n. A familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man’s head. The cabbage is so called from Cabagius, a prince who on ascending the throne issued a decree appointing a High Council of Empire consisting of the members of his predecessor’s Ministry and the cabbages in the royal garden. When any of his Majesty’s measures of state policy miscarried conspicuously it was gravely announced that several members of the High Council had been beheaded, and his murmuring subjects were appeased.
n. A more than commonly plain and unmistakable reminder that the affairs of this life are not of our own ordering. Calamities are of two kinds: misfortune to ourselves, and good fortune to others.
adj. Gifted with great fortitude to bear the evils afflicting another. When Zeno was told that one of his enemies was no more he was observed to be deeply moved. “What!” said one of his disciples, “you weep at the death of an enemy?” “Ah, ’tis true,” replied the great Stoic; “but you should see me smile at the death of a friend.”
n. The seat of misgovernment. That which provides the fire, the pot, the dinner, the table and the knife and fork for the anarchist; the part of the repast that himself supplies is the disgrace before meat. Capital Punishment, a penalty regarding the justice and expediency of which many worthy persons — including all the assassins — entertain grave misgivings.
n. Such an adjustment of conflicting interests as gives each adversary the satisfaction of thinking he has got what he ought not to have, and is deprived of nothing except what was justly his due.
n. A body of men who meet to repeal laws.
n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.
n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic’s eyes to improve his vision.
Selections taken from the Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce as they apply to the 45th president of the United States.