Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



COMPULSORY, a. Having the power or quality of compelling; applying force; driving by violence; constraining.

In the correction of vicious propensities, it may be necessary to resort to compulsory measures.

COMPUNCTION, n. [L. To prick or sting.]

1. A pricking; stimulation; irritation; seldom used in a literal sense.

2. A pricking of heart; poignant grief or remorse proceeding from a consciousness of guilt; the pain of sorrow or regret for having offended God, and incurred his wrath; the sting of conscience proceeding from a conviction of having violated a moral duty.

He acknowledged his disloyalty to the king, with expressions of great compunction.

COMPUNCTIOUS, a. Pricking the conscience; giving pain for offenses committed.

Let no compunctious visitings of nature shake my fell purpose.

COMPUNCTIVE, a. Causing remorse.

COMPUPIL, n. A fellow-pupil. [Little used.]

COMPURGATION, n. [L., To purify.] In law, the act or practice of instifying a man by the oath of others who swear to their belief of his veracity; wager of law, in which a man who has given security to make his law, brings into court eleven of his neighbors, and having made oath himself that he does not owe the plaintiff, the eleven neighbors, called compurgators, avow on their oaths that they believe in their consciences he has affirmed the truth.

COMPURGATOR, n. One who bears testimony or swears to the veracity or innocence of another. [See Compurgation.]

COMPUTABLE, a. [See Compute.] Capable of being computed, numbered or reckoned.

COMPUTATION, n. [L., See Compute.]

1. The act of computing, numbering, reckoning or estimating; the process by which different sums or particulars are numbered, estimated, or compared, with a view to ascertain the amount, aggregate, or other result depending on such sums or particulars. We find by computation the quantity of provisions necessary to support an army for a year, and the amount of money to pay them; making the ration and pay of each man the basis of the computation. By computations of time or years, we ascertain the dates of events.

2. The sum, quantity or amount ascertained by computing, or reckoning.

We pass for women of fifty; many additional years are thrown into female computations of this nature.

3. Calculation.

COMPUTE, v.t. [L. To lop or prune; to think, count, reckon; to cast up. The sense is probably to cast or throw together.]

1. To number; to count; to reckon; to cast together several sums or particulars, to ascertain the amount or aggregate. Compute the quantity of water that will fill a vessel of certain dimensions, or that will cover the surface of the earth. Compute the expenses of a campaign. Compute the time by weeks or days.

2. To cast or estimate in the mind; to estimate the amount by known or supposed data.

3. To calculate.

COMPUTE, n. Computation. [Not used.]

COMPUTED, pp. Counted; numbered; reckoned; estimated.

COMPUTER, n. One who computes; a reckoner; a calculator.

COMPUTING, ppr. Counting; numbering; reckoning; estimating.

COMPUTIST, n. A computer. [Not used.]

COMRADE, n. Literally, one who lodges in the same room. Hence in a more general sense, a fellow, a mate or companion; an associate in occupation.

COMROGUE, n. A fellow rogue. [Not in use.]

CON. A Latin inseparable preposition or prefix to other words. Ainsworth remarks that con and cum habe the same signification, but that cum is used separately, and con in composition. Con and cum may be radically distinct words. The Irish comh, or coimh, is equivalent to the Latin con; and the Welsh cym, convertible into cyv, appears to be the same word, denoting, says Owen, a mutual act, quality or effect. It is precisely equivalent to the Latin com, in comparo, compono, and the Latin com, in composition, may be the Celtic comh or cym. But generally it seems to be con, changed into com. Ainsworth deduces cum from the Greek; for originally it was written cyn. But this is probably a mistake.

Con coincides in radical letters and in signification with the Teutonic gain, gen, gean, igen, igien, in the English again, against; Sax. Gean, ongean; sw. Igen; Dan. Igien. Whatever may be its origin or affinities, the primary sense of the word is probably from some root that signifies to meet or oppose, or turn and meet; to approach to, or to be with. This is the radical sense of most propositions of the like import. See the English with, again. So in Irish, coinne, a meeting; as coinne, opposite.

Con, in compounds, is change into l before l, as in colligo, to collect, and into m before a labial, as in comparo, to compare. Before a vowel or h, the na is dropped; as in coalesco, to coalesce, to cooperate; cohibeo, to restrain. I denotes union, as in conjoin; or opposition, as in conflict, contend.

