Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



CLERKLIKE, a. Like a clerk; learned.

CLERKLY, a. Scholarlike.

CLERKLY, adv. In a learned manner.


1. A state of being in holy orders.

2. Scholarship.

3. The office or business of a clerk or writer.

CLEROMANCY, n. A divination by throwing dice or little bones, and observing the points or marks turned up.

CLEVE, CLIF, CLIVE, in the composition of names, denote a place situated on or near a cliff, on the side of a hill, rock or precipice; as Cleveland, Clifton.


1. Fit; suitable; convenient; proper; commodious.

2. Dextrous; adroit; ready; that performs with skill or address.

3. In New England, good-natured, possessing an agreeable mind or disposition. In Great Britain, this word is applied to the body or its movements, in its literal sense; in America, it is applied chiefly to the mind, temper, disposition. In Great Britain, a clever man is a dextrous man, one who performs and act with skill or address. In New-England, a clever man is a man of a pleasing obliging disposition, and amiable manners, but often implying a moderate share of talents. Fitness, suitableness, gives both senses analogically; the former applied to the body; the latter, to the mind, or its qualities. It is a colloquial word, but sometimes found in respectable writings.

In some of the United States, it is said this word is applied to the intellect, denoting ingenious, knowing, discerning.

CLEVERLY, adv. Fitly; dextrously; handsomely.


1. Dexterity; adroitness; skill.

2. Mildness of agreeableness of disposition; obligingness; good nature.

CLEVY, CLEVIS, n. An iron bent to the form of an ox bow, with the two ends perforated to receive a pin, used on the end of a cartneap to hold the chain of the forward horse or oxen; or a draft iron on a plow.

CLEW, n.

1. A ball of thread.

2. The thread that forms a ball; the thread that is used to guide a person in a labyrinth. Hence, any thing that guides or directs one in an intricate case.

3. The lower corner of a square sail, and the aftmost corner of a stay sail.

CLEW, v.t.

1. In seamanship, to truss up to the yard, by means of clew-garnets or clew-lines, in order to furling.

2. To direct.

CLEW-CARNETS, n. In marine language, a sort of tackle, or rope and pulley, fastened to the clews of the main and foresails to truss them up to the yard.

CLEW-LINES, n. These are the same tackle, and used for the like purpose as clew-garnets, but are applied to the smaller square sails, as the top-sail, top-gallant and sprit-sails.

CLICK, v.i. Literally, to strike; hence,

To make a small sharp noise, or rather a succession of small sharp sounds, as by a gentle striking.

The solemn death-watch clicked.

CLICK, n. In seamens language, a small piece of iron falling into a notched wheel attached to the winches in cutters, etc.
CLICK, n. The latch of a door.

CLICKER, n. The servant of a salesman, who stands at the door to invite customers; a law ward and not used in the United States.

CLICKET, n. The knocker of a door.

CLICKING, ppr. Making small sharp noises.


1. Among the Romans, a citizen who put himself under the protection of a man of distinction and influence, who, in respect to that relation, was called his patron. Hence in modern usage,

2. One who applies to a lawyer or counselor for advice and direction in a question of law, or commits his cause to his management in prosecuting a claim, or defending against a suit, in a court of justice.

3. A dependent.

CLIENTAL, a. Dependent.

CLIENTED, a. Supplied with clients.

CLIENTSHIP, n. The condition of a client; a state of being under the protection of a patron.


1. A steep bank; as the cliffs of Dover. So in Saxon, the cliffs of the Red Sea.

2. A high and steep rock; any precipice.

CLIFF, in music. [See Clef.]

CLIFFY, a. Having cliffs; broken; craggy.

CLIFTED, a. Broken.


1. A critical year in human life; but climacteric is more generally used.

2. A certain space of time.

CLIMACTERIC, a. Literally, noting a scale, progression, or gradation; appropriately, denoting a critical period of human life, or a certain number of years, at the end of which a great change is supposed to take place in the human constitution. [See the noun.]

CLIMACTERIC, n. A critical period in human life, or a period in which some great change is supposed to take place in the human constitution. The critical periods are supposed by some persons to be the years produced by multiplying 7 into the odd numbers 3, 5, 7 and 9; to which others add the 81st year. The 63rd year is called the grand climacteric. It has been supposed that these periods are attended with some remarkable change in respect to health, life or fortune.

CLIMATARCHIC, a. Presiding over climates.


