Project Gutenberg Etext The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz
Copyright laws are changing all over the world, be sure to check
the copyright laws for your country before posting these files!!
Please take a look at the important information in this header.
We encourage you to keep this file on your own disk, keeping an
electronic path open for the next readers. Do not remove this.
**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts**
**Etexts Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971**
*These Etexts Prepared By Hundreds of Volunteers and Donations*
Information on contacting Project Gutenberg to get Etexts, and
further information is included below. We need your donations.
The Foolish Dictionary
by Gideon Wurdz
December, 1999 [Etext #1989]
Project Gutenberg Etext The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz
******This file should be named fldct10.txt or fldct10.zip******
Corrected EDITIONS of our etexts get a new NUMBER, fldct11.txt.
VERSIONS based on separate sources get new LETTER, fldct10a.txt.
We are now trying to release all our books one month in advance
of the official release dates, for time for better editing.
Please note: neither this list nor its contents are final till
midnight of the last day of the month of any such announcement.
The official release date of all Project Gutenberg Etexts is at
Midnight, Central Time, of the last day of the stated month. A
preliminary version may often be posted for suggestion, comment
and editing by those who wish to do so. To be sure you have an
up to date first edition [xxxxx10x.xxx] please check file sizes
in the first week of the next month. Since our ftp program has
a bug in it that scrambles the date [tried to fix and failed] a
look at the file size will have to do, but we will try to see a
new copy has at least one byte more or less.
Information about Project Gutenberg (one page)
We produce about two million dollars for each hour we work. The
fifty hours is one conservative estimate for how long it we take
to get any etext selected, entered, proofread, edited, copyright
searched and analyzed, the copyright letters written, etc. This
projected audience is one hundred million readers. If our value
per text is nominally estimated at one dollar then we produce $2
million dollars per hour this year as we release thirty-two text
files per month, or 384 more Etexts in 1997 for a total of 1000+
If these reach just 10% of the computerized population, then the
total should reach over 100 billion Etexts given away.
The Goal of Project Gutenberg is to Give Away One Trillion Etext
Files by the December 31, 2001. [10,000 x 100,000,000=Trillion]
This is ten thousand titles each to one hundred million readers,
which is only 10% of the present number of computer users. 2001
should have at least twice as many computer users as that, so it
will require us reaching less than 5% of the users in 2001.
We need your donations more than ever!
All donations should be made to "Project Gutenberg/CMU": and are
tax deductible to the extent allowable by law. (CMU = Carnegie-
For these and other matters, please mail to:
P. O. Box 2782
Champaign, IL 61825
When all other email fails try our Executive Director:
Michael S. Hart <firstname.lastname@example.org>
We would prefer to send you this information by email
(Internet, Bitnet, Compuserve, ATTMAIL or MCImail).
If you have an FTP program (or emulator), please
FTP directly to the Project Gutenberg archives:
[Mac users, do NOT point and click. . .type]
cd etext/etext90 through /etext96
or cd etext/articles [get suggest gut for more information]
dir [to see files]
get or mget [to get files. . .set bin for zip files]
for a list of books
GET NEW GUT for general information
MGET GUT* for newsletters.
**Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor**
***START**THE SMALL PRINT!**FOR PUBLIC DOMAIN ETEXTS**START***
Why is this "Small Print!" statement here? You know: lawyers.
They tell us you might sue us if there is something wrong with
your copy of this etext, even if you got it for free from
someone other than us, and even if what's wrong is not our
fault. So, among other things, this "Small Print!" statement
disclaims most of our liability to you. It also tells you how
you can distribute copies of this etext if you want to.
*BEFORE!* YOU USE OR READ THIS ETEXT
By using or reading any part of this PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm
etext, you indicate that you understand, agree to and accept
this "Small Print!" statement. If you do not, you can receive
a refund of the money (if any) you paid for this etext by
sending a request within 30 days of receiving it to the person
you got it from. If you received this etext on a physical
medium (such as a disk), you must return it with your request.
ABOUT PROJECT GUTENBERG-TM ETEXTS
This PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etext, like most PROJECT GUTENBERG-
tm etexts, is a "public domain" work distributed by Professor
Michael S. Hart through the Project Gutenberg Association at
Carnegie-Mellon University (the "Project"). Among other
things, this means that no one owns a United States copyright
on or for this work, so the Project (and you!) can copy and
distribute it in the United States without permission and
without paying copyright royalties. Special rules, set forth
below, apply if you wish to copy and distribute this etext
under the Project's "PROJECT GUTENBERG" trademark.
To create these etexts, the Project expends considerable
efforts to identify, transcribe and proofread public domain
works. Despite these efforts, the Project's etexts and any
medium they may be on may contain "Defects". Among other
things, Defects may take the form of incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other
intellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged
disk or other etext medium, a computer virus, or computer
codes that damage or cannot be read by your equipment.
LIMITED WARRANTY; DISCLAIMER OF DAMAGES
But for the "Right of Replacement or Refund" described below,
 the Project (and any other party you may receive this
etext from as a PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etext) disclaims all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including
legal fees, and  YOU HAVE NO REMEDIES FOR NEGLIGENCE OR
UNDER STRICT LIABILITY, OR FOR BREACH OF WARRANTY OR CONTRACT,
INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE
OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES, EVEN IF YOU GIVE NOTICE OF THE
POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
If you discover a Defect in this etext within 90 days of
receiving it, you can receive a refund of the money (if any)
you paid for it by sending an explanatory note within that
time to the person you received it from. If you received it
on a physical medium, you must return it with your note, and
such person may choose to alternatively give you a replacement
copy. If you received it electronically, such person may
choose to alternatively give you a second opportunity to
receive it electronically.
THIS ETEXT IS OTHERWISE PROVIDED TO YOU "AS-IS". NO OTHER
WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, ARE MADE TO YOU AS
TO THE ETEXT OR ANY MEDIUM IT MAY BE ON, INCLUDING BUT NOT
LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A
Some states do not allow disclaimers of implied warranties or
the exclusion or limitation of consequential damages, so the
above disclaimers and exclusions may not apply to you, and you
may have other legal rights.
You will indemnify and hold the Project, its directors,
officers, members and agents harmless from all liability, cost
and expense, including legal fees, that arise directly or
indirectly from any of the following that you do or cause:
 distribution of this etext,  alteration, modification,
or addition to the etext, or  any Defect.
DISTRIBUTION UNDER "PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm"
You may distribute copies of this etext electronically, or by
disk, book or any other medium if you either delete this
"Small Print!" and all other references to Project Gutenberg,
 Only give exact copies of it. Among other things, this
requires that you do not remove, alter or modify the
etext or this "small print!" statement. You may however,
if you wish, distribute this etext in machine readable
binary, compressed, mark-up, or proprietary form,
including any form resulting from conversion by word pro-
cessing or hypertext software, but only so long as
[*] The etext, when displayed, is clearly readable, and
does *not* contain characters other than those
intended by the author of the work, although tilde
(~), asterisk (*) and underline (_) characters may
be used to convey punctuation intended by the
author, and additional characters may be used to
indicate hypertext links; OR
[*] The etext may be readily converted by the reader at
no expense into plain ASCII, EBCDIC or equivalent
form by the program that displays the etext (as is
the case, for instance, with most word processors);
[*] You provide, or agree to also provide on request at
no additional cost, fee or expense, a copy of the
etext in its original plain ASCII form (or in EBCDIC
or other equivalent proprietary form).
 Honor the etext refund and replacement provisions of this
"Small Print!" statement.
 Pay a trademark license fee to the Project of 20% of the
net profits you derive calculated using the method you
already use to calculate your applicable taxes. If you
don't derive profits, no royalty is due. Royalties are
payable to "Project Gutenberg Association/Carnegie-Mellon
University" within the 60 days following each
date you prepare (or were legally required to prepare)
your annual (or equivalent periodic) tax return.
WHAT IF YOU *WANT* TO SEND MONEY EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE TO?
The Project gratefully accepts contributions in money, time,
scanning machines, OCR software, public domain etexts, royalty
free copyright licenses, and every other sort of contribution
you can think of. Money should be paid to "Project Gutenberg
Association / Carnegie-Mellon University".
*END*THE SMALL PRINT! FOR PUBLIC DOMAIN ETEXTS*Ver.04.29.93*END*
The Foolish Dictionary
by Gideon Wurdz
The FOOLISH DICTIONARY
An exhausting work of reference to un-certain English words, their
origin, meaning, legitimate and illegitimate use, confused by a few
pictures [not included] by WALLACE GOLDSMITH.
Executed by GIDEON WURDZ
Master of Pholly, Doctor of Loquacious Lunacy, Fellow of the Royal
Gibe Society, etc., etc.
To MY DOG,
Who first heard these lines
And didn't run away MAD,
I Reverently Dedicate
"A Fool may give a Wise Man counsel."
