Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



ASSUEFACTION, n. [L. assuefacio.] The act of accustoming. [Not used.]

ASSUETUDE, n. [L. assuetudo, from assuetus, p. of assuesco, to accustom.] Custom; habit; habitual use.

ASSUME, v.t. [L. assumo, of ad and sumo, to take.]

1. To take or take upon one. If differs from receive, in not implying an offer to give.

The God assumed his native form again.

2. To take what is not just; to take with arrogant claims; to arrogate; to seize unjustly; as, to assume haughty airs; to assume unwarrantable powers.

3. To take for granted, or without proof; to suppose as a fact; as, to assume a principle in reasoning.

4. To appropriate, or take to one’s self; as, to assume the debts of another.

5. To take what is fictitious; to pretend to possess; to take in appearance; as, to assume the garb of humility.

ASSUME, v.i.

1. To be arrogant; to claim more than is due.

2. In law, to take upon one’s self an obligation; to undertake or promise; as, A assumed upon himself, and promised to pay.

ASSUMED, pp. Taken; arrogated; taken without proof; pretended.

ASSUMER, n. One who assumes; an arrogant person.

ASSUMING, ppr. Taking; arrogating; taking for granted; pretending.

ASSUMING, a. Taking or disposed to take upon one’s self more than is just; haughty; arrogant.
ASSUMING, n. Presumption.

ASSUMPSIT, n. [L. assumo.]

1. In law, a promise or undertaking, founded on a consideration. This promise may be verbal or written; An assumpsit is express or implied; express, when made in words of writing; implied, when in consequence of some benefit or consideration accruing to one person from the acts of another, the law presumes that person has promised to make compensation. In this case, the law, upon a principle of justice, implies or raises a promise, on which an action may be brought to recover the compensation. Thus if A contracts with B to build a house for him, by implication and intendment of law, A promises to pay B for the same, without any express words to that effect.

2. An action founded on a promise. When this action is brought on a debt, it is called indebitatus assumpsit, which is an action on the case to recover damages for the non-payment of a debt.

ASSUMPT, v.t. To take up; to raise. [Barbarous and not used.]

ASSUMPT, n. That which is assumed. [not used.]

ASSUMPTION, n. [L. assumptio.]

1. The act of taking to one’s self.

2. The act of taking for granted, or supposing a thing without proof; supposition.

This gives no sanction to the unwarrantable assumption that the soul sleeps from the period of death to the resurrection of the body.

3. The thing supposed; a postulate or proposition assumed. In logic, the minor or second proposition in a categorical syllogism.

4. A consequence drawn from the propositions of which an argument is composed.

5. Undertaking; a taking upon one’s self.

6. In the Romish Church, the taking up a person into heaven, as the Virgin Mary. Also a festival in honor of the miraculous ascent of Mary, celebrated by the Romish and Greek churches.

7. Adoption.

ASSUMPTIVE, a. That is or may be assumed. In heraldry, assumptive arms are such as a person has a right, with the approbation of his sovereign, and of the heralds, to assume, in consequence of an exploit.

ASSURANCE, n. ashu’rance. [L. verus; or securus, contracted.]

1. The act of assuring, or of making a declaration in terms that furnish ground of confidence; as, I trusted to his assurances; or the act of furnishing any ground of full confidence.

Whereof he hath given assurance to all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. Acts 17:31.

2. Firm persuasion; full confidence or trust; freedom from doubt; certain expectation; the utmost certainty.

Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith. Hebrews 10:22.

3. Firmness of mind; undoubting steadiness; intrepidity.

Brave men meet danger with assurance.

4. Excess of boldness; impudence; as, his assurance is intolerable.

5. Freedom from excessive modesty, timidity or bashfulness; laudable confidence.

Conversation with the world will give them knowledge and assurance.

6. Insurance; a contract to make good a loss. [See Insurance.]

7. Any writing or legal evidence of the conveyance of property.

8. Conviction.

9. In theology, full confidence of one’s interest in Christ, and of final salvation.

ASSURE, v.t. ashu’re. [See Assurance.]

1. To make certain; to give confidence by a promise, declaration, or other evidence; as, he assured me of his sincerity.

2. To confirm; to make certain or secure.

And it shall be assured to him. Leviticus 27:19.

3. To embolden; to make confident.

And hereby we shall assure our hearts before him. 1 John 3:19.

4. To make secure, with of before the object secured; as, let me be assured of your fidelity.

5. To affiance; to betroth. Obs.

6. To insure; to covenant to indemnify for loss. [See Insure.]

ASSURED, pp. Made certain or confident; made secure; insured.

ASSURED, a. Certain; indubitable; not doubting; bold to excess.