1. In geography, a part of the surface of the earth, bounded by two circles parallel to the equator, and of such a breadth that the longest day in the parallel nearest the pole is half an hour longer than that nearest to the equator. The beginning of a climate is a parallel circle in which the longest day is half and hour shorter than that at the end. The climates begin at the equator, where the day is 12 hours long; and at the end of the first climate the longest day is 12 hours long, and this increase of half an hour constitutes a climate, to the polar circles; from which climates are measured by the increase of a month.

2. In a popular sense, a tract of land, region or country, differing from another in the temperature of the air; or any region or country with respect to the temperature of the air, the seasons, and their peculiar qualities, without any regard to the length of the days, or to geographical position. Thus we say, a warm or cold climate; a moist or dry climate; a happy climate; a genial climate; a mountainous climate.

CLIMATE, v.i. To dwell; to reside in a particular region.

CLIMATIC, CLIMATICAL, a. Pertaining to a climate or climates; limited by a climate.

CLIMATURE, n. A climate.


1. Gradation; ascent; a figure of rhetoric, in which a sentence rises as it were, step by step; or in which the expression which ends one member of the period, begins the second, and so on, till the period is finished; as in the following: When we have practiced good actions a while, they become easy; and when they are easy, we begin to take pleasure in them; and when they please us, we do them frequently; and by frequency of acts, they grow into a habit.

2. A sentence, or series of sentences, in which the successive members or sentences rise in force, importance or dignity, to the close of the sentence or series.

CLIMB, v.i.

1. To creep up by little and little, or step by step; to mount or ascend, by means of the hands and feet; to rise on any fixed object, by seizing it with the hands and lifting the body, and by thrusting with the feet; as, to climb a tree or a precipice.

And he ran before and climbed up into a sycamore tree. Luke 19:4.

2. To mount or ascend with labor and difficulty.

3. To rise or ascend with a slow motion.

Black vapors climb aloft.

CLIMB, v.t.

1. To ascend by means of the hands and feet, implying labor, difficulty and slow progress; as, to climb a wall, or a steep mountain.

2. To mount or ascend, with labor or a slow motion; as, to climb the ascents of fame.

CLIMBABLE, a. That may be climbed.


1. One who climbs, mounts or rises, by the hands and feet; one who rises by labor or effort.

2. A plant that creeps and rises on some support.


1. One who climbs, mounts or rises, by the hands and feet; one who rises by labor or effort.

2. A plant that creeps and rises on some support.

CLIMBER, v.i. To climb; to mount with effort.

CLIMBING, ppr. Ascending by the use of the hands and feet; ascending with difficulty.

CLIMBING, n. The act of ascending.

CLIME, n. A climate; a tract or region of the earth; a poetical word, but sometimes used in prose. [See Climate.]

Whatever clime the suns bright circle warms.

CLINCH, v.t.

1. To gripe with the hand; to make fast by bending over, folding, or embracing closely. Thus, to clinch a nail, is to bend the point and drive it closely. To clinch the hand or fist, is to contract the fingers closely into the palm of the hand. To clinch an instrument, is to close the fingers and thumb round it, and hold it fast.

2. To fix or fasten; to make firm; as, to clinch an argument.


1. A word used in a double meaning; a pun; an ambiguity; a duplicity of meaning, with identity of expression.

Here one poor word a hundred clinches makes.

2. A witty, ingenious reply.

3. In seamens language, the part of a cable which is fastened to the ring of an anchor; a kind of knot and seizings, used to fasten a cable to the ring of an anchor, and the britching of a gun to the ring bolts in a ships side.

CLINCHED, pp. Made fast by doubling or embracing closely.


1. That which clinches; a cramp or piece of iron bent down to fasten any thing.

2. One who makes a smart reply.

3. That which makes fast.

CLINCHER-BUILT, CLINKER-BUILT, a. Made of clincher work.

CLINCHER-WORK, n. In ship building, the disposition of the planks in the side of a boat or vessel, when the lower edge of every plank overlays the next below it, like slates on the roof a house.

CLINCHING, ppr. Making fast by doubling over or embracing closely; griping with the fist.

CLING, v.i.

1. To adhere closely; to stick to; to hold fast upon, especially by winding round or embracing; as, the tendril of a vine clings to its support.

Two babes of love close clinging to her waist.

2. To adhere closely; to stick to; as a viscous substance.

3. To adhere closely and firmly, in interest or affection; as, men of a party cling to their leader.

CLING, v.t. To dry up, or wither.

