Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

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AMERCEMENT — AMPLENESS

AMERCEMENT, n. amers’ment. A pecuniary penalty inflicted on an offender at the discretion of the court. It differs from a fine, in that the latter is, or was originally, a fixed and certain sum prescribed by statute for an offense; but an amercement is arbitrary. Hence the practice of affeering. [See Affeer.] But in America, the word fine is now used for a pecuniary penalty which is uncertain; and it is common in statutes, to enact that an offender shall be fined, at the discretion of the court. In England also, fines are now usually discretionary. Thus the word fine has, in a measure, superseded the use of amercement. This word, in old books, is written amerciament.

Amercement royal is a penalty imposed on an officer for a misdemeanor in his office.

AMERCER, n. One who set a fine at discretion, upon an offender.

AMERICA, n. [from Amerigo Vespucci, a Florentine, who pretended to have first discovered the western continent.]

One of the great continents, first discovered by Sebastian Cabot, June 11, O.S. 1498, and by Columbus, or Christoval Colon, Aug. 1, the same year. It extends from the eightieth degree of North, to the fifty-fourth degree of South Latitude; and from the thirty-fifth to the one hundred and fifty-sixth degree of Longitude West from Greenwich, being about nine thousand miles in length. Its breadth at Darien is narrowed to about forty-five miles, but at the northern extremity is nearly four thousand miles. From Darien to the North, the continent is called North America, and to the South, it is called South America.

AMERICAN, a. Pertaining to America.

AMERICAN, n. A native of America; originally applied to the aboriginals, or copper-colored races, found here by the Europeans; but now applied to the descendants of Europeans born in America.

The name American must always exalt the pride of patriotism.

AMERICANISM, n. The love which American citizens have to their own country, or the preference of its interests. Analogically, an American idiom.

AMERICANIZE, v.t. To render American; to naturalize in America.

AMERICIM, n. A species of lizard in South America, not more than two inches in length, and the third of an inch in diameter. Its legs are of the size of a hog’s bristle.

AMETHODIST, n. A quack. [Not used.]

AMETHYST, n. [L. amethystus; Gr. which the Greeks supposed to be formed from a neg. and to inebriate, from some supposed quality in the stone of resisting intoxication. Plin. 37.9, mentions an opinion that it takes its name from its color approaching that of wine, but not reaching it.]

A sub-species of quartz, of a violet blue color, of different degrees of intensity. It generally occurs crystallized in hexahedral prisms or pyramids; also in rolled fragments, composed of imperfect prismatic crystals. Its fracture is conchoidal or splintery. It is wrought into various articles of jewelry.

AMETHYST, in heraldry, signifies a purple color. It is the same, in a nobelman’s escutcheon, as purpure, in a gentleman’s and mercury, in that of a prince.

AMETHYSTINE, a. Pertaining to or resembling amethyst; anciently applied to a garment of the color of amethyst, as distinguished from the Tyrian and hyacinthine purple.

AMIA, n. A genus of fish, of the abdominal order, found in the rivers of Carolina.

AMIABLE, a. [L. amabilis; from amo, to love.]

1. Lovely; worth of love; deserving of affection; applied usually to persons. But in Psalm 84:1, there is an exception, “How amiable are the tabernacles, O Lord.”

2. Pretending or showing love.

Lay amiable siege to the honesty of this Ford’s wife.

But this use is not legitimate.

AMIABLENESS, n. The quality of deserving love; loveliness.

AMIABLY, adv. In an amiable manner; in a manner to excite or attract love.

AMIANTH, AMIANTHUS, n. [Gr. of a neg. and to pollute, or vitiate; so called from its incombustibility. Plin. 36. 19.]

Earth-flax, or mountain flax; a mineral substance somewhat resembling flax; usually grayish, or of a greenish white; sometimes of a yellowish or silvery white, olive or mountain green, of a pale flesh red or ocher color. It is composed of delicate filaments, very flexible and somewhat elastic, often long and resembling threads of silk. It is incombustible, and has sometimes been wrought into cloth and paper.