In this age of the arduous pursuit of peace, prosperity and
pleasure, the smallest contribution to the gaiety, if not to the
wisdom, of nations can scarcely be unwelcome. With this in mind,
the author has prepared "The Foolish Dictionary," not in serious
emulation of the worthier--and wordier--works of Webster and
Worcester, but rather in the playful spirit of the parodist, who
would gladly direct the faint rays from his flickering candle of
fun to the shrine of their great memories.
With half a million English words to choose from, modesty has been
the watchword, and the author has confined himself to the treatment
of only about half a thousand. How wise, flippant, sober or
stupid, this treatment has been, it is for the reader alone to
judge. However, if from epigram, derivative or pure absurdity,
there be born a single laugh between the lids, the laborer will
accredit himself worthy of his hire.
In further explanation it should be said that some slight deference
has been made to other wits, and the definitions include a few
quotations from the great minds of the past and present. As for
the rest, the jury will please acknowledge a plea of guilty from
v. i. Verb intransitive.
v. t. Verb transitive.
It's a long lane that has no ashbarrel.
Distilled waters run deep.
ABSINTHE From two Latin words, ad, and sinistrum, meaning "to the
bad." If in doubt, try one. (Old adage, "Absinthe makes the jag
ABSTINENCE From the Persian ab, water, and stein, or tankard.
Hence, water tankard, or "water wagon."
ACCESSION A beheading process by which you may either win or lose
a political job. Old spelling, Axe-session.
ACCIDENT A condition of affairs in which presence of mind is good,
but absence of body better.
ADAMANT From "Adam's Aunt," reputed to be a hard character.
Hence, anything tough, or hard.
ADORE From add, annex, and ore, meaning wealth. Example, foreign
nobles who marry American heiresses adore them.
ADVICE A commodity peddled by your lawyer and given away by your
mother-in-law, but impossible to dispose of yourself. Famous as
the one thing which it is "More blessed to give than receive."
GOOD ADVICE Something old men give young men when they can no
longer give them a bad example.
ADVERSITY A bottomless lake, surrounded by near-sighted friends.
AFFINITY Complimentary term for your husband or your wife.
Sometimes a synonym for "Your finish."
AFTERTHOUGHT A tardy sense of prudence that prompts one to try to
shut his mouth about the time he has put his foot in it.
AGE Something to brag about in your wine-cellar and forget in a
birth-day book. The boast of an old vintage, the bug a boo of an
ALCOHOL A liquid good for preserving almost everything except
ALDERMAN A political office known as the Crook's Road to Wealth.
From Eng. all, and Greek derma, meaning skin--"all skin."
ALIMONY An expensive soothing syrup, prescribed by the judge for a
divorcee's bleeding heart. (Old spelling, allay money).
ALLOPATHY From Eng. all, everybody, and Grk. pathos, pain. Pain
for everybody. HOMOEOPATHY From Grk. homoios, same, and pathos.
Pain, just the same.
ALPHABET A toy for the children found in books, blocks, pictures
and vermicelli soup. Contains 26 letters and only three syllables.
ANCESTORS The originators of the Family Tree, a remarkable sex
paradox in which the Ann sisters are always the four fathers.
ANGEL A heavenly ineligible, with wings and a harp; or, an earthly
eligible, with money and a heart.
ANTI-ROOMS Euphemistic term for Canfield's, New York City.
ANTI-IMPERIALIST A patriot whose conscience works overtime.
ANTIMONY A metallic substance discovered by Valentine in 1450, and
now extensively used in the arts--particularly poker.
APPENDICITIS A modern pain, costing about $200 more than the old-
ARGUMENT Breaking and entering the ear, assault and battery on the
brain and disturbing the peace.
ARSON Derived from the Hebrew. (See INSURANCE).
ARTIST Commonly, the individual long haired and short-suited,
having a positive pose and an uncertain income. Often shy on meal-
tickets but strong on technique and the price of tripe sandwiches.
An artist may be a barber, a boot-black, a Sargent or a Paderewski.
ATHLETE A dignified bunch of muscles, unable to split wood or sift
AUGUR One who bored the ancients with prophecies.
AUTOMOBILE From Eng. ought to, and Lat. moveo, to move. A vehicle
which ought to move, but frequently can't.
AUTOMBILIST A land lubber on wheels made up to resemble a deep sea
Fine feathers make fine feather-beds.
A stitch in time saves embarrassing exposure.
BABY From Grk. babai, wonderful. Parents are yet to be heard from
who don't think theirs is a "wonder." A nocturnal animal to which
everyone in a sleeping-car is eager to give a wide berth.
BACHELOR From Latin baculus, a stick, unattached. Hence, an
unattached man, which any lady may stick, stick to, or get stuck
BACKBITER A mosquito.
BALANCE Something wanted by book-keepers and often lost by topers.
May be found in a cash-book or the kangaroo gait.
BANDIT An outlaw. See ALDERMAN.
BARBER A brilliant conversationalist, who occasionally shaves and
cuts hair. Syn. for Phonograph.
BARS Things found in harbors, hotels, fences, prisons, courts and
music. (Those found in courts and in music are full of beats).
BARGAIN A disease common to women, caught in the Sunday papers and
developed in department Stores on Mondays. Symptoms, loud talk,
pushing and shoving, a combination prize-fight and football
scrimmage. (Old spelling 'Bark-gain).
BASEBALL A game in which the young man who bravely strikes out for
himself receives no praise for it.
BAT Senior partner of Bat, Ball & Co., and never found without the
rest of the firm, as it takes several high-balls to make one short
BEACH A strip of sand, skirted by water; covered with lady-killers
in summer, life-savers in winter, and used as a haven--or heaven--
for Smacks the year around.
BENEDICT A married male.
BENEDICTINE A married female.
BENEDICTION Their children.
BERTH An aid to sleep, invented by Pullman. Lower preferred.
BIRTH An aid to life, discovered by Woman. Higher preferred.
BICYCLE-SKIRT A abbreviated garment that makes women look shorter
and men longer.
BIGAMY A form of insanity in which a man insists on paying three
board bills instead of two.
BILLIOUSNESS A liver complaint often mistaken for piety.
BILL-OF-FARE A list of eatables. Distinguished from Menu by
figures in the right-hand column.
BIOGRAPH A stereopticon picture taken with a chill and shown with
BIRDIE A term a woman is apt to apply to a man she is playing for
BIRTHDAY Anniversary of one's birth. Observed only by men and
BLUBBER The useful product of a dead whale. The useless product
of a live baby.
BLUE The only color we can feel. INVISIBLE BLUE A policeman.
BLUSH A temporary erythema and calorific effulgence of the
physiognomy, aeteologized by the perceptiveness of the sensorium,
in a predicament of inequilibrity, from a sense of shame, anger or
other cause, eventuating in a paresis of the vase-motorial,
muscular filaments of the facial capillaries, whereby, being
divested of their elasticity, they become suffused with a radiance
emanating from an intimidated praecordia.
BOARD An implement for administering corporal punishment, used by
mothers and landladies. "The Festive Board" may be a shingle, a
hair-brush a fish-hash breakfast or a stewed prune supper.
BOHEMIA (Not on the map.) A land flowing with canned milk and
distilled honey and untroubled by consistency, convention,
conscience or cash. A land to which many are called and few
BONE One Dollar--the original price of a wife. Note, Adam, who
had to give up one bone before he got Eve.
BONNETS A female head trouble, which is contracted the latter part
of Lent and breaks out on Easter.
BOODLE Money, born of poor, but dishonest parents, and taken in by
the Graft family.
BORROW v. t., to swap hot air for cold coin.
BOWER A shady retreat, in general.
BOWERY A shady retreat in New York.
BRACE Security for the trousers.
BRACER Security for the stomach.
BRACELET Security for the pawn-broker.
BRAIN The top-floor apartment in the Human Block, known as the
Cranium, and kept by the Sarah Sisters--Sarah Brum and Sarah Belum,
assisted by Medulla Oblongata. All three are nervous, but are
always confined to their cells. The Brain is done in gray and
white, and furnished with light and heat, hot or cold water, (if
desired), with regular connections to the outside world by way of
the Spinal Circuit. Usually occupied by the Intellect Bros.,--
Thoughts and Ideas--as an Intelligence Office, but sometimes sub-
let to Jag, Hang-Over & Co.
BRAND Something carried on the hip, by either beast or man. Can
be found on the outside of a short, red steer, or the inside of a
long, black bottle.
BRASS BAND A clever though somewhat complicated arrangement for
holding a crowd together.
BRICK An admirable person made of the right sort of clay and
possessing plenty of sand. What your friends call you before you
go to the wall--but never afterward.
BRIMSTONE A little bit of Hades, which finds its match on earth
and smells to heaven. Better to strike it here than in the
BREVITY A desirable quality in the Fourth of July oration but not
in the fireworks.
BROKE A word expressing the ultimate condition of one who is too
much bent on speculating.
BUM A fallen tough.
BUMP A tough fall.
BUNCO The art of disseminating knowledge in the rural districts.
BY-STANDER One who is injured in a street fight.