Till famine cling thee.

In Saxon, clingan is rendered to fade or wither, marcesco, as well as to cling. In this sense is used forclingan, pp. forclungen. The radical sense then appears to be, to contract or draw together; and drying, withering, is expressed by shrinking.

CLINGING, ppr. Adhering closely; sticking to; winding round and holding to.

CLINGY, a. Apt to cling; adhesive.

CLINIC, CLINICAL, a. In a general sense, pertaining to a bed. A clinical lecture is a discourse delivered at the bed-side of the sick, or from notes taken at the bed-side, by a physician, with a view to practical instruction in the healing art. Clinical medicine is the practice of medicine on patients in bed, or in hospitals. A clinical convert is a convert on his death-bed. Anciently persons receiving baptism on their death-beds were called clinics.

CLINIC, n. One confined to the bed by sickness.

CLINICALLY, adv. In a clinical manner; by the bed-side.

CLINK, v.t. To ring or jingle; to utter or make a small sharp sound, or a succession of such sounds, as by striking small metallic or other sonorous bodies together.

CLINK, n. A sharp sound, made by the collision of small sonorous bodies. Spenser, according to Johnson, uses the word for a knocker.

CLINKING, ppr. Making a small sharp sound, or succession of sounds.

CLINKSTONE, n. A mineral which has a slaty structure, and is generally divisible into tabular masses, usually thick, sometimes thin like those of argillite. The cross fracture is commonly splintery. Its colors are dark greenish gray, yellowish, bluish, or ash gray; and it is usually translucent at the edges, sometimes opake. It occurs in extensive masses, often composed of columnar or tabular distinct concretions, more or less regular. It is usually found among secondary rocks; sometimes resting on basalt, and covered by greenstone.

CLINOMETER, n. An instrument for measuring the dip of mineral strata.

CLINQUANT, a. Dressed in tinsel finery.

CLIP, v.t.

1. To cut off with shears or scissors; to separate by a sudden stroke; especially to cut off the ends or sides of a thing, to make it shorter or narrower, in distinction from shaving and paring, which are performed by rubbing the instrument close to the thing shaved; as, to clip the hair; to clip wings.

But love had clipped his wings and cut him short.

2. To diminish coin by paring the edge.

3. To curtail; to cut short.

4. To confine, limit, restrain, or hold; to hug.

To clip it, is a vulgar phrase in New England for to run with speed. So cut issued; cut on, run fast. This seems to be the meaning in Dryden.

Some falcon stoops at what her eye designed,

And with her eagerness the quarry missed,

Straight flies at check, and clips it down the wind.

This sense would seem to be allied to that of leap.

CLIP, n.

1. A blow or stroke with the hand; as, he hit him a clip.

2. An embrace; that is, a throwing the arms round.

CLIPPED, CLIPT, pp. Cut off; cut short; curtailed; diminished by paring.

CLIPPER, n. One who clips; especially one who cuts off the edges of coin.

CLIPPING, ppr. Cutting off or shortening with shears or scissors; diminishing coin by paring off the edges; curtailing.


1. The act of cutting off, curtailing or diminishing.

2. That which is clipped off; a piece separated by clipping.

CLIVERS, n. A plant, the Galium aparine; called also goose-grass, or hairiff. It has a square, rough, jointed stem; the joints hairy at the base; with eight or ten narrow leaves at each joint.

CLOAK. [See Cloke.]

CLOCHARD, n. A belfry.


1. A machine, consisting of wheels moved by weights, so constructed that by a uniform vibration of a pendulum, it measures time, and its divisions, hours, minutes and seconds, with great exactness. It indicates the hour by the stroke of a small hammer on a bell.

The phrases, what o’clock is it? It is nine o’clock, seem to be contracted from what of the clock? It is nine of the clock.

2. A figure or figured work in the ankle of a stocking.

CLOCK, v.t. To call. [See Cluck.]

CLICK-MAKER, n. An artificer whose occupation is to make clocks.

CLOCK-SETTER, n. One who regulates the clock.


1. The machinery and movements of a clock; or that part of the movement which strikes the hours on a bell, in distinction from that part which measures and exhibits the time on the face or dial plate, which is called watch-work.

2. Well adjusted work, with regular movement.

CLOD, n.

