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Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary - Contents
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    ALPHABETARIAN, n. A learner while in the A.B.C.

    ALPHABETIC, ALPHABETICAL, a. In the order of an alphabet, or in the order of the letters as customarily arranged.

    ALPHABETICALLY, adv. In an alphabetical manner; in the customary order of the letters.

    ALPHENIX, n. [al and phaenix.]

    White barley sugar, used for colds. It is common sugar boiled till it will easily crack; then poured upon an oiled marble table, and molded into various figures.NWAD ALPHENIX.2

    ALPHEST, n. A small fish, having a purple back and belly, with yellow sides, a smooth mouth, and thick fleshy lips; always caught near the shore or among rocks.

    ALPHONSIN, n. A surgical instrument for extracting bullets from wounds, so called from its inventor, Alphonsus Ferrier of Naples. It consists of three branches, which close by a ring, and open when it is drawn back.

    ALPHONSIN TABLES. Astronomical tables made by Alphonsus king of Arragon.

    ALPHUS, n. [Gr. white.]

    That species of leprosy called vitiligo, in which the skin is rough, with white spots.NWAD ALPHUS.2

    ALPINE, a. [L. alpinus, from Alpes.]

    1. Pertaining to the Alps, or to any lofty mountain; very high; elevated.NWAD ALPINE.2

    2. Growing on high mountains; as, alpine plants.NWAD ALPINE.3

    ALPINE, n. A kind of strawberry growing on lofty hills.

    ALPIST, ALPIA, n. The seed of the fox-tail; a small seed, used for feeding birds.

    ALQUIER, n. A measure in Portugal for dry things, as well as liquids, containing half an almude or about two gallons. It is called also Cantar.

    ALQUIFOU, n. A sort of lead ore, which, when broke, looks like antimony. It is found in Cornwall, England; used by potters to give a green varnish to their wares, and called potters ore. A small mixture of manganese gives it a blackish hue.

    ALREADY, adv. alred’dy. [all and ready. See Ready.]

    Literally, a state of complete preparation; but, by an easy deflection, the sense is, at this time, or at a specified time.NWAD ALREADY.2

    Elias is come already. Matthew 17:12.NWAD ALREADY.3

    Joseph was in Egypt already. Exodus 1:5.NWAD ALREADY.4

    ALSO, adv. [all and so.] Likewise; in like manner.

    Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:21.NWAD ALSO.2

    ALT, ALTO, a. [L. altus, high; Heb. upper, high.]

    In music a term applied to high notes in the scale. In sculpture, alto-relievo, high relief, is when the figures project half or more, without being entirely detached from the ground.NWAD ALT.2


    Pertaining to the Altai, a vast ridge of mountains extending, in an easterly direction, through a considerable part of Asia, and forming a boundary between the Russian and Chinese dominions.NWAD ALTAIC.2

    ALTAR, n. [L. altare, probably from the same root as altus, high.]

    1. A mount; a table or elevated place, on which sacrifices where anciently offered to some deity. Altars were originally made of turf, afterwards of stone, wood or horn; some were round, others square, others triangular. They differed also in height, but all faced the east. The principal altars of the Jews were, the altar of incense, of burnt-offerings, and of shewbread; all of shittim wood, and covered with gold or brass.NWAD ALTAR.2

    2. In modern churches, the communion table; and, figuratively, a church; a place of worship.NWAD ALTAR.3

    3. In scripture, Christ is called the altar of Christians, he being the atoning sacrifice for sin.NWAD ALTAR.4

    We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat, who serve tabernacles. Hebrews 13:10.NWAD ALTAR.5

    ALTAR-CLOTH, n. A cloth to lay upon an altar in churches.

    ALTAR-PIECE, n. A painting placed over the altar in a church.

    ALTAR-WISE, adv. Placed in the manner of an altar.

    ALTARAGE, n. The profits arising to priests from oblations, or on account of the altar. Also, in law, altars erected in virtue of donations, before the reformation, within a parochial church, for the purpose of singing a mass for deceased friends.

    ALTARIST, ALTAR-THANE, n. In old laws, an appellation given to the priest to whom the altarage belonged; also a chaplain.

    ALTER, v.t. [L. alter, another. See Alien.]

