Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



BUTTOCK, n. The rump, or the protuberant part behind.

1. The convexity of a ship behind, under the stern.

BUTTON, n. but’n.

1. A knob; a small ball; a catch, used to fasten together the different parts of dress, made of metal, silk, mohair, wood, etc.

2. Any knob or ball fastened to another body; a small protuberant body.

3. A bud; a gem of a plant.

4. The button of the reins of a bridle, is a ring of leather, with the reins passed through, which runs along the length of the reins.

5. A flat piece of wood, turning on a nail or screw, to fasten doors.

6. A small round mass of metal, found at the bottom of a crucible, in chimical experiments.

7. The sea-urchin, an animal which has prickles instead of feet.

BUTTON, v.t. but’n. To fasten with a button, or buttons; to inclose, or make secure with buttons; often followed with up, as to button up a waistcoat.

1. To dress or clothe. [Not used.]

BUTTON-HOLE, n. The hole or loop in which a button is caught.

BUTTON-MAKER, n. One whose occupation is to make buttons.

BUTTON-STONE, n. A species of figured stone, or hard flint, resembling a button, consisting of two bodies which appear to be the filling up of holes in a shell. A species has been found finely striated, like a mohair button. This name is given also to a species of slate found in the marquisate of Bareith.

BUTTON-TREE, n. The Conocarpus, called also button-wood, a genus of plants, natives of the West-Indies.

BUTTON-WEED, n. A genus of plants, the Spermacoce.

BUTTON-WOOD, n. The Cephalanthus, a shrub of N. America, growing five or six feet high.

1. The Platanus Occidentalis, Western plane-tree, a large tree growing in N. America, producing rough balls, from which it is named. The wood is hard, and used for windlasses, wheels and blocks.

BUTTRESS, n. [This word appears to be composed of but, end, and truss, or some word of that family.]

1. A prop; a wall or abutment built archwise, serving to support another wall on the outside, when very high or loaded with a heavy superstructure.

2. Any prop or support.

BUTTRESS, v.t. To support by a buttress; to prop.

BUTTRESSED, a. Supported with a buttress.

BUTTS, n. plu. [from butt.] A place where archers meet to shoot at mark. Also, short pieces of land in arable ridges and furrows.

BUT-WINK, n. A bird.

BUTYRACEOUS, BUTYROUS, a. [from butyrum, butter.] Having the qualities of butter; resembling butter.


1. Obedient; obsequious; ready to obey.

2. Gay; lively; brisk.

3. Wanton; jolly.

BUXOMLY, adv. Obediently.

1. Wantonly; amorously.

BUXOMNESS, n. Meekness; obedience.

1. Briskness; amorousness.

BUY, v.t. pret. and pp. bought. pron. bawt.

1. To acquire the property, right or title to any thing, by paying a consideration or an equivalent in money. It differs from barter only in this, that in barter the consideration or equivalent is some species of commodity; in purchase, the consideration is money paid or promised. To purchase; to acquire by paying a price to the satisfaction of the seller; opposed to sell.

2. To procure by a consideration given, or by something that is deemed worth the thing bought; to procure at a price; as, to buy pleasure with praise; to buy favor with flattery.

3. To bribe; to corrupt or pervert the judgment, by paying a consideration.

To buy off, to influence to compliance; to cause to bend or yield by some consideration, as to buy off conscience; to detach by a consideration given, as to buy off one from a party.

To buy out, to buy off, or detach from.

1. To purchase the share or shares of a person in a stock, fund, or partnership, by which the seller is separated from the company, and the purchaser takes his place, as, A buys out B. To purchase stock in any fund or partnership, is to buy in.

To buy on credit, is to purchase a thing, on a promise in fact or in law, to make payment at a future day.

To buy the refusal, is to give money for the right of purchasing at a fixed price at a future time.

To buy the small pox, in South Wales, is to receive it by inoculation.

In popular language, to buy is to pay dear for, as in Chaucer.

BUY, v.i. To negotiate, or treat about a purchase.

I will buy with you and sell with you.

BUYER, n. One who buys; a purchaser.

BUYING, ppr. Purchasing.

BUZZ, v.i.

1. To make a low hissing sound, as bees; to make the sound of z, with an expiration of breath between the tongue and the roof of the mouth or upper teeth.

2. To whisper; to speak with a low hissing voice; to make a low hissing sound.

BUZZ, v.t. To whisper; to spread, as report, by whispers, or to spread secretly.
BUZZ, n. The noise of bees; also, a whisper.


1. A species of falco, or hawk, the buteo; a rapacious, but sluggish bird; the breast usually of a yellowish white; the upper parts of a deep brown. In some parts of America, it is called the great Hen-hawk, from its feeding on poultry.

2. A block-head; a dunce.

BUZZARD, a. Senseless; stupid.

BUZZARDET, n. A species of Falco or hawk, resembling the buzzard in most respects; but its legs are in proportion rather longer.

BUZZER, n. A whisperer; one who is busy in telling tales secretly.

BUZZING, ppr. Making a low hissing sound; whispering; tattling in secret.

BY, prep.

1. Near; close; as, sit by me; that house stands by a river.

[L. pressus.]

