Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
ACRASE — ADDER-FLY
1. To make crazy; to infatuate. [Not in use.] [See Crazy.]
2. To impair; to destroy. [Not in use.]
ACRASY, n. [Gr. from a priv. constitution or temperament.]
In medical authors, an excess or predominancy of one quality above another, in mixture, or in the human constitution.
ACRE, n. a’ker. [Gr; Lat. ager. In these languages, the word retains its primitive sense, an open, plowed, or sowed field. In Eng. it retained its original signification, that of any open field, until it was limited to a definite quantity by statutes 31. Ed. 35 Ed 1.24. H. 8]
1. A quantity of land, containing 160 square rods or perches or 4840 square yards. This is the English statute acre. The acre of Scotland contains 6150 2-5 square yards. The French arpent is nearly equal to the Scottish acre, about a fifth larger than the English. The Roman juger was 3200 square yards.
2. In the Mogul’s dominions, acre is the same as lack, or 100,00 rupees, equal to 12,500 sterling, or $55,500.
Acre-fight, a sort of duel in the open field, formerly fought by English and Scotch combatants on their frontiers.
Acre-tax, a tax on land in England, at a certain sum for each acre, called also acre-shot.
ACRED, a. Possessing acres or landed property.
ACRID, a. [L. accr.]
Sharp; pungent; bitter; sharp or biting to the taste; acrimonious; as acrid salts.
ACRIDNESS, n. A sharp, bitter, pungent quality.
1. Sharp; bitter; corrosive; abounding with acrimony.
2. Figuratively, sharpness or severity of temper; bitterness of expression proceeding from anger, ill-nature, or petulance.
ACRIMONIOUSLY, adv. With sharpness or bitterness.
ACRISY, n. [Gr. a priv., judgment.]
A state or condition of which no right judgment can be formed; that of which no choice is made; matter in dispute; injudiciousness. [Little used.]
An acrid quality; bitterness to the taste; biting heat.
ACROAMATIC, a. [Gr. to hear.]
Abstruse; pertaining to deep learning; an epithet applied to the secret doctrines of Aristotle.
ACROATIC, a. [Gr.]
Abstruse; pertaining to deep learning; and opposed to exoteric. Aristotle’s lectures were of two kinds, acroatic, acroamatic, or esoteric, which were delivered to a class of select disciples, who had been previously instructed in the elements of learning; and exoteric, which were delivered in public. The former respected being, God, and nature; the principal subjects of the latter were logic, rhetoric, and policy. The abstruse lectures were called acroatics.
ACROCERAUNIAN, a. [Gr. a summit, and thunder.]
An epithet applied to certain mountains between Epirus and Illyricum, in the 41st degree of latitude. They project into the Adriatic, and are so termed from being often struck with lightning.
ACROMION, n. [Gr. highest, and shoulder.]
In anatomy, that part of the spine of the scapula, which receives the extreme part of the clavicle.
ACRONIC, a. [Gr. extreme and night.]
ACRONICAL, In astronomy, a term applied to the rising of a star at sun set, or its setting at sun rise. This rising or setting is called acronical. The word is opposed to cosmical.
ACRONICALLY, adv. In an acronical manner; at the rising or setting of the sun.
ACROSPIRE, n. [Gr. highest, a spire, or spiral line.]
A shoot, or sprout of a seed; the plume, or plumule, so called from its spiral form.
ACROSPIRED, a. having a sprout, or having sprouted at both ends.
1. From side to side, opposed to along, which is in the direction of the length; athwart; quite over; as, a bridge is laid across a river.
2. Intersecting; passing over at any angle; as a line passing across another.
ACROSTIC, n. [Gr extremity or beginning, order, or verse.]
A composition in verse, in which the first letter of the lines, taken in order, form the name of a person, kingdom, city, etc., which is the subject of the composition, or some title or motto.
ACROSTIC, a. That relates to, or contains an acrostic.
ACROSTICALLY, adv. In the manner of an acrostic.
ACROTELEUTIC, n. [Gr. extreme, and end.]
Among ecclesiastical writers, an appellation given to any thing added to the end of a psalm, or hymn; as a doxology.
ACROTER, n. [Gr. a summit.]
