Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



BEHOT, pret. of behight.

BEHOVE, and its derivatives. [See Behoove.]

BEHOWL, v.i. [be and howl.] To howl at. [Not used.]

BEING, ppr. [See Be.] Existing in a certain state.

Man, being in honor, abideth not. Psalm 49:12.

BEING, n. Existence; as, God is the author of our being.

In God we live, and move, and have our being. Acts 17:28.

1. A particular state or condition. [This is hardly a different sense.]

2. A person existing; applied to the human race.

3. An immaterial, intelligent existence, or spirit.

Superior beings, when of late they saw.

A mortal man unfold all nature’s law--

4. An animal; any living creature.

Animals are such beings, as are endowed with sensation and spontaneous motion.

BEJADE, v.t. [be and jade.] To tire. [Not used.]

BEJAPE, v.t. To laugh at; to deceive. [Not used.]

BEKISS, v.t. [be and kiss.] To kiss or salute. [Not in use.]

BEKNAVE, v.t. [be and knave.] To call knave. [Not used.]

BEKNOW, v.t. [be and know.] To acknowledge. [Not used.]

BELABOR, v.t. [perhaps from be and labor; but in Russ. bulava is a club.] To beat soundly; to thump.

Ajax belabors there a harmless ox.

BELACE, v.t. [be and lace.] To fasten, as with a lace or cord.

1. To beat; to whip.

BELACED, a. Adorned with lace.

BELAMOUR, n. A gallant; a consort. [Not used.]

BELAMY, n. A good friend; an intimate. [Not used.]

BELATE, v.t. [be and late.] To retard or make too late. [Not used.]

BELATED, a. [be and lated.] Benighted; abroad late at night.

1. Too late for the hour appointed or intended; later than the proper time.

BELATEDNESS, n. A being too late.

BELAVE, v.t. [be and lave.] To wash. [Not used.]

BELAWGIVE, v.t. To give a law to. [Barbarous and not used.]

BELAY, v.t. [This word is composed of be and lay, to lay to, lay by, or close. See Beleaguer.]

1. To block up, or obstruct.

2. To place in ambush.

3. To adorn, surround, or cover.

4. In seamanship, to fasten, or make fast, by winding a rope round a cleat, kevil, or belaying-pin. It is chiefly applied to the running rigging.

BELAYED, pp. Obstructed; ambushed; made fast.

BELAYING, ppr. Blocking up; laying an ambush; making fast.

BELCH, v.t. [Eng. bulge, bilge, bulk.]

1. To throw or eject wind from the stomach with violence.

2. To eject violently from a deep hollow place, as, a volcano belches flames and lava.

BELCH, n. The act of throwing out from the stomach, or from a hollow place; eructation.

1. A cant name for malt liquor.

BELCHED, pp. Ejected from the stomach, or from a hollow place.

BELCHING, ppr. Ejecting from the stomach or any deep hollow place.

BELCHING, n. Eructation.


1. An old woman.

Spenser seems to have used the word in its true sense for good dame.

2. A hag.

BELEAGUER, v.t. belee’ger. To besiege; to block up; to surround with an army, so as to preclude escape.

BELEAGUERED, pp. Besieged.

BELEAGUERER, n. One who besieges.

BELEAGURING, ppr. Besieging; blocking up.

BELEAVE, v.t. [be and leave.] To leave. [Not used.]

BELEE, v.t. [be and lee.] To place on the lee, or in a position unfavorable to the wind. [Not used.]

BELEMNITE, n. [Gr. a dart, or arrow, from the root of pello, to throw.]

Arrow-head, or finger stone; vulgarly called thunder-bolt, or thunder stone. A genus of fossil shells, common in chalk and limestone. These shells consist of an interior cone, divided into partitions connected by a syphon, as in the nautilus, and surrounded by a number of concentric layers, made up of fibers radiating from the axis. These layers are somewhat transparent, and when burnt, rubbed or scraped, give the odor of rasped horn. The species are now extinct.

BELEPER, v.t. To infect with leprosy. [Not used.]

BELFRY, n. [L. belfredus.]

1. Among military writers of the middle age, a tower erected by besiegers to overlook the place besieged, in which sentinels were placed to watch the avenues, and to prevent surprise from parties of the enemy, or to give notice of fires, by ringing a bell.

2. That part of a steeple, or other building, in which a bell is hung, and more particularly, the timer work which sustains it.

BELGARD, n. A soft look or glance. [Not used.]

BELGIAN, a. [See Belgic.] Belonging to Belgica, or the Netherlands.

BELGIAN, n. A native of Belgica, or the Low Countries.