1. A hard lump of earth, of any kind; a mass of earth cohering.

2. A lump or mass of metal.

3. Turf; the ground.

4. That which is earthy, base and vile, as the body of man compared to his soul.

5. A dull, gross, stupid fellow; a dolt.

6. Any thing concreted.

CLOD, v.i. To collect into concretions, or a thick mass; to coagulate; as clodded gore.

[See Clot, which is more generally used.]

CLOD, v.t. To pelt with clods.


1. Consisting of clods; abounding with clods.

2. Earthy; mean; gross.

CLODHOPPER, n. A clown; a dolt.

CLODPATE, n. A stupid fellow; a dolt; a thickskull.

CLODPATED, a. Stupid; dull; doltish.

CLODPOLL, n. A stupid fellow; a dolt; a blockhead.

CLOG, v.t.

1. To load or fill with something that retards or hinders motion; as, to clog the channel of a river; to clog a passage.

2. To put on any thing that encumbers, with a view to hinder or restrain leaping; to shackle; as, to clog a beast.

3. To load with any thing that encumbers; to burden; to embarrass; as, to clog commerce with impositions or restrictions.

4. To obstruct natural motion, or render it difficult; to hinder; to impede.

CLOG, v.i.

1. To coalesce; to unite and adhere in a cluster or mass.

Move it sometimes with a broom, that the seeds clog not together.

2. To form an accretion; to be loaded or encumbered with extraneous matter.

The teeth of the saw will begin to clog.

CLOG, n.

1. Any thing put upon an animal to hinder motion, or leaping, as a piece of wood fastened to his leg.

2. An encumbrance; that which hinders motion, or renders it difficult; hindrance; impediment.

3. A wooden shoe; also, a sort of pattern worn by ladies to keep their feet dry in wet weather.

CLOG-GED, pp. Wearing a clog; shackled; obstructed; loaded with incumbrance.

CLOGGINESS, n. The state of being clogged.

CLOGGING, ppr. Putting on a clog; loading with incumbrance; obstructing; impeding.

CLOGGY, a. That clogs, or has power to clog; thick; gross.


1. Literally, a close; a close, or inclosed place. A monastery or nunnery; a house inhabited by monks or nuns. In a more limited sense, the principal part of a regular monastery, consisting of a square, erected between the church, the chapter-house and the refectory, and over which is the dormitory. The proper use of the cloister is for the monks to meet in for conversation. The cloister is square, and has its name from being inclosed on its four sides with buildings. Hence in architecture, a building is said to be in the form of a cloister, when there are buildings on each of the four sides of the court.

2. A peristyle; a piazza.


1. To confine in a cloister or monastery.

2. To shut up; to confine closely within walls; to immure; to shut up in retirement from the world.

CLOISTERAL, a. Confined to a cloister; retired from the world; recluse.


1. Shut up in a cloister; inhabiting a monastery.

2. a. Solitary; retired from the world.

3. Built with peristyles or piazzas; inclosed.

CLOISTERING, ppr. Shutting up in a monastery; confining; secluding from the world.

CLOISTRESS, n. A nun; a woman who has vowed religious retirement.


1. A loose outer garment worn over other clothes both by men and women.

He was clad with zeal as a cloke. Isaiah 59:17.

2. A cover; that which conceals; a disguise or pretext; an excuse; a fair pretense.

Not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness. 1 Peter 2:16.

They have no cloke for their sin. John 15:22.

CLOKE, v.t.

1. To cover with a cloke.

2. To hide; to conceal; to use a false covering.

CLOKE-BAG, n. A bag in which a cloke or other clothes are carried; a portmanteau.

CLOKED, pp. Covered with a cloke; concealed under a cover.

CLOKING, ppr. Covering with a cloke; hiding under an external covering.

CLOMB, pret. of climb.

CLONG, old part. Of cling.

CLONIC, a. Shaking; convulsive; irregular; as clonic spasm.

CLOOM, v.t. To close with glutinous matter.

CLOSE, v.t.

1. To shut; to make fast, by pressing together, or by stopping an open place, so as to intercept a passage, in almost any manner; as, to close the eyes; to close a gate, door or window. In these and other cases, closing is performed by bringing an object before the opening. To close a book, is to bring the parts together.

The Lord hath closed your eyes. Isaiah 29:10.

He closed the book. Luke 4:20.

2. To end; to finish; to conclude; to complete; to bring to a period; as, to close a bargain, or contract.

One frugal supper did our studies close.

