Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



BREST-SUMMER, n. In Architecture, a piece in the outward part of a wooden building, into which the girders are framed. This, in the ground floor, is called a sill, and in the garret floor, a beam.

BRET, n. A local name of the turbot, called also burt or brut.

BRETFUL, a. Brimful.

BRETHREN, n. plu. of brother. It is used almost exclusively in solemn and scriptural language, in the place of brothers. [See Brother.]

BREVE, n. [L. brevis.]

1. In music, a note or character of time, equivalent to two semibreves or four minims. When dotted, it is equal to three semibreves.

2. In law, a writ directed to the chancellor, judges, sheriffs or other officers, whereby a person is summoned, or attached, to answer in the king’s court.

This word, in the latter sense, is more generally written brief.

BREVET, n. [from breve.] In the French customs, the grant of a favor or donation from the king, or the warrant evidencing the grant; a warrant; a brief, or commission. More particularly, a commission given to a subaltern officer, written on parchment, without seal.

1. A commission to an officer which entitles him to a rank in the army above his pay. Thus a brevit major serves as a captain and received pay as such. Such commissions were given to the officers of the American Army at the close of the war, giving them a grade of rank above that which they had held during service.

BREVIARY, n. [L. breviarium, from brevis, short. See Brief.]

1. An abridgment; a compend; an epitome.

2. A book containing the daily service of the Romish church. It is composed of matins, lauds, first, third, sixth and ninth vespers, and the compline or post communion. The Greeks also have a breviary.

BREVIAT, n. [See Breve and Brief.] A short compend; a summary.

BREVIATE, v.t. To abridge. [Not used.] [See Abbreviate.]

BREVIATURE, n. An abbreviation. [See Brief.]

BREVIER, n. A small king of printing types, in size between bourgeois and minion. It is much used in printing marginal notes.

BREVIPED, a. [L. brevis, short, and pes, foot.] Having short legs, as a fowl.

BREVIPED, n. A fowl having short legs.

BREVITY, n. [L. brevitas, from brevis, short. See Brief.]

1. Shortness; applied to time; as the brevity of human life.

2. Shortness; conciseness; contraction into few words; applied to discourses or writings.

BREW, v.t.

1. In a general sense, to boil, and mix; hence in Saxon, it signifies broth or pottage; Old. Eng. brewis.

2. In a more restricted sense, to make beer, ale or other similar liquor from malt; or to prepare a liquor from malt and hops, and in private families, from other materials, by steeping, boiling and fermentation.

3. To mingle.

Brew me a pottle of sack.

4. To contrive; to plot; as, to brew mischief.

5. To put in a state of preparation.

BREW, v.i. To be in a state of preparation; to be mixing, forming or collecting; as, a storm brews in the west. In this sense I do not recollect the use of the verb, in a transitive sense, and generally the participle only is used; as, a storm is brewing.

1. To perform the business of brewing or making beer; as, she can brew, wash and bake.

BREW, n. The mixture formed by brewing; that which is brewed.

BREWAGE, n. Malt liquor; drink brewed.

BREWED, pp. Mixed, steeped and fermented; made by brewing.

BREWER, n. One whose occupation is to prepare malt liquors; one who brews.

BREWERY, n. A brew-house; the house and apparatus where brewing is carried on.

BREW-HOUSE, a. [brew and house.] A brewery; a house appropriated to brewing.

BREWING, ppr. Preparing malt liquor.

1. In a state of mixing, forming or preparing; as, a storm is brewing.

2. Contriving; preparing; as, a scheme is brewing.

BREWING, n. The act or process of preparing liquors from malt and hops.

1. The quantity brewed at once.

2. Among seamen, a collection of black clouds portending a storm.

BREWIS, n. Broth; pottage.

1. A piece of bread soaked in boiling fat pottage, made of salted meat.

BRIAR, [See Brier.]


1. A price, reward, gift or favor bestowed or promised with a view to pervert the judgment, or corrupt the conduct of a judge, witness or other person. A bribe is a consideration given or promised to a person, to induce him to decide a cause, give testimony, or perform some act contrary to what he knows to be truth, justice or rectitude. It is not used in a good sense, unless in familiar language.

2. That which seduces.

Not the bribes of sordid wealth can seduce to leave these ever blooming sweets.

BRIBE, v.t. To give or promise a reward or consideration, with a view to pervert the judgment, or corrupt the conduct. To hire for bad purposes; to purchase the decision of a judge, the testimony of a witness, or the performance of some act contrary to known truth, justice or rectitude.

1. To gain by a bribe.

In familiar language, it is sometimes used in a good sense; as, to bribe a child to take a medicine. Dryden has used the word in a good sense, in solemn language; but such use is rare, and hardly legitimate.

