Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



ASHEN, a. [See Ash.] Pertaining to ash; made of ash.

ASHES, n. plu. Without the singular number.

1. The earthy particles of combustible substances remaining after combustion; as of wood or coal.

2. The remains of the human body when burnt. Hence figuratively, a dead body or corpse.

3. In scripture, ashes is used to denote vileness, meanness, frailty, or humiliation.

I who am but dust and ashes. Genesis 18:27.

I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes. Job 42:6.

ASH-FIRE, n. A low fire used in chimical operations.

ASH-HOLE, n. A repository for ashes; the lower part of a furnace.

ASH-LAR, n. Common or free stones, as they come from the quarry, of different lengths, breadths and thicknesses.

ASHLERING, n. Quartering for lathing to, in garrets, two or three feet high, perpendicular to the floor, and reaching to the under side of the rafters.

ASHORE, adv. [a, at or on, and shore. See Shore.]

1. On shore; on the land adjacent to water; to the shore; as, bring the goods ashore.

2. On land, opposed to aboard; as, the captain of the ship remained ashore.

3. On the ground; as, the ship was driven ashore.

ASHWEDNESDAY, n. The first day of Lent; supposed to be so called from a custom in the Romish Church of sprinkling ashes, that day, on the heads of penitents, then admitted to penance.

ASH-WEED, n. A plant, the small wild angelica, gout-wort, goats-foot, or herb-gerard.

ASHY, a. Belonging to ashes; ash-colored; pale; inclining to a whitish gray.

ASHYPALE, a. Pale as ashes.

ASIAN, a. [from Asia, a name originally given to Asia Minor or some part of it; perhaps from the Asses, Ases or Osses, about Mount Taurus.]

Pertaining to Asia.

ASIARCH, n. [Asia and chief.]

A chief or pontiff of Asia; one who had the superintendence of the public games. Acts 19:31.

ASIATIC, a. Belonging to Asia, a quarter of the globe which extends from the strait of Constantinople and Arabian gulf, to the Pacific ocean on the east. It is probable, the name was originally appropriated to what is now Asia Minor or rather a part of it.

ASIATIC, n. A native of Asia.

ASIATICISM, n. Imitation of the Asiatic manner.

ASIDE, ad. [a and side. See Side.]

1. On or to one side; out of a perpendicular or straight direction.

2. At a little distance from the main part or body.

Thou shalt set aside that which is full. 2 Kings 4:4.

3. From the body; as, to put or lay aside a garment. John 13:4.

4. From the company; at a small distance or in private; as when speakers utter something by themselves, upon the stage.

5. Separate from the person, mind or attention; in a state of abandonment.

Let us lay aside every weight. Hebrews 12:1.

6. Out of the line of rectitude or propriety, in a moral view.

They are all gone aside. Psalm 14:3.

7. In a state of separation to a particular use; as, to set aside a thing for a future day.

To set aside, in judicial proceedings, is to defeat the effect or operation of, by a subsequent decision of a superior tribunal; as, to set aside a verdict or a judgment.

ASINEGO, n. A foolish fellow.

ASININE, rarely. ASINARY, a. [L. asinus.]

Belonging to the ass; having the qualities of the ass.

ASK, v.t. [Gr. In former times, the English word was pronounced ax, as in the royal style of assenting to bills in Parliament. “Be it as it is axed.”]

1. To request; to seek to obtain by words; to petition; with of before the person to whom the request is made.

Ask counsel of God. Judges 18:5.

2. To require, expect or claim.

To whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. Luke 12:48.

3. To interrogate, or inquire; to put a question, with a view to an answer.

He is of age, ask him. John 9:21, 23.

4. To require, or make claim.

Ask me never so much dowry. Genesis 34:12; Daniel 2:10.

5. To claim, require or demand, as the price or value of a commodity; to set a price; as, what price do you ask?

6. To require, as physically necessary.

The exigence of a state asks a much longer time to conduct the design to maturity.

This sense is nearly or entirely obsolete; ask being superseded by require and demand.

7. To invite; as, to ask guests to a wedding or entertainment; ask my friend to step into the house.

ASK, v.i.

1. To request or petition, followed by for; as, ask for bread; or without for.

Ask and it shall be given you. Matthew 7:7.

