Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



BONAIR, a. [L. bonus.] Complaisant; yielding. [Not used.]

BONASUS, n. [L.] A species of Bos, or wild ox, with a long mane; a native of Asia and Africa. It is of the size of a bull.

BON-CHRETIEN, n. A species of pear.

BOND, n.

1. Anything that binds, as a cord, a chain, a rope; a band.

2. Ligament; that which holds things together.

3. Union; connection; a binding.

Let walls be so constructed as to make a good bond.

4. In the plural, chains; imprisonment; captivity.

He hath done nothing worthy of death or of bonds. Acts.

5. Cause of union; cement which unites; link of connection; as the bonds of affection.

Charity is the bond of perfectness. Colossians 3:14.

6. An obligation imposing a moral duty, as by a vow, or promise, by law or other means.

7. In law, an obligation or deed by which a person binds himself, his heirs, executors, and administrators, to pay a certain sum, on or before a future day appointed. This is a single bond. But usually a condition is added, that ;if the obligor shall do a certain act, or pay a certain sum of money, on or before a time specified, the obligation shall be void; otherwise it shall remain in full force. If the condition is not performed, the bond becomes forfeited, and the obligor and his heirs are liable to the payment of the whole sum.

BOND, a. [for bound.] In a state of servitude, or slavery; captive.

Whether we be Jews or Gentiles; whether we be bond or free. 1 Corinthians 12:13.

BOND, v.t. To give bond for; as for duties or customs at a custom house; to secure payment of, by giving a bond.

On their reshipment and exportation, official clearances were given, in which no mention was made that the cargo consisted of bonded or debentured goods.

In the U. States, it is applied to the goods on which the customs arise, and to the duties secured by bond.

BONDAGE, n. Slavery or involuntary servitude; captivity; imprisonment; restraint of a person’s liberty by compulsion. In ancient English law, villenage.

1. Obligation; tie of duty.

He must resolve not to be brought under the bondage of observing oaths.

2. In scripture, spiritual subjection to sin and corrupt passions, or to the yoke of the ceremonial law; servile fear. Hebrews 2:15; Galatians 2:4; Romans 8:15, 21.

BONDED, pp. Secured by bond, as duties. Bonded goods are those for the duties on which bonds are given at the custom house.

BONDMAID, n. [bond and maid.] A female slave, or one bound to service without wages, in opposition to a hired servant.

BONDMAN, n. [bond and man.] A man slave, or one bound to service without wages. In old English law, a villain, or tenant in villenage.

BONDSERVANT, n. [bond and servant.] A slave; one who is subjected to the authority of another, or whose person and liberty are restrained.

BONDSERVICE, n. [bond and service.] The condition of a bond-servant; slavery.

BONDSLAVE, n. [bond and slave.] A person in a state of slavery; one whose person and liberty are subjected to the authority of a master.

BONDSMAN, n. [bond and man.] A slave.

1. A surety; one who is bound, or who gives security, for another.

BONDSWOMAN, BOND-WOMAN, n. [bond and woman.] A woman slave.

BONDUC, n. A species of Guilandina, or nickar tree, the yellow nickar, a climbing plant, a native of the West Indies, bearing a pod containing two hard seeds of the size of a child’s marble.

BONE, n.

1. A firm hard substance of a dull white color, composing some part of the frame of an animal body. The bones of an animal support all the softer parts, as the flesh and vessels. They vary in texture in different bones, and in different parts of the same bone. The long bones are compact in their middle portion, with a central cavity occupied by a network of plates and fibers, and cellular or spongy at the extremities. The flat bones are compact externally, and cellular internally. The bones in a fetus are soft and cartilaginous, but they gradually harden with age. The ends of the long bones are larger than the middle, which renders the articulations more firm, and in the fetus are distinct portions, called epiphyses. Bones are supplied with blood vessels, and in the fetus, or in a diseased state, are very vascular. They are probably also furnished with nerves and absorbents, though less easily detected in a sound state. They are covered with a thin, strong membrane, called the periosteum, which, together with the bones, has very little sensibility in a sound state, but when inflamed, is extremely sensible. Their cells and cavities are occupied by a fatty substance, called the medulla or marrow. They consist of earthy matter, rather more than half, gelatin, one sixteenth, and cartilage, about one third of the whole. The earthy matter gives them their solidity, and consists of phosphate of lime, with a small portion of carbonate of lime and phosphate of magnesia.

2. A piece of bone, with fragments of meat adhering to it.

To be upon the bones, is to attack. [Little used, and vulgar.]

To make no bones, is to make no scruple; a metaphor taken from a dog who greedily swallows meat that has no bones.

