The Style Invitational contest “Another Round of Bierce” asked readers to come up with cynical definitions of words à la those in Ambrose Bierce’s “Devil’s Dictionary” of 1911 (results published April 14, 2002, and reprinted here).

See the encore presentation of this contest, Week 946 (Nov. 18, 2011), at Also below are the results of Week 860 (April 2010), which sought similar definitions in exactly 10 words for addition to the Ten Word Wiki website.

Report from Week CXII:

Fifth Runner-Up: Lottery: A tax on poor math skills. (Id Rooney, Arlington, Va.)

Fourth Runner-Up: Leader: One who follows loudly. (Tom Rogers, Oakton, Va)

Third Runner-Up: Potential: The measure of a person’s lack of achievement. (Eva Moore, Ithaca, N.Y.)

Second Runner-Up: Role Model: A professional athlete whose conduct rises to the level expected of everyone else. (Chris Doyle, Burke, Va.)

First Runner-Up: Aging: Paced dying. (Barry Blyveis, Columbia, Md.)

And the winner of the genuine Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clown mask and nose:

Peacetime: When there are no wars anywhere you care about. (Mike Genz, La Plata, Md.)

Honorable Mentions:

E-mail: An urban legend delivery system. (Morgan Malino, Fremont, Calif.)

Deadline: A predetermined time by which an excuse must be fabricated as to why something was not completed. (Ken Advent, Parma, Ohio)

Reform: The attempt to restructure inequities to your advantage. (Russell Beland, Springfield, Va.)

Reform: Periodic replacement of one unworkable political system by another. (Ken Advent)

Telemarketer: A Caller ID salesman. (John Griessmayer, Roanoke, Va.)

Righteous: What self-righteous people think they are. (John Griessmayer)

Social Security: The world’s largest pyramid scheme. (Elliott Schiff, Orefield, Pa.)

Religion: A singular form of gambling in which one may never be sure of which game one is playing, the rules of the game, the value of one’s chips, whether the casino will honor those chips, or if indeed there is a casino at all. (Id Rooney, Arlington, Va.)

Foreign: Not yet American. (Marc Hirsh, Somerville, Mass.)

Celebrity: One who suffers from an odd mental condition, defined by the desire for solitude and the pursuit of recognition. (Mark Young, Washington)

Sophistry: Reasoning used by your opponent. (Mike Genz)

Taxes: Money you complain about giving the government to pay for services whose absence you would complain about. (John O’Hanlon, Germantown, Md.)

Cleavage: The part of the anatomy that a woman exposes for the purpose of having men not stare at it. (John O’Hanlon)

Fanatic: Someone devoted to a cause in which you do not believe. (Seth Brown, Williamstown, Mass.)

Manager: Someone who doesn’t know what you do but knows what it is worth. (Mary Claire Salander, Arlington, Va.)

Lawyer: One to whom you give money to prevent another from taking it. (Seth Brown)

Child Support: The percentage of your income you are willing to sacrifice in exchange for parental responsibility. (Mary Claire Salander)

Prayer: A form of begging that leaves one’s pride intact. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg, Md.)

Ecumenism: Warm embrace of other religions whose adherents are eternally damned to roast in Hell. (Mike Genz)

Strict constructionist: One who interprets the Constitution as he believes the document’s slaveholding, misogynistic, elitist authors would have. (Chris Doyle, Burke, Va.)

CIA: A clandestine organization created to ensure Their cheating doesn’t conflict with Our cheating. (Id Rooney)

Singer-songwriter: Anyone who owns a guitar. (Frank Mullen III, Heathsville, Va.)

Morality: Principles to follow for good conduct, inspired by the feeling that others are watching. (William Bradford, Washington)

Ethics: Conspicuous compunction. (Phil Frankenfeld, Washington)

Principle: The noble thing that, in pursuit of, one will do anything, to anyone, at any time. (Roger and Pam Dalrymple, Gettysburg, Pa.)

Multimedia: Employing images and sound in educational tools so as to allow those who cannot write to communicate with those who cannot read. (Frank Mullen III)

Deregulation: A political movement to replace the abuses of big government with the abuses of big business. (Fred Dawson, Beltsville, Md.)

Tramp: A woman who is sleeping with everyone but you. (Bill Flavin, Alexandria, Va.)

Relativism: The absolute belief that there are no absolutes. (Joe Harsel, Falls Church, Va.)