2. to inquire, or seek by request; sometimes followed by after.

Wherefore dost thou ask after my name? Genesis 32:29.

This verb can hardly be considered as strictly intransitive, for some person or object is always understood.

Ask is not equivalent to demand, claim, and require, at least, in modern usage; much less, is it equivalent to beg and beseech. The first three words, demand, claim, require, imply a right or supposed right in the person asking, to the thing requested; and beseech implies more urgency, than ask. Ask and request imply no right, but suppose the thing desired to be a favor. The French demander is correctly rendered by ask, rather than by deman.

ASKANCE, ASKANT, adv. sideways; obliquely; towards one corner of the eye.

ASKED, pp. Requested; petitioned; questioned; interrogated.


1. One who asks; a petitioner; an inquirer.

2. A water newt.

ASKEW, adv.

With a wry look; aside; askant; sometimes indicating scorn, or contempt, or envy.

ASKING, ppr.

1. Requesting; petitioning; interrogating; inquiring.

2. Silently expressing request or desire.

Explain the asking eye.

ASLAKE, v.t. [See Slack.]

To remit; to slacken. [Not in use.]

ASLANI, n. A silver coin worth from 115 to 120 aspers.

ASLANT, a. or adv. [a and slant. See Slant.]

On one side; obliquely; not perpendicularly or with a right angle.

The shaft drove through his neck aslant.

ASLEEP, a. or adv. [a and sleep.]

1. sleeping; in a state of sleep; at rest.

Sisera was fast asleep. Judges 4:21.

2. To a state of sleep; as to fall asleep.

3. Dead; in a state of death.

Concerning them who are asleep, sorrow not. 1 Thessalonians 4:13.

4. To death.

For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue. 2 Peter 3:4.

ASLOPE, a. or adv. [a and slope. See Slope.]

With leaning or inclination; obliquely; with declivity or descent, as a hill; declining from an upright direction.

Set them not upright, but aslope.

ASLUG, ad. In a sluggish manner. [Not used.]

ASMONEAN, a. Pertaining to Asmoneus, the father of Simon, and chief of the Asmoneans, a family that reigned over the Jews 126 years.

ASMONEAN, n. One of the family of Asmoneus.

ASOMATOUS, a. [Gr. priv and body.]

Without a material body; incorporeal. [Not used.]

ASP, ASPIC, n. [L. aspis; Gr. a round shield and an asp; supposed to be from Heb. to gather in, or collect; from the coil of this serpent, with his head elevated in the center, like the boss of a buckler. See also Aspen.]

A small poisonous serpent of Egypt and Libya, whose bite occasions inevitable death, but without pain. It is said that the celebrated Cleopatra, rather than be carried a captive to Rome by Augustus, suffered death by the bite of the asp; but the fact has been questioned. Authors are not agreed, as to what species the asp of the ancients should be referred. Bruce thinks it the coluber cerastes. Linne.

ASPALATHUS, n. A plant.

ASPARAGIN, n. White transparent crystals of a peculiar vegetable principle, which spontaneously form in asparagus juice evaporated to the consistence of syrup. They are in the form of rhomboidal prisms.

ASPARAGUS, n. [L. and Gr. probably from to tear, from its lacerated appearance, or from the root of a spire, from its stem.]

Asparagus, sperage, vulgarly, sparrow-grass; a genus of plants. That which is cultivated in gardens, has an upright herbaceous stalk, bristly leaves, and equal stipulas. The roots have a bitterish mucilaginous taste; and the stalk is, in some degree, aperient and deobstruent, but not very efficacious.

ASPECT, n. [L. aspectus, from aspicio, to look on, of ad and specio, to see or look.]

1. Look; view; appearance to the eye or the mind; as, to present an object or a subject in its true aspect, or under a double aspect. So we say, public affairs have a favorable aspect.

2. Countenance; look, or particular appearance of the face; as a mild or severe aspect.

3. View; sight; act of seeing. [This sense is now unusual.]

4. Position or situation with regard to seeing, or that position which enables one to look in a particular direction; as, a house has a southern aspect, that is, a position which faces or looks to the south.

5. In astronomy, the situation of one planet with respect to another. The aspects are five sextile, when the planets are 60 degrees distant; quartile or quadrate, when their distance is 90 degrees, or the quarter of a circle; trine, when the distance is 120 degrees; opposition, when the distance is 180 degrees, or half a circle; and conjunction, when they are in the same degree.