Bones, a sort of bobbins, made of trotter bones, for weaving lace; also dice.

BONE, v.t. To take out bones from the flesh, as in cookery.

1. To put whale bone into stays.

BONE-ACE, n. [bone and ace.] A game at cards, in which he who has the highest card turned up to him, wins the bone, that is, one half the state.

BONE-ACHE, n. Pain in the bones.

BONED, pp. Deprived of bones, as in cookery.

BONED, a. Having bones; used in composition; as high-boned; strong-boned.

BONELACAE, n. [bone and lace.] A lace made of linen thread, so called because made with bobbins of bone, or for its stiffness.

BONELESS, a. Without bones; wanting bones; as boneless gums.

BONE-SET, v.t. [bone and set.] To set a dislocated bone; to unite broken bones.

BONE-SET, n. A plant, the thorough-wort, a species of Eupatorium.

BONE-SETTER, n. [bone and set.] One whose occupation is to set, and restore broken and dislocated bones.

BONE-SETTING, n. That branch of surgery which consists in replacing broken and luxated bones; the practice of setting bones.

BONE-SPAVIN, n. [bone and spavin.] A bony excrescence, or hard swelling, on the inside of the hock of a horse’s leg; usually cured by blistering and firing, or caustic blisters.

BONETTA, n. A sea fish.

BONFIRE, n. A fire made as an expression of public joy and exultation.

BONGRACE, n. A covering for the forehead.

BONIFY, v.t. To convert into good. [Not used.]

BONITO, n. A fish of the tunny kind, growing to the length of three feet, and found on the American coast, and in the tropical climates. It has a greenish back, and a white silvery belly.

BONMOT, n. A jest; a witty repartee. This word is not anglicized, and may be pronounced bomo.


1. A covering for the head, in common use before the introduction of hats. The word, as now used, signifies a cover for the head, worn by females, close at the sides, and projecting over the forehead.

2. In fortification, a small work with two faces, having only a parapet, with two rows of palisades about 10 or 12 feet distant. Generally it is raised above the salient angle of the counterscarp, and communicates with the covered way.

Bonnet a pretre, or priest’s bonnet, is an outwork, having at the head three salient angles and two inwards.

3. In sea language, an addition to sail, or an additional part laced to the foot of a sail, in small vessels, and in moderate winds.

BONNET-PEPPER, n. A species of Capsicum, or guinea pepper.

BONNIBEL, n. A handsome girl.

BONNILASS, n. A beautiful girl.

BONNILY, adv. Gayly; handsomely; plumply.

BONNINESS, n. Gayety; handsomeness; plumpness. [Little used.]

BONNY, a. [L. bonus.]

1. Handsome; beautiful.

Till bonny Susan sped across the plain.

2. Gay; merry; frolicsome; cheerful; blithe.

Blithe and bonny.

3. In familiar language, plump, as plump and healthful persons are most inclined to mirth.

[This word is much used in Scotland.]

BONNY, n. Among miners, a bed of ore, differing from a squat in being round, whereas a squat is flat; or a distinct bed of ore, that communicates with no vein.

BONNY-CLABBER, n. A word used in Ireland for sour buttermilk.

It is used, in America, for any milk that is turned or become thick in the process of souring, and applied only to that part which is thick.

BONTEN, n. A narrow woolen stuff.

BONUM MAGUM, [L] A species of plum.

BONUS, n. [L.] A premium given for a charter or other privilege granted to a company.

BONY, a. [from bone.] Consisting of bones; full of bones; pertaining to bones.

1. Having large or prominent bones; stout; strong.

BONZE, n. bon’zy. An Indian priest; a name used in China, Tunkin and the neighboring countries. In China, the Bonzes are the priests of the Fohists, or sect of Fohi. They are distinguished from the laity by their dress. In Japan, they are gentlemen of family. In Tunkin, every pagoda has at least two bonzes belonging to it, and some have thirty or forty. In China, the number of bonzes is estimated at fifty thousand, and they are represented as idle dissolute men.


1. A dunce; a stupid fellow; a lubber; one void of wisdom, or intellect.

2. A fowl of the pelican genus, of a brown and white color, much varied in different individuals. This fowl is found among the Bahama isles, feeds upon fish and lays its eggs on the bare rocks. It has a joint in the upper mandible, by which it can raise it without opening the mouth.

BOOK, n. [Like the Latin liber, book signifies primarily bark and beech, the tree being probably named from its bark.]

A general name of every literary composition which is printed; but appropriately, a printed composition bound; a volume. The name is given also to any number of written sheets when bound or sewed together, and to a volume of blank paper, intended for any species of writing, as for memorandums, for accounts, or receipts.

