Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



CONTENTLESS, a. Discontented; dissatisfied; uneasy.

CONTENTLY, adv. In a contented way.


1. Content; a resting or satisfaction of mind without disquiet; acquiescence.

Contentment, without external honor, is humility.

Godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6.

2. Gratification.

At Paris the prince spent a day, to give his mind some contentment.

CONTERMINABLE, a. [L. Con and terminus.] Capable of the same bounds.

CONTERMINATE, a. Having the same bounds.

CONTERMINOUS, a. [L., con and terminus, a border.] Bordering upon; touching at the boundary; contiguous; as a people conterminous to the Roman territory.

CONTERRANEAN, CONTERRANEOUS, a. [L., con and terra, country.] Being of the same country. [Not used.]

CONTEST, v.t. [L., have a different sense, being equivalent to the English attest. See Test.]

1. To dispute; to strive earnestly to hold or maintain; to struggle to defend. The troops contested every inch of ground.

2. To dispute; to argue in opposition to; to controvert; to litigate; to oppose; to call in question; as, the advocate contested every point.

None have contested the proportion of these ancient pieces.


1. To strive; to contend; followed by with.

The difficulty of an argument adds to the pleasure of contesting with it, when there are hopes of victory.

2. To vie; to emulate.

Of man who dares in pomp with Jove contest.


1. Strife; struggle for victory, superiority, or in defense; struggle in arms. All Europe engaged in the contest against France. The contest was furious.

2. Dispute; debate; violent controversy; strife in argument.

Leave all noisy contests, all immodest clamors, and brawling language.

CONTESTABLE, a. That may be disputed or debated; disputable; controvertible.

CONTESTABLENESS, n. Possibility of being contested.


1. The act of contesting; strife; dispute.

After years spent in domestic contestations, she found means to withdraw.

2. Testimony; proof by witnesses.

CONTESTINGLY, adv. In a contending manner.

CONTESTLESS, a. Not to be disputed.

CONTEX, v.t. To weave together. [Not used.]

CONTEXT, n. [L. Con and texo, to weave.] The general series or composition of a discourse; more particularly, the parts of a discourse which precede or follow the sentence quoted; the passages of scripture which are near the text, either before it or after it. The sense of a passage of scripture is often illustrated by the context.

CONTEXT, a. Knit or woven together; close; firm.
CONTEXT, v.t. To knit together. [Not used.]

CONTEXTURE, n. The manner of interweaving several parts into one body; the disposition and union of the constituent parts of a thing, with respect to each other; composition of parts; constitution; as a silk of admirable contexture.

He was not of any delicate contexture; his limbs rather sturdy than dainty.

CONTEXTURAL, a. Pertaining to contexture, or to the human frame.

CONTIGNATION, n. [L., a beam.]

1. A frame of beams; a story.

2. The act of framing together, or uniting beams in a fabric.

CONTIGUITY, n. [See Contiguous.] Actual contact of bodies; a touching.

CONTIGUOUS, a. [L., con and tango, tago, to touch.] Touching; meeting or joining at the surface or border; as two contiguous bodies or countries.

The houses in ancient Rome were not contiguous.

Usually followed by to. Bacon uses with, but he has not been followed.

CONTIGUOUSLY, adv. In a manner to touch; without intervening space.

CONTIGUOUSNESS, n. A state of contact; close union of surfaces or borders.

CONTINENCE, CONTINENCY, n. [L., to hold, or withhold; con and teneo, to hold. See Tenet.]

1. In a general sense, the restraint which a person imposes upon his desires and passions; self-command.

2. Appropriately, the restraint of the passion for sexual enjoyment; resistance of concupiscence; forbearance of lewd pleasures; hence, chastity. But the term is usually applied to males, as chastity is to females. Scipio the younger exhibited the nobles example of continence recorded in Pagan history; an example surpassed only by that of Joseph in sacred history.

3. Forbearance of lawful pleasure.

Content without lawful venery, is continence; without unlawful, is chastity.

