Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary




U is the twenty first letter and the fifth vowel in the English Alphabet. The sound seems to be nearly that of eu, shortened and blended. This sound however is not precisely that of eu or yu, except in a few words, as in unite, union, uniform; the sound does not begin with the distinct sound of e, nor end in the distinct sound of oo, unless when prolonged. It cannot be well expressed in letters. This sound is heard in the unaffected pronunciation of annuity, numerate, brute, mute, dispute, duke, true, truth, rule, prudence, opportunity, infusion.

Some modern writers make a distinction between the sound of u, when it follows r, as in rude, truth, and its sound when it follows other letters, as in mute, duke; making the former sound equivalent to oo; rood, trooth; and the latter a diphthong equivalent to eu or yu. This is a mischievous innovation, and not authorized by any general usage either in England or the United States. The difference, very nice indeed, between the sound of u in mute, and in rude, is owing entirely to the articulation which precedes that letter. For example, when a labial precedes u, we enter on its sound with the lips closed, and in opening them to the position required for uttering u, there is almost necessarily a slight sound of e formed before we arrive at the proper sound of u. When r precedes u, the mouth is open before the sound of u is commenced. But in both cases, u is to be considered as having the same sound.

In some words, as in bull, full, pull, the sound of u is that of the Italian u, the French ou, but shortened. This is a vowel.

U has another short sound, as in tun, run, sun, turn, rub. This also is a vowel.

UBEROUS, a. [L. uber.] Fruitful; copious. [Little used.]

UBERTY, n. [L. ubertas, from uber, fruitful or copious.] Abundance; fruitfulness. [Little used.]

UBICATION, UBIETY, n. [L. ubi, where.] The state of being in a place; local relation. [Not much used.]

UBIQUITARINESS, n. Existence every where. [Little used.]

UBIQUITARY, a. [L. ubique, from ubi. where.]

Existing every where, or in all places.

UBIQUITARY, n. [supra.] One that exists every where.

UBIQUITY, n. [L. ubique, every where.] Existence in all places or every where at the same time; omnipresence. The ubiquity of God is not disputed by those who admit his existence.

UDDER, n. [Gr.]

The breast of a female; but the word is applied chiefly or wholly to the glandular organ of female breasts, in which the milk is secreted and retained for the nourishment of their young, commonly called the bag, in cows and other quadrupeds.

UDDERED, a. Furnished with udders.

UGLILY, adv. In an ugly manner; with deformity.

UGLINESS, n. [from ugly.]

1. Total want of beauty; deformity of person; as old age and ugliness.

2. Turpitude of mind; moral depravity; lothesomeness.

Their dull ribaldry must be offensive to any one who does not, for the sake of the sin, pardon the ugliness of its circumstances.

UGLY, a. [See Hack.]

Deformed; offensive to the sight; contrary to beauty; hateful; as an ugly person; an ugly face.

O I have pass’d a miserable night, so full of ugly sights, of ghastly dreams.

Fellow, begone; I cannot bear thy sight; this news hath made thee a most ugly man.

UKASE, n. In Russia, a proclamation or imperial order published.

ULCER, n. [L. ulcus; Gr.]

A sore; a solution of continuity in any of the soft parts of the body, attend with a secretion of pus or some kind of discharge. Ulcers on the lungs are seldom healed.

ULCERATE, v.i. To be formed into an ulcer; to become ulcerous.

ULCERATE, v.t. [L. ulcero.] To affect with an ulcer or with ulcers.

ULCERATED, pp. Affected with ulcers.

ULCERATING, ppr. Turning to an ulcer; generating ulcers.

ULCERATION, n. [L. ulceratio.]

1. The process of forming into an ulcer, or the process of becoming ulcerous.

2. An ulcer; a morbid sore that discharges pus or other fluid.

ULCERED, a. Having become an ulcer.


1. Having the nature or character of an ulcer; discharging purulent or other matter.

2. Affected with an ulcer or with ulcers.

ULCEROUSNESS, n. The state of being ulcerous.

ULCUSLE, n. [L. ulcusculum, from ulcus.] A little ulcer.

