The Little SURREALIST Dictionary


The following definitions & hand signals are from
ISBN 0-87773-875-0
(Which is probably VERY hard to find
& I don't have it anymore)

(Any errors are due to my typing skills.)


(Our heads are round - So that our thoughts may fly out in all directions.)
aeroplane, A sexual symbol useful for getting rapidly from Berlin to Vienna. (attributed to FREUD) annihilated, Annulled, by inhaling nothingingness. (LEIRUS)
anthrax, Giant of Greek mythology, son of Thorax and Erysipelas, ravisher of the nymph Acne. aphorism, The aphorism is a poultice of consolation. (PANNAERS)
aquarium, Humid square of requiems. (LEIRUS) art, Art is a pharmaceutical product for imbeciles. (PICABIA)
ash, A disease of cigars. (PERET) atomizer, Built to please the Khemer king who had the idea of squeezing the peel of a tangerine into a flame.
attic, The idea of removing it from dwellings goes back to Catius Gracchus' favorite slave. She hoped in this way to keep the swallows nesting in the roof from leaving in the autumn.(PERET) axiom, Fixed miasma, malign aroma . . .[LEIRIS]
beauty, Beauty is simply the total consciousness of our perfections. [DALI] Beauty shall be convulsive or it will not be . . . Convulsive beauty shall be erotic-veiled, explosive-fixed, magical-circumstantial, or not be. [BRETON] belief, Beliefs are ideas going bald. [PICABIA]
billiards, Constructed for the purpose of a demonstration by Pico della Mirandola, who wished to establish that human dialogue depends on nature and is only opposed (not insurmountably) by the sun. [BRETON & PERET] boat, Looking at the sea being ploughed by boats, the Buddhist priest Kanguen asked his deciple Daichi "Could you from your room stop those boats sailing past?" The young disciple closed the shutters. Then the master said: "All the same, you couldn't have stopped the boat if you had no hands."
The young disciple closed his eyes.
bordello, Small cradle on casters used by the Bordelais - She placed her daughter in a bordello. buttons, Made fashionable by Isabella of Bavaria, who secured her blouse with snowdrops. [BRETON & PERET]
cadence, Quradrature of silence.[LEIRIS] causality, "Notions of cause and effect concentrate on and are bound up with that of universal interdependence in whose womb cause and effect incessantly change place." [ENGELS]
chaos, Cloaca. Not yet encased, where causes croak. [LEIRUS] chance, "Chance would be the manifestation of the exterior necessity which battles its way through man's unconscious." [BRETON]
cocteau, A variety of small cock with attractive plumage and a taste for ostentatious display, becomes restive if forced to work. The cocteau is not a good breeder.. [ANDRE GIDE] credulity, Normal rather than morbid characteristic of the human race. Important because of its consequences, notably of the body's position during sleep. [COLINET & KINDS]
cynicism, The worm of mockery that spoils the otherwise delicious fruit of complete freedom. [LEGRAND] dada, Dada is a virgin microbe that with the fickleness of air enters all the spaces reason has not been able to overload with words or conventions. [TZARA] Dada puts mustard in the ciboria, urine in the fonts, and margarine in the artists tubes of paint. [RIBEMONT-DESSAIGNES]
death, Death is the horizontal prolongation of a factitious dream, life not being verifiable. [PICABIA] If you want to die, just carry on! [DADA PROVERB] debauch, Special organization of one's private life as a reaction against social insanity. [SCHUSTER]
decalcomania, During a costume ball given in 1854 at the court of Napoleon III, Seymour appeared disguised as a prowler, his forehead covered with false tattoos reproducing the portrait of Gabrielle d'Estree with the Duchess of Villars. [BRETON & PERET] depravity, Descending the ascending path of pleasure. [MIME BENOIT]
dog, A dog is not a hammock [SERNER] dream, Dream is a tunnel running beneath reality. [REVERDY]
ejaculation, According to the PETIT LAROUSSE ILLUSTRE, a short prayer uttered with fervor. It's brevity is generally to be deplored, as is its tendency among certain people, to frequent repetition, which is strictly contrary to the express instructions of the Ecclesiastical Authorities. A prickly problem of conscience then, which artists, writers and financiers alone have resolved, so far as it affects them, by employing it with the strictest economy. elephant, Puffed up elf. [LEIRUS] Elephants are contagious.

