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Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary - Contents
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    L, the twelfth letter of the English alphabet, is usually denominated a semi-vowel, or a liquid. It represents an imperfect articulation, formed by placing the tip of the tongue against the gum that incloses the roots of the upper teeth; but the sides of the tongue not being in close contact with the roof of the mouth, the breath of course not being entirely intercepted, this articulation is attended with an imperfect sound. The shape of the letter is evidently borrowed from that of the oriental lamed, or lomad, nearly coinciding with the Samaritan 2.

    L has only one sound in English, as in like, canal. At the end of monosyllables, it is often doubled, as in fall, full, tell, bell; but not after diphthongs and digraphs; foul, fool, prowl, growel, foal, etc. being written with a single l.NWAD L.2

    With some nations, l and r are commutable; as in Greek, L. lilium.NWAD L.3

    In some words, l is mute, as in half, calf, walk, talk, chalk.NWAD L.4

    In English words, the terminating syllable le is unaccented, the e is silent, and l has a feeble sound; as in able, eagle, pronounced abl, eagl.NWAD L.5

    As a number L denotes 50, and with a dash above the L, 50,000. As an abbreviation, in Latin, it stands for Lucius; and L.L.S. for a sesterce, or two librae and a half.NWAD L.6

    LA, exclam. [perhaps corrupted from look, but this is doubtful.] Look; see; behold.

    LA, in music, the syllable by which Guido denotes the last sound of each hexachord.NWAD LA.2

    LAB, n. a great talker; a blabber. Obs.

    LABADIST, n. the Labadists were followers of Jean de Labadie, who lived in the 17th century. They held that God can and does deceive men, that the observance of the sabbath is a matter of indifference, and other peculiar or heretical opinions.

    LABDANUM. [See Ladanum.]

    LABEFACTION, n. [L. labefactio, from labefacio, labo, to totter, and facio, to make.]

    A weakening or loosening; a failing; decay; downfall; ruin.NWAD LABEFACTION.2

    LABEFY, v.t. To weaken or impair. [Not used.]

    LABEL, n.

    1. A narrow slip of silk, paper or parchment, containing a name or title, and affixed to any thing, denoting its contents. Such are the labels affixed to the vessels of an apothecary. Labels also are affixed to deeds or writings to hold the appended seal.NWAD LABEL.2

    2. Any paper annexed to a will by way of addition; as a codicil.NWAD LABEL.3

    3. In heraldry, a fillet usually placed in the middle, along the chief of the coat, without touching its extremities. It is adorned with pendants, and used on the arms of the eldest son, to distinguish him from the younger sons, while the father is living.NWAD LABEL.4

    4. A long thin brass rule, with a small sight at one end, and a center-hole at the other, commonly used with a tangent line on the edge of a circumferentor, to take altitudes, etc.NWAD LABEL.5

    LABEL, v.t. To affix a label to.

    LABELED, pp. Furnished with a label.

    LABELING, ppr. Distinguishing by a label.

    LABENT, a. [L. labens.] Sliding; gliding.

    LABIAL, a. [L. labium, a lip. See Lip.]

    Pertaining to the lips; formed by the lips; as a labial articulation. Thus b, p, and m are labial articulations.NWAD LABIAL.2

    LABIAL, n. A letter or character representing an articulation of the lips; as b, f, m, p, v.

    LABIATE, LABIATED, a. [from L. labium, lip.] In botany, a labiate corol is irregular, monopetalous, with two lips, or monopetalous, consisting of a narrow tube with a wide mouth, divided into two or more segments arranged in two opposite divisions or lips. a labiate flower has a labiate corol.

    LABILE, a. [Low L. labilis.] Liable to err, fall or apostatize. [Not used.]

    LABIODENTAL, a. [labium, a lip, and dens, a tooth.]

    Formed or pronounced by the cooperation of the lips and teeth; as f and v.NWAD LABIODENTAL.2

    LABOR, n. [L. labor, from labo, to fail.]

