Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



BULL-FIGHT, n. [bull and fight.] A combat with a bull; an amusement among the Spaniards and Portuguese. A horseman, called a toreador or picador attacks a bull in a circus or inclosed arena, in presence of multitudes of spectators, irritating him with a spear, till the bull rushes upon the horseman, and perhaps dismounts the rider. After the bull has been tormented a long time, the horseman leaves him, and some persons on foot attack him and plunge darts into his neck; and at a signal given by the president, the barbarous sport is ended by the dagger of a matador.

BULL-FINCH, n. [bull and finch.] A bird of the Sparrow kind, whose breast, cheeks and throat are of a crimson color; the rubicilla.

BULL-FLY, BULL-BEE, n. An insect.

BULL-FROG, n. [bull and frog.] The rana ocellata, a large species of frog, found in North America, of a dusky brown color, mixed with a yellowish green, and spotted with black. These frogs live in stagnant water, and utter a loud croaking sound, from which they probably received their name.

BULL-HEAD, n. [bull and head.] A genus of fishes, the Cottus, with a head broader than the body, whence the name. This fish is called by some the Miller’s thumb.

1. A stupid fellow; a lubber.

2. A small black water vermin.

BULL-TROUT, n. [bull and trout.] A large species of trout, called also sea-trout, thicker than the common sort, and weighing about three pounds. Its back has a bluish green gloss, and there are several black spots on the sides.

BULL-WEED, n. Knap weed.

BULL-WORT, n. Bishops weed.

BULLACE, n. The bully-tree, or Chrysophyllum, a plant of two species, natives of the West Indies.

1. The wild plum, a species of Prunus.

BULLANTIC, a. [from bull.] Designating certain ornamental capital letters, used in Apostolic bulls. It is used also as a noun.

BULLARY, n. A collection of Papistical bulls.

BULLATE, a. [L. bullatus.] Having elevations, like blisters; as a bullate leaf.

BULLET, n. A ball of iron or lead, called also shot, used to load guns for killing man or beast. Balls for cannon are made of iron; musket-balls are made of lead.

BULLETIN, n. A French word denoting

1. An official report from an officer to his commander or superior.

2. An official report of a physician respecting the king’s health.

3. A little note given by a banking company.

4. It is sometimes used for a notice, or public announcement; as a bibliographical bulletin.

BULLION, n. Uncoined gold or silver in the mass. The precious metals are called bullion, when smelted and not perfectly refined, or when refined, but in bars, ingots, or in any form uncoined, as in plate.

BULLISH, a. Partaking of the nature of a bull or blunder.

BULLIST, n. A writer of papal bulls.

BULLITE, n. A petrified shell, or the fossil remains of shells, of the genus Bulla.

BULLITION, n. [L. bullio, to boil. See Boil.] The act or state of boiling. Superseded by ebullition.

BULLOCK, n. An ox, or castrated bull. In America, it is applied to a full grown ox.

BULLY, n. A noisy, blustering overbearing fellow, more distinguished for insolence and empty menaces, than for courage, and disposed to provoke quarrels.

BULLY, v.t. To insult and overbear with noise and blustering menaces.
BULLY, v.i. To be noisy and quarrelsome.

BULRUSH, n. [bole, or boll, and rush.] A large kind of rush, growing in wet land or water, and without knots, says Johnson, but Dryden calls it, the knotty bulrush. It is not a technical word.

BULTEL, n. [See Bolt.] A bolter or bolting cloth; also, bran. [Not used.]


1. In fortification, a bastion, or a rampart; a mound of earth round a place, capable of resisting cannon shot, and formed with bastions, curtains, etc.

2. A fortification; also, any means of defense; as, a navy is the bulwark of a nation.

3. That which secures against an enemy or external annoyance; a screen or shelter; means of protection and safety.

Salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. Isaiah 26:1.

BULWARK, v.t. To fortify with a rampart; to secure by a fortification; to protect.

BUM, n. The buttocks; the part on which we sit.

BUM, v.i. To make a noise.