ASPECT, v.t. To behold. [Not used.]

ASPECTABLE, a. That may be seen. [Not used.]

ASPECTED, a. Having an aspect. [Not used.]

ASPECTION, n. The act of viewing. [Not used.]


A species of the poplar, so called from the trembling of its leaves, which move with the slightest impulse of the air. Its leaves are roundish, smooth, and stand on long slender foot-stalks.

ASPEN, a. Pertaining to the aspen, or resembling it; made of aspen wood.

Nor aspen leaves confess the gentlest breeze.

ASPER, a. [L. See Asperate.] Rough; rugged. [Little used.]

ASPER, n. [L. aspiro, to breathe.]

In grammar, the Greek accent, importing that the letter over which it is placed ought to be aspirated, or pronounced as if the letter h preceded it.

ASPER, n. A Turkish coin, of which three make a medine. Its value is about a cent and 12 decimals.

ASPERATE, v.t. [L. aspero, from asper, rough.]

To make rough or uneven.

ASPERATION, n. A making rough.

ASPERIFOLIATE, a. [L. asper, rough, and folium, a leaf.]

Having rough leaves. Plants of this kind are, by some authors, classified according to this character. They constitute the forty-first order of Linne’s fragments of a natural method. In the methods of Herman, Boerhave, and Ray, this class consists of plants which have four naked seeds. Their leaves stand alternately on the stalks, and the flower is monopetalous in five divisions.

ASPERIFOLIOUS, a. Having leaves rough to the touch. [See the preceding word.]

ASPERITY, n. [L. asperitas, from asper, rough.]

1. Roughness of surface; unevenness; opposed to smoothness.

2. Roughness of sound; that quality which grates the ear; harshness of pronunciation.

3. Roughness to the taste; sourness.

4. Roughness or ruggedness of temper; moroseness; sourness; crabbedness.

5. Sharpness.

ASPEROUS, a. [L. asper, rough.] Rough; uneven.

ASPERSE, v.t. aspers’. [L. aspergo, aspersus, of ad and spargo, to scatter.]

1. To bespatter with foul reports or false and injurious charges; to tarnish in point of reputation, or good name; to slander or calumniate; as, to asperse a poet of his writings; to asperse a character.

2. To cast upon.

ASPERSER, n. One that asperses, or villifies another.


1. A sprinkling, as of water or dust, in a literal sense.

2. The spreading of calumnious reports or charges, which tarnish reputation, like the bespattering of a body with foul water.

ASPHALT, ASPHALTUM, n. [Gr.] Bitumen Judaicum, Jew’s pitch; a smooth, hard, brittle, black or brown substance, which breaks with a polish, melts easily when heated, and when pure, burns without leaving any ashes. It has little taste, and scarcely any smell, unless heated, when it emits a strong smell of pitch. it is found in a soft or liquid state on the surface of the Dead Sea, which, from this substance, is called Asphaltite, or the Asphaltic Lake. It is found also in the earth, in many parts of Asia, Europe and America. Formerly, it was used for embalming dead bodies; the solid asphalt is still employed in Arabia, Egypt, and Persia, instead of pitch for ships; and the fluid asphalt is used for varnishing, and for burning in lamps. A species found in Neufchatel is found excellent as a cement for walls and pavements; very durable in air, and not penetrable by water. A composition of asphalt, lamp black and oil is used for drawing black figures on dialplates.

ASPHALTIC, a. Pertaining to asphalt, or containing it; bituminous.

ASPHALTITE, a. Pertaining to or containing asphalt.

ASPHODEL, n. [L. and Gr. See Theoph.]

King’s-spear; a genus of lilaceous plants, cultivated for the beauty of their flowers. The ancients planted asphodels near graves, to supply the names of the dead with nourishment.

ASPHURELATES, n. [Gr. priv. and a hammer; not malleable.]

A series of semimetallic fossils, fusible by fire, and in their purest state not malleable. In their native state, they are mixed with sulphur and other adventitious matter, in the form of ore. Under this denomination are classed bismuth, antimony, cobalt, zink and quicksilver.

ASPHYXY, n. [Gr. of a priv. and pulse.]

