Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



BIESTINGS, n. plu. The first milk given by a cow after calving.

BIFARIOUS, a. [L. bifarius; bis and fero, or Teutonic, faran, to go.]

Two-fold. In botany, pointing two ways, as leaves that grow only on opposite sides of a branch.

BIFARIOUSLY, adv. In a bifarious manner. A stem or branch is bifariously hairy, when the hairs between any two joints come out on the front and back, and in the two adjoining internodes, on the right and left side.

BIFEROUS, a. [L. bifer, biferus; of bis, twice, and fero, to bear.]

Bearing fruit twice a year, as plants do in warm climates.

BIFID, BIFIDATE, a. [L. bifidus, bifidatus, of bis, twice, and findo, fidi, to split or cleave. See Divide and Wide.]

In botany, two-cleft; divided; opening with a cleft; divided by a linear sinus, with straight margins.

BIFLOROUS, a. [L. bis, twice, and floreo.] Bearing two flowers.

BIFOLD, a. [L. bis, twice, and fold.] Two-fold; double; of two kinds, degrees, etc.

BIFORM, a. [L. biformis, of bis, twice, and forma, form.]

Having two forms, bodies or shapes.

BIFORMED, a. Compounded of two forms.

BIFORMITY, n. A double form.

BIFURCATE, BIFURCATED, a. [L. bifurcus, of bis, twice, and furca, a fork.]

Forked; divided into two branches.

BIFURCATION, n. A forking, or division into two branches.

BIG, a.

1. Bulky; protuberant; pregnant, applied to females. Big, in the sense of pregnant, is followed by with; as, big with child. The use of of, big of child, is not good English.

2. Great; large; in a more general sense; applied to any body or object.

3. Full; fraught, and about to have vent, or be brought forth.

The important day, big with the fate of Rome.

4. Distended; full, as with grief or passion.

Thy heart is big, get thee apart and weep.

5. Swelled; tumid; inflated, as with pride; hence, haughty in air or mien, or indicating haughtiness; proud; as big looks; big words; to look big.

6. Great in spirit; lofty; brave.

Have not I a heart as big as thine?

BIG, n. A kind of barley.

BIGAM, n. A bigamist. [Not used.]

BIGAMIST, n. [See Bigamy.] One who has committed bigamy, or had two wives at one.

BIGAMY, n. [L. bis, twice, and Gr. to marry, marriage.]

The crime of having two wives at once. But the term is ordinarily used as synonymous with Polygamy, and may be more justly defined, the crime of having a plurality of wives.

In the canon law, bigamy was the marrying a second wife after the death of the first, or once marrying a widow. This disqualified a man for orders, and holding ecclesiastical offices.

BIGBELLIED, a. Having a great belly; advanced in pregnancy.

BIGBONED, a. Having large bones.

BIGCORNED, a. Having large grains.

BIGEMINATE, a. [L. bis, twice, and geminus, double.]

Twin-forked; used of a decompound leaf having a forked petiole, with several leaflets, at the end of each division.

BIGGEL, n. A quadruped of the East Indies, somewhat like a rane or rein-deer, but its head resembles that of a horse. It has two horns, cloven feet and a mane like an ass.


1. A child’s cap, or something worn about the head.

2. A building.


1. A bend, or small bay between two points of land.

2. The double part of a rope when folded, in distinction from the end; that is, a round, bend or coil anywhere except at the ends.

3. The inward bent of a horse’s chambrel, and the bend of the fore knees.

BIGLY, adv. [from big.] In a tumid, swelling, blustering manner; haughtily.

BIGNAMED, a. Having a great or famous name.

BIGNESS, n. Bulk; size; largeness; dimensions. It is used of any object, animate or inanimate, and with or without comparison. Thus we speak of the bigness of a tree, of a rock, of a house, without instituting a comparison with other objects of the kind. Yet in this case there is always some reference in the mind to known measure. We also say, one thing is as big as another; in which case we give the idea of unknown size, by a known object. Big and bigness always imply expansion, more or less, in breadth, and are thus distinguished from tall and tallness.


1. A person who is obstinately and unreasonably wedded to a particular religious creed, opinion, practice or ritual. The word is sometimes used in an enlarged sense, for a person who is illiberally attached to any opinion, or system of belief; as a bigot to the Mohammedan religion; a bigot to a form of government.