4. Moderation in the indulgence of sexual enjoyment.

Chastity is either abstinence or continence; abstinence is that of virgins or widows; continence, that of married persons.

5. Continuity; uninterrupted course. [Not now used.]


1. Refraining from unlawful sexual commerce, or moderate in the indulgence of lawful pleasure; chaste.

2. Restrained; moderate; temperate.

Have a continent forbearance.

3. Opposing; restraining.

4. Continuous; connected; not interrupted.

The North East part of Asia, if not continent with America--

A continent fever. More generally we now say a continued fever.


1. In geography, a great extent of land, not disjoined or interrupted by a sea; a connected tract of land of great extent; as the Eastern and Western continent. It differs from an isle only in extent. New Holland may be denominated a continent. Britain is called a continent, as opposed to the isle of Anglesey.

In Spenser, continent is use for ground in general.

2. That which contains any thing. [Not used.]

CONTINENTAL, a. Pertaining or relating to a continent; as the continental powers of Europe. In America, pertaining to the United States, as continental money, in distinction from what pertains to the separate states; a word much used during the revolution.

CONTINENTLY, adv. In a continent manner; chastely; moderately; temperately.

CONTINGENCE, CONTINGENCY, n. [L., to fall or happen to; to touch. See Touch.]

1. The quality of being contingent or casual; a happening; or the possibility of coming to pass.

We are not to build certain rules on the contingency of human actions.

2. Casualty; accident; fortuitous event. The success of the attempt will depend on contingencies. [See Accident and Casualty.]


1. Falling or coming by chance, that is, without design or expectation on our part; accidental; casual. On our part, we speak of chance or contingencies; but with an infinite being, nothing can be contingent.

2. In law, depending on an uncertainty; as a contingent remainder.


1. A fortuitous event; that which comes without our design, foresight or expectation.

2. That which falls to one in a division or apportionment among a number; a quota; an equal or suitable share; proportion. Each prince furnishes his contingent of men, money and munitions.

CONTINGENTLY, adv. Accidentally; without design or foresight.

CONTINGENTNESS, n. The state of being contingent; fortuitousness.

CONTINUAL, a. [L. See Continue.]

1. Proceeding without interruption or cessation; unceasing; not intermitting; used in reference to time.

He that hath a merry heart hath a continual feast. Proverbs 15:15.

I have great heaviness and continual sorrow of heart. Romans 9:2.

2. Very frequent; often repeated; as, the charitable man has continual application for alms.

3. Continual fever, or continued fever, a fever that abates, but never entirely intermits, till it comes to a crisis; thus distinguished from remitting and intermitting fever.

4. Continual claim, in law, a claim that is made from time to time within every year or day, to land or other estate, the possession of which cannot be obtained without hazard.

5. Perpetual.


1. Without pause or cessation; unceasingly; as, the ocean is continually rolling its waves on the shore.

2. Very often; in repeated succession; from time to time.

Thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. 2 Samuel 9:7.

CONTINUALNESS, n. Permanence.

CONTINUANCE, n. [See Continue.]

1. A holding on or remaining in a particular state, or in a course or series. Applied to time, duration; a state of lasting; as the continuance of rain or fair weather for a day or week. Sensual pleasure is of short continuance.

2. Perseverance; as, no excuse will justify a continuance in sin.

By patient continuance in well doing. Romans 2:7.

3. Abode; residence; as, during our continuance in Paris.

4. Succession uninterrupted; continuation; a prolonging of existence; as, the brute regards the continuance of his species.

5. Progression of time.

In thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned. Psalm 139:16.

6. In law, the deferring of a suit, or the giving of a day for the parties to a suit to appear. After issue or demurrer joined, as well as in some of the previous stages of proceeding, a day is continually given, and entered upon record, for the parties to appear on from time to time. The giving of this day is called a continuance.

7. In the United States, the deferring of a trial or suit from one stated term of the court to another.

8. Continuity; resistance to a separation of parts; a holding together. [Not used.]

CONTINUATE, v.t. To join closely together.


