the revised devil's dictionary

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academic adj From Latin, academia, of or characteristic of a school, especially of higher education, excepting, of course, the School of Hard Knocks. Once a practical application is achieved, the designation of academic is automatically stripped and the term patentable is applied. At least in the United States.

accelerated attrition n 1: Layoff. 2: Two or more snipers.

accordion n An instrument. Current theology holds that when entering the after-life, one receives either a harp or an accordion, depending upon one’s destination. (from Gary Larson)

adultery n In the civilized world, consensual sex between adults not married to each other. In fundamentalist Islamic countries, rape. The punishment in such countries, being logically coherent with the Islamic fundamentalist tenets regarding the rights of women, can be death by stoning. It’s not known if the Islamic judges who mete out such punishment exist in a semi-permanent stoned condition or not.

adulthood n That portion of one’s lifetime in which one can enjoy truly rewarding pursuits such as character assassination, sadism, cruelty, vengeance, hypocrisy, embezzlement, adultery, pedophilia, necrophilia, and political opportunism. See childhood.

aerodynamic adj Having the ability to affect the movement of air or credulity of the American public. (Note: bricks are aerodynamic. Stupidity is not.)

afterlife n That period of time following one’s demise. Whether or not one is allowed to participate is still subject to debate.

agenda n More than four things compiled in a list, particularly if any of them sound important. A hidden agenda is generally written in crayon without the aid of a spell checker.

aggressively moist adj Any place where even aluminum rusts, such as Chesapeake Bay or the Oregon Coast.

aggravated murder n Any murder that really ticks off the local district attorney. Especially if the murder victim is a political contributor.

alarmist adj 1: One who has the disturbing ability to correctly assign effect to cause. See blunt. 2: Any report by a private organization. 3: In science, someone who isn’t getting paid to draw conclusions.

alibi n <From the Arabic ali babbit> 1: Alternate explanation when the first one fails. 2: Mid-level management jargon for damage control, spoken to lower echelon workers about higher level abuses.

alien abductions n A curious and unexplained phenomenon of the 20th Century. Some think that aliens from outer space snatch people for animal population studies, while others think that a combined mass hysteria/urban legend phenomenon is responsible and no actual abductions occur. Finally, some believe that snatch teams from Toronto swoop down on people in the United States and abduct citizens with the hope of brainwashing them into believing that Canada is not part of the United States. See Omni Magazine, May, 1996. 2: An Immigration and Naturalization Service raid, typically conducted at farms or construction sites. Less so, more recently, since computer customer support has typically been out-sourced to foreign places like Mumbai, Djakarta and St. Petersburg, FL.

altruist n 1: Self-interest artfully disguised as nobility of action. 2: The epitome of sugary self-denial and exploded ego. 3: A liar, cheat and fraud capable of incredible self-deception. 4. Horrible company at the best of times.

ambiguous adj Anything one wishes to misunderstand.

amoral adj 1: Someone unable to rationalize convincingly. 2: Someone incapable of following your rationalizations.

anarchist n A person who believes that all government is dishonest, corrupt, and intrinsically unfair. In other times, this has been called wisdom.

angelic adj Anyone capable of tolerating your presence. See saint.

anger management n. In ancient times, dueling. In modern times, either stalking or litigation, depending up one’s disposable income.

anorexic adj Someone afflicted with anorexia nervosa, a nervous condition that often occurs after reading the ingredients of most canned food products. See bulimic, obese, fat.

anthrax n A disease normally associated with herbivores but occasionally with postal workers and people prone to panic.

anthropomorphize v The ascription of human characteristics to objects or animals. While this is not generally a dangerous activity (e.g. “a tin can bit you” when you cut your hand on a opened can of some kind), there are times when such a characterization is inappropriate, pointless, stupid, and possibly dangerous (e.g. “He doesn’t know any better” when referring to a car, child, or hoodlum).

anti-Semitic adj Any position that the Israeli government opposes, particularly if held by other Semitic peoples like Palestinians. See Zionist.

APM abbr Management spin-speak for Aggressive Performance Measurement. A steroidal yet myopic approach to measuring what gets done by or to whom in, near, or about the workplace. An example of an APM unit for second tier managers would be backs stabbed per day.

apocryphal adj A story or press release that is probably untrue but of some value, particularly if misleading. See scripture.

artistic adj 1: Pretentious. 2: Not loud with no part for either accordion or harmonica. 3: Not recognizable.

attorney n. An individual who can speak in clear, well modulated tones while in hot pursuit of an ambulance.

attrition n. The selection of survivors by the disciplined application of disincentives such as team building or lynching.