AMIANTHIFORM, a. [Amianth and form.] Having the form or likeness of amianth.

Amianthiform arseniate of copper.

AMIANTHINITE, n. A species of amorphous mineral, a variety of actinolite; its color ash, greenish or yellowish gray, often mixed with yellow or red; its fracture confusedly foliated and fibrous.

AMIANTHOID, n. [Amianth and Gr. form.]

A mineral which occurs in tufts, composed of long capillary filaments, flexible and very elastic; more flexible than the fibers of asbestus, but stiffer and more elastic than those of amianth. The color is olive green, or greenish white.

AMIANTHOID, a. Resembling amianth in form.

AMICABLE, a. [L. amicabilis, from amicus, a friend, from amo, to love.]

1. Friendly; peaceable; harmonious in social or mutual transactions; usually applied to the dispositions of men who have business with each other, or to their intercourse and transactions; as, nations or men have come to an amicable adjustment of their differences.

2. Disposed to peace and friendship; as, an amicable temper. [But rarely applied to a single person.]

AMICABLENESS, n. The quality of being peaceable, friendly, or disposed to peace; friendliness; a disposition to preserve peace and friendship.

AMICABLY, adv. In a friendly manner; with harmony or good will; without controversy; as, the dispute was amicably adjusted.

AMICE, n. [L. amictus from amicior, to clothe.]

A square linen cloth that a Catholic priest ties about his neck, hanging down behind under the alb, when he officiates at mass.

AMID, AMIDST, prep. [L. medius. See Middle and Midst.]

1. In the midst or middle.

2. Among; mingled with; as, a shepherd amidst his flock.

3. Surrounded, encompassed, or enveloped with; as, amidst the shade; amid the waves. Amid is used mostly in poetry.

AMID-SHIPS, in marine language, the middle of a ship, with regard to her length and breadth.

AMILOT, n. A white fish in the Mexican lakes, more than a foot in length, and much esteemed at the table.

AMISS, a. [a and miss. See Miss.]

1. Wrong; faulty; out of order; improper; as, it may not be amiss to ask advice. [This adjective always follows its noun.]

2. adv. In a faulty manner; contrary to propriety, truth, law or morality.

Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss. James 4:3.

Applied to the body, it signifies indisposed; as, I am somewhat amiss to day.

AMITY, n. [L. amo, amicitia.]

Friendship, in a general sense, between individuals, societies or nations; harmony; good understanding; as, our nation is in amity with all the world; a treaty of amity and commerce.

AMMA, n. [Heb. mother.]

1. An abbess or spiritual mother.

2. A girdle or truss used in ruptures. [Gr.]

AMMAN, n. [See Embassador.]

In some European nations, a judge who has cognizance of civil causes. In France, a notary or officer who draws deeds and other writings.

AMMITE, HAMMITE, n. [Gr. sand.]

A sand-stone or free-stone, of a pale brown color, very heavy, of a lax texture, composed of small round granules, cemented by an earthy sparry matter. The grit or granules are small stalagmites, composed of crusts or coats including one another. It is the roe-stone or oolite of recent authors.

AMMOCETE, n. An obsolete name of the ammodyte. In Cuvier, the name of a genus of fish, including the lampern.

AMMOCHRYSE, n. am’mokris. [Gr. sand and gold.]

A yellow soft stone, found in Germany, consisting of glossy yellow particles. When rubbed or ground, it is used to strew over writing, like black sand with us.

AMMODYTE, n. [Gr. and, and to enter.]

The sand eel, a genus of fish, of the apodal order, about a foot in length, with a compressed head, a long slender body, and scales hardly perceptible. There is but one species, the tobianus or lance. It buries itself in the sand, and is found also in the stomach of the porpess. which indicates that the latter fish roots up the sand like a hog.

This name is also given to a serpent of the size of a viper, and of a yellowish color, found in Africa; also to a large serpent of Ceylon, of a whitish ash color, and very venomous.