People who live in glass houses should dress in the dark.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket--try an incubator.
CAB Affair for a drive.
CABBY Driver for a fare.
CACHINNATION The hysterical "Ha-Ha." Syn. for Carrie Nation.
CADDIE A small boy, employed at a liberal stipend to lose balls
for others and find them for himself.
CAFE A place where the public pays the proprietor for the
privilege of tipping the waiters for something to eat.
CAJOLE v. t., From Grk. kalos, beautiful, and Eng. jolly, to jolly
CALCIUM An earthly light that brightens even the stars.
CANNIBAL A heathen hobo who never works, but lives on other
CAPTIVATE From Lat. caput, head, and Eng. vacate, or empty,--to
empty the head. Note, Women who have captivated men.
CAPE A neck in the sea.
CAPER A foot in the air.
CARNEGIE-ITIS A mania for burning money. Contracted in a
Pennsylvania blast furnace, developed in a Scotch castle and now
epidemic in American public libraries.
CART v. t., To take off.
CARTOON The take-off.
CAULIFLOWER A Cabbage with a college education.
CAVALRY That arm of the military service that engages in the real
CEMETERY The one place where princes and paupers, porters and
presidents are finally on the dead level.
CHAMPAGNE The stuff that makes the world go round.
CHAIR Four-legged aid to the injured.
CHARITY Forehanded aid to the indigent.
CHAUFFEUR A man who is smart enough to operate an automobile, but
clever enough not to own one.
CHRISTIAN A member of any orthodox church.
CHRISTMAS A widely observed holiday on which the past nor the
future is of so much interest as the present.
CHUMP Any one whose opinion differs radically from ours.
CIGARETTE A weed whose smoke, some say, should never be inhaled,
and still more insist should never be exhaled.
CINDER One of the first things to catch your eye in travelling.
CIVILIZATION An upward growth or tendency that has enabled mankind
to develop the college yell from what was once only a feeble war-
COLLECTOR A man whom few care to see but many ask to call again.
COLLEGE From Fr. colle, pasted or stuck, and etude, study. A
place where everyone is stuck on study.(?)
COLONEL A male resident of Kentucky. See KERNEL.
COMPLIMENT v. t., From Eng. con,--hot air, and Lat. pleo, to fill.
Hence, to fill with hot air.
COMPLEXION Color for the face. From Eng. complex, difficult, and
shun, to avoid. To avoid difficulty, buy it of the druggist.
COMMENDATION From Eng. con, a josh, and mend, to fix up. Hence, a
CONDUCTOR From Eng. coin, and Lat. duco, to command. One who
commands the coin.
CONSCIENCE The fear of being found out.
COOK A charitable institution, providing food and shelter for
CORPS A big bunch of fighters. (Dist. bet. cores found in apples
and corps found in arms).
CORSET From Fr. corps, shape, and sec, rough. Rough on the shape.
COSMETIC A new face-maker. From Grk. kosmos, order, and Eng.
medic, or doctor,--ordered by the doctor. (See Complexion.)
COT A snooze for one.
COTILLON A dance for eight.
CREDIT Something for nothing.
CREDITOR Something with nothing.
CREDULITY A feminine virtue and a masculine vice.
CREMATION A means of disposing of the dead likely to become very
popular, especially with women who are so fond of having the last
CRITIC A wet blanket that soaks everything it touches.
CROOK One who exceeds the speed limit in Law & Order Ave. A
Misfit in the Straight and Narrow Way.
CROW A bird that never complains without caws.
CULTURE A degree of mental development that produces tailor-made
women, fantastically-sheared poodles and dock tailed horses.
CUPID A driver of sharp darts.
CUPIDITY A driver of sharp deals.
CYNIC A man who knows the price of everything and the value of
All work and no play makes Jack A Dead One.
Out of fight, out of coin.--The Pugilist's Plaint.
DABBLE v. t., To play in water. DABBLE IN STOCKS--Same thing.
DACHSHUND A low-down dog.
DANCE A brisk, physical exercise, invented by St. Vitus.
DATES A fruit commonly plucked from the Family Tree and spread on
the leaves of history. (Dist. bet. Dates and Peaches, which are
DEAD Without life. See Boston.
DEADBEAT One who makes a soft living by sponging it.
DEBT A big word beginning with Owe, which grows bigger the more it
DEE-LIGHTED An Oyster Bay localism, derived from delighted.
(Patent and Dramatic rights to this word are, until March 4, 1905,
the exclusive property of T. Roosevelt, Esq. Subsequent editions
of The Foolish Dictionary will define the word at length).
DELEGATE From Eng. dally, to loaf, and Fr. gate, spoiled. A
DEMAGOGUE From Grk. demos, people, and Eng. gag. One who gags the
DEMOCRACY A mysterious country, bounded on the east by Richard
Olney, on the west by Willie Bryan, on the north by Dave Hill and
on the south by Bennie Pitchfork Tillman.
DEN A cavity.
DENT To punch.
DENTIST One who punches the face and fills cavities.
DEUCE An honest card, in fact the only one that is never known to
DEVIL An old rascal mentioned in the Bible, now reported engaged
to Mary McLane.
DIAMOND A bright gem the sparkle of which sometimes renders a
woman stone-blind to the defects of the man proffering it.
DIARY An honest autobiography. A good keepsake, but a bad give-
DIGNITY A narrow, unstable bearing which mental spindle-shanks try
to stand upon when they have no other support.
DICKENS An author; polite term for the devil.
DIE An effect.
DIET Frequently a cause.
DIMPLE A ripple in the gentle whirlpool of a pretty woman's smile.
DIPLOMAT An international liar, with an elastic conscience and a
DISCOUNT Something often sold in place of goods.
DISCRETION An instinctive perception that enables us to say, "Oh,
shut up!" to the small, weak man, and "I beg your pardon, but I do
not entirely agree with your views," to the large, strong one.
DIVE A gambler's retreat.
DIVIDENDS A gambler's reward.
DIVORCE Nominally, separation of husband and wife from the bonds
of matrimony. In the vicinity of Newport it is frequently a legal
formula that immediately precedes a fashionable wedding.
DOCK A place for laying up.
DOCTOR One who lays you up.
DREAM What a man may call a woman, though a Pill may have
suggested it. Sweethearts are dreams because they seldom come
true; wives, because they're often a night-mare, and both because
they go by contraries.
DRAFT (DRAUGHT) What gives a cold, cures a cold, and pays the
DROP-STITCH A kind of feminine hosiery designed to prevent the men
from paying too much attention to the open-work, "peek-a-boo"
DRUM Something noisy, and made to beat.
DRUMMER Something noisy, but impossible to beat. From the Grk.
drimus, meaning sharp. Hence, something sharp, that always carries
its point and sticks whoever it can.
DUST Mud with the juice squeezed out.
DYNAMITE The peroration of an anarchist's argument.
DYSPEPSIA A good foundation for a bad temper
Out of sight, only in mind.--'Ballad of the Blind Beggar.'
A word to the wise is useless.
EAGLE The national bird of a Christian country; (the United
States.) Presumably chosen on account of its being a bird of pray.
EARL A title of nobility.
EARLY A title of stupidity. See old saw, "Early to bed and early
to rise, Makes a man a farmer!"
EARTH A solid substance, much desired by the seasick.
ECHO The only thing that can cheat a woman out of the last word.
ECONOMY Denying ourselves a necessary today in order to buy a
EGG A wholesome, yet fowl, product, of no use until broken.
Sometimes a cure for indigestion or bad acting.
ELECTION A periodical picnic for the American People. Held in
booths, where the Voter puts in his ballot, and The Machine elects
whatever it chooses. A day when the lowliest may make their mark
and even beggars may ride; when the Glad Mit gets promiscuous and
everything is full--particularly the lodging-houses.
ENCORE A greedy theatre-goer's desire to get more than his money's
worth. From the Fr. en, among, and cochon, pig,--common among
ENGAGEMENT In war, a battle. In love, the salubrious calm that
precedes the real hostilities.
ENTHUSIAST One who preaches four times as much as he believes and
believes four times as much as a sane man ought to.
EPITAPH A statement that usually lies above about the one who lies
EQUATOR An imaginary line around the earth. Recently held by J.
ERR To make a mistake.
ERRATIC Full of mistakes.
ETHER One of the world's three great composers--the others being
Gas and Chloroform--whose airs are popular among the suffering.
ETIQUETTE A convenient code of conduct which makes Lying a virtue
and Snobbishness a righteous deed.
EVOLUTION A clever trick performed by one Darwin, who made a
monkey of Adam.
EXCURSION From ex, former, and Grk. kairo, to enjoy. Hence, a
tiresome journey--formerly an enjoyment--sold at half price.
EXERCISE Bodily exertion requiring a $10,000 gymnasium, a ten-acre
lot and impossible raiment. Originally confined to the wash-tub
and the wood-pile.
