DAD, n. A father whom his vulgar children do not respect.
DADO, n. Anything decorative for which the æsthetes know no better name.
DAMN, v. A word formerly much used by the Paphlagonians, the meaning of which is lost. By the learned Dr. Dolabelly Gak it is believed to have been a term of satisfaction, implying the highest possible degree of mental tranquillity. Professor Groke, on the contrary, thinks it expressed an emotion of tumultuous delight, because it so frequently occurs in combination with the word jod or god, meaning "joy." It would be with great diffidence that I should advance an opinion conflicting with that of either of these formidable authorities.
DANCE, v.i. To leap about to the sound of tittering music, preferably with arms about your neighbor's wife or daughter. There are many kinds of dances, but all those requiring the participation of the two sexes have two characteristics in common: they are conspicuously innocent, and warmly loved by the vicious.
DANDLE, v.t. To set an unresisting child upon one's knee and jolt its teeth loose in a transport of affection. A grown girl may be similarly outraged, but her teeth being more firmly secure, there can be no object in doing so, and the custom is a mere mechanical survival of a habit acquired by practice on babes and sucklings.If you care not for the scandal You can hold a girl and dandle Her upon your knee all night; But the game's not worth the candle — When 'tis played by candle light.
But whene'er you feel the yearning, And the candle isn't burning — Or at least not very bright, Then the little game concerning Which I sing is very quite.
DANDY, n. One who professes a singularity of opinion with regard to his own merits, accentuating his eccentricity with his clothes.
DANGER, n. A savage beast which, when it sleeps, Man girds at and despises, But takes himself away by leaps And bounds when it arises. —Ambat Delaso
DARING, n. One of the most conspicuous qualities of a man in security.
DARLING, n. The bore of opposite sex in an early stage of development.
DATARY, n. A high ecclesiastic official of the Roman Catholic Church, whose important function is to brand the Pope's bulls with the words Datum Romæ. He enjoys a princely revenue and the friendship of God.
DAWN, n. The time when men of reason go to bed. Certain old men prefer to rise at about that time, taking a cold bath and a long walk with an empty stomach, and otherwise mortifying the flesh. They then point with pride to these practices as the cause of their sturdy health and ripe years; the truth being that they are hearty and old, not because of their habits, but in spite of them. The reason we find only robust persons doing this thing is that it has killed all the others who have tried it.
DAY, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent. This period is divided into two parts, the day proper and the night, or day improper — the former devoted to sins of business, the latter consecrated to the other sort. These two kinds of social activity overlap.
DEAD, adj. Done with the work of breathing; done With all the world; the mad race run Through to the end; the golden goal Attained and found to be a hole! —Squatol Johnes
DEBAUCHEE, n. One who has so earnestly pursued pleasure that he has had the misfortune to overtake it.
DEBT, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave-driver.As, pent in an aquarium, the troutlet Swims round and round his tank to find an outlet, Pressing his nose against the glass that holds him, Nor ever sees the prison that enfolds him; So the poor debtor, seeing naught around him, Yet feels the narrow limits that impound him, Grieves at his debt and studies to evade it, And finds at last he might as well have paid it. —Barlow S. Vode
DECALOGUE, n. A series of commandments, ten in number — just enough to permit an intelligent selection for observance, but not enough to embarrass the choice. Following is the revised edition of the Decalogue, calculated for this meridian.
Thou shalt no God but me adore: 'Twere too expensive to have more.
No images nor idols make For Robert Ingersoll to break.
Take not God's name in vain; select A time when it will have effect.
Work not on Sabbath days at all, But go to see the teams play ball.
Honor thy parents. That creates For life insurance lower rates.
Kill not, abet not those who kill; Thou shalt not pay thy butcher's bill.
Kiss not thy neighbor's wife, unless Thine own thy neighbor doth caress.
Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete Successfully in business. Cheat.
Bear not false witness — that is low — But "hear 'tis rumored so and so."
Covet thou naught that thou hast not By hook or crook, or somehow, got.
DECANTER, n. A vessel whose functions are most envied by the human stomach.
DECIDE, v.i. To succumb to the preponderance of one set of influences over another set.A leaf was riven from a tree, "I mean to fall to earth," said he.
The west wind, rising, made him veer. "Eastward," said he, "I now shall steer."
The east wind rose with greater force. Said he: "'Twere wise to change my course."
With equal power they contend. He said: "My judgment I suspend."
Down died the winds; the leaf, elate, Cried: "I've decided to fall straight."
"First thoughts are best?" That's not the moral; Just choose your own and we'll not quarrel.
Howe'er your choice may chance to fall, You'll have no hand in it at all. —G.J.
