Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



ABET, v.t. [Sax. betan, gebatan; properly to push forward, to advance; hence to amend, to revive, to restore, to make better; and applied to fire, to increase the flame, to excite, to promote. Hence to aid by encouraging or instigating. Hence in Saxon, “Na bete nan man that fyr.” Let no man bet, [better, excite] the fire, LL. Ina. 78.]

1. To encourage by aid or countenance, but now used chiefly in a bad sense. “To abet an opinion,” in the sense of support, is used by Bishop Cumberland; but this use is hardly allowable.

2. In law, to encourage, counsel, incite or assist in a criminal act.

ABET, n. The act of aiding or encouraging in a crime. [Not used.]

ABETMENT, n. The act of abetting.

ABETTED, pp. Incited, aided, encouraged to a crime.

ABETTING, ppr. Counselling, aiding or encouraging to a crime.

ABETTOR, n. One who abets, or incites, aids or encourages another to commit a crime. In treason, there are no abettors; all persons concerned being principals.

ABEVACUATION, n. [ab and evacuation.]

In medicine, a partial evacuation of morbid humors of the body, either by nature or art.

ABEYANCE, n. pron. abayance. [Norm. abbaiaunce, or abaizance, in expectation; boyance, expectation. Qu. Fr. bayer, to gape, to look a long time with the mouth open; to stand looking in a silly manner. See Bay.]

In expectation or contemplation of law. The fee simple or inheritance of lands and tenements is in abeyance, when there is no person in being in whom it can vest; so that it is in a state of expectancy or waiting until a proper person shall appear. Thus if land is leased to a man for life, remainder to another for years, the remainder for years is in abeyance, till the death of the lessee, for life.

ABHOR, v.t. [L abhorreo, of ab and horreo, to set up bristles, shiver or shake; to look terrible.]

1. To hate extremely, or with contempt; to lothe, detest or abominate.

2. To despise or neglect. Psalm 22:24; Amos 6:8.

3. To cast off or reject. Psalm 89:38.

ABHORRED, pp. Hated extremely, detested.

ABHORRENCE, n. Extreme hatred, detestation, great aversion.


1. Hating, detesting, struck with abhorrence.

2. Contrary, odious, inconsistent with, expressive of extreme opposition, as, “Slander is abhorrent to all ideas of justice.” In this sense, it should be always followed by to - abhorrent from is not agreeable to the English idiom.

ABHORRENTLY, adv. With abhorrence.

ABHORRER, n. One who abhors.

ABHORRING, ppr. Having great aversion, detesting. As a noun, it is used in Isaiah 66:24, for the object of hatred - “An abhorring to all flesh.”

ABIB, n. [Heb. swelling, protuberant. To produce the first or early fruit; a full grown ear of corn.]

The first month of the Jewish ecclesiastical year, called also Nisan. It begins at the spring equinox, and answers to the latter part of March and beginning of April. Its name is derived from the full growth of wheat in Egypt, which took place anciently, as it does now, at that season.

ABIDE, v.i. pert. and part. abode.

[Ar. abada, to be, or exist, to continue; W. bod, to be; to dwell, rest, continue, stand firm, or be stationary for anytime indefinitely. Class Bd. No. 7.]

1. To rest, or dwell. Genesis 29:19.

2. To tarry or stay for a short time. Genesis 24:55.

3. To continue permanently or in the same state; to be firm and immovable. Psalm 119:90.

4. To remain, to continue. Acts 27:31; Ecclesiastes 8:15.

ABIDE, v.t.

1. To wait for; to be prepared for; to await.

Bonds and afflictions abide me. Acts 20:23.

[For is here understood.]

2. To endure or sustain.

To abide the indignation of the Lord. Jeremiah 10:10.

3. To bear or endure; to bear patiently. “I cannot abide his impertinence.”

This verb when intransitive, is followed by in or at before the place, and with before the person. “Abide with me - at Jerusalem or in this land.” Sometimes by on, the sword shall abide on his cities; and in the sense of wait, by far, abide for me. Hosea 3:3. Sometimes by by, abide by the crib. Job 39:9.

In general, abide by signifies to adhere to, maintain defend, or stand to, as to abide by a promise, or by a friend; or to suffer the consequences, as to abide by the event, that is, to be fixed or permanent in a particular condition.

ABIDER, n. One who dwells or continues.

ABIDING, ppr. Dwelling; remaining; continuing; enduring; awaiting.

ABIDING, n. Continuance; fixed state; residence; an enduring.

