''The Devil's Dictionary'' is a humorous look at English vocabulary by American writer and columnist Ambrose Bierce.
When you first hear the title "The Devil's Dictionary", you may think the book has something to do with Satanism or black magic.
This couldn't be further from the truth. Bierce liked the title because he felt that he was being devilish or mischievous in his satirical treatment of common words and phrases.
Hence, "The Devil's Dictionary" is a satirical rendition of the dictionary. Satire is the literary use of humour, exaggeration, and irony in order to point out specific issues in society. Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary uses the format of a dictionary to redefine popular words in the American vernacular, including marriage, religion, lawyer, and conservative. The definitions seem to define the words as they really are in society rather than as the set definition laid down by scholars. Not only does he point out the absurdity of society, but he also takes jabs at people in powerful positions, such as lawyers, government officials, and lexicographers. In many of the entries, Bierce not only provides a definition, but he also provides a contextual example.