2. A venetian liquid measure containing the fourth part of the amphor, or half the boot.

BIGOT, BIGOTED, a. Obstinately and blindly attached to some creed, opinion, practice or ritual; unreasonably devoted to a system or party, and illiberal towards the opinions of others.

BIGOTEDLY, adv. In the manner of a bigot; pertinaciously.

BIGOTRY, n. Obstinate or blind attachment to a particular creed, or to certain tenets; unreasonable zeal or warmth in favor of a party, sect or opinion; excessive prejudice.

1. The practice or tenet of a bigot.

BIGSOUNDING, a. Having a pompous sound.

BIGSWOLN, a. [big and swoln. See Swell.]

Swelled to a large size; turgid; greatly swelled; ready to burst.

BIGUDDERED, a. [big and udder.]

Having large udders, or udders swelled with milk.

BIHYDROGURET, n. A double hydroguret, or with two atoms of hydrogen.

BIJUGOUS, a. [L. bis, twice, and jugum, a yoke, a pair.]

Having two pairs of leaflets; used of pinnated leaves.

BILABIATE, a. [L. bis, twice, and labium, a lip.]

Having two lips, as the corols of flowers.

BILAMELLATE, a. [L. bis, twice, and lamella, a plate.]

Having the form of a flatted sphere, longitudinally bifid; used of the stigma of plants.

BILANDER, n. A small merchant vessel with two masts, distinguished from other vessels of two masts, by the form of the main-sail, which is bent to the whole length of a yard, hanging fore and aft, and inclined to the horizon in an angle of about 45 degrees; the foremost lower corner, called the tack, being secured to a ring-bolt in the deck, and the aftermost or sheet, to the tafferel. Few vessels are now rigged in this manner.

The bilander is a kind of hoy, manageable by four or five men and used chiefly in the canals of the Low Countries.

BILATERAL, a. [L. bis and latus, side.] Having two sides.

BILBERRY, n. The name of a shrub and its fruit; a species of Vaccinium or whortle-berry. The name with us is given to the taller shrub and its fruit which is of a bluish color.

BILBO, n. [from Bilboa, in Spain.]

A rapier; a sword; so named, it is said, from Bilboa in Spain, where the best are made.

BILBOES, n. plu. On board of ships, long bars or bolts of iron with shackles sliding on them, and a lock at the end, used to confine the feet of prisoners or offenders. Hence the punishment of offenders in this manner is called by the same name.

BILD, v.t. pret. bilded, bilt; pp. id.

To construct; to erect; to set up and finish; as, to bild a house or ship; to bild a wall. [This is the true orthography; the common spelling is incorrect. See Build.]

BILDSTEIN, n. Agalmatolite, or figure-stone. A massive mineral, with sometimes a slaty structure; of a color gray, brown, flesh red, sometimes spotted, or with blue veins. It fuses into a transparent glass. Brongniart calls it steatite pagodite, from its coming from China in grotesque figures.

This mineral resembles steatite in its physical characters, but differs from it essentially in its composition. It is soft, easily cut with a knife, and reducible to a fine unctuous powder.

BILE, n. [L. bilis.] A yellow bitter liquor, separated from the blood in the liver, collected in the pori biliarii and gall bladder, and thence discharged by the common duct into the duodenum.

BILE, n. An inflamed tumor. [See Boil, the correct orthography.]

BILEDUCT, n. [bile and L. ductus, a conduit.]

A vessel or canal to convey bile.

BILESTONE, n. [bile and stone.] A concretion of viscid. bile.

BILGE, n. [A different orthography of bulge, and belly, a protuberance.]

1. The protuberant part of a cask, which is usually in the middle.

2. The breadth of a ship’s bottom, or that part of her floor which approaches to a horizontal direction, on which she would rest, if aground. Hence, when this part of a ship is fractured, she is said to be bilged.

BILGE, v.i. To suffer a fracture in the bilge; to spring a leak by a fracture in the bilge. The term is used also when a ship has some of her timbers struck off by a rock or an anchor, and springs a leak.

BILGED, pp. or a. Having a fracture in the bilge. This participle is often used, as if the verb were transitive; and perhaps it is sometimes so used.

BILGE-PUMP, n. A burr-pump; a pump to draw the bilge-water from a ship.

BILGE-WATER, n. Water which enters a ship, and lies upon her bilge or bottom.