BELGIC, a. [L. belgicus, from Belgae, the inhabitants of the Netherlands and the country bordering on the Rhine, from that river to the Seine and the ocean. The name may have been given to them from their bulk or large stature; Eng. bulge;]

Pertaining to the Belgae, who, in Caesar’s time, possessed the country between the Rhine, the Seine and the ocean. They were of Teutonic origin, and anterior to Caesar’s invasion of Gaul and Britain, colonies of them had established themselves in the southern part of Britain. The country was called from its inhabitants Belgica, not Belgium, which was the town of Beauvais. See Cluv. Germ. Ant. 2.2.

Belgic is now applied to the Netherlands, called also Flanders, or that part of the Low Countries which formerly belonged to the house of Austria.

BELIAL, n. As a noun, unprofitableness; wickedness. As an adjective, worthless; wicked. In a collective sense, wicked men.

BELIBEL, v.t. [be and libel.] To libel or traduce. [Not used.]

BELIE, v.t. [be and lie. See Lie.]

1. To give the lie to; to show to be false; to charge with falsehood; as, the heart belies the tongue. It is rarely used of declarations; but of appearances and facts which show that declarations, or certain appearances and pretences are false and hypocritical. Hence.

2. To counterfeit; to mimic; to feign resemblance.

With dust, with horse’s hoofs, that beat the ground,

And martial brass, belie the thunder’s sound.

3. To give a false representation.

Should I do so, I should belie my thoughts.

4. To tell lies concerning; to calumniate by false reports.

Thou dost belie him, Percy.

5. To fill with lies.

Slander doth belie all corners of the world. [Not legitimate]

BELIED, pp. Falsely represented either by word or obvious evidence and indication; counterfeited; mimicked.


1. A persuasion of the truth, or an assent of mind to the truth of a declaration, proposition or alleged fact, on the ground of evidence, distinct from personal knowledge; as the belief of the gospel; belief of a witness. Belief may also by founded on internal impressions, or arguments and reasons furnished by our own minds; as the belief of our senses; a train of reasoning may result in belief. Belief is opposed to knowledge and science.

2. In theology, faith, or a firm persuasion of the truths of religion.

No man can attain [to] belief by the bare contemplation of heaven and earth.

3. Religion; the body of tenets held by the professors of faith.

In the heat of persecution, to which christian belief was subject, upon its first promulgation.

4. In some cases, the word is used for persuasion or opinion, when the evidence is not so clear as to leave no doubt; but the shades of strength in opinion can hardly be defined, or exemplified. Hence the use of qualifying words; as a firm, full or strong belief.

5. The thing believed; the object of belief.

Superstitious prophecies are the belief of fools.

6. A creed; a form or summary of articles of faith. In this sense, we generally use Creed.

BELIEVABALE, a. That may be believed; credible.


1. To credit upon the authority or testimony of another; to be persuaded of the truth of something upon the declaration of another, or upon evidence furnished by reasons, arguments, and deductions of the mind, or by other circumstances, than personal knowledge. When we believe upon the authority of another, we always put confidence in his veracity.

When we believe upon the authority of reasoning, arguments, or a concurrence of facts and circumstances, we rest our conclusions upon their strength or probability, their agreement with our own experience, etc.

2. To expect or hope with confidence; to trust.

I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13.

BELIEVE, v.i. To have a firm persuasion of any thing. In some cases, to have full persuasion, approaching to certainty; in others, more doubt is implied. It is often followed by in or on, especially in the scriptures. To believe in, is to hold as the object of faith. “Ye believe in God, believe also in me.” John 14:1. To believe on, is to trust, to place full confidence in, to rest upon with faith. “To them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12. Johnson. But there is no ground for much distinction.

In theology, to believe sometimes expresses a mere assent of the understanding to the truths of the gospel; as in the case of Simon. Acts 8:13. In others, the word implies, with this assent of the mind, a yielding of the will and affections, accompanied with a humble reliance on Christ for salvation. John 1:12; John 3:15.

In popular use and familiar discourse, to believe often expresses an opinion in a vague manner, without a very exact estimate of evidence, noting a mere preponderance of opinion, and is nearly equivalent to think or suppose.

BELIEVED, pp. Credited; assented to, as true.

BELIEVER, n. One who believes; one who gives credit to other evidence than that of personal knowledge.

1. In theology, one who gives credit to the truth of the scriptures, as a revelation from God. In a more restricted sense, a professor of christianity; one who receives the gospel, as unfolding the true way of salvation, and Christ, as his Savior.

In the primitive church, those who had been instructed in the truths of the gospel and baptized, were called believers; in distinction from the catechumens, who were under instruction, as preparatory to baptism and admission to church privileges.

BELIEVING, ppr. Giving credit to testimony or to other evidence than personal knowledge.

BELIEVINGLY, adv. In a believing manner.

BELIKE, adv. [be and like.] Probably; likely; perhaps. [Nearly antiquated.]