In architecture, a small pedestal, usually with out a base, anciently placed at the two extremes, or in the middle of pediments or frontispieces, serving to support the statues, etc. It also signifies the figures placed as ornaments on the tops of churches, and the sharp pinnacles that stand in ranges about flat buildings with rails and balusters. Anciently the word signified the extremities of the body, as the head, hands, and feet.
ACROTHYMION, n. [Gr. extreme, and thyme.]
Among physicians, a species of wart, with a narrow basis and broad top, having the color of thyme. It is call Thymus.
ACT, v.i. [Gr., Lat. to urge, drive, lead, bring, do, perform, or in general to move, to exert force.]
1. To exert power; as, the stomach acts upon food; the will acts upon the body in producing motion.
2. To be in action or motion; to move
He hangs between in doubt to act or rest.
3. To behave, demean, or conduct, as in morals, private duties, or public offices; as, we know not why a minister has acted in this manner. But in this sense, it is most frequent in popular language; as, how the man acts or has acted.
To act up to, is to equal in action; to fulfil or perform a correspondent action; as he has acted up to his engagement or his advantages.
1. To perform; to represent a character on the state.
Act well your part, there all the honor lies.
2. To feign or counterfeit. Obs.
With acted fear the villain thus pursued.
3. To put in motion; to actuate; to regulate movements.
Most people in the world are acted by levity.
[In this latter sense, obsolete and superseded by actuate, which see.]
1. The exertion of power; the effect, of which power exerted is the cause; as, the act of giving or receiving. In this sense it denotes an operation of the mind. Thus, to discern is an act of the understanding; to judge is an act of the will
2. That which is done; a deed exploit, or achievement, whether good or ill.
And his miracles and his acts which he did in the midst of Egypt. Deuteronomy 11:3.
3. Action; performance; production of effects; as, an act of charity. But this sense is closely allied to the foregoing.
4. A state of reality or real existence, as opposed to a possibility.
The seeds of plants are not at first in act, but in possibility, what they afterwards grow to be.
5. In general, act denotes action completed; but preceded by in, it denotes incomplete action.
She was taken in the very act. John 8:4.
In act is used also to signify incipient action, or a state of preparation to exert power; as,”In act to strike,” a poetical use.
6. A part or division of a play, to be performed without interruption; after which the action is suspended to give respite to the performers. Acts are divided into smaller portions, called scenes.
7. The result of public deliberation, or the decision of a prince, legislative body, council court of justice, or magistrate; a decree, edict, law, judgment, resolve, award, determination; as an act of parliament, or of congress. The term is also transferred to the book, record, or writing, containing the laws and determinations. Also, any instrument in writing to verify facts.
In the sense of agency, or power to produce effects, as in the passage cited by Johnson, from Shakespeare, the use is improper.
To try the vigor of them and apply Allayments to their act.
Act, in English Universities, is a thesis maintained in public, by a candidate for a degree, or to show the proficiency of a student. At Oxford, the time when masters and doctors complete their degrees is also called the act, which is held with great solemnity. At Cambridge, as in the United States, it is called commencement.
Act of faith, auto da fe, in Catholic countries, is a solemn day held by the Inquisition, for the punishment of heretics, and the absolution of accused persons found innocent; or it is the sentence of the Inquisition.
Acts of the Apostles, the title of a book in the New Testament, containing a history of the transactions of the Apostles.
Acta Diurna, among the Romans, a sort of Gazette, containing an authorized account of transactions in Rome, nearly similar to our newspapers.
Acta populi, or acta publica, the Roman registers of assemblies, trials, executions, buildings, births, marriages, and deaths of illustrious persons, etc.
Acta Senatus, minutes of what passed in the Roman senate, called also commentarii, commentaries.
ACTED, pp. Done; performed; represented on the stage.
ACTIAN, a. Relating to Actium, a town and promontory of Epirus, as Actian games, which were instituted by Augustus, to celebrate his navel victory over Anthony, near that town, Sept. 2, B.C. 31. They were celebrated every five years. Hence, Actian years, reckoned from that era.
ACTING, ppr. Doing; performing; behaving; representing the character of another.
ACTING, n. Action; act of performing a part of a play.
ACTINOLITE, n. [Gr. a ray, a stone.]
