Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



ABRIDGER, n. One who abridges; one who makes a compend.

ABRIDGING, ppr. shortening; lessening; depriving; debarring.


1. An epitome; a compend, or summary of a book.

2. Diminution; contraction; reduction - as an abridgment of expenses.

3. Deprivation; a debarring or restraint - as an abridgment of pleasures.

ABROACH, adv. [See Broach.]

Broached; letter out or yielding liquor, or in a posture for letting out; as a cask is abroach. Figuratively used by Shakespeare for setting loose, or in a state of being diffused, “Set mischief abroach;” but this sense is unusual.

ABROAD, adv. abrawd’. [See Broad.]

In a general sense, at large; widely; not confined to narrow limits. Hence,

1. In the open air.

2. Beyond or out of the walls of a house, as to walk abroad.

3. Beyond the limits of a camp. Deuteronomy 23:10

4. Beyond the bounds of a country; in foreign countries - as to go abroad for an education. We have broils at home and enemies abroad.

5. Extensively; before the public at large.

He began to blaze abroad the matter. Mark 1:45; Esther 1:17

6. Widely; with expansion; as a tree spreads its branches abroad.

ABROGATE, v.t. [L abrago, to repeal. from ab and rogo, to ask or propose. See the English reach. Class Rg.]

To repeal; to annul by an authoritative act; to abolish by the authority of the maker or his successor; applied to the repeal of laws, decrees, ordinances, the abolition of established customs etc.

ABROGATED, pp. Repealed; annulled by an act of authority.

ABROGATING, ppr. Repealing by authority; making void.

ABROGATION, n. The act of abrogating; a repeal of authority of the legislative power.

ABROOD, adv. [See Brood.] In the action of brooding. [Not in use.]

ABROODING, n. A sitting abrood. [Not in use.]

ABROOK, v.t. To brook, to endure. [Not in use. See Brook.]

ABROTANUM, n. A species of plant arranged under the Genus, Artemisia; called also southern wood.

ABRUPT, a. [L. abruptus, from abrumpo, to break off, of ab and rumpo. See Rupture.]

1. Literally, broken off, or broken short.


2. Steep, craggy; applied to rocks, precipices and the like.

3. Figuratively, sudden; without notice to prepare the mind for the event; as an abrupt entrance and address.

4. Unconnected; having sudden transitions from one subject to another; as an abrupt style.

5. In botany, an abrupt pinnate leaf is one which has neither leaflet, nor entril at the end.

ABRUPT, n. A chasm or gulf with steep sides. “Over the vast abrupt.” [This use of the word is infrequent.]

ABRUPTION, n. A sudden breaking off; a violent separation of bodies.

ABRUPTLY, adv. suddenly; without giving notice, or without the usual forms; as, the Minister left France abruptly.


1. A state of being broken; craggedness; steepness.

2. Figuratively, suddenness; unceremonious haste or vehemence.

ABSCESS, n. [L. abscessus, from ab and cedo, to go from.]

An imposthume. A collection of morbid matter, or pus in the cellular or adipose membrane; matter generated by the suppuration of an inflammatory tumor.

ABSCIND, vt. [L. abscindo.] To cut off. [Little used.]

ABSCISS, n. [L. abscissus, from ab and scindere, to cut; See Scissors.]

In conics, a part of the diameter, or transverse axis of a conic section, intercepted between the vertex or some other fixed point, and a semiordinate.

ABSCISSION, n. [See Absciss.]

1. A cutting off, or a begin cut off. In surgery, the separation of any corrupted or useless part of the body, by a sharp instrument; applied to the soft parts, as amputation is to the bones and flesh of a limb.

2. In rhetoric, a figure of speech, when having begun to say a thing, a speaker stops abruptly, as supposing the matter sufficiently understood. Thus, He is a man of so much honor and candor, and such generosity--but I need say no more.

ABSCOND, v.i. [L. abscondo, to hide, of abs and condo, to hide, i.e. to withdraw, or to thrust aside or into a corner or secret place.]

1. To retire from public view, or from the place in which one resides or is ordinarily to be found; to withdraw, or absent one’s self in a private manner; to be concealed; appropriately, used of persons who secrete themselves to avoid a legal process.

2. To hide, withdraw or be concealed; as “the marmot absconds in winter.” [Little used.]

ABSCONDER, n. One who withdraws from public notice, or conceals himself from public view.

ABSCONDING, ppr. Withdrawing privately from public view; as, an absconding debtor, who confines himself to his apartments, or absents himself to avoid the ministers of justice. In the latter sense, it is properly an adjective.

ABSENCE, n. [L. absens, from absum, abesse, to be away; ab and sum.]

