fortuitous ordeal to the noble attitude of a dirigible arbitrament.
PRECIPITATE
adj. Anteprandial.
    Precipitate in all, this sinner

    Took action first, and then his dinner.

                                                              Judibras

PREDESTINATION
n. The doctrine that all things occur according to programme. This doctrine should not be confused with that of foreordination, which means that all things are programmed, but does not affirm their occurrence, that being only an implication from other doctrines by which this is entailed. The difference is great enough to have deluged Christendom with ink, to say nothing of the gore. With the distinction of the two doctrines kept well in mind, and a reverent belief in both, one may hope to escape perdition if spared.
PREDICAMENT
n. The wage of consistency.
PREDILECTION
n. The preparatory stage of disillusion.
PRE-EXISTENCE
n. An unnoted factor in creation.
PREFERENCE
n. A sentiment, or frame of mind, induced by the erroneous belief that one thing is better than another.
    An ancient philosopher, expounding his conviction that life is no

better than death, was asked by a disciple why, then, he did not die.

"Because," he replied, "death is no better than life."

    It is longer.

PREHISTORIC
adj. Belonging to an early period and a museum. Antedating the art and practice of perpetuating falsehood.
    He lived in a period prehistoric,

    When all was absurd and phantasmagoric.

    Born later, when Clio, celestial recorded,

    Set down great events in succession and order,

    He surely had seen nothing droll or fortuitous

    In anything here but the lies that she threw at us.

                                                         Orpheus Bowen

PREJUDICE
n. A vagrant opinion without visible means of support.
PRELATE
n. A church officer having a superior degree of holiness and a fat preferment. One of Heaven's aristocracy. A gentleman of God.
PREROGATIVE
n. A sovereign's right to do wrong.
PRESBYTERIAN
n. One who holds the conviction that the government authorities of the Church should be called presbyters.
PRESCRIPTION
n. A physician's guess at what will best prolong the situation with least harm to the patient.
PRESENT
n. That part of eternity dividing the domain of disappointment from the realm of hope.
PRESENTABLE
adj. Hideously appareled after the manner of the time and place.
    In Boorioboola-Gha a man is presentable on occasions of ceremony

if he have his abdomen painted a bright blue and wear a cow's tail; in

New York he may, if it please him, omit the paint, but after sunset he

must wear two tails made of the wool of a sheep and dyed black.

PRESIDE
v. To guide the action of a deliberative body to a desirable result. In Journalese, to perform upon a musical instrument; as, "He presided at the piccolo."
    The Headliner, holding the copy in hand,

        Read with a solemn face:

    "The music was very uncommonly grand --

            The best that was every provided,

            For our townsman Brown presided

        At the organ with skill and grace."

    The Headliner discontinued to read,

        And, spread the paper down

    On the desk, he dashed in at the top of the screed:

        "Great playing by President Brown."

                                                         Orpheus Bowen

PRESIDENCY
n. The greased pig in the field game of American politics.
PRESIDENT
n. The leading figure in a small group of men of whom -- and of whom only -- it is positively known that immense numbers of their countrymen did not want any of them for President.
    If that's an honor surely 'tis a greater

    To have been a simple and undamned spectator.

    Behold in me a man of mark and note

    Whom no elector e'er denied a vote! --

    An undiscredited, unhooted gent

    Who might, for all we know, be President

    By acclimation.  Cheer, ye varlets, cheer --

    I'm passing with a wide and open ear!

                                                        Jonathan Fomry

PREVARICATOR
n. A liar in the caterpillar estate.
PRICE
n. Value, plus a reasonable sum for the wear and tear of conscience in demanding it.
PRIMATE
n. The head of a church, especially a State church supported by involuntary contributions. The Primate of England is the Archbishop of Canterbury, an amiable old gentleman, who occupies Lambeth Palace when living and Westminster Abbey when dead. He is commonly dead.
PRISON
n. A place of punishments and rewards. The poet assures us that --
    "Stone walls do not a prison make,"



but a combination of the stone wall, the political parasite and the

moral instructor is no garden of sweets.

