Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary




D, in the English alphabet, is the fourth letter and the third articulation. It holds the same place in the English, as in the Chaldee, Syriac, Hebrew, Samaritan, Greek and Latin alphabets. In the Arabic, it is the eighth; in the Russian, the fifth; and in the Ethiopic, the nineteenth letter.

D is a dental articulation, formed by placing the end of the tongue against the gum just above the upper teeth. It is nearly allied to T, but is not so close a letter, or rather it does not interrupt the voice so suddenly as T, and in forming the articulation, there is a lingual and nasal sound, which has induced some writers to rank D among the lingual letters. It has but one sound, as in do, din, bad; and is never quiescent in English words, except in a rapid utterance of such words as handkerchief.

As a numeral, D represents five hundred, and when a dash or stroke is placed over it, thus D, it denotes five thousand.

As an abbreviation, D stands for Doctor; as M.D. Doctor of Medicine; D.T. Doctor of Theology, or S.T.D. Doctor of Sacred Theology; D.D. Doctor of Divinity, or dono dedit.

DA CAPO. In music, these words signify that the first part of the tune is to be repeated from the beginning.

DAB, v.t.

1. To strike gently with the hand; to slap; to box.

2. To strike gently with some soft or moist substance; as, to dab a sore with lint.

DAB, n.

1. A gentle blow with the hand.

2. A small lump or mass of any thing soft or moist.

3. Something moist or slimy thrown on one.

4. In law language, an expert man. [See Dabster.]

5. A small flat fish, of the genus Pleuronectes, of a dark brown color.

DABCHICK, n. [dab or dip and chick.] A small water-fowl.

DABBLE, v.t. [Heb. tabal, or from the root of dip. See Dip.] Literally, to dip a little or often; hence, to wet; to moisten; to spatter; to wet by little dips or strokes; to sprinkle.

DABBLE, v.i.

1. To play in water; to dip the hands, throw water and splash about; to play in mud and water.

2. To do any thing in a slight or superficial manner; to tamper; to touch here and there.

You have, I think, been dabbling with the text. Atterbury.

3. To meddle; to dip into a concern.


1. One who plays in water or mud.

2. One who dips slightly into any thing; one who meddles, without going to the bottom; a superficial meddler; as a dabbler in politics.

DABBLING, ppr. Dipping superficially or often; playing in water, or in mud; meddling.

DABSTER, n. One who is skilled; one who is expert; a master of his business.

DACE, n. A fish, the Cyprinus leuciscus; a small river fish, resembling the roach.

DACTYL, n. [Gr. A finger; L. probably a shoot.] A poetical foot consisting of three syllables, the first long, and the others short, like the joints of a finger; as, tegmine, carmine.

DACTYLAR, a. Pertaining to a dactyl; reducing from three to two syllables.

DACTYLET, n. A dactyl.

DACTYLIC, a. Pertaining to or consisting of dactyls; as dactylic verses; a dactylic flute, a flute consisting of unequal intervals.

DACTYLIST, n. One who writes flowing verse.

DACTYLOLOGY, n. The act or the art of communicating ideas or thoughts by the fingers. Deaf and dumb persons acquire a wonderful dexterity in this art.

DAD, DADDY, n. Father; a word used by infants, from whom it is taken. The first articulations of infants or young children are dental of labial; dental, in tad, dad, and labial, in mamma, papa.

DADDLE, v.i. To walk with tottering, like a child or an old man.

DADE, v.t. To hold up by leading strings.

DADO, n. The plain part of a column between the base and the cornice; the die; a cubical base of a column.

DAEDAL, a. [Gr., an ingenious artist.]

1. Various; variegated.

2. Skilful.

DAEDALIAN, [See Dedalian.]

DAFF, DAFFE, A stupid blockish fellow.

DAFF, v.t. To daunt.
DAFF, v.t. To toss aside; to put off.

DAFFODIL, n. A plant of the genus Narcissus, of several species. These have a bulbous root, and beautiful flowers of various colors, white, yellow and purple.

DAG, n. A dagger; a hand-gun; a pistol.

DAG, n. Dew.
DAG, n.

1. a loose end, as of locks of wool; called also dag-locks.

2. A leather latchet.

DAG, v.t.

1. To daggle.

2. To cut into slips.


1. A short sword; a poniard.

2. In fencing schools, a blunt blade of iron with a basket hilt, used for defense.

3. With printers, and obelisk, or obelus, a mark of reference in the form of a dagger.

DAGGER, v.t. To pierce with a dagger; to stab.

DAGGERS-DRAWING, n. The act of drawing daggers; approach to open attack or to violence; a quarrel.

DAGGLE, v.t. To trail in mud or wet grass; to befoul; to dirty, as the lower end of a garment.

DAGGLE, v.i. To run through mud and water.

