Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



CANTILLATION, n. A chanting; recitation with musical modulations.


1. Throwing with a sudden jerk; tossing.

2. Speaking with a whine or song-like tone.

CANTINGLY, adv. With a cant.

CANTION, n. A song or verses.

CANTLE, n. A fragment; a piece; a portion.

CANTLE, v.t. To cut into pieces; to cut out a piece.

CANTLET, n. A piece; a little corner; a fragment.

CANTO, n. A part or division of a poem, answering to what in prose is called a book. In Italian, canto is a song, and it signifies also the treble part, first treble, or highest vocal part.


1. A small portion of land, or division of territory; originally, a portion of territory on a border; also, the inhabitants of a canton.

2. A small portion or district of territory, constituting a distinct state or government; as in Switzerland.

3. In heraldry, a corner of the shield.

4. A distinct part, or division; as the cantons of a painting or other representation.

CANTONAL, a. Pertaining to a canton; divided into cantons.

CANTONED, pp. Divided into distinct parts, or quarters; lodged in distinct quarters, as troops.

CANTONING, ppr. Dividing into distinct districts; allotting separate quarters to each regiment.

CANTONIZE, v.t. To canton, or divide into small districts.

CANTONMENT, n. A part or division of a town or village, assigned to a particular regiment of troops; separate quarters.

CANTRED, CANTREF, n. A hundred villages, as in Wales.


1. A coarse cloth made of hemp, or flax, used for tents, sails of ships, painting and other purposes.

2. A clear unbleached cloth, wove regularly in little squares, used for working tapestry with the needle.

3. Among the French, the rough draught or model on which an air or piece of music is composed, and given to a poet to finish. The canvas of a song contains certain notes of the composer, to show the poet the measure of the verses he is to make.

4. Among seamen, cloth in sails, or sails in general; as, to spread as much canvas as the ship will bear.

CANVAS-CLIMBER, n. A sailor that goes aloft to handle sails.


1. To discuss; literally, to beat or shake out, to open by beating or shaking, like the L. Discutio. This is the common use of the word, as to canvass a subject, or the policy of a measure.

2. To examine returns of votes; to search or scrutinize; as, to canvass the votes for senators.


1. To seek or go about to solicit votes or interest; to use efforts to obtain; to make interest in favor of; followed by for; as, to canvass for an office, or preferment; to canvass for a friend.


1. Examination; close inspection to know the state of; as a canvass of votes.

2. Discussion; debate

3. A seeking, solicitation, or efforts to obtain.

CANVASSED, pp. Discussed; examined.


1. One who solicits votes, or goes about to make interest.

2. One who examines the returns of votes for a public officer.

CANVASSING, ppr. Discussing; examining; sifting; seeking.

CANVASSING, n. The act of discussing, examining, or making interest.

CANY, a. [from cane.] Consisting of cane, or abounding with canes.

CANZONE, n. A song or air in two or three parts, with passages of fugue and imitation; or a poem to which music may be composed in the style of a cantata. When set to a piece of instrumental music, it signifies much the same as cantata; and when set to a sonata, it signifies allegro, or a brisk movement.

CANZONET, n. A little or short song, in one, two or three parts. It sometimes consists of two strains, each of which is sung twice. Sometimes it is a species of jig.

CAP, n.

1. A part of dress made to cover the head.

2. The ensign of a cardinalate.

3. The top, or the uppermost; the highest.

Thou art the cap of fools.

4. A vessel in form of a cap.

5. An act of respect, made by uncovering the head.

Cap of cannon, a piece of lead laid over the vent to keep the priming dry; now called an apron.

Cap of maintenance, an ornament of state, carried before the Kings of England at the coronation. It is also carried before the mayors of some cities.

In ship-building, a cap is a thick strong block of wood, used to confine two masts together, when one is erected at the head of another.


1. To cover the top, or end; to spread over; as, a bone is capped at the joint with a cartilaginous substance.

The cloud-capped towers.

