Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



CESPITITIOUS, a. Pertaining to turf; made of turf.

CESPITOUS, a. Pertaining to turf; turfy.

A cespitous or turfy plant, has many stems from the same root, usually forming a close thick carpet or matting.

CESS, as a noun, a rate or tax, and as a verb, to rate or lay a tax, is probably a corruption of assess, or from the same root.

CESS, v.i. To neglect a legal duty.


1. A ceasing; a stop; a rest; the act of discontinuing motion or action of any kind, whether temporary or final.

2. A ceasing or suspension of operation, force or effect; as a cessation of the laws of nature.

A cessation of arms, an armistice or truce, agreed to by the commanders of armies, to give time for a capitulation, or for other purposes.

CESSAVIT, n. In law, a writ given by statute, to recover lands, when the tenant or occupier has ceased for two years to perform the service, which constitutes the condition of his tenure, and has not sufficient goods or chattels to be distrained, or the tenant has so inclosed the land that the lord cannot come upon it to distrain.

CESSER, n. [See Cess.] A ceasing; a neglect to perform services or payment for two years. [See Cessavit.]

CESSIBILITY, n. [See Cede and Cession.] The act of giving way or receding.

CESSIBLE, a. [See Cede.] Giving way; yielding; easy to give way.


1. The act of giving way; a yielding to force or impulse.

2. A yielding, or surrender, as of property or rights, to another person; particularly, a surrender of conquered territory to its former proprietor or sovereign, by treaty.

3. In the civil law, a voluntary surrender of a persons effects to his creditors, to avoid imprisonment.

4. In ecclesiastical law, the leaving of a benefice without dispensation or being otherwise qualified. When an ecclesiastical person is created a bishop, or when the parson of a parish takes another benefice, without dispensation, the benefices are void by cession, without resignation.

CESSIONARY, a. Having surrendered effects; as a cessionary bankrupt.

CESSMENT, n. An assessment or tax.


1. In law, he that neglects, for two years, to perform the service by which he holds lands, so that he incurs the danger of the writ of cessavit. [See Cessavit.]

2. An assessor, or taxer.

CEST, n. A ladys girdle.

CESTUS, n. The girdle of Venus, or marriage-girdle, among the Greeks and Romans.

CESURA, CESURE, n. A pause in verse, so introduced as to aid the recital, and render the versification more melodious. It divides a verse or line into equal or unequal parts. Its most pleasing effect is produced, when it is placed at the end of the second foot, or in the middle, or at the end of the third foot.

CESURAL, a. Pertaining to the cesure.

CETACEOUS, a. Pertaining to the whale; belonging to the whale kind. The cetacceous fishes include the genera monodon, balaena, physeter and delphinus. They have no gills, but an aperture on the top of the head, and a flat or horizontal tail.

CETATE, n. A compound of cetic acid, with a base.

CETERACH, n. A trivial name of a species of Asplenium, or spleen-wort.

CETIC, a. Pertaining to the whale. The cetic acid is a peculiar substance obtained from the spermaceti.

CETIN, n. A name given to spermaceti by Chevreul.

CETOLOGICAL, n. Pertaining to cetology.

CETOLOGIST, n. One who is versed in the natural history of the whale and its kindred animals.

CETOLOGY, n. The doctrine or natural history of cetaceous animals.

CETUS, n. In astronomy, the whale, a large constellation of the Southern hemisphere, containing ninety-seven stars.

CEYLANITE, n. A mineral, classed with the ruby family; called also pleonaste. Its color is a muddy, dark blue, and grayish black, approaching to iron black. It occurs in grains, or small crystals, either perfect octahedrons, or truncated on the edges, or with the angles acuminated by four planes. It occurs also in rhomboidal dodecahedrons.

CHABASIE, CHABASITE, n. A mineral which has been regarded as a variety of zeolite. It is divisible into very obtuse rhomboids.

This mineral occurs in crystals, whose primitive form is nearly a cube.