CON, [abbreviated from Latin contra, against.] In the phrase, pro and con, for and against, con denotes the negative side of a question. As a noun, a person who is in the negative; as the pros and cons.
CON, v.t. [to know, to be able, to be skillful or wise; and to bear or bring forth, Gr. To try, to attempt, to prove, L., whence cunning, skillful, experienced, or skill, experience; coincides in sense with to begin, to try to attempt. G. To know; to be able. The primary sense is, to strain or stretch, which gives the sense of strength, power, as in can, and of holding, containing, comprehending, as contain, from contineo, teneo, Gr., L. To beget or to bring forth. In the sense of know, con signifies to hold or to reach.]

1. To know.

I conne no skill.

I shall not conne answer. I shall not know or be able to answer.

2. To make ones self master of; to fix in the mend or commit to memory; as, to con a lesson.

To con thanks, to be pleased or obliged, or to thank.


1. Effort; attempt.

2. The tendency of a body towards any point, or to pursue its course in the same line of direction.

CONCAMERATE, v.t. [L. To arch; an arch, arched roof, or chamber.] To arch over; to vault; to lay a concave over; as a concamerated bone.

CONCAMERATED, pp. Arched over.

CONCAMERATION, n. An arching; an arch or vault.

CONCATENATE, v.t. [L. A chain.] To link together; to unite in a successive series or chain, as things depending on each other.

CONCATENATED, pp. Linked together; united in a series.

CONCATENATION, n. A series of links united; a successive series or order of things connected or depending on each other; as a concatenation of causes.

CONCAUSE, n. Joint cause. [Not used.]

CONCAVATION, n. [See Concave.] The act of making concave.

CONCAVE, a. [L. Hollow. See Cave.]

1. Hollow, and arched or rounded, as the inner surface of a spherical body; opposed to convex; as a concave glass.

2. Hollow, in a general sense; as the concave shores of the Tiber.

3. In botany, a concave leaf is one whose edge stands above the disk.

CONCAVE, n. A hollow; an arch, or vault; as the ethereal concave.
CONCAVE, v.t. To make hollow.

CONCAVENESS, n. Hollowness.

CONCAVITY, n. Hollowness; the internal surface of a hollow spherical body, or a body of other figure; or the space within such body.

CONCAVO-CONCAVE, a. Concave or hollow on both surfaces.

CONCAVO-CONVEX, a. Concave on one side, and convex on the other. [See Convex.]

CONCAVOUS, a. [L.] Concave, which see.

CONCAVOUSLY, adv. With hollowness; in a manner to discover the internal surface of a hollow sphere.

CONCEAL, v.t. [L. To withhold from sight,; G., To conceal, and to heal; the primary sense is to strain, hold, stop, restrain, make fast or strong, all from the same root as the Shemitic.]

1. To keep close or secret; to forbear to disclose; to withhold from utterance or declaration; as, to conceal ones thoughts or opinions.

I have not concealed the words of the Holy One. Job 6:10.

2. To hide; to withdraw from observation; to cover or keep from sight.

What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood? Genesis 37:26.

A party of men concealed themselves behind a wall. A mask conceals the face.

CONCEALABLE, a. That may be concealed; hid or kept close.

CONCEALED, pp. Kept close or secret; hid; withdrawn from sight; covered.

CONCEALER, n. One who conceals; as the concealer of a crime.

CONCEALING, ppr. Keeping close or secret; forbearing to disclose; hiding; covering.

CONCEALING, n. A hiding; a withholding from disclosure.


1. Forbearance of disclosure; a keeping close or secret; as the concealment of opinions or passions.

2. The act of hiding, covering, or withdrawing from sight; as the concealment of the face by a mask, or of the person by any cover or shelter.

3. The state of being hid or concealed; privacy; as a project formed in concealment.

4. The place of hiding; a secret place; retreat from observation; cover from sight.

The cleft tree offers its kind concealment to a few, their food its insects, and its moss their nests.

CONCEDE, v.t. [L. To yield, give way, depart, desist.]

1. To yield; to admit as true, just or proper; to grant; to let pass undisputed; as, this must not be conceded without limitation. The advocate concedes the point in question.

2. To allow; to admit to be true.

We concede that their citizens were those who lived under different forms.

CONCEDED, pp. Yielded; admitted; granted; as, a question, proposition, fact or statement is conceded.

CONCEDING, ppr. Yielding; admitting; granting.

CONCEIT, n. [L., to take or seize.]

1. Conception; that which is conceived, imagined, or formed in the mind; idea; thought; image.

In laughing there ever precedeth a conceit of somewhat ridiculous, and therefore it is proper to man.

2. Understanding; power or faculty of conceiving; apprehension; as a man of quick conceit. [Nearly antiquated.]

How often did her eyes say to me, that they loved! Yet I, not looking for such a matter, had not my conceit open to understand them.