DEER, n. The patter of a jackass rabbit in the chaparral, as heard by a city sportsman.
DEFAME, v.t. To lie about another. To tell the truth about another.
DEFAULTER, n. An important officer in a bank, who commonly adds to his regular function the duties of cashier.
DEFENDANT, n. In law, an obliging person who devotes his time and character to preserving property for his lawyer.
DEFRAUD, v.t. To impart instruction and experience to the confiding.
DEGENERATE, adj. Less conspicuously admirable than one's ancestors. The contemporaries of Homer were striking examples of degeneracy; it required ten of them to raise a rock or a riot that one of the heroes of the Trojan war could have raised with ease. Homer never tires of sneering at "men who live in these degenerate days," which is perhaps why they suffered him to beg his bread — a marked instance of returning good for evil, by the way, for if they had forbidden him he would certainly have starved.
DEGRADATION, n. One of the stages of moral and social progress from private station to political preferment.
DEINOTHERIUM, n. An extinct pachyderm that flourished when the Pterodactyl was in fashion. The latter was a native of Ireland, its name being pronounced Terry Dactyl or Peter O'Dactyl, as the man pronouncing it may chance to have heard it spoken or seen it printed.
DEIPAROUS, adj. Giving birth, or capable of giving birth, to gods.The grand Greek women, who could count Among their friends the nobs of Mount Olympus, were deiparous; Our modern dames, whose godlings fill The skyward spaces of Nob Hill Are only — well, stultiparous.
Dame Nature, though, her issues pools, For all alike are gods and fools Who nectar sip from chalices: On cold Olympus who would dwell Are fools, and they are gods as well Who live in Nob Hill palaces.
DEIST, n. One who believes in God, but reserves the right to worship the Devil.
DEJEUNER, n. The breakfast of an American who has been in Paris. Variously pronounced.
DELEGATION, n. In American politics, an article of merchandise that comes in sets.
DELIBERATION, n. The act of examining one's bread to determine which side it is buttered on.
DELUGE, n. A notable first experiment in baptism which washed away the sins (and sinners) of the world.
DELUSION, n. The father of a most respectable family, comprising Enthusiasm, Affection, Self-denial, Faith, Hope, Charity and many other goodly sons and daughters.All hail, Delusion! Were it not for thee The world turned topsy-turvy we should see; For Vice, respectable with cleanly fancies, Would fly abandoned Virtue's gross advances. —Mumfrey Mappel
DEMENTED, adj. An extinct pachyderm that flourished when the Pterodactyl was in fashion. The latter was a native of Ireland, its name being pronounced Terry Dactyl or Peter O'Dactyl, as the man pronouncing it may chance to have heard it spoken or seen it printed.
DEMISE, n. The death of an exalted personage..Death is but death; we go when claimed — To all alike the road is; But still the great man's death is named "Demise" by living toadies. Thus sycophancy strives to level The royal highway to the Devil.
DEMON, n. A man whose cruelties are related in the newspapers. See FIEND IN HUMAN SHAPE.
DEMONOMANIA, n. A condition of mind in which the patient fondly imagines himself acting under the authority of the devil, and is just too proud for anything.
DEMURE, adj. Grave and modest-mannered, like a particularly unscrupulous.There was a young maid so demure, That she fooled all the men who knew her; But the women they smoked her And took her and choked her And chucked her into a sewer. —Milton
DENTIST, n. A prestidigitator who, putting metal into your mouth, pulls coins out of your pocket.
DEPENDENT, adj. Reliant upon another's generosity for the support which you are not in a position to exact from his fears.
DEPILATORY, adj. Having the property of removing hair from the skin — a quality highly developed in the hand of a wife.
