Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



BRONTOLOGY, n. [Gr. thunder, and discourse.]

A discourse or dissertation upon thunder, containing an explanation of its causes and phenomena.


1. A compound of copper and tin, to which other metallic substances are sometimes added, especially zink. It is brittle, hard, and sonorous, and used for statues, bells and cannon, the proportions of the respective ingredients being varied to suit the particular purposes.

2. A color prepared for the purpose of imitating bronze, of two kinds, the yellow and the red. The yellow is made of fine copper-dust; the red, of copper-dust with a little pulverized red ocher.

3. Among antiquaries, any figure of men, beasts, urns, or other piece of sculpture, which the ancients made of bronze.

4. Any statue or bust cast of bronze, whether original or a copy of an antique.

5. Among medalists, any copper medal.

BRONZE, v.t. To imitate bronze, by means of copper-dust or leaf fastened on the outside, as gold-leaf in gilding.

1. To harden, or make like brass.

BRONZING, ppr. Imitating bronze.

BRONZING, n. The act or art of imitating bronze, by means of copper-dust or leaf.

BRONZITE, n. [from bronze.] A mineral, called by Hauy diallage metalloide, nearly allied to Labrador hornblend, or hyperstene. It has a yellowish brown color and semi-metallic luster, approaching to that of bronze.

Bronzite is regarded by Cleaveland as a subspecies of diallage.

BROOCH, n. broche.

1. An ornamental utensil for fastening the vest, or the bosom of a shirt, as formerly used in America. It is usually made of silver, often round, with a tongue crossing its diameter, sometimes with two tongues. It formerly was used in England, as it was in America, and is still in the highlands of Scotland.

2. A jewel.

3. With painters, a painting all of one color.

BROOCH, v.t. To adorn or furnish with brooches or jewels.

BROOD, v.i.

1. To sit on and cover, as a fowl on her eggs for the purpose of warming them and hatching chickens, or as a hen over her chickens, to warm and protect them.

2. To sit on; to spread over, as with wings; as, to sit brooding over the vast abyss.

3. To remain a long time in anxiety or solicitous thought; to have the mind uninterruptedly dwell a long time on a subject; as, the miser broods over his gold.

4. To mature any thing with care.

BROOD, v.t. To sit over, cover and cherish; as, a hen broods her chickens.

1. To cherish.

You’ll brood your sorrows on a throne.

BROOD, n. Offspring; progeny; formerly used of human beings in elegant works, and we have brother, from this word; but it is now more generally used in contempt.

1. A hatch; the young birds hatched at once; as a brood of chickens or of ducks.

2. That which is bred; species generated; that which is produced.

Lybia’s broods of poison.

3. The act of covering the eggs, or of brooding. [Unusual.]

BROODED, pp. Covered with the wings; cherished.

BROODING, ppr. Sitting on; covering and warming; dwelling on with anxiety.

BROODY, a. In a state of sitting on eggs for hatching; inclined to sit. [Unusual.]

BROOK, n. [Gr. to rain, to pour, to flow.] A small natural stream of water, or a current flowing from a spring or fountain less than a river. In some parts of America, run is used in a like sense; but run is also applied to larger streams than brook.

BROOK, v.t. [Gr. to eat, to grind the teeth.] Literally, to chew or digest, as the Fr. digerir. Hence,

To bear; to endure; to support; as, young men cannot brook restraint.

BROOK-LIME, n. [brook and lime.] A plant, a species of Veronica, called becabunga, with blue flowers in loose lateral spikes.

BROOK-MINT, n. The water mint.

BROOK-WEED, n. A plant, water pimpernel, the Samolus.

BROOKY, a. Abounding with brooks.


1. A plant of several species, called dyer’s weed, being used by dyers to give a yellow color, dyer’s broom, green wood, or wood waxen, dwarf broom, all belonging to the genus Genista. Broom rape is Orobanche, and with large purple flowers, Lathroea.

Spanish Broom is a species of Spartium, and Butcher’s broom is the Ruscus.

2. A besom, or brush with a long handle for sweeping floors; so called from being originally made of the broom-plant. In America, brooms are made of the tops of broom-corn, or of some species of wood splintered, chiefly ash. The latter species of broom is furnished by the natives of the country. The original broom, made of shrubs or twigs, is still used in stables.

BROOM. [See Bream.]

BROOM-CORN, n. [broom and corn.] A species of Holcus or Guinea-corn, with a jointed stem, like a reed, or the stem of maize, rising to the highth of eight or ten feet, bearing a head of which brooms are made. Sometimes called Sorghum Saccharatum.