BILIARY, n. Water which enters a ship, and lies upon her bilge or bottom.

BILIARY, a. [from L. bilis.] Belonging to the bile; conveying the bile; as a biliary duct.

BILINGSGATE, n. [from a place of this name in London frequented by low people who use foul language.]

Foul language; ribaldry.

BILINGUOUS, a. [L. bis, and lingua, tongue.]

Having two tongues, or speaking two languages.

BILIOUS, a. [L. biliosus, from bilis, the bile.]

Pertaining to bile; consisting or partaking of bile; caused by a redundancy, or bad state of the bile; as a bilious fever.

BILITERAL, a. [L. bis, twice, and litera, letter.]

Consisting of two letters; as a biliteral root in language.

BILK, v.t. To frustrate or disappoint; to deceive or defraud, by non-fulfillment of engagement; as, to bilk a creditor.

BILKED, pp. Disappointed; deceived; defrauded.

BILKING, ppr. Frustrating; defrauding.

BILL, n.

1. The beak of a fowl.

2. An instrument used by plumbers, basket makers and gardeners, made in the form of a crescent, and fitted with a handle. When short, it is called a hand-bill; when long, a hedge-bill. It is used for pruning trees, etc.

BILL, n.

A pick-ax, or mattock; a battle-ax; an ax or hatchet with a crooked point.

BILL, n.

1. In law, a declaration in writing, expressing some wrong the complainant has suffered from the defendant, or a fault committed by some person against a law. It contains the fact complained of, the damage sustained, and a petition or process against the defendant for redress. It is used both in civil and criminal cases.

In Scots law, every summary application in writing, by way of petition to the court of session, is called a bill.

2. In law and in commerce, in England, an obligation or security given for money under the hand, and sometimes the seal of the debtor, without a condition or forfeiture for non-payment. In the latter circumstance, it differs from a bond. In the United States, this species of security is usually called a note, a note of hand, or a promissory note.

3. A form or draft of a law, presented to a legislature, but not enacted. In some cases, statutes are called bills; but usually they are qualified by some description, as a bill of attainder.

4. A paper written or printed, and posted in some public place, advertising the proposed sale of goods, or particular things; an advertisement posted.

5. An account of goods sold or delivered, services rendered or work done, with the price or value annexed to each article.

6. Any written paper, containing a statement of particulars; as a bill of charges or expenditures; a physician’s bill of prescriptions; a bill of fare or provisions, etc.

7. A bill of exchange is an order drawn on a person, in a distant place, requesting or directing him to pay money to some person assigned by the drawer, or to his order, in consideration of the same sum received by the drawer. Bills of exchange are either foreign or inland; foreign, when drawn by a person in one country upon one residing in another; inland, when both the drawer and drawee reside in the same country. The person who draws the bill is called the drawer; the person on whom the request or demand is made, is called the drawee; and the person to whom the money is directed to be paid, is called the payee.

8. A bill of entry is a written account of goods entered at the customhouse, whether imported or intended for exportation.

9. A bill of lading is a written account of goods shipped by any person, on board of a vessel, signed by the master of the vessel, who acknowledges the receipt of the goods, and promises to deliver them safe at the place directed, dangers of the sea excepted. It is usual for the master to sign two, three or four copies of the bill; one of which he keeps in possession, one is kept by the shipper, and one is sent to the consignee of the goods.

10. A bill of parcels is an account given by the seller to the buyer, of the several articles purchased, with the price of each.

11. A bill of sale is when a person borrows money and delivers goods to the lender as security, and at the same time, gives him a bill, empowering him to sell the goods, if the money is not repaid at the appointed time with interest.

In the United States, a bill of sale is a writing given by the seller of personal property to the purchaser, answering to a deed of real estate, but without seal.

12. A bill of mortality is an account of the number of deaths in a place, in a given time. In these bills it is not unusual to insert registers of births and christenings, as in London.

13. Bank-bill. [See Bank.]

14. A bill of rights is a summary of rights and privileges, claimed by a people. Such was the declaration presented by the lords and commons of England to the prince and princess of Orange in 1688. In America, a bill or declaration or rights is prefixed to most of the constitutions of the several states.

15. A bill of divorce, in the Jewish law, was a writing given by the husband to the wife, by which the marriage relation was dissolved.

16. [See Indictment.]