PRIVATE
n. A military gentleman with a field-marshal's baton in his knapsack and an impediment in his hope.
PROBOSCIS
n. The rudimentary organ of an elephant which serves him in place of the knife-and-fork that Evolution has as yet denied him. For purposes of humor it is popularly called a trunk.
    Asked how he knew that an elephant was going on a journey, the

illustrious Jo. Miller cast a reproachful look upon his tormentor, and

answered, absently:  "When it is ajar," and threw himself from a high

promontory into the sea.  Thus perished in his pride the most famous

humorist of antiquity, leaving to mankind a heritage of woe!  No

successor worthy of the title has appeared, though Mr. Edward bok, of

The Ladies' Home Journal, is much respected for the purity and

sweetness of his personal character.

PROJECTILE
n. The final arbiter in international disputes. Formerly these disputes were settled by physical contact of the disputants, with such simple arguments as the rudimentary logic of the times could supply -- the sword, the spear, and so forth. With the growth of prudence in military affairs the projectile came more and more into favor, and is now held in high esteem by the most courageous. Its capital defect is that it requires personal attendance at the point of propulsion.
PROOF
n. Evidence having a shade more of plausibility than of unlikelihood. The testimony of two credible witnesses as opposed to that of only one.
PROOF-READER
n. A malefactor who atones for making your writing nonsense by permitting the compositor to make it unintelligible.
PROPERTY
n. Any material thing, having no particular value, that may be held by A against the cupidity of B. Whatever gratifies the passion for possession in one and disappoints it in all others. The object of man's brief rapacity and long indifference.
PROPHECY
n. The art and practice of selling one's credibility for future delivery.
PROSPECT
n. An outlook, usually forbidding. An expectation, usually forbidden.
    Blow, blow, ye spicy breezes --

        O'er Ceylon blow your breath,

    Where every prospect pleases,

        Save only that of death.

                                                         Bishop Sheber

PROVIDENTIAL
adj. Unexpectedly and conspicuously beneficial to the person so describing it.
PRUDE
n. A bawd hiding behind the back of her demeanor.
PUBLISH
n. In literary affairs, to become the fundamental element in a cone of critics.
PUSH
n. One of the two things mainly conducive to success, especially in politics. The other is Pull.
PYRRHONISM
n. An ancient philosophy, named for its inventor. It consisted of an absolute disbelief in everything but Pyrrhonism. Its modern professors have added that.
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Q

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.
QUILL
n. An implement of torture yielded by a goose and commonly wielded by an ass. This use of the quill is now obsolete, but its modern equivalent, the steel pen, is wielded by the same everlasting Presence.
QUIVER
n. A portable sheath in which the ancient statesman and the aboriginal lawyer carried their lighter arguments.
    He extracted from his quiver,

        Did the controversial Roman,

    An argument well fitted

    To the question as submitted,

    Then addressed it to the liver,

        Of the unpersuaded foeman.

                                                        Oglum P. Boomp

QUIXOTIC
adj. Absurdly chivalric, like Don Quixote. An insight into the beauty and excellence of this incomparable adjective is unhappily denied to him who has the misfortune to know that the gentleman's name is pronounced Ke-ho-tay.
    When ignorance from out of our lives can banish

    Philology, 'tis folly to know Spanish.

                                                            Juan Smith

QUORUM
n. A sufficient number of members of a deliberative body to have their own way and their own way of having it. In the United States Senate a quorum consists of the chairman of the Committee on Finance and a messenger from the White House; in the House of Representatives, of the Speaker and the devil.
QUOTATION
n. The act of repeating erroneously the words of another. The words erroneously repeated.
    Intent on making his quotation truer,

    He sought the page infallible of Brewer,

    Then made a solemn vow that we would be

    Condemned eternally.  Ah, me, ah, me!

                                                          Stumpo Gaker

QUOTIENT
n. A number showing how many times a sum of money belonging to one person is contained in the pocket of another -- usually about as many times as it can be got there.
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RABBLE
n. In a republic, those who exercise a supreme authority tempered by fraudulent elections. The rabble is like the sacred Simurgh, of Arabian fable -- omnipotent on condition that it do nothing. (The word is Aristocratese, and has no exact equivalent in our tongue, but means, as nearly as may be, "soaring swine.")
RACK
n. An argumentative implement formerly much used in persuading devotees of a false faith to embrace the living truth. As a call to the unconverted the rack never had any particular efficacy, and is now held in light popular esteem.
RANK
n. Relative elevation in the scale of human worth.
    He held at court a rank so high

    That other noblemen asked why.