A mineral, called, by Werner, strahlstein, ray-stone, nearly allied to hornblend. It occurs in prismatic crystals, which are long, and incomplete, and sometimes extremely minute and even fibrous. Its prevailing color is green of different shades, or shaded with yellow or brown. There are several varieties, as the common, the massive, the acicular, the glassy, and the fibrous.
Actinolite is crystalized, asbestiform, and glassy.
ACTINOLITIC, a. Like or pertaining to actinolite.
1. Literally, a driving; hence, the state of acting or moving; exertion of power or force, as when one body acts on another; or action is the effect of power exerted on one body by another; motion produced. Hence, action is opposed to rest. Action, when produced by one body on another, is mechanical; when produced by the will of living being, spontaneous or voluntary. [See Def. 3.]
2. An act or thing done; a deed.
The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him are actions weighed. 1 Samuel 2:3.
3. In mechanics, agency; operation; driving impulse; effort of one body upon another; as, the action of wind upon a ship’s sails. Also the effect of such action.
4. In ethics, the external signs or expression of the sentiments of a moral agent; conduct; behavior; demeanor; that is, motion or movement, with respect to a rule or propriety.
5. In poetry, a series of events, called also the subject or fable; this is of two kinds; the principal action which is more strictly the fable, and the incidental action or episode.
6. In oratory, gesture or gesticulation; the external deportment of the speaker, or the accommodation of his attitude, voice, gestures, and countenance to the subject, or to the thoughts and feelings of the mind.
7. In physiology, the motions or functions of the body, vital, animal and natural; vital and involuntary, as the action of the heart and lungs; animal, as muscular, and all voluntary motions; natural, as manducation, deglutition, and digestion.
8. In law, literally, an urging for right; a suit or process, by which a demand is made of a right; a claim made before a tribunal. Actions are real, personal or mixed; real, or feudal, when the demandant claims a title to real estate; personal when a man demands a debt, personal duty, or damages in lieu of it, or satisfaction for an injury to person or property; and mixed, when real estate is demanded, with damages for a wrong sustained. Actions are also civil or penal; civil, when instituted solely in behalf of private persons, to recover debts or damages; penal, when instituted to recover a penalty, imposed by way of punishment. The word is also used for a right of action; as, the law gives an action for every claim.
A chose in action, is a right to a thing, in opposition to the possession. A bond or note is a chose in action and gives the owner a right to prosecute his claim to the money, as he has an absolute property in a right, as well as in a thing, in possession.
9. In some countries of Europe, action is a share in the capital stock of a company, or in the public funds, equivalent to our term share; and consequently, in a more general sense, to stocks. The word is also used for movable effects.
10. In painting and sculpture, the attitude or position of the several parts of the body, by which they seem to be actuated by passions; as, the arm extended, to represent the act of giving or receiving.
11. Battle; fight; engagement between troops in war, whether on land or water, or by a greater or smaller number of combatants. This and the 8th definition exhibit the literal meaning of action - a driving or urging.
Quantity of action, in physics, the product of the mass of a body by the space it runs through and its velocity.
In many cases action and act are synonymous; but some distinction between them is observable. Action seems to have more relation to the power that acts, and its operation and process of acting; and act, more relation to the effect or operation complete. Action is also more generally used for ordinary transactions; and act, for such as are remarkable, or dignified; as, all our actions should be regulated by prudence; a prince is distinguished by acts of heroism or humanity.
Action taking, in Shakespeare, is used for litigious.
ACTIONABLE, a. That will bear a suit, or for which an action at law may be sustained; as, to call a man a thief is actionable.
ACTIONABLY, adv. In a manner that subjects to legal process.
ACTIONARY, ACTIONIST, n. In Europe, a proprietor of stock in a trading company; one who owns actions or shares of stock.
ACTIVE, a. [L. activus.]
1. That has the power or quality of acting; that contains the principle of action, independent of any visible external force; as, attraction is an active power: or it may be defined, that communicates action or motion, opposed to passive, that receives action; as, the active powers of the mind.
2. Having the power of quick motion, or disposition to move with speed; nimble; lively; brisk; agile; as an active animal.
3. Busy; constantly engaged in action; pursuing business with vigor and assiduity; opposed to dull, slow, or indolent; as an active officer. It is also opposed to sedentary, as an active life.