EXPANSION A combination of Grand Larceny and Piracy, involving the
destruction of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.--
Boston. The benevolent assimilation of previously oppressed
peoples.--Washington, D.C. A doubtful commercial experiment.--Wall
Street. The white man's burden.--Kipling.
EXPLOSION A good chance to begin at the bottom and work up.
EXPOSITION An overgrown Department Store, usually opened a year or
two behind time.
It's never too late to spend.
A bird on the plate is worth two on the bonnet.
FACE A fertile, open expanse, lying midway between collar button
and scalp, and full of cheek, chin and chatter. The crop of the
male face is hair, harvested daily by a lather, or allowed to run
to mutton-chops, spinach or full lace curtains. The female face
product is powder, whence the expression, "Shoot off your face."
Each is supplied with lamps, snufflers and bread boxes.
FAILURE The quickest method known for making money.
FEINT A pugilist's bluff.
FAINT A woman's bluff.
FAITH A mental accomplishment whereby an ear-ache becomes a
Symphony Concert, a broken finger a diamond ring and a "touch" an
invitation to dine.
FAKE A false report.
FAKIR A false reporter.
FAME Having a brand of cigars named after you.
FAMILY Originally a wife and several children, a matter of pride
to the possessor. Now obsolete among the careful, or confined to
the wife, a bull pup and a canary bird.
FARE The cost of a ride. See old adage, "Only the brave can work
FAULT About the only thing that is often found where it does not
FICTION The Constitutional fiat that "all men are created equal."
FIDDLER A violinist before he becomes the virtuoso who refuses to
play a real tune.
FIRMNESS That admirable quality in ourselves that is detestable
stubbornness in others.
FIG Nothing. Note, "I don't care a fig," etc.
FIG LEAF A small outer garment, next to nothing, worn by Adam 4000
B. C. and occasionally revived by Bostonian Art Committees.
FISHING An heroic treatment tried by some laymen to avoid falling
asleep in church on Sunday.
FLAT A series of padded cells, commonly found in cities, in which
are confined harmless monomaniacs who imagine Home to be a Sardine
FLATTERY Cologne water, to be smelled of but not swallowed.
FLUE An escape for hot air.
FLUENCY The art of releasing the same.
FLUSH From Grk. phlox, heat. A rush of color to the cheek, or
hand, caused by bodily--or poker--heat.
FLY A familiar summer boarder who mingles with the cream of
society, gets stuck on the butter and leaves his specs behind.
FLY-SCREEN An arrangement for keeping flies in the house.
FOOT The understanding of a girl from the west.
FOOT-PATH Chicago, Ill.
FOOTBALL A clever subterfuge for carrying on prize-fights under
the guise of a reputable game.
FOREIGNER One who is eligible to the police force. From Grk.
fero, to carry off, and enara, spoils. One who carries off the
FORBEARANCE The spirit of toleration shown when a man who knows,
patiently listens to a fool who does not.
FRANC Twenty cents, in French.
FRANKFURTERS Four for twenty, in German. Derived from frank,
open, and fortitude, meaning brave. Sold in the open and eaten by
FROST An old flame after the engagement is broken off.
FUNCTION Devoid of joy.
As ye sew, so shall ye rip.
Money makes the mayor go.--Proverbs of Politics.
GALLON From the Fr. galonner, to make tight. Note, one is
GALLANTRY This word is now almost obsolete. It was formerly
employed to express a deferential attention on the part of the man
who in a crowded car gave up his seat to the ladies.
GAMBLER From the Grk. gumnos, stripped to the skin. And the
gambler's the one that does it.
GARDEN From the Fr. garantir, to make good. Hence, a place where
lovers make good.
GARLIC From Grk. gar, for, and Lat. liceor, to bid. Good for the
GEM A breakfast muffin. With the newly married, syn. for "a
GERM A bit of animal life living in water.
GERMAN More animal life, living on beer.
GIRAFFE The champion rubber-neck of the world, and the longest
thirst on record.
GLOBE An all-round proposition which has furnished its
shareholders a living for several thousand years, though its stock
is two-thirds water.
GOAT The honored founder and oldest inhabitant of Harlem, N. Y.
Elsewhere, not in good odor.
GOLF An excuse for carrying unconcealed weapons and a Scotch
GONDOLA A pleasure craft which plies in Venice, at World's Fairs
and other popular watering places. From Eng. gone, and Lat. dolor,
sadness, or Eng. dollar. Sadness gone; also, a gone dollar.
GORE Blood. Shed daily in Chicago abattoirs but never spilled in
GOSSIP Derived either from the Grk. gups, vulture, or Fr. gosier,
wind-pipe. Hence, a vulture that tears its prey to bits, or an
exercise of the wind-pipe from which every victim gets a blow.
GOUT The undesirable scion of High Living, which frequent the
lowest joints and is mentioned only in the Invalid's Foot-Notes.
GOWN From Lat. gaudium, joy. A thing of beauty and a joy forever;
if from Paris, generally an article of some Worth.
GUNPOWDER A black substance much employed in marking the boundary
lines of nations.
GUM A substance for sticking.
GUM-GAME A game in which some one is stuck.
GUTTER A school in which we may study the dregs of humanity or
read the reflection of the stars.
There's many a slip twixt the toe and the heel.
Where there's a will there's a lawsuit.
HAIR-DRESSER A linguist whose position in life enables him to do
his head-work with his hands.
HAMMER A small, busy implement carried by blacksmiths, geologists
and Knockers for breaking iron, rock or friendship.
HAMMOCK From the Lat. hamus, hook, and Grk. makar, happy.
Happiness on hooks. Also, a popular contrivance whereby lovemaking
may be suspended but not stopped during the picnic season.
HAND A much desired possession, supplied by The Damsel or The
Dealer. GLAD HAND. The beggar's plea, the politician's sceptre
and the drummer's ablest assistant.
HANDMAIDEN A manicure.
HARANGUE The tiresome product of a tireless tongue. From Eng.
hear, and Lat. angor, pain. Painful to hear.
HARMONY From the Grk. arnumi, strain. Hence, full of strains.
HATCH To develop eggs.
HATCHWAY Place for developing eggs; a hen-coop.
HAY-FEVER A heart trouble caused by falling in love with a grass
HEARSE Seen on the dead.
HEARSAY Heard on the dead.
HEARSE A handsome vehicle in which the man who has always been a
tail-ender is finally permitted to lead the procession.
HEART A bloody organ, kept in a trunk, played by beats, and
enjoyed only after it is lost or given away
HEAVE To raise.
HEAVEN A good place to be raised to.
HEDGE A fence.
HEDGEHOG One who hogs the fences. A Bill-Poster.
HEREDITY The cause of all our faults. From Fr. here, wretch, and
Eng. ditty, song. The song of the wretched.
HEROISM A transferable ticket to the Haul of Fame. Once held by
Hobson and Dewey, now carried by Mother Eddy and Brother Dowie.
HIP A popular location for the retail liquor business.
HISTORY The evil that men do.
HIT A chance for first place, first base or first blood.
HOCK v. t. To "soak" what we least need. In Germany, they
generally "Hock the Kaiser."
HOMOEOPATHY See Allopathy.
HOOT MON! The Scottish National Hymn.
HOP To skip.
HOPPER A skipper.
HOPE A desire for better things to come that makes a grass widow
willing to try it again. Also, a draft on futurity, sometimes
honored, but generally extended.
HORN A sharp point.
HORNET Still sharper.
HORSE-SENSE A degree of wisdom that keeps one from betting on the
HOSE Man's excuse for wetting the walk.
HOSIERY Woman's excuse for walking in the wet.
HOTEL A place where a guest often gives up good dollars for poor
HOUSECLEANING A domestic upheaval that makes it easy for the
government to enlist all the soldiers it needs.
HUG A roundabout way of expressing affection.
HUMOR An outbreak, either of skin or brains frequently branded as
HUNGER Ability to eat in a Night Lunch Cart.
HUSBAND The next thing to a wife. From Eng. hussy, woman, and
bond, tie. Tied to a woman.
HYDRANT From Grk. hudros, water, and Eng. ante, to give up.
Something that gives up water. (A good synonym for Dipsomaniac).
HYPOCRITE A horse dealer. From Grk. hippos, horse, and kroteo, to
beat. One who beats you on a horse trade.
Home is where the mortgage is.
Aim at a chorus-girl and you may hit a star.--Stage-Door Secrets.
ICE A substance frequently associated with a tumble in winter, a
tumbler in summer, and a skate the year around.
ICEMAN A cool proposition who has Axe-cess to the best families,
makes his Weigh in every home and can take his Pick in the kitchen,
if he leaves his Chips in the street. "How'd You Like to be The
IDIOT From Eng. idea, and out. One who is just out of ideas.
IDOLIZE To make useless.
IMPECUNIOUS To be in a state of poverty. From Eng. in, and Lat.
pecco, to sin, poverty being the greatest of all sins.
IMPERIOUS From Eng. imp, devil and aerial, airy. Airy as the
INCANDESCENT LIGHT From Lat. incendo, to burn, and Eng. cent,
meaning money. An invention for burning money.