    "Because," 'twas answered, "others lack

    His skill to scratch the royal back."

                                                          Aramis Jukes

RANSOM
n. The purchase of that which neither belongs to the seller, nor can belong to the buyer. The most unprofitable of investments.
RAPACITY
n. Providence without industry. The thrift of power.
RAREBIT
n. A Welsh rabbit, in the speech of the humorless, who point out that it is not a rabbit. To whom it may be solemnly explained that the comestible known as toad-in-a-hole is really not a toad, and that riz-de-veau a la financiere is not the smile of a calf prepared after the recipe of a she banker.
RASCAL
n. A fool considered under another aspect.
RASCALITY
n. Stupidity militant. The activity of a clouded intellect.
RASH
adj. Insensible to the value of our advice.
    "Now lay your bet with mine, nor let

        These gamblers take your cash."

    "Nay, this child makes no bet."  "Great snakes!

        How can you be so rash?"

                                                        Bootle P. Gish

RATIONAL
adj. Devoid of all delusions save those of observation, experience and reflection.
RATTLESNAKE
n. Our prostrate brother, Homo ventrambulans.
RAZOR
n. An instrument used by the Caucasian to enhance his beauty, by the Mongolian to make a guy of himself, and by the Afro-American to affirm his worth.
REACH
n. The radius of action of the human hand. The area within which it is possible (and customary) to gratify directly the propensity to provide.
    This is a truth, as old as the hills,

        That life and experience teach:

    The poor man suffers that keenest of ills,

        An impediment of his reach.

                                                                  G.J.

READING
n. The general body of what one reads. In our country it consists, as a rule, of Indiana novels, short stories in "dialect" and humor in slang.
    We know by one's reading

    His learning and breeding;

    By what draws his laughter

    We know his Hereafter.

    Read nothing, laugh never --

    The Sphinx was less clever!

                                                          Jupiter Muke

RADICALISM
n. The conservatism of to-morrow injected into the affairs of to-day.
RADIUM
n. A mineral that gives off heat and stimulates the organ that a scientist is a fool with.
RAILROAD
n. The chief of many mechanical devices enabling us to get away from where we are to wher we are no better off. For this purpose the railroad is held in highest favor by the optimist, for it permits him to make the transit with great expedition.
RAMSHACKLE
adj. Pertaining to a certain order of architecture, otherwise known as the Normal American. Most of the public buildings of the United States are of the Ramshackle order, though some of our earlier architects preferred the Ironic. Recent additions to the White House in Washington are Theo-Doric, the ecclesiastic order of the Dorians. They are exceedingly fine and cost one hundred dollars a brick.
REALISM
n. The art of depicting nature as it is seem by toads. The charm suffusing a landscape painted by a mole, or a story written by a measuring-worm.
REALITY
n. The dream of a mad philosopher. That which would remain in the cupel if one should assay a phantom. The nucleus of a vacuum.
REALLY
adv. Apparently.
REAR
n. In American military matters, that exposed part of the army that is nearest to Congress.
REASON
v.i. To weight probabilities in the scales of desire.
REASON
n. Propensitate of prejudice.
REASONABLE
adj. Accessible to the infection of our own opinions. Hospitable to persuasion, dissuasion and evasion.
REBEL
n. A proponent of a new misrule who has failed to establish it.
RECOLLECT
v. To recall with additions something not previously known.
RECONCILIATION
n. A suspension of hostilities. An armed truce for the purpose of digging up the dead.
RECONSIDER
v. To seek a justification for a decision already made.
RECOUNT
n. In American politics, another throw of the dice, accorded to the player against whom they are loaded.
RECREATION
n. A particular kind of dejection to relieve a general fatigue.
RECRUIT
n. A person distinguishable from a civilian by his uniform and from a soldier by his gait.
    Fresh from the farm or factory or street,

    His marching, in pursuit or in retreat,

        Were an impressive martial spectacle

    Except for two impediments -- his feet.