4. Requiring action or exertion; practical; operative; producing real effects; opposed to speculative; as, the active duties of life.
5. In grammar, active verbs are those which not only signify action, but have a noun or name following them, denoting the object of the action or impression; called also transitive, as they imply the passing of the action expressed by the verb to the object; as a professor instructs his pupils.
6. Active capital, or wealth, is money, or property that may readily be converted into money, and used in commerce or other employment for profit.
7. Active commerce, the commerce in which a nation carries its own productions and foreign commodities in its own ships, or which is prosecuted by its own citizens; as contradistinguished from passive commerce, in which the productions of one country are transported by the people of another country.
The commerce of Great Britain and of the United States is active; that of China is passive.
It may be the interest of foreign nations to deprive us, as far as possible, of an active commerce in our own bottoms.
ACTIVELY, adv. in an active manner; by action; nimbly; briskly; also in an active signification, as a word is used actively.
ACTIVENESS, n. The quality of being active; the faculty of acting; nimbleness; quickness of motion; less used than activity.
ACTIVITY, n. The quality of being active; the active faculty; nimbleness; agility; also the habit of diligent and vigorous pursuit of business; as, a man of activity. It is applied to persons or things.
Sphere of activity, is the whole space in which the virtue, power, or influence of any object, is exerted.
To put in activity, a French phrase, for putting in action or employment.
1. He that acts or performs; an active agent.
2. He that represents a character or acts a part in a play; a stage player.
3. Among civilians, an advocate or proctor in civil courts or causes.
ACTRESS, n. A female who acts or performs, and especially, on the stage, or in a play.
1. Real or effective, or that exists truly and absolutely; as, actual heat, opposed to that, which is virtual or potential; actual cautery, or the burning by a red-hot iron, opposed to a cautery or caustic application, that may produce the same effect upon the body by a different process.
2. Existing in act; real; in opposition to speculative, or existing in theory only; as an actual crime.
3. In theology, actual sin is that which is committed by a person himself, opposed to original sin, or the corruption of nature supposed to be communicated from Adam.
4. That includes action.
Besides her walking and other actual performances. [Hardly legitimate.]
ACTUALITY, n. Reality.
ACTUALLY, adv. In fact; really; in truth.
ACTUARY, n. [L. actuarius.]
A register or clerk; a term of the civil law, and used originally in courts of civil law jurisdiction; but in Europe used for a clerk or register generally.
ACTUATE, a. Put in action. [Little used.]
ACTUATE, v.t. [from act.]
To put into action; to move or incite to action; as, men are actuated by motives, or passions. It seems to have been used formerly in the sense of invigorate, noting increase of action; but the use is not legitimate.
ACTUATED, pp. Put in action; incited to action.
ACTUATING, ppr. Putting in action; inciting to action.
ACTUATION, n. The state of being put in action; effectual operation.
ACTUS, n. Among the Romans, a measure in building equal to 120 Roman feet. In agriculture, the length of one furrow.
To sharpen; to make pungent, or corrosive. [Little used.]
ACUBENE, n. A star of the fourth magnitude in the southern claw of Cancer.
ACUITION, n. [from L. acuo, to sharpen.]
The sharpening of medicines to increase their effect.
1. In botany, having prickles, or sharp points; pointed; used chiefly to denote prickles fixed in the bark, in distinction from thorns, which grow from the wood.
2. In zoology, having a sting.
ACULEI, n. [L.] In botany and zoology, prickles or spines.
The fruit or acorn of the ilex, or scarlet oak.
ACUMEN, n. [L. acumen, from acus or acuo.]
A sharp point; and figuratively, quickness of perception, the faculty of nice discrimination.
ACUMINATE, a. [L. acuminatus, from acumen.]
Ending in a sharp point; pointed.
ACUMINATED, a. Sharpened to a point.
ACUMINATION, n. A sharpening; termination in a sharp point.
ACUPUNCTURE, n. [L. acus, needle, and punctura, or punctus, a pricking.]
Among the Chinese, a surgical operation, performed by pricking the part affected with a needle, as in head-aches and lethargies.
ACURU, n. The name in India of a fragrant aloe-wood.