DEPORTMENT, n. An invention of the devil, to assist his followers into good society
DEPOSIT, n. A charitable contribution to the support of a bank
DEPRAVED, pp. The moral condition of a gentleman who holds the opposite opinion
DEPRESSION, n. The state of mind produced by a newspaper joke, a nigger minstrel performance, or the contemplation of another's success
DEPUTY, n. A male relative of an office-holder, or of his bondsman. The deputy is commonly a beautiful young man, with a red necktie and an intricate system of cobwebs extending from his nose to his desk. When accidentally struck by the janitor's broom, he gives off a cloud of dust."Chief Deputy," the Master cried, "To-day the books are to be tried By experts and accountants who Have been commissioned to go through Our office here, to see if we Have stolen injudiciously. Please have the proper entries made, The proper balances displayed, Conforming to the whole amount Of cash on hand — which they will count. I've long admired your punctual way — Here at the break and close of day, Confronting in your chair the crowd Of business men, whose voices loud And gestures violent you quell By some mysterious, calm spell — Some magic lurking in your look That brings the noisiest to book And spreads a holy and profound Tranquillity o'er all around. So orderly all's done that they Who came to draw remain to pay. But now the time demands, at last, That you employ your genius vast In energies more active. Rise And shake the lightnings from your eyes; Inspire your underlings, and fling Your spirit into everything!" The Master's hand here dealt a whack Upon the Deputy's bent back, When straightway to the floor there fell A shrunken globe, a rattling shell A blackened, withered, eyeless head! The man had been a twelvemonth dead. —Jamrach Holobom
DERANGED, pp. or , adj. A condition of mind immediately precedent to the commission of a murder
DERISION, n. The ineffectual argument by which a fool imagines he has answered the contempt of the wise
DESCEDANT, n. Any person proceeding from an ancestor in any degree.Alas for the days when my baboon ancestral In Japanese woods from the lithe limb was pendant, Instructing, kind hearted, each babooness vestal How best to achieve for herself a descendant. —Oscar Wilde
DESCENT, n. Going lower. Popularly used to indicate the existing generation is a peg worse than that which fathered it. Thus one Darwin justly discourses upon the superiority of the ancestral baboon in a melancholy essay, called "The Descent of Man."
DESERT, n. An extensive and fertile tract of land producing heavy wheat and vintage crops in colonization prospectuses
DESERTION, n. An aversion to fighting, as exhibited by abandoning an army or a wife
DESERVE, n. The quality of being entitled to what somebody else obtains
DESHABILLE, n. A reception costume for intimate friends varying according to locality, e.g. In Boorioboola-Gha, a streak of red and yellow paint across the thorax. In San Francisco, pearl ear-rings and a smile
DESICCATE, v.a. To make dry.Now Noble to the pulpit leaps, The mighty desiccator, The audience profoundly sleeps — Slow snores the great creator. —Shelley
DESPATCHES, n. A complete account of all the murders, outrages and other disgusting crimes which take place everywhere, disseminated daily by an Associated Press for the amelioration of the world in general.
DESTINY, n. [1.] A tyrant's authority for crime and a fool's excuse for failure. [2.] A force alleged to control affairs, principally quoted by erring human beings to excuse their failures."'Tis destiny," Sam Barrell cried; "Once I had gold of Ophir; Now humbled is my former pride, And I've become a loafer." "Not strange," said Turnbull, passing by, "That you with fate should fare ill. The destiny that rules you, I Have always found in barrel."
DETECTIVE, n. An official employed by the city and county to detect a crime when one has been committed
DEVIL, n. The author of all our woes and proprietor of all the good things of this world. He was made by the Almighty, but brought into the world by a woman.When Eve stood at the judgment seat, And argued for salvation, She pleaded at Jehovah's feet, In sad extenuation, That Satan, who had made them eat, Was of His own creation.
"Not so," and frowned the Master's face, "That apple 'twas a sin to Indulge in, with no saving grace. Atone! You can't begin to. I merely turned him loose in space, The world, you brought him into." —Ella Wheeler
DEVOTION, n. A mild type of mental aberration variously produced; in love, by a surplus of blood; in religion, by chronic dyspepsia
DEW, n. A terrestrial perspiration or night sweat invented to nourish the tender huckleberry and the yearning poet. Slightly dashed with goat's milk and whisky, it is an article much affected by Hibernian temperance lecturers,who are sometimes affected by it, in turn.
DEXTRALITY, n. The state of being on the right side. See POLITICIAN.You will always find me on the right side, sir; always! I cannot afford to get left! —Gen. McComb
DIAGNOSIS, n. A physician's forecast of disease by the patient's pulse and purse.
DIAMOND, n. A worthless stone, too soft to be given to a beggar in place of bread and too small to knock him down with.
DIAPHRAGM, n. A muscular partition separating disorders of the chest from disorders of the bowels.
DIARY, n. A daily record of that part of one's life, which he can relate to himself without blushing.Hearst kept a diary wherein were writ All that he had of wisdom and of wit. So the Recording Angel, when Hearst died, Erased all entries of his own and cried: "I'll judge you by your diary." Said Hearst: "Thank you; 'twill show you I am Saint the First" — Straightway producing, jubilant and proud, That record from a pocket in his shroud. The Angel slowly turned the pages o'er, Each stupid line of which he knew before, Glooming and gleaming as by turns he hit On Shallow sentiment and stolen wit; Then gravely closed the book and gave it back. "My friend, you've wandered from your proper track: You'd never be content this side the tomb — For big ideas Heaven has little room, And Hell's no latitude for making mirth," He said, and kicked the fellow back to earth. —"The Mad Philosopher"
DICE, n. Small polka-dotted cubes of ivory, constructed like a lawyer to lie on any side, but commonly on the wrong one.