BELIKELY, adv. Probably. [Not used.]

BELIVE, adv. [See Live.] Speedily; quickly.

BELL, n.

1. A vessel or hollow body, used for making sounds. Its constituent parts are a barrel or hollow body, enlarged or expanded at one end, an ear or cannon by which it is hung to a beam, and a clapper on the inside. It is formed of a composition of metals. Bells are of high antiquity. The blue tunic of the Jewish High Priest was adorned with golden bells; and the kings of Persia are said to have the hem of their robe adorned with them in like manner. Among the Greeks, those who went the nightly rounds in camps or garrisons, used to ring a bell, at each sentinel-box, to see that the soldier on duty was awake. Bells were also put on the necks of criminals, to warn persons to move out of the way of so ill an omen, as the sight of a criminal or his executioner; also on the necks of beasts and birds, and in houses. In churches and other public buildings, bells are now used to notify the time of meeting of any congregation or other assembly.

In private houses, bells are used to call servants, either hung and moved by a wire, or as hand-bells. Small bells are also used in electrical experiments.

2. A hollow body of metal, perforated, and containing a solid ball, to give sounds when shaken; used on animals, as on horses or hawks.

3. Any thing in form of a bell, as the cup or calix of a flower.

To bear the bell, is to be the first or leader, in allusion to the bell-wether of a flock, or the leading horse of a team or drove, that wears bells on his collar.

To shake the bells, a phrase of Shakespeare, signifies to move, give notice or alarm.

BELL, v.i. To grow in the form of bells, as buds or flowers.

BELL-FASHIONED, a. Having the form of a bell.

BELL-FLOWER, n. [bell and flower.] A genus of plants, so named from the shape of the corol or flower which resembles a bell, L. Campanula, a genus of monogynian pentanders, comprehending many species.

BELL-FOUNDER, n. [bell and founder.] A man whose occupation is to found or cast bells.

BELL-MAN, n. [bell man.] A man who rings a bell, especially to give notice of anything in the streets.

BELL-METAL, n. [bell and metal] A mixture of copper and tin, in the proportion of about ten parts of copper to one of tin, or according to Thomson, three parts to one, and usually a small portion of brass or zink; used for making bells.

BELL-PEPPER, n. [bell and pepper.] A name of the Guinea pepper, a species of Capsicum. This is the red pepper of the gardens, and most proper for pickling.

BELL-RINGER, n. One whose business is to ring a church or other bell.

BELL-SHAPED, a. [bell and shape.] Having the form of a bell.

BELL-WETHER, n. [bell and wether.] A wether or sheep which leads the flock, with a bell on his neck.

BELL-WORT, n. A plant, the Uvularia.

BELLADONNA, n. A plant, a species of Atropa, or deadly nightshade.

BELLATRIX, n. [L.] A ruddy, glittering star of the second magnitude, in the left shoulder of Orion; so named from its imagined influence in exciting war.

BELLE, n. bel. [L. bellus.] A young lady. In popular use, a lady of superior beauty and much admired.

BELLED, a. Hung with bells.

BELLES-LETTRES, n. plu. bel’ letter, or anglicized, bell-letters. Polite literature; a word of very vague signification. It includes poetry and oratory; but authors are not agreed to what particular branches of learning the term should be restricted.

BELLLIBONE, n. A woman excelling both in beauty and goodness. [Not in use.]

BELLIGERENT, a. [L. belliger, warlike; belligero, to wage war; from bellum, war, and gero, to wage; part. gerens, gerentis, waging. Gr. war.]

Waging war; carrying on war; as a belligerent nation.

BELLIGERENT, n. A nation, power or state carrying on war.

BELLIGEROUS, a. The same as belligerent. [Not used.]

BELLING, n. The noise of a roe in rutting time; a huntsman’s term.

1. Growing or forming like a bell; growing full and ripe; used of hops; from bell.

BELLIPOTENT, a. [L. bellum, war, and potens, powerful, bellipotens.]

Powerful or mighty in war. [Little used.]

BELLIQUE, a. bellee’k. War-like. [Not used.]

BELLON, n. A disease, attended with languor and intolerable griping of the bowels, common in places where lead ore is smelted.

BELLONA, n. [from L. bellum, war.] The goddess of war.

BELLOW, v.i. [L. balo.]

1. To make a hollow, loud noise, as a bull; to make a loud outcry; to roar. In contempt, to vociferate or clamor.

2. To roar, as the sea in a tempest, or as the wind when violent; to make a loud, hollow, continued sound.

BELLOW, n. A loud outcry; roar.

BELLOWING, ppr. Making a loud hollow sound, as a bull, or as the roaring of billows.

BELLOWING, n. A loud hollow sound or roar.