Chabasie has a foliated structure; its fracture is somewhat conchoidal or uneven, with a glistening vitreous luster. It is translucent, sometimes transparent. Its color is white or grayish white, sometimes with a rosy tinge. Before the blowpipe, it intumesces a little, and easily melts into a white spongy mass.

CHAD, n. A kind of fish; pronounced shad.

CHAFE, v.t.

1. To excite heat or inflammation by friction, as to chafe the skin; also, to fret and wear by rubbing, as to chafe a cable.

2. To act violently upon, by rubbing; to fret against, as waves against a shore.

The troubled Tyber chafing with his shores.

3. To be fretted and worn by rubbing; as, a cable chafes.


1. Heat, excited by friction.

2. Violent agitation of the mind or passions; heat; fret; passion.

CHAFED, pp. Heated or fretted by rubbing; worn by friction.

CHAFER, n. One who chafes.

CHAFER, n. An insect, a species of Scarabaeus, or beetle.

CHAFERY, n. In Iron works, a forge in which an ancony or square mass of iron, hammered into a bar in the middle, with its ends rough, is reduced to a complete bar, by hammering down the ends to the shape of the middle.

CHAFE-WAX, n. In England, an officer belonging to the Lord Chancellor, who fits the wax for the sealing of writs.


1. The husk, or dry calyx of corn, and grasses. In common language, the word is applied to the husks when separated from the corn by thrashing, riddling or winnowing. The word is sometimes used rather improperly to denote straw cut small for the food of cattle.

2. Refuse; worthless matter; especially that which is light, and apt to be driven by the wind. In scripture, false doctrines, fruitless designs, hypocrites and ungodly men are compared to chaff. Psalm 1:4; Jeremiah 23:28; Isaiah 33:11; Matthew 3:12.

CHAFFER, v.i. To treat about a purchase; to bargain; to haggle; to negotiate; to chop and change; as, to chaffer for preferments.

CHAFFER, v.t. To buy; to exchange.
CHAFFER, n. One who chaffers; a bargainer; a buyer.

CHAFFERN, n. A vessel for heating water.

CHAFFERY, n. Trafick; buying and selling.

CHAFFINCH, n. A species of birds of the genus Fringilla, which are said to delight in chaff, and are admired for their song.

CHAFFLESS, n. Without chaff.

CHAFFWEED, n. A plant, cud-weed, a species of Gnaphalium; but this name is given also to the Centunculus.

CHAFFY, a. Like chaff; full of chaff; light; as, chaffy straws; chaffy opinions.

CHAFING, ppr. Heating or fretting by friction.

CHAFING-DISH, n. A dish or vessel to hold coals for heating any thing set on it; a portable grate for coals.

CHAGRIN, n. Ill-humor; vexation; peevishness; fretfulness.

CHAGRIN, v.t. To excite ill-humor in; to vex; to mortify.

CHAGRINED, pp. Vexed; fretted; displeased.


1. A series of links or rings connected, or fitted into one another, usually made of some kind of metal, as a chain of gold, or of iron; but the word is not restricted to any particular kind of material. It is used often for an ornament about the person.

2. That which binds; a real chain; that which restrains, confines, or fetters; a bond.

If God spared not the angels that sinned, but delivered them into chains of darkness. 2 Peter 2:4.

3. Bondage; affliction.

He hath made my chain heavy. Lamentations 3:7.

4. Bondage; slavery.

In despotism the people sleep soundly in their chains.

5. Ornament. Proverbs 1:9.

6. A series of things linked together; a series of things connected or following in succession; as a chain of causes, of ideas, or events; a chain of being.

7. A range, or line of things connected, as a chain of mountains.

8. A series of links, forming an instrument to measure land.

9. A string of twisted wire, or something similar, to hang a watch on, and for other purposes.

10. In France, a measure of wood for fuel, and various commodities, of various length.

11. In ship-building, chains are strong links or plates of iron, bolted at the lower end to the ships side, used to contain the blocks called dead eyes, by which the shrouds of the mast are extended.

