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The Cynic's Word Book

 

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GALLOWS n. A stage for the performance of miracle plays, in which the leading actor is translated to heaven. In this country the gallows is chiefly remarkable for the number of persons who escape it.
Whether on the gallows high
Or where blood flows the reddest,
The noblest place for man to die--
Is where he died the deadest.

(Old play)

GARGOYLE n. A rain-spout projecting from the eaves of mediaeval buildings, commonly fashioned into a grotesque caricature of some personal enemy of the architect or owner of the building. This was especially the case in churches and ecclesiastical structures generally, in which the gargoyles presented a perfect rogues' gallery of local heretics and controversialists. Sometimes when a new dean and chapter were installed the old gargoyles were removed and others substituted having a closer relation to the private animosities of the new incumbents.
GARTHER n. An elastic band intended to keep a woman from coming out of her stockings and desolating the country.
GENEALOGY n. An account of one's descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to trace his own.
GENEROUS adj. Originally this word meant noble by birth and was rightly applied to a great multitude of persons. It now means noble by nature and is taking a bit of a rest.
 
Old English 'word lottery' pick

Slept : imp. & p. p. of Sleep; imp. & p. p. of Sleep.

 
The Cynic's Word Book by Ambrose Bierce published in 1906 and 1911.
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