INCOME The reliable offspring of a wise investment. From Lat. in
and coma, meaning sleep. Money which works while you sleep.
INDEPENDENCE Self government. Good enough for a Cuban, but too
good for a Filipino.
INDIGESTION A distressing stomach trouble that is sometimes
temporarily relieved by kicking the cat or whipping the children.
INDIVIDUALITY A harmless trait possessed by one's self. The same
trait in others is downright idiocy.
INDORSE To write on the back of; the best indorsed man in town
being the Sandwich-Man.
INFANT A disturber of the peace.
INFANTRY A defender of the peace.
INHABITANT A native of any village, town or city. OLDEST
INHABITANT The Champion Liar.
INTUITION A fictitious quality in females--really Suspicion.
IRRITANT Something which irritates. COUNTER IRRITANT A woman
ISLAND A place where the bottom of the sea sticks up through the
ISOLATION From Eng. ice, meaning cold, and Lat. solus, alone.
Alone in the cold.
After dinner sit a while, after supper walk a mile. And every
meal's a supper to the Hobo.
Lies have no legs--That's why we all have to stand for them.
JACK An instrument requiring a strong arm, and used for raising
heavy weights, or for pulling off the boots.
JACK-POT An instrument requiring a strong hand, and used for
raising heavy bets, or for pulling off the stakes.
JAG From the Spanish word zaga, meaning a load packed on the
outside of a van. In America the load is packed on the inside of a
JAM A pantry composition in A minor.
JANITOR From jangle, to quarrel, and torrid, meaning hot. Hot and
JELLY-CAKE Synonym for Belly-Ache.
JERSEY Well knit. NEW JERSEY Well bit. (See Mosquito).
JEW'S HARP From Jew, a Hebrew, and Harp, a musical instrument, the
Jew's musical instrument--being a "Sell low!" (Old spelling,
JIMMY An implement employed by men of acquisitive natures who
cannot afford seats in the Stock Exchange.
JOB An uncertain commodity regulated by a Union Card.
JOCKEY From jog, to move slowly, and key, something that makes
fast. Hence, one who makes the pace fast or slow, according to
JOINT Either a low limb from the butcher, or a low quarter in
town; in either case the lower the tougher.
JOKE A form of humor enjoyed by some and misunderstood by most; in
England, requiring a diagram, raised letters and a club.
JOLLY v. t., To "con" or "josh."
JOLLY BOAT The Ship of State.
JUDGE One who sits on a bench in a court, frames sentences and
finishes crooks for a living, and swears continually.
JULEP An insidious friend from the South, who hands you a mint and
gives you a sweet spirit, followed shortly by a Bun.
JURY Twelve men chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.
JUSTICE Fair play; often sought, but seldom discovered, in company
A chip of the old block--A daughter of the Tenderloin.
One man's meat is another man's finish--Canned Beef in Cuba.
KANGAROO A hard drinker from Australia, especially fond of hops,
and generally carrying a load.
KATYDID A gossiping grasshopper who is always meddling in Katy's
KEEPSAKE Something given us by someone we've forgotten.
KERNELS or COLONELS Articles often found in cores (or corps) and
frequently surrounded by shells.
KEROSENE An alleged provider of heat and light. From Lat. carus,
meaning expensive and seneo, to be weak; expensive but weak. For
further explanation, consult Standard Oil Company.
KEYHOLE A frequent test for sobriety.
KID Either a boxing-glove or a first-born. In either case, hard
to handle until well tanned.
KILTS A Scotchman's apology for indecent exposure.
KINDRED From Eng. kin, meaning relation, and dread, meaning fear;
KINDERGARTEN From Ger. kinder, children, and Lat. garritus, a
babbling. A place for babbling children.
KINDLING-WOOD From Ger. kind, youth, and Eng. linger, to loaf. A
place where youth generally loafs.
KISS Nothing divided by two; meaning persecution for the infant,
ecstasy for the youth, fidelity for the middle-aged and homage for
KISS An indescribable something that is of no value to any one,
but is much prized by the right two.
KNOCKER A device on doors for rousing people; also, a device on
foot for the same purpose.
Laugh-in-one's-sleeve--The direct route to the Funny-Bone.
Two heads are better than one--particularly on a Barrel of Money.
LACE Among women, lace means lesson; wherefore they combine art
and thrift by
lessening the waist.
LACONIC Shy on words. From Eng. lack, meaning want, and
connection; want of connection.
LAMP A light.
LAMPONED To be lighted on.
LARDER A fattener.
LARK A short, sweet spree enjoyed by night hawks. Also, an early
rising singing-bird. (Dist. bet. "out on a lark," and "up with the
lark," an impossible combination).
LASSIE One of the weaker sex.
LASSITUDE Slightly weaker.
LAUD Praise for the Almighty.
LAUDANUM Prays for himself--after taking.
LAUNDRY A place where clothes are mangled.
LAUGH A peculiar contortion of the human countenance, voluntary or
involuntary, super-induced by a concatenation of external
circumstances, seen or heard, of a ridiculous, ludicrous, jocose,
mirthful, funny, facetious or fanciful nature and accompanied by a
cackle, chuckle, chortle, cachinnation, giggle, gurgle, guffaw or
LAWYER One who defends your estate against an enemy, in order to
appropriate it to himself.
LECTURE An entertainment at which it costs but little to look
LEGISLATURE From Lat. lego, to bring together, and latro, to bark
or bluster; possibly from lex, law, and latens, unknown. Hence, a
company of men brought together to bluster, or a company of law
makers who know nothing about law.
LEISURE From Eng., lazy, and sure; assured laziness.
LENT A Church fast that is slow to go; or something loaned which
is slow to come back.
LIE A very poor substitute for the truth but the only one
discovered up to date.
LIMBURGER A native of Germany strong enough to do housework; well
recommended for cleaning out the dining-room.
LIBRARY From Fr. libre, meaning free, and proper name ANDY.
Something free from Andy Carnegie.
LINKS Found in sausages and golf courses, and both full of
LION A cruel beast who never patronizes the barber and is always
bearded in his den, yet will furnish a close shave if you get near
LOBSTER The edible lobster is found off the New England Coast.
The two-legged species is found everywhere. All kinds are green,
but when roasted turn a bright red. Soubrettes are very dependent
on both varieties for a living; together they furnish her with
food, raiment, flats, diamonds, and occasionally indigestion.
LOBSTER-NEWBURG A dish ordered at hotels by those who usually get
beans at home.
LOVE A man's insane desire to become a woman's meal-ticket.
LOVER An ardent admirer who says, "Yes, dearest, I will shovel the
snow of the lake so that we can go skating!" and, after marriage
remarks, "What! Shovel the snow off the walk for you? Well, I
should say not! I'm no chore boy."
Hell is paved with good intentions--also asbestos.
A fool and his wife are soon parted. See Alimony.
MAGAZINE A receptacle for explosives, literary or mechanical.
MAGNATE One who can float capital in a considerable body of water.
From Lat. magnus, great, and nator, to swim; a great swimmer.
MAIDEN LADY A term applied to an old maid by those who wish to
avoid hurting her feelings.
MALT A humble grain which often gets into a ferment, cools off and
becomes Stout in its old age.
MAN Something that "Goes first on four feet, then two feet, then
three, but the more feet it goes on the weaker it be!"
MAN-ABOUT-TOWN One who is on speaking terms with the head waiter.
MANICURE The only woman who can beat a carpenter at soaking nails.
MANNERS A difficult symphony in the key of B natural.
MARK In Germany, twenty-three cents. In the United States, only
MASCULINE From Grk. maskos, girl, and eukolos, easy. Easy for the
MASSAGE A touch, with intent to rub it in.
MATRIMONY A game for women, in which the unmarried half are trying
to find a husband and the married half trying not to be found out
by one. Both halves are eminently successful.
MEAL According to the Liquor Law, a minute bunch of crumbs
entirely surrounded by booze.
MEDIUM A party with one ear in the grave but both hands on your
wallet. "Hello, Central! Give me Heaven!"
MELODEON An alleged musical instrument, popular at home, but
unpopular next door. From Eng. melody, and Latin, un, without.
Warranted without melody.
MENAGERIE From Fr. melange, mixture, and Ger. riechen, to smell.
A mixture of smells.
MESSENGER BOY From Eng. miss, to fail, and Lat. engeo, to arrive.
One who fails to arrive.
METER The gas man's trysting place. "Meet her in the cellar!"
MIND No matter. MATTER Never mind.
MINE A hole in the ground owned by a liar.
MINSTREL A footlight foul that makes its nightly lay in every
MIRACLE A woman who won't talk.
MIST Generally, a small, light rain. SCOTCH MIST A cloudburst.
MITTEN Something a tender-hearted girl gives a young man when she
knows she is going to make it chilly for him.
MONEY Society's vindication of vulgarity.