                                                      Thompson Johnson

RECTOR
n. In the Church of England, the Third Person of the parochial Trinity, the Cruate and the Vicar being the other two.
REDEMPTION
n. Deliverance of sinners from the penalty of their sin, through their murder of the deity against whom they sinned. The doctrine of Redemption is the fundamental mystery of our holy religion, and whoso believeth in it shall not perish, but have everlasting life in which to try to understand it.
    We must awake Man's spirit from his sin,

        And take some special measure for redeeming it;

    Though hard indeed the task to get it in

        Among the angels any way but teaming it,

        Or purify it otherwise than steaming it.

    I'm awkward at Redemption -- a beginner:

    My method is to crucify the sinner.

                                                           Golgo Brone

REDRESS
n. Reparation without satisfaction.
    Among the Anglo-Saxon a subject conceiving himself wronged by the

king was permitted, on proving his injury, to beat a brazen image of

the royal offender with a switch that was afterward applied to his own

naked back.  The latter rite was performed by the public hangman, and

it assured moderation in the plaintiff's choice of a switch.

RED-SKIN
n. A North American Indian, whose skin is not red -- at least not on the outside.
REDUNDANT
adj. Superfluous; needless; de trop.
    The Sultan said:  "There's evidence abundant

    To prove this unbelieving dog redundant."

    To whom the Grand Vizier, with mien impressive,

    Replied:  "His head, at least, appears excessive."

                                                       Habeeb Suleiman



    Mr. Debs is a redundant citizen.

                                                    Theodore Roosevelt

REFERENDUM
n. A law for submission of proposed legislation to a popular vote to learn the nonsensus of public opinion.
REFLECTION
n. An action of the mind whereby we obtain a clearer view of our relation to the things of yesterday and are able to avoid the perils that we shall not again encounter.
REFORM
v. A thing that mostly satisfies reformers opposed to reformation.
REFUGE
n. Anything assuring protection to one in peril. Moses and Joshua provided six cities of refuge -- Bezer, Golan, Ramoth, Kadesh, Schekem and Hebron -- to which one who had taken life inadvertently could flee when hunted by relatives of the deceased. This admirable expedient supplied him with wholesome exercise and enabled them to enjoy the pleasures of the chase; whereby the soul of the dead man was appropriately honored by observations akin to the funeral games of early Greece.
REFUSAL
n. Denial of something desired; as an elderly maiden's hand in marriage, to a rich and handsome suitor; a valuable franchise to a rich corporation, by an alderman; absolution to an impenitent king, by a priest, and so forth. Refusals are graded in a descending scale of finality thus: the refusal absolute, the refusal condition, the refusal tentative and the refusal feminine. The last is called by some casuists the refusal assentive.
REGALIA
n. Distinguishing insignia, jewels and costume of such ancient and honorable orders as Knights of Adam; Visionaries of Detectable Bosh; the Ancient Order of Modern Troglodytes; the League of Holy Humbug; the Golden Phalanx of Phalangers; the Genteel Society of Expurgated Hoodlums; the Mystic Alliances of Georgeous Regalians; Knights and Ladies of the Yellow Dog; the Oriental Order of Sons of the West; the Blatherhood of Insufferable Stuff; Warriors of the Long Bow; Guardians of the Great Horn Spoon; the Band of Brutes; the Impenitent Order of Wife-Beaters; the Sublime Legion of Flamboyant Conspicuants; Worshipers at the Electroplated Shrine; Shining Inaccessibles; Fee-Faw-Fummers of the inimitable Grip; Jannissaries of the Broad-Blown Peacock; Plumed Increscencies of the Magic Temple; the Grand Cabal of Able-Bodied Sedentarians; Associated Deities of the Butter Trade; the Garden of Galoots; the Affectionate Fraternity of Men Similarly Warted; the Flashing Astonishers; Ladies of Horror; Cooperative Association for Breaking into the Spotlight; Dukes of Eden; Disciples Militant of the Hidden Faith; Knights-Champions of the Domestic Dog; the Holy Gregarians; the Resolute Optimists; the Ancient Sodality of Inhospitable Hogs; Associated Sovereigns of Mendacity; Dukes-Guardian of the Mystic Cess-Pool; the Society for Prevention of Prevalence; Kings of Drink; Polite Federation of Gents-Consequential; the Mysterious Order of the Undecipherable Scroll; Uniformed Rank of Lousy Cats; Monarchs of Worth and Hunger; Sons of the South Star; Prelates of the Tub-and-Sword.
RELIGION
n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.
    "What is your religion my son?" inquired the Archbishop of Rheims.