1. Immediately united; holding together. [Little used.]

2. Uninterrupted; unbroken. [Little used.]

CONTINUATELY, adv. With continuity; without interruption. [Little used.]


1. Extension of existence in a series or line; succession uninterrupted.

These things must be the works of providence, for the continuation of the species.

2. Extension or carrying on to a further point; as the continuation of a story.

3. Extension in space; production; a carrying on in length; as the continuation of a line in surveying.


1. An expression noting permanence or duration.

To these may be added continuatives; as, Rome remains to this day; which includes at least two propositions, viz. Rome was, and Rome is.

2. In grammar, a word that continues.

CONTINUATOR, n. One who continues or keeps up a series or succession.

CONTINUE, v.i. [L., to hold. See Tenet.]

1. To remain in a state, or place; to abide for any time indefinitely.

The multitude continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat. Matthew 15:32.

2. To last; to be durable; to endure; to be permanent.

Thy kingdom shall not continue. 1 Samuel 13:14.

3. To persevere; to be steadfast or constant in any course.

If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. John 8:31.


1. To protract; not to cease from or to terminate.

O continue thy loving kindness to them that know thee. Psalm 36:10.

2. To extend from one thing to another; to produce or draw out in length. Continue the line from A to B. Let the line be continued to the boundary.

3. To persevere in; not to cease to do or use; as, to continue the same diet.

4. To hold to or unite. [Not used.]

The navel continues the infant to its mother.


1. Drawn out; protracted; produced; extended in length; extended without interruption.

2. a. Extended in time without intermission; proceeding without cessation; unceasing; as a continued fever, which abates but never entirely intermits. A continued base is performed through the whole piece.

Continued proportion, in arithmetic, is where the consequent of the first ratio is the same with the antecedent of the second, as 4 : 8 : : 8 : 16, in contradistinction from discrete proportion.

CONTINUEDLY, adv. Without interruption; without ceasing.

CONTINUER, n. One who continues; cone that has the power of perseverance.


1. Remaining fixed or permanent; abiding; lasting; enduring; persevering; protracting; producing in length.

2. a. Permanent.

Here we have no continuing city. Hebrews 13:14.

CONTINUITY, n. [L.] Connection uninterrupted; cohesion; close union of parts; unbroken texture.

Philosophers talk of the solution of continuity.

CONTINUOUS, a. [L.] Joined without intervening space; as continuous depth.

CONTORT, v.t. [L.] TO twist together; to writhe.

CONTORTED, pp. Twisted together. A contorted corol, in botany, has the edge of one petal lying over the next, in an oblique direction.


1. A twisting; a writhing; a wresting; a twist; wry motion; as the contorsion of the muscles of the face.

2. In medicine, a twisting or wresting of a limb or member of the body out of its natural situation; the iliac passion; partial dislocation; distorted spine; contracted neck.

CONTOUR, n. The outline; the line that defines or terminates a figure.

CONTOURNIATED, a. Having edges appearing as if turned in a lathe.

CONTRA. A Latin preposition signifying against, in opposition, entering into the composition of some English words. It appears to be a compound of con and tra, like intra; tra for W. tras. Fr. contre.

CONTRABAND, a. [See Ban.] Prohibited. Contraband goods are such as are prohibited to be imported or exported, either by the laws of a particular kingdom or state, or by the law of nations, or by special treaties. In time of war, arms and munitions of war are not permitted by one belligerent, to be transported to the other, but are held to be contraband and liable to capture and condemnation.


1. Prohibition of trading in goods, contrary to the laws of a state or of nations.

2. Illegal traffick.

CONTRABANDIST, n. One who trafficks illegally.

CONTRACT, v.t. [L., to draw. See Draw.]

1. To draw together or nearer; to draw into a less compass, either in length or breadth; to shorten; to abridge; to narrow; to lessen; as, to contract an inclosure; to contract the faculties; to contract the period of life; to contract the sphere of action.

2. To draw the parts together; to wrinkle; as, to contract the brow.

3. To betroth; to affiance. A contracted his daughter to B. The lady was contracted to a man of merit.

4. To draw to; to bring on; to incur; to gain. We contract vicious habits by indulgence. We contract debt by extravagance.