3. Opinion; notion; fancy; imagination; fantastic notion; as a strange or odd conceit.

Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him. Proverbs 26:12.

4. Pleasant fancy; gayety of imagination.

On the way to the gibbet, a freak took him in the head to go off with a conceit.

5. A striking thought; affected or unnatural conception.

Some to conceit alone their works confine.

6. Favorable or self-flattering opinion; a lofty or vain conception of ones own person or accomplishments.

By a little study and a great conceit of himself, he has lost his religion.

Out of conceit with, not having a favorable opinion of; no longer pleased with; as, a man is out of conceit with his dress. Hence to put one out of conceit with, is to make him indifferent to a thing, or in a degree displeased with it.

CONCEIT, v.t. To conceive; to imagine; to think; to fancy.

The strong, by conceiting themselves weak, thereby rendered inactive.


1. Conceived; imagined; fancied.

2. Endowed with fancy, or imagination.

3. Entertaining a flattering opinion of ones self; having a vain or too high conception of ones own person or accomplishments; vain.

If you think me too conceited, or to passion quickly heated.

Followed by of before the object of conceit.

The Athenians were conceited of their own wit, science and politeness.

CONCEITEDLY, adv. In a conceited manner; fancifully; whimsically.

Conceitedly dress her.

CONCEITEDNESS, n. The state of being conceited; conceit; vanity; an overweening fondness of ones own person or endowments.

CONCEITLESS, a. Of dull conception; stupid; dull of apprehension. [Not in use.]

CONCEIVABLE, a. [See Conceive.]

1. That may be imagined, or thought; capable of being framed in the mind by the fancy or imagination.

If it were possible to contrive an invention, whereby any conceivable weight may be moved by any conceivable power.

2. That may be understood or believed.

It is not conceivable, that it should be the very person, whose shape and voice it assumed.

CONCEIVABLENESS, n. The quality of being conceivable.

CONCEIVABLY, adv. In a conceivable or intelligible manner.

CONCEIVE, v.t. [L., to take.]

1. To receive into the womb, and breed; to begin the formation of the embryo or fetus of animal.

Then shall she be free and conceive seed. Numbers 5:28; Hebrews 11:11.

Elisabeth hath conceived a son in her old age. Luke 1:36.

In sin did my mother conceive me. Psalm 51:5.

2. To form in the mind; to imagine; to devise.

They conceive mischief and bring forth vanity. Job 15:35.

Nebuchadnezzar hath conceived a purpose against you. Jeremiah 49:30.

3. To form an idea in the mind; to understand; to comprehend.

We cannot conceive the manner in which spirit operates upon matter.

4. To think; to be of opinion; to have an idea; to imagine.

You can hardly conceive this man to have been bred in the same climate.


1. To have a fetus formed in the womb; to breed; to become pregnant.

Thou shalt conceive and bear a son. Judges 13:3.

2. To think; to have a conception or idea.

Conceive of things clearly and distinctly in their own natures. The grieved commons hardly conceive of me.

3. To understand; to comprehend; to have a complete idea of; as, I cannot conceive by what means this event has been produced.

CONCEIVED, pp. Formed in the womb; framed in the mind; devised; imagined; understood.

CONCEIVER, n. One that conceives; one that comprehends.

CONCEIVING, ppr. Forming a fetus in the womb; framing in the mind; imagining; devising; thinking; comprehending.

CONCEIVING, n. Apprehension; conception.
CONCEIVING, n. Apprehension; conception.

CONCELEBRATE, v.t. To celebrate together. [Not used.]

CONCENT, n. [L. To sing.]

1. Concert of voices; concord of sounds; harmony; as a concent of notes.

2. Consistency; accordance; as, in concent to a man’s own principles.

CONCENTED, part. a. Made to accord.

CONCENTER, v.i. [Gr., a goad, a sharp point, a center; to prick or goad. The primary sense is a point.] To come to a point, or to meet in a common center; used of converging lines, or other things that meet in a point.

All these are like so many lines drawn from several objets, that in some way relate to him, and concenter in him.

CONCENTER, v.t. To draw, or direct to a common center; to bring to a point; as two or more lines or other things.

The having a part less to animate, will serve to concenter the spirits, and make them more active in the rest.

CONCENTERED, pp. Brought to a common center; united in a point.

CONCENTERING, ppr. Tending to a common center; bringing to a center.

CONCENTFUL, a. Harmonious.

CONCENTRATE, v.t. [See Concenter.]

1. To bring to a common center, or to a closer union; to cause to approach nearer to a point, or center; to bring nearer to each other; as, to concentrate particles of salt by evaporating the water that holds them in solution; to concentrate the troops in an army; to concentrate rays of light into a focus.