    1. Exertion of muscular strength, or bodily exertion which occasions weariness; particularly, the exertion of the limbs in occupations by which subsistence is obtained, as in agriculture and manufactures, in distinction from exertions of strength in play or amusements, which are denominated exercise, rather than labor. Toilsome work; pains; travail; any bodily exertion which is attended with fatigue. After the labors of the day, the farmer retires, and rest is sweet. Moderate labor contributes to health.NWAD LABOR.2

    What is obtained by labor will of right be the property of him by whose labor it is gained.NWAD LABOR.3

    2. Intellectual exertion; application of the mind which occasions weariness; as the labor of compiling and writing a history.NWAD LABOR.4

    3. Exertion of mental powers, united with bodily employment; as the labors of the apostles in propagating christianity.NWAD LABOR.5

    4. Work done, or to be done; that which requires wearisome exertion.NWAD LABOR.6

    Being a labor of so great difficulty, the exact performance thereof we may rather wish than look for.NWAD LABOR.7

    5. Heroic achievement; as the labors of Hercules.NWAD LABOR.8

    6. Travail; the pangs and efforts of childbirth.NWAD LABOR.9

    7. The evils of life; trials; persecution, etc.NWAD LABOR.10

    They rest from their labors - Revelation 14:13.NWAD LABOR.11

    LABOR, v.i. [L. laboro.]

    1. To exert muscular strength; to act or move with painful effort, particularly in servile occupations; to work; to toil.NWAD LABOR.13

    Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work - Exodus 20:9.NWAD LABOR.14

    2. To exert one’s powers of body or mind, or both, in the prosecution of any design; to strive; to take pains.NWAD LABOR.15

    Labor not for the meat which perisheth. John 6:27.NWAD LABOR.16

    3. To toil; to be burdened.NWAD LABOR.17

    Come unto me all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28.NWAD LABOR.18

    4. To move with difficulty.NWAD LABOR.19

    The stone that labors up the hill.NWAD LABOR.20

    5. To move irregularly with little progress; to pitch and roll heavily; as a ship in a turbulent sea.NWAD LABOR.21

    6. To be in distress; to be pressed.NWAD LABOR.22

    - As sounding cymbals aid the laboring moon.NWAD LABOR.23

    7. To be in travail; to suffer the pangs of childbirth.NWAD LABOR.24

    8. To journey or march.NWAD LABOR.25

    Make not all the people to labor thither. Joshua 7:3.NWAD LABOR.26

    9. To perform the duties of the pastoral office. 1 Timothy 5:17.NWAD LABOR.27

    10. To perform christian offices.NWAD LABOR.28

    To labor under, to be afflicted with; to be burdened or distressed with; as, to labor under a disease or an affliction.NWAD LABOR.29

    LABOR, v.t.

    1. To work at; to till; to cultivate.NWAD LABOR.31

    The most excellent lands are lying fallow, or only labored by children.NWAD LABOR.32

    2. To prosecute with effort; to urge; as, to labor a point or argument.NWAD LABOR.33

    3. To form or fabricate with exertion; as, to labor arms for Troy.NWAD LABOR.34

    4. To beat; to belabor. [The latter word is generally used.]NWAD LABOR.35

    5. To form with toil and care; as a labored composition.NWAD LABOR.36

    LABORANT, n. A chimist. [Not used.]


    1. A house or place where operations and experiments in chimistry, pharmacy, pyrotechny, etc., are performed.NWAD LABORATORY.2

    2. A place where arms are manufactured or repaired, or fire-works prepared; as the laboratory in Springfield, in Massachusetts.NWAD LABORATORY.3

    3. A place where work is performed, or any thing is prepared for use. Hence the stomach is called the grand laboratory of the human body; the liver, the laboratory of the bile.NWAD LABORATORY.4

    LABORED, pp. Tilled; cultivated; formed with labor.

    LABORER, n. One who labors in a toilsome occupation; a man who does work that requires little skill, as distinguished from an artisan.

    LABORING, ppr.