A temporary suspension of the motion of the heart and arteries; swooning; fainting.


1. The asp, which see.

2. A piece of ordnance carrying a twelve pound shot.

ASPIC, n. A plant growing in France, a species of lavender, which it resembles in the blue color of its flowers, and in the figure and green color of its leaves. It is called male-lavender, spica nardi, and Pseudo-nardus. The oil of this plant is used by painters, farriers and other artificers. It is very inflammable, of a white color and aromatic; and it is almost the only dissolvent of sandarac.

ASPIRANT, n. [See Aspire.] One who aspires, breathes after, or seeks with eagerness.

ASPIRATE, v.t. [L. aspiro, to breathe or blow; Gr. to palpitate, from spiro. See Spire, Spirit.]

To pronounce with a breathing or full emission of breath. We aspirate the words horse and house.

ASPIRATE, v.i. To be uttered with a strong breathing; as, the letter h aspirates.
ASPIRATE, n. A letter marked with an asper, or note of breathing; a mark of aspiration, as the Greek accent.
ASPIRATE, a. Pronounced with a full breath.

ASPIRATED, pp. Uttered with a strong emission of breath.

ASPIRATING, ppr. Pronouncing with a full breath.


1. The pronunciation of a letter with a full emission of breath.

2. A breathing after; an ardent wish or desire, chiefly of spiritual blessings.

3. The act of aspiring or of ardently desiring what is noble or spiritual.

ASPIRE, v.i. [L. aspiro, to breathe. See Aspirate.]

1. To desire with eagerness; to pant after an object, great, noble or spiritual; followed by to or after; as to aspire to a crown or after immortality.

2. To aim at something elevated; to rise or tower with desire.

Aspiring to be Gods, if angels fell;

Aspiring to be angels, men rebel.

ASPIRER, n. One who aspires; one who aims to rise in power or consequence, or to accomplish some important object.

ASPIRING, ppr. Desiring eagerly; aiming at something noble, great, or spiritual.

ASPIRING, a. Ambitious; animated with an ardent desire of power, importance, or excellence.

1. Ambition; eager desire of something great.

2. Points; stops. [Not used.]

ASPORTATION, n. [L. asportatio, of abs and porto, to carry. See Bear.]

A carrying away. In law, the felonious removal of goods from the place where they were deposited, is an asportation, and adjudged to be theft, though the goods are not carried from the house or apartment.

ASQUINT, adv. [See Askance and Squint.]

1. To the corner or angle of the eye; obliquely; towards one side; not in the straight line of vision; as, to look asquint.

2. Not with regard or due notice.

ASS, n. [L. asinus; Gr. an ear.]

1. A quadruped of the equine genus. This animal has long slouching ears, a short mane, and a tail covered with long hairs at the end. He is usually of an ash color, with a black bar across the shoulders. The tame or domestic ass is patient to stupidity, and carries a heavy burden. He is slow, but very sure footed, and for this reason very useful on rough steep hills.

2. A dull, heavy, stupid fellow; a dolt.

ASSAI, A term in music; added to a word signifying slow, it denotes a little quicker; and to a word signifying quick, it denotes a little slower.

ASSAIL, v.t. [L. assilio, to leap or rush upon, of ad and salio, to leap, to rise.]

1. To leap or fall upon by violence; to assault; to attack suddenly, as when one person falls upon another to beat him.

2. To invade or attack, in a hostile manner, as an army, or nation.

3. To attack with arguments, censure, abuse, or criticism, with a view to injure, bring into disrepute, or overthrow.

4. To attack, with a view to overcome, by motives applied to the passions.

Nor hide the encounter of assailing eyes.

ASSAILABLE, a. That may be assailed, attacked or invaded.

ASSAILANT, n. One who assails, attacks or assaults.

ASSAILANT, a. Assaulting; attacking; invading with violence.

ASSAILED, pp. Assaulted; invaded; attacked with violence.

ASSAILER, n. One who assails.

ASSAILING, ppr. assaulting; invading by force; attacking with violence.

ASSAILMENT, n. Attack. [Little used.]

ASSAPANIC, n. The flying squirrel; an animal which flies a little distance by extending the skin between the fore and hind legs. [See Squirrel.]

ASSARON, n. The omer or homer, a Hebrew measure of five pints.


