Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



AUTOPTICAL, a. Seen with one’s own eyes.

AUTOPTICALLY, adv. By means of ocular view, or one’s own observation.

[Autopsy and its derivatives are rarely used.]

AUTUMN, n. au’tum. [L. autumnus, “Etymon multum torquetur.”]

The third season of the year, or the season between summer and winter. Astronomically, it begins at the equinox, when the sun enters libra, and ends at the winter solstice; but in popular language autumn comprises September, October and November.

The golden pomp of autumn.

AUTUMNAL, a. Belonging to autumn; produced or gathered in autumn; as autumnal fruits.

AUTUMNAL, n. A plant that flowers in Autumn. The autumnals form the third division of plants in Du Pas’ arrangement.

AUXESIS, n. [Gr. increase.]

In rhetoric, a figure by which any thing is magnified too much; an increasing, or exornation, when, for amplification, a more grave and magnificent word is put for the proper word.

AUXILIAR, AUXILIARY, a. [L. auxiliaris, from auxilium, aid, uuxilior, to aid.]

Helping; aiding; assisting; subsidiary; conferring aid or support by joint exertion, influence or use; as auxiliary troops.

AUXILIARIES, n. plu. Foreign troops in the service of nations at war.


1. A helper; an assistant; a confederate in some action, enterprise or undertaking.

2. In grammar, a verb which helps to form the modes and tenses of other verbs; as, have, be, may, can, do, must, shall and will, in English.

AVAIL, v.t. [L. valeo, to be strong or able, to profit, to be of force or authority; Eng. well. The primary sense is, to stretch or extend, whence strength, value.]

1. To profit one’s self; to turn to advantage; followed by the pronouns, myself, thyself, himself, herself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves, with of before the thing used; as, let him avail himself of his license.

2. To assist or profit; to effect the object, or bring to a successful issue; as, what will skill avail us against numbers. Artifices will not avail the sinner in the day of judgment.

AVAIL, v.i. To be of use, or advantage; to answer the purpose; as, strength without judgment will rarely avail. Generally, it signifies to have strength, force or efficacy sufficient to accomplish the object; as, the plea in bar must avail, that is, be sufficient to defeat the suit; this scheme will not avail; medicines will not avail to check the disease; suppositions, without proof, will not avail.
AVAIL, n. Profit; advantage towards success; benefit; as, labor without economy is of little avail. It seems usually to convey the idea of efficacious aid or strength.


1. Profitable; advantageous; having efficacy; as, a measure is more or less available.

2. Having sufficient power, force, or efficacy, for the object; valid; as an available plea.

Laws are available by consent.


1. Power or efficacy, in promoting an end in view.

2. Competent power; legal force; validity; as the availableness of a title.

AVAILABLY, adv. Powerfully; profitably; advantageously; validly; efficaciously.

AVAILING, pp. Turning to profit; using to advantage or effect.

AVAILMENT, n. Profit; efficacy; successful issue. [Little used.]

AVAILS, n. plu. Profits or proceeds. It is used in New England, for the proceeds of goods sold, or for rents, issues or profits.


A snow-slip; a vast body of snow sliding down a mountain.

AVANT, n. The front of an army. [Not used. See Van.]

AVANTGUARD, n. The van or advanced body of an army. [See Vanguard.]

AVANTURINE, n. A variety of quartz rock containing spangles.

AVARICE, n. [L. avaritia, from avarus, from aveo, to covet.]

An inordinate desire of gaining and possessing wealth; covetousness; greediness or insatiable desire of gain.

Avarice sheds a blasting influence over the finest affections and sweetest comforts of mankind.

AVARICIOUS, a. Covetous; greedy of gain; immoderately desirous of accumulating property.

AVARICIOUSLY, adv. Covetously; with inordinate desire of gaining wealth.

AVARICIOUSNESS, n. The quality of being avaricious; insatiable or inordinate passion for property.

AVAROUS, a. Covetous. [Not used.]

AVAST, exclam. In seamen’s language, cease; stop; stay.

AVAUNT, exel.

Begone; depart; a word of contempt or abhorrence, equivalent to the phrase, “Get thee behind me.”

AVEMARY, n. [from the first words of Gabriel’s salutation to the Virgin Mary; L. ave, hail.]

A form of devotion in the Romish Church. Their chaplets and rosaries are divided into a certain number of ave-marys and paternosters.

AVENACEOUS, a. [L. avenacceus, from avena, oats.]

Belonging to, or partaking of the nature of oats.

AVENAGE, n. A certain quantity of oats paid by a tenant to a landlord in lieu of rent or other duty.


In English feudal law, an officer of the king’s stable whose duty was to provide oats.