ASSUREDLY, adv. Certainly; indubitably.

Assuredly thy son Solomon shall reign. 1 Kings 1:13, 17, 30.

ASSUREDNESS, n. The state of being assured; certainty; full confidence.

ASSURER, n. One who assumes; one who insures against loss; an insurer or underwriter.

ASSURGENT, a. [L. assurgens, assurgo.]

Rising upwards in an arch; as an assurgent stem, in botany.

ASSURING, ppr. Making sure or confident; giving security; confirming.

ASSWAGE, [See Assuage.]

ASTACITE, ASTACOLITE, n. [Gr. a crawfish and a stone.]

Petrified or fossil crawfish, and other crustaceous animals; called also cancrites, crabites, and gammarolites.

ASTEISM, n. [Gr. beautiful, polite.]

In rhetoric, genteel irony; a polite and ingenious manner of deriding another.

ASTER, n. [Gr.] A genus of plants, with compound flowers, many of which are cultivated for their beauty, particularly the China Aster. The species are very numerous.

ASTERIAS, ASTER, n. [Gr. a star.] Stella marina, sea-star, or star fish, a genus of the order of Molluscas. It has a depressed body with a coriaceous coat; is composed of five or more segments running out from a central part, and furnished with numerous tentacles, with a mouth below, in the center. There are many species.

ASTERIATED, a. [Supra.] Radiated; presenting diverging rays, like a star; as asteriated sapphire.

ASTERIATITE, n. Petrified asterias.

ASTERISK, n. [Gr. a little star, from a star.]

The figure of a star thus, *, used in printing and writing as a reference to a passage or note in the margin, or to fill the space when a name is omitted.

ASTERISM, n. [Gr. a little star, from a star.]

1. A constellation; a sign in the zodiac.

The figures of the twelve asterisms.

2. An asterisk, or mark of reference. [This is less proper.]

ASTERITE, or star stone. [See Astrite.]

ASTERN, adv. [a or at, and stern. See Stern.]

1. In or at the hinder part of a ship; or towards the hinder part, or backwards; as, to go astern.

2. Behind a ship, at any indefinite distance.

ASTEROID, n. [Gr. a star, and form.]

A name given by Herschel to the newly discovered planets between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

ASTEROIDAL, a. Resembling a star; or pertaining to the asteroids.

ASTEROPODE, ASTEROPODIUM, n. [Gr. a star, and a foot.]

A kind of extraneous fossil, of the same substance with the astrite, to which it serves as the base.

ASTERT, v.t. To startle. [Not in use.]

ASTENIC, a. asten’ic. [Gr. priv. and strength.]

Weak; characterized by extreme debility.

ASTHENOLOGY, n. [Gr. priv., strength, and discourse.]

The doctrine of diseases arising from debility.

ASTHMA, n. ast’ma. [Gr.]

A shortness of breath; intermitting difficulty of breathing, with cough, straitness and wheezing.

ASTHMATIC, a. Pertaining to asthma; also affected by asthma; as an asthmatic patient.

ASTIPULATE for Stipulate. [Not in use.]

ASTIPULATION for Stipulation [Not in use.]

ASTONE, ASTONY, v.t. [See Astonish.] To terrify or astonish. Obs.

ASTONED, ASTONIED, pp. Astonished. Obs.

ASTONISH, v.t. [L. attono, to astonish; ad and tono. See Tone and Stun.]

To stun or strike dumb with sudden fear, terror, surprise or wonder; to amaze; to confound with some sudden passion.

I Daniel was astonished at the vision. Daniel 8:27.

ASTONISHED, pp. Amazed; confounded with fear, surprise, or admiration.

ASTONISHING, ppr. Amazing; confounding with wonder or fear.

ASTONISHING, a. Very wonderful; of a nature to excite great admiration, or amazement.

ASTONISHINGLY, adv. In a manner or degree to excite amazement.

ASTONISHINGNESS, n. The quality of exciting astonishment.

ASTONISHMENT, n. Amazement; confusion of mind from fear, surprise or admiration, at an extraordinary or unexpected event.

ASTOUND, v.t. To astonish; to strike dumb with amazement.

ASTRADDLE, adv. [a and straddle. See Straddle.]

With the legs across a thing, or on different sides; as, to sit astraddle.

ASTRAGAL, n. [Gr. a turning joint, vertebra, spondylus.]

1. In architecture, a little round molding which surrounds the top or bottom of a column, in the form of a ring; representing a ring or band of iron, to prevent the splitting of the column. it is often cut into beads or berries, and is used in ornamented entablatures to separate the several faces of the architrave.

