Larger font
Smaller font
Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary - Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font


    WHEREWITHAL, adv. [See Withal.] [where, with, and all.] The same as wherewith.

    WHERRET, v.t. [G.] To hurry; to trouble; to tease; to give a box on the ear. [Low and not used in America.]

    WHERRET, n. A box on the ear. [Not in use.]

    WHERRY, n. [a different orthography of ferry, formed with a strong breathing; like whistle, from L.]

    1. A boat used on rivers. The name is given to several kinds of light boats. It is also applied to some decked vessels used in fishing, in different parts of Great Britain and Ireland.NWAD WHERRY.2

    2. A liquor made from the pulp of crabs after the verjuice is expressed; sometimes called crab-wherry. [Local.]NWAD WHERRY.3

    WHET, v.t. pret. and pp. whetted or whet. [G.]

    1. To rub for the purpose of sharpening, as an edge tool; to sharpen by attrition; as, to whet a sythe or an ax.NWAD WHET.2

    2. To provoke; to excite; to stimulate; as, to whet the appetite.NWAD WHET.3

    3. To provoke; to make angry or acrimonious.NWAD WHET.4

    Since Cassius first did whet me against Cesar, I have not slept.NWAD WHET.5

    To whet on or whet forward, to urge on; to instigate. [Not used nor proper.]NWAD WHET.6

    WHET, n.

    1. The act of sharpening by friction.NWAD WHET.8

    2. Something that provokes or stimulates the appetite; as sips, drams and whets.NWAD WHET.9

    WHETHER, pronoun or substitute. [L. The sense seems to be what, or which of two, referring either to persons or to sentences.]

    1. Which of two.NWAD WHETHER.2

    Whether of them twain did the will of his father? Matthew 21:31./NWAD WHETHER.3

    Here whether is a substitute for one of two, and signifies which; which of the two; but in this sense it is obsolete.NWAD WHETHER.4

    2. Which of two alternatives, expressed by a sentence or the clause of a sentence, and followed by or. Resolve whether you will go or not; that is, you will go or not go; resolve which.NWAD WHETHER.5

    [Note. IN the latter use, which is now most common, whether is called an adverb. This is a mistake. It is the same part of speech as in the former example. The only difference is that in the former example it represents or refers to a noun, and in the latter to a sentence or clause.]NWAD WHETHER.6

    WHETSTONE, n. [whet and stone.] A stone used for sharpening edged instruments by friction.

    WHETSTONE-SLATE, WHET-SLATE, n. Novaculite or coticular shist, a variety of slate used for sharpening instruments of iron. The light green colored variety from the Levant is the most valuable. It should be kept in a damp place, that it may not become too dry and hard.

    WHETTED, pp. Rubbed for sharpening; sharpened; provoked; stimulated.

    WHETTER, n. He or that which whets or sharpens.

    WHETTING, ppr. Rubbing for the purpose of making sharp; sharpening; provoking; inciting; stimulating.

    WHEWER, n. Another name of the widgeon. [Local.]

    WHEY, n. The serum or watery part of milk, separated from the more thick or coagulable part, particularly in the process of making cheese. In this process, the thick part is called curd, and the thin part whey.

    WHEYEY, a. Partaking of whey; resembling whey.

    WHEYISH, a. Having the qualities of whey.

    WHEY-TUB, n. A tub in which whey stands for yielding cream, etc.

    WHICH, pron. relative or substitute. [I have not found this word in any other language. I think it may be from the root of quick. See What and Wight.]