Middle-aged: An age bracket beginning with persons three or four years older than you. (Russell Beland, Springfield, Va.)

And Last: Cynicism: A compensatory tool used by those lacking in wit. (Bill Chang, New York)

Report from Week 860:

The winner of the Inker: Historical revisionism: Now the past has been torched by a new generation. (Phil Frankenfeld, Washington)

2.the winner of the DVD documentary about Mike the Headless Chicken: La Leche League: Front organization dedicated to promoting the kindness of human milk. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

3. Elin Nordegren: Had Tiger by the tail. Now has a different grip. (Cy Gardner, Arlington)

4.Thesaurus: Language reference to help people find exactly the wrong word. (Ron Averyt, Severn)

Worth 1% of a picture: Honorable mentions

Advice: Opinions sought to confirm the correctness of our bad ideas. (Russell Beland, Fairfax)

Amnesia: A mental condition that, for all you know, you’ve experienced. (Russell Beland)

Gilbert Arenas: Unable to handle LeBron James, he equipped himself for Jesse. (William Bradford, Washington)

The Argument Sketch: Funniest Monty Python skit ever. It isn’t. Yes it is. (Kevin Dopart)

Marion Barry: Ever since “Bitch set me up,” he’s been falling down. (Marty McCullen, Gettysburg, Pa.)

Jack Bauer: Complete verbal repertoire: “Chloe!,” “Dammit!” and “We have no choice!” (Craig Dykstra, Centreville)

Glenn Beck: He’s a walking aneurysm looking for a brain to attack. (Cy Gardner)

“The Cat in the Hat”: Creepy intruder whips out Thing when kids’ mother is away. (Kevin Dopart)

China: Mean country that won’t let America keep adorable Chinese pandas. (Mae Scanlan, Washington)

Credit card: Loans for people who find subprime mortgages much too conservative. (Sam Bruce, New York)

Cupidity: Refusing to buy one’s significant other a Valentine’s Day gift. (Bryan Crain, Modesto, Calif.)

Charles Darwin: Victorian scientific genius whose radical theory inspired Republican health-care policy. (Stephen Gold, Glasgow, Scotland)

Facebook: For stalking people who had previously managed to elude you. (Craig Dykstra)

Mark Foley: Former Realtor, congressman eyeballed enough pages to be editor, too. (Dion Black, Washington)

Global warming: A leftist plot to destroy Americans’ God-given right to destroy. (Marc Naimark, Paris)

Al Gore: An inconvenient truth: The globe didn’t all warm to him. (John Glenn, Tyler, Tex.)

Rudy Giuliani: “Everybody’s Mayor” -- that is, until he became nobody’s presidential candidate. (Edmund Conti, Raleigh, N.C.)

Sean Hannity: So far to the right, there’s nothing left of him. (Darren Chamblee, Frederick, a First Offender)

“In closing”: Oratorical flourish meaning “I will now speak 15 more minutes.” (Peter Metrinko, Gainesville)

Karaoke: The spectacle of people standing up and defacing the music. (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)

Monogamy: The custom of having a single spouse at a time. (Chris Doyle)

Muffin top: Flesh brimming over pants’ waistband: Aptly named for its source. (Dion Black)

Barack Obama: Candidate of Hope and Change, president of Bait and Switch. (Cy Gardner)

Barack Obama: He wasn’t born in Kenya -- or in a manger, either. (Peter Metrinko)

Opportunity cost: The price of paving materials for the road not taken. (Phil Frankenfeld)

Pantyhose: Stockings that are fine for walking, but better at running. (LuAnn Bishop, West Haven, Conn.)

Passover: The week when cardboard with cream cheese is a delicacy. (Ed Gordon, Austin)

Patient: Able to sit stoically for hours in doctors’ waiting rooms. (Chris Doyle)

Political career: Period between first election victory and revelation of sordid affair. (Harry Farkas, Columbus, Ohio)

Rubenesque: Polite word for someone 10 pounds heavier than you are. (Kevin Dopart)

Secret: Something you must share, but you don’t expect others to. (Russell Beland)

Tequila: Leading cause of “Hey, y’all -- watch this!” in 11 states. (Craig Dykstra)

The White House: Impressive residence: Spacious rooms, rose garden (security system needs work). (Beverley Sharp, Washington)

And Last: The Empress: Grandiose, snooty, enormous, ancient and daunting hotel in British Columbia. (Martin Bancroft, Rochester, N.Y.)