    1. Exerting muscular strength or intellectual power; toiling; moving with pain or with difficulty; cultivating.NWAD LABORING.2

    2. A laboring man, or laborer, is often used for a man who performs work that requires no apprenticeship or professional skill, in distinction from an artisan; but this restricted sense is not always observed. A hard laboring man, is one accustomed to hard labor.NWAD LABORING.3

    LABORIOUS, a. [L. laboriosus.]

    1. Using exertion; employing labor; diligent in work or service; assiduous; used of persons; as a laborious husbandman or mechanic; a laborious minister or pastor.NWAD LABORIOUS.2

    2. Requiring labor; toilsome; tiresome; not easy; as laborious duties or services.NWAD LABORIOUS.3

    3. Requiring labor, exertion, perseverance or sacrifices.NWAD LABORIOUS.4

    Dost thou love watchings, abstinence or toil, laborious virtues all? Learn these from Cato.NWAD LABORIOUS.5

    LABORIOUSLY, adv. With labor, toil or difficulty.


    1. The quality of being laborious, or attended with toil; toilsomeness; difficulty.NWAD LABORIOUSNESS.2

    2. Diligence; assiduity.NWAD LABORIOUSNESS.3

    LABORLESS, a. Not laborious.

    LABORSOME, a. Made with great labor and diligence. [Not in use.]

    LABURNUM, n. A tree of the genus Cytisus.

    LABYRINTH, n. [L. labyrinthus; Gr.]

    1. Among the ancients, an edifice or place full of intricacies, or formed with winding passages, which rendered it difficult to find the way from the interior to the entrance. The most remarkable of these edifices mentioned, are the Egyptian and the Cretan labyrinths.NWAD LABYRINTH.2

    2. A maze; an inexplicable difficulty.NWAD LABYRINTH.3

    3. Formerly, an ornamental maze or wilderness in gardens.NWAD LABYRINTH.4

    4. A cavity in the ear.NWAD LABYRINTH.5

    LABYRINTHIAN, a. Winding; intricate; perplexed.

    LAC, n.

    Gum-lac, so called, but improperly, not being a gum, but a resin. It is deposited on different species of trees in the East Indies, by an insect called Chermes lacca. Stick lac is the substance in its natural state, encrusting small twigs. When broken off and boiled in water, it loses its red color, and is called seed lac. When melted and reduced to a thin crust, it is call shell lac. United with ivory black or vermilion, it forms black and red sealing wax. A solution with borax, colored by lampblack, constitutes Indian ink. Lac dissolved in alcohol or other menstrua, by different methods of preparation, constitutes various kinds of varnishes and lackers.NWAD LAC.2

    LACCIC, a. Pertaining to lac, or produced from it; as laccic acid.

    LACE, n. [L. laqueus.]

    1. A work composed of threads interwoven into a net, and worked on a pillow with spindles or pins. Fine laces are manufactured in France, Italy and England.NWAD LACE.2

    2. A string; a cord.NWAD LACE.3

    3. A snare; a gin.NWAD LACE.4

    4. A plaited string with which females fasten their clothes.NWAD LACE.5

    Doll ne’er was called to cut her lace.NWAD LACE.6

    LACE, v.t.

    1. To fasten with a string through eyelet holes.NWAD LACE.8

    When Jenny’s stays are newly laced -NWAD LACE.9

    2. To adorn with lace; as cloth laced with silver.NWAD LACE.10

    3. To embellish with variegations or stripes.NWAD LACE.11

    Look, love, what envious streaks.NWAD LACE.12

    Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east.NWAD LACE.13

    4. To beat; to lash; [probably to make stripes on.]NWAD LACE.14

    I’ll lace your coat for ye.NWAD LACE.15

    LACE-BARK, n. A shrub in the West Indies, the Daphue lagetto, so called from the texture of its inner bark.

    LACED, pp. Fastened with lace or a string; also, tricked off with lace.

    Laced coffee, coffee with spirits in it.NWAD LACED.2

    LACEMAN, n. A man who deals in lace.