DAGGLED, pp. Dipped or trailed in mud or foul water; befouled.

DAGGLE-TAIL, a. Having the lower ends of garments defiled with mud.

DAGGLING, ppr. Drawing along in mud or foul water.

DAG-SWAIN, n. A kind of carpet.

DAG-TAILED, a. The same as daggle-tail; trailed in mud.

DAILY, a. Happening or being every day; done day by day; bestowed or enjoyed every day; as daily labor; a daily allowance.

Give us this day our daily bread. [Lord’s Prayer]

DAILY, adv. Every day; day by day; as, a thing happen daily.


1. Nicely; elegantly; as a hat daintily made.

2. Nicely; fastidiously; with nice regard to what is well tasted; as, to eat daintily.

3. Deliciously; as, to fare daintily.

4. Ceremoniously; scrupulously.


1. Delicacy; softness; elegance; nicety; as the daintiness of the limbs.

2. Delicacy; deliciousness; applied to food; as the daintiness of provisions.

3. Nicety in taste; squeamishness; fastidiousness; as the daintiness of the taste.

4. Ceremoniousness; scrupulousness; nice attention to manners.

DAINTREL, n. A delicacy.


1. Nice; pleasing to the palate; of exquisite taste; delicious; as dainty food.

2. Delicate; of acute sensibility; nice in selecting what is tender and good; squeamish; soft; luxurious; as a dainty taste or palate; a dainty people.

3. Scrupulous in manners; ceremonious.

4. Elegant; tender; soft; pure; neat; effeminately beautiful; as dainty hands or limbs.

5. Nice; affectedly fine; as a dainty speaker.


1. Something nice and delicate to the taste; that which is exquisitely delicious; a delicacy.

Be not desirous of dainties, for they are deceitful meat. Proverbs 23:3

2. A term of fondness.

Why, that’s my dainty. Shak.


1. Milk, and all that concerns it, on a farm; or the business of managing milk, and of making butter and cheese. The whole establishment respecting milk, in a family, or on a farm.

2. The place, room or house, where milk is set for cream, managed, and converted into butter or cheese.

3. Milk-farm.

DAIRYHOUSE, DAIRYROOM, n. A house or room appropriated to the management of milk.

DAIRYMAID, n. A female servant whose business is to manage milk.

DAISIED, a. Full of daisies; adorned with daisies.

DAISY, n. A plant of the genus Bellis, of several varieties. The blue daisy belongs to the genus Globularia, as does the globe daisy; the greater or ox-eye daisy belongs to the genus Chrysanthemum; and the middle daisy, to the Doronicum.

DAKER-HEN, n. A fowl of the gallinaceous kind, somewhat like a patridge or quail. The corn-crake or land-rail, a bird of the grallic order of Linne.

DAKIR, n. In English statutes, ten hides, or the twentieth part of a last of hides.

DALE, n. A low place between hills; a vale or valley.


1. Literally, delay; a lingering; appropriately, acts of fondness; interchange of caresses; toying, as males and females; as youthful dalliance.

2. Conjugal embraces; commerce of the sexes.

3. Delay.

DALLIER, n. One who fondles; a trifler; as a dallier with pleasant words.

DALLY, v.i.

1. Literally, to delay; to linger; to wait. Hence.

2. To trifle; to lose time in idleness and trifles; to amuse one’s self with idle play.

It is madness to dally any longer. Calamy.

3. To toy and wanton, as man and woman; to interchange caresses; to fondle.

4. To sport; to play.

She dallies with the wind. Shak.

DALLY, v.t. To delay; to defer; to put off; to amuse till a proper opportunity; as, to dally off the time.

DALLING, ppr. Delaying; procrastinating; trifling; wasting time in idle amusement; toying; fondling.

DAM, n.

1. A female parent; used of beasts, particularly of quadrupeds.

2. A human mother, in contempt.

3. A crowned man in the game of draughts.

DAM, n. A mole, bank or mound of earth, or any wall, or a frame of wood, raised to obstruct a current of water, and to raise it, for the purpose of driving millwheels, or for other purposes. Any work that stops and confines water in a pond or bason, or causes it to rise.
DAM, v.t.

1. To make a dam, or to stop a stream of water by a bank of earth, or by any other work; to confine or shut in water. It is common to use, after the verb, in, up, or out; as, to dam in, or to dam up, the water, and to dam out is to prevent water from entering.

2. To confine or restrain from escaping; to shut in.

DAMAGE, n. [This word seems to be allied to the Greek, a fine or mulet.]

1. Any hurt, injury or harm to one’s estate; any loss of property sustained; any hinderance to the increase of property; or any obstruction to the success of an enterprise. A man suffers damage by the destruction of his corn, by the burning of his house, by the detention of a ship which defeats a profitable voyage, or by the failure of a profitable undertaking. Damage then is any actual loss, or the prevention of profit. It is usually and properly applied to property, but sometimes to reputation and other things which are valuable. But in the latter case, injury is more correctly used.