BUMBAILIFF, n. [A corruption of bound bailiff.] In England, an under-bailiff; a subordinate civil officer, appointed to serve writs, and to make arrests and executions, and bound with sureties for a faithful discharge of his trust. [A vulgar word.]

BUMBARD, n. [See Bombard.]

BURBAST, n. [A different orthography of bombast, which see.]

1. A cloth made by sewing one stuff upon another; patchwork.

2. Linen stuffed with cotton; stuffing; waddling.

BUMBLE BEE, n. [L. bombus, a buzzing.] A large bee, sometimes called humble bee; so named from it sound.

BUMBOAT, n. A small boat, for carrying provisions to a ship at a distance from shore.

BUMKIN, n. [See Bumpkin.] A short boom projecting from each bow of a ship, to extend the clue of the foresail to windward.

1. A small out-rigger over the stern of a boat, to extend the mizen.

BUMP, n. [L. bombus, and Eng. pomp., from swelling, thrusting out.]

1. A swelling or protuberance.

2. A thump; a heavy blow.

BUMP, v.i. To make a loud, heavy or hollow noise, as the bittern. It is also written boom.
BUMP, v.t. To strike as with or against any thing large or solid, as to bump the head against a wall; to thump.

BUMPER, n. A cup or glass filled to the brim, or till the liquor runs over.

BUMPKIN, n. [bump, large, swelling.] An awkward heavy rustic; a clown, or country lout.

BUMPKINLY, a. Clownish. [Not used.]


1. A protuberance; a hunch; a knob or lump; as the bunch on a camel’s back.

2. A cluster; a number of the same kind growing together; as a bunch of grapes.

3. A number of things tied together; as a bunch of keys; a bunch or rods.

4. A collection of things; a knot; as a bunch of hair; a bunch of trees.

BUNCH, v.i. To swell out in a protuberance; to be protuberant or round.
BUNCH, v.t. To form or tie in a bunch or bunches.

BUNCH-BACKED, a. [bunch and back.] Having a bunch on the back; crooked.

BUNCHINESS, n. The quality of being bunchy, or growing in bunches.

BUNCHY, a. Growing in bunches; like a bunch; having tufts.


1. A number of things put together.

2. A roll; any thing bound or rolled into a convenient form for conveyance; as a bundle of lace; a bundle of hay.

BUNDLE, v.t. To tie or bind in a bundle or roll; often followed by up; as, to bundle up clothes.

BUNG, n.

1. The stopple of the orifice in the bilge of a cask.

2. The hole or orifice in the bilge of a cast.

BUNG, v.t. To stop the orifice in the bilge of a cask with a bung; to close up.

BUNG-HOLE, n. [bung and hole.] The hole or orifice in the bilge of a cask.

BUNGLE, v.i. bung’gl. To perform in a clumsy, awkward manner; as, to bungle in making shoes.

BUNGLE, v.t. To make or mend clumsily; to both; to manage awkwardly; with up.
BUNGLE, n. A botch; inaccuracy; gross blunder; clumsy performance.

BUNGLER, n. A clumsy awkward workman; one who performs without skill.

BUNGLING, ppr. Performing awkwardly.

BUNGLING, a. Clumsy; awkwardly done.

BUNGLINGLY, adv. Clumsily; awkwardly.

BUNK, n. A case or cabin of boards for a bed; a word used in some parts of America.

BUNN, BUN, n. [Gr. a hill, and a cake offered to deities.]

A small cake, or a kind of sweet bread.

BUNSING, n. An animal found at the Cape of Good Hope, resembling the ferret, but twice as large. When pursued, it emits an intolerable stench.

BUNT, n. The middle part, cavity, or belly of a sail.

BUNT, v.i. To swell out; as, the sail bunts.

1. In popular language, to push with the horns; to butt. [See Point.]

BUNTER, n. A cant word for a woman who picks up rags in the streets; hence, a low vulgar woman.

BUNTING, n. A bird of the genus Emberiza. The name is applied to different species, as the English bunting and the rice bunting.

BUNTING, BUNTINE, n. A thin woolen stuff, of which the colors or flags and signals of ships are made.

BUNTLINES, n. Ropes fastened to cringles on the bottoms of square sails, to draw them up to their yards.