    1. A word called a relative or pronoun relative, because it relates to another word or thing, usually to some word that precedes it in the sentence. I call it also a substitute, as it supplies the place of a noun, or of an adjective, or of a sentence or clause. 1. The garden which I cultivate, that is, the garden, which garden I cultivate. 2. We are bound to obey all the divine commands, which we cannot do without divine aid. Here which represents the words, obey the divine commands. 3. You declared him to be innocent, which he is not. Here which stands for innocent. In the foregoing uses, which is not used int eh masculine gender, that is, it does not in modern usage represent a person.NWAD WHICH.2

    2. Which is much used in asking questions, for the purpose of obtaining the designation of a particular person or thing by the answer, and in this use, it is of the masculine as well as of the neuter gender. There are two or three things to be done; which shall I do first? Which man is it?NWAD WHICH.3

    Which of you convinceth me of sin? John 8:46.NWAD WHICH.4

    For which of those works do ye stone me? John 10:32.NWAD WHICH.5

    3. That which. Take which you will, that is, take any one of the whole.NWAD WHICH.6

    The which, by the which. The use of the before which, is obsolete.NWAD WHICH.7

    WHICHEVER, WHICHSOEVER, pron. Whether one or the other. Whichever road you take, it will conduct you to town.

    WHIFF, n.

    1. A sudden expulsion of air from the mouth; a puff; as the whiff of a smoker.NWAD WHIFF.2

    And seasons his whiffs with impertinent jokes.NWAD WHIFF.3

    2. In ichthyology, a species of Pleuronectes or flounder.NWAD WHIFF.4

    WHIFF, v.t. TO puff; to throw out in whiffs; to consume in whiffs.

    WHIFFLE, v.i. [G., to doubt, to rove or wander, which seems to be allied to sweep.] To start, shift and turn; to change from one opinion or course to another; to use evasions; to prevaricate; to be fickle and unsteady.

    A person of a whiffing and unsteady turn of mind, cannot keep close to a point of controversy.NWAD WHIFFLE.2

    WHIFFLE, v.t. To disperse with a puff; to scatter.

    WHIFFLE, n. Anciently, a fife or small flute.

    WHIFFLER, n.

    1. One who whiffles or frequently changes his opinion or course; one who uses sifts and evasions in argument.NWAD WHIFFLER.2

    2. A harbinger; perhaps one who blows the horn or trumpet.NWAD WHIFFLER.3

    3. A young man who goes before a company in London on occasions of public solemnity.NWAD WHIFFLER.4

    WHIFFLING, ppr. Shifting and turning; prevaricating; shuffling.

    WHIFFLING, n. Prevarication.

    WHIG, n. [See Whey.] Acidulated whey, sometimes mixed with butter milk and sweet herbs; used as a cooling beverage. [Local.]

    WHIG, n. [origin uncertain.] One of a political party which had its origin in England in the seventeenth century, in the reign of Charles I. or II., when great contests existed respecting the royal prerogatives and the rights of the people. Those who supported the king in his high claims, were called tories, and the advocates of popular rights were called whigs. During the revolution in the United States, the friends and supporters of the war and the principles of the revolution, were called whigs, and those who opposed them, were called tories and royalists.

    Where then, when tories scarce get clear, shall whigs and congresses appear?NWAD WHIG.3

    WHIGGARCHY, n. Government by whigs. [Cant.]

    WHIGGISH, a. Pertaining to whigs; partaking of the principles of whigs.

    WHIGGISM, n. The principles of a whig.

    WHILE, n. [G. See the Verb.] Time; space of time, or continued duration. He was some while in this country. One while we thought him innocent.

    Pausing a while, thus to herself she musd.NWAD WHILE.2

    Worth while, worth the time which it requires; worth the time and pains; hence, worth the expense. It is not always worth while for a man to prosecute for small debts.NWAD WHILE.3

    WHILE, adv.

    1. During the time that while I write, you sleep.NWAD WHILE.5

    2. As long as.NWAD WHILE.6

    Use your memory, and you will sensibly experience a gradual improvement, while you take care not to overload it.NWAD WHILE.7

    3. At the same time that.NWAD WHILE.8

    WHILE, v.t. [G., to abide, to stay.] To while away, as time, in English, is to loiter; or more generally, to cause time to pass away pleasantly, without irksomeness; as, we while away time in amusements or diversions.

