Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



COMFIT, COMFITURE, n. A dry sweet-meat; any kind of fruit or root preserved with sugar and dried.

COMFIT, v.t. To preserve dry with sugar.

COMFIT-MAKER, n. One who makes or prepares comfits.


1. To strengthen; to invigorate; to cheer or enliven.

Light excelleth in comforting the spirits of men.

Comfort ye your hearts. Genesis 18:5.

2. To strengthen the mind when depressed or enfeebled; to console; to give new vigor to the spirits; to cheer, or relieve from depression, or trouble.

His friends came to mourn with him and to comfort him. Job 2:11.

3. In law, to relieve, assist or encourage, as the accessory to a crime after the fact.


1. Relief from pain; ease; rest or moderate pleasure after pain, cold or distress or uneasiness of body. The word signifies properly new strength, or animation; and relief from pain is often the effect of strength. In a popular sense, the word signifies rather negatively the absence of pain and the consequent quiet, than positive animation.

2. Relief from distress of mind; the ease and quiet which is experienced when pain, trouble, agitation or affliction ceases. It implies also some degree of positive animation of the spirits; or some pleasurable sensations derived from hope, and agreeable prospects; consolation.

Let me alone, that I may take comfort a little. Job 10:20.

Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. Matthew 9:22.

3. Support; consolation under calamity, distress or danger.

Let thy merciful kindness be for my comfort. Psalm 119:76.

4. That which gives strength or support in distress, difficulty, danger, or infirmity.

Pious children are the comfort of their aged parents.

5. In law, support; assistance; countenance; encouragement; as, an accessory affords aid or comfort to a felon.

6. That which gives security from want and furnishes moderate enjoyment; as the comforts of life.


1. Being in a state of ease, or moderate enjoyment; as a person after sickness or pain. This is the most common use of the word in the U. States.

2. Admitting comfort; that may afford comfort.

Who can promise him a comfortable appearance before his dreadful judge?

3. Giving comfort; affording consolation.

The word of my lord the king shall now be comfortable. 2 Samuel 14:17.

4. Placing above want and affording moderate enjoyment; as a comfortable provision for old age.

COMFORTABLENESS, n. The state of enjoying comfort.


1. In a manner to give comfort or consolation.

Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem. Isaiah 40:2.

2. With comfort, or cheerfulness; without despair.

Hope comfortably and cheerfully for Gods performance.

COMFORTED, pp. Strengthened; consoled; encouraged.


1. One who administers comfort or consolation; one who strengthens and supports the mind in distress or danger.

I looked for comforters, but found none. Psalm 69:20.

Miserable comforters are ye all. Job 16:2.

2. The title of the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name--he shall teach you all things. John 14:26.

COMFORTING, ppr. Giving strength or spirits; giving ease; cheering; encouraging; consoling.

COMFORTLESS, a. Without comfort; without any thing to alleviate misfortune, or distress.

I will not leave you comfortless. John 14:18.

COMFORTRESS, n. A female that affords comfort.

COMFREY, COMFRY, n. A genus of plants, the Symphytum.


1. Relating to comedy, as distinct from tragedy.

2. Raising mirth; fitted to excite merriment.


1. Relating to comedy; comic.

2. Exciting mirth; diverting; sportive; droll.

We say, a buffoon is a comical fellow, or his story or his manners are comica.


1. In a manner befitting comedy.

2. In a comical manner; in a manner to raise mirth.

COMICALNESS, n. The quality of being comical; the power or quality of raising mirth.

COMING, ppr.

1. Drawing nearer or nigh; approaching; moving towards; advancing.

2. Future; yet to come; as, in coming ages.

3. Forward; ready to come.

How coming to the poet every muse.


1. The act of coming; approach.

2. The state of being come; arrival.

The Lord hath blessed thee since my coming. Genesis 30:30.


1. Entrance.

I know thy going-out and thy coming-in. 2 Kings 19:27.

2. Beginning; commencement; as the coming-in of the year. 2 Kings 13:20.

3. Income; revenue.

4. Compliance; submission.


1. Relating to the comitia or popular assemblies of the Romans, for electing officers and passing laws.

2. Relating to an order of presbyterian assemblies.

COMITY, n. Mildness and suavity of manners; courtesy; civility; good breeding. Wellbred people are characterized by comity of manners.