1. A particular part of a literary composition; a division of a subject in the same volume.

2. A volume or collection of sheets in which accounts are kept; a register of debts and credits, receipts and expenditures, etc.

In books, in kind remembrance; in favor.

I was so much in his books, that at his decease he left me his lamp.

Without book, by memory; without reading; without notes; as, a sermon was delivered without book. This phrase is used also in the sense of without authority; as, a man asserts without book.

BOOK, v.t. To enter, write or register in a book.

BOOK-ACCOUNT, n. [book and account.] An account or register of debt or credit in a book.

BOOKBINDER, n. [book and bind.] One whose occupation is to bind books.

BOOKBINDING, n. The art or practice of binding books; or of sewing the sheets, and covering them with leather or other material.

BOOKED, pp. Written in a book; registered.

BOOKFUL, a. [book and full.] Full of notions gleaned from books; crowded with undigested learning.

BOOKING, ppr. Registering in a book.

BOOKISH, a. Given to reading; fond of study; more acquainted with books than with men.

BOOKISHLY, adv. In the way of being addicted to books or much reading.

BOOKISHNESS, n. Addictedness to books; fondness for study.

BOOK-KEEPER, n. [book and keep.] One who keeps accounts, or the accounts of another; the officer who has the charge of keeping the books and accounts in a public office.

BOOK-KEEPING, n. [book and keep.] The art of recording mercantile transactions in a regular and systematic manner; the art of keeping accounts in such a manner, that a man may know the true state of his business and property, or of his debts and credits, by an inspection of his books.

The books for this purpose are, 1. a Waste Book, or blotter, in which are registered all accounts or transactions in the order in which they take place. 2. The Journal, which contains the accounts transferred from the waste book, in the same order, but expressed in a technical style; 3. the Leger, in which articles of the same kind are collected together, from the journal, and arranged under proper titles.

In addition to these, several others are used; as cash-book; book of charges of merchandize; book of house-expenses; invoice-book; sales-book; bill-book; receipt-book; letter-book; pocket-book; the use of which may be understood from the names.

BOCKLAND, n. [book and land.] In old English laws, charter land, held by deed under certain rents and free-services, which differed nothing from free socage lands. This species of tenure has given rise to the modern freeholds.

BOOKLEARNED, a. [book and learn.] Versed in books; acquainted with books and literature; a term sometimes implying an ignorance of men, or of the common concerns of life.

BOOKLEARNING, n. Learning acquired by reading; acquaintance with books and literature; sometimes implying want of practical knowledge.

BOOKLESS, a. [book and less.] Without books; unlearned.

BOOKMAKING, n. The practice of writing and publishing books.

BOOKMAN, n. [book and man.] A man whose profession is the study of books.

BOOKMATE, n. [book and mate.] A school-fellow.

BOOKOATH, n. The oath made on the book, or Bible.

BOOKSELLER, n. [book and sell.] One whose occupation is to see books.

BOOKSTORE, n. A shop where books are sold.

BOOKWORM, n. [book and worm.] A worm or mite that eats holes in books.

1. A student closely attached to books, or addicted to study; also, a reader without judgment.

BOOLEY, n. In Ireland, one who has not settled habitation, but wanders from place to place, with his flocks and herds, living on their milk, like the Tartars.

BOOM, n. A long pole or spar, run out from various parts of a ship, or other vessel, for the purpose of extending the bottom of particular sails; as the jib-boom, studding-sail boom, main-boom, square-sail boom, etc.

1. A strong iron chain, fastened to spars, and extended across a river, or the mouth of a harbor, to prevent an enemy’s ships from passing.

2. A pole set up as a mark to direct seamen how to keep the channel, in shallow water.

BOOM, v.i.

1. In marine language, to rush with violence, as a ship under a press of sail.

2. To swell; to roll and roar, as waves.

The hoarse waves booming to the ocean shore.

3. To cry as the bittern.

The Dutch use bom for the sound of an empty barrel, and bommen is to drum.

BOON, n. [L. bonus.]

1. A gift; a grant; a benefaction; a present; a favor granted.

2. A prayer, or petition.

BOON, a. [L. bonus.] Gay; merry; kind; bountiful; as a boon companion.

BOOPS, n. The pike-headed whale, with a double pipe in its snout, and a hard horny ridge on its back; so names from its sharp pointed nose.

BOOR, n. A countryman; a peasant; a rustic; a plowman; a clown; hence, one who is rude in manners, and illiterate.

BOORISH, a. Clownish; rustic; awkward in manners, and illiterate.

BOORISHLY, adv. In a clownish manner.

BOORISHNESS, n. Clownishness; rusticity, coarseness of manners.