AVENGE, v.t. avenj’. [L. vindex.]

1. To take satisfaction for an injury by punishing the injuring party; to vindicate by inflicting pain or evil on the wrong doer.

Shall not God avenge his own elect. Luke 18:7.

Avenge me of my adversary.

In these examples, avenge implies that the evil inflicted on the injuring party is a satisfaction or justice done to the injured, and the party vindicated is the object of the verb.

2. To take satisfaction for, by pain or punishment inflicted on the injuring party.

He will avenge the blood of his servants. Deuteronomy 32:43.

Here the thing for which satisfaction is taken is the object of the verb.

3. To revenge. To avenge and revenge, radically, are synonymous. But modern usage inclines to make a valuable distinction in the use of these words, restricting avenge to the taking of just punishment, and revenge to the infliction of pain or evil, maliciously, in an illegal manner.

4. In the passive form this verb signifies to have or receive just satisfaction, by the punishment of the offender.

Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? Jeremiah 5:9, 29.

AVEGEANCE, n. Punishment. [Not used. See Vengeance.]

AVENGED, pp. Satisfied by the punishment of the offender; vindicated; punished.

AVENGEMENT, n. Vengeance; punishment; the act of taking satisfaction for an injury in inflicting pain or evil on the offender; satisfaction taken; revenge.

AVENGER, n. One who avenges or vindicates; a vindicator; a revenger.

AVENGERESS, n. A female avenger.

AVENGING, ppr. Executing vengeance; taking satisfaction for an injury by the punishment of the offender; vindicating.

AVENS, n. The herb bennet.

AVENTINE, a. Pertaining to Mons Aventinus, one of the seven hills on which Rome stood.

AVENTURE, n. [L. venio, to come.]

A mischance causing a person’s death without felony; as by drowning, or falling from a house. [See Adventure.]

AVENUE, n. [L. venio.]

1. A passage; away or opening for entrance into a place; any opening or passage by which a thing is or may be introduced.

2. An alley, or walk in a garden, planted with trees, and leading to a house, gate, wood, etc., and generally terminated by some distant object. The trees may be in rows on the sides, or, according to the more modern practice, in clumps at some distance from each other.

3. A wide street, as in Washington, Columbia.

AVER, v.t. [See Verify.]

To affirm with confidence; to declare in a positive or peremptory manner, as in confidence of asserting the truth.


1. In commerce, a contribution to a general loss. When for the safety of a ship in distress, any destruction of property is incurred, either by cutting away the masts, throwing goods overboard, or other means, all persons who have goods on board, or property in the ship, contribute to the loss according to their average, that is, the goods of each on board. This principle, introduced into the commerce of Europe, from the Rhodian laws, and recognized by the regulations of Wisby, is now an established rule in the maritime laws of Europe; for it is most reasonable, that when one man’s property is sacrificed to save a ship, all persons whose property is saved, or in like hazard, should bear their proportion of the loss.

2. From the practice of contributing to bear losses, in proportion to each man’s property, this word has obtained the present popular sense, which is, that of a mean proportion, medial sum or quantity, made out of unequal sums or quantities. Thus, if A loses 5 dollars, B 9 and C 16, the sum is 30, and the average, 10.

3. A small duty payable by the shippers of goods, to the master of the ship, over and above the freight, for his care of the goods.

Hence the expression in bills of lading, “paying so much freight with primage and average accustomed.”

4. In England, the breaking up of cornfields, eddish or roughings.

Upon, or on an average, is taking the mean of unequal numbers or quantities.

AVERAGE, a. Medial; containing a mean proportion.
AVERAGE, v.t. To find the mean of unequal sums or quantities; to reduce to a medium; to divide among a number, according to a given proportion; as, to average a loss.
AVERAGE, v.i. To form a mean or medial sum or quantity; as, the losses of the owners will average 25 dollars each.

These spars average 10 feet in length.

AVERAGED, pp. Reduced or formed into a mean proportion, or into shares proportioned to each man’s property.

AVERAGING, ppr. Forming a mean proportion out of unequal sums or quantities, or reducing to just shares according to each man’s property.

AVERMENT, n. [See Aver.]

1. Affirmation; positive assertion; the act of averring.

2. Verification; establishment by evidence.

3. In pleading, an offer of either party to justify or prove what he alleges. In any stage of pleadings, when either party advances new matter, he avers it to be true, and concludes with these words, “and this he is ready to verify.” This is called an averment.

AVERNAT, n. A sort of grape.

AVERNIAN, a. Pertaining to Avernus, a lake of Campania in Italy, famous for its poisonous qualities, which the poets represent as so malignant, as to kill fowls flying over. Hence, as authors tell us, its name, without birds.