AMMONIA, AMMONY, n. [The real origin of this word is not ascertained. Some authors suppose it to be from Ammon, a title of Jupiter, near whose temple in upper Egypt, it was generated. Others suppose it to be from Ammonia, a Cyrenaic territory; and others deduce it from sand, as it was found in sandy ground. anglicized, this forms an elegant word, ammony.]

Volatile alkali; a substance, which, in its purest form, exists in a state of gas. It is composed of hydrogen and nitrogen. Combined with the muriatic acid, it forms the muriate of ammonia, called also sal ammoniac and hydro-chlorate of ammonia. Native muriate of ammony is found in Egypt, where it is said to be generated in large inns and caravanseras, from the excrements of camels and other beasts. It occurs also massive and crystallized in the vicinity of volcanoes. Ammony, popularly called hartshorn, is extremely pungent and acrid, but when diluted, is an agreeable stimulant. it extinguishes flame, and is fatal to animal life. It combines with acids, and produces a class of salts, which, with few exceptions, are soluble in water.

AMMONIAC, AMMONIACAL, a. Pertaining to ammonia, or possessing its properties.

AMMONIAC, AMMONIAC GUM, n. [See Ammonia.]

A gun resin, from Africa and the East, brought in large masses, composed of tears, internally white and externally yellow; supposed to be an exudation from an umbelliferous plant. it has a fetid smell, and a nauseous sweet taste, followed by a bitter one. It is inflammable, soluble in water and spirit of wine, and is used in medicine, as a deobstruent, and resolvent.

AMMONIAN, a. Relating to Ammonius, surnamed Saccas, of Alexandria, who flourished at the end of the second century, and was the founder of the eclectic system of Philosophy; or rather, he completed the establishment of the sect, which originated with Potamo.

AMMONITE, n. [Cornu ammonis, from Jupiter Ammon, whose statues were represented with ram’s horns.]

Serpent-stone, or cornu ammonis, a fossil shell, curved into a spiral, like a ram’s horn; of various sizes, from the smallest grains to three feet in diameter. This fossil is found in stratums of limestone and clay, and in argillaceous iron ore. It is smooth or ridged; the ridges strait, crooked or undulated.

AMMONIUM, n. A name given to the supposed metallic basis of ammonia. If mercury, at the negative pole of a galvanic battery, is placed in contact with a solution of ammonia, and the circuit is completed, an amalgam is formed, which, at the temperature of 70 degrees or 80 degrees of Fahrenheit, is of the consistence of butter, but at the freezing point is a firm and crystallized mass. This amalgam is supposed to be formed by the metallic basis, ammonium.

AMMONIURET, n. The solution of a substance in ammonia.

AMMUNITION, n. [L. ad and munitio, from munio, to fortify.]

Military stores, or provisions for attack or defense. In modern usage, the signification is confined to the articles which are used in the discharge of fire-arms and ordnance of all kinds; as powder, balls, bombs, various kinds of shot, etc.

Ammunition-bread, bread or other provisions to supply troops.

AMNESTY, n. [Gr. of a neg and memory, from the root of mens, mind. See Mind.]

An act of oblivion; a general pardon of the offenses of subjects against the government, or the proclamation of such pardon.

AMNIOS, AMNION, n. [Gr. a vessel or membrane.]

The innermost membrane surrounding the fetus in the womb. It is thin, transparent, soft and smooth on the inside, but rough on the outside.

AMNIOTIC, a. Obtained from the liquor of the amnios, as the amniotic acid.

AMOBEAN, a. Alternately answering.

AMOBEUM, n. [Gr. alternate; change.]

A poem in which persona are represented as speaking alternately, as the third and seventh eclogues of Virgil.

AMOMUM, n. [Gr.]

A genus of plants; all natives of warm climates, and remarkable for their pungency and aromatic properties. it includes the common ginger or zingiber, the zerumbet, zedoary, cardamom, and granum paradisi or grains of paradise. The roots of the three former, and the seeds of the two latter, are used in medicine as carminatives and stimulants, and in cookery as condiments. They are important articles of commerce.