3. To unite, as the parts of a breach or fracture; to make whole; to consolidate; often followed by up.

The Lord closed up the flesh instead thereof. Genesis 2:21.

4. To cover; to inclose; to encompass; to overwhelm.

The depths closed me round about. Jonah 2:5.

5. To inclose; to confine. [See Inclose.]

6. To move or bring together; to unite separate bodies or parts; as, to close the ranks of an army.

CLOSE, v.i. s as z.

1. To unite; to coalesce; to come together; as the parts of a wound or fracture, or parts separated; often followed by on or upon.

The fat closed upon the blade. Judges 3:22.

The earth closed upon them. Numbers 16:33.

2. To end; to terminate, or come to a period; as, the debate closed at six o’clock.

To close on or upon, to come to a mutual agreement; to agree on or join in.

France and Holland might close upon some measures to our disadvantage.

To close with, to accede to; to consent or agree to; as, to close with the terms proposed. When followed by the person with whom an agreement is made, to make an agreement with; to unite with; as, to close with an enemy.

He took the time when Richard was deposed,

And high and low with happy Harry closed.

In this sense, to close in with is less elegant.

To close with,

To close in with, To unite; to join closely; to grapple, as persons in a contest; applied to wrestlers, when they come to close embrace for scuffling.


1. Shut fast; tight; made fast, so as to have no opening; as a close box; a close vizard.

2. Having parts firmly united; compact; dense; applied to solid substances of any king; as the close texture of wood or metal.

3. Having parts firmly adhering; viscous; tenacious; as oil, or glue.

4. Confined; stagnant; without ventilation or motion; as close air.

5. Confined; retired.

While David kept himself close. 1 Chronicles 12:1.

6. Hid; private; secret; as, to keep a purpose close. Numbers 5:13; Luke 9:36.

7. Confined within narrow limits; narrow; as a close alley.

8. Near; within a small distance; as a close fight or action.

9. Joined; in contact or nearly so; crowded; as, to sit close.

10. Compressed, as thoughts or words; hence, brief; concise; opposed to loose or diffuse.

Where the original is close, no version can reach it in the same compass.

11. Very near, in place or time; adjoining, or nearly so.

I saw him come close to the ram. Daniel 8:7.

They sailed close by Crete. Acts 27:13.

Some dire misfortune follows close behind.

12. Having the quality of keeping secrets, thoughts or designs; cautious; as a close minister. Hence in friendship, trusty; confidential

13. Having an appearance of concealment; implying art, craft or wariness; as a close aspect.

14. Intent; fixed; attentive; pressing upon the object; as, to give close attention.

Keep your mind or thoughts close to the business or subject.

15. Full to the point; home; pressing; as a close argument; bring the argument close to the question.

16. Pressing; earnest; warm; as a close debate.

17. Confined; secluded from communication; as a close prisoner.

18. Covetous; penurious; not liberal; as a close man.

19. Applied to the weather or air, close, in popular language, denotes warm and damp, cloudy or foggy, or warm and relaxing, occasioning a sense of lassitude and depression. Perhaps originally, confined air.

20. Strictly adhering to the original; as a close translation.

21. In heraldry, drawn in a coat of arms with the wings close, and in a standing posture.

Close communion, with baptists, communion in the Lords supper with their own sect only.

Close election, an election in which the votes for different candidates are nearly equal.

CLOSE, adv. Closely; nearly; densely; secretly; pressingly.

Behind her death close followed, pace for pace.

CLOSE-BANDED, a. Being in close order; closely united.

CLOSE-BODIED, a. Fitting the body exactly; setting close; as a garment.

CLOSE-COMPACTED, a. Being in compact order; compact.

CLOSE-COUCHED, a. Quite concealed.

CLOSE-CURTAINED, a. Inclosed or surrounded with curtains.

CLOSE-FISTED, a. Covetous; niggardly.

CLOSE-HANDED, a. Covetous; penurious.

CLOSE-HANDEDNESS, n. Covetousness.

CLOSE-HAULED, a. In seamanship, having the tacks or lower corners of the sails drawn close to the side to windward, and the sheets hauled close aft, in sailing near the wind.

CLOSE-PENT, a. Shut close.

CLOSE-QUARTERS, n. Strong barriers of wood used in a ship for defense when the ship is boarded.

CLOSE-STOOL, n. A chamber utensil for the convenience of the sick and infirm.

CLOSE-TONGUED, a. Keeping silence; cautious in speaking.