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enemy, All our enemies are mortal. [VALERY] eternity, Eternity begins and ends in bed. [ELUARD]
folklore, Acid chemical product extracted with great difficulty from the earth. fornication, A checmicio-mechanical operation consisting of softening iron bars and then tempering them in a vat of water brought to boiling point. [DICTIONARY OF REDISCOVERED WORDS]
fossil, Invention of Leonardo da Vinci [DALI] infinity, there are two infinities, God and stupidity.[VERESE]
knowledge, The known is an exception, the unknown a deception. [PICABIA] lace, Created especially for Laure de Clery who had desired a 'glade-colored nightshirt'.
literature, One of the saddest roads that leads to anything. [BRETON] madness, The mad are those who have lost their mirrors. Suppress mirrors. [RIGAUT]
masturbation, The hand at the service of the imagination. [MIMI BENOIT] morality, Morality is the backbone of half-wits. [PICABIA]
music, Music is the diarrhea of the intellect. [REBEMONT-DESSAIGNES] mustard, Produced in 1165 at the request of the anti-pope Guido da Crema, who was looking for anti-honey. [BRETON & PERET]
ovaries, Ovals devoured by Eve. [LEIRIS] paradise, All paradises are artificial. [ARAGON]

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perception, "One can affirm the presence or perception of an object when it is present and perceived, when it is absent and perceived, when it is neither present nor perceived" [QUERCY] perversion, The infinite variations of the sexual urge have been condensed by Freud in a famous and still scandalous formula: "The child is polymorphously perverse." [LEGRAND]
phallus, The phallus is exoteric in bed but usually esoteric in the street. [PICABIA] phallustrade, It is an alchemical product, composed of the following elements: autostrade, balustrade and a certain quantity of phallus. A phallustrade is a verbal collage. [ERNST]
poem, A poem must be intellect's debacle. [BRETON & ELUARD] providence, All approved accidents. [LEIRIS]
red eggs, At the turn of the century, eggs given to the May Day demonstrators by shopkeepers posted along the parade route. revolving doors, Built at the request of the owner of the Cafe Anglais who, to honor Evans on his return from Crete, reduced the labyrinth to its simplest expression. [BRETON & PERET]
sacrifice, Factitious solstice; acrid chalice, riddled with cicatrix. [LEIRIS] sanctity, "The notion of the "soul", "spirit" and eventually even the "immortal soul"; was invented so as to bring to everything in life deserving of serious consideration - food, lodging, learning, health, cleanliness, warmth - only the most appalling thoughtlessness" [NIETSZCHE]
scandal, Sudden disclosure, for purposes of provocation or challenge, of what society and conventional morality tolerates only when camouflaged: the 'shameful' human pudenda, man's exploitation of man, the existence of torture, but also any outburst too unendurable from a person out of step with his surroundings. [NORA NITRANI] sea, The sea is the night asleep in the daytime. [DESNOS]
sex, The act of sex is the axis of sects. [DESNOS] shadow, The shadow precedes man, the assassin follows close behind. [NAVILLE]
suicide, Suicide must be a vocation. [RIGAUT] surrealism, "The vice known as Surrealism consists of the disordered and passional application of the stupefying image" [ARAGON]
"Surrealism, in it's wider sense, represents the most recent attempts to break with things as they are and to substitute for them other things - immediately operational and fully-formed - whose shifting contours are inscribed in filigree at the very depths of being." [RAYMOND]
termite, Monk belonging to a very strict order, now extinct, whose principle rule was to put an end to all human activity. [The Devil turned Termite SAINTE-BEUVE] thought, Thought is considering death and taking a decision. [RIGAUT]
virtue, Virtue is perfumed with crime. [DURTAIN] yes, Yes = No [PICABIA]

 The definitions in the above mini-dictionary were taken from the following sources:

DICTIONNAIRE ABREGE DU SURREALISME, 1938, edit by Breton & Eluard; LEXIQUE SUCCINCT DE L'EROTISME, 1959, collectively edited; the DICTIONNAIRE GENERAL which appeared in the review DOCUMENTS 1929-30, edited by Georges Bataille; CALENDIER TOUR DU MONDE DES INVENTIONS TOLERABLES, 1950, by Breton & Peret; the DA COSTA ENCYCLOPEDIQUE 1947, anonymously and collectively edited; PETIT DICTIONNAIRE ARBITRAIRE 1970, edited by Annie LeBrun; DICTIONNAIRE DE MEDICINE AMUSANTE, 1971, edited by Colinet & Kinds; PETIT DICTIONAIRE DES MOTS RETROUVES, 1954, collective; PETITE FOLIE COLLECTIVE, 1966, edited by Michel Corvin; GLOSSAIRE . J'Y SERRE MES GLOSES, 1939, by Michel Leiris.

Those reading this who understand French will forgive me, I hope, as I have left out the various accents, purely as a time-saving gesture so this can be seen now instead of MUCH LATER if they were cut/pasted to where they should be. Mea-Culpa, etc.

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Erotic Hand Signing Chart
(Please excuse poor quality, had to scan it.)
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