    "Pardon, monseigneur," replied Rochebriant; "I am ashamed of it."

    "Then why do you not become an atheist?"

    "Impossible!  I should be ashamed of atheism."

    "In that case, monsieur, you should join the Protestants."

RELIQUARY
n. A receptacle for such sacred objects as pieces of the true cross, short-ribs of the saints, the ears of Balaam's ass, the lung of the cock that called Peter to repentance and so forth. Reliquaries are commonly of metal, and provided with a lock to prevent the contents from coming out and performing miracles at unseasonable times. A feather from the wing of the Angel of the Annunciation once escaped during a sermon in Saint Peter's and so tickled the noses of the congregation that they woke and sneezed with great vehemence three times each. It is related in the "Gesta Sanctorum" that a sacristan in the Canterbury cathedral surprised the head of Saint Dennis in the library. Reprimanded by its stern custodian, it explained that it was seeking a body of doctrine. This unseemly levity so raged the diocesan that the offender was publicly anathematized, thrown into the Stour and replaced by another head of Saint Dennis, brought from Rome.
RENOWN
n. A degree of distinction between notoriety and fame -- a little more supportable than the one and a little more intolerable than the other. Sometimes it is conferred by an unfriendly and inconsiderate hand.
    I touched the harp in every key,

        But found no heeding ear;

    And then Ithuriel touched me

        With a revealing spear.



    Not all my genius, great as 'tis,

        Could urge me out of night.

    I felt the faint appulse of his,

        And leapt into the light!

                                                        W.J. Candleton

REPARATION
n. Satisfaction that is made for a wrong and deducted from the satisfaction felt in committing it.
REPARTEE
n. Prudent insult in retort. Practiced by gentlemen with a constitutional aversion to violence, but a strong disposition to offend. In a war of words, the tactics of the North American Indian.
REPENTANCE
n. The faithful attendant and follower of Punishment. It is usually manifest in a degree of reformation that is not inconsistent with continuity of sin.
    Desirous to avoid the pains of Hell,

    You will repent and join the Church, Parnell?

    How needless! -- Nick will keep you off the coals

    And add you to the woes of other souls.

                                                         Jomater Abemy

REPLICA
n. A reproduction of a work of art, by the artist that made the original. It is so called to distinguish it from a "copy," which is made by another artist. When the two are mae with equal skill the replica is the more valuable, for it is supposed to be more beautiful than it looks.
REPORTER
n. A writer who guesses his way to the truth and dispels it with a tempest of words.
    "More dear than all my bosom knows, O thou

    Whose 'lips are sealed' and will not disavow!"

    So sang the blithe reporter-man as grew

    Beneath his hand the leg-long "interview."

                                                          Barson Maith

REPOSE
v.i. To cease from troubling.
REPRESENTATIVE
n. In national politics, a member of the Lower House in this world, and without discernible hope of promotion in the next.
REPROBATION
n. In theology, the state of a luckless mortal prenatally damned. The doctrine of reprobation was taught by Calvin, whose joy in it was somewhat marred by the sad sincerity of his conviction that although some are foredoomed to perdition, others are predestined to salvation.
REPUBLIC
n. A nation in which, the thing governing and the thing governed being the same, there is only a permitted authority to enforce an optional obedience. In a republic, the foundation of public order is the ever lessening habit of submission inherited from ancestors who, being truly governed, submitted because they had to. There are as many kinds of republics as there are graduations between the despotism whence they came and the anarchy whither they lead.
REQUIEM
n. A mass for the dead which the minor poets assure us the winds sing o'er the graves of their favorites. Sometimes, by way of providing a varied entertainment, they sing a dirge.
RESIDENT
adj. Unable to leave.
RESIGN
v.t. To renounce an honor for an advantage. To renounce an advantage for a greater advantage.
    'Twas rumored Leonard Wood had signed

        A true renunciation

    Of title, rank and every kind

        Of military station --

        Each honorable station.



    By his example fired -- inclined

        To noble emulation,

    The country humbly was resigned

        To Leonard's resignation --

        His Christian resignation.