BUOY, n. A close empty cask, or a block of wood or cork, fastened by a rope to an anchor, and floating on the water, to show where the anchor is situated. Buoys are of various kinds, as can-buoys, in the form of a cone; nun-buoys, which are large in the middle, and tapering nearly to a point at each end; cable-buoys, empty casks, employed to buoy up the cable, in rocky anchorage. Buoys are used also as marks, to point out the situation of rocks, shoals, or a channel.

To stream the buoy, is to let it fall by the ship’s side into the water, before letting go the anchor.

BUOYROPE, n. [buoy and rope.] The rope which fastens a buoy to an anchor.

BUOY, v.t. To keep afloat in a fluid; to bear up, or keep from sinking in a fluid, as in water or air; with up.

1. To support, or sustain; to keep from sinking into ruin or despondency.

2. To fix buoys, as a direction to mariners.

BUOY, v.i. To float; to rise by specific lightness.

BUOYANCY, n. The quality of floating on the surface of water, or in the atmosphere; specific lightness.

BUOYANT, a. Floating; light; that will not sink; having the quality of rising or floating in a fluid.

1. Bearing up, as a fluid; sustaining another body. [Unusual.]

BUPRESTES, n. A species of cantharides, of a nauseous scent, and biting severely.

BUR, BOUR, BOR, Sav. bur, signifies a chamber or a cottage.

BUR, n.

1. A rough prickly covering of the seeds of certain plants, as of the chestnut, and burdock.

2. A broad ring of iron behind the place for the hand on a spear, used in tilting.

BURBOT, n. [from L. barbatus, so named from its beard.]

A fish of the genus Gadus, shaped like an eel, but shorter, with a flat head, and on the nose it has two small beards, and another on the chin. It is disgusting in appearance, but delicate food. It is called also eel-pout.

BURDELAIS, n. A sort of grape.

BURDEN, n. burd’n; written also burthen. [L. fero, or porto.]

1. That which is borne or carried; a load. Hence,

2. That which is borne with labor or difficulty; that which is grievous, wearisome or oppressive.

3. A birth.

4. The verse repeated in a song, or the return of the theme at the end of each verse; the chorus; so called from the application of this word to the drone or base, and the pipe or string which plays it, in an instrument. A chord which is to be divided, to perform the intervals of music, when open and undivided, is also called the burden.

5. In common language, that which is often repeated; a subject on which one dwells.

6. A fixed quantity of certain commodities; as a burden of gad steel, 120 pounds.

7. The contents of a ship; the quantity or number of tons, a vessel will carry; as a ship of a hundred tons burden.

8. A club. [Not in use.]

BURDEN, v.t. burd’n. To load; to lay on a heavy load; to incumber with weight. Hence,

1. To oppress with any thing grievous; as, to burden a nation with taxes.

2. To surcharge; as, to burden the memory.

BURDENED, pp. Loaded with weight; incumbered; oppressed.

BURDENER, n. One who loads; an oppressor

BURDENOUS, a. Grievous; heavy to be borne; oppressive.

1. Cumbersome; useless.

BURDENSOME, a. Heavy; grievous to be borne; causing uneasiness or fatigue; oppressive.

BURDENSOMENESS, n. The quality of being burdensome; heaviness; oppressiveness.

BURDOCK, n. [bur and dock.] A genus of plants, called Arctium. They are troublesome weeds.

The lesser burdock is a species of zanthium.

BUREAU, n. buro.

1. A chest of drawers, for keeping papers or clothes.

2. An ambassador’s or secretary’s office.

In Spanish, this word bureo is a court of justice for the trial of persons belonging to the king’s household.

BURG, n. [This is the same word as borough, the only difference being in the pronunciation of the final letter.]

A borough; originally a fortified town, but now a city or town, which send members to parliament, whether incorporated or not. [See Borough.]

BURGAGE, n. [from burg.] In English law, tenure in burgage, or burgage tenure, is tenure in socage, applied to cities or towns, or where houses, or lands which were formerly the site of houses, in an ancient borough, are held of some lord in common socage by a certain established rent; a remnant of Saxon liberty.

