Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



ALBUGO, n. The white speck in the eye, called the film, haw, dragon, pearl or cicatrice. Also a disease of the eye, occasioned by a white opake spot growing on the cornea and obstructing vision. It is called also leucoma, nebula, pannus oculi, onyx, unguis etc.

ALBULA, n. A species of truttaceous fish, destitute of teeth. The albula Indica is called by the Dutch wit-fish, and is of the size of a herring. The Albula nobilis is a fish caught in the lakes of Germany.

ALBUM, n. [L. albus, white.]

1. Among the Romans, a white table, board or register, on which the names of public officers and public transactions were entered.

2. A book, originally blank, in which foreigners or strangers insert autographs of celebrated persons, or in which friends insert pieces as memorials for each other.

ALBUMEN, n. [L. from albus, white.]

The white of an egg. A like substance is a chief constituent in all animal solids.

ALBUMINOUS, a. Pertaining to, or having the properties of albumen.

ALBURN, ALBURNUM, n. [L. alburnum, from albus, white.]

The white and softer part of wood, between the inner bark and wood. In America, it is popularly called the sap. This is annually acquiring hardness, and becoming wood.

ALBURN, a. [L. alburnus, from albus, white.]

A fish called the bleak. It belongs to the order of abdominals, and the genus Cyprinus. It is five or six inches in length, and esteemed delicious food. Artificial pearls are made of its scales.


A pretended universal dissolvent, or menstruum.

ALCAIC, a. Pertaining to Alcaeus, a Lyric poet of Mitylene, in Lesbos, who flourished about the forty-fourth Olympiad; or to other poets of the same name, of which three are mentioned; one an Athenian tragic poet, and another a Messenian.

ALCAICS, n. plu. Several kinds of verse; so called from Alcaeus, their inventor. One kind consists of five feet, a spondee or iambic, an iambic, a long syllable and two dactyls.


Among the Moors, Spaniards and Portuguese, a governor. In Portugal, the chief civil magistrate of a town or city; also the jurisdiction of certain judges of appeal. In Spain, the governor of a castle or fort; also a jailer.

ALCANNA, n. A plant; and a powder, prepared from the leaves of the Egyptian privet, used by the Turkish females to give a golden color to the nails and hair. Infused in water it forms a yellow color; with vinegar, it forms a red. From the berries is extracted an oil, used in medicine. In Cairo, it forms an article of commerce.

ALCATRAZ, n. The Spanish name of the Pelecanus Onocrotalus of Linne; a pelican; also a fish taken on the coast of India.

ALCAVALA, n. In Spain, a tax on every transfer of property, real or personal.

ALCEDO, n. [L.]

The king fisher; a genus of birds, of the order of Picae. The species are numerous. They usually live about rivers, feeding on fish, which they take by darting into the water with surprising velocity. [See Halcyon.]

ALCHIMIC, ALCHIMICAL, ALCHIMICALLY, a. Relating to alchimy, or produced by it. adv. In the manner of alchimy.

ALCHIMIST, n. One who practices alchimy.

ALCHIMISTIC, ALCHIMISTICAL, a. Practicing alchimy, or relating to it.

ALCHIMY, n. [See Chimistry.]

1. The more sublime and difficult part of chimistry, and chiefly such as relate to the transmutation of metals are gold, the finding a universal remedy for diseases, and an alkabest or universal solvent, and other things now treated as ridiculous. This pretended science was much cultivated in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but is now held in contempt.

2. formerly, a mixed metal used for utensils.

ALCMANIAN, a. Pertaining to Alcman, a lyric poet of the twenty-seventh Olympiad, celebrated for his amorous verses. The alcmanian verse consisted of two dactyls and two trochees.

ALCO, n. A quadruped of America, nearly resembling a dog, but mute and melancholy; and this circumstance seems to have given rise to the fable that dogs, transported to America become mute. The animal was used for food by the native Americans, and the first Spanish settlers; but it is said to be now extinct. It is known also by the name of Techichi.

ALCOHOL, n. [Heb. to paint with a preparation of powder of antimony. The oriental females still practice the painting of the eye brows with this material. The name was applied to this substance, and afterwards to other fine powders, and to highly rectified spirits.]

Pure or highly rectified spirit, obtained from formented liquors by distillation. It consists of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen. it is extremely light and inflammable, and a powerful stimulant and antiseptic. This is the usual sense of the word; but originally, in Arabic, it signified a fine impalpable powder, in which sense it is still used.

ALCOHOLIC, a. Pertaining to alcohol, or partaking of its qualities.

ALCOHOLIZATION, n. The act of rectifying spirit, till it is wholly dephlegmatedor of reducing a substance to an impalpable powder.

