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Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary - Contents
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    CASTOR, n.

    1. A beaver, an amphibious quadruped, with a flat ovate tail, short ears, a blunt nose, small fore feet, and large hind feet.NWAD CASTOR.2

    2. A reddish brown substance of a strong penetrating smell, taken from bags or cods in the groin of the beaver; a powerful antispasmodic.NWAD CASTOR.3

    3. In astronomy, a moiety of the constellation Gemini, called also Apollo.NWAD CASTOR.4

    Castor and Pollux, in meterology, a fiery meteor, which, at sea, appears sometimes adhering to a part of a ship, in the form of one, two and even three or four balls. When one is seen alone, it is called Helena, which portends that the severest part of the storm is yet to come. Two appearing at once are denominated Castor and Pollux, or Tyndaridoe, and portend a cessation of the storm.NWAD CASTOR.5

    CASTORIN, CASTORINE, n. An animal principle discovered in castor, and prepared by boiling castor in six times its weight of alcohol, and filtering the liquor. From this is deposited the Castorin.

    CASTOR-OIL, n. The oil of the Ricinus, or Palma Christi, a plant of the West Indies, which grows to the highth of twenty feet, in one season. The oil is obtained from the nuts or seeds by expression or decoction. That obtained by decoction is preferred, as less liable to become rancid, being free from the mucilage and acrid matter, which is mixed with the oil when expressed. It is a mild cathartic.

    CASTRAMETATION, n. The art or act of encamping; the marking or laying out of a camp.

    CASTRATE, v.t.

    1. To geld; to deprive of the testicles; to emasculate.NWAD CASTRATE.2

    2. To take away or retrench, as the obscene parts of a writing.NWAD CASTRATE.3

    3. To take out a leaf or sheet from a book, and render it imperfect.NWAD CASTRATE.4

    CASTRATED, pp. Gelded; emasculated; purified from obscene expressions.

    CASTRATING, ppr. Gelding; taking away the obscene parts of a writing.

    CASTRATION, n. The act of gelding; the act or practice of making eunuchs; the act of taking away the obscene parts of a writing; the act of taking out a leaf or sheet of a book. In botany, the cutting off of the anthers, or tops of the stamens of flowers, before the ripening of the pollen.

    CASTRATO, n. A male person emasculated for the purpose of improving his voice for a singer.

    CASTREL, KESTREL, n. A kind of hawk, resembling the lanner in shape and the hobby in size.

    CASTRENSIAN, a. Belonging to a camp.

    CASUAL, a.

    1. Falling; happening or coming to pass without design in the person or persons affected, and without being foreseen, or expected; accidental; fortuitous; coming by chance; as, the parties had a casual rencounter.NWAD CASUAL.2

    2. Occasional; coming at certain times, without regularity, in distinction from stated, or regular; as casual expenses.NWAD CASUAL.3

    3. Taking place, or beginning to exist without an efficient intelligent cause, and without design.NWAD CASUAL.4

    Atheists assert that the existence of things is casual.NWAD CASUAL.5

    CASUALLY, adv. Accidentally; fortuitously; without design; by chance.

    CASUALNESS, n. Accidentalness; the quality of being casual.

    CASUALTY, n.

    1. Accident; that which comes by chance or without design, or without being foreseen; contingency.NWAD CASUALTY.2

    2. An accident that produces unnatural death; and by a metonymy, death, or other misfortune, occasioned by an accident.NWAD CASUALTY.3

    3. In Scots law, an emolument due from a vassal to his superior, beyond the stated yearly duties, upon certain casual events.NWAD CASUALTY.4

    CASUIST, n. One who studies and resolves cases of conscience.

    The judgment of any casuist or leaned divine is not sufficient to give him confidence.NWAD CASUIST.2

    CASUIST, v.i. To play the part of a casuist.

    CASUISTIC, CASUISTICAL, a. Relating to cases of conscience, or to cases of doubtful propriety.

    CASUISTRY, n. The science or doctrine of cases of conscience; the science of resolving cases of doubtful propriety, or of determining the lawfulness or unlawfulness of what a man may do, by rules and principles drawn from the scriptures, from the laws of society, or from equity and natural reason.