2. In gunnery, a round molding on cannon near the mouth.

3. In anatomy, the buckle, ankle, or sling bone; the upper bone of the foot supporting the tibia.

4. In botany, the wood pea; the milk vetch; the liquorice vetch.

ASTRAL, a. [L. astrum; Gr. a star.]

Belonging to the stars; starry.

ASTRAY, adv. [a and stray. See Stray.]

Out of the right way or proper place, both in a literal and figurative sense. In morals and religion, it signifies wandering from the path of rectitude, from duty and happiness.

Before I was afflicted, I went astray. Psalm 119:67.

Cattle go astray when they leave their proper owners or inclosures. See Deuteronomy 22:1.

ASTREA, n. [Gr. a star.]

The goddess of justice. A name sometimes given to the sign virgo. The poets feign that justice quitted heaen, in the golden age, to reside on earth; but becoming weary with the iniquities of men, she return to heaven, and commenced a constellation of stars.

ASTRICT, v.t. [L. astringo, astrictus. See Astringe.]

To bind fast, or compress. [Not much used.]

ASTRICT, a. Compendious; contracted.

ASTRICTED, pp. Bound fast; compressed with bandages.

ASTRICTING, ppr. Binding close; compressing; contracting.


1. The act of binding close, or compressing with ligatures.

2. A contraction of parts by applications; the stopping of hemorrhages.

ASTRICTIVE, a. Binding; compressing; styptic.

ASTRICTORY, a. Astringent; binding; apt to bind.

ASTRIFEROUS, a. [L. astrifer; astrum, a star, and fero, to bear.]

Bearing or containing stars. [Little used.]

ASTRIGEROUS, a. [Low L. astriger.] Bearing stars. [Not used.]

ASTRINGE, v.t. astrinj’. [L. astringo, of ad and stringo, to bind fast, to strain. See Strain.]

To compress; to bind together; to contract by pressing the parts together.

ASTRINGED, pp. Compressed; straitened; contracted.

ASTRINGENCY, n. The power of contracting the parts of the body; that quality in medicines which binds, contracts or strengthens parts which are relaxed; as the astringency of acids or bitters.

ASTRINGENT, a. Binding; contracting; strengthening; opposed to laxative.

ASTRINGENT, n. a medicine which binds or contracts the parts of the body to which it is applied, restrains profuse discharges, coagulates animal fluids, condenses and strengthens the solids.

Modern practice inclines to the use of astringent, for internal applications, and styptic, for external.

ASTRINGER, n. A falconer that keeps a goss hawk.

ASTRINGING, ppr. Compressing; binding fast; contracting.

ASTRITE, n. [Gr. a star.]

An extraneous fossil, called also asteria and astroit. Astrites are stones in the form of small, short, angular, or sulcated columns, about an inch and a half long, and the third of an inch in diameter, composed of several regular joints, which, when separated, resemble a radiated star.

Astrites are said to be detached articulations of encrinites, a kind of marine polypier.

ASTROGRAPHY, n. [Gr. a star, and to describe.]

A description of the stars, or the science of describing them.


1. Star-stone. [See Astrite.]

2. A species of petrified madrepore often found in calcarious stones.

ASTROLABE, n. [Gr. a star, and to take.]

1. An instrument formerly used for taking the altitude of the sun or stars at sea.

2. A stereographic projection of the sphere, either upon the plane of the equator, the eye being supposed to be in the pole of the world; or upon the plane of the meridian, the eye being in the point of intersection of the equinoctial and the horizon.

3. Among the ancients, the same as the modern armillary sphere.

ASTROLOGER, ASTROLOGIAN, n. [L. astrologus, of a star, and discourse.]

1. One who professes to foretell future events by the aspects and situation of the stars. Astrologian is little used.

2. Formerly, one who understood the motions of the planets, without predicting.

ASTROLOGIC, ASTROLOGICAL, a. Pertaining to astrology; professing or practicing astrology.

ASTROLOGICALLY, adv. In the manner of astrology.

ASTROLOGIZE, v.i. To practice astrology.

ASTROLOGY, n. [Supra.] A science which teaches to judge of the effects and influences of the stars, and to foretell future events, by their situation and different aspects. This science was formerly in great request, as men ignorantly supposed the heavenly bodies to have a ruling influence over the physical and moral world; but it is now universally exploded by true science and philosophy.

ASTRONOMER, n. One who is versed in astronomy; one who has a knowledge of the laws of the heavenly orbs, or the principles by which their motions are regulated, with their various phenomena.

ASTRONOMIC, ASTRONOMICAL, a. Pertaining to astronomy.

ASTRONOMICALLY, adv. in an astronomical manner; by the principles of astronomy.