2. To deprive of the cap, or take off a cap.

To cap verses, is to name alternately verses beginning with a particular letter; to name in opposition or emulation; to name alternately in contest.

CAP, v.i. To uncover the head in reverence or civility.

Cap-a-pie, From head to foot; all over; as, armed cap-a-pie.

Cap-paper, n. A coarse paper, so called from being used to make caps to hold commodities.

Cap-sheaf, n. The top sheaf of a stack of grain; the crowner.

CAPABILITY, n. [See Capable.] The quality of being capable; capacity; capableness.


1. Able to hold or contain; able to receive; sufficiently capacious; often followed by of; as, the room is not capable of receiving, or capable of holding the company.

2. Endued with power competent to the object; as, a man is capable of judging, or he is not capable.

3. Possessing mental powers; intelligent; able to understand, or receive into the mind; having a capacious mind; as a capable judge; a capable instructor.

4. Susceptible; as, capable of pain or grief.

5. Qualified for; susceptible of; as, a thing is capable of long duration; or it is capable of being colored or altered.

6. Qualified for, in a moral sense; having legal power or capacity; as, a bastard is not capable of inheriting an estate.

7. Hollow.

CAPABLENESS, n. The state or quality of being capable; capacity; power of understanding; knowledge.

CAPACIFY, v.t. To qualify.


1. Wide; large; that will hold much; as a capacious vessel.

2. Broad; extensive; as a capacious bay or harbor.

3. Extensive; comprehensive; able to take a wide view; as a capacious mind.


1. Wideness; largeness; as of a vessel.

2. Extensiveness; largeness; as of a bay.

3. Comprehensiveness; power of taking a wide survey; applied to the mind.

CAPACITATE, v.t. [See Capacity.]

1. To make capable; to enable; to furnish with natural power; as, to capacitate one for understanding a theorem.

2. To endue with moral qualifications; to qualify; to furnish with legal powers; as, to capacitate one for an office.

CAPACITATED, pp. Made capable; qualified.

CAPACITATION, n. The act of making capable.


1. Passive power; the power of containing, or holding; extent of room or space; as the capacity of a vessel, or a cask.

2. The extent or comprehensiveness of the mind; the power of receiving ideas or knowledge.

Let instruction be adapted to the capacities of youth.

3. Active power; ability; applied to men or things; but less common, and correct.

The world does not include a cause endued with such capacities.

4. State; condition; character; profession; occupation. A man may act in the capacity of a mechanic, of a friend, of an attorney, or of a statesman. He may have a natural or a political capacity.

5. Ability, in a moral or legal sense; qualification; legal power or right; as, a man or a corporation may have a capacity to give or receive and hold estate.

6. In geometry, the solid contents of a body.

7. In chimistry, that state, quality or constitution of bodies, by which they absorb and contain, or render latent, any fluid; as the capacity of water for caloric.

CAPARISON, n. A cloth or covering laid over the saddle or furniture of a horse, especially a sumpter horse or horse of state.


1. To cover with a cloth.

2. To dress pompously; to adorn with rich dress.

CAPCASE, n. A covered case.

CAPE, n.

1. A head land; properly the head, point or termination of a neck of land, extending some distance into the sea, beyond the common shore, and hence the name is applied to the neck of land itself, indefinitely, as in Cape-Cod, Cape-Horn, Cape of Good Hope. It differs from a promontory in this, that it may be high or low land; but a promontory is a high bold termination of a neck of land.

2. The neck-piece of a cloke or coat.

CAPELAN, n. A small fish, about six inches in length, sholes of which appear off the coasts of Greenland, Iceland and New-foundland. They constitute a large part of the food of the Greenlanders.

CAPELLA, n. A bright fixed star in the left shoulder of the constellation Auriga.

CAPELLET, n. A kind of swelling, like a wen, growing on the heel of the hock on a horse, and on the point of the elbow.