12. The warp in weaving, as in French.

Chain-;ump. This consists of a long chain, equipped with a sufficient number of valves, moving on two wheels, one above the other below, passing downward through a wooden tube and returning through another. It is managed by a long winch, on which several men may be employed at once.

Chain-shot, two balls connected by a chain, and used to cut down masts, or cut away shrouds and rigging.

Chain-wales of a ship, broad and thick planks projecting from a ships side, abreast of and behind the masts, for the purpose of extending the shrouds, for better supporting the masts, and preventing the shrouds from damaging the gunwale.

Chain-work, work consisting of threads, cords and the like, linked together in the form of a chain; as lineal chaining or tambour work, reticulation or net work, etc.

Top-chain, on board a ship, a chain to sling the sail-yards in time of battle, to prevent their falling, when the ropes that support them are shot away.

CHAIN, v.t.

1. To fasten, bind or connect with a chain; to fasten or bind with any thing in the manner of a chain.

2. To enslave; to keep in slavery.

And which more blest? Who chaind his country, say

Or he whose virtue sighed to lose a day?

3. To guard with a chain, as a harbor or passage.

4. To unite; to form chain-work.

CHAINED, pp. Made fast, or bound by a chain; connected by a chain; bound; enslaved.

CHAINING, ppr. Binding, fastening or connecting with a chain; binding, or attaching to; enslaving.


1. A movable seat; a frame with a bottom made of different materials, used for persons to sit in; originally a stool, and anciently a kind of pulpit in churches.

2. A seat of justice or of authority; as a chair of state.

3. A seat for a professor, or his office; as the professors chair.

4. The seat for a speaker or presiding officer of a public council, or assembly, as the speakers chair; and by a metonymy, the speaker himself; as, to address the chair.

5. A sedan; a vehicle on poles borne by men.

6. A pulpit.

7. A two-wheeled carriage, drawn by one horse; a gig.

8. Supreme office or magistracy.

When Governor Shute came to the chair, several of the old councilors were laid aside.

Curule chair, an ivory seat placed on a car, used by the prime magistrates of Rome.


1. The presiding officer or speaker of an assembly, association or company, particularly of a legislative house; also, the president or senior member of a committee.

2. One whose business is to carry a chair.

CHAISE, n. s as z. A two-wheeled carriage drawn by one horse; a gig. It is open or covered.

CHALCEDONIC, a. Pertaining to chalcedony.

CHALCEDONY, n. A subspecies of quartz, a mineral called also white agate, resembling milk diluted with water, and more or less clouded or opake, with veins, circles and spots. It is used in jewelry.

The varieties of chalcedony are common chalcedony, heliotrope, chrysoprase, plasma, onyx, sard and sardonyx.

CHALCEDONYX, n. A variety of agate, in which white and gray layers alternate.

CHALCITE, n. Sulphate of iron of a red color, so far calcined as to have lost a considerable part of its acid.

CHALCOGRAPHER, n. An engraver in brass.

CHALCOGRAPHY, n. The act or art of engraving in brass.

CHALDAIC, a. Pertaining to Chaldea, anciently a country on the Frat or Euphrates, in Asia, called in scripture Shinar. Of this Babylon was the principal city.

CHALDAIC, n. The language or dialect of the Chaldeans.

CHALDAISM, n. An idiom or peculiarity in the Chaldee dialect.

CHALDEAN, n. An inhabitant of Chaldea.

CHALDEE, a. Pertaining to Chaldea.

CHALDEE, n. The language or dialect of the Chaldeans.

CHALDRON, CHALDER, n. A measure of coals consisting of thirty six bushels.

CHALICE, n. A cup, or bowl; usually a communion cup.

CHALICED, n. Having a cell or cup; applied by Shakespeare to a flower; but I believe little used.