1. A state of being at a distance in place, or not in company. It is used to denote any distance indefinitely, either in the same town, or country, or in a foreign country; and primarily supposes a prior presence. “Speak well of one in his absence.”

2. Want; destitution; implying no previous presence. “In the absence of conventional law.”

3. In law, non-appearance; a not being in court to answer.

4. Heedlessness; inattention to things present. Absence of mind is the attention of the mind to a subject which does not occupy the rest of the company, and which draws the mind from things or objects which are present, to others distant or foreign.


1. Not present; not in company; at such a distance as to prevent communication. It is used also for being in a foreign country.

A gentleman is absent on his travels.

Absent from one another. Genesis 31:49.

2. Heedless; inattentive to persons present, or to subjects of conversation in company.

An absent man is uncivil to the company.

3. In familiar language, not at home; as, the master of the house is absent. In other words, he does not wish to be disturbed by company.

ABSENT, v.t. To depart to such a distance as to prevent intercourse; to retire or withdraw; to forbear to appear in presence; used with the reciprocal pronoun.

Let a man absent himself from the company.

ABSENTEE, n. One who withdraws from his country, office or estate; one who removed to a distant place or to another counter.

ABSENTER, n. One who absents himself.

ABSENTMENT, n. A state of being absent.

ABSINTHIAN, a. [from absinthium.] Of the nature of wormwood.

ABSINTHIATED, a. Impregnated with wormwood.

ABSINTHIUM, n. Budaeus in his commentaries on Theophrast, supposes the word composed of a priv. delight, so named from its bitterness. But it may be an Oriental word.

The common wormwood; a bitter plant, used as a tonic. A species of Artemisia.

ABSIS, In astronomy. [See Apsis.]

ABSOLUTE, a. [L. absolutus. See Absolve.]

1. Literally, in a general sense, free, independent of any thing extraneous. Hence,

2. Complete in itself; positive; as an absolute declaration.

3. Unconditional, as an absolute promise.

4. Existing independent of any other cause, as God is absolute.

5. Unlimited by extraneous power or control, as an absolute government or prince.

6. Not relative, as absolute space.

In grammar, the case absolute, is when a word or member of a sentence is not immediately dependent on the other parts of the sentence in government.

Absolute equation, in astronomy, is the aggregate of the optic and eccentric equations. The apparent inequality of a planet’s motion in its orbit, arising from is unequal distances from the earth at different times, is called its optic equation; the eccentric inequality is caused by the uniformity of the planet’s motion, in an elliptical orbit, which, for that reason, appears not to be uniform.

Absolute numbers, in algebra, are such as have no letters annexed, as 2a+36=48. the two latter numbers are absolute or pure.

Absolute space, in physics, is space considered without relation to any other object.

Absolute gravity, in philosophy, is that property in bodies by which they are said to weigh so much, without regard to circumstances of modification, and this is always as the quantity of matter they contain.


1. Completely, wholly, as a thing is absolutely unintelligible.

2. Without dependence or relation; in a state unconnected

Absolutely we cannot discommend, we cannot absolutely approve, either willingness to live, or forwardness to die.

3. Without restriction or limitation; as God reigns absolutely.

4. Without condition, as God does not forgive absolutely, but upon condition of faith and repentance.

5. Positively, peremptorily, as command me absolutely not to go.

ABSOLUTENESS, n. Independence, completeness in itself.

2. Despotic authority, or that which is subject to no extraneous restriction, or control.

ABSOLUTION, n. In the civil law, an acquittal or sentence of a judge declaring an accused person innocent. In the canon law, a remission of sins pronounced by a priest in favor of a penitent. Among protestants, a sentence by which an excommunicated person is released from his liability to punishment.

ABSOLUTORY, a. Absolving; that absolves.

ABSOLVATORY, a. [from absolve.] Containing absolution, pardon, or release; having power to absolve.

ABSOLVE, v.t. abzolv’, [L. absolvo, from ab and solvo, to loose or release; to absolve, to finish; Heb. to loose or loosen. See Solve.]

To set free or release from some obligation, debt or responsibility; or from that which subjects a person to a burden or penalty; as to absolve a person from a promise; to absolve an offender, which amounts to an acquittal and remission of his punishment. Hence, in the civil law, the word was used for acquit; and in the canon law, for forgive, or a sentence of remission. In ordinary language, its sense is to set free or release from an engagement. Formerly, good writers used the word in the sense of finish, accomplish; as to absolve work, in Milton; but in this sense, it seems to be obsolete.

ABSOLVED, pp. Released; acquitted; remitted; declared innocent.