ACUS, n. [L.]
1. The needle-fish or gar-fish.
2. The ammodyte or sand eel.
3. The oblong cimex.
ACUTE, a. [L. acutus, sharp-pointed; Heb.]
1. Sharp at the end; ending in a sharp point; opposed to blunt or obtuse. An acute angle in geometry, is one which is less than a right angle, or which subtends less than ninety degrees. An acute angled triangle is one whose three angles are all acute, or less than ninety degrees each.
2. Figuratively, applied to mental powers; penetrating; having nice discernment; perceiving or using minute distinctions; opposed to dull or stupid; as an acute reasoner.
3. Applied to the senses; having nice or quick sensibility; susceptible of slight impressions; having power to feel or perceive small objects; as, a man of acute eyesight, hearing, or feeling.
4. An acute disease, is one which is attended with violent symptoms, and comes speedily to a crisis, as a pleurisy; opposed to chronic.
5. An acute disease, is one which is attended with violent symptoms, and comes speedily to a crisis, as a pleurisy; opposed to chronic.
6. In music, acute is applied to a tone which is sharp, or high; opposed to grave.
7. In botany, ending in an acute angle, as a leaf or perianth.
ACUTELY, adv. Sharply; keenly; with nice discrimination.
1. Sharpness; but seldom used in this literal sense, as applied to material things.
2. Figuratively, the faculty of nice discernment or perception; applied to the senses, or the understanding. By an acuteness of feeling, we perceive small objects or slight impressions; by an acuteness of intellect, we discern nice distinctions.
3. Sharpness, or elevation of sound, in rhetoric or music.
4. Violence of a disease, which brings it speedily to a crisis.
ACUTIATOR, n. In the middle ages, a person whose office was to sharpen instruments. Before the invention of fire-arms, such officers attended armies, to sharpen their instruments.
AD. A Latin preposition, signifying to. It is probably from Heb. Ch. Syr. Sam. Eth. and Ar. To come near, to approach; from which root we may also deduce at. In composition, the last letter is usually changed into the first letter of the word to which it is prefixed. Thus for adclamo, the Romans wrote acclamo. The reason of this change is found in the ease of pronunciation, and agreeableness of the sounds.
Ad hominem, to the man, in logic, an argument, adapted to touch the prejudices of the person addressed.
Ad inquirendum, in law, a judicial writ commanding inquiry to be made.
Ad libitum [L.] at pleasure
Ad valorem, according to the value, in commerce and finance, terms used to denote duties or charges laid upon goods, at a certain rate per cent, upon their value, as stated in their invoices; in opposition to a specific sum upon a given quantity or number.
ADAGE, n. [L. adagium, or adagio]
A proverb; an old saying, which has obtained credit by long use; a wise observation handed down from antiquity.
ADAGIO, n. [L. otium; Eng. ease.]
In music, a slow movement. As an adverb, slowly, leisurely, and with grace. When repeated, adagio, adagio, it directs the movement to be very slow.
ADAM, n. In Heb., Man; primarily, the name of the human species, mankind; appropriately, the first Man, the progenitor of the human race. The word signifies form, shape, or suitable form, hence, species. It is evidently connected with Heb., to be like or equal, to form an image, to assimilate. Whence the sense of likeness, image, form, shape; Gr., a body, like. [See Man.]
Adam’s apple, a species of citron [See Citron.] also the prominent part of the throat.
Ad’am’s needle, the popular name of the yucca, a plant of four species, cultivated in gardens. Of the roots, the Indians made a kind of bread. [See Yucca.]
ADAMANT, n. [Gr.; L. adamas; a word of Celtic origin.]
A very hard or impenetrable stone; a name given to the diamond and other substances of extreme hardness. The name has often been given to the load stone; but in modern mineralogy, it has no technical signification.
ADAMANTEAN, a. Hard as adamant.
ADAMANTINE, a. Made of adamant; having the qualities of adamant; that cannot be broken, dissolved, or penetrated, as adamantine bonds, or chains.
Adamantine Spar, a genus of earths, of three varieties. The color of the first is gray, with shades of brown or green; the form when regular, a hexangular prism, two sides large and four small, without a pyramid; its surface striated, and with a thin covering of white mica, interspersed with particles of red felspar; its fracture, foliaceous and sparry. The second variety is whiter, and the texture more foliaceous. The third variety is of a reddish brown color. This stone is very hard, and of difficult fusion.
