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 This Tome.
"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
Bet. Between. Dist. Distinguish. Eng. English. Fr. French. Ger. German. Grk. Greek. Lat. Latin. Syn. Synonym. 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 last longer)."
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 old maid.
ALCOHOL A liquid good for preserving almost everything except secrets.
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- fashioned stomach-ache.