ABSOLVER, n. One who absolves; also one that pronounces sin to be remit.

ABSOLVING, ppr. Setting free from a debt, or charge; acquitting; remitting.

ABSONANT, a. [See Absonous.] Wide from the purpose; contrary to reason.

ABSONOUS, a. [L. absonus; ab and sonus, sound.] Unmusical or untunable.

ABSORB, v.t. [L. absorbeo, ab and sorbeo, to drink in; to draw or drink in; whence sirup, sherbet, shrub.]

1. To drink in; to suck up; to imbibe; as a spunge, or as the lacteals of the body.

2. To drink in, swallow up, or overwhelm with water, as a body in a whirlpool.

3. To waste wholly or sink in expenses; to exhaust; as, to absorb an estate in luxury.

4. To engross or engage wholly, as absorbed in study or the pursuit of wealth.

ABSORBABILITY, n. A state or quality of being absorbable.

ABSORBABLE, a. That may be imbibed or swallowed.

ABSORBED, ABSORPT, pp. Imbibed; swallowed; wasted; engaged; lost in study; wholly engrossed.

ABSORBENT, a. Imbibing; swallowing.

ABSORBENT, n. In anatomy, a vessel which imbibes, as the lacteals, lymphatics, and inhaling arteries. In medicine, a testaceous powder, or other substance, which imbibes the humors of the body, as chalk or magnesia.

ABSORBING, ppr. Imbibing; engrossing; wasting.


1. The act or process of imbibing or swallowing; either by water which overwhelms, or by substances, which drink in and retain liquids; as the absorption of a body in a whirlpool, or of water by the earth, or of the humors of the body by dry powders. It is used also to express the swallowing up of substances by the earth in chasms made by earthquakes, and the sinking of large tracts in violent commotions of the earth.

2. In chimistry, the conversion of a gaseous fluid into a liquid or solid, by union with another substance.

ABSORPTIVE, a. Having power to imbibe.

ABSTAIN, v.i. [L. abstineo, to keep from; abs and teneo, to hold. See Tenant.]

In a general sense, to forbear, or refrain from, voluntarily; but used chiefly to denote a restraint upon the passions or appetites; to refrain from indulgence.

Abstain from meats offered to idols. Acts 15:29.

To abstain from the use of ardent spirits; to abstain from luxuries.

ABSTEMIOUS, a. [L. abstemium, from abs and temetum, an ancient name of strong wine, according to Fabius and Gellius. But Vossius supposes it to be from abstineo, by a change of n to m. It may be from the root of timeo, to fear, that is, to withdraw.]

1. Sparing in diet; refraining from a free use of food and strong drinks.

Instances of longevity are chiefly among the abstemious.

2. Sparing in the enjoyment of animal pleasures of any kind. [This sense is less common, and perhaps not legitimate.]

3. Sparingly used, or used with temperance; belonging to abstinence; as an abstemious diet; an abstemious life.

ABSTEMIOUSLY, adv. Temperately; with a sparing use of meat or drink.

ABSTEMIOUSNESS, n. The quality of being temperate or sparing in the use of food and strong drinks.

This word expresses a greater degree of abstinence than temperance.

ABSTERGE, v.t. abstery’. [L. abstergeo, of abs and tergeo, to wipe. Tergeo may have a common origin with the Sw. torcka, G. trocknen, D. droogen, Sax. drygan, to dry; for these Teutonic verbs signify to wipe, as well as to dry.]

To wipe or make clean by wiping; to cleanse by resolving obstructions in the body. [Used chiefly as a medical term.]

ABSTERGENT, a. Wiping; cleansing.

ABSTERGENT, n. A medicine which frees the body from obstructions, as soap; but the use of the word is nearly superseded by detergent, which see.

ABSTERSION, n. [from L. abstergeo, abstersus.] The act of wiping clean; or a cleansing by medicines which resolve obstructions. [See Deterge, Detersion.]

ABSTERSIVE, a. Cleansing; having the quality of removing obstructions. [See Detersive.]

ABSTINENCE, n. [L. abstinentia. See Abstain.]

1. In general, the act or practice of voluntarily refraining from, or forbearing any action. “Abstinence from every thing which can be deemed labor.

More appropriately,

2. The refraining from an indulgence of appetite, or from customary gratifications of animal propensities. It denotes a total forbearance, as in fasting, or a forbearance of the usual quantity. In the latter sense, it may coincide with temperance, but in general, it denotes a more sparing use of enjoyments than temperance. Besides, abstinence implies previous free indulgence; temperance does not.

ABSTINENT, a. Refraining from indulgence, especially in the use of food and drink.