1. In writing and printing, this point [,] denoting the shortest pause in reading, and separating a sentence into divisions or members, according to the construction. Thus, There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. Virtue, wit, knowledge, are excellent accomplishments. Live soberly, righteously, and piously, in the present world.

2. In music, an enharmonic interval, being the eighth part of a tone, or the difference between a major and a minor semitone; a term used in theoretic music to show the exact proportions between concords.

3. Distinction.


1. To bid; to order; to direct; to charge; implying authority, and power to control, and to require obedience.

We will sacrifice to the Lord our God, as he shall command us. Exodus 8:27.

I know that he [Abraham] will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord. Genesis 18:19.

2. To govern, lead or direct; to have or to exercise supreme authority over.

Lord Wellington commanded an army in Spain; he commanded the army at the battle of Waterloo.

3. To have in power; to be able to exercise power or authority over; as, a military post commands the surrounding country; a fort commands the harbor.

4. To overlook, or have in the power of the eye, without obstruction.

One side commands a view of the finest garden in the world.

5. To direct; to send.

The Lord shall command the blessing on thee. Deuteronomy 28:8.

The Lord will command his loving kindness. Psalm 42:8.

6. To have or to exercise a controlling influence over.

A good magistrate commands the respect and affections of the people.

COMMAND, v.i. To have or to exercise supreme authority; to possess the chief power; to govern; as, the general commands with dignity and humanity. What general commands in Canada?

1. The right or power of governing with chief or exclusive authority; supreme power; control; as, an officer has a brigade under his command; he takes command of the army in France; an appropriate military term.

2. The power of controlling; governing influence; sway.

He assumed an absolute command over his readers.

3. Cogent or absolute authority.

Command and force may often create, but can never cure, an aversion.

4. The act of commanding; the mandate uttered; order given.

The captain gives command.

5. The power of overlooking, or surveying, without obstruction.

The steepy strand, Which overlooks the vale with wide command.

6. The power of governing or controlling by force, or of defending and protecting.

The fortress has complete command of the port.

7. That which is commanded control; as a body of troop under command.

COMMANDABLE, a. That may be commanded.

COMMANDANT, n. A commander; a commanding officer of a place or of a body of forces.

COMMANDATORY, a. Having the force of a command.

COMMANDED, pp. Ordered; directed; governed; controlled.


1. A chief; one who has supreme authority; a leader; the chief officer of an army, or of any division of it. The term may also be applied to the admiral of a fleet, or of a squadron, or to any supreme officer; as the commander of the land or of the naval force; the commander of a ship.

2. One on whom is bestowed a benefice or commandry.

3. A heavy beetle or wooden mallet, used in paving, etc.

4. An instrument of surgery.

COMMANDERY, COMMANDRY, n. A kind of benefice or fixed revenue, belonging to a military order, conferred on knights of merit. There are strict and regular commandries, obtained by merit, or in order; and others are of grace and favor, bestowed by the Grand Master. There are also commandries for the religious, in the orders of St. Bernard and St. Anthony.


1. Bidding; ordering; directing with authority; governing; bearing rule; exercising supreme authority; having in power; overlooking without obstruction.

2. a. Controlling by influence, authority, or dignity; as a man of commanding manners; a commanding eloquence.

COMMANDINGLY, adv. In a commanding manner.


1. A command; a mandate; an order or injunction given by authority; charge; precept.

Why do ye transgress the commandment of God. Matthew 15:3.

This is the first and great commandment. Matthew 22:38.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. John 13:34.

2. By way of eminence, a precept of the decalogue, or moral law, written on tables of stone, at Mount Sinai; one of the ten commandments. Exodus 34:28.

3. Authority; coercive power.

COMMANDRESS, n. A woman invested with supreme authority.

COMMARK, n. The frontier of a country.

COMMATERIAL, a. Consisting of the same matter with another thing.

COMMATERIALITY, n. Participation of the same matter.

COMMATISM, n. Briefness; conciseness in writing.

COMMEASURABLE, a. [See Measure.] Reducible to the same measure. But commensurable is generally used.