BRIBE-DEVOURING, a. Greedy of bribes or presents; as bribe-devouring kings.

BRIBER, n. One who bribes, or pays for corrupt practices.

BRIBERY, n. The act or practice of giving or taking rewards for corrupt practices; the act of paying or receiving a reward for a false judgment, or testimony, or for the performance of that which is known to be illegal, or unjust. It is applied both to him who gives, and to him who receives the compensation, but appropriately to the giver.

BRIBEWORTHY, a. [bribe and worthy.] Worth bribing to obtain.

BRICK, n. [L. imbrex, a gutter-tile, from imber, a shower, which is probably a compound, of which the last syllable is from whence.]

A mass of earth, chiefly clay, first moistened and made fine by grinding or treading, then formed into a long square in a mold, dried and baked or burnt in a kiln; used in buildings and walls.

1. A loaf shaped like a brick.

BRICK, v.t. To lay or pave with bricks.

1. To imitate or counterfeit a brick wall on plaster, by smearing it with red ocher and making the joints with an edge-tool, filling them with fine plaster.

BRICKBAT, n. [brick and bat.] A piece or fragment of a brick.

BRICK-BUILT, a. Built with bricks.

BRICK-CLAY, n. [brick and clay.] Clay used or suitable for making bricks.

BRICKDUST, n. [brick and dust.] Dust of pounded bricks.

BRICKEARTH, n. [brick and earth.] Clay or earth used, or suitable for bricks.

BRICKKILN, n. [brick and kiln.] A kiln, or furnace, in which bricks are baked or burnt, or a pile of bricks, laid loose, with arches underneath to receive the wood or fuel.

BRICKLAYER, n. [brick and lay.] One whose occupation is to build with bricks; a mason.

BRICKLE, a. [from break.] Brittle; easily broken. [Not used.]

BRICKMAKER, n. [brick and make.] One who makes bricks, or whose occupation is to make bricks.

BRICKWORK, n. The laying of bricks, or a wall of bricks.

BRICKY, a. Full of bricks, or formed of bricks.

BRIDAL, a. [See Bride.] Belonging to a bride, or to a wedding; nuptial; connubial; as bridal ornaments.

BRIDAL, n. The nuptial festival.

BRIDALITY, n. Celebration of the nuptial feast. [Not used.]


1. A woman new married.

But the name is applied to a woman at the marriage festival, before she is married, as well as after the ceremony.

2. A woman espoused, or contracted to be married. The case of Lewellyn, prince of Wales. Henry’s Hist. of Britain, B. iv. ch. i., sect. 2. [This is the true original sense of the word.]

BRIDERBED, n. [bride and bed.] The marriage bed.

BRIDECAKE, n. [bride and cake.] The cake which is made for the guests at a wedding; called, in the U. States, wedding cake.

BRIDECHAMBER, n. The nuptial apartment. Matthew 9:15.

BRIDEGROOM, n. A man newly married; or a man about to be married. The passage of Shakespeare cited by Johnson proves that the last definition is just.

As are those dulcet sounds in break of day,

That creep into the dreaming bridegroom’s ear,

And summon him to marriage.

BRIDEGROOM, n. [See Bridegroom.]

BRIDERMAID, n. [bride and maid.] A woman who attends on a bride at her wedding.

BRIDEMAN, n. [bride and man.] A man who attends upon a bridegroom and bride at their marriage. I have generally heard these words pronounced bride’s man and bride’s maid.

BRIDESTAKE, n. A stake or post set in the ground to dance round.

BRIDEWELL, n. A house of correction, for the confinement of disorderly persons; so called from the palace built near St. Bride’s or Bridget’s well, in London, which was turned into a workhouse.


1. Any structure of wood, stone, brick, or iron, raised over a river, pond, or lake, for the passage of men and other animals. Among rude nations, bridges are sometimes formed of other materials; and sometimes they are formed of boats, or logs of wood lying on the water, fastened together, covered with planks, and called floating bridges. A bridge over a marsh is made of logs or other materials laid upon the surface of the earth.

Pendent or hanging bridges are not supported by posts, but by the peculiar structure of the frame, resting only on the abutments.

A draw bridge is one which is made with hinges, and may be raised or opened. Such bridges are constructed in fortifications, to hinder the passage of a ditch or moat; and over rivers, that the passage of vessels need not be interrupted.

A flying bridge is made of pontoons, light boats, hollow beams, empty casks or the like. They are made, as occasion requires, for the passage of armies.

A flying bridge is also constructed in such a manner as to move from one side of a river to the other, being made fast in the middle of the river by a cable and an anchor.

1. The upper part of the nose.

2. The part of a stringed instrument of music, over which the strings are stretched, and by which they are raised.

3. In gunnery, the two pieces of timber which go between the two transoms of a gun-carriage.

BRIDGE, v.t. To build a bridge or bridges over; as, to bridge a river.