ABSTINENTLY, adv. With abstinence.

ABSTINENTS, a sect which appeared in France and Spain in the third century, who opposed marriage, condemned the use of flesh meat, and placed the Holy Spirit in the class of created beings.

ABSTRACT, v.t. [L. abstraho, to draw from or separate; from abs and traho, which is the Eng. draw. See Draw.]

1. To draw from, or to separate; as to abstract an action from its evil effects; to abstract spirit from any substance by distillation; but in this sense extract is now more generally used.

2. To separate ideas by the operation of the mind; to consider one part of a complex object, or to have a partial idea of it in the mind.

3. To select or separate the substance of a book or writing; to epitomize or reduce to a summary.

4. In chimistry, to separate, as the more volatile parts of a substance by repeated distillation, or at least by distillation.

ABSTRACT, a. [L. abstractus.]

1. separate; distinct from something else. An abstract idea, in metaphysics, is an idea separated from a complex object, or from other ideas which naturally accompany it, as the solidity of marble contemplated apart from its color or figure.

Abstract terms are those which express abstract ideas, as beauty, whiteness, roundness, without regarding any subject in which they exist; or abstract terms are the names of orders, genera, or species of things, in which there is a combination of similar qualities.

Abstract numbers are numbers used without application to things, as, 6, 8, 10: but when applied to anything, as 6 feet, 10 men, they become concrete.

Abstract or pure mathematics, is that which treats of magnitude or quantity, without restriction to any species of particular magnitude, as arithmetic and geometry; opposed to which is mixed mathematics, which treats of simple properties, and the relations of quantity, as applied to sensible objects, as hydrostatics, navigation, optics, etc.

2. Separate, existing in the mind only; as an abstract subject; an abstract question: and hence difficult, abstruse.


1. A summary, or epitome, containing the substance, a general view, or the principal heads of a treatise or writing.

2. Formerly, an extract, or a smaller quantity, containing the essence of a larger.

In the abstract, in a state of separation, as a subject considered in the abstract, i.e. without reference to particular persons or things.

ABSTRACTED, pp. Separated; refined; exalted; abstruse; absent in mind.

ABSTRACTEDLY, adv. In a separate state, or in contemplation only.

ABSTRACTEDNESS, n. The state of being abstracted.

ABSTRACTER, n. One who makes an abstract, or summary.

ABSTRACTING, ppr. Separating, making a summary.


1. The act of separating, or state of being separated.

2. The operation of the mind when occupied by abstract ideas; as when we contemplate some particular part, or property of a complex object, as separate from the rest. Thus, when the mind considers the branch of a tree by itself, or the color of the leaves, as separate from their size or figure, the act is abstraction. so also, when it considers whiteness, softness, virtue, existence, as separate from any particular objects.

The power which the understanding has of separating the combinations which are presented to it, is distinguished by logicians, by the name of abstraction.

Abstraction is the ground-work of classification, by which things are arranged in orders, genera, and species. We separate in idea the qualities of certain objects which are of the same kind, from others which are different in each, and arrange the objects having the same properties in a class, or collected body.

3. A separation from worldly objects, a recluse life; as a hermit’s abstraction.

4. Absence of mind; inattention to present objects.

5. In the process of distillation, the term is used to denote the separation of the volatile parts, which rise, come over, and are condensed in a receiver, from those which are fixed. It is chiefly used, when a fluid is repeatedly poured upon any substance in a retort, and distilled off, to change its state, or the nature of its composition.

ABSTRACTIVE, a. Having the power or quality of abstracting.

ABSTRACTIVE, a. Abstracted, or drawn from other substances,

ABSTRACTITIOUS particularly from vegetables, without fermentation.

ABSTRACTLY, adv. separately; absolutely; in a state or manner unconnected with any thing else; as, matter abstractly considered.

ABSTRACTNESS, n. A separate state; a state of being in contemplation only, or not connected with any object.

ABSTRUDE, v.t. [Infra.] To thrust or pull away. [Not used.]

ABSTRUSE, a. [L. abstrusus, from abstrudo, to thrust away, to conceal; abs and trudo; Eng. to thrust.] Hid; concealed; hence, remote from apprehension; difficult to be comprehended or understood; opposed to what is obvious. [Not used of material objects.]

Metaphysics is an abstruse science.

ABSTRUSELY, adv. In a concealed; hence, remote from apprehension; difficult to be comprehended or understood; opposed to what is obvious. [Not used of material objects.]

ABTRUSENESS, n. Obscurity of meaning; the state of quality of being difficult to be understood.