ABIDINGLY, adv. In a manner to continue; permanently.

ABILITY, n. [L. habilitas, ableness, fitness, from habeo, to have or hold.]

1. Physical power, whether bodily or mental; natural or acquired; force of understanding; skill in arts or science. Ability is active power, or power to perform; as opposed to capacity, or power to receive. In the plural, abilities is much used in a like sense; and also for faculties of the mind, and acquired qualifications.

2. Riches, wealth, substance, which are the means, or which furnish the power, of doing certain acts.

They gave after their ability to the work. Ezra 2:69.

3. Moral power, depending on the will - a metaphysical and theological sense.

4. Civil or legal power, the power or right to do certain things, as an ability to transfer property or dispose of effects - ability to inherit. It is opposed to disability.

ABINTESTATE, a. [L. ab and intestatus - dying without a will, from in and tester, to bear witness; W. tyst; Arm. test, witness. See Test and Testify.]

In the civil law, inheriting the estate of one dying without a will.

ABJECT, v.t. To throw away; to cast out. Obs.

ABJECT, a. [L. abjectus, from abjicio, to throw away, from ab and jacio, to throw.]

1. Sunk to a low condition; applied to persons or things. Hence.

2. Worthless, mean, despicable, low in estimation, without hope or regard.

ABJECT, n. A person in the lowest condition and despicable. Psalm 35:15.

ABJECTEDNESS, n. A very low or despicable condition. [Little used.]

ABJECTION, n. A state of being cast away, hence a low state; meanness of spirit; baseness.

ABJECTLY, adv. In a contemptible manner; meanly; servilely.

ABJECTNESS, n. The state of being abject; meanness; servility.

ABJURATION, n. [See Abjure.]

1. The act of abjuring; a renunciation upon oath; as “an abjuration of the realm,” by which a person swears to leave the country, and never to return. It is used also for the oath of renunciation. Formerly in England, felons, taking refuge in a church, and confessing their guilt, could not be arrested and tried, but might save their lives by abjuring the realm; that is by taking an oath to quit the kingdom forever.

2. A rejection or denial with solemnity; a total abandonment; as “an abjuration of heresy.”

ABJURRATORY, a. Containing abjuration.

ABJURE, v.t. [L. abjuro, to deny upon oath, from ab and juro, to swear.]

1. To renounce upon oath; to abandon; as to abjure allegiance to a prince.

2. To renounce or reject with solemnity; to reject; as to abjure errors; abjure reason.

3. To recant or retract.

4. To banish. [Not used.]

ABJURED, pp. Renounced upon oath; solemnly recanted.

ABJURER, n. One who abjures.

ABJURING, ppr. Renouncing upon oath; disclaiming with solemnity.

ABLACTATE, v.t. [L. ablacto; from ab and lac, milk.] to wean from the breast. [Little used.]

ABLACTATION, n. [L. ab and lae, milk. Lacto, to suckle.]

1. In medical authors, the weaning of a child from the breast.

2. Among ancient gardeners, a method of grafting in which the cion was not separated from the parent stock, till it was firmly united to that in which it was inserted. This is now called grafting by approach or inarching. [See Graft.]

ABLAQUEATION, [L. ablaqueatio, from ab and laquear, a roof or covering.]

A laying bare the roots of trees to expose them to the air and water - a practice among gardeners.

ABLATION, n. [L. ab and latio, a carrying.]

A carrying away. In medicine, the taking from the body whatever is hurtful; evacuations in general. In chimistry, the removal of whatever is finished or no longer necessary.

ABLATIVE, a. [L. ablativus; L. ablatus, from aufero, to carry away, of ab and fero.]

A word applied to the sixth case of nouns in the Latin language, in which case are used words when the actions of carrying away, or taking from, are signified.

Ablative absolute, is when a word in that case, is independent, in construction, of the rest of the sentence.

ABLE, a. a’bl. [L. habitis]

1. Having physical power sufficient; having competent power or strength, bodily or mental; as a man able to perform military service - a child is not able to reason on abstract subjects.

2. Having strong or unusual powers of mind, or intellectual qualifications; as an able minister.

Provide out of all Israel able men. Exodus 18:21, 25.

3. Having large or competent property; or simply have property, or means.

Every man shall give as he is able. Deuteronomy 16:17.

4. Having competent strength or fortitude.

He is not able to sustain such pain or affliction.

5. Having sufficient knowledge or skill.

He is able to speak French.