CAPER, v.i. To leap; to skip or jump; to prance; to spring.

CAPER, n. A leap; a skip; a spring; as in dancing or mirth, or in the frolick of a goat or lamb.
CAPER, n. The bud of the caper-bush, which is much used for pickling. The buds are collected before the flowers expand, and preserved in vinegar. The bush is a low shrub, generally growing from the joints of old walls, from fissures in rocks and amongst rubbish, in the southern parts of Europe.

CAPER-BUSH. [See Caper.]

CAPER-CUTTING, n. A leaping or dancing in a frolicksome manner.

CAPERER, n. One who capers, leaps and skips about, or dances.

CAPERING, ppr. Leaping; skipping.

CAPIAS, n. In law, a writ of two sorts; one before judgment, called a capias ad respondendum, where an original is issued, to take the defendant, and make him answer to the plaintiff; the other, which issues after judgment, is of divers kinds; as a capias ad satisfaciendum, or writ of execution; a capias pro fine; a capias utlagatum; a capias in withernam.

CAPIBAR, n. An animal partaking of the form of a hog and of a rabbit, the cabiai.

CAPILLACEOUS, a. Hairy; resembling a hair. [See Capillary.]

CAPILLAIRE, n. A kind of sirrup, extracted rom maiden-hair.


1. The filament, a small fine thread, like a hair, that grows in the middle of a flower, with a little knob at the top; a chive.

2. A fine fiber, or filament, of which the nerves are composed.


1. Resembling a hair, fine, minute, small in diameter, though long; as a capillary tube or pipe; a capillary vessel in animal bodies, such as the ramifications of the blood vessels.

2. In botany, capillary plants are hair-shaped, as the ferns; a term used by Ray, Boerhaave and Morison. This class of plants corresponds to the order of Filices, in the Sexual method, which bear their flower and fruit on the back of the leaf or stalk.

This term is applied also to leaves which are longer than the setaceous or bristle-shaped leaf, to glands resembling hairs, to the filaments, to the style, and to the pappus or down affixed to some seeds.

CAPILLARY, n. A fine vessel or canal.

CAPILLATION, n. A blood vessel like a hair.

CAPILLIFORM, a. In the shape or form of a hair, or of hairs.


1. Literally, pertaining to the head; as a capital bruise, in Milton, a bruise on the head.

2. Figuratively, as the head is the highest part of a man, chief; principal; first in importance; as a capital city or town; the capital articles of religion.

3. Punishable by loss of the head or of life; incurring the forfeiture of life; punishable with death; as, treason and murder are capital offenses or crimes.

4. Taking away life, as a capital punishment; or affecting life, as a capital trial.

5. Great, important, though perhaps not chief; as, a town possesses capital advantages for trade.

6. Large; of great size; as capital letters, which are of different form, and larger than common letters.

Capital stock, is the sum of money or stock which a merchant, banker or manufacturer employs in his business; either the original stock, or that stock augmented. Also, the sum of money or stock which each partner contributes to the joint fund or stock of the partnership; also, the common fund or stock of the company, whether incorporated or not.

A capital city or town is the metropolis or chief city of an empire, kingdom, state or province. The application of the epithet indicates the city to be the largest, or to be the seat of government, or both. In many instances, the capital, that is, the largest city, is not the seat of government.

CAPITAL, n. The uppermost part of a column, pillar or pilaster, serving as the head or crowning, and placed immediately over the shaft, and under the entablature.

By the customary omission of the noun, to which the adjective, capital, refers, it stand for,

1. The chief city or town in a kingdom or state; a metropolis.

2. A large letter or type, in printing.

3. A stock in trade, in manufactures, or in any business requiring the expenditure of money with a view to profit.

CAPITALIST, n. A man who has a capital or stock in trade, usually denoting a man of large property, which is or may be employed in business.