    Let us while away this life.NWAD WHILE.10

    WHILE, v.i. To loiter.

    WHILERE, adv. [while and ere.] A little while ago.

    WHILING, ppr. Loitering; passing time agreeably, without impatience or tediousness.

    WHILK, n. A shell. [See Whelk.]

    WHILOM, adv. Formerly; once; of old.

    WHILST, adv. The same as while, which see. Whiles is not used.

    WHIM, n.

    1. Properly, a sudden turn or start of the mind; a freak; a fancy; a capricious notion. We say, every man has his whims. [See Freak and Caprice.]NWAD WHIM.2

    All the superfluous whims relate.NWAD WHIM.3

    2. A low wit; a cant word.NWAD WHIM.4

    WHIMPER, v.i. [G.] To cry with a low, whining, broken voice; as, a child whimpers.

    WHIMPERING, ppr. Crying with a low broken voice.

    WHIMPERING, n. [supra.] A low muttering cry.

    WHIMPLED, a word used by Shakespeare, is perhaps a mistake for whimpered. There is no such word in the English.

    WHIMSEY, n. s as z. [from whim.] A whim; a freak; a capricious notion; as the whimseys of poets.

    Mens follies, whimsies, and inconstancy.NWAD WHIMSEY.2

    WHIMSICAL, a. Full of whims; freakish; having odd fancies; capricious.

    My neighbors call me whimsical.NWAD WHIMSICAL.2

    WHIMSICALLY, adv. [supra.] In a whimsical manner; freakishly.

    WHIMSICALNESS, n. [supra.] Freakishness; whimsical disposition; odd temper.

    WHIN, n. [L.] Gorse; furze; a plant of the genus Ulex.

    WHIN-AX, n. [whin and ax.] An instrument used for extirpating whin from land.

    WHINBREL, WHIMBREL, n. A bird resembling the curlew.

    WHIN-CHAT, n. A bird, a species of warbler, the Motacilla rubetra, Linn.

    WHINE, v.t. [L.] TO express murmurs by a plaintive cry; to moan with a puerile noise; to murmur meanly.

    They came--with a whining accent craving liberty.NWAD WHINE.2

    Then, if we whine, look pale--NWAD WHINE.3

    WHINE, n. A plaintive tone; the nasal puerile tone of mean complaint; mean or affected complaint.

    WHINER, n. One who whines.

    WHINING, ppr. Expressing murmurs by a mean plaintive tone or cant.

    WHINNY, v.i. [L.; from the root of whine.] To utter the sound of a horse; to neigh.

    WHINOC, n. [G., small.] The small pig of a litter.

    WHIN-STONE, n. [whin and stone.] Whin-stone or whin is a provincial name given to basaltic rocks, and applied by miners to any kind of dark colored and hard unstratified rock which resists the point of the pick. Veins of dark basalt or green-stone, are frequently called whin-dykes.

    WHIN-YARD, n. A sword; in contempt.

    WHIP, v.t. [L., a sweeping throw or thrust.]

    1. To strike with a lash or sweeping cord; as, to whip a horse.NWAD WHIP.2

    2. To sew slightly.NWAD WHIP.3

    3. To drive with lashes; as, to whip a top.NWAD WHIP.4

    4. To punish with the whip; as, to whip a vagrant; to whip one thirty nine lashes; to whip a perverse boy.NWAD WHIP.5

    Who, for false quantities, was whippd at school.NWAD WHIP.6

    5. To lash with sarcasm.NWAD WHIP.7

    They would whip me with their fine wits.NWAD WHIP.8

    6. To strike; to thrash; to beat out, as grain, by striking; as, to whip wheat. [Not in use int he United States.]NWAD WHIP.9

    To whip about or round, to wrap; to inwrap; as, to whip a line round a rod.NWAD WHIP.10