She is not able to play on the piano.

6. Having competent moral power or qualifications.

An illegitimate son is not able to take by inheritance.

ABLE-BODIED, a. Having a sound strong body, or a body of competent strength for service. In marine language, it denotes skill in seamanship.

ABLEN, ABLET, n. A small fresh water fish, the bleak.

ABLENESS, n. Ability of body or mind; force; vigor; capability.

ABLEPSY, n. Want of sight; blindness.

ABLER, and ABLEST, Comp. and superl. of able.

ABLOCATE, v.t. [L. abloco, ab and loco, to let our.] To let out; to lease.

ABLOCATION, n. A letter to hire.

ABLUDE, v.t. [L. abludo, ab and ludo, to play.]

To be unlike; to differ. [Not used.]

ABLUENT, a. [L. abluo, to wash away; ab and luo, or lavo, to wash.]

Washing clean; cleansing by water or liquids. [Little used except as a noun.]

ABLUENT, n. In medicine, that which thins, purifies or sweetens the blood. [See Diluent and Abstergent.]

ABLUTION, n. [L. ablutio, from ab and luo or lavo to wash.]

1. In a general sense, the act of washing; a cleansing or purification by water.

2. Appropriately, the washing of the body as a preparation for religious duties, enjoined by Moses and still practiced in many countries.

3. In chimistry, the purification of bodies by the affusion of a proper liquor, as water to dissolve salts.

4. In medicine, the washing of the body externally as by baths; or internally, by diluting fluids.

5. Pope has used ablution for the water used in cleansing.

6. The cup given to the laity without consecration, in popish churches.

ABLY, adv. In an able manner; with great ability.

ABNEGATE, v.t. To deny. [Not used.]

ABNEGATION, n. [L. abnego, to deny, from ab and nego; Eng. nay; L. nee, not.] A denial; a renunciation; self-denial.

ABNEGATOR, n. One who denies, renounces, or opposes any thing.

ABNODATION, n. [L. abnodo; ab and nodus, a knot.] The act of cutting away the knots of trees.

ABNORMITY, n. [L. abnormis, irregular; ab and norma, a rule.] Irregularity; deformity. [Little used.]

ABNORMOUS, a. [L. abnormis, supra.] Irregular; deformed. [Little used.]

ABOARD, adv. [a and board. See Board.] Within a ship, vessel, or boat.

1. To go aboard, to enter a ship, to embark.

2. To fall aboard, to strike a ship’s side.

3. Aboard main tack, an order to draw a corner of the main-sail down to the chess-tree.

ABODANCE, n. [from bode.] An omen. [Not used.]

ABODE, pret. of abide

ABODE, n. [See Abide.]

1. Stay; continuance in a place; residence for a longer or shorter time.

2. A place of continuance; a dwelling; a habitation.

3. To make abode, to dwell or reside.

ABODE, v.t. [See Bode.] To foreshow.
ABODE, v.i. To be an omen.

ABODEMENT, n. [from body.] A secret anticipation of something future.

ABODING, n. Presentiment; prognostication.

ABOLISH, v.t. [L. abolco; from ab and oleo, olesco, to grow.]

1. To make void; to annul; to abrogate; applied chiefly and appropriately to established laws, contracts, rites, customs and institutions - as to abolish laws by a repeal, actual or virtual.

2. To destroy, or put an end to; as to abolish idols. Isaiah 2:18. To abolish death. 2 Timothy 1:10. This sense is not common. To abolish posterity, in the translation of Pausanias, Lib. 3. Ca. 6, is hardly allowable.

ABOLISHABLE, a. That may be annulled, abrogated, or destroyed, as a law, rite, custom, etc.

ABOLISHED, pp. annulled; repealed; abrogated, or destroyed.

ABOLISHER, n. One who abolishes.

ABOLISHING, ppr. Making void; annulling; destroying.

ABOLISHMENT, n. The act of annulling; abrogation; destruction.

ABOLITION, n. abolishun. The act of abolishing; or the state of being abolished; an annulling; abrogation; utter destruction; as the abolition of laws, decrees, ordinances, rites, customs, debts, etc.

The application of this word to persons and things, is now unusual or obsolete. To abolish persons, canals and senses, the language of good writers formerly, is no longer legitimate.

ABOMINABLE, a. [See Abominate.]

1. Very hateful; detestable; lothesome.

2. This word is applicable to whatever is odious to the mind or offensive to the senses.

3. Unclean. Leviticus 7:21.

ABOMINABLENESS, n. The quality or state of being very odious; hatefulness.