1. In ancient laws, the offense of grubbing up trees, and thus destroying thickets or coverts of a forest.

2. a tree plucked up by the roots, also a piece of land cleared.

ASSART, v.t. To grub up trees; to commit an assart.


One who kills or attempts to kill, by surprise or secret assault. The circumstance of surprise or secresy seems essential to the signification of this word; though it is sometimes used to denote one who takes any advantage, in killing or attempting to murder; as by attacking one when unarmed.


1. To kill or attempt to kill, by surprise or secret assault; to murder by sudden violence. Assassin as a verb is not now used.

2. To way lay; to take by treachery.

ASSASSINATE, n. A murder or murderer. [not used.]

ASSASSINATED, pp. Murdered by surprise or secret assault.

ASSASSINATING, ppr. Murdering by surprise or secret assault.

ASSASSINATION, n. The act of killing or murdering, by surprise or secret assault; murder by violence.

ASSASSINATOR, n. An assassin, which see.

ASSASSINOUS, a. Murderous. [Not used.]

ASSASSINS, n. In Syria, a tribe or clan called Ismaelians, Batanists or Batenians. They originated in Persia about the year 1090; whence a colony migrated and settled on the mountains of Lebanon, and were remarkable for their assassinations. Their religion was a compound of magianism, judaism, and christianity. One article of their creed was, that the Holy Spirit resided in their Chief, and that his orders proceeded from God himself. He was called Scheik, and is better known by the denomination of Old man of the mountain. This barbarous chieftain and his followers spread terror among nations far and near, for almost two centuries, when the tribe was subdued by Sultan Bibaris.

ASSATION, n. [L. assatus.] A roasting. [Not used.]

ASSAULT, n. [L. assulto, of ad and salto, to leap, formed on salio, or its root. See Assail. We have the same root in insult and result.]

1. An attack or violent onset, whether by an individual, a company, or an army. An assault by private persons may be made with or without weapons. As assault by an army is a violent hostile attack; and when made upon a fort or fortified place is called a storm, as opposed to sap or siege.

2. An attack by hostile words or measures; as, an assault upon the prerogatives of a prince, or upon a constitution of government.

3. In Law, an unlawful setting upon one’s person; an attempt or offer to beat another, without touching his person; as by lifting the fist or a cane, in a threatening manner. If the blow aimed takes effect, it is a battery.


1. To attack or fall upon by violence, or with a hostile intention; as, to assault a man, a house or town.

2. To invade or fall on with force; as, the cry of war assaults our ears.

3. To attack by words, arguments or unfriendly measures, with a view to shake, impair or overthrow; as, to assault a character, the laws or the administration.

ASSAULTABLE, a. That may be assaulted.

ASSAULTED, pp. Attacked with force, arms, violence, or hostile views.

ASSAULTER, n. One who assaults, or violently attacks.

ASSAULTING, ppr. Attacking with force, or with hostile measures.

ASSAY, n. [L. sequor; assequor, to follow, to examine. See Essay.]

1. The trial of the goodness, purity, weight, value, etc. of metals or metallic substances. Any operation or experiement for ascertaining the quantity of a precious metal in an ore or mineral. Analysis is a term of more comprehensive import, extending to an examination of the nature and quantities of all parts of the compound.

2. In law, an examination of weights and measures by the standard.

3. Examination; trial; effort; first entrance upon any business; attempt. In these senses, which are found in old authors, now rarely used. [See Essay.]

4. Value; great purity. Obs.

ASSAY, v.t.

1. To try or prove, by examination or experiment, the quantity and purity of metallic substances.

2. To apply to the touchstone.

ASSAY, v.i. To attempt, try or endeavor.

He assayed to go. 1 Samuel 17:39.

[In this sense essay is now used.]

ASSAY-BALANCE, n. A balance for the trial of the weight and purity of metals.

ASSAYED, pp. Examined; tested; proved by experiment.

ASSAYER, n. One who examines metals to find their quantity and purity. An officer of the mint, whose business is to try the weight and purity of metals.

ASSAYING, ppr. Trying by some standard; examining by experiment, as metals; proving; attempting.

ASSAY-MASTER, n. An assayer; an officer appointed to try the weight and fineness of the precious metals.

ASSECURANCE, n. Assurance. [Not used.]