    LACEWOMAN, n. A woman who makes or sells lace.

    LACERABLE, a. [See Lacerate.] That may be torn.

    LACERATE, v.t. [L. lacero, to tear.] To tear; to rend; to separate a substance by violence or tearing; as, to lacerate the flesh. It is applied chiefly to the flesh, or figuratively to the heart. But sometimes it is applied to the political or civil divisions in a state.

    LACERATE, LACERATED, pp. or a.

    1. Rent; torn.NWAD LACERATE.3

    2. In botany, having the edge variously cut into irregular segments; as a lacerated leaf.NWAD LACERATE.4

    LACERATION, n. The act of tearing or rending; the breach made by rending.

    LACERATIVE, a. Tearing; having the power to tear; as lacerative humors.

    LACERTINE, a. [L. lacertus.] Like a lizard.

    LACERTUS, n. The girroc, a fish of the gar-fish kind; also, the lizard-fish.

    LACHE, LACHES, n. [L. laxus, lax, slow.] In law, neglect; negligence.

    LACHRYMABLE, a. Lamentable.

    LACHRYMAL, a. [L. lachryma, a tear.]

    1. Generating or secreting tears; as the lachrymal gland.NWAD LACHRYMAL.2

    2. Pertaining to tears; conveying tears.NWAD LACHRYMAL.3

    LACHRYMARY, a. Containing tears.

    LACHRYMATION, n. The act of shedding tears.

    LACHRYMATORY, n. A vessel found in sepulchers of the ancients, in which it has been supposed the tears of a deceased person’s friends were collected and preserved with the ashes and urn. It was a small glass or bottle like a phial.

    LACING, ppr. Fastening with a string; adorned or trimmed with lace.

    LACINIATE, LACINIATED, a. [L. lacinia, a hem.]

    1. Adorned with fringes.NWAD LACINIATE.2

    2. In botany, jagged.NWAD LACINIATE.3

    LACK, v.t. [L. deliquium, which seems to be connected with linquo, to leave, to faint, and with liquo, to melt, liquid, etc.]

    1. To want; to be destitute of; not to have or possess.NWAD LACK.2

    If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask it of God - James 1:5.NWAD LACK.3

    2. To blame. [Not in use.]NWAD LACK.4

    LACK, v.i.

    1. To be in want.NWAD LACK.6

    The young lions do lack and suffer hunger. Psalm 34:10.NWAD LACK.7

    2. To be wanting.NWAD LACK.8

    Perhaps there shall lack five of the fifty righteous. Genesis 18:28.NWAD LACK.9

    LACK, n. Want; destitution; need; failure.

    He that gathered little, had no lack. Exodus 16:18.NWAD LACK.11

    Lack of rupees is one hundred thousand rupees, which at 55 cents each, amount to fifty five thousand dollars, or at 2s. 6d. sterling, to 12,500 pounds.NWAD LACK.12

    LACK-A-DAY, exclam. of sorrow or regret; alas.

    LACKBRAIN, n. One that wants brains, or is deficient in understanding.

    LACKER, LACQUER, n. A kind of varnish. The basis of lackers is a solution of the substance called seed-lack or shell-lack, in spirit of wine or alcohol. Varnishes applied to metals improve their color and preserve them from tarnishing.

    Lackers consist of different resins in a state of solution, of which the most common are mastick, sandarach, lack, benzoin, copal, amber, and asphalt. The menstrua are either expressed or essential oils, or spirit of wine.NWAD LACKER.2

    LACKER, v.t. To varnish; to smear over with lacker, for the purpose of improving color or preserving from tarnishing and decay.

    LACKERED, pp. Covered with lacker; varnished.

    LACKEY, n. [L. lego, to send.]

    An attending servant; a footboy or footman.NWAD LACKEY.2

    LACKEY, v.t. To attend servilely.

    LACKEY, v.i. To act as footboy; to pay servile attendance.

    Oft have I servants seen on horses ride, the free and noble lackey by their side.NWAD LACKEY.5

    LACKLINEN, a. Wanting shirts. [Little used.]