1. In a capital manner; nobly; finely.

2. With loss of life; as, to punish capitally.

CAPITALNESS, n. A capital offense.

CAPITATE, a. In botany, growing in a head, applied to a flower, or stigma.


1. Numeration by the head; a numbering of persons.

2. A tax, or imposition upon each head or person; a poll-tax. Sometimes written Capitation-tax.

CAPITE. In English law, a tenant in capite, or in chief, is one who holds lands immediately of the king, caput, the head or Lord Paramount of all lands in the kingdom, by knights service or by soccage. This tenure is called tenure in capite; but it was abolished in England, by 12 Charles II. 24.


1. The temple of Jupiter in Rome, and a fort or castle, on the Mons Capitolinus. In this, the Senate of Rome anciently assembled; and on the same place, is still the city hall or town-house, where the conservators of the Romans hold their meetings. The same name was given to the principal temples of the Romans in their colonies.

2. The edifice occupied by the Congress of the United States in their deliberations. In some states, the State-house, or house in which the legislature holds its sessions; a government house.

CAPITOLIAN, a. Pertaining to the capitol in Rome.

CAPITOLINE, a. Pertaining to the capitol in Rome. The Capitoline Games were annual games instituted by Camillus in honor of Jupiter Capitolinus, and in commemoration of the preservation of the capitol from the Gauls, and other games instituted by Domitian and celebrated every five years.


1. An act passed in a chapter, either of knights, canons or religious.

2. The body of laws or statutes of a chapter, or of an ecclesiastical council. This name is also given to the laws, civil and ecclesiastical, made by Charlemagne, and other princes, in general councils and assemblies of the people. Some indeed have alledged that these are supplements to laws. They are so called, because they are divided into chapters or sections.

3. The member of a chapter.

CAPITULARLY, adv. In the form of an ecclesiastical chapter.

CAPITULARY, a. Relating to the chapter of a cathedral.


1. To draw up a writing in chapters, heads or articles. [But this sense is not usual.]

2. To surrender, as an army or garrison, to an enemy, by treaty, in which the terms of surrender are specified and agreed to by the parties. The term is applicable to a garrison or to the inhabitants of a besieged place, or to an army or troops in any situation in which they are subdued or compelled to submit to a victorious enemy.


1. The act of capitulating, or surrendering to an enemy upon stipulated terms or conditions.

2. The treaty or instrument containing the conditions of surrender.

3. A reducing to heads.

4. In German polity, a contract which the Emperor makes with the electors, in the names of the princes and states of the empire, before he is raised to the imperial dignity.

CAPITULATOR, n. One who capitulates.

CAPITULE, n. A summary.

CAPIVI, n. A balsam of the Spanish West-Indies. [See Copaiba.]

CAPNOMANCY, n. Divination by the ascent or motion of smoke.

CAPOCH, n. A monks hood.

CAPON, n. A castrated cock; a cock-chicken gelded as soon as he quits his dam, or as soon as he begins to crow.

CAPON, v.t. To castrate, as a cock.

CAPONNIERE, n. In fortification, a covered lodgment, sunk four or five feet into the ground, encompassed with a parapet, about two feet high, serving to support several planks, laden with earth. It is large enough to contain 15 or 20 soldiers, and is placed in the glacis, at the extremity of the counterscarp, and in dry moats, with embrasures or loop holes, through which the soldiers may fire.

CAPOT, n. A winning of all the tricks of cards at the game of piquet.

CAPOT, v.t. To win all the tricks of cards at piquet.

CAPPER, n. [from cap.] One whose business is to make or sell caps.

CAPREOLATE, a. In botany, having tendrils, or filiform spiral claspers, by which plants fasten themselves to other bodies, as in vines, peas, etc.

CAPRICE, n. A sudden start of the mind; a sudden change of opinion, or humor; a whim, freak, or particular fancy.