2. To increase the specific gravity of a body.

CONCENTRATED, pp. Brought to a point or center; brought to a closer union; reduced to a narrow compass; collected into a closer body.

CONCENTRATING, ppr. Bringing to a point or to closer union; collecting into a closer body, or narrow compass.

CONCENTRATION, n. The act of concentrating; the act of bringing nearer together; collection into a central point; compression into a narrow space; the state of being brought to a point.

Note. The verb concentrate is sometimes accented on the first syllable. The reason is, with the primary accent on the first syllable, and a secondary accent on the third, the pronunciation of the participles, concentrating, concentrated, is much facilitated.

CONCENTRIC, a. [L., center.] Having a common center; as the concentric coats of an onion; the concentric orbits of the planets.

CONCENTUAL, a. [from concent.] Harmonious; accordant.

CONCEPTACLE, n. [L., See Conceive.]

1. That in which any thing is contained; a vessel; a receiver, or receptacle.

2. In botany, a follicle; a pericarp of one valve, opening longitudinally on one side and having the seeds loose in it.

CONCEPTIBLE, a. [See Conceivable.] That may be conceived; conceivable; intelligible. [Not used.]

CONCEPTION, n. [L., See Conceive.]

1. The act of conceiving; the first formation of the embryo or fetus of an animal.

I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. Genesis 3:16.

2. The state of being conceived.

Joy had the like conception in our eyes.

3. In pneumatology, apprehension of nay thing by the mind; the act of conceiving in the mind; that mental act or combination of acts by which an idea or notion is formed of an absent object of perception, or of a sensation formerly felt. When we see an object with our eyes open, we have a perception of it; when the same object is presented to the mind with the eyes shut, in idea only or in memory, we have a conception of it.

4. Conception may be sometimes used for the power of conceiving ideas, as when we say, a thing is not within our conception. Some writers have defined conception as a distinct faculty of the mind; but it is considered by others as memory, and perhaps with propriety.

5. Purpose conceived; conception with reference to the performance of an act.

6. Apprehension; knowledge.

And as if beasts conceived what reason were, and that conception should distinctly show.

7. Conceit; affected sentiment, or thought.

He is too full of conceptions, points of epigram, and witticisms.

CONCEPTIOUS, a. Apt to conceive; fruitful; pregnant. [Not now used.]

CONCEPTIVE, a. Capable of conceiving. [Little used.]

CONCERN, v.t. [L., to separate, sift, divide; to see. If this is the true origin, as I suppose, the primary sense is, to reach or extend to, or to look to, as we use regard.]

1. To relate or belong to.

Preaching the kingdom of God and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 28:31.

2. To relate or belong to, in an emphatical manner; to affect the interest of; to be of importance to.

Our wars with France have affected us in our most tender interests, and concerned us more than those with any other nation.

It much concerns us to secure the favor and protection of God.

3. To interest of affect the passions; to take an interest in; to engage by feeling or sentiment.

A good prince concerns himself in the happiness of his subjects. A kind parent concerns himself in the virtuous education of his children. They

They think themselves out of the reach of Providence, and no longer concerned to solicit his favor.

4. To disturb; to make uneasy. [Little used.]

5. To intermeddle.

We need not concern ourselves with the affairs of our neighbors.


1. That which relates or belongs to one; business; affair; a very general term, expressing whatever occupies the time and attention, or affects the interests of a person. Intermeddle not in the private concerns of a family. Religion is the main concern of a rational being. We have no concern in the private quarrels of our neighbors. The industrious and prudent occupy their time with their own concerns.

2. Interest; importance; moment; that which affects the welfare or happiness.

To live in peace, is a matter of no small concern to a nation.

Mysterious secrets of a high concern, and weighty truths, solid convincing sense, explained by unaffected eloquence.

3. Affection; regard; careful regard; solicitude; anziety.

Why all this concern for the poor things of this life?

O Marcia, let me hope thy kind concerns, and gentle wishes, follow me to battle.

An impenitent man feels no concern for his soul.

4. Persons connected in business; or their affairs in general; as a debt due to the whole concern; a loss affecting the whole concern. Mercantile Usage.

CONCERNED, pp. or a.

1. Interested; engaged; having a connection with that which may affect the interest, welfare or happiness.

All men are concerned in the propagation of truth.

We are concerned in the virtuous education of our children.

2. Interested in business; having connection in business; as, A is concerned with B in the East India trade. Of an advocate or counselor we say, he is concerned in the cause of A against B.

3. Regarding with care; solicitous; anxious; as, we are concerned for the fate of our fleet.

CONCERNEDLY, adv. With affection or interest.