    LACKLUSTER, a. Wanting luster or brightness.

    LACONIC, LACONICAL, a. [L. laconicus, from Laconia or Lacomes, the Spartans.]

    1. Short; brief; pithy; sententious; expressing much in few words, after the manner of the Spartans; as a laconic phrase.NWAD LACONIC.2

    2. Pertaining to Sparta or Lacedemonia.NWAD LACONIC.3

    LACONICALLY, adv. Briefly; concisely; as a sentiment laconically expressed.

    LACONICS, n. A book of Pausanias, which treats of Lacedemonia.

    LACONISM, LACONICISM, n. [L. lacomismus.]

    1. A concise style.NWAD LACONISM.2

    2. A brief sententious phrase or expression.NWAD LACONISM.3

    LACTAGE, n. The produce of animals yielding milk.

    LACTANT, a. [L. lactans, from lacto, to give suck; lac, milk.] Suckling; giving suck. [Little used.]

    LACTARY, a. [L. lactarius, from lacto; lac, milk.]

    Milky; full of white juice like milk. [Little used.]NWAD LACTARY.2

    LACTARY, n. [L. lactarius.] A dairyhouse.

    LACTATE, n. In chimistry, a salt formed by the lactic acid, or acid of milk, with a base.

    LACTATION, n. [L. lacto, to give suck.] The act of giving suck; or the time of suckling.

    LACTEAL, a.

    1. Pertaining to milk.NWAD LACTEAL.2

    2. Conveying chyle; as a lacteal vessel.NWAD LACTEAL.3

    LACTEAL, n. A vessel or slender tube of animal bodies, for conveying chyle from the intestines to the common reservatory.

    LACTEOUS, a. [L. lacteus, from lac, milk.]

    1. Milky; resembling milk.NWAD LACTEOUS.2

    2. Lacteal; conveying chyle; as a lacteous vessel.NWAD LACTEOUS.3

    LACTESCENCE, n. [L. lactescens, lactescp, from lacto; lac, milk.]

    1. Tendency to milk; milkiness or milky color.NWAD LACTESCENCE.2

    2. In botany, milkiness; the liquor which flows abundantly from a plant, when wounded; commonly white, but sometimes yellow or red.NWAD LACTESCENCE.3


    1. Producing milk or white juice.NWAD LACTESCENT.2

    2. Abounding with a thick colored juice.NWAD LACTESCENT.3

    LACTIC, a. Pertaining to milk, or procured from sour milk or whey; as the lactic acid.

    LACTIFEROUS, a. [L. lac, milk, and fero, to bear.]

    1. Bearing or conveying milk or white juice; as a lactiferous duct.NWAD LACTIFEROUS.2

    2. Producing a thick colored juice; as a plant.NWAD LACTIFEROUS.3

    LACUNAR, n. [L.] An arched roof or ceiling.

    LACUNOUS, LACUNOSE, a. [L. lacunosus, from lacuna, a ditch or hollow.]

    Furrowed or pitted. A lacunose leaf has the disk depressed between the veins.NWAD LACUNOUS.2

    LAD, n. [Heb. to procreate or bear young.] A young man or boy; a stripling.

    LADANUM, n. The resinous juice which exsudes from the leaves of the Cistus ladanifera, a shrub which grows in Arabia, Candia, and other parts of the Archipelago. It is collected with a kind of rake, with leather thongs attached to it, with which the shrubs are brushed. The best sort is in dark-colored black masses, of the consistence of a soft plaster. The other sort is in long rolls coiled up, harder than the former, and of a paler color. It is chiefly used in external applications.

    LADDER, n.

    1. A frame of wood, consisting of two side pieces, connected by rounds inserted in them at suitable distances, and thus forming steps, by which persons may ascend a building, etc.NWAD LADDER.2

    2. That by which a person ascends or rises; means of ascending; as a ladder made of cords.NWAD LADDER.3

    Lowliness is young ambition’s ladder.NWAD LADDER.4

    3. Gradual rise; elevation.NWAD LADDER.5

    Mounting fast towards the top of the ladder ecclesiastical.NWAD LADDER.6

    LADE, v.t. pret. laded; pp. laded, laden.