    To whip out, to draw nimbly; to snatch; as, to whip out a sword or rapier from its sheath.NWAD WHIP.11

    To whip from, to take away suddenly.NWAD WHIP.12

    To whip into, to thrust in with a quick motion. He whipped his hand into his pocket.NWAD WHIP.13

    To whip us, to seize or take up with a quick motion. She whipped up the child, and ran off. Among seamen, to hoist with a whip or small tackle.NWAD WHIP.14

    WHIP, v.i. To move nimbly; to start suddenly and run; or to turn and run; as, the boy whipped away in an instant; he whipped round the corner; he whipped into the house, and was out of wight in a moment.

    WHIP, n.

    1. An instrument for driving horses or other teams, or for correction, consisting of a lash tied to a handle or rod.NWAD WHIP.17

    2. In ships, a small tackle, used to hoist light bodies.NWAD WHIP.18

    Whip and spur, with the utmost haste.NWAD WHIP.19

    WHIP-CORD, n. [whip and cord.] Cord of which lashes are made.

    WHIP-GRAFT, v.t. [whip and graft.] To graft by cutting the cion and stock in a sloping direction, so as to fit each other, and by inserting a tongue on the cion into a slit in the stock.

    WHIP-GRAFTING, n. The at or practice of grafting by cutting the cion and stock with a slope, to fit each other, etc.

    WHIP-HAND, n. [whip and hand.] Advantage over; as, he has the whip-hand of her.

    WHIP-LASH, n. [whip and lash.] The lash of a whip.

    WHIPPED, pp. Struck with a whip; punished; enwrapped; sewed slightly.

    WHIPPER, n. One who whips; particularly, an officer who inflicts the penalty of legal whipping.

    WHIPPING, ppr. Striking with a whip; punishing with a whip; enwrapping.

    WHIPPING, n. The act of striking with a whip, or of punishing; the state of being whipped.

    WHIPPING-POST, n. [whipping and post.] A post to which offenders are tied when whipped.

    WHIPPLE-TREE, n. [whip and tree; but qu. Is it no whiffle-tree?] The bar to which the traces or tugs of a harness are fastened, and by which a carriage, a plow, a harrow or other implement is drawn.

    WHIPPOWIL, n. The popular name of an American bird, so called from its note, or the sounds of its voice. [Not whip-poor-will.]

    WHIP-SAW, n. [whip and saw.] A saw to be used by two persons.

    WHIP-STAFF, n. [whip and staff.] In ships, a bar by which the rudder is turned. In small vessels this is called the tiller.

    WHIPSTER, n. A nimble fellow.

    WHIP-STITCH, v.t. [whip and stitch.] In agriculture, to half-plow or to rafter land. This word, I believe, is not used in America. The practice of whip-stitching resembles what is called in America ridging.

    WHIP-STOCK, n. [whip and stock.] The rod or staff to which the lash of a whip is fastened.

    WHIPT, pp. of whip; sometimes used for whipped.

    WHIR, v.i. hwur. To whirl round with noise; to fly with noise.

    WHIR, v.t. To hurry.

    WHIRL, v.t. hwurl. [G., to whirl, to warble. L.] TO turn round rapidly; to turn with velocity.

    He whirls his sword around without delay.NWAD WHIRL.2

    WHIRL, v.i.

    1. To be turned round rapidly; to move round with velocity; as the whirling spindles of a cotton machine or wheels of a coach.NWAD WHIRL.4

    The wooden engine flies and whirls about.NWAD WHIRL.5

    2. To move hastily.NWAD WHIRL.6

    --But whirld away, to shun his hateful sight.NWAD WHIRL.7

    WHIRL, n. [G.]