CONCERNING, ppr. Pertaining to; regarding; having relation to.

The Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel. Numbers 10:29.

I have accepted thee concerning this thing. Genesis 19:21.

This word has been considered a preposition, but most improperly; concerning, when so called, refers to a verb, sentence or proposition; as in the first example, the word applies to the preceding afirmation. The Lord hath spoken good, which speaking good is concerning Israel. Concerning, in this case, refers to the first clause of the sentence.


1. The thing in which one is concerned or interested; concern; affair; business; interest.

To mix with thy concernments I desist.

Propositions which extend only to the present life, are small, compared with those that have influence upon our everlasting concernments.

The great concernment of men is with men.

2. A particular bearing upon the interest or happiness of one; importance; moment.

Experimental truths are matters of great concernment to mankind.

3. Concern; interposition; meddling; as, the father had no concernment in the marriage of his daughter. In this sense, we generally use concern.

4. Emotion of mind; solicitude; as, their ambition is manifest in their concernment. In this sense, concern is generally used.


1. Agreement of two or more in a design or plan; union formed by mutual communication of opinions and views; accordance in a scheme; harmony.

The allies were frustrated for want of concert in their operations.

The Emperor and the Pope acted in concert.

2. A number or company of musicians, playing or singing the same piece of music at the same time; or the music of a company of players or singers, or of both united.

3. A singing in company.

4. Accordance; harmony.

CONCERTATION, n. Strife; contention. [Little used.]

CONCERTO, n. A piece of music for a concert.

CONCESSION, n. [L. From concedo. See Concede.]

1. The act of granting or yielding; usually implying a demand, claim, or request from the party to whom it is made, and thus distinguished from giving, which is voluntary or spontaneous.

The concession of these charters was in a parliamentary way.

2. The thing yielded; as, in the treaty of peace, each power made large concessions.

3. In rhetoric or debate, the yielding, granting, or allowing to the opposite party some point or face that may bear dispute, with a view to obtain something which cannot be denied, or to show that even admitting the point conceded, the cause is not with the adverse party, but can be maintained by the advocate on other grounds.

4. Acknowledgment by way of apology; confession of a fault.

CONCESSIONARY, a. Yielding by indulgence or allowance.

CONCESSIVE, a. Implying concession; as a concessive conjunction.

CONCESSIVELY, adv. By way of concession or yielding; by way of admitting what may be disputable.

CONCETTO, n. [See Conceit.] Affected wit; conceit. [Not English, nor in use.]

CONCH, n. [See Cancer.] A marine shell.

Adds orient pearls, which from the conchs he drew.

CONCHIFEROUS, a. [L. Concha, shell, and fero, to bear.] Producing or having shells.

CONCHITE, n. A fossil or petrified conch or shell.

CONCHOID, n. [Gr., form.] The name of a curve, given to it by its inventor Nicomedes.

CONCHOIDAL, a. In mineralogy, resembling a conch or marine shell; having convex elevations and concave depressions, like shells; as a conchoidal fracture.

CONCHOLOGICAL, a. [See Conchology.] Pertaining to conchology.

CONCHOLOGIST, n. One versed in the natural history of shells or shell-fish; one who studies the nature, properties and habits of shells and their included animals.

CONCHOLOGY, n. [Gr. A shell and discourse.] The doctrine or science of shells and shellfish.

CONCHOMETER, n. [Gr., a shell, and to measure.] An instrument for measuring shells.

CONCHYLACEOUS, a. [from conch.] Pertaining to shells; resembling a shell; as conchylaceous impressions.

CONCHYLIOLOGIST, CONCHYLIOLOGY, from L. Conchylium, a shell-fish, are sometimes used as synonyms of the preceding words; but they are words of inconvenient length, and useless.

CONCIATOR, n. In glass-works, the person who weighs and proportions the salt on ashes and sand, and who works and tempers them.

CONCILIABLE, n. A small assembly. [Not in use.]

CONCILIAR, a. [L. A council.] Pertaining or relating to a council. [Little used.]

CONCILIATE, v.t. [L. To draw or bring together, to unite; Gr. To call. The primary sense of the root is to strain, stretch, drive or draw. Calling is a straining or driving of voice. See Class Gl. No. 32. 36. 48. 49. And See Council.]

1. To lead or draw to, by moral influence or power; to win, gain or engae, as the affections, favor or good will; as, politeness and hospitality conciliate affection.

2. To reconcile, or bring to a state of friendship, as persons at variance. We say, an attempt has been made to conciliate the contending parties.

CONCILIATED, pp. Won; gained; engaged by moral influence, as by favor or affection; reconciled.