COMMELINE, n. A genus of herbaceous plants, Commelina, natives of warm climates. This name was given to this genus by Linne, in honor of the Commelins, distinguished botanists of Holland. These plants have flowers with three petals, two large and one small; the large petals representing John and Gaspard Commelin, who published catalogues of plants; the smaller petal representing another of the name who published nothing.

COMMEMORABLE, a. Memorable; worthy to be remembered, or noticed with honor. [See Memorable.]

COMMEMORATE, v.t. To call to remembrance by a solemn act; to celebrate with honor and solemnity; to honor, as a person or event, by some act of respect or affection, intended to preserve the remembrance of that person or event.

The Lords supper is designed to commemorate the sufferings and dying love of our Savior.

COMMEMORATED, pp. Called to remembrance by some act of solemnity.

COMMEMORATING, ppr. Celebrating with honor by some solemn act.

COMMEMORATION, n. The act of calling to remembrance, by some solemnity; the act of honoring the memory of some person or event, by solemn celebration. The feast of shells at Plymouth in Massachusetts is an annual commemoration of the first landing of our ancestors in 1620.

COMMEMORATIVE, a. Tending to preserve the remembrance of something.

COMMEMORATORY, a. Serving to preserve the memory of.


1. To begin; to take rise or origin; to have first existence; as, a state of glory to commence after this life; this empire commenced at a late period.

2. To begin to be, as in a change of character.

Let not learning too commence its foe.

3. To take a degree or the first degree in a university or college.


1. To begin; to enter upon; to perform the first act; as, to commence operations.

2. To begin; to originate; to bring; as, to commence a suit, action or process in law.

COMMENCED, pp. Begun; originated.


1. Beginning; rise; origin; first existence; as the commencement of New Style in 1752; the commencement of hostilities in 1775.

2. The time when students in colleges commence bachelors; a day in which degrees are publicly conferred on students who have finished a collegiate education. In Cambridge, Eng., the day when masters of arts and doctors complete their degrees.

COMENCING, ppr. Beginning; entering on; originating.


1. To represent as worthy of notice, regard, or kindness; to speak in favor of; to recommend.

I commend to you Phebe our sister. Romans 16:1.

2. To commit; to entrust or give in charge.

Father, into hy hands I commend my spirit. Luke 23:46.

3. To praise; to mention with approbation.

The princes commended Sarai before Pharaoh. The Lord commended the unjust steward.

4. To make acceptable or more acceptable.

But meat commendeth us not to God. 1 Corinthians 8:8.

5. To produce or present to favorable notice.

The chorus had an occasion of commending their voices to the king.

6. To send or bear to.

These draw the chariot which Latinus sends,

And the rich present to the prince commends.

COMMED, n. Commendation.

COMMENDABLE, a. That may be commended or praised; worthy of approbation or praise; laudable.

Order and decent ceremonies in the church are commendable.

COMMENDABLENESS, n. State of being commendable.

COMMENDABLY, adv. Laudably; in a praise-worthy manner.

COMMENDAM, n. In ecclesiastical law, in England, a benefice or living commended, by the king or head of the church, to the care of a clerk, to hold till a proper pastor is provided. This may be temporary or perpetual.

The trust or administration of the revenues of a benefice given to a layman, to hold as a deposit for six months in order to repairs, etc., or to an ecclesiastic, to perform the pastoral duties, till the benefice is provided with a regular incumbent.

COMMENDATARY, n. One who holds a living in commendam.


1. The act of commending; praise; favorable representation in words; declaration of esteem.

Need we, as some other, letters of commendation. 2 Corinthians 3:1.

2. Ground of esteem, approbation or praise; that which presents a person or thing to another in a favorable light, and renders worthy of regard, or acceptance.

Good-nature is the most godlike commendation of a man.

3. Service; respects; message of love.


1. Which serves to commend; presenting to favorable notice or reception; containing praise; as a commendatory letter.

2. Holding a benefice in commendam; as a commendatory bishop.

COMMENDATORY, n. A commendation; eulogy.

COMMENDED, pp. Praised; represented favorably; committed in charge.

COMMENDER, n. One who commends or praises.

COMMENDING, ppr. Praising; representing favorably; committing, or delivering in charge.