    1. To make some change in; to make different in some particular; to vary in some degree, without an entire change.NWAD ALTER.2

    My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that has gone out of my lips. Psalm 89:34.NWAD ALTER.3

    2. To change entirely or materially; as, to alter an opinion. In general, to alter is to change partially; to change is more generally to substitute one thing for another, or to make a material difference in a thing.NWAD ALTER.4

    ALTER, v.i. To become, in some respects, different; to vary; as, the weather alters almost daily.

    The law which altereth not. Daniel 6:8, 12.NWAD ALTER.6

    ALTERABILITY, n. The quality of being susceptible of alteration.

    ALTERABLE, a. That may become different; that may vary.

    ALTERABLENESS, n. The quality of admitting alteration; variableness.

    ALTERABLY, adv. In a manner that may be altered, or varied.

    ALTERAGE, n. [From alo, to feed.]

    The breeding, nourishing or fostering of a child. But this is not an English word.NWAD ALTERAGE.2

    ALTERANT, a. Altering; gradually changing.

    ALTERANT, n. A medicine which, without a sensible operation, gradually corrects the state of the body and changes it from a diseased to a healthy condition. An alterative.

    ALTERATION, n. [L. alteratio.]

    The act of making different, or of varying in some particular; an altering or partial change; also the change made, or the loss or acquisition of qualities not essential to the form or nature of a thing. Thus a cold substance suffers an alteration when it becomes hot.NWAD ALTERATION.2

    ALTERATIVE, a. Causing alteration; having the power to alter.

    ALTERATIVE, n. A medicine which, without sensible operation, gradually induces a change in the habit or constitution and restores healthy functions. This word is more generally used than alterant.

    ALTERCATE, v.i. [L. altercor, alterco, from alter, another.]

    To contend in words; to dispute with zeal, heat or anger; to wrangle.NWAD ALTERCATE.2

    ALTERCATION, n. [L. altercatio.]

    Warm contention in words; dispute carried on with heat or anger; controversy; wrangle.NWAD ALTERCATION.2

    ALTERN, a. [L. alternus, of alter, another.]

    1. Acting by turns; one succeeding another; alternate, which is the word generally used.NWAD ALTERN.2

    2. In crystallography, exhibiting, on two parts, an upper and a lower part, faces which alternate among themselves, but which, when the two parts are compared, correspond with each other.NWAD ALTERN.3

    Altern-base, in trigonometry, is a term used in distinction from the true base. Thus in oblique triangles, the true base is the sum of the sides, and then the difference of the sides is the altern-base; or the true base is the difference of the sides, and then the sum of the sides is the altern-base.NWAD ALTERN.4

    ALTERNACY, n. Performance or actions by turns. [Little used.]

    ALTERNAL, a. Alternative. [Little used.]

    ALTERNALLY, adv. By turns. [Little used.]

    ALTERNATE, a. [L. alternatus.]

    1. Being by turns; one following the other in succession of time or place; hence reciprocal.NWAD ALTERNATE.2

    And bid alternate passions fall and rise.NWAD ALTERNATE.3

    2. In botany branches and leaves are alternate, when they rise higher on opposite sides alternately, come out singly, and follow in gradual order.NWAD ALTERNATE.4

    Alternate alligation. [See Alligation.]NWAD ALTERNATE.5

    Alternate angles, in geometry, the internal angles made by a line cutting two parallels, and lying on opposite sides of the cutting line; the one below the first parallel, and the other above the second.NWAD ALTERNATE.6

    In heraldry, the first and fourth quarters, and the second and third, are usually of the same nature, and are called alternate quarters.NWAD ALTERNATE.7

    ALTERNATE, n. That which happens by turns with something else; vicissitude.

    ALTERNATE, v.t. [L. alterno. See Alter. With the accent on the second syllable, the participle alternating can hardly be pronounced.]

    To perform by turns, or in succession; to cause to succeed by turns; to change one thing for another reciprocally; as, God alternates good and evil.NWAD ALTERNATE.10

    ALTERNATE, v.i.

    1. To happen or to act by turns; as, the flood and ebb tides alternate with each other.NWAD ALTERNATE.12

    2. To follow reciprocally in place.NWAD ALTERNATE.13

    Different species alternating with each other.NWAD ALTERNATE.14

    ALTERNATELY, adv. In reciprocal succession; by turns, so that each is succeeded by that which it succeeds, as night follows day and day follows night.