ALCOHOLIZE, v.t. To convert into alcohol; to rectify spirit till it is wholly dephlegmated; also, to reduce a substance to an impalpable powder.

ALCOR, n. A small star adjoining to the large bright one in the middle of the tail of Ursa Major.

ALCORAN. [See Koran and Alkoran.]

ALCOVE, n. [Eng. cubby.]

1. A recess, or part of a room, separated by an estrade, or partition of columns, or by other corresponding ornaments; in which is placed a bed of state, and sometimes seats for company. The bed is sometimes raised two or three steps, with a rail at the foot. These are frequent in Spain.

2. A recess in a library, or small lateral apartment for books.

ALCYON, n. A trivial name of the kingfisher. [See Halcyon.]

ALCYONITE, n. A fossil zoophite, somewhat resembling a fungus.

ALCYONIUM, n. The name of a submarine plant, or bastard spunge. Also a kind of astroit or coral, a fossil found in England.

ALDER, n. [L. alnus.]

A tree, usually growing in moist land, and belonging to the genus Alnus. The name is applied also to some species of other genera.

ALDERMAN, n. plu. Aldermen.

1. Among our Saxon ancestors, a senior or superior. The title was applied to princes, dukes, earls, senators and presiding magistrates; also to archbishops and bishops, implying superior wisdom or authority. Thus, Ethelstan, duke of the East-Anglians, was called alderman of all England; and there were aldermen of cities, counties, and castles, who had jurisdiction within their respective districts.

2. In present usage, a magistrate or officer of a town corporate, next in rank below the mayor. The number of aldermen is different in different cities. In London the number is twenty-six, one in each ward, and the office is held for life.

In the United States, the number of aldermen depends on the charters of incorporation. In general, aldermen have the powers of a justice of the peace, and with the mayor, they constitute the court of the corporation. In most of our cities, they are annually elected by the citizens.

ALDERMANLY, a. Pertaining to or like an alderman.

ALDERN, a. Made of Alder.

ALE, n.

1. A liquor made from an infusion of malt by fermentation. It differs from beer, in having a smaller proportion of hops. It is of different sorts, chiefly pale and brown; the first made from malt slightly dried; the second, from malt more considerably dried or roasted. Ale was the common drink of the ancient inhabitants of Europe. It is usually made with barley; but sometimes with wheat, rye, millet, oats, etc.

2. A merry meeting in English country places, so called from the liquor drank.

Medicated Ales are those which are prepared for medicinal purposes, by an infusion of herbs during fermentation.

ALE-BENCH, n. A bench in or before an ale house.

ALE-BERRY, n. A beverage, made by boiling ale with spice, sugar and sops of bread.

ALE-BREWER, n. One whose occupation is to brew ale.

ALE-CONNER, n. [ale and con, to know or see.]

An officer in London, whose business is to inspect the measures used in public houses, to prevent frauds in selling liquors. four of these are chosen annually by the livery men, in common hall, on midsummer’s day.

ALE-COST, n. Costmary, a plant, a species of Tanacetum.

ALE-FED, a. Fed with ale.

ALE-GAR, n. Sour ale; the acid of ale.


Ground-ivy, the glechoma hederacea, of Linne. The leaves of this plant are used to clarify and give flavor to ale.

ALE-HOUSE, n. a house where ale is retailed; and hence a tipling house.

ALE-HOUSE-KEEPER, n. One who keeps an ale-house.

ALE-KNIGHT, n. a pot companion.

ALE-SHOT, n. A reckoning to be paid for ale.

ALE-SILVER, n. A duty paid to the Lord Mayor of London, by the sellers of ale within the city.

ALE-STAKE, n. a stake set as a sign before an ale-house.

ALE-TASTER, n. An officer appointed in every court leet, and sworn, to inspect ale, beer and bread, and examine the quality and quantity within the precincts of the lordship.

ALE-VAT, n. a vat in which ale is fermented.

ALE-WASHED, a. Steeped or soaked in ale.

ALE-WIFE, n. a woman who keeps an ale house.

ALEWIFE, ALOOF, n. [This word is properly aloof, the Indian name of a fish. See Winthrop on the culture of maiz in America, Phil. Trans. No. 142. p. 1065, and Baddam’s Memoirs, vol. 2. 131.]

An American fish, belonging to the genus Clupea, and called Clupea Serrata. it resembles the herring. The established pronunciation is alewife, plu alewives.

ALECTRYOMANCY, n. [Gr. a cock and divination.]

An ancient practice of foretelling events by means of a cock. The twenty four letters were laid on the ground, and a grain of corn on each; a cock was then permitted to pick up the grains, and the letters under the grains selected, being formed into words, were supposed to foretell the event desired.

ALEE, adv. [a or at and lee. See Lee.]