    1. A turning with rapidity or velocity; rapid rotation or circumvolution; quick gyration; as the whirl of a top; the whirl of a wheel; the whirl of time; the whirls of fancy.NWAD WHIRL.9

    2. Any thing that moves or is turned with velocity, particularly on an axis or pivot.NWAD WHIRL.10

    3. A hook used in twisting.NWAD WHIRL.11

    4. In botany, a species of inflorescence, consisting of many subsessile flowers surrounding the stem in a ring. It is also written whorl and wherl.NWAD WHIRL.12

    WHIRL-BAT, n. [whirl and bat.] Any thing moved with a whirl as preparatory for a blow, or to augment the force of it. Poets use it for the ancient cestus.

    The whirl-bat and the rapid race shall be reservd for Cesar.NWAD WHIRL-BAT.2

    WHIRL-BLAST, n. [whirl and blast.] A whirling blast of wind.

    WHIRL-BONE, n. [whirl and bone.] The patella; the cap of the knee; the knee-pan.

    WHIRLED, pp.

    1. Turned round with velocity.NWAD WHIRLED.2

    2. In botany, growing in whirls; bearing whirls; verticillate.NWAD WHIRLED.3

    WHIRLIGIG, n. [whirl and gig.]

    1. A toy which children spin or whirl round.NWAD WHIRLIGIG.2

    2. In military antiquities, an instrument for punishing petty offenders, as sutlers, brawling women, etc.; a kind of wooden cage turning on a pivot, in which the offender was whirled round with great velocity.NWAD WHIRLIGIG.3

    WHIRLING, ppr. Turning or moving round with velocity.

    WHIRLING-TABLE, n. A machine contrived to exhibit and demonstrate the principal laws of gravitation, and of the planetary motion in curvilinear orbits.

    WHIRL-PIT, n. A whirlpool. [Not used.]

    WHIRLPOOL, n. [whirl and pool.] An eddy of water; a vortex or gulf where the water moves round in a circle. In some cases, a whirlpool draws things to its center and absorbs them, as is the case with the Maelstrom off the coast of Norway.

    WHIRLWIND, n. [whirl and wind.] A violent wind moving in a circle, or rather in a spiral form, as if moving round an axis; this axis or the perpendicular column moving horizontally, raising and whirling dust, leaves and the like.

    WHIRRAW. [See Horra.]

    WHIRRING, n. The sound of a partridges or pheasants wings. [Note.--Whir is used by the common people in New England in an adverbial manner, to express the rapid flight or the sound of any thing thrown. See Whir.]

    WHISK, n.

    1. A small bunch of grass, straw, hair or the like, used for a brush; hence, a brush or small besom.NWAD WHISK.2

    2. Part of a womans dress; a kind of tippet.NWAD WHISK.3

    WHISK, v.t.

    1. To sweep, brush or wipe with a whisk.NWAD WHISK.5

    2. To sweep along; to move nimbly over the ground.NWAD WHISK.6

    WHISK, v.i. To move nimbly and with velocity.

    WHISKER, n. [from whisk.] Long hair growing on the human cheek.

    WHISKERED, a. Formed into whiskers; furnished with whiskers.

    WHISKET, n. A basket. [Local.]

    WHISKING, ppr. Brushing; sweeping along; moving with velocity along the surface.

    WHISKY, n. A spirit distilled from grain. In the north of England, the name is given to the spirit drawn from barley. In the United States, whisky is generally distilled from wheat, rye or maiz.

    WHISPER, v.i. [L. The word seems by its sound to be an onomatopy, as it expresses a sibilant sound or breathing.]

    1. To speak with a low hissing or sibilant voice. It is ill manners to whisper in company.NWAD WHISPER.2

    The hollow whispring breeze--NWAD WHISPER.3

    2. To speak with suspicion or timorous caution.NWAD WHISPER.4

    3. To plot secretly; to devise in mischief.NWAD WHISPER.5

    All that hate me whisper together against me. Psalm 41:7.NWAD WHISPER.6

    WHISPER, v.t.

