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Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary - Contents
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    AMARANTH, AMARANTHUS, n. [Gr. of a neg. and to decay; so called, it is said, because, when cropped, it does not soon wither.]

    Flower-gentle; a genus of plants, of many species. Of these the tricolored has long been cultivated in gardens, on account of the beauty of its variegated leaves.NWAD AMARANTH.2

    AMARANTH, n. A color inclining to purple.

    AMARANTHINE, a. Belonging to amaranth; consisting of, containing, or resembling amaranth.

    AMARITUDE, n. [L. amaritudo, from amarus, bitter; from Heb. bitter.] Bitterness. [Not much used.]

    AMARYLLIS, n. [The name of a country girl in Theocritus and Virgil.]

    In botany, lily-daffodil, a genus of liliaceous plants of several species, which are cultivated in gardens for the beauty of their flowers.NWAD AMARYLLIS.2

    AMASS, v.t. [L. massa, a heap or lump; Gr. See Mass.]

    1. To collect into a heap; to gather a great quantity; to accumulate; as, to amass a treasure.NWAD AMASS.2

    2. To collect in great numbers; to add many things together; as, to amass words or phrases.NWAD AMASS.3

    AMASS, n. An assemblage, heap or accumulation. [This is superseded by Mass.]

    AMASSED, pp. Collected in a heap, or in a great quantity or number; accumulated.

    AMASSING, ppr. Collecting in a heap, or in a large quantity or number.

    AMASSMENT, n. A heap collected; a large quantity or number brought together; an accumulation.

    AMATE, v.i. [See Mate.] To accompany; also to terrify, to perplex. [Not used.]

    AMATEUR, n. [L. anator, a lover, from amo, to love.]

    A person attached to a particular pursuit, study or science, as to music or painting; one who has a taste for the arts.NWAD AMATEUR.2

    AMATORIAL, AMATORY, a. [L. amatorius, from amo, to love.]

    1. Relating to love; as, amatorial verses; causing love; as, amatory potions; produced by sexual intercourse; as, amatorial progeny.NWAD AMATORIAL.2

    2. In anatomy, a term applied to the oblique muscles of the eye, from their use in ogling.NWAD AMATORIAL.3

    AMATORIALLY, adv. In an amatorial manner; by way of love.

    AMATORIOUS, a. Pertaining to love.

    AMAUROSIS, n. [Gr. obscure.]

    A loss or decay of sight, without any visible defect in the eye, except an immovable pupil; called also gutta serena. Sometimes the disease is periodical, coming on suddenly, continuing for hours or days, and then disappearing. It has sometimes been cured by electricity.NWAD AMAUROSIS.2

    AMAZE, v.t.

    To confound with fear, sudden surprise, or wonder; to astonish.NWAD AMAZE.2

    They shall be afraid; they shall be amazed at one another. Isaiah 13:8.NWAD AMAZE.3

    They were all amazed and glorified God. Mark 2:12; Luke 5:26.NWAD AMAZE.4

    This word implies astonishment or perplexity, arising from something extraordinary, unexpected, unaccountable, or frightful.NWAD AMAZE.5

    AMAZE, n. Astonishment; confusion; perplexity, arising from fear, surprise or wonder. It is chiefly used in poetry, and is nearly synonymous with amazement.

    AMAZED, pp. Astonished; confounded with fear, surprise or wonder.

    AMAZEDLY, adv. With amazement; in a manner to confound. [Little used.]

    AMAZEDNESS, n. The state of being confounded with fear, surprise or wonder; astonishment; great wonder.

    AMAZEMENT, n. Astonishment; confusion or perplexity, from a sudden impression of fear, surprise or wonder. It is sometimes accompanied with fear or terror; sometimes merely extreme wonder or admiration at some great, sudden or unexpected event, at an unusual sight, or at the narration of extraordinary event.

    AMAZING, ppr.

    1. Confounding with fear, surprise or wonder.NWAD AMAZING.2

    2. a. Very wonderful; exciting astonishment, or perplexity.NWAD AMAZING.3

    AMAZINGLY, adv. In an astonishing degree; in a manner to excite astonishment, or to perplex, confound or terrify.

    AMAZON, n. [This is said to be formed of a neg and breast. History informs us, that the Amazons cut off their right breast, that it might not incommode them in shooting and hurling the javelin. This is doubtless a fable.]