2. Near, in motion; as, to move, go or pass by a church. But it seems, in other phrases, or with a verb in the past time, to signify past, gone beyond. “The procession is gone by;” “the hour is gone by;” “John went by.” We now use past as an equivalent word. The procession is gone past. Gone by is in strictness tautology, as now used; but I apprehend by signifies primarily near.

3. Through, or with, denoting the agent, means, instrument or cause; as, “a city is destroyed by fire;” “profit is made by commerce;” “to take by force.” This use answers to that of the Latin per, through, denoting a passing, acting, agency, or instrumentality.

4. “Day by day;” “year by year;” “article by article.” In these phrases, by denotes passing from one to another, or each particular separately taken.

5. “By the space of seven years.” In this phrase, by denotes through, passing or continuing, during.

6. “By this time, the sun had risen.” The word here seems to denote, at, present or come to.

7. According to; as, “this appears by his own account;” “these are good rules to live by.”

8. On; as, “to pass by land or water;” “great battles by sea and land.” In the latter phrase, at or on might be substituted for by.

9. It is placed before words denoting quantity, measure or proportion; as, to sell by the pound; to work by the rod or perch; this line is longer by a tenth.

10. It is used to represent the means or instrument of swearing, or affirming; as, to swear by heaven, or by earth; to affirm by all that is sacred.

11. In the phrase, “he has a cask of wine by him,” by denotes nearness or presence.

12. “To sit by one’s self,” is to sit alone, or without company.

13. “To be present by attorney.” In this phrase, by denotes means or instrument; through or in the presence of a substitute.

14. In the phrase, “North by West,” the sense seems to be north passing to the west, inclining or going westward, or near west.

As an adverb, by denotes also nearness, or presence; as, there was no person by, at the time. But some noun is understood. So in the phrase, “to pass or go by,” there is a noun understood.

By and by is a phrase denoting nearness in time; in a short time after; presently; soon.

When persecution ariseth, because of the word, by and by, he is offended. Matthew 13:21.

By the by signifies, as we proceed or pass.

To stand by, is to stand near, or to support.

By in lullaby, and in the nursery, a word used in lulling infants to sleep, is evidently allied to words found in many languages, signifying to rest, or be quiet, or to appease; that is, to press, to stop. [L. paco.]

By or bye, in by-law.

In the common phrase, good-bye, bye signifies passing, going. The phrase signifies, a good going, a prosperous passage, and it is precisely equivalent to farewell.

By is used in many compound words, in most of which we observe the sense of nearness, closeness, or a withdrawing or seclusion.

BY-COFFEE-HOUSE, n. A coffee house in an obscure place.

BY-CONCERNMENT, n. An affair distinct from the main business.

BY-CORNER, n. A private corner.

BY-DEPENDENCE, n. An appendage; that which depends on something else, or is distinct from the main dependence.

BY-DESIGN, n. An incidental design, or purpose.

BY-DRINKING, n. A private drinking.

BY-END, n. Private end; secret purpose or advantage.

BY-GONE, a. Past; gone by.

BY-INTEREST, n. Self interest; private advantage.

BY-LANE, n. A private lane, or one out of the usual road.

BY-LAW, n. A town law; the law of a city, town or private corporation.

BY-MATTER, n. Something incidental.

BY-NAME, n. Nickname; an incidental appellation.

BY-PAST, a. Past; gone by.

BY-PATH, n. A private path; an obscure way.

BY-RESPECT, n. Private end, or view.

BY-ROAD, n. A private or obscure road.

BY-ROOM, n. A private room or apartment.

BY-SPEECH, n. An incidental or casual speech, not directly relating to the point.

BY-SPELL, n. A proverb. [Not used.]

BY-STANDER, n. One who stands near; a spectator; one who has no concern with the business transacting.

BY-STREET, n. A separate, private or obscure street.

BY-TURNING, n. An obscure road.

BY-VIEW, n. Private view; self interested purpose.

BY-WALK, n. A secluded or private walk.

BY-WAY, n. A secluded, private or obscure way.

BY-WEST, adv. Westward;; to the west of.

BY-WIPE, n. A secret stroke or sarcasm.

BY-WORD, n. A common saying; a proverb; a saying that has a general currency.

BYE, n. A dwelling.

BYSSIN, BYSSUS, n. [Gr. infra.] A silk or linen hood. [Not in use.]

BYSSINE, a. Made of silk.

BYSSOLITE, n. [Gr. fine flax, and stone; so called from its resemblance to moss.]

A rare mineral, occurring in very delicate filaments, short, flexible and elastic. Their color is olive green, or brownish yellow, and their luster a little silky. Jameson places byssolite under actinolite; Hauy arranges it under amianthoid.

BYSSUS, n. [L. byssus; Gr. fine linen, or cotton.]

The asbestus, composed of parallel fibers, is by some called by this name.

BYZANT, BYZANTINE, n. [from Byzantium.] A gold coin of the value of fifteen pounds sterling, so called from being coined at Byzantium. Also, a piece of gold offered by the king on certain festivals.

BYZANTINE, BYZANTIAN, a. Pertaining to Byzantium, an ancient city of Thrace situated on the Bosporus. In the year 330, Constantine the Great took possession of Byzantium, enlarged and embellished it, and changed its name to Constantinople.