True amomum is a round fruit, from the East, of the size of a grape, containing, under a membranous cover, a number of angular seeds of a dark brown color, in three cells. Of this fruit, ten or twelve grow in a cluster, adhering without a pedicle, to a woody stalk. It is of a pungent taste and aromatic smell, and was formerly much used in medicine, but is not a stranger to the shops.

AMONG, AMONGST, prep. [Gr. See Mingle.]

1. In a general or primitive sense, mixed or mingled with; as tares among wheat.

2. Conjoined or associated with, or making part of the number.

Blessed art thou among women. Luke 1:28, 42.

3. Of the number; as, there is not one among a thousand, possessing the like qualities.

AMONIAN, a. [from Amon or Hamon, a title of Jupiter, or rather of the sun. Heb.]

Pertaining to Jupiter Amon, or to his temple and worship in upper Egypt.

AMORADO, n. [L. amor, love, amo, to love. but the word is ill formed.] A lover. See Inamorato, which is chiefly used.

AMORE, n. A name given by Marcgrave, to a tribe of fish, of three species, the pixuma, guacu, and tinga. They are found about the shores of South America, and are used for food.

AMOREANS, n. A sect of Gemaric doctors or commentators on the Jerusalem Talmud. The Amoreans were followed by the Mishnic doctors, and these by the Sebureans.

AMORET, n. [L. amor, love.]

A lover; an amorous woman; also a love knot or a trifling love affair.

AMORIST, n. [L. amor, love.] A lover, a gallant; an inamorato.

AMOROSO, n. A lover; a man enamored.

AMOROUS, a. [L. amor, love.]

1. Inclined to love; having a propensity to love, or to sexual enjoyment; loving; fond.

2. In love; enamored.

3. Pertaining or relating to love; produced by love; indicating love; as amorous delight; amorous airs.

AMOROUSLY, adv. In an amorous manner; fondly; lovingly.

AMOROUSNESS, n. The quality of being inclined to love, or to sexual pleasure; fondness; lovingness.

AMORPHA, n. [Gr. a neg and form.]

False or bastard indigo. The plant is a native of Carolina, constituting a genus. It rises, with many irregular stems, to the height of twelve or fourteen feet; the leaves, beautifully pinnated, are of an admired green color, and its purple flowers grow in spikes of seven or eight inches long. Of this plant has been made a course kind of indigo.

AMORPHOUS, a. [Gr. a neg and form.]

Having no determinate form; of irregular shape; not of any regular figure.

AMORPHY, n. Irregularity of form; deviation from a determinate shape.

AMORT, adv. [L. mors, mortuus.] In the state of the dead.

AMORTIZATION, AMORTIZEMENT, n. The act or right of alienating lands or tenements to a corporation, which was considered formerly as transferring them to dead hands, as such alienations were mostly made to religious houses for superstitious uses.

AMORTIZE, v.t. [L. mors, death. See Mortmain.]

In English law, to alienate in mortmain, that is, to sell to a corporation, sole or aggregate, ecclesiastical or temporal, and their successors. This was considered as selling to dead hands. This cannot be done without the kings license. [See Mortmain.]

AMOTION, n. [L. amotio; amoveo.] Removal.

AMOUNT, v.i. [L. mons, a mountain, or its root.]

1. To rise to or reach, by an accumulation of particulars, into an aggregate whole; to compose in the whole; as, the interest on the several sums amounts to fifty dollars.

2. To rise, reach, or extend to, in effect, or substance; to result in, by consequence, when all things are considered; as, the testimony of these witnesses amounts to very little.

AMOUNT, n.

1. The sum total of two or more particular sums or quantities; as, the amount of 7 and 9 is 16.

2. The effect, substance or result; the sum; as, the amount of the testimony is this.

AMOUNTING, ppr. Rising to, by accumulation or addition; coming or increasing to; resulting in effect or substance.

AMOUR, n. [L. amor, love.]

An unlawful connection in love; a love intrigue; an affair of gallantry.

AMOVAL, n. [L. amoveo.] Total removal. [Not used.]

AMOVE, v.t. [L. amoveo, a and moveo, to move.] To remove. [Not used.]