In seaman’s language, on the side opposite to the wind, that is opposite to the side on which it strikes. The helm of a ship is alee, when pressed close to the see side.

Hard alee or luff alee, is an order to put the helm to the lee side.

Helm’s alee, that is, the helm is alee, a notice given as an order to the seamen to cause the head-sails to shake in the wind, with a view to bring the ship about.

ALEGER, a. [L. alacer.]

Gay; cheerful; sprightly. [Not used.]

ALEGGE, v.t. To lighten; to lessen; to assuage. [Not used.]

ALEMBDAR, n. In Turkey, an officer who bears the green standard of Mohammed, when the Sultan appears in public.


A chimical vessel used in distillation; usually made of glass or copper. The bottom part containing the liquor to be distilled, is called the cucurbit; the upper part which receives and condenses the stream, is called the head, the beak of which is fitted to the neck of a receiver. The head is more properly the alembic. This vessel is not so generally used now, as the worm still and retort.

ALENGTH, adv. [a and length.]

At full length; along; stretched at full length.

ALEPIDOTE, n. [Gr. a scale.]

Any fish whose skin is not covered with scales.


1. Watchful; vigilant; active in vigilance. hence the military phrase, upon the alert, upon the watch, guarding against surprise or danger.

2. Brisk; nimble; moving the celerity.

ALERTNESS, n. Briskness; nimbleness; sprightliness; levity.

ALEUROMANCY, n. [Gr. meal and divination.]

A kind of divination by meal, used by the ancients.

ALEUTIAN, ALEUTIC, a. Designating certain isles in the Pacific ocean, eastward of Kamtschatka, extending northeastward towards America. The word is formed from aleut, which, in Russia, is a bald rock.

ALEXANDERS, n. The name of a plant of the genus Smyrnium.

ALEXANDER’S FOOT, n. The name of a plant.

ALEXANDRIAN, n. Pertaining to Alexandria. There are many cities of this name, in various parts of the earth. The term is often applied an attribute, or used as a noun, for one who professed or taught the sciences in the school of Alexandria in Egypt; a place highly celebrated for its literature and magnificence, and whose library, it is said, consisted of 700,000 volumes. The Persians and Turks write for Alexander, Scander, or Sconder; and for Alexandria, Scanderona; hence Scanderoon, a sea port in Syria.

ALEXANDRINE, ALEXANDRIAN, n. A kind of verse, consisting of twelve syllables, or of twelve and thirteen alternately; so called from a poem written in French on the life of Alexander. This species of verse is peculiar to modern poetry, but well adapted to epic poems. The Alexandrine in English consists of twelve syllables, and is less used than this kind of verse is among the French, whose tragedies are generally composed of Alexandrines.

ALEXIPHARMIC, a. [Gr. to expel, and poison.]

Expelling poison; antidotal; sudorific; that has the quality of expelling poison or infection by sweat.

ALEXIPHARMIC, n. A medicine that is intended to obviate the effects of poison; an antidote to poison or infection. By the Greeks, the word was used for an amulet.

ALEXITERIC, ALEXITERIAL, a. [Gr. to expel, and poison.]

Resisting poison; obviating the effects of venom.

ALEXITERIC, ALEXITERICAL, n. A medicine to resist the effects of poison, or the bite of venomous animals; nearly synonymous with alexipharmic. Used also by the Greeks for an amulet.

ALGAROT, ALGAROTH, n. The name of an emetic powder, prepared from the regulus of antimony, dissolved in acids, and separated by repeated lotions in warm water. It is either an Arabic term, or the name of the inventor, a physician of Verona.

ALGATES, adv. By all means; on any terms.

ALGEBRA, n. [Ar. the reduction of parts to a whole, or fractions to whole numbers from the verb, which signifies to consolidate; Heb. to be strong.]

The science of quantity in general, or universal arithmetic. Algebra is a general method computation, in which signs and symbols, which are commonly the letters of the alphabet, are made to represent numbers and quantities. It takes an known quantity sought, as if granted; and, by means of one or more quantities given, proceeds till the quantity supposed is discovered, by some other known quantity to which it is equal.

This science was of Oriental discovery; but whether among the Arabians or Indians, is uncertain.

ALGEBRAIC, ALGEBRAICAL, a. Pertaining to algebra; containing an operation of Algebra, or deduced from such operation.

Algebraic curve, a figure whose intercepted diameters bear always the same proportion to their respective ordinates.

ALGEBRAIST, n. One who is versed in the science of algebra.

ALGENEB, n. A fixed star of the second magnitude, in the right side of Perseus; Long. 27 degrees 46’ 12" of Taurus; Lat. 30 degrees 05’ 28" North.

ALGERINE, n. [from Algiers.] A native of Algiers, a city and a government on the coast of Africa.

ALGERINE, a. Belonging to Algiers.