BILL, v.i. [from bill, a beak.] To join bills, as doves; to caress in fondness.
BILL, v.t. [from bill, a writing.] To advertise by a bill or public notice; a cant word.

BILLARD, n. A bastard or imperfect capon; also a fish of the cod kind.

BILLET, n. [dim. of bill;]

A small paper or note in writing, used for various purposes; sometimes it is a short letter, addressed to some person; sometimes a ticket directing soldiers at what house to lodge.

In heraldry, billet is a bearing in the form of a long square.

BILLET-DOUX, bil’le-doo. A love billet.

BILLET, n. A small stick of wood.

BILLET, v.t. [from billet, a ticket.] To direct a soldier by a ticket or note where to lodge; hence, to quarter, or place in lodgings, as soldiers in private houses.

BILLETING, ppr. Quartering, as soldiers in private houses.

BILLIARD, a. bil’yard. Pertaining to the game of billiards.

BILLIARDS, n. plu. bil’yards.

A game played on a rectangular table, covered with a green cloth, with small ivory balls, which the players aim to drive into hazardnets or pockets at the sides and corners of the tables, by impelling one ball against another, with maces, or cues, according to certain rules of the game.

BILLION, n. bil’yun. [bis and million.]

A million of millions; as many millions as there are units in a million.

BILLOW, n. A great wave or surge of the sea, occasioned usually by violent wind. It can hardly be applied to the waves of a river, unless in poetry, or when the river is very large.

BILLOW, v.i. To swell; to rise and roll in large waves, or surges.

BILLOW-BEATEN, a. Tossed by billows.

BILLOWING, ppr. Swelled into a large waves or surges.

BILLOWY, a. Swelling, or swelled into large waves; wavy; full of billows, or surges.

BILOBED, BILOBATE, a. [L. bis, twice. See Lobe.] Divided into two lobes; as a bilobate leaf.

BILOCULAR, a. [L. bis, twice, and loculus, from locus, a place.]

Divided into two cells, or containing two cells internally; as a bilocular pericarp.

BILVA, n. The Hindu name of a plant, the Crataeva Marmelos of Linne.

BIMANOUS, a. [bis and manus.] Having two hands. Man is bimanous.

BIMBOW, [See Kimbo.]

BIMEDIAL, a. [L. bis, twice, and medial.] In mathematics, if two medial lines, A B and B C, commensurable only in power, and containing a rational rectangle, are compounded, the whole line A C will be irrational, and is called a first bimedial line.

1. Belonging to a quantity arising from a particular combination of two other quantities.

BIN, n. A wooden box or chest used as a repository of corn or other commodities.

BINNACLE, n. [Formerly bittacle.] A wooden case or box in which the compass and lights are kept on board a ship. It is sometimes divided into three apartments, with sliding shutters; the two sides contain each a compass, and the middle division, a lamp or candle.

BINARY, a. [L. binus, two and two.]

Binary arithmetic, the invention of Leibnitz, is that in which two figures only, 0 and 1, are used, in lieu of ten; the cypher multiplying every thing by two, as in common arithmetic by 10. Thus, 1 is one; 10 is two; 11 is three; 100 is four; 101 is five; 110 is six; 111, is seven; 1000 is eight; 1001 is nine; 1010 is ten. It is said this species of arithmetic has been used by the Chinese for 4000 years, being left in enigma by Fohi.

Binary measure, in music, is that used in common time, in which the time of rising in beating, is equal to the time of falling.

Binary number is that which is composed of two units.

BINARY, n. The constitution of two.

BINATE, a. [L. biinus. See Binary.] Being double or in couples; growing in pairs. A binate leaf has a simple petiole, connecting two leaflets on the top; a species of digitate leaf.

BIND, v.t.

1. To tie together, or confine with a cord, or any thing that is flexible; to fasten as with a band, fillet or ligature.

2. To gird, inwrap or involve; to confine by a wrapper, cover or bandage; sometimes with up; as, to bind up a wound.

3. To confine or restrain, as with a chain, fetters or cord; as, bind him hand and foot.

4. To restrain in any manner.

He bindeth the floods from overflowing. Job 28:11.

5. To oblige by a promise, vow, stipulation, covenant, law, duty or any other moral tie; to engage.

If a man shall swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond. Numbers 30:2.