AVERPENNY, n. Money paid towards the kings carriages by land, instead of service by the beasts in kind.

AVERRED, pp. Affirmed; laid with an averment.

AVERRING, ppr. Affirming; declaring positively; offering to justify or verify.

AVERROIST, n. One of a sect of peripatetic philosophers, who were so demoninated from Averroes, a celebrated Arabian author. They held the soul to be mortal, though they pretended to submit to the christian theology.

AVERRUNCATE, v.t. [L. averrunco, of ab and erunco, from runco, to weed, or rake away.]

To root up; to scrape or tear away by the roots.

AVERRUNCATION, n. The act of tearing up or raking away by the roots.

AVERSATION, n. [L. aversor. See Avert.]

A turning from with disgust or dislike; aversion; hatred; disinclination.

It is nearly superseded by aversion.

AVERSE, a. avers’. [See Avert.] The literal sense of this word is, turned from, in manifestation of dislike. Hence the real sense is,

1. Disliking; unwilling; having a repugnance of mind.

Averse alike to flatter or offend.

2. Unfavorable; indisposed; malign.

And Pallas now averse refused her aid.

This word and its derivatives ought to be followed by to, and never by from. This word includes the idea of from; but the literal meaning being lost, the affection of the mind signified by the word, is exerted towards the object of dislike, and like its kindred terms, hatred, dislike, contrary, repugnant, etc., should be followed by to. Indeed it is absurd to speak of an affection of the mind exerted from an object. Averse expresses a less degree of opposition in the mind, than detesting and abhorring.

Milton once uses averse in its literal sense, with from, but it is not according to the English idiom.

AVERSELY, adv. avers’ly. With repugnance; unwillingly.

AVERSENESS, n. avers’ness. Opposition of mind; dislike; unwillingness; backwardness.

AVERSION, n. [L. averto.]

1. Opposition or repugnance of mind; dislike; disinclination; reluctance; hatred. Usually this word expresses moderate hatred, or opposition of mind, not amounting to abhorrence or detestation. It ought generally to be followed by to before the object. [See Averse.] Sometimes it admits of for.

A freeholder is bred with an aversion to subjection.

2. Opposition or contrariety of nature; applied to inanimate substances.

Magnesia, notwithstanding this aversion to solution, forms a kind of paste with water.

3. The cause of dislike.

Pain their aversion, pleasure their desire.

AVERT, v.t. [L. averto, a, from, and verto, to turn, anciently, vorto; hence vertex, vortex, averto; probably allied to L. vario; Eng. veer.]

1. To turn from; to turn off or away; as, to avert the eyes from an object.

2. To keep off, divert or prevent; as, to avert an approaching calamity.

3. To cause to dislike. But this sense seems to be improper, except when heart or some equivalent word is used; as, to avert the heart or affections, which may signify to alienate the affections.

AVERT, v.i. To turn away.

AVERTER, n. One that turns away; that which turns away.

AVERTING, ppr. Turning from; turning away.

AVIARY, n. [L. aviarium, from avis, a fowl.]

A bird cage; an inclosure for keeping birds confined.

AVIDIOUSLY, adv. [See Avidity.] Eagerly; with greediness.

AVIDITY, n. [L. aviditas, from avidus, and this from aveo, to desire, to have appetite; Heb. to desire, or covet.]

1. Greediness; strong appetite; applied to the senses:

2. Eagerness; intenseness of desire; applied to the mind.

AVIGATO, AVOCADO, n. The Persea, or alligator-pear, a species ranked under the genus Laurus, a native of the W. Indies. The tree has a straight trunk, long oval pointed leaves, and flowers of six petals disposed like a star, produced in clusters, on the extremities of the branches. The fruit is insipid.

Avignon-berry, the fruit of a species of lycium, so called from the city, Avignon, in France. The berry is less than a pea, of a yellowish green color, and bitter astringent taste; used by dyers and painters for staining yellow.

AVILE, v.t. [See Vile.] To depreciate. [Not in use.]

AVISE, AVISO, n. Advice; intelligence. [Not in use.]

AVISE, v.i. s as z. To consider. [Not in use.]

AVISEMENT, n. Advisement. [See Advice and Advise.]

AVOCATE, v.t. [L. avoco, from a and voco, to call. See Voice and Vocal.]

To call off, or away. [Not used.]

AVOCATION, n. [See Vocation, Voice, Vocal.]

1. The act of calling aside, or diverting from some employment; as an avocation from sin or from business.

2. The business which calls aside. The word is generally used for the smaller affairs of life, or occasional calls which summon a person to leave his ordinary or principal business. The use of this word for vocation is very improper.