    1. The Amazons are said by historians, to have been a race of female warriors, who founded an empire on the river Thermodon, in Asia Minor, on the coast of the Euxine. They are said to have excluded men from their society; and by their warlike enterprises, to have conquered and alarmed surrounding nations. Some writers treat these accounts as fables.NWAD AMAZON.2

    2. By analogy, a warlike or masculine woman; a virago.NWAD AMAZON.3

    3. This name has been given to some American females, on the banks of the largest river in the world, who joined their husbands in attacking the Spaniards that first visited the country. This trivial occurrence gave the name Amazon to that river, whose real name is Maranon.NWAD AMAZON.4


    1. Pertaining to or resembling an Amazon. Applied to females, bold; of masculine manners; warlike.NWAD AMAZONIAN.2

    2. Belonging to the river Maranon in South America, or to Amazonia, the country lying on that river.NWAD AMAZONIAN.3

    AMB, AM. About; around; used in composition. Gr., Lat. am or amb.

    AMBAGES, n. [L. amb and ago, to drive.]

    1. A circumlocution; a circuit of words to express ideas which may be expressed in fewer words.NWAD AMBAGES.2

    2. A winding or turning.NWAD AMBAGES.3

    AMBASSADOR, n. [This is the more common orthography; but good authors write also embassador; and as the orthography of embassy is established, it would be better to write embassador. See Embassador.]

    AMBE, AMBI, n. [Gr. a brim; from amb, about.]

    Literally, a brim; but in surgery, an instrument for reducing dislocated shoulders, so called from the jutting of its extremity. Also the mango tree.NWAD AMBE.2

    AMBER, n. [In 1 Kings 10:2-10, the Arabic is rendered spices. The Arabic word is rendered by Castle, amber, a marine fish, a shield made of skins, crocus and fimus.]

    A hard semi-pellucid substance, tasteless and without smell, except when pounded or heated, when it emits a fragrant odor. It is found in alluvial soils, or on the sea shore, in many places; particularly on the shores of the Baltic, in Europe, and at Cape Sable, in Maryland, in the United States. The ancient opinion of its vegetable origin seems now to be established, and it is believed or known to be a fossil resin. It yields by distillation an empyreumatic oil, and succinic acid, which sublimes in small white needles. Its color usually presents some tinge of yellow. it is highly electrical, and is the basis of a varnish.NWAD AMBER.2

    AMBER, a. Consisting of, or resembling amber.

    AMBER, v.t. To scent with amber.

    AMBER-DRINK, n. A drink resembling amber in color.

    AMBER-DROPPING, a. Dropping amber.

    AMBER-SEED, n. Musk-seed, resembling millet. It is of a bitterish taste, and brought from Egypt and the West Indies.

    AMBER-TREE, n. The English name of a species of Anthospermum, a shrub, with evergreen leaves, which, when bruised, emit a fragrant odor.


    A solid, opake, ash-colored inflammable substance, variegated like marble, remarkably light, rugged on its surface, and when heated, it has a fragrant odor. It does not effervesce with acids; it melts easily into a kind of yellow resin, and is highly soluble in spirit of wine. Various opinions have been entertained respecting its origin; but it is well ascertained, that it is indurated fecal matter, discharged by the spermaceti whale, a species of physeter. It has been found in that species of whale, but usually is found floating on the surface of the ocean, in regions frequented by whales; sometimes in masses of from 60 to 225 pounds weight. In this substance are found the beaks of the cuttle fish, on which that whale is known to feed. It is highly valued as a material in perfumery.NWAD AMBERGRIS.2

    AMBIDEXTER, n. [L. ambo, both, and dexter, the right hand.]

    1. A person who uses both hands with equal facility.NWAD AMBIDEXTER.2

    2. A double dealer; one equally ready to act on either side in party disputes. [This sense is used in ludicrous language.]NWAD AMBIDEXTER.3

    3. In law, a juror who takes money of both parties, for giving his verdict; an embracer.NWAD AMBIDEXTER.4

    AMBIDEXTERITY, AMBIDEXTROUSNESS, n. The faculty of using both hands with equal facility; double dealing; the taking of money from both parties for a verdict.

    AMBIDEXTROUS, a. Having the faculty of using both hands with equal ease; practicing on siding with both parties.

    AMBIENT, a. [L. ambiens, from ambio, to go round, from amb, about, and eo, to go.]

    Surrounding; encompassing on all sides; investing; applied to fluids or diffusible substances; as, the ambient air.NWAD AMBIENT.2

    AMBIGENAL, a. [L. ambo, both, and genu, a knee.]

    An ambigenal hyperbola is one of the triple hyperbolas of the second order, having one of its infinite legs falling within an angle formed by the asymptotes, and the other without.NWAD AMBIGENAL.2

    AMBIGU, n. An entertainment or feast, consisting of a medley of dishes.