1. To erect bridges on; to make a passage by a bridge or bridges.

BRIDGED, pp. Covered or furnished with a bridge.

BRIDGING, ppr. Erecting a bridge; building a bridge over.

BRIDGY, a. Full of bridges. [Not used.]


1. The instrument with which a horse is governed and restrained by a rider; consisting of a head-stall, a bit, and reins, with other appendages, according to its particular form and uses.

2. A restraint; a curb; a check.

3. A short piece of cable well served, attached to a swivel on a chain, laid in a harbor, and the upper end drawn into a ship and secured to the bits. The use is to enable a ship, when moored, to veer with the wind and tide.

Bowline bridles are short legs or pieces of rope, running through iron thimbles, by which the bowline attaches to different places on the leech or edge of a large sail

BRIDLE, v.t. To put on a bridle; as, to bridle a horse.

1. To restrain, guide or govern; to check, curb or control; as, to bridle the passions; “to bridle a muse.”

Bridle the excursions of youth.

BRIDLE, v.i. To hold up the head, and draw in the chin.

BRIDLED, pp. Having a bridle on; restrained.

BRIDLE-HAND, n. [bridle and hand.] The hand which holds the bridle in riding.

BRIDLER, n. One that bridles; one that restrains and governs.

BRIDLING, ppr. Putting on a bridle; restraining; curbing.

1. Holding up the head, and drawing in the chin.

The bridling frown of wrinkles brows.

BRIEF, a. [L. brevis, when brevio, so shorten abbreviate. Brevis, in Latin, is doubtless contracted from the Gr., whence to abridge. The Greek word coincides in elements with break.]

Short; concise; it is used chiefly of language, discourses, writings and time; as a brief space, a brief review of a book. Shakespeare applies it to wars, to nature, etc. A little brief authority is authority very limited.

BRIEF, n. [In this sense the word has been received into most of the languages of Europe.]

1. An epitome; a short or concise writing. This is the general sense of the word, as explained by Zonaras on the council of Carthage. It was thus used as early as the third century after Christ.

In modern times, an apostolical brief is a letter which the pope dispatches to a prince or other magistrate, relating to public affairs. A brief is distinguished from a bull, in being more concise, written on paper, sealed with red wax, and impressed with the seal of the fisherman or Peter in a boat. A bull is more ample, written on parchment, and sealed with lead or green wax.

2. In law, an abridgment of a client’s case, made out for the instruction of council on a trial at law.

Also, a writ summoning a man to answer to any action; or any precept of the king in writing, issuing from any court, whereby he commands a thing to be done.

In Scots law, a writ issuing from the chancery, directed to any judge ordinary, commanding and authorizing that judge to call a jury to inquire into the case, and upon their verdict to pronounce sentence.

3. A letter patent, from proper authority, authorizing a public collection or charitable contribution of money for any public or private purpose.

4. A writing in general.

In music, the word, if I mistake not, is now written breve.

BRIEFLY, adv. Concisely; in few words.

BRIEFNESS, n. Shortness; conciseness in discourse or writing.


1. In a general sense, a prickly plant or shrub. Isaiah 5:6; Judges 8:7.

2. In a limited sense, the sweet-brier and the wild-brier, species of the rose.

BRIERY, a. Full of briers; rough; thorny.

BRIG, the termination of names, signifies a bridge, or perhaps, in some cases, a town, or burg.

BRIG, n. [from brigantine.] A vessel with two masts, square rigged, or rigged nearly like a ship’s mainmast and foremast. The term, however, is variously applied by the mariners of different nations.

BRIGADE, n. A party or division of troops, or soldiers, whether cavalry or infantry, regular or militia, commanded by a brigadier. It consists of an indeterminate number of regiments, squadrons, of battalions. A brigade of horse is a body of eight or ten squadrons; of infantry, four, five, or six battalions, or regiments.

BRIGADE, v.t. To form into a brigade, or into brigades.

BRIGADE-MAJOR, n. [See Major.] An officer appointed by the brigadier, to assist him in the management and ordering of his brigade.

BRIGADIER, n. The general officer who commands a brigade, whether of horse or foot, and in rank next below a major-general.

BRIGAND, n. A robber; a free booter; a lawless fellow who lives by plunder, or who belongs to a band of robbers.

BRIGANDAGE, n. Theft; robber; plunder.

BRIGANDINE, n. Anciently, a coat of mail. The name has ceased to be used, with the disuse of the thing. It consisted of thin jointed scales of plate, pliant and easy to the body.

BRIGANTINE, n. [L. aphractum; Gr. a vessel without a deck, uncovered. It is usually derived from brigand.] [See Brig.]