BROOMING, a ship. [See Bream.]

BROOMLAND, n. [broom and land.] Land producing broom.

BROOMRAPE, n. [See Broom.]

BROOMSTAFF, BROOMSTICK, n. [See Staff and Stick.] The staff or handle of a broom.

BROOMY, a. Full of broom; containing broom.

BROTH, n. brauth.

1. Liquor in which flesh is boiled and macerated, usually with rice and herbs, or some ingredient to give it a better relish.

2. In America, the word is often applied to foaming water, and especially to a mixture of snow and water in the highways which is called snow-broth.

BROTHEL, n. [A dialectical orthography of bordel, which see.]

A house of lewdness; a house appropriated to the purposes of prostitution; a bawdy house; a stew.

BROTHELER, n. One that frequents brothels.

BROTHEL-HOUSE, n. A brothel.

BROTHELRY, n. Lewdness; obscenity.

BROTHER, n. plu. brothers or brethren. [L. frater.]

1. A human male born of the same father and mother. A male by one of the parents only is called a half-brother, or brother of the half blood.

2. Any one closely united; an associate; as a band of brothers.

3. One that resembles another in manners.

He that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster. Proverbs 18:9.

In scripture, the term brother is applied to a kinsman by blood more remote that a son of the same parents; as in the case of Abraham and Lot, Jacob and Laban. Persons of the same profession call each other brother, as judges, clergymen, professors of religion, members of societies united in a common cause, monks and the like.

Kings give to each other the title of brother. They address their congregations by the title of brethren. In a more general sense, brother or brethren is used for man in general; all men being children of the same primitive ancestors, and forming one race of beings.

Brother-german is a brother by the father’s and mother’s side, in contradistinction to a uterine brother, or by the mother only.

BROTHERHOOD, n. [brother and hood.] The state or quality of being a brother.

1. An association of men for any purpose, as a society of monks; a fraternity.

2. A class of men of the same kind, profession, or occupation.

BROTHERLESS, a. Without a brother.

BROTHERLIKE, a. Becoming a brother.

BROTHERLOVE, n. Brotherly affection.

BROTHERLY, a. Pertaining to brothers; such as is natural for brothers; becoming brothers; kind; affectionate; as brotherly love.

Shakespeare uses this word as an adverb. “I speak but brotherly.” But the use is not authorized.

BROUGHT, pret. and ppr. of bring; pronounced braut. [See Bring.]

BROW, n. [L. palpebra. It is probably contracted from brg, and signifies an edge, border or projection.]

1. The prominent ridge over the eye, forming an arch above the orbit. The skin of this arch or ridge is moved by muscles, which contract it in a frown and elevate it in joy or surprise. Hence, to know the brows, is to frown.

2. The hair that covers the brow forming an arch, called the eye brow.

3. The forehead. Hence, the general air of the countenance.

4. The edge of a steep place, as the brink of a river or precipice; as the brow of a hill.

5. A fringe of coppice, adjoining to the hedge of a field.

BROW, v.t. To bound; to limit; to form the edge or border of.

BROWN-ANTLER, n. [brow and antler.] The first start that grows on a deer’s head.

1. The branch of a deer’s horn next the tail.

BROW-BEAT, v.t. [brow and beat.] To depress or bear down with haughty, stern looks, or with arrogant speech and dogmatic assertions; or in general to bear down by impudence.

BROWBEATEN, pp. Overborne by impudence.

BROWBEATING, ppr. Overbearing with severe brows, stern looks, or positive assertions.

BROWBEATING, n. A bearing down with stern looks, supercilious manners, or confident assertions.

BROWBOUND, a. [brow and bound.] Crowned; having the head encircled as with a diadem.

BROWLESS, a. Without shame.

BROW-POST, n. [brow and post.] Among builders, a beam that goes across a building.

BROW-SICK, a. [brow and sick.] Dejected; hanging the head. [Not used.]

BROWN, a. Dusky; of a dark or dusky color, inclining to redness; but the shades are various, as Spanish brown, London brown, clove brown, tawny brown. Brown results from a mixture of red, black and yellow.

BROWN, v.t. To make brown or dusky.

A trembling twilight o’er the welkin moves,

Browns the dim void, and darkens deep the groves.

BROWN-BILL, n. [brown and bill.] A weapon formerly used by the English foot soldiers. The origin of the name is not stated; but from it brown musket is said to have derived its appellation.

BROWNISH, a. Somewhat brown; inclined to brown.