ULE-TREE, n. In botany the Castilla, a genus of trees, whose milky juice yields that king of elastic gum, called by the Mexicans ule.

ULIGINOUS, a. [L. uliginosus, from uligo, ooziness.]

Muddy; oozy; slimy.

ULLAGE, n. In commerce, the wantage of casks of liquor, or what a cask wants of being full.

ULMIN, n. [L. ulmus, elm.] A substance obtained from the elm tree, of very singular properties. It resembles gum, but is hard of a black color, and considerably bitter. In its original state it is soluble in water, and insoluble in alcohol or ether; but when nitric or oxymuriatic acid is poured into its solution, it changes into a resinous substance no longer soluble in water, but soluble in alcohol.

A substance originally obtained in the state of an exsudation from the elm; but it is found to be a constituent of the bark of almost all trees.

ULNAGE. [See Alnage, Aunage.]

ULNAR, a. [L. ulna.] Pertaining to the ulna or cubit; as the ulnar nerve.

ULTERIOR, a. [L. comparative.]

1. Further; as ulterior demands; ulterior propositions. What ulterior measures will be adopted is uncertain.

2. In geography, being or situated beyond or on the further side of any line or boundary; opposed to citerior, or hither.

ULTIMATE, a. [L. ultimus, furthest.]

1. Furthest; most remote; extreme. We have not yet arrived at the ultimate point of progression.

2. Final; being that to which all the rest is directed, as to the main object. The ultimate end of our actions should be the glory of God, or the display of his exalted excellence. The ultimate end and aim of men is to be happy, and to attain to this end, we must yield that obedience which will honor the law and character of God.

3. Last in a train of consequences; intended in the last resort.

Many actions apt to procure fame, are not conductive to this our ultimate happiness.

4. Last; terminating; being at the furthest point.

5. The last into which a substance can be resolved; constituent.

ULTIMATELY, adv. Finally; at last; in the end of last consequence. Afflictions often tend to correct immoral habits, and ultimately prove blessings.


1. In diplomacy, the final propositions, conditions or terms offered as the basis of a treaty; the most favorable terms that a negotiator can offer, and the rejection of which usually puts an end to negotiation. It is sometimes used in the plural, ultimata.

2. Any final proposition or condition.

ULTIMITY, n. the last stage or consequence. [Little used.]

ULTRAMARINE, a. [L. ultra, beyond, and marinus, marine.]

Situated or being beyond the sea.

ULTRAMARINE, n. [supra.]

1. a beautiful and durable sky-blue; a color formed of the mineral called lapis lazuli, and consisting of little else than oxyd of iron.

2. Azure-stone.

Ultramarine ashes, a pigment which is the residuum of lapis lazuli, after the ultramarine has been extracted. Their appearance is that of the ultramarine, a little tinged with red, and diluted with white.

ULTRAMONTANE, a. [L. ultra and montanus, from mons, mountain.]

Being beyond the mountain. Thus France, with regard to Italy, is an ultramontane country.

Bouffin is the only ultramontane painter whom the Italians seem to envy.

ULTRAMUNDANE, a. [L. ultra and mundus, world.]

Being beyond the world, or beyond the limits of our system.

ULTRONEOUS, a. [L. ultro, of one’s own accord.] Spontaneous; voluntary. [Not used.]

ULULATE, v.i. [L. ululo, to howl.] to how, as a dog or wolf.

ULULATION, n. a howling, as of the wolf or dog.

UMBEL, n. [L. umbella, a screen or fan.]

In botany, a particular mode of inflorescence or flowering, which consists of a number of flower-stalks or rays, nearly equal in length, spreading from a common center, their summits forming a level, convex, or even globose surface, more rarely a concave one, as in the carrot. it is simple or compound; in the latter, each peduncle bears another little umbel, umbellet or umbellicle.

Umbel is sometimes called a rundle, from its roundness.

UMBELLAR, a. Pertaining to an umbel; having the form of an umbel.

UMBELLATE, UMBELLATED, a. Bearing umbels; consisting of an umbel; growing on an umbel; as umbellate plants or flowers.