    ALTERNATENESS, n. The quality of being alternate, or of following in succession.

    ALTERNATING, ppr. Performing or following by turns.


    1. The reciprocal succession of things, in time or place; the act of following and being followed in succession; as, we observe the alternation of day and night, cold and heat, summer and winter.NWAD ALTERNATION.2

    2. The different changes or alterations of orders, in numbers. Thus, if it is required to know how many changes can be rung on six bells, multiply the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, continually into one another, and the last product is the number required. This is call permutation.NWAD ALTERNATION.3

    3. The answer of the congregation speaking alternately with the minister.NWAD ALTERNATION.4

    4. Alternate performance, in the choral sense.NWAD ALTERNATION.5

    ALTERNATIVE, a. Offering a choice of two things.

    ALTERNATIVE, n. That which may be chosen or omitted; a choice of two things, so that if one is taken, the other must be left. Thus, when two things offer a choice of one only, the two things are called alternatives. In strictness, then, the word can not be applied to more than two things, and when one thing only is offered for choice, it is said there is no alternative.

    Between these alternatives there is no middle ground.NWAD ALTERNATIVE.3

    ALTERNATIVELY, adv. In the manner of alternatives; in a manner that admits the choice of one out of two things.

    ALTERNATIVENESS, n. The quality or state of being alternative.

    ALTERNITY, n. Succession by turns; alternation.

    ALTHEA, n. [Gr. to heal.]

    In botany, a genus of polyandrian monadelphs, of several species; called in English marsh-mallow.NWAD ALTHEA.2

    The common species has a perennial root, and an annual stalk rising four or five feet. It abounds with mucilage, and is used as an emollient.NWAD ALTHEA.3

    ALTHOUGH, altho’. Obs. verb, or used only in the Imperative. Grant all this; be it so; allow all; suppose that; admit all that; as, “although the fig tree shall not blossom.” Habakkuk 3:17. That is, grant, admit or suppose what follows - “the fig tree shall not blossom.” It is a transitive verb, and admits after it the definitive that - although that the fig tree shall not blossom; but this use of the verb, has been long obsolete. The word may be defined by notwithstanding, non obstante; as not opposing may be equivalent to admitting or supposing.

    ALTILOQUENCE, n. [L. altus, high, and loquor, loquens, speaking.] Lofty speech; pompous language.

    ALTIMETER, n. [L. altus, high and Gr. measure. See Measure and Mode.]

    An instrument for taking altitudes by geometrical principles, as a geometrical quadrant.NWAD ALTIMETER.2

    ALTIMETRY, n. The art of ascertaining altitudes by means of a proper instrument, and by trigonometrical principles without actual mensuration.

    ALTIN, n. A money of account in Russia, value three kopecks, or about three cents; also a lake in Siberia, ninety miles in length.

    ALTINCAR, n. A species of factitious salt or powder, used in the fusion and purification of metals, prepared in various ways. [See Tincal.]

    ALTISONANT, ALTISONOUS, a. [L. altus, high, and sonans, sounding; sonus, sound.] High sounding, lofty or pompous, as language.

    ALTITUDE, n. [L. altitudo, of altus, high, and a common termination, denoting state, condition or manner.]

    1. Space extended upward; height; the elevation of an object above its foundation; as, the altitude of a mountain, or column; or the elevation of an object or place above the surface on which we stand, or above the earth; as, the altitude of a cloud or a meteor; or the elevation of one object above another; as, of a bird above the top of a a tree.NWAD ALTITUDE.2

    2. The elevation of a point, a star, or other object above the horizon. This is true or apparent altitude; true, when taken from the rational or real horizon; apparent, when taken from the sensible, or apparent horizon.NWAD ALTITUDE.3

    3. Figuratively, high degree; superior excellence; highest point of excellence.NWAD ALTITUDE.4

    He is proud to the altitude of his virtue.NWAD ALTITUDE.5

    The altitude of the eye, in perspective, is a right line let fall from the eye, perpendicular to the geometrical plane.NWAD ALTITUDE.6

    Meridian altitude is an arch of the meridian between the horizon and any star or point on the meridian.NWAD ALTITUDE.7

    ALTIVOLANT, a. [L. altus, high, and volans, flying.]