BROWNISM, n. The doctrines or religious creed of the Brownists, who maintained that any body of professing Christians united under one pastor, or communing together, constitute a church independent of any other.

BROWNIST, n. A follower of Robert Brown, a puritan, or dissenter from the Church of England, who left England with his congregation and settled at Middleburgh in Zealand. He was the head of a party of Independents in Church government.

BROWNNESS, n. A brown color.

BROWN-SPAR, n. Pearl spar, or siderocalcite.

BROWN-STUDY, n. [brown and study.] Gloomy study; dull thoughtfulness; meditation directed to no certain object.

BROWN-WORT, n. [brown and wort.] A plant, prunella.

1. A species of Scrophularia, the vernalis, or yellow figwort, with brown stalks.

BROWNY, a. Brown. [Not used.]

BROWSE, v.t. s as z. [Gr. to eat or browse; food, but probably these words may be from sprouts.]

To eat the ends of branches of trees and shrubs or the young shoots, as cattle, or deer.

BROWSE, v.i. s as z. To feed on the tender branches or shoots of shrubs and trees, as cattle, sheep and goats.
BROWSE, n. brows. The tender branches or twigs of trees and shrubs, fit for the food of cattle and other animals.

BROWSING, ppr. s as z. Feeding on branches, shrubs, or shoots of trees.

BRUCIA, BRUCINE, n. A new vegetable alkali, extracted from the bark of the false angustura.

BRUCITE, n. A mineral, the chondrodite of Berzelius, which sometimes occurs in grains or imperfect crystals, sometimes in four-sided prisms with rhombic bases. It is so named from the late Dr. Bruce, a distinguished mineralogist of New York.

BRUISE, v.t. s as z. To crush by beating or pounding with an instrument not edged or pointed. When applied to animal flesh or to vegetables, a bruise is a contusion that impairs the natural solidity and texture of the part, but often without breaking the skin. When applied to minerals and similar substances, it signifies to break them, and often to reduce them to a coarse powder.

BRUISE, n. A contusion; a hurt upon the flesh of animals, upon plants or other bodies, with a blunt or heavy instrument.

BRUISED, pp. Crushed; hurt or broken by a blunt or heavy instrument.

BRUISER, n. A concave tool for grinding the specula of telescopes.

1. In vulgar language, a boxer.

BRUISEWORT, n. [bruise and wort.] A plant; comfrey.

BRUISING, ppr. Crushing; breaking or wounding by a blunt or heavy instrument.

BRUISING, n. In popular language, a beating or boxing.

BRUIT, n. Report; rumor; fame.

BRUIT, v.t. To report; to noise abroad.

BRUMAL, n. [L. bruma, winter, brumalis.] Belonging to the winter.

BRUME, n. Mist; fog; vapors. [Little used.]

BRUN, BURN, n. A river or stream.

BRUNET, BRUNETTE, n. A woman with a brown or dark complexion.

BRUNION, n. A sort of fruit between a plum and a peach.

Brunswick green. An ammoniaco-muriate of copper, used for paper hangings and in oil painting.


1. The heat, or utmost violence of an onset; the strength or violence of any contention; as the brunt of a battle.

2. The force of a blow; violence; shock of any kind.

3. A sudden effort.


1. An instrument for cleaning any thing of dust and dirt by light rubbing, as floors, furniture, boots, etc. Brushes originally were made of shrubs or small branches of trees tied together, and such are yet used for coarse purposes. But the materials most used are bristles set in wood. Painters use a small brush to lay colors on their large pieces. Silversmiths use a wire brush for scrubbing silver, copper or brass, in order to gilding; and there is a method of staining leather by rubbing the color on the skin with a brush.

2. Branches of trees lopped off; brushwood; a sense common in the U. States.

3. The small trees and shrubs of a wood; or a thicket of small trees.

4. A skirmish; a slight encounter; also, an assault; a shock, or rude treatment, from collision; as we say a scouring, a rub.

5. In electricity, the luminous appearance of electric matter issuing in diverging rays from a point.

6. A tail; as the brush of a fox.

BRUSH, v.t. To sweep or rub with a brush; as, to brush a hat.

1. To strike as with a brush; to strike lightly, by passing over the surface, without injury, or impression; as, to brush the arm in passing; to brush the briny flood.

2. To paint with a brush; hence, to brush up is often used for cleansing in general.

3. With off, to remove by brushing, as to brush off dust; also, to carry away by an act like that of brushing, or by passing over lightly, as by wind.