ALGID, a. [L. algidus.] Cold. [Not used.]

ALGOL, n. A fixed star of the third magnitude, called Medusa’s head, in Perseus; Long. 21 degrees 50’ 42" of Taurus; Lat. 23 degrees 23’ 47" North.

ALGOR, n. [Lat.] Among physicians, an unusual coldness in any part of the body.

ALGORITHM, ALGORISM, n. An arabic term, signifying numerical computation, or the six operations of arithmetic.

ALGOUS, a. [L. alga, sea weed.] Pertaining to sea weed; abounding with, or like sea weed.

ALHENNA, n. [See Alkenna.]

ALIAS, [L.] Otherwise; as in this example, Simson alias Smith; a word used in judicial proceedings to connect the different names by which a person is called who attempts to conceal his true name and pass under a fictitious one.

ALIAS, n. A second writ, or execution, issued when the first has failed to enforce the judgment.

ALIBI, n. [L.] Elsewhere; in another place; a law term. When a person is charged with an offense, and he proves that he could not have committed it, because he was, at the time, in another place, he is said to prove an alibi. The part of a plea or allegation, which avers the party to have been in another place, is also called an alibi.

ALIEN, a. alyen, [L. alienus, from alius, another. L. alieno, to alienate; alter, another, to altercate.]

1. Foreign; not belonging to the same country, land or government.

2. Belonging to one who is not a citizen.

3. Estranged; foreign; not allied; adverse to; as, principles alien from our religion.

ALIEN, n. alyen.

1. A foreigner; one born in, or belonging to, another country; one who is not a denizen, or entitled to the privileges of a citizen.

2. In scripture, one who is a stranger to the church of Christ, or to the covenant of grace.

At that time, ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel. Ephesians 2:12.

In France, a child born of residents who are not citizens, is an alien. In Great Britain, the children of aliens born in that country, are mostly natural born subjects; and the children of British subjects, owing allegiance to the crown of England, though born in other countries, are natural subjects, and entitled to the privileges or resident citizens.

Alien-duty, a tax upon goods imported by aliens, beyond the duty on the like goods imported by citizens; a discriminating duty on the tonnage of ships belonging to aliens, or any extra duties imposed by laws or edicts on aliens.

ALIEN, ALIENE, v.t. [L. alieno.]

1. To transfer title or property to another; to sell.

Nor could he aliene the estate, even with the consent of the Lord.

2. To estrange; to make averse or indifferent; to turn the affections from.

The prince was aliened from all thoughts of the marriage.

In this sense, it is more common to use alienate.

ALIENABILITY, n. The capacity of being alienated or transferred.

The alienability of the domain.

ALIENABLE, a. That may be sold, or transferred to another; as, land is alienable according to the laws of the State.

ALIENAGE, n. The state of being an alien.

Why restore estates, forfeitable on account of alienage?

ALIENATE, v.t. [L. alieno.]

1. To transfer title, property or right to another; as, to alienate lands, or sovereignty.

2. To estrange; to withdraw, as the affections; to make indifferent or averse, where love or friendship before subsisted; with from; as, to alienate the heart or affections; to alienate a man from the friends of his youth.

3. To apply to a wrong use.

They shall not alienate the first fruits of the land. Ezekiel 48:14.

ALIENATE, a. [L. alienatus.]

Estranged; withdrawn from; stranger to; with from.

O alienate from God, O spirit accurst.

The whigs were alienate from truth.

ALIENATION, n. [L. alienatio.]

1. A transfer of title; or a legal conveyance of property to another.

2. The state of being alienated.

3. A withdrawing or estrangement, as of the heart or affections.

4. Delirium; derangement of mental faculties; insanity.

Alienation-office, in Great Britain, is an office to which all writs of covenant and entry, on which fines are levied and recoveries suffered, are carried, to have fines for alienation set and paid thereon.

ALIENATOR, n. One that alienates or transfers property.

ALIENE, n. One to whom the title to property is transferred.

If the alienee enters and keeps possession.

ALIENISM, n. Alyenizm. The state of being an alien.

The law was very gentle in the construction of the disability of alienism.

ALIFE, adv. [a or on and life.] On my life.

ALIFEROUS, a. [L. ala, wing, and fero, to bear.] Having wings.

ALIFORM, a. [L. ala, wing, and forma, shape.]

Having the shape of a wing; a term applied to a certain process and muscles of the body, as the pterygoid process, and the muscles arising from that process.

ALIGEROUS, a. [L. ala wing, and gero, to carry] Having wings.

ALIGHT, v.i.

1. To get down or descend, as from on horseback or from a carriage.

2. To descend and settle; as, a flying bird alights on a tree.

3. To fall or descend and lodge; as, snow alights on a roof.