MONOPOLY A modern device for impoverishing others. From Grk.
monux, swift-footed, and polloi, the people. A swift kick for the
MOON The only lighting monopoly that never made money.
MORTGAGE From Fr. mort, death, and Eng. gag, to choke. A lawyer's
invention for choking property to death.
MOSQUITO A small insect designed by God to make us think better of
MOTH An unfortunate acquaintance who is always in the hole. And
the only ones who try to get him out are his enemies.
MOUSE The frequent cause of a rise in cotton.
All gone to 6's and 7's--Ladies' Footwear in Chicago.
Time and tide wait for no man--But time always stands still for a
woman of thirty.
NATURE The author of "The Seasons," an interesting work over which
Spring pours, Summer smiles, and Autumn turns the leaves while
Winter catches the drift of it all.
NECK A close connection between chin and chest, used for the
display of linen, silk, furs, jewelry and skin, fitted with gullet,
windpipe, hunger and thirst, and devoted to the rubber industry.
NEGRO One who votes your way. NIGGER One who doesn't.
NEIGHBOR One who knows more about your affairs than yourself.
NERVE Breaking the hair-brush on the disobedient scion, then
making him pay for a new one. See revised version, "Spare the rod
and spoil the hair-brush!"
"NEXT" The barberous password to the heaven of the shaved and the
NIP Something bracing from without or within. When felt in the
air, it's a frost. When found in a glass, a life saver.
NOBILITY A gang of foreign brigands having abducent designs on the
American Damsel and the American Dollar.
NON-CONDUCTOR The motorman.
NOSE A prominent member of the face family, usually a Greek or
Roman, who owns the shortest bridge in the world. He is often
stuck up in company, but frequently blows himself when he has his
grippe. Principal occupations, sniffling, snivelling, sneezing,
snorting and scenting, intruding in the neighbors' affairs,
stuffing himself without permission and bleeding for others.
NOTE (PROMISSORY) "The substance of things long hoped for, the
evidence of things not seen."
NOVEL A fabric that is often (k)nit in print, though the yarn be
NURSE One who keeps setting up the drinks after you're all in.
Out of the frying-pan into the face--Mothers' doughnuts.
Many hands make light work--also a good Jack-pot.
OAR A popular device for catching crabs.
OATS England's horse-feed, America's breakfast and Scotland's
OATH A form of speech that has many trials in court, but is never
tried in Sunday School.
OBESITY A surplus gone to waist.
OCEAN An old toper who is always soaked, has many a hard night
along the coast, floats many a schooner, lashes himself into a fury
because so frequently crossed, and has his barks in every port. At
sea, the king of the elements; on shore, a mere surf.
OLEOMARGARINE The White Bread's Burden. From Eng. olio, a
mixture, and Grk. margino, to be furious. A furious mixture.
OMNIBUS A test for Patience, still popular in England. From Grk.
oneiros, dream, and baino, to go or move. A dream of motion.
ONION The all-round strength champion of the Vegetable Kingdom,
garlic and cabbage being close rivals.
OPERA A drama that has taken on airs and refuses to speak, yet
always sings its own praises. GRAND OPERA An excuse for
displaying several boxes of jewelry and peaches with pedigrees.
OPINION The prodigal son of Thought. PUBLIC OPINION The world's
champion pugilist, who has knocked out Law in many a hard fought
OPIUM The real author of "The Dream Book."
OPTIMISM A cheerful frame of mind that enables a tea-kettle to
sing though in hot water up to its nose.
ORCHARD The small boy's Eden of today, in which the apple again
occasions the fall.
OSTRICH The largest and heaviest bird on earth, yet rated by his
owners only as a featherweight.
OUTSKIRTS The only garments which clothe many a metropolis with
OVEN The only sport who enjoys an equally hot time with or without
Handsome is what hansoms charge.
Soap, long deferred, maketh the dirt stick.
PAIN A sensation experienced on receiving a Punch, particularly
the London one.
PALMISTRY A plausible excuse for holding hands.
PANTS Trousers' Country Cousins.
PARACHUTE A successful method for getting the drop on the Earth.
PARAGON The model man a woman regrets she gave up for the one she
PARENTS One of the hardships of a minor's life.
PASS A form of transportation issued free to those who are quite
able to pay.
PASSENGER One who does not travel on a pass. (Antonym for
Deadhead). From Eng. pass, to go, and Grk. endidomi, to give up.
One who has to give up to go.
PARROT An individual who can never be held responsible for what he
PASTRY A deadly weapon carried by cafes, cooks and newly married
PATRIOT One who is willing to take all of Uncle Sam's bonds in a
PAWN v. t., To keep property in the family by leaving it all with your Uncle.
PAWNBROKER A mercenary man to whom money is the one redeeming
PEACE A mythical condition of tranquillity frequently reported
from the Phillipines.
PEACH A popular synonym for Fair Woman, probably because the peach
is largely a skin and stony at heart.
PEARL A small round product manufactured by an oyster, bought by a
lobster and worn by a butterfly.
PENITENT From pen, meaning to write, and intent, meaning
determination. One who determines for the right.
PESSIMIST One who paints things blue. And sometimes red.
PHILISTINE In Bible times, one who worried the children of Israel;
today, one who worries only himself. From Grk. phloios, bark, and
tino, to punish. One who barks to punish.
PHILANTHROPIST One who returns to the people publicly a small
percentage of the wealth he steals from them privately.
PHILOSOPHER One who instead of crying over spilt milk consoles
himself with the thought that it was over four-fifths water.
PHILOSOPHY Something that enables the rich to say there is no
disgrace in being poor.
PIANO A tool frequently used in building a Rough House.
PIN The best dresser in a woman's acquaintance--of remarkable
penetration and true as steel, seldom loses its head, follows its
own bent and carries its point in whatever it undertakes.
PING-PONG A game invented for the benefit of furniture and
PITY An emotion awakened in a man's mind when he beholds the
children of a woman who might have married him instead.
PLATONIC LOVE An arrangement in which a man and woman attempt a
correct imitation of a pair of icicles--and never succeed.
PLENTY A desirable condition that is likely to step out whenever
Extravagance steps in.
PLUM A fruit that ripens and falls from the Political Tree--but
only after careful grafting.
PLUMB To ascertain the capacity of.
PLUMBER One who ascertains the capacity of your purse, soaks you
with a piece of lead and gets away with the money--a process
vulgarly known as "a lead-pipe cinch."
POLE-CAT A small animal to be killed with a pole, the longer the
pole the better.
POLICEMAN A never present help in time of trouble.
POLYGAMY A thoughtless way of increasing the family expenses.
POLYGLOT A parrot that can swear in several languages.
POSTSCRIPT The only thing readable in a woman's letter.
PRETZEL The bar-keeper's promoter.
PROTECTION Originally, the swaddling clothes of the infant,
Industry; now, merely the shoe-lacings for the giant, Monopoly.
PRO and CON Prefixes of opposite meaning. For example, Progress
PRUDE A native of Boston.
PRUDENCE A quality of mind that restrains the wise boarder from
trying to find out how his landlady makes her hash.
PRUDERY A quality that displays a lack of modesty as a wig does a
loss of hair.
PRUNE A plum that has seen better days: the boarding-house veteran
and the landlady's pet; badly wrinkled, yet well preserved.
PUGILIST A close-fisted party who is often roped in but never
gives up till he's out.
PULLMAN PORTER A legalized train-robber.
PUNCH A weekly obituary notice from London, chronicling the death
Never make a mountain out of a mole-hill--Try gold, silver, copper
or radium--there's more in it.
Charity begins at home--but ends when you reach The Cook.
QUACK The Duck family's favorite physician.
QUAIL v. t., To shrink--a characteristic of the bird when ordered
in a restaurant.
QUEEN One entitled to rule a nation, make up a deck, or beat a
QUESTION Is marriage a failure?
QUEUE The only Mongolian line connecting America and China.
QUORUM A clumsy individual, all Ayes and Noes, who is seldom on
hand when needed.
Faint heart never won fair lady--but a full purse can always pull
Man proposes, then woman imposes.
RABBIT A small rodent, very similar to a hare, which feeds on
grass and burrows in the earth. WELSH RABBIT More like a string,
thrives on cheese and burrows in the stomach.
RACE-TRACK An interesting locality, where pools are bought and
sold in books and the heat never interferes with the search for the
RADIUM A radiant radiator, redolent of ranging radial rays of
radio-activity, raised to radical rates and regarded as a ruthless
rake-off in the reign of riches within the arrayed radius of a
raging, raving and raided race.
RAG-TIME Music pulled into many pieces--the invention of a
flannel-mouth to which many have cottoned.
RAPID TRANSIT A municipal myth, circulated for the amusement of
the long suffering--and slow moving--public.
REFORM In general, a periodic epidemic, starting with marked heat,
followed by a high fever, and accompanied by a flow of ink in the
newspapers, a discharge of words from the face and a rush of blood
to the polls, leaving the victim a chronic invalid until the next
campaign. In New York, reform has been confined to a Low attempt
REFORMER One who, when he smells a rat, is eager to let the cat
out of the bag.