UMBELLET, UMBELLICLE, n. A little or partial umbel.

UMBELLIFEROUS, a. [L. umbella and fero, to bear.]

Producing the inflorescence called an umbel; bearing umbels; as umbelliferous plants.

UMBER, n. In natural history, an ore of iron, a fossil of a brown, yellowish, or blackish brown color, so called from Ombria in Italy, where it was first obtained. It is used in painting. A specimen from Cyprus afforded, of a hundred parts, 48 parts of oxyd of iron, 20 of oxyd of manganese, the remainder silex, alumin and water.

UMBER, n. A fowl of Africa, called the African crow.

The Scopus umbretta, a fowl of the grallic order, inhabiting Africa.

UMBER, n. A fish of the truttaceous kind, called the grayling, or thymallus; a fresh water fish of a fine taste.
UMBER, v.t. To color with umber; to shade or darken.

UMBERED, a. [L. umbra, a shade.]

1. Shaded; clouded.

2. [from umber.] Painted with umber.

UMBILIC, n. [infra.] The navel; the center.

UMBILIC, UMBIL’ICAL, a. [L. umbilicus, the navel.] Pertaining to the navel; as umbilical vessels; umbilical region.

Umbilical points, in mathematics, the same as foci.

Umbilical vessels, in vegetables, are the small vessels which pass from the heart of the seed into the side seed-lobes, and are supposed to imbibe the saccharine, farinaceous or oily matter which is to support the new vegetable in its germination and infant growth.

UMBILICATE, UMBILICATED, a. Navel-shaped; formed in the middle like a navel; as a flower, fruit, or leaf.

UMBLES, n. The entrails of a deer. [See also Humbles.]

UMBO, n. [L.] The boss or protuberant part of a shield.

UMBOLDILITE, n. [from Humboldt.] A newly discovered Vesuvian mineral, whose primitive form is a right rectangular prism, with a square base, its color brown, inclining to yellowish or greenish yellow.

UMBRA, n. A fish caught in the Mediterranean, generally about 12 or 14 inches long, but sometimes growing to the weight of 60 pounds. It is called also thromis and corvo.

UMBRAGE, n. [L. umbra, a shade.]

1. A shade; a screen of trees; as the umbrage of woods.

2. Shadow; shade; slight appearance.

The opinion carries no show of truth nor umbrage of reason on its side. [See Shadow.]

3. Suspicion of injury; offense; resentment. The court of France took umbrage at the conduct of spain.


1. Shading; forming a shade; as umbrageous trees or foliage.

2. Shady; shaded; as an umbrageous grotto or garden.

Umbrageous grots, and caves of cool recess.

3. Obscure.

UMBRAGEOUSNESS, n. Shadiness; as the umbrageousness of a tree.

UMBRATE, v.t. [L. umbro, to shade.] To shade; to shadow. [Little used.]

UMBRATED, pp. Shaded; shadowed.

UMBRATIC, UMBRATICAL, a. [L. umbraticus.]

1. Shadowy; typical.

2. Keeping in the shade or at home.

UMBRATILE, a. [L. umbratilis.]

1. Being in the shade.

2. Unreal; unsubstantial.

3. Being in retirement; secluded; as an umbratile life. [Little used.]

UMBRATIOUS, a. [See Umbrage.] Suspicious; apt to distrust; captious; disposed to take umbrage. [Little used.]

UMBREL, UMBRELLA, n. [from L. umbra, shade.] A shade, screen or guard, carried in the hand for sheltering the person from the rays of the sun, or from rain or snow. It is formed of silk, cotton or other cloth extended on strips of elastic whalebone, inserted in or fastened to a rod or stick. [See Parasol.]

UMBRIERE, n. The visor of a helmet.

UMBROSITY, n. [L. umbrosus.] Shadiness. [Little used.]

UMPIRAGE, n. [from umpire.]

1. The power, right or authority of an umpire to decide.

2. The decision of an umpire.

UMPIRE, n. [L. imperium, contracted, as in empire.]

1. A third person called in to decide a controversy or question submitted to arbitrators, when the arbitrators do not agree in opinion.