DICTATOR, n. The chief of a nation that prefers the pestilence of despotism to the plague of anarchy.
DICTIONARY, n. A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic. This dictionary, however, is a most useful work.
DIE, n. The singular of "dice." We seldom hear the word, because there is a prohibitory proverb, "Never say die." At long intervals, however, some one says: "The die is cast," which is not true, for it is cut. The word is found in an immortal couplet by that eminent poet and domestic economist, Senator Depew:A cube of cheese no larger than a die May bait the trap to catch a nibbling mie.
DIGESTION, n. The conversion of victuals into virtues. When the process is imperfect, vices are evolved instead — a circumstance from which that wicked writer, Dr. Jeremiah Blenn, infers that the ladies are the greater sufferers from dyspepsia.
DINE, v.i. To eat a good dinner in good company, and eat it slow. In dining, as distinguished from mere feeding, the palate and stomach never ask the hand, "What are you giving us?"
DIPLOMACY, n. The patriotic art of lying for one's country.
DIRECTOR, n. An officer of a company or corporation who fondly imagines he is on the inside when they don't assess him.
DISABUSE, v.t. To present your neighbor with another and better error than the one which he has deemed it advantageous to embrace.
DISANNUL, v.t. Same thing as ANNUL, though you wouldn't think it.
DISCREDITABLE, adj. In the characteristic and customary manner of a rival.
DISCRIMINATE, v.i. To note the particulars in which one person or thing is, if possible, more objectionable than another.
DISCUSSION, n. A method of confirming others in their errors.
DISEASE, n. Nature's endowment of medical schools. A liberal provision for the maintenance of undertakers. A means of supplying the worthy grave-worm with meat that is not too dry and tough for tunneling and stoping.
DISENCHANT, v.t. To free the soul from the chains of illusion in order that the lash of truth may draw blood at a greater number of points.Now Mary Walker disenchants All eyes that on her figure dwell, Apparelled in a pair of "pants" That fit not wisely but too well. But Mrs. St——w, bewitching thing! Charms most where most her trowsers cling.
DISHONESTY, n. An important element of commercial success, to which the business colleges have not as yet accorded an honorable prominence in the curriculum, but have weakly substituted penmanship.Dishonesty is the best policy. —New Testament: St. Judas Iscariot, IXL.,29
DISINCORPORATION, n. A popular method of eluding the agile liability and annexing the coy asset.
DISOBEDIENCE, n. The silver lining to the cloud of servitude.
DISOBEY, v.t. To celebrate with an appropriate ceremony the maturity of a command.His right to govern me is clear as day, My duty manifest to disobey; And if that fit observance e'er I shun May I and duty be alike undone. —Israfel Brown
DISREPUTE, n. The condition of a philosopher. The condition of a fool. The condition of a candidate.
DISSEMBLE, v.i. To put a clean shirt upon the character.Let us dissemble. —Adam
DISSYLLABLE, n. A word of two syllables. The following words are dissyllables, according to the ancient and honorable usage of all the San Francisco poets: Fire, hire, tire, flour, hour, sour, scour, chasm, spasm, realm, helm and slippery elm.
DISTANCE, n. The only thing that the rich are willing for the poor to call theirs, and keep.
DISTILLERY, n. An institution for the facture and dissemination of the scarlet snout. It is to the distillery, also, that we owe that precious inheritance, the talking teetotaler.
DISTRESS, n. A disease incurred by exposure to the prosperity of a friend.
DIVINATION, n. The art of nosing out the occult. Divination is of as many kinds as there are fruit-bearing varieties of the flowering dunce and the early fool.
DIVORCE, n. A bugle blast that separates the combatants and makes them fight at long range.
DOCTOR, n. A gentleman who thrives upon disease and dies of health.
DOCTRINAIRE, n. One whose doctrine has the demerit of antagonizing your own.
DOG, n. A kind of additional or subsidiary Deity designed to catch the overflow and surplus of the world's worship. This Divine Being in some of his smaller and silkier incarnations takes, in the affection of Woman, the place to which there is no human male aspirant. The Dog is a survival — an anachronism. He toils not, neither does he spin, yet Solomon in all his glory never lay upon a door-mat all day long, sun-soaked and fly-fed and fat, while his master worked for the means wherewith to purchase the idle wag of the Solomonic tail, seasoned with a look of tolerant recognition.