2. The value of what is lost; the estimated equivalent for detriment or injury sustained; that which is given or adjudged to repair a loss. This is the legal signification of the word. It is the province of a jury to assess damages in trespass. In this sense, the word is generally used in the plural.

DAMAGE, v.t. To hurt or harm; to injure; to impair; to lessen the soundness, goodness or value of. Rain may damage corn or hay; a storm may damage a ship; a house is often damaged by fire, when it is not destroyed; heavy rains damage roads.
DAMAGE, v.i. To receive harm; to be injured or impaired in soundness, or value; as, green corn will damage in a mow or stack.

DAMAGE-FEASANT, a. Doing injury; trespassing, as cattle.


1. That may be injured or impaired; susceptible of damage; as damageable goods.

2. Hurtful; pernicious.

DAMAGED, pp. Hurt; impaired; injured.

DAMAGING, ppr. Injuring; impairing.


1. A particular kind of plum, now pronounced damson, which see.

2. It may be locally applied to other species of plums.


1. A silk stuff, having some parts raised above the ground, representing flowers and other figures; originally from Damascus.

2. A kind of wrought linen, made in Flanders, in imitation of damask silks.

3. Red color, from the damask-rose.

Damask-steel, is a fine steel from the Levant, chiefly from Damascus, used for sword and cutlas blades.

DAMASK, v.t.

1. To form flowers on stuffs; also, to variegate; to diversify; as, a bank damasked with flowers.

2. To adorn steel-work with figures. [See Damaskeen.]

DAMASK-PLUM, n. A small black plum.

DAMASK-ROSE, n. A species of rose which is red, and another which is white.

DAMASKEN or DAMASKEEN, v.t. To make incisions in iron, steel, etc., and fill them with gold or silver wire, for ornament; used chiefly for adorning swordblades, guards, locks of pistols, etc.

DAMASKEENED, pp. Carved into figures and inlaid with gold or silver wire.

DAMASKEENING, ppr. Engraving and adorning with gold or silver wire inlaid.

DAMASKEENING, n. The act or art of beautifying iron or steel, by engraving and inlaying it with gold or silver wire. This art partakes of the mosaic, of engraving, and of carving. Like the mosaic, it has inlaid work; like engraving, it cuts the metal into figures; and as in chasing, gold and silver is wrought in relievo.

DAMASKIN, n. A saber, so called from the manufacture of Damascus.

DAME, n. [Gr., to subdue] Literally, a mistress; hence, a lady; a title of honor to a woman. It is now generally applied to the mistress of a family in the common ranks of life; as is its compound, madam. In poetry, it is applied to a woman of rank, In short, it is applied with propriety to any woman who is or has been the mistress of a family, and it sometimes comprehends women in general.

DAME’S-VIOLET or DAME-WORT, n. A plant of the genus Hesperis; called also queen’s gilliflower, or rocket. It is remarkable for its fragrant odor, and ladies are fond of having it in their apartments.

DAMIANISTS, in church history, a sect who denied any distinction in the Godhead; believing in one single nature, yet calling God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

DAMN, v.t.

1. To sentence to eternal torments in a future state; to punish in hell.

2. To condemn; to decide to be wrong or worthy of punishment; to censure; to reprobate.

He that doubteth is damned if he eat. Romans 14:23.

3. To condemn; to explode; to decide to be bad, mean, or displeasing, be hissing or any mark of disapprobation; as, to damn a play, or a mean author.

4. A word used in profaneness; a term of execration.


1. That may be damned or condemned; deserving damnation; worthy of eternal punishment. More generally, that which subjects or renders liable to damnation.

As damnable heresies. 2 Peter 2:1.

2. In a low or ludicrous sense, odious, detestable, or pernicious.

DAMNABLENESS, n. The state or quality of deserving damnation.


1. In a manner to incur eternal punishment, or so as to exclude mercy.

2. In a low sense, odiously; detestably; sometimes, excessively.


1. Sentence or condemnation to everlasting punishment in the future state; or the state of eternal torments.

How can ye escape the damnation of hell. Matthew 23:33

2. Condemnation.

DAMNATORY, a. Containing a sentence of condemnation.


1. Sentenced to everlasting punishment in a future state; condemned.

2. a. Hateful; detestable; abominable;

A word chiefly used in profaneness by persons of vulgar manners.

DAMNIFIC, a. Procuring loss; mischievous.

DAMNIFIED, pp. Injured; endamaged.


1. To cause loss or damage to; to hurt in estate or interest; to injure; to endamage; as, to damnify a man in his goods or estate.