CAPRICIOUS, a. Freakish; whimsical; apt to change opinions suddenly, or to start from ones purpose; unsteady; changeable; fickle; fanciful; subject to change or irregularity; as a man of a capricious temper.

CAPRICIOUSLY, adv. In a capricious manner; whimsically.


1. The quality of being led by caprice; whimsicalness; unsteadiness of purpose or opinion.

2. Unsteadiness; liableness to sudden changes; as the capriciousness of fortune.

CAPRICORN, n. One of the twelve signs of the zodiac, the winter solstice; represented on ancient monuments, by the figure of a goat, or a figure having the fore part like a goat and the hind part like a fish.

CAPRIFICATION, n. A method of ripening figs by means of a gnat or insect that pricks the bud.

CAPRIFOLE, n. Honeysuckle; woodbine.

CAPRIFORM, a. Having the form of a goat.

CAPRIOLE, n. In the manege, caprioles are leaps that a horse makes in the same place without advancing, in such a manner that when he is at the highth of the leap, he jerks out with his hind legs, even and near. It differs from the croupade in this, that, in a croupade, a horse does not show his shoes, and from a balotade, in which he does not jerk out.

CAPRIPED, a. Having feet like those of a goat.

CAPSICUM, n. Guinea pepper.

CAPSIZE, v.t. To upset or overturn; a seamans phrase.

CAPSTAN, n. A strong massy column of timber, formed like a truncated cone, and having its upper extremity pierced to receive bars or levers, for winding a rope round it, to raise great weights, or perform other extraordinary work, that requires a great power. It may be let down through the decks of a ship, and so fixed that the work is performed by a horizontal motion.


1. Hollow like a chest.

2. Capsular ligament, is that which surrounds every movable articulation, and contains the synovia like a bag.

CAPSULATE, CAPSULATED, a. Inclosed in a capsule, or as in a chest or box.


1. The seed vessel of a plant; a dry membranaceous hollow pericarp, opening differently in different plants. It is composed of valves or outer covering, partitions, the columella or central pillar, and cells.

2. A small saucer, made of clay for roasting samples or ores, or for melting them.


1. Literally, a head or chief officer; appropriately, the military officer who commands a company, whether of infantry, cavalry, artillery or matrosses.

2. The commander of a ship of war, or of a merchantman. But the latter is often called a master.

3. The commander of a military band, a sense that occurs in the sciptures; as a captain of fifty.

4. A man skilled in war or military affairs; as, Lord Wellington is a great captain.

5. A chief commander. Shak. But in this sense rarely used, but in composition.

Captain-general, is the commander in chief of an army, or of the militia. The covernor of a state is Captain-General of the militia.

Captain-Lieutenant, is an officer, who with the rank of captain and pay of lieutenant, commands a company or troop. Thus the colonel of a regiment being the captain of the first company, that company is commanded by a Captain-Lieutenant.

Captain-Bashaw, or Capudan Bashaw, in Turkey, is the High Admiral.

CAPTAIN, a. Chief; valiant.


1. The rank, post or commission of a captain.

2. The jurisdiction of a captain, or commander, as in South America.

CAPTAINRY, n. The power or command over a certain district; chieftainship.


1. The condition or post of a captain or chief commander.

2. The rank, quality or post of a captain. In lieu of this captaincy is now used.

3. The command of a clan, or government of a certain district.

4. Skill in military affairs.

CAPTATION, n. The act or practice of catching favor or applause, by flattery or address.


1. The act of taking, or apprehending by a judicial process.

2. A certificate signed by commissioners in Chancery, declaring when and where the commission was executed.

3. A preamble.

4. In Scots law, a writ issued at the instance of a creditor, commanding an officer to take and imprison the debtor, till he pays the debt.


1. Disposed to find fault, or raise objections; apt to cavil, as in popular language, it is said, apt to catch at; as a captious man.

2. Fitted to catch or ensnare; insidious; as a captious question.

3. Proceeding from a caviling disposition; as a captious objection or criticism.