ASTRONOMIZE, v.i. To study astronomy. [Little used.]

ASTRONOMY, n. [Gr. a star, and a law or rule.]

The science which teaches the knowledge of the celestial bodies, their magnitudes, motions, distances, periods of revolution, aspects, eclipses, order, etc. This science depends on observations, made chiefly with instruments, and upon mathematical calculations.

ASTROSCOPE, n. [Gr. a star, and to view.]

An astronomical instrument, composed of two cones, on whose surface the constellations, with their stars, are delineated, by means of which the stars may be easily known.

ASTROSCOPY, n. [See Astroscope.] Observation of the stars.

ASTRO-THEOLOGY, n. [L. astrum, a star, and theologia, divinity.]

Theology founded on the observation of the celestial bodies.

ASTRUT, adv. [See Strut.] In a strutting manner.

ASTUTE, a. [L. astutus, from astus, craft, subtilty.]

Shrewd; sharp; eagle-eyed; critically examining or discerning.

ASUNDER, adv. [See Sunder.]

Apart; into parts; separately; in a divided state.

The Lord hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked. Psalm 129:4.

ASWOON, adv. In a swoon. Obs.

ASYLUM, n. [L. from Gr. safe from spoil, and spoil, to plunder.]

1. A sanctuary, or place of refuge, where criminals and debtors shelter themselves from justice, and from which they cannot be taken without sacrilege. Temples and altars were anciently asylums; as were tombs, statues and monuments. The ancient heathens allowed asylums for the protection of the vilest criminals; and the Jews had their cities of refuge.

2. Any place of retreat and security.


Not having symmetry. [Little used.]

ASYMMETRY, n. [Gr. priv. symmetry, of with, and to measure.]

The want of proportion between the parts of a thing. It is also used in mathematics for incommensurability, when between two quantities there is no common measure.

ASYMPTOTE, n. [Gr. priv. with, and to fall; not meeting or coinciding.]

A line which approaches nearer and nearer to some curve, but though infinitely extended, would never meet it. This may be conceived as a tangent to a curve at an infinite distance.

ASYMPTOTICAL, a. Belonging to an asymptote. Asymptotical lines or curves are such as continually approach, when extended, but never meet.

ASYNDETON, n. [Gr. priv. and to bind together.]

In grammar, a figure which omits the connective; as, veni, vidi, vici. It stands opposed to polysymdeton, which is a multiplication of connectives.

AT, prep. [L. ad. At, ad and to, if not radically the same word often coincide in signification; Heb to come, to a approach. Hence it primarily denotes presence, meeting, nearness, direction towards.]

In general, at denotes nearness, or presents; as at the ninth hour, at the house; but it is less definite than in or on; at the house, may be in or near the house. It denotes also towards, versus; as, to aim an arrow at a mark.

From this original import are derived all the various uses of at. At the sight, is with, present, or coming the sight; at this news, present the news, on or with the approach or arrival of this news. At peace, at war, in a state of peace or war, peace or war, in a state of peace or war, peace or war existing, being present; at ease, at play, at a loss, etc. convey the like idea. At arms, furnished with arms, bearing arms present with arms; at hand, within reach of the hand, and therefore near; at my cost, with my cost; at his suit, by or with his suit; at this declaration, he rose from his seat, that is present, or coming this declaration; whence results the idea in consequence of it. At his command, is either under his command, that is, literally, coming or being come his command, in the power of, or in consequence of it. He is good at engraving, at husbandry; that is, in performing that business. He deserves well at our hands; that is, from us. The peculiar phrases in which this word occurs, with appropriate significations, are numerous. At first, at last, at least, at best, at the worst, at the highest or lowest, are phrases in which some noun is implied; as, at the first time or beginning; at the last time, or point of time; at the least or best degree, etc.; all denoting an extreme point or superlative degree. At all, is in any manner or degree.

At is sometimes used for to, or towards, noting progression or direction; as, he aims at perfection; he makes or runs at him, or points at him. In this phrase, he longs to be at him, at has its general sense of approaching, or present, or with, in contest or attack.

ATABAL, n. A kettle drum; a kind of tabor.

ATACAMITE, n. A muriate of copper

ATAGAS, n. The red cock or moor-game.

ATAMASCO, n. A species of lily of the genus Amaryllis.

ATARAXY, n. [Gr. of a priv. and tumult.]

Calmness of mind; a term used by the stoics and skeptics to denote a freedom from the emotions which proceed from vanity and self-conceit.

ATAXY, n. [Gr. priv. and order.]

Want of order; disturbance; irregularity in the functions of the body, or in the crises and paroxysms of disease.