                                                       Politian Greame

RESOLUTE
adj. Obstinate in a course that we approve.
RESPECTABILITY
n. The offspring of a liaison between a bald head and a bank account.
RESPIRATOR
n. An apparatus fitted over the nose and mouth of an inhabitant of London, whereby to filter the visible universe in its passage to the lungs.
RESPITE
n. A suspension of hostilities against a sentenced assassin, to enable the Executive to determine whether the murder may not have been done by the prosecuting attorney. Any break in the continuity of a disagreeable expectation.
    Altgeld upon his incandescend bed

    Lay, an attendant demon at his head.



    "O cruel cook, pray grant me some relief --

    Some respite from the roast, however brief."



    "Remember how on earth I pardoned all

    Your friends in Illinois when held in thrall."



    "Unhappy soul! for that alone you squirm

    O'er fire unquenched, a never-dying worm.



    "Yet, for I pity your uneasy state,

    Your doom I'll mollify and pains abate.



    "Naught, for a season, shall your comfort mar,

    Not even the memory of who you are."



    Throughout eternal space dread silence fell;

    Heaven trembled as Compassion entered Hell.



    "As long, sweet demon, let my respite be

    As, governing down here, I'd respite thee."



    "As long, poor soul, as any of the pack

    You thrust from jail consumed in getting back."



    A genial chill affected Altgeld's hide

    While they were turning him on t'other side.

                                                       Joel Spate Woop

RESPLENDENT
adj. Like a simple American citizen beduking himself in his lodge, or affirming his consequence in the Scheme of Things as an elemental unit of a parade.
        The Knights of Dominion were so resplendent in their velvet-

    and-gold that their masters would hardly have known them.

                                           "Chronicles of the Classes"

RESPOND
v.i. To make answer, or disclose otherwise a consciousness of having inspired an interest in what Herbert Spencer calls "external coexistences," as Satan "squat like a toad" at the ear of Eve, responded to the touch of the angel's spear. To respond in damages is to contribute to the maintenance of the plaintiff's attorney and, incidentally, to the gratification of the plaintiff.
RESPONSIBILITY
n. A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one's neighbor. In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon a star.
    Alas, things ain't what we should see

    If Eve had let that apple be;

    And many a feller which had ought

    To set with monarchses of thought,

    Or play some rosy little game

    With battle-chaps on fields of fame,

    Is downed by his unlucky star

    And hollers:  "Peanuts! -- here you are!"

                                                   "The Sturdy Beggar"

RESTITUTIONS
n. The founding or endowing of universities and public libraries by gift or bequest.
RESTITUTOR
n. Benefactor; philanthropist.
RETALIATION
n. The natural rock upon which is reared the Temple of Law.
RETRIBUTION
n. A rain of fire-and-brimstone that falls alike upon the just and such of the unjust as have not procured shelter by evicting them.
    In the lines following, addressed to an Emperor in exile by Father

Gassalasca Jape, the reverend poet appears to hint his sense of the

improduence of turning about to face Retribution when it is talking

exercise:



    What, what! Dom Pedro, you desire to go

        Back to Brazil to end your days in quiet?

    Why, what assurance have you 'twould be so?

        'Tis not so long since you were in a riot,

        And your dear subjects showed a will to fly at

    Your throat and shake you like a rat.  You know

    That empires are ungrateful; are you certain

    Republics are less handy to get hurt in?

REVEILLE
n. A signal to sleeping soldiers to dream of battlefields no more, but get up and have their blue noses counted. In the American army it is ingeniously called "rev-e-lee," and to that pronunciation our countrymen have pledged their lives, their misfortunes and their sacred dishonor.
REVELATION
n. A famous book in which St. John the Divine concealed all that he knew. The revealing is done by the commentators, who know nothing.
REVERENCE
n. The spiritual attitude of a man to a god and a dog to a man.
REVIEW
v.t.
    To set your wisdom (holding not a doubt of it,

        Although in truth there's neither bone nor skin to it)

    At work upon a book, and so read out of it

        The qualities that you have first read into it.