Note: In imitation of the French, we are accustomed to use recommendation, etc., for commendation. But in most instances, it is better to use the word without the prefix re. A letter of commendation, is the preferable phrase.

COMMENSAL, n. One that eats at the same table.

COMMENSALITY, n. Fellowship at table; the act or practice of eating at the same table.

COMMENSURABILITY, COMMENSURABLENESS, n. The capacity of being compared with another in measure, or of being measured by another, or of having a common measure.

COMMENSURABLE, a. That have a common measure; reducible to a common measure. Thus a yard and a foot are commensurable, as both may be measured by inches. Commensurable numbers are those which may be measured or divided by another number without a remainder; as 12 and 18 which may be measured by 6 and 3.

Commensurable surds are those which, being reduced to their least terms, become true figurative quantities of their kind; and are therefore as a rational quantity to a rational one.


1. Reducible to one and the same common measure.

2. Equal; proportional; having equal measure or extent.

We fine nothing in this life commensurate to our desires.

COMMENSURATE, v.t. To reduce to a common measure.


1. With the capacity of measuring or being measured by some other thing.

2. With equal measure or extent.

COMMENSURATION, n. Proportion, or proportion in measure; a state of having a common measure.

All fitness lies in a particular commensuration, or proportion, of one thing to another.


1. To write notes on the works of an author, with a view to illustrate his meaning, or to explain particular passages; to explain; to expound; to annotate; followed by on. We say, to comment on an author or on his writings.

2. To make verbal remarks, or observations, either on a book, or writing, or on actions, events or opinions.


1. To explain

2. To feign; to devise.


1. A note, intended to illustrate a writing, or a difficult passage in an author; annotation; explanation; exposition; as the comments of Scott on the Scriptures.

2. That which explains or illustrates; as, a man’s conduct is the best comment on his declarations. Poverty and disgrace are very significant comments on lewdness, gambling and dissipation.

3. Remark; observation.

In such a time as this, it is not meet

That every nice offense should bear its comment.


1. A comment; exposition; explanation; illustration of difficult and obscure passages in an author.

2. A book of comments or annotations.

3. A historical narrative; a memoir or particular transactions, as the commentaries of Cesar.

COMMENTARY, v.t. To write notes upon.

COMMENTATOR, n. One who comments; one who writes annotations; an expositor; an annotator. [The accent on the first syllable and that on the third are nearly equal.]


1. One that writes comments; an annotator.

2. One who makes remarks.

COMMENTING, ppr. Making notes or comments on something said or written.

COMMENTITIOUS, a. Invented; feigned; imaginary.


1. In a general sense, an interchange or mutual change of goods, wares, productions, or property of any kind, between nations or individuals, either by barter, or by purchase and sale; trade; traffick. Commerce is foreign or inland. Foreign commerce is the trade which one nation carries on with another; inland commerce, or inland trade, is the trade in the exchange of commodities between citizens of the same nation or state. Active commerce.

2. Intercourse between individuals; interchange of work, business, civilities or amusements; mutual dealings in common life.

3. Familiar intercourse between the sexes.

4. Interchange; reciprocal communications; as, there is a vast commerce of ideas.


1. To traffick; to carry on trade.

2. To hold intercourse with.

And looks commercing with the skies.


1. Pertaining to commerce or trade; as commercial concerns; commercial relations.

2. Carrying on commerce; as a commercial nation.

3. Proceeding from trade; as commercial benefits or profits.

COMMERCIALLY, adv. In a commercial view.

COMMIGRATE, v.i. To migrate together; to move in a body from one country or place to another for permanent residence.

COMMIGRATION, n. The moving of a body of people from one country or place to another with a view to permanent residence.


1. A threat or threatening; a denunciation of punishment or vengeance.

2. The recital of Gods threatenings on stated days; an office in the Liturgy of the Church of England, appointed to be read on Ash Wednesday or on the first day of Lent.

COMMINATORY, a. Threatening; denouncing punishment.

COMMINGLE, v.t. To mix together; to mingle in one mass, or intimately; to blend. [See Mingle.]

COMMINGLE, v.i. To mix or unite together, as different substances.

COMMINUATE, v.t. To grind.

COMMINUIBLE, a. Reducible to powder.