    AMBIGUITY, n. [L. ambiguitas, from ambigo.]

    Doubtfulness or uncertainty of signification, from a word’s being susceptible of different meanings; double meaning.NWAD AMBIGUITY.2

    Words should be used which admit of no ambiguity.NWAD AMBIGUITY.3

    AMBIGUOUS, a. [L. ambiguus.]

    Having two or more meanings; doubtful; being of uncertain signification; susceptible of different interpretations; hence, obscure. It is applied to words and expressions; not to a dubious state of mind, though it may be to a person using words of doubtful signification.NWAD AMBIGUOUS.2

    The ancient oracles were ambiguous, as were their answers.NWAD AMBIGUOUS.3

    AMBIGUOUSLY, adv. In an ambiguous manner; with doubtful meaning.

    AMBIGUOUSNESS, n. The quality of being ambiguous; uncertainty of meaning; ambiguity; and hence, obscurity.

    AMBILEVOUS, a. [L., both, left.] Left handed on both sides. [Not in use.]

    AMBILOGY, n. [ambo, both, and speech.]

    Talk or language of doubtful meaning.NWAD AMBILOGY.2

    AMBILOQUOUS, a. [ambo, both, and laquor, to speak.]

    Using ambiguous expressions.NWAD AMBILOQUOUS.2

    AMBIT, n. [L. ambitus, a circuit, from ambio, to go about. See Ambient.]

    The line that encompasses a thing; in geometry, the perimeter of a figure, or the surface of a body. The periphery or circumference of a circular body.NWAD AMBIT.2

    AMBITION, n. [L. ambitio, from ambio, to go about, or to seek by making interest, of amb, about, and eo, to go. See Ambages. This word had its origin in the practice of Roman candidates for office, who went about the city to solicit votes.]

    A desire of preferment, or of honor; a desire of excellence or superiority. It is used in a good sense; as, emulation may spring from a laudable ambition. It denotes also an inordinate desire of power, or eminence, often accompanied with illegal means to obtain the object. It is sometimes followed by of; as, a man has an ambition of wit. Milton has used the word in the Latin sense of going about, or attempting; but this sense is hardly legitimate.NWAD AMBITION.2

    AMBITION, v.t. Ambitiously to seek after. [Little used.]


    1. Desirous of power, honor, office, superiority or excellence; aspiring; eager for fame; followed by of before a noun; as ambitious of glory.NWAD AMBITIOUS.2

    2. Showy; adapted to command notice or praise; as, ambitious ornaments.NWAD AMBITIOUS.3

    3. Figuratively, eager to swell or rise higher; as, the ambitious ocean.NWAD AMBITIOUS.4

    AMBITIOUSLY, adv. In an ambitious manner; with an eager desire after preferment, or superiority.

    AMBITIOUSNESS, n. The quality of being ambitious; ambition. Being nearly synonymous with ambition, it is not often used.

    AMBLE, v.i. [L. ambulo, to walk.]

    1. To move with a certain peculiar pace, as a horse, first lifting his two legs on one side, and then changing to the other.NWAD AMBLE.2

    2. To move easy, without hard shocks.NWAD AMBLE.3

    Him time ambles withal.NWAD AMBLE.4

    3. In a ludicrous sense, to move with submission, or by direction, or to move affectedly.NWAD AMBLE.5

    AMBLE, n. A peculiar pace of a horse.

    AMBLER, n. A horse which ambles; a pacer.

    AMBLIGON, AMBLYGON, n. [Gr. obtuse, and an angle.]

    An obtuse angled triangle; a triangle with one angle of more than ninety degrees.NWAD AMBLIGON.2

    AMBLIGONAL, a. Containing an obtuse angle.

    AMBLIGONITE, n. [Gr. having an obtuse angle.]

    A greenish colored mineral, of different pale shades, marked on the surface with reddish and yellowish brown spots. It occurs massive or crystallized in oblique foursided prisms, in granite, with topaz and tourmalin, in Saxony.NWAD AMBLIGONITE.2

    AMBLING, ppr. or a. Lifting the two legs on the same side at first going off, and then changing.

    AMBLINGLY, adv. With an ambling gait.

    AMBLYOPY, n. [Gr. dull, and eye.]

    Incipient amaurosis; dulness or obscurity of sight, without any apparent defect of the organs; sight so depraved that objects can be seen only in a certain light, distance, or position.NWAD AMBLYOPY.2

    AMBO, n. [Gr. a pulpit; L. umbo, a boss.]

    A reading desk, or pulpit.NWAD AMBO.2

    AMBREADA, n. [from amber.] A kind of factitious amber, which the Europeans sell to the Africans.