REVOLUTION
n. In politics, an abrupt change in the form of misgovernment. Specifically, in American history, the substitution of the rule of an Administration for that of a Ministry, whereby the welfare and happiness of the people were advanced a full half-inch. Revolutions are usually accompanied by a considerable effusion of blood, but are accounted worth it -- this appraisement being made by beneficiaries whose blood had not the mischance to be shed. The French revolution is of incalculable value to the Socialist of to-day; when he pulls the string actuating its bones its gestures are inexpressibly terrifying to gory tyrants suspected of fomenting law and order.
RHADOMANCER
n. One who uses a divining-rod in prospecting for precious metals in the pocket of a fool.
RIBALDRY
n. Censorious language by another concerning oneself.
RIBROASTER
n. Censorious language by oneself concerning another. The word is of classical refinement, and is even said to have been used in a fable by Georgius Coadjutor, one of the most fastidious writers of the fifteenth century -- commonly, indeed, regarded as the founder of the Fastidiotic School.
RICE-WATER
n. A mystic beverage secretly used by our most popular novelists and poets to regulate the imagination and narcotize the conscience. It is said to be rich in both obtundite and lethargine, and is brewed in a midnight fog by a fat which of the Dismal Swamp.
RICH
adj. Holding in trust and subject to an accounting the property of the indolent, the incompetent, the unthrifty, the envious and the luckless. That is the view that prevails in the underworld, where the Brotherhood of Man finds its most logical development and candid advocacy. To denizens of the midworld the word means good and wise.
RICHES
n.
        A gift from Heaven signifying, "This is my beloved son, in

    whom I am well pleased."

                                                   John D. Rockefeller



        The reward of toil and virtue.

                                                           J.P. Morgan



        The sayings of many in the hands of one.

                                                           Eugene Debs



    To these excellent definitions the inspired lexicographer feels

that he can add nothing of value.

RIDICULE
n. Words designed to show that the person of whom they are uttered is devoid of the dignity of character distinguishing him who utters them. It may be graphic, mimetic or merely rident. Shaftesbury is quoted as having pronounced it the test of truth -- a ridiculous assertion, for many a solemn fallacy has undergone centuries of ridicule with no abatement of its popular acceptance. What, for example, has been more valorously derided than the doctrine of Infant Respectability?
RIGHT
n. Legitimate authority to be, to do or to have; as the right to be a king, the right to do one's neighbor, the right to have measles, and the like. The first of these rights was once universally believed to be derived directly from the will of God; and this is still sometimes affirmed in partibus infidelium outside the enlightened realms of Democracy; as the well known lines of Sir Abednego Bink, following:
        By what right, then, do royal rulers rule?

            Whose is the sanction of their state and pow'r?

        He surely were as stubborn as a mule

            Who, God unwilling, could maintain an hour

    His uninvited session on the throne, or air

    His pride securely in the Presidential chair.



        Whatever is is so by Right Divine;

            Whate'er occurs, God wills it so.  Good land!

        It were a wondrous thing if His design

            A fool could baffle or a rogue withstand!

    If so, then God, I say (intending no offence)

    Is guilty of contributory negligence.

RIGHTEOUSNESS
n. A sturdy virtue that was once found among the Pantidoodles inhabiting the lower part of the peninsula of Oque. Some feeble attempts were made by returned missionaries to introduce it into several European countries, but it appears to have been imperfectly expounded. An example of this faulty exposition is found in the only extant sermon of the pious Bishop Rowley, a characteristic passage from which is here given:
        "Now righteousness consisteth not merely in a holy state of

    mind, nor yet in performance of religious rites and obedience to

    the letter of the law.  It is not enough that one be pious and

    just:  one must see to it that others also are in the same state;

    and to this end compulsion is a proper means.  Forasmuch as my

    injustice may work ill to another, so by his injustice may evil be

    wrought upon still another, the which it is as manifestly my duty

    to estop as to forestall mine own tort.  Wherefore if I would be

    righteous I am bound to restrain my neighbor, by force if needful,

    in all those injurious enterprises from which, through a better

    disposition and by the help of Heaven, I do myself restrain."

RIME
n. Agreeing sounds in the terminals of verse, mostly bad. The verses themselves, as distinguished from prose, mostly dull. Usually (and wickedly) spelled "rhyme."
RIMER
n. A poet regarded with indifference or disesteem.
    The rimer quenches his unheeded fires,

    The sound surceases and the sense expires.