We are bound by the laws of kindness, of nature, of a state, etc.

6. To confirm or ratify.

Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven. Matthew 16:19.

7. To distress, trouble, or confine by infirmity.

Whom Satan hath bound these eighteen years. Luke 13:16.

8. To constrain by a powerful influence or persuasion.

I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem. Acts 20:22.

9. To restrain the natural discharges of the bowels; to make costive; as, certain kinds of food bind the body or bowels.

10. To form a border; to fasten with a band, ribin, or any thing that strengthens the edges; as, to bind a garment or carpet.

11. To cover with leather or anything firm; to sew together and cover; as, to bind a book.

12. To cover or secure by a band; as, to bind a wheel with tire.

13. To oblige to serve, by contract; as, to bind an apprentice; often with out; as, to bind out a servant.

14. To make hard or firm; as, certain substances bind the earth.

To bind to is to contract; as, to bind one’s self to a wife.

To bind over is to oblige by bond to appear at a court.

BIND, v.i. To contract; to grow hard or stiff; as, clay binds by heat.

1. To grow or become costive.

2. To be obligatory.

BIND, n. A stalk of hops, so called from its winding round a pole or tree, or being bound to it.

1. A bind of eels, is a quantity consisting of 10 strikes, each containing 25 eels, or 250 in the whole.

2. Among miners, indurated clay, when much mixed with the oxyd of iron.

BINDER, n. A person who binds; one whose occupation is to bind books; also, one who binds sheaves.

1. Anything that binds, as a fillet, cord, rope, or band.

BINDERY, n. A place where books are bound.

BINDING, ppr. Fastening with a band; confining; restraining; covering or wrapping; obliging by a promise or other moral tie; making costive; contracting; making hard or stiff.

BINDING, a. That obliges; obligatory; as the binding force of a moral duty or of a command.
BINDING, n. The act of fastening with a band or obliging; a bandage; the cover of a book, with the sewing and accompanying work; any thing that binds; something that secures the edge of cloth.

1. In the art of defense, a method of securing or crossing the adversary’s sword with a pressure, accompanied with a spring of the wrist.

Binding-joists, in architecture, are the joists of a floor into which the trimmers of staircases, or well holes of the stairs and chimney ways, are framed.

BIND-WEED, n. A genus of plants, called Convolvulus, comprehending many species, as the white, the blue, the Syrian bind-weed, etc. The black briony or Tamus is called black bind-weed; and the Smilax is called rough bind-weed.

BING, n. In alum works, a heap of alum thrown together in order to drain.

BINOCLE, n. [binus, double, and oculus, and eye.]

A dioptric telescope, fitted with two tubes joining, so as to enable a person to view an object with both eyes at once.

BINOCULAR, a. [See Binocle.] Having two eyes; also, having two apertures or tubes, so joined that one may use both eyes at once in viewing a distant object; as a binocular telescope.

BINOMIAL, a. [L. bis, twice, and nomen, name.]

In algebra, a root consisting of two members connected by the sign plus or minus; as a+b, or 7-3.

BINOMINOUS, a. [L. bis, twice, and nomen, name.]

Having two names.

BINOTONOUS, a. [bis and note.] Consisting of two notes; as a binotonous cry.

BIOGRAPHER, n. [See Biography.] One who writes an account of history of the life and actions of a particular person; a writer of lives, as Plutarch.

BIOGRAPHIC, BIOGRAPHICAL, a. Pertaining to biography, or the history of the life of a person; containing biography.

BIOGRAPHY, n. [Gr. life, and to write.]

The history of the life and character of a particular person.

BIOTINA, n. [from Biot, a French naturalist.]

A newly discovered Vesuvian mineral, whose primitive form is that of an obtuse rhomboid.

BIPAROUS, a. [L. bis, twice, and pario, to bear.]

Bringing forth two at a birth.

BIPARTIBLE, BIPARTILE, a. [L. bis, twice, and partio, to divide.]

That may be divided in two parts.

BIPARTIENT, [L. bis, twice, and partio, partiens, to divide.] Dividing into two parts.

BIPARTITE, a. [L. bis, twice, and partitus, divided.]

1. Having two correspondent parts, as a legal contract or writing, one for each party.

2. In botany, divided into two parts to the base, as a leaf.

BIPARTITION, n. The act of dividing into two parts, or of making two correspondent parts.