UBIQUITY, n. The gift or power of being in all places at one time,
but not in all places at all times, which is omnipresence, an
attribute of God and the luminiferous ether only. This important
distinction between ubiquity and omnipresence was not clear to the
mediaeval Church and there was much bloodshed about it. Certain
Lutherans, who affirmed the presence everywhere of Christ’s body were
known as Ubiquitarians. For this error they were doubtless damned,
for Christ’s body is present only in the eucharist, though that
sacrament may be performed in more than one place simultaneously. In
recent times ubiquity has not always been understood – not even by
Sir Boyle Roche, for example, who held that a man cannot be in two
places at once unless he is a bird.
UGLINESS, n. A gift of the gods to certain women, entailing virtue
ULTIMATUM, n. In diplomacy, a last demand before resorting to
Having received an ultimatum from Austria, the Turkish Ministry
met to consider it.
"O servant of the Prophet," said the Sheik of the Imperial Chibouk
to the Mamoosh of the Invincible Army, "how many unconquerable
soldiers have we in arms?"
"Upholder of the Faith," that dignitary replied after examining
his memoranda, "they are in numbers as the leaves of the forest!"
"And how many impenetrable battleships strike terror to the hearts
of all Christian swine?" he asked the Imaum of the Ever Victorious
"Uncle of the Full Moon," was the reply, "deign to know that they
are as the waves of the ocean, the sands of the desert and the stars
For eight hours the broad brow of the Sheik of the Imperial
Chibouk was corrugated with evidences of deep thought: he was
calculating the chances of war. Then, "Sons of angels," he said, "the
die is cast! I shall suggest to the Ulema of the Imperial Ear that he
advise inaction. In the name of Allah, the council is adjourned."
UN-AMERICAN, adj. Wicked, intolerable, heathenish.
UNCTION, n. An oiling, or greasing. The rite of extreme unction
consists in touching with oil consecrated by a bishop several parts of
the body of one engaged in dying. Marbury relates that after the rite
had been administered to a certain wicked English nobleman it was
discovered that the oil had not been properly consecrated and no other
could be obtained. When informed of this the sick man said in anger:
"Then I’ll be damned if I die!"
"My son," said the priest, "this is what we fear."
UNDERSTANDING, n. A cerebral secretion that enables one having it to
know a house from a horse by the roof on the house. Its nature and
laws have been exhaustively expounded by Locke, who rode a house, and
Kant, who lived in a horse.
His understanding was so keen
That all things which he’d felt, heard, seen,
He could interpret without fail
If he was in or out of jail.
He wrote at Inspiration’s call
Deep disquisitions on them all,
Then, pent at last in an asylum,
Performed the service to compile ’em.
So great a writer, all men swore,
They never had not read before.
UNITARIAN, n. One who denies the divinity of a Trinitarian.
UNIVERSALIST, n. One who forgoes the advantage of a Hell for persons
of another faith.
URBANITY, n. The kind of civility that urban observers ascribe to
dwellers in all cities but New York. Its commonest expression is
heard in the words, "I beg your pardon," and it is not consistent with
disregard of the rights of others.
The owner of a powder mill
Was musing on a distant hill –
Something his mind foreboded –
When from the cloudless sky there fell
A deviled human kidney! Well,
The man’s mill had exploded.
His hat he lifted from his head;
"I beg your pardon, sir," he said;
"I didn’t know ’twas loaded."
USAGE, n. The First Person of the literary Trinity, the Second and
Third being Custom and Conventionality. Imbued with a decent
reverence for this Holy Triad an industrious writer may hope to
produce books that will live as long as the fashion.
UXORIOUSNESS, n. A perverted affection that has strayed to one’s own