    Then the domestic dog, to east and west,

    Expounds the passions burning in his breast.

    The rising moon o'er that enchanted land

    Pauses to hear and yearns to understand.

                                                         Mowbray Myles

RIOT
n. A popular entertainment given to the military by innocent bystanders.
R.I.P.
A careless abbreviation of requiescat in pace, attesting to indolent goodwill to the dead. According to the learned Dr. Drigge, however, the letters originally meant nothing more than reductus in pulvis.
RITE
n. A religious or semi-religious ceremony fixed by law, precept or custom, with the essential oil of sincerity carefully squeezed out of it.
RITUALISM
n. A Dutch Garden of God where He may walk in rectilinear freedom, keeping off the grass.
ROAD
n. A strip of land along which one may pass from where it is too tiresome to be to where it is futile to go.
    All roads, howsoe'er they diverge, lead to Rome,

    Whence, thank the good Lord, at least one leads back home.

                                                        Borey the Bald

ROBBER
n. A candid man of affairs.
    It is related of Voltaire that one night he and some traveling

companion lodged at a wayside inn.  The surroundings were suggestive,

and after supper they agreed to tell robber stories in turn.  "Once

there was a Farmer-General of the Revenues."  Saying nothing more, he

was encouraged to continue.  "That," he said, "is the story."

ROMANCE
n. Fiction that owes no allegiance to the God of Things as They Are. In the novel the writer's thought is tethered to probability, as a domestic horse to the hitching-post, but in romance it ranges at will over the entire region of the imagination -- free, lawless, immune to bit and rein. Your novelist is a poor creature, as Carlyle might say -- a mere reporter. He may invent his characters and plot, but he must not imagine anything taking place that might not occur, albeit his entire narrative is candidly a lie. Why he imposes this hard condition on himself, and "drags at each remove a lengthening chain" of his own forging he can explain in ten thick volumes without illuminating by so much as a candle's ray the black profound of his own ignorance of the matter. There are great novels, for great writers have "laid waste their powers" to write them, but it remains true that far and away the most fascinating fiction that we have is "The Thousand and One Nights."
ROPE
n. An obsolescent appliance for reminding assassins that they too are mortal. It is put about the neck and remains in place one's whole life long. It has been largely superseded by a more complex electrical device worn upon another part of the person; and this is rapidly giving place to an apparatus known as the preachment.
ROSTRUM
n. In Latin, the beak of a bird or the prow of a ship. In America, a place from which a candidate for office energetically expounds the wisdom, virtue and power of the rabble.
ROUNDHEAD
n. A member of the Parliamentarian party in the English civil war -- so called from his habit of wearing his hair short, whereas his enemy, the Cavalier, wore his long. There were other points of difference between them, but the fashion in hair was the fundamental cause of quarrel. The Cavaliers were royalists because the king, an indolent fellow, found it more convenient to let his hair grow than to wash his neck. This the Roundheads, who were mostly barbers and soap-boilers, deemed an injury to trade, and the royal neck was therefore the object of their particular indignation. Descendants of the belligerents now wear their hair all alike, but the fires of animosity enkindled in that ancient strife smoulder to this day beneath the snows of British civility.
RUBBISH
n. Worthless matter, such as the religions, philosophies, literatures, arts and sciences of the tribes infesting the regions lying due south from Boreaplas.
RUIN
v. To destroy. Specifically, to destroy a maid's belief in the virtue of maids.
RUM
n. Generically, fiery liquors that produce madness in total abstainers.
RUMOR
n. A favorite weapon of the assassins of character.
    Sharp, irresistible by mail or shield,

        By guard unparried as by flight unstayed,

    O serviceable Rumor, let me wield

        Against my enemy no other blade.

    His be the terror of a foe unseen,

        His the inutile hand upon the hilt,

    And mine the deadly tongue, long, slender, keen,

        Hinting a rumor of some ancient guilt.

    So shall I slay the wretch without a blow,

    Spare me to celebrate his overthrow,

    And nurse my valor for another foe.

                                                           Joel Buxter

RUSSIAN
n. A person with a Caucasian body and a Mongolian soul. A Tartar Emetic.
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