2. A person to whose sole decision a controversy or question between parties is referred. Thus the emperor of Russia was constituted umpire between Great Britain and the United States, to decide the controversy respecting the slaves carried from the states by the British troops.

UMPIRE, v.t. To arbitrate; to decide as umpire; to settle, as a dispute. [Little used.]

UN, a prefix or inseparable preposition, un or on, usually un, an, is the same word as the L. in. It is a particle of negation, giving to words to which it is prefixed, a negative signification. We use un or in indifferently for this purpose; and the tendency of modern usage is to prefer the use of in, in some words, where un was formerly used. Un admits of no change of n into l, m or r, as in does, in illuminate, immense, irresolute. It is prefixed generally to adjectives and participles, and almost at pleasure. In a few instances, it is prefixed to verbs, as in unbend, unbind, unharness. As the compounds formed with un are so common and so well known, the composition is not noticed under the several words. For the etymologies, see the simple words.

UNABASED, a. Not abased; not humbled.

UNABASHED, a. Not abashed; not confused with shame, or by modesty.

UNABATED, a. Not abated; not diminished in strength or violence. The fever remains unabated.

UNABBREVIATED, a. Not abbreviated; not shortened.

UNABETTED, a. Not abetted; not aided.

UNABILITY, UNABLENESS, n. Want of ability. [Not used. We use inability.]

UNABJURED, a. Not abjured; not renounced on oath.


1. Not able; not having sufficient strength or means; impotent; weak in power, or poor in substance. A man is unable to rise when sick; he is unable to labor; he is unable to support his family or to purchase a farm; he is unable for a particular enterprise.

2. Not having adequate knowledge or skill. A man is unable to paint a good likeness; he is unable to command a ship or an army.

UNABOLISHABLE, a. Not abolishable; that may not be abolished, annulled or destroyed.

UNABOLISHED, a. Not abolished; not repealed or annulled; remaining in force.

UNABRIDGED, a. Not abridged; not shortened.

UNABROGATED, a. Not abrogated; not annulled.

UNABSOLVED, a. s as z. Not absolved; not acquitted or forgiven.

UNABSORBABLE, a. Not absorbable; not capable of being absorbed.

UNABSORBED, a. Not absorbed; not imbibed.

UNACCELERATED, a. Not accelerated; not hastened.

UNACCENTED, a. Not accented; having no accent; as an unaccented syllable.

UNACCEPTABLE, a. Not acceptable; not pleasing; not welcome; not such as will be received with pleasure.

UNACCEPTABLENESS, n. The state of not pleasing.

UNACCEPTABLY, adv. In an unwelcome or unpleasing manner.

UNACCEPTED, a. Not accepted or received; rejected.

UNACCESSIBLE, a. Inaccessible. [This latter word is now used.]

UNACCESSIBLENESS, n. State of not being approachable; inaccessibleness.

[The latter is word now used.]


1. Not accommodated; not furnished with external conveniences.

2. Not fitted or adapted.

UNACCOMMODATING, a. Not accommodating; not ready to oblige; uncompliant.


1. Not attended; having no attendants, companions or followers.

2. Having no appendages.


1. Not accomplished; not finished; incomplete.

2. Not refined in manners; not furnished with elegant literature or with polish of manners.

UNACCOMPLISHMENT, n. Want of accomplishment or execution.

UNACCORDING, a. Not according; not agreeing.

UNACCOUNTABILITY, n. The state or quality of not being accountable; or the state of being unaccountable for.


1. Not to be accounted for. Such folly is unaccountable.

2. Not explicable; not to be solved by reason or the light possessed; not reducible to rule. The union of soul and body is to us unaccountable.

3. Not subject to account or control; not subject to answer; not responsible.


1. Strangeness.

2. Irresponsibility.

UNACCOUNTABLY, adv. In a manner not to be explained; strangely.

UNACCREDITED, a. Not accredited; not received; not authorized. The minister or the consul remained unaccredited.

UNACCURATE, a. Inaccurate; not correct or exact. [But inaccurate is now used.]