REGISTER The only autograph album which it costs you money to
REGRETS An excuse for non-attendance at a social function.
Occasionally, an expression of sorrow; usually, a paean of praise
at deliverance from evil.
RELATIONS A tedious pack of people who haven't the remotest
knowledge of how to live nor the smallest instinct about when to
RELIGION A cloak used by some persons in this world who will be
warm enough without one in the next.
R. E. MORSE A veteran General who commands the largest army in the
REPARTEE The sassy habit of talking back.
REPUTATION A personal possession, frequently not discovered until
RESIDENCE A rural locality inhabited annually--for a few hours--by
a rich New Yorker or Bostonian.
RESOLUTION A fragile bit of crockery fashioned on the first day of
January and usually broken on the second.
RESORT (SUMMER) A place where the tired grow more tired. From
Eng. rest, and Grk. orizo, to limit. A place where rest is
REST A trade in which every hobo holds a Union Card for life.
RESTAURANT An institution for the spread of dyspepsia. From Lat.
restauro, to repair, and Grk. anti, against. After patronizing,
you're "up against repairs."
RHETORIC Language in a dress suit.
RICE An effective field-piece, used for assaulting Chinamen or the
ROQUEFORT A kind of cheese whose odor puts it easily in the first
ROYCROFTER A successful book-maker on the East Aurora turf. From
Fr. roi, king, and old Saxon crofter, or grafter. King of
RUMOR The long-distance champion of the Human Race--a monster with
than an octopus.
RUST Physical dullness.
RUSTIC Mental dullness.
Beggars should never be choosers--though the beggar often chews
what he begs.
A miss is as good as her smile.
SADDUCEE A person holding skeptical religious views. Hopeless,
hence sad you see.
SAILOR A man who makes his living on water but never touches it on
SANDWICH An unsuccessful attempt to make both ends meat.
SAUSAGE An aftermath of the dog-days.
SCAFFOLD A work of art that rarely fails to get a hanging.
SCARECROW An operator who repeatedly corners corn, without caws.
SCORCHER A chauffeur in an all-fired hurry.
SCULPTOR A poor unfortunate who makes faces and busts.
SELF-MADE Complimentary term for a respectable crook.
SHAMROCK A three-time loser as a racer at sea, but a four-time
winner as an "ad." for tea--and Sir T.
SHEPHERD One who depends on a crook for a living.
SHIRT Every man's bosom friend.
SILVER A metallic form of opium, smoked by Presidential
SINNER A stupid person who gets found out.
SNAP A brisk, energetic quality that enables a man with ginger to
take the cake.
SNORE An unfavorable report from headquarters.
SOROSIS A female gas company that lays its pipes on cultivated
SPAGHETTI A table-dish eaten only by Italians and jugglers. From
Lat. spadix, branch, or fork, and gestamen, burden. A burden for
SPIDER A busy weaver and a good correspondent, who drops a line by
STARS The greatest astronomers known, having studded the heavens
STAYS A sort of straight-jacket employed in reforming women.
STOCKINGS Woman's only savings for A Rainy Day.
STOCKS An unreliable commodity bought and sold by gamblers. If
you win, it's an investment; if you lose, a speculation.
STOVE-PIPE A movable cylinder used as a receptacle for smoke and
SPRING Formerly a very delightful season but now obsolete except
in poetry and the Old Farmer's Almanac.
SPINSTER An ember from which the sparks have flown.
SUBWAY In Boston, a place where one may enjoy continuous
disturbance of the peace, disorderly conduct, assault and battery,
riot and rebellion. These events are allowed by law, and the
entry-fee is five cents.
SUCCESS A goal usually reached by those who employ their time in
cultivating a more definite aim in life rather than in searching
for a larger target.
SUMMER An oppressive and expensive season invented by rural
cottage and hotel owners, railroad and steamboat companies and the
SUN A yellow arrival from Way Down East, who goes west daily,
operates a heating and lighting trust, draws water, prints
pictures, develops crops, liquidates the ice business and tans
skins on the side. Profits by his daily rays and always has a
SYMPATHY Feeling for others very noticeable in Blind Man's Buff.
SYNDICATE A conspiracy to extend the modest business established
by Captain Kidd.
Fortune knocks only once at a man's door--And she's the worst
Knocker in the world.
Brevity is the soul of wit--and the sole charm of a bicycle skirt.
TAILOR One who takes your measure on first sight, gives you a fit,
sews you up and follows suit until paid.
TALK A continuous performance playing daily and nightly
engagements, with Woman as the star and Man confined in the Family
TELEGRAM A form of correspondence sent by a man in a hurry and
carried by a boy in sleep.
TELEPHONE From Eng. tell, to talk, and Grk. phonos, murder. A
machine in which talk is murdered.
TENNIS A game in which the participants enjoy a racket on the side
and raise the deuce over a net, while the volleys drive them from
set to set and love scores as often as it's mentioned.
TEMPER A quality, the loss of which is likely to make a knife
blade dull and a woman's tongue sharp.
THERMOMETER A short, glass tube that regulates the weather--and
usually does a poor job.
THIRST A sensation immediately following a short session at the
free lunch stand.
TIDE An old friend who comes and goes daily but is all in whenever
he gets over the bay.
TITIAN The color a poor red-headed girl's hair becomes as soon as
her father strikes oil.
TIPS Wages we pay other people's hired help.
TOBACCO A nauseating plant that is consumed by but two creatures;
a large, green worm and--man. The worm doesn't know any better.
TONGUE An unruly member that is frequently put out, yet an artist
who's a hard worker at the palate and a great wag among women.
TOUCH A habit common to the impecunious, causing in its victim a
feeling of faintness, followed by a chill or a sense of loss.
TRANSFER A small bit of paper of remarkable strength, being able
to carry a heavy man several miles.
TROLLEY-CAR A conveyance filled with advertisements, and
occasionally passengers, and operated by Poles.
TROUBLE Something that many are looking for but no one wants.
TRUST A small body of capital entirely surrounded by water.
TWINS Insult added to Injury.
TWISTERS An undesirable thing to have on hand.
Its a wise son who can get two birds with One Bone.
There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood,
leads on to Fortune--But most of us catch our watered stock on the
UMBRELLA A good thing to put up in a shower--or pawn-shop; but,
like skating, never seen after Lent.
UNBOSOMED A shirt just returned from a steam laundry.
UNION An ailing individual frequently troubled by scabs and liable
to strike without warning.
UMPIRE No jeweler, but a high authority on diamonds.
USHER One who takes a leading part in a theatre.
VACCINATION Where "jabbing the needle" is never a vice.
VAUDEVILLE From Lat. vaut, good for, and villageois, countryman.
Good for countrymen.
VERANDA An open-air enclosure often used as a spoon-holder.
VEST A waistcoat sold at halfprice.
VIRTUE A quality oftentimes associated with intelligence, but
rarely with beauty.
VULGARITY The conduct of others.
A rolling stone gathers no moss--except at roulette.
But a stony roll always gathers the stony stare.
WAITER An Inn-experienced servant.
WAR A wholesale means of making heroes which, if planned in a
small way, would produce only murderers.
WATER A thin substance applied to stocks with which to soak
WEDDING A trade in which the bride is generally given away, and
the groom is often sold.
WEEDS Found in gardens and widows. For removing easily, marry the
WICKEDNESS A myth invented by good people to account for the
singular attractiveness of others.
WIDOW The wife of a golfer during the open season, unless she
golfs, too. In that event the children are golf orphans.
WHISKY Trouble put up in liquid form.
WIND An aerial phenomenon, superinduced by an ephemeral agitation
of the nebular strata, whereby air, (hot or cold), impelled into
transitory activity, generates a prolonged passage through space,
owing to certain occult ethereal stimuli, and results in zephyrs,
breezes, blows, blow-outs, blizzards, gales, simoons, hurricanes,
tornadoes or typhoons. Barred from Kansas Cyclone-cellars but
frequently blended with Chicago tongue--canned or conversational.
WOMAN An aspiring creature whose political sphere is still
slightly flattened at the polls.
WORD Something you must keep after giving it to another.
WORRY A state of mind that leads some persons to fear, every time
the tide goes out, that it won't come in again.
WRINKLES A merchant's trade-marks.
It's the first straw hat which shows how the wind blows.
X Y Z
A Ride goeth before a Fall.--See Automobile, Bucking Broncho,
Bicycle, Air-Ship, Patrol-Wagon, Rail, and Go-Cart.
X RAYS Ten dollars from a friend.
YARN An essential in fabrication--either woven or narrated. Mill
yarns are highly colored; those spun at sea much more so.
YAWL Either the shape of a boat or the sound of a cat, but never a
YAWNS The air-breaks on a sleeper.
YEAR A period originally including 365 days, now 325, since the
other 40 are Lent.
YELLOW FEVER A passion for reading the Hearst newspapers.