AVOCATIVE, a. Calling off. [Not used.]

AVOID, v.t. [Eng. side, void, widow; L. vidua, vito, evito. See Void.]

1. To shun; to keep at a distance from; that is, literally, to go or be wide from; as, to avoid the company of gamesters.

2. To shift off, or clear off; as, to avoid expense.

3. To quit; to evacuate; to shun by leaving; as, to avoid the house.

4. To escape; as, to avoid danger.

5. To emit or throw out; as, to avoid excretions. For this, void is now generally used.

6. To make void; to annul or vacate.

The grant cannot be avoided without injustice to the grantee.

7. In pleading, to set up some new matter or distinction, which shall avoid, that is, defeat or evade the allegation of the other party. Thus, in a replication, the plaintiff may deny the defendant’s plea, or confess it, and avoid it by starting new matter.

AVOID, v.i. To retire; to withdraw.

David avoided out of his presence. 1 Samuel 18:11. [Improper.]

2. To become void, vacant or empty.

A benefice avoids by common law.


1. That may be avoided, left at a distance, shunned or escaped.

2. That may be vacated; liable to be annulled.


1. The act of avoiding, or shunning.

2. The act of vacating, or the state of being vacant. It is appropriately used for the state of a benefice becoming void, by the death, deprivation, or resignation of the incumbent.

3. The act of annulling.

4. The course by which any thing is carried off.

AVOIDED, pp. Shunned; evaded; made void; ejected.


1. One who avoids, shuns or escapes.

2. The person who carries any thing away; the vessel in which things are carried away.

AVOIDING, ppr. Shunning, escaping; keeping at a distance; ejecting; evacuating; making void, or vacant.

AVOIDLESS, a. That cannot be avoided; inevitable.

AVOIRDUPOIS, n. s as z. [See Poise.]

A weight, of which a pound contains 16 ounces. Its proportion to a pound Troy is as 17 to 14. this is the weight for the larger and coarser commodities, as hay, iron, cheese, groceries, etc.

AVOLATION, n. [L. avolo, to fly away, of a and volo. See Volatile.]

The act of flying away; flight; escape. [Little used.]

AVOSET, AVOSETTA, n. In ornithology, a species of fowls, arranged under the genus, recurvirostra, and placed by Linne in the grallic order, but by Pennant and Latham, among the palmipeds. The bill is long, slender, flexible and bent upward towards the tip. This bird is of the size of a lapwing, with very long legs, and the feathers variegated with black and white. It is found both in Europe and America.

AVOUCH, v.t. [L. voco, advoco. See Voice.]

1. To affirm; to declare or assert with positiveness.

2. To produce or call in; to affirm in favor of, maintain or support.

Such antiquities could be avouched for the Irish.

3. To maintain, vindicate or justify.

AVOUCH, n. Evidence; testimony; declaration. [Little used.]

AVOUCHABLE, a. That may be avouched. [Little used.]

AVOUCHED, pp. Affirmed; maintained; called in to support.

AVOUCHER, n. One who avouches.

AVOUCHING, ppr. Affirming; calling in to maintain; vindicating.

AVOUCHMENT, n. Declaration; the act of avouching.

AVOW, v.t. [L. voveo.]

1. To declare openly, with a view to justify, maintain or defend; or simply to own, acknowledge or confess frankly; as, a man avows his principles or his crimes.

2. In law, to acknowledge and justify; as when the distrainer of goods defends in an action of replevin, and avows the taking, but insists that such taking was legal.

AVOW, n. A vow or determination. [Not used.]

AVOWABLE, a. That may be avowed, or openly acknowledged with confidence.

AVOWAL, n. An open declaration; frank acknowledgment.

AVOWANT, n. The defendant in replevin, who avows the distress of the goods, and justifies the taking.

AVOWED, pp. Openly declared; owned; frankly acknowledged.

AVOWEDLY, adv. In an open manner; with frank acknowledgment.

AVOWEE, n. Sometimes used for advowee, the person who has a right to present to a benefice, the patron. [See Advowson.]

AVOWER, n. One who avows, owns, or asserts.

AVOWING, ppr. Openly declaring; frankly acknowledging; justifying.

AVOWRY, n. In law, the act of the distrainer of goods, who, in an action of replevin, avows and justifies the taking; the act of maintaining the right to distrain, by the distrainer, or defendant in replevin.

AVOWTRY, [See Advoutry.]

AVULSED, a. [See Avulsion.] Plucked or pulled off.

AVULSION, n. [L. avulsio, from avello, a and vello, to pull coinciding with Heb. to separate; Eng. pull.]

A pulling or tearing asunder; a rending or violent separation.