BELLOWS, n. sing. and plu. [L. bulga] An instrument, utensil or machine for blowing fire, either in private dwellings or in forges, furnaces and shops. It is so formed as by being dilated and contracted, to inhale air by a lateral orifice which is opened and closed with a valve, and to propel it through a tube upon the fire.

BELLOWS-FISH, n. The trumpet-fish, about four inches long, with a long snout; whence its name.

BELLUINE, a. [L. belluinus, brom bellua, a beast.] Beastly; pertaining to or like a beast; brutal. [Little used.]


1. That part of the human body which extends from the breast to the thighs, containing the bowels. It is called also the abdomen or lower belly, to distinguish it from the head and breast, which are sometimes called bellies, from their cavity.

2. The part of a beast, corresponding to the human belly.

3. The womb. Jeremiah 1:5.

4. The receptacle of food; that which requires food, in opposition to the back.

Whose god is their belly. Philippians 3:19.

5. The part of any thing which resembles the human belly in protuberance or cavity, as of a harp or a bottle.

6. Any hollow inclosed place; as the belly of hell, in Jonah.

7. In scripture, belly is used for the heart. Proverbs 18:8; Proverbs 20:30; John 7:38. Carnal lusts, sensual pleasure. Romans 16:18; Philippians 3:19. The whole man. Titus 1:12.

BELLY, v.t. To fill; to swell out.
BELLY, v.i. To swell and become protuberant, like the belly; as bellying goblets; bellying canvas.

1. To strut.

BELLY-ACHE, n. [belly and ache.] Pain in the bowels; the colic.

BELLY-ACHE BUSH or WEED, A species of Jatropha.

BELLY-BAND, n. A band that encompasses the belly of a horse, and fastens the saddle; a girth.

BELLY-BOUND, a. Diseased in the belly, so as to be costive, and shrunk in the belly.

BELLY-CHEER, n. Good cheer, [Not used.]

BELLY-FRETTING, n. The chafing of a horse’s belly, with a fore girt.

1. A violent pain in a horse’s belly, caused by worms.

BELLYFUL, n. [belly and full.] As much as fills the belly, or satisfies the appetite. In familiar and ludicrous language, a great abundance; more than enough.

BELLY-GOD, n. [belly and god.] A glutton; one who makes a god of his belly; that is, whose great business or pleasure is to gratify his appetite.

BELLYING, ppr. Enlarging capacity; swelling out, like the belly.

BELLY-PINCHED, a. [See Pinch.] Starved; pinched with hunger.

BELLY ROLL, n. [See Roll.] A roller protuberant in the middle, to roll land between ridges, or in hollows.

BELLY-SLAVE, n. A slave to the appetite.

BELLY-TIMBER, n. [See Timber.] Food; that which supports the belly.

BELLY-WORM, n. [See Worm.] A worm that breeds in the belly or stomach.

BELOCK, v.t. To lock or fasten as with a lock.

BELOMANCY, n. [Gr. an arrow, and divination.]

A kind of divination, practiced by the ancient Scythians, Babylonians, and other nations, and by the Arabians. A number of arrows, being marked, were put into a bag or quiver, and drawn out at random; and the marks or words on the arrow drawn determined what was to happen. See Ezekiel 21:21.

BELONE, n. [Gr. a needle.] The gar, garfish, or sea-needle, a species of Esox. It grows to the length of two or three feet, with long pointed jaws, the edges of which are armed with small teeth.

BELONG, v.i.

1. To be the property of; as, a field belongs to Richard Roe; Jamaica belongs to G. Britain.

2. To be the concern or proper business of; to appertain; as, it belongs to John Doe to prove his title.

3. To be appendant to.

He went into a desert place belonging to Bethsaida. Luke 9:10.

4. To be a part of, or connected with, though detached in place; as, a beam or rafter belongs to such a frame, or to such a place in the building.

5. To have relation to.

And David said, to whom belongest thou? 1 Samuel 30:13.

6. To be the quality or attribute of.

To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness. Daniel 9:9.

7. To be suitable for.

Strong meat belongeth to them of full age. Hebrews 5:14.

8. To relate to, or be referred to.

He careth for things that belong to the Lord. 1 Corinthians 7:32.

9. To have a legal residence, settlement, or inhabitancy, whether by birth or operation of law, so as to be entitled to maintenance by the parish or town.

Bastards also are settled in the parishes to which the mothers belong. Hence,

10. To be the native of; to have original residence.

There is no other country in the world to which the Gipeys could belong.

11. In common language, to have a settled residence; to be domiciliated.

BELONGING, ppr. Pertaining; appertaining; being the property of; being a quality of; being the concern of; being appendant to; being a native of, or having a legal or permanent settlement in.

BELONGING, n. A quality. [Not in use.]