COMMINUTE, v.t. To make small or fine; to reduce to minute particles, or to a fine powder, by breaking, pounding, rasping, or grinding; to pulverize; to triturate; to levigate. It is chiefly or wholly applied to substances, not liquid.

COMMINUTED, pp. Reduced to fine particles; pulverized; triturated.

COMMINUTING, ppr. Reducing to fine particles; pulverizing; levigating.


1. The act of reducing to a fine powder or to small particles; pulverization.

2. Attenuation; as comminution of spirits.

COMMISERABLE, a. [See Commiserate.] Deserving of commiseration or pity; pitiable; that may excite sympathy or sorrow.

This commiserable person, Edward.


1. To pity; to compassionate; to feel sorrow, pain or regret for another in distress; applied to persons.

We should commiserate those who groan beneath the weight of age, disease or want.

2. To regret; to pity; to be sorry for; as, to commiserate our mutual ignorance.


COMMISERATING, ppr. Pitying; compassionating; feeling sorrow for.

COMMISERATION, n. Pity; compassion; a sympathetic suffering of pain or sorrow for the wants, afflictions or distresses of another.

I cannot think of these poor deluded creatures, but with commiseration.

COMMISERATIVELY, adv. From compassion.

COMMISERATOR, n. One who pities.

COMMISSARIAL, a. [See Commissary.] Pertaining to a commissary.

Smollett uses commissorial; but this is not regular nor authorized.

COMMISSARIATE, n. The office or employment of a commissary; or the whole body of officers in the commissarys department.


1. In general sense, a commissioner; one to whom is committed some charge, duty or office, by a superior power; one who is sent or delegated to execute some office or duty, in the place, or as the representative, of his superior.

2. In ecclesiastical law, an officer of the bishop, who exercises spiritual jurisdiction in places of the diocese, so far distant from the episcopal see, that the chancellor cannot call the people to the bishops principal consistory court, without putting them to inconvenience.

3. In a military sense, an officer who has the charge of furnishing provisions, clothing, etc., for an army. Commissaries are distinguished by different names, according to their duties; as commissary-general, who is at the head of the department of supplies, and has under him deputy commissaries, and issuing commissaries; the latter to issue or distribute the supplies.

4. An officer who musters the army, receives and inspects the muster-rolls, and keeps an account of the strength of the army. He is called, the commissary-general of musters. The commissary of horses has the inspection of the artillery horses; and the commissary of stores has charge of all the stores of the artillery.

COMMISSARYSHIP, n. The office of a commissary.


1. The act of committing, doing, performing, or perpetrating; as the commission of a crime.

2. The act of committing or sending to; the act of entrusting, as a charge or duty. Hence,

3. The thing committed, entrusted or delivered; letters patent, or any writing from proper authority, given to a person as his warrant for exercising certain powers, or the performance of any duty, whether civil, ecclesiastical, or military. Hence,

4. Charge; order; mandate; authority given.

He bore his great commission in his look.

5. By a metonymy, a number of persons joined in an office or trust.

6. The state of that which is entrusted, as the great seal was put into commission; or the state of being authorized to act or perform service, as a ship is put into commission.

7. In commerce, the state of acting under authority in the purchase and sale of goods for another. To trade or do business on commission, is to buy or sell for another by this authority. Hence,

8. The allowance made to a factor or commission-merchant for transacting business, which is a certain rate per cent. of the value of the goods bought or sold.

Commission of bankruptcy, is a commission issuing from the Chancellor in Great Britain, and in other countries, from some proper authority, appointing and empowering certain persons to examine into the facts relative to an alleged bankruptcy, and to secure the bankrupts lands and effects for the creditors.

Commission of lunacy, is a commission issuing from the court of chancery, to authorize an inquiry whether a person is a lunatic or not.

Commission-officer, in the army or navy, is an officer who has a commission, in distinction from subaltern officers.

COMMISSION-MERCHANT, n. A merchant who transacts business as the agent of other men, in buying and selling, and receives a rate per cent. as his commission or reward.


1. To give a commission to; to empower or authorize by commission. The president and senate appoint, by the president commissions.

2. To send with a mandate or authority.

He fist commissions to the Latian land.

3. To authorize or empower.

Note: Commissionate, in a like sense, has been use, but rarely.