    1. To address in a low voice. He whispers the man in the ear. [But this is elliptical for whispers to.]NWAD WHISPER.8

    2. To utter in a low sibilant voice. He whispered a word in my ear.NWAD WHISPER.9

    3. To prompt secretly; as, the came to whisper Woolsey.NWAD WHISPER.10

    WHISPER, n.

    1. A low soft sibilant voice; or words uttered with such a voice.NWAD WHISPER.12

    The whisper cannot give a tone.NWAD WHISPER.13

    Soft whispers through the assembly went.NWAD WHISPER.14

    2. A cautious or timorous speech.NWAD WHISPER.15

    3. A hissing or buzzing sound.NWAD WHISPER.16

    WHISPERED, pp. Uttered in a low voice; uttered with suspicion or caution.


    1. One who whispers.NWAD WHISPERER.2

    2. A tattler; one who tells secrets; a conveyer of intelligence secretly.NWAD WHISPERER.3

    3. A backbiter; one who slanders secretly. Proverbs 16:28.NWAD WHISPERER.4

    WHISPERING, ppr. Speaking in a low voice; telling secretly; backbiting.

    WHISPERING, n. The act of speaking with a low voice; the telling of tales, and exciting of suspicions; a backbiting.

    WHISPERINGLY, adv. In a low voice.

    WHIST, a. Silent; mute; still; not speaking; not making a noise.

    The winds with wonder whist, smoothly the waters kissd.NWAD WHIST.2

    [This adjective, like some others, always follows its noun. We never say, whist wind; but the wind is whist.]NWAD WHIST.3

    Whist is used for be silent. Whist, whist, that is, be silent or still.NWAD WHIST.4

    WHIST, n. A game at cards, so called because it requires silence or close attention. It is not in America pronounced whisk.

    WHISTLE, v.i. hwisl. [L., a whistle; allied to whisper.]

    1. To utter a kind of musical sound, by pressing the breath through a small orifice formed by contracting the lips.NWAD WHISTLE.2

    While the plowman near at hand, whistles oer the furrowd land.NWAD WHISTLE.3

    2. To make a sound with a small wind instrument.NWAD WHISTLE.4

    3. To sound shrill, or like a pipe.NWAD WHISTLE.5

    The wild winds whistle, and the billows roar.NWAD WHISTLE.6

    WHISTLE, v.t.

    1. To form, utter or modulate by whistling; as, to whistle a tune or air.NWAD WHISTLE.8

    2. To call by a whistle; as, he whistled back his dog.NWAD WHISTLE.9

    WHISTLE, n. [L.]

    1. A small wind instrument.NWAD WHISTLE.11

    2. The sound made by a small wind instrument.NWAD WHISTLE.12

    3. Sound made by pressing the breath through a small orifice of the lips.NWAD WHISTLE.13

    4. The mouth; the organ of whistling. [Vulgar.]NWAD WHISTLE.14

    5. A small pipe, used by a boatswain to summon the sailors to their duty; the boatswains call.NWAD WHISTLE.15

    6. The shrill sound of winds passing among trees or through crevices, etc.NWAD WHISTLE.16

    7. A call, such as sportsmen use to their dogs.NWAD WHISTLE.17

    WHISTLED, pp. Sounded with a pipe; uttered in a whistle.

    WHISTLE-FISH, n. A local name of a species of Gadus, with only tow fins on the back; the Mustela fluviatilis.

    WHISTLER, n. One who whistles.

    WHISTLING, ppr. Uttering a musical sound through a small orifice of the lips; sounding with a pipe; making a shrill sound, as wind.

    WHISTLY, adv. Silently.

    WHIT, n. [L.] A point; a jot; the smallest part or particle imaginable. It is used without a preposition. He is not a whit the wiser for experience.

    It does not me a whit displease.NWAD WHIT.2

    The regular construction would be by a whit, or in a whit. In these phrases, a whit may be interpreted by in the least, in the smallest degree.NWAD WHIT.3

    Larger font
    Smaller font