A variety of corrundum.
ADAMIC, a. Pertaining to Adam. Adamic earth, is the term given to common red clay, so called by means of a mistaken opinion that Adam means red earth.
ADAMITES, in Church history, a sect of visionaries, who pretended to establish a state of innocence, and like Adam, went naked. They abhorred marriage, holding it to be the effect of sin. Several attempts have been made to revive this sec; one as late as the 15th century.
ADAMITIC, Like the Adamites.
ADANSONIA, n. Ethiopian sour gourd, monkey’s bread, of African calabash-tree. It is a tree of one species, called baobab, a native of Africa, and the largest of the vegetable kingdom. The stem rises not above twelve or fifteen feet, but is from sixty-five to seventy-eight feet in circumference. The branches shoot horizontally to the length of sixty feet, the ends bending to the ground. The fruit is oblong, pointed at both ends, ten inches in length, and covered with a greenish down, under which is a hard ligneous rind. It hangs to the tree by a pedicle two feet long, and contains a white spungy substance. The leaves and bark, dried and powdered, are used by the negroes, as pepper, on their food, to promote perspiration. The tree is named from M. Adanson, who has given a description of it.
ADAPT, v.t. [L. ad. and apto, to fit; Gr.]
To make suitable; to fit or suit; as, to adapt an instrument to its uses; we have provision adapted to our wants. It is applied to things material or immaterial.
ADAPTABLE, a. That may be adapted.
ADAPTATION, n. The act of making suitable, or the state of being suitable, or fit; fitness.
ADAPTED, pp. Suited; made suitable; fitted.
ADAPTING, ppr. Suiting; making fit.
ADAPTION, n. Adaptation; the act of fitting [Little used, and hardly legitimate.]
ADAPTNESS, n. A state of being fitted. [Not used.]
ADAR, n. A Hebrew month, answering to the latter part of February, and the beginning of March, the 12th of the sacred and 6th of the civil year; so named to become glorious, from the exuberance of vegetation, in that month, in Egypt and Palestine.
ADARCE, n. [Gr.]
A saltish concretion on reeds and grass in marshy grounds in Galatia. It is lax and porous, like bastard spunge, and used to clear the skin in leprosy, tetters, etc.
ADARCON, n. In Jewish antiquity, a gold coin worth about three dollars and a third, or about fifteen shillings sterling.
ADARME, n. A Spanish weight, the sixteenth of an ounce. The Spanish ounce is seven per cent. Lighter than that of Paris.
ADATIS, n. A muslin or species of cotton cloth from India. It is fine and clear; the piece is ten French ells long, and three quarters wide.
ADAW, v.t. To daunt; to subject. [Not used.]
ADAYS, adv. On or in days; as in the phrase, now adays.
ADD, v.t. [L. addo, from ad and do, to give.]
1. To set or put together, join or unite, as one thing or sum to another, in an agreegate; as, add three to four, the sum is seven.
2. To unite in idea or consideration; to subjoin.
To what has been alledged, let this argument be added.
3. To increase number.
Thou shalt add three cities more of refuge. Deuteronomy 19:9.
4. To augment.
Rehoboam said, I will add to your yoke. 1 Kings 12:14.
Ye shall not add to the word which I command you. Deuteronomy 4:2.
As here used, the verb is intransitive, but there may be an ellipsis.
To add to, is used in scripture, as equivalent to give, or bestow upon. Genesis 30:24; Matthew 6:33. In Galatians 2:6, the word is understood to signify instruction. “In conference they added nothing to me.” In narration, he or they added, is elliptical; he added words, or what follows, or he continued his discourse.
In general, when used of things, add implies a principal thing, to which a smaller is to be annexed, as a part of the whole sum, mass, or number.
ADDECIMATE, v.t. [L. ad and decimus, tenth.]
To take, or to ascertain tithes.
ADDED, pp. Joined in place, in sum, in mass or aggregate, in number, in idea or consideration; united; put together.
ADDER, n. [L. natrix, a serpent.]
A venomous serpent or viper, of several species.