ABSURD, a. [L. absurdus, from ab and surdus, deaf, insensible.] Opposed to manifest truth; inconsistent with reason or the plain dictates of common sense. An absurd man acts contrary to the clear dictates of reason or sound judgement. An absurd proposition contradicts obvious truth. An absurd practice or opinion is repugnant to the reason or common apprehension of men. It is absurd to say six and six make ten, or that plants will take root in stone.


1. The quality of being inconsistent with obvious truth, reason, or sound judgment. Want of judgment, applied to men; want of propriety, applied to things.

2. That which is absurd; in this sense it has a plural; the absurdities of men.

ABSURDLY, adv. In a manner inconsistent with reason or obvious propriety.

ABSURDNESS, n. The same as absurdity, and less used.

ABUNDANCE, n. Great plenty; an overflowing quantity; ample sufficiency; in strictness applicable to quantity only; but customarily used of number, as an abundance of peasants.

In scripture, the abundance of the rich is great wealth. Ecclesiastes 5:12; Mark 12:44; Luke 21:4.

The abundance of the seas is great plenty of fish. Deuteronomy 33:19.

It denotes also fullness, overflowing, as the abundance of the heart. Matthew 12:34; Luke 6:45.

ABUNDANT, a. Plentiful; in great quantity; fully sufficient; as an abundant supply. In scripture, abounding; having in great quantity; overflowing with.

The Lord God is abundant in goodness and truth. Exodus 34:6.

Abundant number, in arithmetic, is one, the sum of whose aliquot parts exceeds the number itself. Thus 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, the aliquot parts of 12, make the sum of 16. This is opposed to a deficient number, as 14, whose aliquot parts are 1, 2, 7, the sum of which is 10; and to a perfect number, which is equal to the sum of its aliquot parts, as 6, whose aliquot parts are 1, 2, 3.

ABUNDANTLY, adv. Fully; amply; plentifully; in a sufficient degree.

ABUSAGE, n. Abuse. [Not used.]

ABUSE, v.t. s as z. [L. abutor, abusus of ab and utor, to use; Gr. to accustom. See Use.]

1. To use ill; to maltreat; to misuse; to use with bad motives or to wrong purposes; as, to abuse rights or privileges.

They that use this world as not abusing it. 1 Corinthians 7:31

2. To violate; to defile by improper sexual intercourse.

3. To deceive; to impose on.

Nor be with all these tempting words abused.

4. To treat rudely, or with reproachful language; to revile.

He mocked and abused them shamefully.

5. To pervert the meaning of; to misapply; as to abuse words.

ABUSE, n. Ill use; improper treatment or employment; application to a wrong purpose; as an abuse of our natural powers; an abuse of civil rights, or of religious privileges; abuse of advantages, etc.

Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty, as well as by the abuses of power.

2. A corrupt practice or custom, as the abuses of government.

3. Rude speech; reproachful language addressed to a person; contumely; reviling words.

4. Seduction.

After the abuse he forsook me.

5. Perversion of meaning; improper use or application; as an abuse of words.

ABUSED, pp. s as z. Ill-used; used to a bad purpose; treated with rude language; misemployed; perverted to bad or wrong ends; deceived; defiled; violated.

ABUSEFUL, a. Using or practicing abuse; abusive. [Not used.]

ABUSER, n. s as z. One who abuses, in speech or behavior; one that deceives; a ravisher; a sodomite. 1 Corinthians 6:9

ABUSING, ppr. s as z. Using ill; employing to bad purposes; deceiving; violating the person; perverting.

ABUSION, n. abu’zhon. Abuse; evil or corrupt usage; reproach. [Little used.]


1. Practicing abuse; offering harsh words, or ill treatment; as an abusive author; an abusive fellow.

2. Containing abuse, or that is the instrument of abuse, as abusive words; rude; reproachful. In the sense of deceitful, as an abusive treaty. [Little used.]

ABUSIVELY, adv. In an abusive manner; rudely; reproachfully.

ABUSIVENESS, n. Ill-usage; the quality of being abusive; rudeness of language, or violence to the person.

ABUT, v.i. To border upon; to be contiguous to; to meet; in strictness, to adjoin to at the end; but this distinction has not always been observed. The word is chiefly used in describing the bounds or situation of land, and in popular language, is contracted into but, as butted and bounded.


1. The head or end; that which unites one end of a thing to another; chiefly used to denote the solid pier or mound of earth, stone or timber, which is erected on the bank of a river to support the end of a bridge and connect it with the land.

2. That which abuts or borders on another.

ABUTTAL, n. The butting or boundary of land at the end; a head-land.

ABY, v.t. or i. [Probably contracted from abide.] To endure; to pay dearly; to remain. Obs.