DOMESTIC, n. A person whom one employs about the house to exercise the functions of master or mistress.
DOMESTIC, adj. Appertaining to the household, as a domestic husband, one who loafs about the house making love to the female domestics. The domestic husband is commonly what Artemus Ward said the Prince of Wales was — "a good provider." That is to say, he commonly provides good looking kitchen maids.
DOTAGE, n. Imbecility from age, commonly manifested in loquacity. (This word was originally ANECDOTAGE, but those of whom it is the characteristic virtue have not time to speak the entire word; they are too busy talking.)
DOWRY, n. The worm upon the matrimonial hook in man-fishing.
DRAGON, n. A leading attraction in the menagerie of the antique imagination. It seems to have escaped.
DRAGOON, n. A soldier who combines dash and steadiness in so equal measure that he makes his advances on foot and his retreats on horseback.
DRAMATIST, n. One who adapts plays from the French.
DROPSY, n. A disease which makes the patient's lease of life a kind of naval engagement.Dick, through all his life, had cherished An ambition when he perished To be drowned in the deep ocean,— Not from any foolish notion That so damp a death was cheerful, But because the wretch was fearful That he some day would exhibit On the tight-rope of a gibbet; Or, escaping that curtailment, Die of some distressing ailment, Giving up the ghost by inches With contortions, twinges, flinches. Death at last one day assailed him, And with agonies impaled him— Pegged him firmly for the slaughter Fifteen hundred miles from water! Now, his bowels all were topsy Turvy with a case of dropsy, And his abdomen was bloating, And his vitals were a-floating, When, between the paroxysmal Rush of tides along the dismal Channels of his ventilating Apparatus — when his lungs were Full as barrels, and no bungs were Handy to reduce the billow, Richard, strangling on his pillow, Turned his body, spouted finely Like a whale, and smiled divinely, Saying 'twixt convulsions frantic: "Every man his own Atlantic."
DROWSY, adj. Profoundly affected by a play adapted from the French.
DRUIDS, n. Priests and ministers of an ancient Celtic religion which did not disdain to employ the humble allurement of human sacrifice. Very little is now known about the Druids and their faith. Pliny says their religion, originating in Britain, spread eastward as far as Persia. Cæsar says those who desired to study its mysteries went to Britain. Cæsar himself went to Britain, but does not appear to have obtained any high preferment in the Druidical Church, although his talent for human sacrifice was considerable.
Druids performed their religious rites in groves, and knew nothing of church mortgages and the season-ticket system of pew rents. They were, in short, heathens and — as they were once complacently catalogued by a distinguished prelate of the Church of England — Dissenters.
DUCK-BILL, n. Your account at your restaurant during the canvas-back season.
DUEL, n. A formal ceremony preliminary to the reconciliation of two enemies. Great skill is necessary to its satisfactory observance; if awkwardly performed the most unexpected and deplorable consequences sometimes ensue. A long time ago a man lost his life in a duel.That dueling's a gentlemanly vice I hold; and wish that it had been my lot To live my life out in some favored spot — Some country where it is considered nice To split a rival like a fish, or slice A husband like a spud, or with a shot Bring down a debtor doubled in a knot And ready to be put upon the ice. Some miscreants there are, whom I do long To shoot, or stab, or some such way reclaim The scurvy rogues to better lives and manners. I seem to see them now — a mighty throng. It looks as if to challenge me they came, Jauntily marching with brass bands and banners! —Xamba Q. Dar
DULLARD, n. A member of the reigning dynasty in letters and life. The Dullards came in with Adam, and being both numerous and sturdy have overrun the habitable world. The secret of their power is their insensibility to blows; tickle them with a bludgeon and they laugh with a platitude. The Dullards came originally from Bœotia, whence they were driven by stress of starvation, their dulness having blighted the crops. For some centuries they infested Philistia, and many of them are called Philistines to this day. In the turbulent times of the Crusades they withdrew thence and gradually overspread all Europe, occupying most of the high places in politics, art, literature, science and theology. Since a detachment of Dullards came over with the Pilgrims in the Mayflower and made a favorable report of the country, their increase by birth, immigration and conversion has been rapid and steady. According to the most trustworthy statistics the number of adult Dullards in the United States is but little short of thirty millions, including the statisticians. The intellectual center of the race is somewhere about Peoria, Illinois, but the New England Dullard is the most shockingly moral.
DUTY, n. That which sternly impels us in the direction of profit, along the line of desire.Sir Lavender Portwine, in favor at court, Was wroth at his master, who'd kissed Lady Port. His anger provoked him to take the king's head, But duty prevailed, and he took the king's bread, Instead. —G.J.