4. To move as a brush; to pass over with a light contact.

BRUSH, v.i. To move nimbly in haste; to move so lightly as scarcely to be perceived; as, to brush by.

1. To move or skim over, with a slight contact, or without much impression.

BRUSHED, pp. Rubbed with a brush; struck lightly.

BRUSHER, n. One who brushes.

BRUSHING, ppr. Sweeping or rubbing with a brush; striking gently; moving nimbly in haste; skimming over lightly.

BRUSHING, a. Brisk; light; as a brushing gallop.

BRUSHLIKE, a. [brush and like.] Resembling a brush.

BRUSHWOOD, n. [brush and wood.] Brush; a thicket or coppice of small trees and shrubs; also, branches of trees cut off.

BRUSHY, a. Resembling a brush; rough; shaggy; having long hair.

BRUSK, a. Rude; rough.

BRUSTLE, v.i. brus’l. To crackle; to make a small crackling noise; to rustle, as a silk garment; to vapor, as a bully.

BRUSTLING, ppr. Crackling; rustling; vaporing.

BRUT, v.i. To browse. [Not in use.]

BRUTAL, a. [See Brute.] Pertaining to a brute; as brutal nature.

1. Savage; cruel; inhuman; brutish; unfeeling like a brute; merciless; as brutal courage; brutal manners.

BRUTALITY, n. Inhumanity; savageness; churlishness; insensibility to pity or shame.

BRUTALIZE, v.t. To make brutal, churlish or inhuman.

All cruel punishments brutalize the heart.

BRUTALIZE, v.i. To become brutal, inhuman, or coarse and beastly.

BRUTALLY, adv. Cruelly; inhumanly; in a coarse, churlish, or brutal manner.

BRUTE, a. [L. brutus, senseless, irrational.]

1. Senseless; unconscious; as the brute earth.

2. Irrational; ferine; as a brute beast.

3. Bestial; in common with beasts; as brute violence.

4. Rough; uncivilized; insensible; as a brute philosopher.

BRUTE, n. A beast; any animal destitute of reason, and of course the word comprehends all animals except man, but is applied mostly to the larger beasts.

1. A brutal person; a savage in heart or manners; a low bred, unfeeling man.

BRUTE, v.t. for bruit, to report. [Not used.]

BRUTELY, adv. In a rude manner.

BRUTENESS, n. Brutality.

BRUTIFY, v.t. To make a person a brute; to make senseless, stupid or unfeeling.

BRUTISH, a. Like a brute or beast; as a brutish form.

1. Insensible; stupid; as brutish men.

2. Unfeeling; savage; ferocious; brutal.

3. Gross; carnal; bestial.

4. Ignorant; uncivilized; untaught.

BRUTISHLY, adv. In the manner of a brute; grossly; irrationally; stupidly; savagely.

BRUTISHNESS, n. Stupidity; insensibility; brutality; savageness; the qualities of a brute.

BRUTISM, n. The nature or characteristic qualitites or actions of a brute; extreme stupidity or beastly vulgarity.

BRYONY, n. [L. bryonia.] White jalap; a genus of plants of several species. The root of the rough or white bryony is a strong irritating cathartic.

Black-bryony is a genus of plants, called Tamus.

BUB, n. A cant word for strong malt liquor.

BUB, v.t. To throw out in bubbles. [Not used.]


1. A small bladder or vesicle of water or other fluid inflated with air.

2. Any thing that wants firmness or solidity; a vain project; that which is more specious than real. Hence, a false show; a cheat or fraud.

3. A delusive scheme of speculation; an empty project to raise money or imaginary grounds; as the South Sea bubble.

4. A person deceived by an empty project.

BUBBLE, v.i. To rise in bubbles, as liquors when boiling or agitated.

1. To run with a gurgling noise; as a bubbling stream.

BUBBLE, v.t. To cheat; to deceive or impose on.

BUBBLER, n. One who cheats.

BUBBY, n. [from the same root as bubble and bubo.] A woman’s breast.

BUBO, n. [L. bubo, a swelling.] A tumor or abscess with inflammation, which rises in certain glandular parts of the body, as in the groin, or armpit.

BUBONOCELE, n. [Gr. the groin, and a tumor.] Hernia inguinalis, or inguinal rupture; a tumor in the groin, formed by a prolapsus of the intestines or omentum or both, through the processes of the peritoneum and rings of the abdominal muscles.

BUBUKLE, n. A red pimple. [Not used.]

BUBULCA, n. A flat fresh-water fish, of a circular form and a silvery color.