    Flying high.NWAD ALTIVOLANT.2

    ALTO. [L. altus.] High.

    Alto and Basso, high and low, in old law, terms used to signify a submission of all differences of every kind to arbitration.NWAD ALTO.2

    ALTO-OCTAVO. An octave higher.

    ALTO-RELIEVO. High relief, in sculpture, is the projection of a figure half or more, without being entirely detached.

    ALTO-RIPIENO. The tenor of the great chorus, which sings and plays only in particular places.

    ALTO-VIOLA. A small tenor viol.

    ALTO-VIOLINO. A small tenor violin.

    ALTOGETHER, adv. [all and together. See Together.]

    Wholly; entirely; completely; without exception.NWAD ALTOGETHER.2

    Every man at his best estate is altogether vanity. Psalm 39:5.NWAD ALTOGETHER.3

    ALUDEL, n. [a and lutum, without lute. Lunier.]

    In chimistry, aludels are earthern pots without bottoms, that they may be exactly fitted into each other, and used in sublimations. At the bottom of the furnace is a pot containing the matter to be sublimed, and at the top a head to receive the volatile matter.NWAD ALUDEL.2

    ALUM, n. [L. alumen.]

    A triple sulphate of alumina and potassa. This substance is white, transparent and very astringent; but seldom found pure or crystallized. This salt is usually prepared by roasting and lixiviating certain clays containing pyrites, and to the lye adding a certain quantity of potassa; the salt is then obtained by crystallization. Alum is of great use in medicine and the arts. In medicine, it is used as an astringent; internally, in hemoptoe, diarrhea, and dysentery; externally, as a styptic applied to bleeding vessels, and as an escharotic. In the arts, it is used in dyeing to fix colors; in making candles, for hardening the tallow; in tanning, for restoring the cohesion of skins.NWAD ALUM.2

    ALUM-EARTH, n. A massive mineral, of a blackish brown color, a dull luster, and soft consistence.

    ALUMIN, ALUMINA, n. An earth or earthy substance, which has been considered to be elementary, and called pure clay; but recently, chimical experiments have given reason to believe it to be a metallic oxyd, to the base of which has been given the name aluminum. This metallic base however has not been obtained in such a state as to make its properties susceptible of examination. Alumina is destitute of taste and smell. When moistened with water, it forms a cohesive and ductile mass, susceptible of being kneaded into regular forms.

    ALUMINIFORM, a. Having the form of alumina.

    ALUMINITE, n. Subsulphate of alumina; a mineral that occurs in small roundish or reniform masses. Its color is snow white or yellowish white.

    ALUMINOUS, a. Pertaining to alum or alumina, or partaking of the same properties.

    ALUMINUM, n. The name given to the supposed metallic base of alumina.

    ALUMISH, a. Having the nature of alum; somewhat resembling alum.

    ALUM-SLATE, n. A mineral of two species, common and glossy.

    ALUM-STONE, n. The siliceous subsulphate of alumina and potash.

    ALUTA, n. [L.] A species of leatherstone, soft, pliable and not laminated.

    ALUTATION, n. [L. aluta, tanned leather.] The tanning of leather.

    ALVEARY, n. [L. alvearium, alveare, a bee hive, from alvus, the belly.] The hollow of the external ear, or bottom of the concha.

    ALVEOLAR, ALVEOLARY, a. [L. alveolus, a socket, from alveus, a hollow vessel.] Containing sockets, hollow cells or its; pertaining to sockets.

    ALVEOLATE, a. [L. alveolatus, from alveus, a hollow vessel.] Pitted, so as to resemble a honey comb.

    ALVEOLE, ALVEOLUS, n. [L. dim of alveus.]

    1. A cell in a bee hive, or in a fossil.NWAD ALVEOLE.2

    2. The socket in the jaw, in which a tooth is fixed.NWAD ALVEOLE.3

    3. A sea fossil of a conic figure, composed of a number of cells, like bee-hives, joined by a pipe of communication.NWAD ALVEOLE.4

    ALVEOLITE, n. [L. alveolus, and Gr.]