1. Very odiously; detestably; sinfully. 1 Kings 21:2, 11.

2. In vulgar language, extremely, excessively.

ABOMINATE, v.t. [L. abomino, supposed to be formed by ab and omen; to deprecate as ominous; may the Gods avert the evil.]

To hate extremely; to abhor; to detest.

ABOMINATED, pp. Hated utterly, detested; abhorred.

ABOMINATING, ppr. Abhorring; hating extremely.


1. Extreme hatred; detestation.

2. The object of detestation, a common signification in scripture.

The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord. Proverbs 15:9.

3. Hence, defilement, pollution, in a physical sense, or evil doctrines and practices, which are moral defilements, idols and idolatry, are called abominations. The Jews were an abomination to the Egyptians; and the sacred animals of the Egyptians were an abomination to the Jews. The Roman army is called the abomination of desolation. Matthew 24:13. In short, whatever is an object of extreme hatred, is called an abomination.

ABORD, n. [Fr. See Border.] Literally, arrival, but used for first appearance, manner of accosting, or address, but not an English word.

ABORD, v.t. To accost. [Not in use.]

ABOREA, n. A species of duck, called by Edwards, the black-bellied whistling duck. This fowl is of a reddish brown color, with a sort of crest on its head; the belly is spotted with black and white. It belongs to the genus, anas.

ABORIGINAL, a. [L. ab and origo, origin. See Origin.]

First; original; primitive; aboriginal people are the first inhabitants of a country.

Aboriginal tribes of America.

ABORIGINAL, a. an original, or primitive inhabitant. The first settlers in a country are called aboriginals; as the Celts in Europe, and Indians in America.

ABORININES, n. plur. Aboriginals - but not an English word.

It may be well to let it pass into disuse. [See Aboriginal.]

ABORSEMENT, n. abors’ment. [See Abort.]

Abortion. [Not in use.]

ABORT, v.i. [L. aborto; ab and ortus, orior.]

To miscarry in birth. [Not in use.]

ABORT, n. An abortion. [Not in use.]

ABORTION, n. [L. abortio, a miscarriage; usually deduced from ab and orior.]

1. The act of miscarrying, or producing young before the natural time, or before the fetus is perfectly formed.

2. In a figurative sense, any fruit or produce that does not come to maturity, or any thing which fails in its progress, before it is matured or perfect, as a design or project.

3. The fetus brought forth before it is perfectly formed.


1. Brought forth in an immature state; failing, or coming to naught, before it is complete.

2. Failing in its effect; miscarrying; producing nothing; as an abortive scheme.

3. Rendering abortive; as abortive gulf, in Milton, but not legitimate.

4. Pertaining to abortion; as abortive vellum, made of the skin of an abortive calf.

5. In botany, an abortive flower is one which falls without producing fruit.

ABORTIVE, n. That which is brought forth or born prematurely. [Little used.]

ABORTIVELY, adv. Immaturely; in an untimely manner.

ABORTIVENESS, n. The state of being abortive; a failing in the progress to perfection or maturity; a failure of producing the intended effect.

ABORTMENT, n. An untimely birth.

ABOUND, v.i. [L. abundo. If this word is from L. unda, a wave, the latter has probably lost its first consonant. Abound may naturally be deduced from the Celtic. L. fons, a fountain.]

1. To have or possess in great quantity; to be copiously supplied; followed by with or in; as to abound with provisions; to abound in good things.

2. To be in great plenty; to be very prevalent.

Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Romans 5:20

ABOUNDING, ppr. Having in great plenty; being in great plenty, being very prevalent; generally prevailing.

ABOUNDING, n. Increase.

ABOUT, prep. [Gr. butan, without, [see but,] literally, around, on the outside.]

1. Around; on the exterior part or surface.

Bind them about thy neck. Proverbs 3:3; Isaiah 50:11. Hence,

2. Near to in place, with the sense of circularity.

Get you up from about the tabernacle. Numbers 16:24.

3. Near to in time.

He went out about the third hour. Matthew 20:3.

4. Near to, in action, or near to the performance of some act.

Paul was about to open his mouth. Acts 18:14.

They were about to flee out of the ship. Acts 27:30.

5. Near to the person; appended to the clothes. Every thing about him is in order. Is your snuff box about you? From nearness on all sides, the transition is easy to a concern with. Hence,

6. Concerned in, engaged in, relating to, respecting.

I must be about my father’s business. Luke 2:49. The painter is not to take so much pains about the drapery as about the face

What is he about?