CHALK, n. A well known calcarious earth, of an opake white color, soft and admitting no polish. It contains a large portion of carbonic acid, and is a subspecies of carbonate of lime. It is used as an absorbent and anti-acid.

Cleaveland. Nicholson. Kirwan. Aikin.

Black-chalk is a species of earth used by painters for drawing on blue paper.

Red-chalk is an indurated clayey ocher used by painters and artificers.

CHALK, v.t.

1. To rub with chalk; to mark with chalk.

2. To manure with chalk, as land.

3. From the use of chalk in marking lines, the phrase to chalk out is used to signify, to lay out, draw out or describe; as, to chalk out a plan of proceeding.

CHALK-CUTTER, n. A man that digs chalk.

CHALKINESS, n. The state of being chalky.

CHALK-PIT, n. A pit in which chalk is dug.


1. In medicine, a calcarious concretion in the hands and feet of men violently affected by the gout.

2. White with chalk; consisting of chalk; as, chalky cliffs.

3. Impregnated with chalk; as, chalky water.

CHALLENGE, n. Literally, a calling, or crying out, the primary sense of many words expressing a demand, as claim. Hence appropriately,

1. A calling upon one to fight in single combat; an invitation or summons, verbal or written, to decide a controversy by a duel. Hence the letter containing the summons is also called a challenge.

2. A claim or demand made of a right or supposed right.

There must be no challenge of superiority.

3. Among hunters, the opening and crying of hounds at the first finding the scent of their game.

4. In law, an exception to jurors; the claim of a party that certain jurors shall not sit in trial upon him or his cause; that is, a calling them off. The right of challenge is given both in civil and criminal trials, for certain causes which are supposed to disqualify a juror to be an impartial judge. The right of challenge extends either to the whole panel or array, or only to particular jurors, called a challenge to the polls. A principal challenge is that which the law allows without cause assigned. A challenge to the favor, is when the party alleges a special cause. In criminal cases, a prisoner may challenge twenty jurors, without assigning a cause. This is called a peremptory challenge.


1. To call, invite or summon to answer for an offense by single combat, or duel.

2. To call to a contest; to invite to a trial; as, I challenge a man to prove what he asserts, implying defiance.

3. To accuse; to call to answer.

4. To claim as due; to demand as a right; as, the Supreme Being challenges our reverence and homage.

5. In law, to call off a juror, or jurors; or to demand that jurors shall not sit in trial upon a cause. [See the noun.]

6. To call to the performance of conditions.

CHALLENGEABLE, a. That may be challenged; that may be called to account.

CHALLENGED, pp. Called to combat or o contest; claimed; demanded, as due; called from a jury.


1. One who challenges; one who invites to a single combat; one who calls on another by way of defiance.

2. One who claims superiority; one who claims any thing as his right, or makes pretensions to it.

3. One who calls a juror, or a jury, from the trial of his cause.

CHALLENGING, ppr. Summoning to a duel, or to contest; claiming as a right; defying; calling off from a jury.

CHALYBEAN, a. Pertaining to steel well tempered.

CHALYBEATE, a. Impregnated with particles of iron; as chalybeate waters.

CHALYBEATE, n. Any water or other liquor into which iron enters.

CHAM, n. The sovereign prince of Tartary. Usually written Khan.

CHAMADE, n. In war, the beat of a drum or sound of a trumpet, inviting an enemy to a parley; as for making a proposition for a truce, or for a capitulation.


1. An apartment in an upper story, or in a story above the lower floor of a dwelling house; often used as a lodging room.

2. Any retired room; any private apartment which a person occupies; as, he called on the judge at his chamber.

Joseph entered into his chamber and wept. Genesis 43:30.

3. Any retired place.

Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death. Proverbs 7:27.

4. A hollow or cavity; as the chamber of the eye.

5. A place where an assembly meets, and the assembly itself; as star-chamber; imperial chamber; chamber of accounts; ecclesiastical chamber; privy chamber; chamber of commerce, etc.