BRIGHT, a. brite. [Heb. to shine.]

1. Shining; lucid; luminous; splendid; as a bright sun or star; a bright metal.

2. Clear; transparent; as liquors.

3. Evident; clear; manifest to the mind, as light is to the eyes.

4. Resplendent with charms; as a bright beauty; the brightest fair.

5. Illuminated with science; sparkling with wit; as the brightest of men.

6. Illustrious; glorious; as the brightest period of a kingdom.

7. In popular language, ingenious; possessing an active mind.

8. Promising good or success; as bright prospects.

9. Sparkling; animated; as bright eyes.

BRIGHT-BURNING, a. Burning with a bright flame.

BRIGHTEN, v.t. britn. To make bright or brighter; to make to shine; to increase luster.

1. To make luminous by light from without, or by dispelling gloom; as, to brighten sorrow or prospects.

2. To cheer; to make gay or cheerful.

Joy brightens his crest.

3. To make illustrious, or more distinguished; as, to brighten a character.

4. To make acute or witty.

BRIGHTEN, v.i. britn. To grow bright, or more bright; to clear up; as, the sky brightens.

1. To become less dark or gloomy; as, our prospects brighten.

BRIGHT-EYED, a. Having bright eyes.

BRIGHT-HAIRED, a. Having bright hair.

BRIGHT-HARNESSED, a. Having glittering armor.

BRIGHTLY, adv. britely. Splendidly; with luster.

BRIGHTNESS, n. briteness. Splendor; luster; glitter.

1. Acuteness, applied to the faculties; sharpness of wit; as the brightness of a man’s parts.

BRIGHT-SHINING, a. Shining with splendor.

BRIGOSE, a. [from brigue.] Contentious. [Not used.]

BRIGUE, n. breeg. A cabal; intrigue; faction; contention. [Little used.]

BRIGUE, v.i. breeg. To canvass; to solicit. [Little used.]

BRILLIANCY, n. [See Brilliant.] Splendor; glitter; great brightness.

BRILLIANT, a. [Eng. beryl and pearl.]

1. Sparkling with luster; glittering; as a brilliant gem; a brilliant dress.

2. Splendid; shining; as a brilliant achievement.

Washington was more solicitous to avoid fatal mistakes, than to perform brilliant exploits.

BRILLIANT, n. A diamond of the finest cut, formed into angles, so as to refract the light, by which it is rendered more glittering.

1. In the manege, a brisk, high-spirited horse, with a stately carriage.

BRILLIANTLY, adv. Splendidly.

BRILLIANTNESS, n. Brilliancy; splendor; glitter.

BRILLS, n. The hair on the eyelids of a horse.

BRIM, n.

1. The rim, lip or broadborder of any vessel or other thing; as the brim of a hat, or of a vessel.

2. The upper edge of a vessel, whether broad or not; as the brim of a cup or glass.

3. The top of any liquor; the edge or that next the border at the top.

The feet of the priests were dipped in the brim of the water. Joshua 3:15.

4. The edge or brink of a fountain; the verge.

BRIM, a. Public; well known; celebrated. [Not in use.]
BRIM, v.t. To fill to the brim, upper edge, or top.
BRIM, v.i. To be full to the brim.

BRIMFUL, a. [brim and full.] Full to the top; completely full; as a glass brimful; a heart brimful of tears.

BRIMFULNESS, n. Fulness to the top. [Not used.]

BRIMLESS, a. Having no brim.

BRIMMER, n. A bowl full to the top.

BRIMMING, a. Full to the top or brim; as a brimming pail.

BRIMSTONE, n. Sulphur; a hard, brittle, inflammable substance, of a lemon yellow color, which has no smell, unless heated, and which becomes negatively electric by heat and friction. It is found, in great quantities, and sometimes pure, in the neighborhood of volcanoes. It is an ingredient in a variety of minerals and ores. The sulphur of commerce is procured from its natural beds, or artificially extracted from pyrites.

BRIMSTONY, a. Full of brimstone, or containing it; resembling brimstone; sulphurous.

BRINDED, a. Marked with spots; tabby; having different colors.

BRINDLE, n. [from brind, the root of brinded.]

The state of being brinded; spottedness.

BRINDLED, a. spotted; variegated with spots of different colors.


1. Water saturated or strongly impregnated with salt, like the water of the ocean. Artificial brine is used for the preservation of the flesh of animals, fish, vegetables, etc.

2. The ocean or sea.

3. Tears, so called from their saltiness.

Leach brine is brine which drops from corned salt in drying, which is preserved to be boiled again.

BRINE, v.t. To steep in brine, as corn to prevent smut; also, to mix salt with, as to brine hay.

BRINE-PAN, n. [brine and pan.] A pit of salt water, where, by the action of the sun, salt is formed by crystallization.