    In natural history, a kind of stony polypiers, of a globular or hemispherical shape; formed by numerous concentric beds, each composed of a union of little cells.NWAD ALVEOLITE.2

    ALVINE, a. [from alvus, the belly.] Belonging to the belly or intestines.

    ALWARGRIM, n. The spotted plover.

    ALWAY, ALWAYS, adv. [all and way]

    1. Perpetually; throughout all time; as, God is always the same.NWAD ALWAY.2

    2. Continually; without variation.NWAD ALWAY.3

    I do alway those things which please him. John 8:29; Matthew 28:20.NWAD ALWAY.4

    3. Continually or constantly during a certain period, or regularly at stated intervals.NWAD ALWAY.5

    Mephibosheth shall eat bread alway at my table. 2 Samuel 9:10.NWAD ALWAY.6

    4. At all convenient times; regularly.NWAD ALWAY.7

    Cornelius prayed to God alway. Acts 10:2; Luke 18:1; Ephesians 6:18.NWAD ALWAY.8

    Alway is now seldom used. The application of this compound to time proceeds from the primary sense of way, which is a going or passing; hence, continuation.NWAD ALWAY.9

    A.M. stand for Artium Magister, master of arts, the second degree given by universities and colleges; called in some countries, doctor of philosophy. In America, this degree is conferred without examination, on bachelors of three years standing.NWAD ALWAY.10

    A.M. stand also for Anno Mundi, in the year of the world.NWAD ALWAY.11

    AM, the first person of the verb to be, in the indicative mode, present tense.NWAD ALWAY.12

    I am that I am. Exodus 3:14.NWAD ALWAY.13

    A.M. [See M.A.]

    AMA, HAMA, n.

    In church affairs, a vessel to contain wine for the eucharist; also, a wine measure, as a cask, a pipe, etc.NWAD AMA.2

    AMABILITY, n. [L. amabilis, from to love.]

    Loveliness; the power of pleasing, or rather the combination of agreeable qualities which win the affections.NWAD AMABILITY.2

    AMADAVAD, n. A small curious bird of the size of the crested wren; the upper part of the body is brown, the prime feathers of the wings black.

    AMADETTO, n. a sort of pear, so called, it is said, from a person who cultivated it.

    AMADOGADE, n. a small beautiful bird in Peru; the upper part of its body and wings are of a lively green, its breast red, and its belly white.

    AMADOT, n. A sort of pear.

    AMADOU, n. A variety of the boletus igniarius, found on old ash and other trees.

    This is written also amadow, and called black match, and pyrotechnical spunge, on account of its inflammability.NWAD AMADOU.2

    AMAIN, adv.

    With force, strength or violence; violently; furiously; suddenly; at once.NWAD AMAIN.2

    What, when we fled amain.NWAD AMAIN.3

    Let go amain, in seamen’s language or strike amain, is to let fall or lower at once.NWAD AMAIN.4

    AMALGAM, n. [Gr. to soften. Its usual derivation is certainly erroneous.]

    1. A mixture of mercury or quicksilver with another metal; any metallic alloy, of which mercury forms an essential constituent part.NWAD AMALGAM.2

    2. A mixture or compound of different things.NWAD AMALGAM.3

    AMALGAMATE, v.t.

    1. To mix quicksilver with another metal. Gregory uses amalgamize.NWAD AMALGAMATE.2

    2. To mix different things, to make a compound; to unite.NWAD AMALGAMATE.3

    AMALGAMATE, v.i. To mix or unite in an amalgam; to blend.

    AMALGAMATED, pp. Mixed with quicksilver; blended.

    AMALGAMATING, ppr. Mixing quicksilver with another metal; compounding.


    1. The act or operation of mixing mercury with another metal.NWAD AMALGAMATION.2

    2. The mixing or blending of different things.NWAD AMALGAMATION.3

    AMALOZK, n. A large aquatic fowl of Mexico.

    AMANDOLA, n. A green marble, having the appearance of honey comb, and containing white spots; of 100 parts 76 are mild calcarious earth, 20 shist and 2 iron. The cellular appearance proceeds from the shist.

    AMANUENSIS, n. [L. from manus, hand.]

    A person whose employment is to write what another dictates.NWAD AMANUENSIS.2

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