    AMBROSIA, n. ambro’zha, [Gr. a neg. and mortal, because it was supposed to confer immortality on them that fed on it.]

    1. In heathen antiquity, the imaginary food of the gods. Hence,NWAD AMBROSIA.2

    2. Whatever is very pleasing to the taste or smell. The name has also been given to certain alexipharmic compositions.NWAD AMBROSIA.3

    AMBROSIAL, a. ambro’zhal. Partaking of the nature or qualities of ambrosia; fragrant; delighting the taste or smell; as, ambrosial dews. Ben Jonson uses ambrosiac in a like sense, and Bailey has ambrosian, but these seem not to be warranted by usage.

    AMBROSIAN, a. Pertaining to St Ambrose. The Ambrosian office, or ritual, is a formula of worship in the church of Milan, instituted by St. Ambrose, in the fourth century.

    AMBROSIN, n. In the middle ages, a coin struck by the dukes of Milan, on which St. Ambrose was represented on horseback, with a whip in his right hand.

    AMBRY, n.

    1. An almonry; a place where alms are deposited for distribution to the poor. In ancient abbeys and priories there was an office of this name, in which the almoner lived.NWAD AMBRY.2

    2. A place in which are deposited the utensils for house keeping; also a cupboard; a place for cold victuals.NWAD AMBRY.3

    AMBSACE, n. [L. ambo, both, and ace.]

    A double ace, as when two dice turn up the ace.NWAD AMBSACE.2

    AMBULANT, a. [L. ambulans, from ambulo.]

    Walking; moving from place to place.NWAD AMBULANT.2

    Ambulant brokers, in Amsterdam, are exchange-brokers, or agents, who are not sworn, and whose testimony is not received in courts of justice.NWAD AMBULANT.3

    AMBULATION, n. [L. ambulatio.] a walking about; the act of walking.

    AMBULATOR, n. In entomology, a species of Lamia, whose thorax is armed on each side with two spines; a Cerambyx of Linne.


    1. That has the power of faculty of walking; as, an animal is ambulatory.NWAD AMBULATORY.2

    2. Pertaining to a walk; as, an ambulatory view.NWAD AMBULATORY.3

    3. Moving from place to place; not stationary; as, an ambulatory court, which exercises its jurisdiction in different places.NWAD AMBULATORY.4

    AMBULATORY, n. a species of ichneumon, with a yellowish scutellum and spotted thorax.

    AMBURY, ANBURY, n. [L. umbo, the navel; Gr.]

    Among farriers, a tumor, wart or swelling on a horse, full of blood and soft to the touch.NWAD AMBURY.2

    AMBUSCADE, n. [Eng. bush.]

    1. Literally, a lying in a wood, concealed, for the purpose of attacking an enemy by surprise: hence, a lying in wait, and concealed in any situation, for a like purpose.NWAD AMBUSCADE.2

    2. A private station in which troops lie concealed with a view to attack their enemy by surprise; ambush.NWAD AMBUSCADE.3

    AMBUSCADE, v.t. To lie in wait for, or to attack from a concealed position.

    AMBUSCADED, pp. Having an ambush laid against, or attacked from a private station; as, his troops were ambuscaded.

    AMBUSCADING, ppr. Lying in wait for; attacking from a secret station.

    AMBUSH, n.

    1. A private or concealed station, where troops lie in wait to attack their enemy by surprise.NWAD AMBUSH.2

    2. The state of lying concealed, for the purpose of attacking by surprise; a lying in wait.NWAD AMBUSH.3

    3. The troops posted in a concealed place for attacking by surprise.NWAD AMBUSH.4

    Lay thee an ambush for the city. Joshua 8:2.NWAD AMBUSH.5

    AMBUSH, v.t. To lie in wait for; to surprise, by assailing unexpectedly from a concealed place.

    AMBUSH, v.i. To lie in wait, for the purpose of attacking by surprise.

    Nor saw the snake, that ambushed for his prey.NWAD AMBUSH.8

    AMBUSHED, pp. Lain in wait for; suddenly attacked from a concealed station.

    AMBUSHING, ppr. Lying in wait for; attacking from a concealed station.

    AMBUSHMENT, n. An ambush; which see.

    AMBUSTION, n. [L. ambustio, from amburo, to burn or scorch, of amb, about, and uro, to burn.]

    Among physicians, a burning; a burn or scald.NWAD AMBUSTION.2

    AMEIVA, n. A species of lizard, found in Brazil.

    AMEL, n. The matter with which metallic bodies are overlaid; but its use is superseded by enamel; which see.