    Casus foederia. The case stipulated by treaty; that which comes within the terms of compact.NWAD CASUISTRY.2

    CAT, n.

    1. A name applied to certain species of carnivorous quadrupeds, of the genus Felis. The domestic cat needs no description. It is a deceitful animal, and when enraged, extremely spiteful. It is kept in houses, chiefly for the purpose of catching rats and mice. The wild cat is much larger than the domestic cat. It is a strong, ferocious animal, living in the forest, and very destructive to poultry and lambs.NWAD CAT.2

    The wild cat of Europe is of the same species with the domestic cat; the catamount, of N. America, is much larger and a distinct species.NWAD CAT.3

    2. A ship formed on the Norwegian model, having a narrow stern, projecting quarters, and a deep waist. It is strong built, from four to six hundred tons burthen, and employed in the coal trade.NWAD CAT.4

    3. A strong tackle or combination of pulleys, to hook and draw an anchor perpendicularly up to the cat-head of a ship.NWAD CAT.5

    4. A double tripod having six feet.NWAD CAT.6

    Cat of nine tails, an instrument of punishment, consisting of nine pieces of line or cord fastened to a piece of thick rope, and having three knots at intervals, used to flog offenders on board of ships.NWAD CAT.7

    CATAMOUNT, n. Cat of the mountain, the wild cat.

    CAT-BLOCK, n. A two or three fold block with an iron strop and large hook, used to draw up an anchor to the cat-head.

    CAT’S-EYE, n. Sun-stone, a subspecies of quartz, called in Latin oculus cati or onycopalus, from its white zones or rings like onyx, and its variable colors like opal. It is very hard and semitransparent, and from certain points exhibits a yellowish radiation, or chatoyant appearance, somewhat resembling a cats eye.

    CAT-EYED, a. Having eyes like a cat.

    CAT-FISH, n. A species of the Squalus, or shark. The cat-fish of the N. American rivers is a species of Cottus, or bull-head.

    CAT’S-FOOT, n. A plant of the genus Glechoma, ground ivy, or gill.

    CAT-GUT, n. The intestines of sheep or lambs, dried and twisted together, used as strings for violins and other instruments, and for other purposes. Great quantities are imported from Lyons and Italy.

    CAT-HARPINGS, n. Ropes serving to brace in the shrouds of the lower masts behind their respective yards, to tighten the shrouds and give more rom to draw in the yards, when the whip is close hauled.

    CAT-HEAD, n. A strong beam projecting horizontally horizontally over a ships bows, carrying two or three sheaves, about which a rope called the cat-fall passes, and communicates with the cat-block.

    CAT’S-HEAD, n. A kind of apple.

    CAT-MINT, n. A plant of the genus Nepeta, so called because cats eat it.

    CAT’S-PAW, n.

    1. Among seamen, a light air perceived, in a calm, by a rippling of the surface of the water; also, a particular turn in the bight of a rope, made to hook a tackle on.NWAD CATS-PAW.2

    2. A dupe; the instrument which another uses.NWAD CATS-PAW.3

    CAT-SALT, n. A sort of salt beautifully granulated, formed out of the bittern or leach-brine, used for making hard soap.

    CATSILVER, n. A fossil, a species of mica.

    CAT-TAIL, n.

    1. A species of reed, of the genus Typha, the downy substance of which is used for stuffing mattresses, etc.NWAD CAT-TAIL.2

    2. A substance growing on nut-trees, pines, etc.NWAD CAT-TAIL.3

    CATABAPTIST, n. One who opposes baptism.

    CATACAUSTIC, a. Catacaustic curves, in geometry, are that species of caustic curves, which are formed by reflection.

    CATACHRESIS, n. An abuse of a trope or of words; a figure in rhetoric, when one word is abusively put for another, or when a word is too far wrested from its true signification; as, a voice beautiful to the ear.

    A catachresis is a trope which borrows the name of one thing to express another, or a harsh trope; as when Milton, speaking of Raphaels descent from heaven, says, he sails between worlds and worlds. Here the novelty of the word sails enlivens the image. So in scripture we read of the blood of the grape. Deuteronomy 32:14.NWAD CATACHRESIS.2

    CATACHRESTTIC, CATACHRESTICAL, a. Belonging to a catachresis; forced; far-fetched; wrested from its natural sense.

    CATACHRESTICALLY, adv. In a forced manner.

    CATACLYSM, n. A deluge, or overflowing of water; particularly, the flood in Noahs days.

    CATACOMB, n. A cave, grotto or subterraneous place for the burial of the dead. It is said to have been originally applied to the chapel of St. Sebastian in Rome, where the ancient Roman Calendars say, the body of St. Peter was deposited. It is now applied to a vast number of subterraneous sepulchers, about three miles from Rome, in the Appian way; supposed to be the cells and caves in which the primitive Christians concealed themselves, and in which were deposited the bodies of the primitive martyrs. These are visited by devout people, and relics are taken from them, baptized by the Pope and dispersed through Catholic countries. Each catacomb is three feet broad and eight or ten high; along the side walls are sepulchral niches, closed with thick tiles or pieces of marble. Catacombs are found also at Naples and in other places.

    CATACOUSTICS, n. That part of acoustics or the doctrine of sounds, which treats of reflected sounds. But the distinction is deemed of little use.

    CATADIOPTRIC, CATADIOPTRICAL, a. Reflecting light.

    CATADUPE, n. A cataract or waterfall.

    CATAGMATIC, a. That has the quality of consolidating broken parts; promoting the union of fractured bones.

    CATAGRAPH, n. The first draught o a picture; also, a profile.

    CATALECTIC, a. Pertaining to metrical composition, or to measure.

    Catalectic verses, are such as want either feet or syllables.NWAD CATALECTIC.2

    CATALEPSIS, CATALEPSY, n. A sudden suppression of motion and sensation, a kind of apoplexy, in which the patient is speechless, senseless, and fixed in one posture, with his eyes open, without seeing or understanding. The word is applied also to a retention of the breath or of the humors, and to the interception of the blood by bandages.

    CATALEPTIC, a. Pertaining to catalepsy.

    CATALOGIZE, v.t. To insert in a catalogue.

    CATALOGUE, n. A list or enumeration of the names of men or things disposed in a certain order, often in alphabetical order; as a catalogue of the students of a college, or of books, or of the stars.

    CATALOGUE, v.t. To make a list of.

    CATALPA, n. A large tree of Carolina and the South, which in blossom has a beautiful appearance. It belongs to the genus Bignonia, or trumpet flower.

    CATALYSIS, n. Dissolution.

    CATAMENIAL, a. Pertaining to the catamenia, or menstrual discharges.

    CATAMITE, n. A boy kept for unnatural purposes.

    CATAPASM, n. A dry powder for sprinkling the body.

    CATAPELT, CATAPULT, n. A military engine used by the ancient Greeks and Romans for throwing stones, darts and arrows upon an enemy. Some of these would throw a stone of a hundred pounds weight.

    CATAPELTIC, a. Pertaining to the catapelt. As a noun, the catapelt.

    CATAPHONICS, n. The doctrine of reflected sounds, a branch of acoustics.


    1. In the ancient military art, a piece of heavy defensive armor, formed of cloth or leather, strengthened with scales or links, used to defend the breast, or whole body, or even the horse as well as the rider.NWAD CATAPHRACT.2

    2. A horseman in complete armor.NWAD CATAPHRACT.3

    CATAPLASM, n. A poultice; a soft and moist substance to be applied to some part of the body, to excite or repel heat, or to relax the skin, etc. When mustard is an ingredient, it is called a sinapism.

    CATAPUCE, n. The herb spurge.

    CATARACT, n.

    1. A great fall of water over a precipice; as that of Niagara, of the Rhine, Danube and Nile. It is a cascade upon a great scale.NWAD CATARACT.2

    The tremendous cataracts of America thundering in their solitudes.NWAD CATARACT.3

    2. In medicine and surgery, an opacity of the cystaline lens, or its capsule; a disorder in the eye, by which the pupil, which is usually black and transparent, becomes opake, blue, gray, brown, etc., by which vision is impaired or destroyed.NWAD CATARACT.4

    CATARRH, n. catar. A defluxion, or increased secretion of mucus from the membranes of the nose, fauces and bronchiae, with fever, sneezing cough, thirst, lassitude and loss of appetite, and sometimes an entire loss of taste; called also a cold, coryza. An epidemic catarrh is called Influenza.

    CATARRHAL, CATARRHOUS, a. Pertaining to catarrh, produced by it or attending it; as a catarrhal fever.

    CATASTERISM, n. A constellation, or a placing among the stars.


    1. The change or revolution which produces the final event of a dramatic piece; or the unfolding and winding up of the plot, clearing up difficulties, and closing the play. The ancients divided a play into the protasis, epitasis, catastasis, and catastrophy; the introduction, continuance, heightening, and development or conclusion.NWAD CATASTROPHE.2

    2. A final event; conclusion; generally, an unfortunate conclusion, calamity, or disaster.NWAD CATASTROPHE.3

    CATCALL, n. A squeaking instrument, used in play-houses to condemn plays.

    CATCH, v.t.

    1. To seize or lay hold on with the hand; carrying the sense of pursuit, thrusting forward the hand, or rushing on.NWAD CATCH.2

    And they came upon him and caught him. Acts 6:12.NWAD CATCH.3

    2. To seize, in a general sense; as, to catch a ball; to catch hold of a bough.NWAD CATCH.4

    3. To seize, as in a snare or trap; to ensnare; to entangle.NWAD CATCH.5

    They sent certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. Mark 12:13.NWAD CATCH.6

    4. To seize in pursuit; hence simply to overtake; a popular use of the word.NWAD CATCH.7

    He ran, but could not catch him companion.NWAD CATCH.8

    5. To take hold; to communicate to.NWAD CATCH.9

    The fire caught the adjoining building.NWAD CATCH.10

    6. To seize the affections; to engage and attach to; as, to catch the fair.NWAD CATCH.11

    7. To take or receive by contagion or infection; as, to catch the measles or small pox.NWAD CATCH.12

    8. To snatch; to take suddenly; as, to catch a book out of the hand.NWAD CATCH.13

    9. To receive something passing.NWAD CATCH.14

    The swelling sails no more catch the soft airs and wanton in the sky. Trumbull.NWAD CATCH.15

    To catch at, to endeavor to seize suddenly.NWAD CATCH.16

    To catch at all opportunities of subverting the state.NWAD CATCH.17

    To catch up, to snatch; to take up suddenly.NWAD CATCH.18

    CATCH, v.i.

    1. To communicate; to spread by infecting; as, a disease will catch from man to man.NWAD CATCH.20

    2. Any thing that seizes or takes hold, as a hook.NWAD CATCH.21

    3. The posture of seizing; a state of preparation to catch, or of watching an opportunity to seize; as, to lie upon the catch.NWAD CATCH.22

    4. A sudden advantage taken.NWAD CATCH.23

    5. The thing caught, considered as an object of desire; profit; advantage.NWAD CATCH.24

    Hector shall have a great catch. Shak.NWAD CATCH.25

    6. A snatch; a short interval of action.NWAD CATCH.26

    It has been writ by catches.NWAD CATCH.27

    7. A little portion.NWAD CATCH.28

    We retain a catch of a pretty story.NWAD CATCH.29

    8. In music, a fugue in the unison, wherein to humor some conceit in the words, the melody is broken, and the sense is interrupted in one part, and caught and supported by another, or a different sense is given to the words; or a piece for three or more voices, one of which leads and the others follow in the same notes.NWAD CATCH.30

    CATCHABLE, a. That may be caught.

    CATCHER, n. One who catches; that which catches, or in which any thing is caught.

    CATCH-FLY, n. A plant of the genus Lychnis; campion.

    CATCHING, ppr. Seizing; taking hold; ensnaring; entangling.

    CATCHING, a. Communicating, or that may be communicated, by contagion; infectious; as, a disease is catching.

    CATCHPENNY, n. Something worthless, particularly a book or pamphlet, adapted to the popular taste, and intended to gain money in market.

    CATCH-POLL, n. A bailiffs assistant, so called by way of reproach.

    CATCHUP, CATSUP, n. A liquor extracted from mushrooms, used as a sauce.

    CATCH-WORD, n. Among printers, the word placed at the bottom of each page, under the last line, which is to be inserted as the first word on the following page.