BURGAMOT, n. A species of pear. [See Bergamot.]

1. A kind of perfume. [See Bergamot.]

BURGANET, BURGONET, n. A kind of helmet, the Spanish murrion.

BURGEOIS, n. A burgess.

BURGEOIS, BOURGEOIS, n. burjois’. A species of type, or printing letter, smaller than long primer, and larger than brevier.

BURGEON. [See Bourgeon.]

BURGER-MASTER, n. An aquatic fowl which builds its nest on cliffs near the water.


1. An inhabitant of a borough, or walled town; or one who possesses a tenement therein; a citizen or freeman of a borough.

2. A representative of a borough in parliament.

3. A magistrate of certain towns.

4. Before the revolution, the representatives in the popular branch of the legislature of Virginia, were called burgesses, as the House of Burgesses. It is now called the House of Delegate.

BURGESS-SHIP, n. The state or quality of a burgess.

BURGH, n. burg. A different orthography of burg, borough, which see.

BURGH-BOTE, n. [burgh and bote.] In old laws, a contribution towards the building or repairing of castles, or walls, for the defense of a city or town.

BURGH-BRECH, n. [burgh and break.] A fine imposed on a burgh, for a breach of the peace.

BURGHER, n. [from burg.] An inhabitant of a burgh or borough, who enjoys the privileges of the borough of which he is a free man. In America, it is applied to any native citizen, especially in the state of New York.

BURGHER-SHIP, n. The state or privilege of a burgher.

BURGH-MASTER, n. [burgh and master.] A burgomaster; also, an officer in the tinmines, who directs and lays out the meers for the workmen, called also bailiff and bar-master.

BURGHMOTE, n. [burgh and mote, meeting.] The court of a burgh or borough.

BURGLAR, n. [burgh or burg, a house] One guilty of nocturnal house breaking; one who breaks and enters a mansion house, with intent to commit a felony.

BURGLARIAN, n. A person guilty of burglary.

BURGLARIOUS, a. Pertaining to burglary; constituting the crime of burglary.

To come down a chimney is held a burglarious entry.

BURGLARIOUSLY, adv. With an intent to commit burglary; in the manner of a burglar.

BURGLARY, n. The act or crime of nocturnal house breaking, with an intent to commit a felony. To constitute this crime, the act must be committed in the night, or when there is not day-light enough to discern a man’s face. It must be in a mansion house, or in an adjoining building which is a part or parcel of the mansion. There must be an actual breaking and an entry; but an opening made by the offender, as by taking out a pane of glass, or lifting a window, raising a latch, picking a lock, or removing any fastening, amounts to a breaking; and a putting in of the hand, after such breaking, is an entry. The act must also be done with an intent to commit felony.

BURGOMASTER, n. [burg and master.] A burgh-master; a magistrate or one employed in the government of a city. The burgomasters are the chief magistrates of the great towns, in Holland, Flanders and Germany.

BURGRAVE, n. [burg] In some European countries, an hereditary governor of a town or castle.

BURGUNDY, n. A kind of wine, so called from Burgundy in France.

Burgundy pitch is turpentine boiled down to a firmer consistence.

BURH, is the same as burg, burgh, with the aspirate. It is Saxon, and signifies a city, a castle, a house, or tower. Hence in composition it signified defense, protection; as cwenburh, [queen-burh] a woman ready to assist; Cuthburh, eminent for assistances.

BURIAL, n. ber’rial. [See Bury.] The act of burying a deceased person; sepulture; interment; the act of depositing a dead body in the earth, in a tomb or vault, or in the water.

1. The act of placing any thing under earth or water; as, to bury see in the earth.

2. The church service for funerals.

BURIALPLACE, n. A place appropriated to the burial of the dead; a grave-yard.

BURIER, n. ber’rier. One who buries a deceased person.

BURIN, n. A graver; an instrument for engraving.

BURL, v.t. [See Burly.] To dress cloth as fullers do.

1. To pick knots and loose threads off from cloth.

BURLACE, n. [A contraction of burdelais.] A sort of grape.