AMPELITE, n. [Gr. a vine.] The name of an earth used to kill worms on vines. Pliny says it is like bitumen.

Cannel coal, or candle coal; an inflammable substance of a black color, compact texture, and resinous luster, and sufficiently hard to be cut and polished. It burns with a bright flame, of a short duration; and gives but a moderate heat. It is used like jet for making toys. It is found in France and England, where husbandmen smear vines with it to kill vermin.

AMPHIBIAL, AMPHIBIA, n. [Gr. both or about and life.]

In zoology, amphibials are a class of animals, so formed as to live on land, and for a long time under water. Their heart has but one ventricle; their blood is red and cold; and they have such command of the lungs, as for a considerable time, to suspend respiration. This class of animals is divided into two orders, the Reptiles and the Serpents. To the first belong the testudo, or tortoise, the draco or dragon, the lacerta or lizard, and the rana or frog; to the second, the crotalus, boa, coluber, anguis, amphisbena, and cecilia.

The term has also been applied to such quadrupeds, as frequent the water, particularly the marine quadrupeds, such as the seal, walrus and lamantin.

AMPHIBIOLITE, n. [Gr. amphibious and stone.]

A fragment of a petrified amphibious animal.

AMPHIBIOLOGICAL, a. [Infra.] Pertaining to amphibiology.

AMPHIBIOLOGY, n. [Gr. on both sides, life, and discourse.]

A discourse or treatise on amphibious animals, or the history and description of such animals.

AMPHIBIOUS, a. [See Amphibial.]

1. Having the power of living in two elements, air and water, as frogs, crocodiles, beavers, and the like.

2. Of a mixed nature; partaking of two natures; as, an amphibious breed.

AMPHIBIOUSNESS, n. The quality of being able to live in two elements, or of partaking of two natures.

AMPHIBIUM, n. That which lives in two elements, as in air and water.

AMPHIBOLE, n. [Gr. equivocal.]

A name given by Hauy to a species of minerals, including the Tremolite, Hornblend, and Actinolite. Its primitive form is an oblique rhombic prism.

AMPHIBOLIC, a. Pertaining to amphibole; resembling amphibole, or partaking of its nature and characters.

AMPHIBOLOGICAL, a. Doubtful; of doubtful meaning.

AMPHIBOLOGICALLY, adv. With a doubtful meaning.

AMPHIBOLOGY, n. [Gr. speech.]

A phrase or discourse, susceptible of two interpretations; and hence, a phrase of uncertain meaning. Amphibology arises from the order of the phrase, rather than from the ambiguous meaning of a word which is called equivocation. We have an example in the answer of the oracle to Pyrrhus. “Aio te Romanos vincere posse.” Here te and Romanos, may either of them precede or follow vincere posse, and the sense may be either, you may conquer the Romans, or the Romans may conquer you. The English language seldom admits of amphibology.

AMPHIBOLOUS, a. [Gr. to strike.]

Tossed from one to another; striking each way, with mutual blows. [Little used.]

AMPHIBOLY, n. [Gr. both ways and to strike.]

Ambiguity of meaning. [Rarely used.]

AMPHIBRACH, n. [Gr. short.]

In poetry, a foot of three syllables, the middle one long, the first and last short; as habere, in Latin. In English verse, it is used as the last foot, when a syllable is added to the usual number forming a double rhyme; as,

The piece, you think, is incorrect, why take it?

AMPHICOME, n. [Gr. hair.]

A kind of figured stone, of a round shape, but rugged and beset with eminences; called Erotylos, on account of its supposed power of exciting love. Anciently, it was used in divination; but it is little known to the moderns.

AMPHICTYONIC, a. Pertaining to the august council of Amphictyons.

AMPHICTYONS, n. In Grecian history, an assembly or council of deputies from the different states of Greece, supposed to be so called from Amphictyon, the son of Deucalion, but this opinion is probably a fable. Ten or twelve states were represented in this assembly, which sat at Thermophlae, but ordinarily at Delphi. Each city sent two deputies, one called Hieromnemon and the other Pylagoras. The former inspected the sacrifices and ceremonies of religion; the latter, had the charge of deciding causes and differences between private persons. The former was elected by lot; the latter by a plurality of voices. They had an equal right to deliberate and vote in all matters relating to the common interests of Greece.