6. In military affairs, the chamber of a mortar is that part of the chase, where the powder lies.

7. A powder-chamber, or bomb-chamber, a place under ground for holding powder and bombs, where they may be safe and secured from rains.

8. The chamber of a mine, a place, generally of a cubical form, where the powder is confined.

9. A species of ordnance.

10. The clouds. Psalm 104:3.

11. Certain southern constellations which are hid from us.

The chambers of the south. Job 9:9.

Chamber-council, a private or secret council

Chamber-counsel, a counselor, who gives his opinion in a private apartment, but does not advocate causes in court.


1. To reside in or occupy as a chamber.

2. To be wanton; to indulge in lewd or immodest behavior. Romans 13:13.

CHAMBER, v.t. To shut up as in a chamber.

CHAMBERER, n. One who intrigues, or indulges in wantonness.

CHAMBER-FELLOW, n. One who sleeps in the same apartment.

CHAMBERING, n. Wanton, lewd, immodest behavior. Romans 13:13.


1. An officer charged with the direction and management of a chamber, or of chambers. The Lord Chamberlain of Great Britain is the sixth officer of the crown. To him belong livery and lodging in the kings court; on coronation day he brings to the king his apparel, his sword, scabbard, etc. He dresses and undresses the king on that day, and waits on him before and after dinner. To him also belongs the care of providing all things in the house of lords, in time of parliament. Under him are the gentleman usher of the black rod, and other officers. The Lord Chamberlain of the household has the oversight of all officers belonging to the kings chambers, except the precinct of the bed-chamber, of the wardrobe, physicians, chaplains, barbers, etc., and administers the oath to all officers above stairs.

The chamberlains of the exchequer, of London, of Chester, of North Wales, etc., are receivers of rents and revenues.

2. A servant who has the care of the chambers in an inn or hotel.

CHAMBERLAINSHIP, n. The office of a chamberlain.

CHAMBER-LYE, n. Urine.

CHAMBER-MAID, n. A woman who has the care of chambers, making the beds, and cleaning the rooms, or who dresses a lady and waits upon her in her apartment.

CHAMBER-POT, n. A vessel used in bedrooms.

CHAMBER-PRACTICE, n. The practice of counselors at law, who give their opinions in private, but do not appear in court.

CHAMBREL, n. The joint or bending of the upper part of a horses hind leg. In New England pronounced gambrel, which see.

CHAMELEON, n. An animal of the genus Lacerta, or lizard, with a naked body, a tail and four feet. The body is six or seven inches long, and the tail five inches; with this it clings to the branches of trees. The skin is cold to the touch, and contains small grains or eminences, of a bluish gray color, in the shade, but in the light of the sun, all parts of the body become of a grayish brown, or tawny color. It is a native of Africa and Asia.

CHAMELEONIZE, v.t. To change into various colors.


1. To channel; to cut a furrow, as in a column, or to cut into a sloping form.

2. To wrinkle.

CHAMFER, CHAMFRET, n. A small gutter or furrow cut in wood or other hard material; a slope.

CHAMFERED, pp. Cut into furrows, or cut sloping.

CHAMFERING, ppr. Cutting a gutter in; cutting in a slope.

CHAMITE, n. Fossil remains of the Chama, shell.

CHAMLET, [See Camlet.]

CHAMOIS, n. An animal of the goat kind, whose skin is made into soft leather, called shammy. It is now arranged with the Antelopes.

CHAMOMILE, [See Camomile.]

CHAMP, v.t.

1. To bite with repeated action of the teeth; as, a horse champs the bit.

2. To bite into small pieces; to chew; to masticate; to devour.

CHAMP, v.i. To chew; to perform the action of biting by repeated motion of the teeth; as, to champ upon the bit.

CHAMPAGNE, CHAMPANE, n. A kind of brisk sparkling wine, from Champagne in France.

CHAMPAIGN, CHAMPAIN, n. A flat open country.