BOOSE, n. [Heb. a stall or crib.] A stall or inclosure for an ox, cow or other cattle. [Not used or local.]

BOOSE, BOUSE, v.i. booz. To drink hard; to guzzle. [Vulgar.]

BOOSY, a. boo’zy. A little intoxicated; merry with liquor. [Vulgar.]

BOOST, v.t. To lift or raise by pushing; to push up. [A common vulgar wood in N. England.]

BOOT, v.t. [Eng. but. The primary sense of the root is to advance, or carry forward.]

1. To profit; to advantage

It shall not boot them.

2. To enrich; to benefit.

I will boot thee.

BOOT, n. Profit; gain; advantage; that which is given to make the exchange equal, or to supply the deficiency of value in one of the things exchanged.

1. To boot, in addition to; over and above; besides; a compensation for the difference of value between things bartered; as, I will give my house for yours, with one hundred dollars to boot.

2. Spoil; plunder. [See Booty.]

BOOT, n.

1. A covering for the leg, made of leather, and united with a shoe. This garment was originally intended for horsemen, but is now generally worn by gentlemen on foot. The different sorts are fishing-boots, worn in water; hunting-boots, a thinner kind for sportsmen; jack-boots, a strong kind for horsemen; and half-boots.

2. A kind or rack for the leg, formerly used to torture criminals. This was made of boards bound fast to the legs by cords; or a boot or buskin, made wet and drawn upon the legs and then dried by the fire, so as to contract and squeeze the legs.

3. A box covered with leather in the fore part of a coach. Also, an apron or leathern cover for a gig or chair, to defend persons from rain and mud. This latter application is local and improper.

BOOT, v.t. To put on boots.

BOOTCATCHER, n. [boot and catch.] The person at an inn whose business is to pull off boots.

BOOTED, pp. Having boots on.

BOOTEE, n. A word sometimes used for a half or short boot.

BOOTES, n. A northern constellation; consisting, according to Flamstead’s catalogue, of fifty-four stars.

BOOTH, n. [Heb. beth, a house or booth, a nest for birds.]

A house or shed built of boards, boughs of trees, or other slight materials, for a temporary residence.

BOOT-HOSE, n. [boot and hose.] Stocking-hose or spatterdashes, in lieu of boots.

BOOTLEG, n. [boot and leg.] Leather cutout for the leg of a boot.

BOOTLESS, a. [from boot.] Unavailing; unprofitable; useless; without advantage or success.

BOOTLESSLY, adv. Without use or profit.

BOOT-TOPPING, n. [boot and top.] The operation of cleansing a ship’s bottom, near the surface of the water, by scraping off the grass, slime, shells, etc. and daubing it with a mixture of tallow, sulphur and rosin.

BOOT-TREE, BOOT-LAST, n. An instrument to stretch and widen the leg of a boot, consisting of two pieces, shaped like a leg, between which, when put into the boot, a wedge is driven.


1. Spoil taken from an enemy in war; plunder; pillage.

2. That which is seized by violence and robbery.

To play booty is to play dishonestly with an intent to lose.

BOPEEP, n. [bo, an exclamation, and peep.] The act of looking out or from behind something and drawing back, as children in play, for the purpose of frightening each other.

BORABLE, a. [See Bore.] That may be bored. [Little used.]

BORACHIO, n. A drunkard.

1. A bottle or cask. [Not used.]

BORACIC, a. [See Borax.] Pertaining to or produced from borax.

Boracic acid, a compound of a peculiar base, boron, with oxygen. It is generally obtained from borax, by adding sulfuric acid. It is also found native, in certain mineral springs in Italy.

BORACITE, n. Borate of magnesia; magnesian earth combined with boracic acid. It is generally of a cubic form, and remarkable for its electrical properties when heated.

BORACITED, a. Combined with boracic acid.

BORACOUS ACID, n. The base of boracic acid, partially saturated with oxygen.

BORAGE, n. bur’rage. A plant of the genus Borago.

BORATE, n. A salt formed by a combination of boracic acid with any base saturated.

BORAX, n. Sub-borate of soda; a salt formed by the combination of boracic acid with the marine alkali or soda. It is brought from the East Indies, where it is said to be found at the bottom or on the margin of certain lakes, particularly in Thibet. It is said to be artificially prepared in Persia, like niter. It comes in three states. 1. Crude borax, tinkal, or chrysocolla, from Persia, in greenish masses of a greasy feel, or in opake crystals. 2. Borax of China, somewhat purer, in small plates or masses, irregularly crystallized, and of a dirty white. 3. Dutch or purified borax, in portions of transparent crystals, which is the kind generally used. It is an excellent flux in docimastic operations, a styptic in medicine, and useful in soldering metals.