7. In compass or circumference; two yards about the trunk.

ABOUT, adv.

1. Near to in number or quantity.

There fell that day about three thousand men. Exodus 32:28.

2. Near to in quality or degree; as about as high, or as cold.

3. Here and there; around; in one place and another.

Wandering about from house to house. 1 Timothy 5:13

4. round, or the longest way, opposed to across, or the shortest way. A mile about, and half a mile across.

To bring about, to bring to the end; to effect or accomplish a purpose.

To come about, to change or turn; to come to the desired point. In a like sense, seamen say go about, when a ship changes her course and goes on the other tack.

Ready about, about ship, are orders for tacking.

To go about, signifies to enter upon; also to prepare; to seek the means.

Why go ye about to kill me. John 7:19.

ABOVE, prep.

1. Literally, higher in place.

The fowls that fly above the earth. Genesis 1:20.

2. Figuratively, superior in any respect.

I saw a light above the brightness of the Sun, Acts 26:13.

The price of a virtuous woman is above rubies, Proverbs 31:10.

3. More in number or quantity.

He was seen by above five hundred brethren at once, 1 Corinthians 15:6.

The weight is above a tun.

4. More in degree; in a greater degree.

Hannaniah feared God above many. Nehemiah 7:2.

The serpent is cursed above all cattle. Genesis 3:14.

5. Beyond; in excess.

In stripes above measure. 2 Corinthians 11:23.

God will not suffer you to be tempted above what ye are able, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

6. Beyond; in a state to be unattainable; as things above comprehension.

7. Too proud for.

This man is above his business.

8. Too elevated in mind or rank; having too much dignity for; as

This man is above mean actions.

9. It is often used elliptically, for heaven, or the celestial regions.

Let not God regard it from above, Job 3:4.

The powers above.

10. In a book or writing, it denotes before or in a former place, as what has been said above; supra. This mode of speaking originated in the ancient manner of writing, on a strip of parchment, beginning at one end and proceeding to the other. The beginning was the upper end.

ABOVE, adv.

1. Overhead; in a higher place.

2. Before.

3. Chief in rank or power. Deuteronomy 28:1.

Above all is elliptical; above all considerations; chiefly; in preference to other things.

4. Above board; above the board or table; in open sight; without trick, concealment or deception. This expression is said by Johnson to be borrowed from gamesters, who, when they change their cards, put their hands under the table.

ABOVE-CITED, Cited before, in the preceding part of a book or writing.

ABOVE-GROUND, Alive, not buried.

ABOVE-MENTIONED, Mentioned before. A. Bp. Abbrev. for Archbishop.

ABRACADABRA, The name of a deity worshipped by the Syrians: a cabalistic word. The letters of his name, written on paper, in the form of an inverted cone, were recommended by Samonicus as an antidote against certain diseases.

ABRADE, v.t. [L. abrado, to scrape, from rado.]

To rub or wear off; to waste by friction; used especially to express the action of sharp, corrosive medicines, in wearing away or removing the mucus of the membranes.

ABRADED, pp. Rubbed or worn off; worn; scraped.

ABRADING, ppr. Rubbing off; wearing.

ABRAHAMIC, a. Pertaining to Abraham, the patriarch, as Abrahamic Covenant.

ABRASION, n. abra’zhun. The act of wearing or rubbing off; also substance worn off by attrition.

ABREAST, adv. abrest’, [from a and breast.]

1. Side by side; with the breasts in a line.

Two men rode abreast.

2. In marine language, ships are abreast when their heads are equally advanced; and they are abreast of objects when the objects are on a line with the beam. - Hence,

Opposite; against; on a line with - as a ship was abreast of Montauk point - A seaman’s phrase.

ABRIDGE, v.t. abridj’, [G. short, or its root, from the root of break or a verb of that family.]

1. To make shorter; to epitomize; to contract by using fewer words, yet retaining the sense in substance - used of writings.

Justin abridged the history of Trogus Pompeius.

2. To lessen; to diminish; as to abridge labor; to abridge power of rights.

3. To deprive; to cut off from; followed by of; as to abridge one of his rights, or enjoyments. to abridge from, is now obsolete or improper.

4. In algebra, to reduce a compound quantity or equation to its more simple expression. The equation thus abridged is called a formula.

ABRIDGED, pp. Made shorter; epitomized; reduced to a smaller compass; lessened; deprived.