YOLK The legacy of the hen and the burden of its lay.
YOKE The inheritance of the hen-pecked and the burden of the
YULE-LOG A Christmas protege of the grate, too young to smoke, too
tough to burn and too green to warm up to anybody.
YOUTH The dynamo that makes the world go round; a product of its
own generation, with its wires carrying Power into the high places
of Earth and with its currents of Thought short-circuited only by
bigoted Old Age.
ZEALOT One who loves morality so well he will commit crime to
ZEBRA The crook among horses, condemned to wear stripes for life.
ZERO Originally, nothing; but now meaning a good deal on a
thermometer or bank-draft, and comprising two-thirds of the 400.
ZIGZAG The popular route after a heavy dinner. Old adage, "The
longest way round is the drunkard's way home!"
ZOUAVE The original Mrs. Bloomer.
Postage and Postal Information.
How to Mail a Letter.
After writing it, place it in a square or oblong envelope--round
ones are no longer fashionable--seal it on the back and write a
legible address on the front; then take a two-cent stamp, give it a
good licking and retire it to the corner--the upper, right-hand
corner, on the outside--never inside, as the postmaster is not a
clairvoyant. Drop it in a letter box and trust to luck. If it's a
love letter, it will probably reach her all right, for Cupid is a
faithful postman and carries a stout pair of wings. If it's a
bill, by all means have it registered; otherwise, your debtor will
swear he never got it. If it's cash for your tailor, heed the
post-office warning, "Don't send money through the mails." Wait
until you happen to meet him on the street. If he sees you first,
Anything you are ashamed to have the postmaster or postmistress
read, and therefore seal up, is known as first-class matter. Also,
postal cards, where you're only allowed to argue on one side. If
you think your letter should travel slowly, invest ten cents in a
Special Delivery Stamp. This will insure a nice, leisurely
journey, lasting from one to two days longer than by the cheap two-
This class was originated for the benefit of Patent Medicine
Mixers, who print circulars on "What Ails You" four times a year,
and pepper the land with "Before-and-after-taking" caricatures, at
the rate of one cent a pound.
While the quack nostrums travel second-class for one cent a pound,
books, engravings, manuscript copy, and works of art have to go
third-class and are taxed one cent for every two ounces. They must
also be left open for inspection, thus affording the post-office
employee a fleeting acquaintance with something really useful.
Everything not included in the above, except poisons, explosives,
live animals, insects, inflammable articles, and things giving off
a bad odor. The last two do not include The Police Gazette or The
A Few Mythological and Classical Names.
Brought down to date in brief Notes by the Editor.
ACHILLES. A courageous Greek, who did a general slaughtering
business in Troy in 1180 B. C., but was finally pinked in the heel--
his only vulnerable spot--and died.
Long life often depends on being well heeled.
ADONIS. A beautiful youth, beloved by Venus and killed by a boar.
Bores have been the death of us ever since.
BACCHUS. A brewer, who supplied the Gods with nectar, the beer
that made Olympus famous.
Those desiring a drink, please ask Dickens if "Bacchus is willin'."
CASTOR AND POLLOX. Two clever sports and twin brothers from
Greece, Castor being a horse-trainer and Pollux a pugilist, whose
sister, Helen, a respectable, married woman, disgraced the family
by eloping with Paris.
Just because a man can break a broncho or win a prize fight, it's
no sign he can manage a woman.
CERBERUS. A dog with three heads, a serpent's tail and several
snakes around his neck, who guarded the main entrance to Hades.
When a man begins to see snakes and one head looks like three, it's
a cinch he's not far from Hell.
CHARON. The gloomy gondolier of the Styx, who carried the dead to
the Other World--if they paid him first.
And even to-day, he who patronizes Rapid Transit must pay his fare
CUPID. The son of Venus and the God of Love, who with bow and
arrows punctured men's bosoms with the darts of admiration.
But now-a-days the arrow's not in it with a snug bathing suit or a
DAEDALUS. The original Santos Dumont, who invented and
successfully operated a flying-machine that would fly. His son,
Icarus, tried the trick, went too high and fell into the sea.
A flier frequently precedes a fall--especially in Wall Street.
DIANA. The goddess of the chase; unmarried.
And this is very fitting. May the chase always be for the
HERCULES. The Gritty Greek (no relation to the Terrible Turk), an
independent laborer, who always had a good job awaiting him.
It is interesting to recall the days when non-union labor had all
the work it wanted.
IXION. A king of Thessaly, who for his sins was broken on a wheel.
And men have been going broke on "the wheel" ever since.
LOTUS EATERS. A gang of ancient vegetarians, who chewed leaves and
went to sleep.
Now succeeded by a club of New Yorkers, who chew the rag and keep
MERCURY. A celestial messenger-boy, who wore wings on his shoes
and knew how "to get there" in a hurry.
Now they all wear hobbles, and never exceed the speed limit in a
MIDAS. A Greek king, who had the power of turning into gold all
that he touched.
That's nothing! There are plenty of men to-day who always get gold
whoever they touch.
SAPPHO. A love-lorn poetess, who, failing to win the man she first
loved, cured herself by jumping into the Mediterranean.
She probably acted on the old advice, "There's plenty more fish in
TANTALUS. A proud king, who suffered in Hades the agonies of
hunger and thirst, with food and drink always in sight, but always
Here on earth, the 50-cent table d'hote accomplishes the same
result--besides costing you the fifty.
TROY. An ancient, oriental city, which took in a wooden horse and
saw the domestic finish of Helen and Paris.
Do not confuse with Troy, N. Y., where they only take in washing
and provide a domestic finish for collars and shirts.
VULCAN. The Olympian blacksmith, who always had his hammer with
But not all who carry hammers are blacksmiths.
Legal and Local Holidays in the United States.
JANUARY 1, New Year's Day. On this day the Flowing Bowl is filled--
and emptied--and the Genial Palm circulated in forty-three States
and Territories out of forty-nine. In Massachusetts, New
Hampshire, Rhode Island, Arkansas, Oklahoma and the Indian
Territory there is no celebration. The natives are too busy
collecting good resolutions and bad bills.
FEBRUARY 22, Washington's Birthday. (George, not Booker), is
remembered by thirty-eight of the States. On this day, in the
public schools, are shown pictures of George Chopping the Cherry
Tree and Breaking Up the Delaware Ice Trust, Valley Forge in
Winter, and Mt. Vernon on a Busy Day. The Pride of the Class
recites Washington's "Farewell to the Army," Minnie the Spieler
belabors the piano with the "Washington Post March," and the
scholars all eat Washington Pie, made of "Columbia, the Jam of the
MARCH 17, St. Patrick's Day and Evacuation Day, when the British
redcoats got out of Boston and Patrick evicted the snakes from
Ireland. For observing the day, wear a turkey-red coat, or vest,
and put a bit of green ribbon, or a shamrock, in the buttonhole--
the green above the red. On Easter day, wear a scrambled egg in
the same place.
APRIL 19, Patriot's Day. A New England successor to FAST DAY--the
slowest day of the year. Originally invented for Fasting and
Prayer. Now used exclusively for opening the Baseball Season,
Locating a Seashore Home for the Summer, and watching Red-Shirted
Diogenes at his Tub.
Little drops of water,
Little lines of hose,
Make the mighty Muster
As ev'ry Laddie knows.
MAY 1, Moving Day. Observed everywhere by The Restless Tenant.
APRIL 26; MAY 30 Memorial Days In "Dixie"; In the North. A
Symphony in Blue and Gray.
JUNE 17, Bunker Hill Day. Celebrated in Boston, Mass., by a
procession of the Ancient and horrible Distillery Company, a few of
the City Fathers in hacks, a picked bunch of Navy Yard sailors and
occasionally a few samples from a Wild West Show. For 24 hours,
pistols and firecrackers are allowed to mutilate Young America ad
JULY 4, Independence Day. A national holiday, invented for the
benefit of popcorn and peanut promoters; tin horn and toy-balloon
vendors; lemonade chemists; dealers in explosives; physicians and
surgeons. A grand chance for the citizen-soldier to hear the roar
of battle, smell powder, shoot the neighbor's cat, and lose a
night's rest--or a finger.
LABOR DAY, First Monday in September. The only day when labor
works overtime. An occasion when the workingman takes a cane in
place of a dinner-pail and proudly tramps the streets behind a real
silk banner and a Hod Carrier on a Cart Horse.
THANKSGIVING DAY (Last Thursday in November). A day devoted to the
annual division of Turkey--with Greece on the side--by the Hung'ry
DECEMBER 25, Christmas Day. Another national holiday, marked by
the following observances: Filling the young and helpless with a
lot of fiction about Santa Claus, the old chimney fakir, who went
up the flue long ago; making a clothesline of the mantelpiece and
robbing the forest of its young; swapping several things we'd like
to keep for a lot of stuff we don't want; and, finally, putting on
in church a Sunday night performance of light opera, known as "The
Sabbath School Concert."
End of Project Gutenberg Etext The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz