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Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary - Contents
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    DESPICABLE, a. [Low L. To look down, to despise; to look.] That may be or deserves to be despised; contemptible; mean; vile; worthless; applicable equally to persons and things; as a despicable man; despicable company; a despicable gift.

    DESPICABLENESS, n. The quality or state of being despicable; meanness; vileness; worthlessness.

    DESPICABLY, adv. Meanly; vilely; contemptibly; as despicably poor.

    DESPICIENCY, n. A looking down; a despising.

    DESPISABLE, a. Despicable; contemptible.

    DESPISAL, n. Contempt.

    DESPISE, .v.t.

    1. To contemn; to scorn; to disdain; to have the lowest opinion of.NWAD DESPISE.2

    Fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7.NWAD DESPISE.3

    Else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Matthew 6:24.NWAD DESPISE.4

    2. To abhor.NWAD DESPISE.5

    DESPISED, pp. Contemned; disdained; abhorred.

    DESPISEDNESS, n. The state of being despised.

    DESPISER, n. A contemner; a scorner.

    DESPISING, ppr. Contemning; scorning; disdaining.

    DESPISING, n. Contempt.

    DESPISINGLY, adv. With contempt.

    DESPITE, n.

    1. Extreme malice; violent hatred; malignity; malice irritated or enraged; active malignity; angry hatred.NWAD DESPITE.2

    With all thy despite against the land of israel. Ezekiel 25:6.NWAD DESPITE.3

    2. Defiance with contempt, or contempt of opposition.NWAD DESPITE.4

    He will rise to fame in despite of his enemies.NWAD DESPITE.5

    3. An act of malice or contempt; as a despite to the Most High.NWAD DESPITE.6

    DESPITE, v.t. To vex; to offend; to tease.

    DESPITEFUL, a. Full of spite; malicious; malignant; as a despiteful enemy.

    Hater of God, despiteful, proud, boasters. Romans 1:30.NWAD DESPITEFUL.2

    DESPITEFULLY, adv. With despite; maliciously; contemptuously.

    Pray for them that despitefully use you. Matthew 5:44.NWAD DESPITEFULLY.2

    DESPITEFULNESS, n. Malice; extreme hatred; malignity.

    DESPITEOUS, a. Malicious.

    DESPITEOUSLY, adv. Furiously.

    DESPOIL, v.t. [L. To spoil.]

    1. To strip; to take from by force; to rob; to deprive; followed by of; as, to despoil one of arms; to despoil of honors; to despoil of innocence.NWAD DESPOIL.2

    2. To strip or divest by any means.NWAD DESPOIL.3

    DESPOILED, pp. Stripped; robbed; bereaved; deprived.

    DESPOILER, n. One who strips by force; a plunderer.

    DESPOILING, ppr. Depriving; stripping; robbing.

    DESPOLIATION, n. The act of despoiling; a stripping.

    DESPOND, v.i. [L. To promise; literally, to throw to or forward.]

    1. To be cast down; to be depressed or dejected in mind; to fail in spirits.NWAD DESPOND.2

    I should despair, or at least despond.NWAD DESPOND.3

    2. To lose all courage, spirit or resolution; to sink by loss of hope.NWAD DESPOND.4

    Others depress their own mind, and despond at the first difficulty.NWAD DESPOND.5

    Note. The distinction between despair and despond is well marked in the foregoing passage from Scott. But although despair implies a total loss of hope, which despond does not, at least in every case, yet despondency is followed by the abandonment of effort, or cessation of action, and despair sometimes impelss to violent action, even to rage.NWAD DESPOND.6

    DESPONDENCY, n. A sinking or dejection of spirits at the loss of hope; loss of courage at the failure of hope, or in deep affliction, or at the prospect of insurmountable difficulties.

    DESPONDENT, a. Losing courage at the loss of hope; sinking into dejection; depressed and inactive in despair.

    DESPONDER, n. One destitute of hope.

    DESPONDING, ppr. Losing courage to act, in consequence of loss of hope, or of deep calamity, or of difficulties deemed insurmountable; sinking into dejection; despairing, with depression of spirits; despairingly.

    DESPONDINGLY, adv. In a desponding manner; with dejection of spirits; despairingly.

    DESPONSATE, v.t. To betroth.

    DESPONSATION, n. A betrothing.

    DESPOT, n. An emperor, king or price invested with absolute power, or ruling without any control from men, constitution or laws. Hence in a general sense, a tyrant.


    1. Absolute in power; independent of control from men, constitution or laws; arbitrary in the exercise of power; as a despotic prince.NWAD DESPOTIC.2

    2. Unlimited or unrestrained by constitution, laws or men; absolute; arbitrary; as despotic authority or power.NWAD DESPOTIC.3

    3. Tyrannical.NWAD DESPOTIC.4

    DESPOTICALLY, adv. With unlimited power; arbitrarily; in a despotic manner.

    DESPOTICALNESS, n. Absolute or arbitrary authority.


    1. Absolute power; authority unlimited and uncontrolled by men, constitution or laws, and depending alone on the will of the prince; as the despotism of a Turkish sultan.NWAD DESPOTISM.2

    2. An arbitrary government, as that of Turkey and Persia.NWAD DESPOTISM.3

    DESPUMATE, v.i. [L. Froth or scum.] To foam; to froth; to form froth or scum.

    DESPUMATION, n. The act of throwing off excrementitious matter and forming a froth or scum on the surface of liquor; clarification; scumming.

    DESQUAMATION, n. [L. A scale.] A scaling or exfoliation of bone; the separation of the cuticle in small scales.

    DESS, for desk.

    DESSERT, n. A service of fruits and sweetmeats, at the close of an entertainment; the last course at the table, after the meat is removed.

    DESTINATE, v.t. To design or appoint.

    DESTINATE, a. Appointed; destined; determined.


    1. The act of destining, or appointing.NWAD DESTINATION.2

    2. The purpose for which any thing is intended or appointed; end or ultimate design. Every animal is fitted for its destination.NWAD DESTINATION.3

    3. The place to which a thing is appointed, as the ship left her destination; but it is more usual to say, the place of her destination.NWAD DESTINATION.4

    DESTINE, v.t. [L.]

    1. To set, ordain or appoint to a use, purpose, state or place. We destine a son to the ministerial office; a house for a place of worship; a ship for the London trade or to Lisbon; and we are all destined to a future state of happiness or misery.NWAD DESTINE.2

    2. To fix unalterable, as by a divine decree; as the destined hour of death.NWAD DESTINE.3

    3. To doom; to devote; to appoint unalterably.NWAD DESTINE.4

    DESTINED, pp. Ordained; appointed by previous determination; devoted; fixed unalterably.

    DESTINING, ppr. Ordaining; appointing.

    DESTINY, n.

    1. State or condition appointed or predetermined; ultimate fate; as, men are solicitous to know their future destiny, which is however happily concealed from them.NWAD DESTINY.2

    2. Invincible necessity; fate; a necessity or fixed order of things established by a divine decree, or by an indissoluble connection of causes and effects.NWAD DESTINY.3

    But who can turn the stream of destiny?NWAD DESTINY.4

    Destinies, the fates, or supposed powers which preside over himan life, spin it out, and determine it; called by the Latins, parcae.NWAD DESTINY.5

    DESTITUTE, a. [L. To set. Literally, set from or away.]

    1. Not having or possessing; wanting; as destitute of virtue, or of peity; destitute of food and clothing. It differs from deprived, as it does not necessarily imply previous possession.NWAD DESTITUTE.2

    2. Needy; abject; comfortless; friendless.NWAD DESTITUTE.3

    He will regard the prayer of the destitute. Psalm 102:17.NWAD DESTITUTE.4

    DESTITUTE, n. One who is without friends or comfort.

    DESTITUTE, v.t.

    1. To forsake.NWAD DESTITUTE.7

    2. To deprive.NWAD DESTITUTE.8

    DESTITUTION, n. Want; absence of a thing; a state in which something is wanted or not possessed; poverty.

    DESTROY, v.t. [L. To pile, to build.]

    1. To demolish; to pull down; to separate the parts of an edifice, the union of which is necessary to constitute the thing; as, to destroy a house or temple; to destroy a fortification.NWAD DESTROY.2

    2. To ruin; to annihilate a thing by demolishing or by burning; as, to destroy a city.NWAD DESTROY.3

    3. To ruin; to bring to naught; to annihilate; as, to destroy a theory or scheme; to destroy a government; to destroy influence.NWAD DESTROY.4

    4. To lay waste; to make desolate.NWAD DESTROY.5

    Go up against this land, and destroy it. Isaiah 36:10.NWAD DESTROY.6

    5. To kill; to slay; to extirpate; applied to men or other animals.NWAD DESTROY.7

    Ye shall destroy all this people. Numbers 32:15.NWAD DESTROY.8

    All the wicked will he destroy. Psalm 145:20.NWAD DESTROY.9

    6. To take away; to cause to cease; to put an end to; as, pain destroys happiness.NWAD DESTROY.10

    That the body of sin might be destroyed. Romans 6:6.NWAD DESTROY.11

    7. To kill; to eat; to devour; to consume. Birds destroy insects. Hawks destroy chickens.NWAD DESTROY.12

    8. In general, to put an end to; to annihilate a thing or the form in which it exists. An army is destroyed by slaughter, capture or dispersion; a forest, by the ax, or by fire; towns, by fire or inundation, etc.NWAD DESTROY.13

    9. In chimistry, to resolve a body into its parts or elements.NWAD DESTROY.14

    DESTROYABLE, a. That may be destroyed.

    Plants scarcely destroyable by the weather.NWAD DESTROYABLE.2

    DESTROYED, pp. Demolished; pulled down; ruined; annihilated; devoured; swept away; etc.

    DESTROYER, n. One who destroys, or lays waste; one who kills a man, or an animal, or who ruins a country, cities, etc.

    DESTROYING, ppr. Demolishing; laying waste; killing; annihilating; putting an end to.

    DESTROYING, n. Destruction.

    DESTRUCT, for destroy, is not used.

    DESTRUCTIBILITY, n. The quality of being capable of destruction.

    DESTRUCTIBLE, a. [L.] Liable to destruction; capable of being destroyed.


    1. The act of destroying; demolition; a pulling down; subversion; ruin, by whatever means; as the destruction of buildings, or of towns. Destruction consists in the annihilation of the form of any theing; that form of parts which constitues it what it is; as the destruction of grass or herbage by eating; of a forest, by cutting down the trees; or it denotes a total annihilation; as the destruction of a particular government; the destruction of happiness.NWAD DESTRUCTION.2

    2. Death; murder; slaughter; massacre.NWAD DESTRUCTION.3

    There was a deadly destruction throughout all the city. 1 Samuel 5:11.NWAD DESTRUCTION.4


    Destruction and misery are in their ways. Romans 3:16.NWAD DESTRUCTION.6

    4. Eternal death.NWAD DESTRUCTION.7

    Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction. Matthew 7:13.NWAD DESTRUCTION.8

    5. Cause of destruction; a consuming plague; a destroyer.NWAD DESTRUCTION.9

    The destruction that wasteth at noon-day. Psalm 91:6.NWAD DESTRUCTION.10

    DESTRUCTIVE, a. Causing destruction; having the quality of destroying; ruinous; mischievous; pernicious; with of or to; as a destructive fire or famine. Intemperance is destructive of health; evil examples are destructive to the morals of youth.

    DESTRUCTIVELY, adv. With destruction; ruinously; mischievously; with power to destroy; as destructively lewd or intemperate.

    DESTRUCTIVENESS, n. The quality of destroying or ruining.

    DESTRUCTOR, n. A destroyer; a consumer. [Not used.]

    DESUDATION, n. [L., to sweat.] A sweating; a profuse or morbid sweating, succeeded by an eruption of pustles, called heat-pimples.

    DESUETUDE, n. [L.] The cessation of use; disuse; discontinuance of practice, custom or fashion. Habit is contracted by practice, and lost by desuetude. Words in every language are lost by desuetude.

    DESULPHURATE, v.t. To deprive of sulphur.

    DESULPHURATED, pp. Deprived of sulphur.

    DESULPHURATING, ppr. Depriving of sulphur.

    DESULPHURATION, n. The act or operation of depriving of sulphur.

    DESULTORILY, adv. [See Desultory.] In a desultory manner; without method; loosely.

    DESULTORINESS, n. A desultory manner; unconnectedness; a passing from one thing to another without order or method.

    DESULTORY, a. [L., to leap.]

    1. Leaping; passing from one thing or subject to another, without order or natural connection; unconnected; immethodical; as a desultory conversation.NWAD DESULTORY.2

    2. Coming suddenly; started at the moment; not proceeding from natural order or connection with what precedes; as a desultory thought.NWAD DESULTORY.3

    DESUME, v.t. [L.] To take from; to borrow. [Not in use.]

    DETACH, v.t. [See Attach.]

    1. To separate or disunite; to disengage; to part from; as, to detach the coats of a bulbous root from each other; to detach a man from the interest of the minister, or from a party.NWAD DETACH.2

    2. To separate men from their companies or regiments; to draw from companies or regiments, as a party of men, and send them on a particular service.NWAD DETACH.3

    3. To select ships from a fleet and send them on a separate service.NWAD DETACH.4

    DETACHED, pp.

    1. Separated; parted from; disunited; drawn and sent on a separate service.NWAD DETACHED.2

    2. a. Separate; as detached parcels or portions.NWAD DETACHED.3

    DETACHING, ppr. Separating; parting from; drawing and sending on a separate employment.


    1. The act of detaching.NWAD DETACHMENT.2

    2. A body of troops, selected or taken from the main army, and employed on some special service or expedition.NWAD DETACHMENT.3

    3. A number of ships, taken from a fleet, and sent on a separate service.NWAD DETACHMENT.4

    DETAIL, v.t.

    1. To relate, report or narrate in particulars; to recite the particulars of; to particularize; to relate minutely and distinctly; as, he detailed all the facts in due order.NWAD DETAIL.2

    2. To select, as an officer or soldier from a division, brigade, regiment or battalion.NWAD DETAIL.3

    DETAIL, n.

    1. A narration or report of particulars; a minute and particular account. He related the story in detail. He gave a detail of all the transactions.NWAD DETAIL.5

    2. A selecting of officer or soldiers from the rosters.NWAD DETAIL.6

    DETAILED, pp. Related in particulars; minutely recited; selected.

    DETAILER, n. One who details.

    DETAILING, ppr.

    1. Relating minutely; telling the particulars.NWAD DETAILING.2

    2. Selecting from the rosters.NWAD DETAILING.3

    DETAIN, v.t. [L., to hold. See Tenant.]

    1. To keep back or from; to withhold; to keep what belongs to another. Detain not the wages of the hireling.NWAD DETAIN.2

    2. To keep or restrain from proceeding, either going or coming; to stay or stop. We were detained by the rain.NWAD DETAIN.3

    Let us detain thee, till we have made ready a kid. Judges 13:15.NWAD DETAIN.4

    3. To hold in custody.NWAD DETAIN.5

    DETAINDER, n. A writ. [See Detinue.]

    DETAINED, pp. Withheld; kept back; prevented from going or coming; held; restrained.

    DETAINER, n.

    1. One who withholds what belongs to another; one who detains, stops or prevents from going.NWAD DETAINER.2

    2. In law, a holding or keeping possession of what belongs to another; detention of what is anothers, though the original taking may be lawful.NWAD DETAINER.3

    DETAINING, ppr. Withholding what belongs to another; holding back; restraining from going or coming; holding in custody.

    DETAINMENT, n. The act of detaining; detention.

    DETECT, v.t. [L., to cover.] Literally, to uncover; hence, to discover; to find out; to bring to light; as, to detect the ramifications and inosculations of the fine vessels. But this word is especially applied to the discovery of secret crimes and artifices. We detect a thief, or the crime of stealing. We detect the artifices of the man, or the man himself. We detect what is concealed, especially what is concealed by design.

    DETECTED, pp. Discovered; found out; laid open; brought to light.

    DETECTER, n. A discoverer; one who finds out what another attempts to conceal.

    DETECTING, ppr. Discovering; finding out.

    DETECTION, n. The act of detecting; discovery of a person or thing attempted to be concealed; as the detection of a thief or burglarian; the detection of fraud or forgery; the detection of artifice, device or a plot.

    2. Discovery of any thing before hidden, or unknown.NWAD DETECTION.2

    The sea and rivers are instrumental to the detection of amber and other fossils, by washing away the earth that concealed them.NWAD DETECTION.3

    DETENEBRATE, v.t. [L.] To remove darkness. [Not in use.]

    DETENT, n. [L.] A stop in a clock, which by being lifted up or let down, locks and unlocks the clock in striking.

    DETENTION, n. [See Detain.]

    1. The act of detaining; a withholding from another his right; a keeping what belongs to another, and ought to be restored.NWAD DETENTION.2

    2. Confinement; restraint; as detention in custody.NWAD DETENTION.3

    3. Delay from necessity; a detaining; as the detention of the mail by bad roads.NWAD DETENTION.4

    DETER, v.t. [L., to frighten.]

    1. To discourage and stop by fear; to stop or prevent from acting or proceeding, by danger, difficulty or other consideration which disheartens, or countervails the motive for an act. We are often deterred from out duty by trivial difficulties. The state of the road or a cloudy sky may deter a man from undertaking a journey.NWAD DETER.2

    A million of frustrated hopes will not deter us from new experiments.NWAD DETER.3

    2. To prevent by prohibition or danger.NWAD DETER.4

    DETERGE, v.t. deterj. [L., to wipe or scour.] To cleanse; to purge away foul or offending matter, from the body, or from an ulcer.

    DETERGED, pp. Cleansed; purged.

    DETERGENT, a. Cleansing; purging.

    DETERGENT, n. A medicine that has the power of cleansing the vessels or skin from offending matter.

    DETERGING, ppr. Cleansing; carrying off obstructions or foul matter.

    DETERIORATE, v.i. [L.] To grow worse; to be impaired in quality to degenerate; opposed to meliorate.

    DETERIORATE, v.t. To make worse; to reduce in quality; as, to deteriorate a race of men of their condition.

    DETERIORATED, pp. Made worse; impaired in quality.

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