2. To hurt; to injure; to impair; applied to a person.

DAMNIFYING, ppr. Hurting; injuring; impairing.


1. Dooming to endless punishment; condemning.

2. a. That condemns or exposes to damnation; as a damning sin.

DAMNINGNESS, n. Tendency to bring damnation.

DAMP, a.

1. Moist; humid; being in a state between dry and wet; as a damp cloth; damp air; sometimes, foggy; as, the atmosphere is damp; but it may be damp without visible vapor.

2. Dejected; sunk; depressed; chilled.

DAMP, n.

1. Moist air; humidity; moisture; fog.

2. Dejection; depression of spirits; chill. We say, to strike a damp, or to cast a damp, on the spirits.

3. Damps. plu. Noxious exhalations issuing from the earth, and deleterious or fatal to animal life. These are often known to exist in wells, which continue long covered and not used, and in mines and coal-pits; and sometimes they issue from the old lavas of volcanoes. These damps are usually the carbonic acid gas, vulgarly called choke-damp, which instantly suffocates; or some inflammable gas, called fire-damp.

DAMP, v.t.

1. To moisten; to make humid, or moderately wet.

2. To chill; to deaden; to depress or deject; to abate; as, to damp the spirits; to damp the ardor of passion.

3. To weaken; to make dull; as, to damp sound.

4. To check or restrain, as action or vigor; to make languid; to discourage; as, to damp industry.

DAMPED, pp. Chilled; depressed; abated; weakened; checked; discouraged.


1. That which damps or checks; a valve or sliding plate in a furnace to stop or lessen the quantity of air admitted, and thus to regulate the heat or extinguish the fire.

2. A part of a piano-forte, by which the sound is deadened.

DAMPING, ppr. Chilling; deadening; dejecting; abating; checking; weakening.

DAMPISH, a. Moderately damp, or moist.

DAMPISHNESS, n. A moderate degree of dampness, or moistness; slight humidity.

DAMPNESS, n. Moisture; fogginess; moistness; moderate humidity; as the dampness of the air, of the ground, or of a cloth.

DAMPS, n. [See Damp.]

DAMPY, a. Dejected; gloomy.

DAMSEL, n. A young woman. Formerly, a young man or woman of noble or genteel extraction; as Damsel Pepin; Damsel Richard, prince of Wales. It is now used only of young women, and is applied to any class of young unmarried women, unless to the most vulgar, and sometimes to country girls.

With her train of damsels she was gone. Dryden.

Then Boaz said, whose damsel is this? Ruth 2:5.

This word is rarely used in conversation, or even in prose writings of the present day; but it occurs frequently in the scriptures, and in poetry.

DAMSON, n. The fruit of a variety of the Prunus domestica; a small black plum.

DAN, n. A title of honor equivalent to master; used by Shakespeare, Prior, etc., but now obsolete.

DANCE, v.i.

1. Primarily, to leap or spring; hence, to leap or move with measured steps, regulated by a tune, sung or played on a musical instrument; to leap or step with graceful motions of the body, corresponding with the sound of the voice or an instrument.

There is a time to mourn, and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:4.

2. To leap and frisk about; to move nimbly or up and down.

To dance attendance, to wait with obsequiousness; to strive to please and gain favor by assiduous attentions and officious civilities; as, to dance attendance at court.

DANCE, v.t. To make to dance; to move up and down, or back and forth; to dandle; as, to dance a child on the knee.

1. In general sense, a leaping and frisking about. Appropriately, a leaping or stepping with motions of the body adjusted to the measure of a tune, particularly by two or more in concert. A lively brisk exercise or amusement, in which the movements of the persons are regulated by art, in figure, and by the sound of instruments, in measure.

2. A tune by which dancing is regulated, as the minuet, the waltz, the cotillon, etc.

DANCER, n. One who practices dancing, or is skilful in the performance.

DANCING, ppr. Leaping and stepping to the sound of the voice or of an instrument; moving in measured steps; frisking about.

DANCING-MASTER, n. One who teaches the art of dancing.

DANCING-SCHOOL, n. A school in which the art of dancing is taught.

DANDELION, n. A well known plant of the genus Leontodon, having a naked stalk, with one large flower.

DANDIPRAT, n. A fellow; an urchin; a word of fondness or contempt.

DANDLE, v.t.

1. To shake or jolt on the knee, as an infant; to move up and down in the hand; literally, to amuse by play.

Ye shall be dandled on her knees. Isaiah 66:12.

2. To fondle; to amuse; to treat as a child; to toy with.

I am ashamed to be dandled thus. Addison.

3. To delay; to protract by trifles.

DANDLED, pp. Danced on the knee, or in the arms; fondled; amused by trifles or play.

DANDLER, n. One who dandles or fondles children.