    CATE, n. [See Cates.]

    CATECHETICAL, a. [See Catechise.]

    1. Relating to oral instruction, and particularly in the first principles of the Christian religion.NWAD CATECHETICAL.2

    2. Relating to or consisting in asking questions and receiving answers, according to the ancient manner of teaching pupils.NWAD CATECHETICAL.3

    Socrates introduced a catechetical method of arguing.NWAD CATECHETICAL.4

    CATECHETICALLY, adv. By question and answer; in the way of oral instruction.

    CATECHISE, v.t.

    1. To instruct by asking questions, receiving answers, and offering explanations and corrections.NWAD CATECHISE.2

    2. To question; to interrogate; to examine or try by questions, and sometimes with a view to reproof, by eliciting answers from a person, which condemn his own conduct.NWAD CATECHISE.3

    3. Appropriately, to ask questions concerning the doctrines of the Christian religion; to interrogate pupils and give instruction in the principles of religion.NWAD CATECHISE.4

    CATECHISED, pp. Instructed.

    CATECHISER, n. One who catechises; one who instructs by question and answer, and particularly in the rudiments of the Christian religion.

    CATECHISING, ppr. Instructing in rudiments or principles.


    1. A form of instruction by means of questions and answers, particularly in the principles of religion.NWAD CATECHISM.2

    2. An elementary book containing a summary of principles in any science or art, but appropriately in religion, reduced to the form of questions and answers, and sometimes with notes, explanations, and references to authorities.NWAD CATECHISM.3

    CATECHIST, n. One who instructs viva voice, or by question and answer; a catechiser; one appointed by the church to instruct in the principles of religion.

    CATECHISTIC, CATECHISTICAL, a. Pertaining to a catechist, or catechism.

    CATECHU, n. Terra Japonica, a dry extract, or brown astringent substance, obtained by decoction and evaporation from a species of Mimosa in India. It consists chiefly of tannin.

    CATECHUMEN, n. One who is in the first rudiments of Christianity; one who is receiving instruction and preparing himself for baptism. These were anciently the children of believing parents, or pagans not fully initiated in the principles of the Christian religion. They were admitted to this state by the imposition of hands, and the sign of the cross.

    CATECHUMENICAL, a. Belonging to catechumens.

    CATECHUMENIST, n. A catechumen.


    1. Pertaining to a category.NWAD CATEGORICAL.2

    2. Absolute; positive; express; not relative or hypothetical; as a categorical proposition, syllogism or answer.NWAD CATEGORICAL.3

    CATEGORY, n. In logic, a series or order of all the predicates or attributes contained under a genus. The school philosophers distributed all the objects of our thoughts and ideas into genera or classes. Aristotle made ten categories, viz. Substance, quantity, quality, relation, action, passion, time, place, situation and habit.

    CATENARIAN, CATENARY, a. Relating to a chain; like a chain. The catenarian curve, in geometry, is formed by a rope or chain hanging freely between two points of suspension, whether the points are horizontal or not.

    CATENATE, v.t. To chain, or rather to connect in a series of links or ties.

    CATENATION, n. Connection of links, union of parts, as in a chain; regular connection. [See Concatenation.]

    CATER, v.i. To provide food; to buy or procure provisions; followed by for; as, to cater for the sparrow.

    CATER, n. A provider. [See Caterer.]

    CATER, n. The four of cards or dice; so written for Fr. quatre.

    CATER-COUSIN, n. A quaere-cousin, a remote relation.

    CATERER, n. A provider, buyer or purveyor of provision.

    CATERESS, n. A woman who caters; a female provider of food.

    CATERPILLAR, n. The colored and often hairy larva of the lepidopterous insects. This term is also applied to the larvas of other insects, such as the Tenthredo, or saw-fly; but is more generally confined to the lepidopters. Caterpillars are produced immediately from the egg; they are furnished with several pairs of feet, and have the shape and appearance of a worm. They contain the embryo of the perfect insect, inclosed within a muscular envelop, which is thrown off, when the insect enters the nymph or chrysalis state, in which it remains for sometime as if inanimate. It then throws off its last envelop, and emerges a perfect insect. Caterpillars generally feed on leaves or succulent vegetables, and are sometimes very destructive.

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