AMPHIGENE, n. [Gr.]

In mineralogy, another name of the leucite or Vesuvian.

AMPHIHEXAHEDRAL, a. [Gr. and hexahedral.]

In crystallography, when the faces of the crystal, counted in two different directions, give two hexahedral outlines, or are found to be six in number.

AMPHIMACER, n. [Gr. long on both sides.]

In ancient poetry, a foot of three syllables, the middle one short and the others long, as in castitas.

AMPHISBEN, AMPHISBENA, n. [Gr. to go; indicating that the animal moves with either end foremost.]

A genus of serpents, with the head small, smooth and blunt; the nostrils small, the eyes minute and blackish, and the mouth furnished with small teeth. The body is cylindrical, destitute of scales, and divided into numerous annular segments; the tail obtuse, and scarcely to be distinguished from the head, whence the belief that it moved equally well with either end foremost. There are two species; the fuliginosa, black with white spots, found in Africa and America; and the alba, or white species, found in both the Indies and generally in ant-hillocks. They feed on ants and earth-worms, and were formerly deemed poisonous; but this opinion is exploded.

The aquatic amphisben, Gordius aquaticus, Linne, is an animal resembling a horse hair, found in water, and moving with either end foremost. The vulgar opinion that this is an animated horse-hair is found to be an error. This hair worm is generated in the common black beetle, in which the parent worm lays its eggs; and is sometimes found in the earth and on the leaves of trees.

AMPHISCIL, AMPHISCIANS, n. [Gr. on both sides and shadow.]

In geography, the inhabitants of the tropics, whose shadows, in one part of the year, are cast to the north, and in the other, to the south, according as the sun is in the southern or northern signs.

AMPHITANE, n. A name given by ancient naturalists to a fossil, called by Dr. Hill pyricubium. Pliny describes it as of a square figure and a gold color.

AMPHITHEATER, n. [Gr. about and to see or look.]

1. An edifice in an oval or circular form, having its area encompassed with rows of seats, rising higher as they recede from the area, on which people used to sit to view the combats of gladiators and of wild beasts, and other sports. The ancient theater was a semicircle, but exceeding it by a fourth part of its diameter; the amphitheater was a double theater, and its longest diameter was to its shortest as 1 1/2 to 1. It was at first of wood, but in the reign of Augustus one was erected of stone. The area or cavea being covered with sand was called arena.

2. In gardening, a disposition of shrubs and trees in the form of an amphitheater, on a slope, or forming a slope, by placing the lowest in front. An amphitheater may also be formed of turf only.

AMPHITHEATRAL, a. Resembling an amphitheater.

AMPHITHEATRICAL, a. Pertaining to or exhibited in an amphitheater.

AMPHITRITE, n. [Gr. a goddess of the sea.]

A genus of marine animals, of the Linnean order.

AMPHOR, AMPHORA, n. [L. amphora; Gr.]

Among the Greeks and Romans, a liquid measure. The amphora of the Romans contained about forty-eight sextaries, equal to seven gallons and a pint, English wine measure. The Grecian or Attic amphor contained about a third more. This was also, among the Romans, a dry measure of about three bushels. Among the Venetians, it is a liquid measure of sixteen quarts.

This name was formerly used in England; but the capacity of the Sax. ambra is not certainly known.

AMPLE, a. [L. amplus.]

1. Large; wide; spacious; extended; as ample room. This word carries with it the sense of room or space fully sufficient for the use intended.

2. Great in bulk, or size; as an ample tear.

3. Liberal; unrestrained; without parsimony; fully sufficient; as, ample provision for the table; ample justice.

4. Liberal; magnificent; as ample promises.

5. Diffusive; not brief or contracted; as an ample narrative.

AMPLENESS, n. Largeness; spaciousness; sufficiency; abundance.