    1. To load; to put on or in, as a burden or freight. We lade a ship with cotton. We lade a horse or other beast with corn.NWAD LADE.2

    And they laded their asses with the corn and departed thence. Genesis 42:26.NWAD LADE.3

    2. To dip; to throw in or out, as a fluid, with a ladle or dipper; as, to lade water out of a tub or into a cistern.NWAD LADE.4

    3. To draw water. [Not in use.]NWAD LADE.5

    LADE, n. The mouth of a river. Obs.

    LADED, LADEN, pp.

    1. Loaded; charged with a burden or freight.NWAD LADED.2

    2. a. Oppressed; burdened.NWAD LADED.3

    LADING, ppr. Loading; charging with a burden or freight; throwing or dipping out.

    LADING, n. That which constitutes a load or cargo; freight; burden; as the lading of a ship. Acts 27:10.

    LADKIN, n. A little lad; a youth. [Little used.]

    LADLE, n.

    1. A utensil somewhat like a dish, with a long handle, used for throwing or dipping out liquor from a vessel.NWAD LADLE.2

    2. The receptacle of a mill wheel, which receives the water which moves it.NWAD LADLE.3

    3. In gunnery, an instrument for drawing the charge of a cannon.NWAD LADLE.4

    LADLE-FUL, n. The quantity contained in a ladle.

    LADY, n.

    1. A woman of distinction. Originally, the title of lady was given to the daughters of earls and others in high rank, but by custom, the title belongs to any woman of genteel education.NWAD LADY.2

    2. A word of complaisance; used of women.NWAD LADY.3

    3. Mistress; the female who presides or has authority over a manor or a family.NWAD LADY.4

    LADY-BIRD, LADY-BUG, LADY-COW, LADY-FLY, n. A small red vaginopennous or sheath-winged insect.

    A coleopterous insect of the genus Coccinella.NWAD LADY-BIRD.2

    LADY’S BED-STRAW, n. A plant of the genus Galium.

    LADY’S BOWER, n. A plant of the genus Clematis.

    LADY’S COMB, n. A plant of the genus Scandix.

    LADY’S CUSHION, n. A plant of the genus Saxifraga.

    LADY’S FINGER, n. A plant of the genus Anthyllis.

    LADY’S MANTLE, n. A plant of the genus Alchemilla.

    LADY’S SEAL, n. A plant of the genus Tamus.

    LADY’S SLIPPER, n. A plant of the genus Cypripedium.

    LADY’S SMOCK, n. A plant of the genus Cardamine.

    LADY’S TRACES, n. A plant of the genus Ophrys.

    LADY-DAY, n. The day of the annunciation of the holy virgin, March 25th.

    LADY-LIKE, a.

    1. Like a lady in manners; genteel; well bred.NWAD LADY-LIKE.2

    2. Soft; tender; delicate.NWAD LADY-LIKE.3

    LADYSHIP, n. The title of a lady.

    LAG, a. [This word belongs to the root of slack, slow, sluggish, languish, long; Gr. See the Verb.]

    1. Coming after or behind; slow; sluggish; tardy.NWAD LAG.2

    2. Last; long delayed; as the lag end.NWAD LAG.3

    [This adjective is not now in use.]NWAD LAG.4

    LAG, n.

    1. The lowest class; the rump; the fag end.NWAD LAG.6

    2. He that comes behind. [Not in use.]NWAD LAG.7

    LAG, v.i. [Eng. to flag, and flacceo, langueo, to languish, etc. The sense is to extend or draw out, or to become lax or loose.]

    To walk or move slowly; to loiter; to stay behind.NWAD LAG.9

    I shall not lag behind.NWAD LAG.10

    LAGGARD, n. Slow; sluggish; backward. [Not used.]

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