    AMELIORATE, v.t. [L. melior, better.]

    To make better; to improve; to meliorate.NWAD AMELIORATE.2

    AMELIORATE, v.i. To grow better; to meliorate.

    AMELIORATION, n. A making or becoming better; improvement; melioration.

    AMEN. This word, with slight differences or orthography, is in all the dialects of the Assyrian stock. As a verb, it signifies to confirm, establish, verify; to trust, or give confidence; as a noun, truth, firmness, trust, confidence; as an adjective, firm, stable. In English, after the oriental manner, it is used at the beginning, but more generally at the end of declarations and prayers, in the sense of, be it firm, be it established.

    And let all the people say amen. Psalm 106:48.NWAD AMEN.2

    The word is used also as a noun.NWAD AMEN.3

    “All the promises of God are amen in Christ;” that is, firmness, stability, constancy.NWAD AMEN.4

    AMENABLE, a.

    1. In old law, easy to be led; governable, as a woman by her husband. [This sense is obsolete.]NWAD AMENABLE.2

    2. Liable to answer; responsible; answerable; liable to be called to account; as, every man is amenable to the laws.NWAD AMENABLE.3

    We retain this idiom in the popular phrase, to bring in, to make answerable; as a man is brought in to pay the debt of another.NWAD AMENABLE.4

    AMENAGE, v.t. To manage. Obs.

    AMENANCE, n. Conduct, behavior. Obs.

    AMEND, v.t. [L. emendo, of e neg, and menda, mendum, a fault. See Mend.]

    1. To correct; to rectify by expunging a mistake; as, to amend a law.NWAD AMEND.2

    2. To reform, by quitting bad habits; to make better in a moral sense; as, to amend our ways or our conduct.NWAD AMEND.3

    3. To correct; to supply a defect; to improve or make better, by some addition of what is wanted, as well as by expunging what is wrong, as to amend a bill before a legislature. Hence it is applied to the correction of authors, by restoring passages which had been omitted, or restoring the true reading.NWAD AMEND.4

    AMEND, v.i. To grow or become better, by reformation, or rectifying something wrong in manners or morals. It differs from improve, in this, that to amend implies something previously wrong; to improve, does not.

    AMEND, A pecuniary punishment, or fine. The amende honorable, in France, is an infamous punishment inflicted on traitors, parricides and sacrilegious persons. The offender, being led into court with a rope about his neck, begs pardon of his God, the court, etc. These words denote also a recantation in open court, or in presence of the injured person.

    AMENDABLE, a. That may be amended; capable of correction; as, an amendable writ or error.

    AMENDATORY, a. That amends; supplying amendment; corrective.

    AMENDED, pp. Corrected; rectified; reformed; improved, or altered for the better.

    AMENDER, n. The person that amends.

    AMENDING, ppr. Correcting; reforming; altering for the better.


    1. An alteration or change for the better; correction of a fault or faults; reformation of life, by quitting vices.NWAD AMENDMENT.2

    2. A word, clause or paragraph, added or proposed to be added to a bill before a legislature.NWAD AMENDMENT.3

    3. In law, the correction of an error in a writ or process.NWAD AMENDMENT.4

    Shakespeare uses it for the recovery of health, but this sense is unusual.NWAD AMENDMENT.5

    AMENDS, n. plu.

    Compensation for an injury; recompense; satisfaction; equivalent; as, the happiness of a future life will more than make amends for the miseries of this.NWAD AMENDS.2

    AMENITY, n. [L. amanitas; amanus.] Pleasantness; agreeableness of situation; that which delights the eye; used of places and prospects.

    AMENT, n. [L. amentum, a thong, or strap.]

    A botany, a species of inflorescence, from a common, chaffy receptacle; or consisting of many scales, ranged along a stalk or slender axis, which is the common receptacle; as in birch, oak, chestnut.NWAD AMENT.2

    AMENTACEOUS, a. Growing in an ament; resembling; a thong; as, the chestnut has an amentaceous inflorescence.

    AMERCE, v.t. amers’. [A verb formed from a for on or at, from L. merces, reward.]

    1. To inflict a penalty at mercy; to punish by a pecuniary penalty, the amount of which is not fixed by law, but left to the discretion or mercy of the court; as, the court amerced the criminal in the sum of one hundred dollars.NWAD AMERCE.2

    2. To inflict a pecuniary penalty; to punish in general. Milton uses of after amerce; “Millions of spirits amerced of heaven;” but this use seems to be a poetic license.NWAD AMERCE.3

    AMERCED, pp. Fined at the discretion of a court.

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