5. To shorten by omission of a letter or syllable; as, to contract a word.

6. To epitomize; to abridge; as, to contract an essay.


1. To shrink; to become shorter or narrower.

Many bodies contract by the application of cold.

A hempen cord contracts by moisture.

2. To bargain; to make a mutual agreement, as between two or more persons. We have contracted for a load of flour; or we have contracted with a farmer for a quantity of provisions.

CONTRACT, for contracted, pp. Affianced; betrothed.

1. An agreement or covenant between two or more persons, in which each party binds himself to do or forbear some act, and each acquires a right to what the other promises; a mutual promise upon lawful consideration or promise upon lawful consideration or cause, which binds the parties to a performance; a bargain; a compact. Contracts are executory or executed.

2. The act by which a man and woman are betrothed, each to the other.

3. The writing which contains the agreement of parties with the terms and conditions, and which serves as a proof of the obligation.


1. Drawn together, or into a shorter or narrower compass; shrunk; betrothed; incurred; bargained.

2. a. Narrow; mean; selfish; as a man of a contracted soul or mind.

CONTRACTEDLY, adv. In a contracted manner.


1. The state of being contracted.

2. Narrowness; meanness; excessive selfishness.

CONTRACTIBILITY, n. Possibility of being contracted; quality of suffering contraction; as the contractibility and dilatibility of air.

CONTRACTIBLE, a. Capable of contraction.

Small air bladders, dilatable and contractible.

CONTRACTIBLENESS, n. The quality of suffering contraction; contractibility.

CONTRACTILE, a. Tending to contract; having the power of shortening or of drawing into smaller dimensions; as the contractile force of certain elastic bodies.

CONTRACTILITY, n. The inherent quality or force by which bodies shrink or contract.


1. Shortening or narrowing; drawing together; lessening dimensions; shrinking; making a bargain; betrothing.

2. a. Making or having made a contract or treaty; stipulating; as the contracting parties to a league.


1. The act of drawing together, or shrinking; the act of shortening, narrowing or lessening extent or dimensions, by causing the parts of a body to approach nearer to each other; the state of being contracted.

Oil of vitriol will throw the stomach into involuntary contractions.

The contraction of the heart is called systole.

Some things induce a contraction of the nerves.

2. The act of shortening, abridging, or reducing within a narrower compass by any means. A poem may be improved by omissions or contractions.

3. In grammar, the shortening of a word, by the omission of a letter or syllable; as, cant for cannot; burst for bursted or bursten; Swedish and Danish ord, a word.

4. A contract; marriage contract. [Not used.]

5. Abbreviation.


1. One who contracts; one of the parties to a bargain; one who covenants to do any thing for another.

2. One who contracts or covenants with a government to furnish provisions or other supplies or to perform any work or service for the public, at a certain price or rate.

CONTRA-DANCE, COUNTER-DANCE, n. A dance in which the partners are arranged in opposition, or in opposite lines.

CONTRADICT, v.t. [L., to speak.]

1. To oppose by words; to assert the contrary to what has been asserted, or to deny what has been affirmed.

It is not lawful to contradict a point of history known to all the world.

The Jews--spoke against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Acts 13:45.

2. To oppose; to be directly contrary to.

No truth can contradict another truth.

CONTRADICTED, pp. Opposed in words; opposed; denied.

CONTRADICTER, n. One who contradicts or denies; an opposer.

CONTRADICTING, ppr. Affirming the contrary to what has been asserted; denying; opposing.


1. An assertion of the contrary to what has been said or affirmed; denial; contrary declaration.

2. Opposition, whether by words, reproaches or attempts to defeat.

Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself. Hebrews 12:3.

3. Direct opposition or repugnancy; inconsistency with itself; incongruity or contrariety of things, words, thoughts or propositions. These theorems involve a contradiction.

If we perceive truth, we thereby perceive whatever is false in contradiction to it.

CONTRADICTIONAL, a. Inconsistent. [Not in use.]


1. Filled with contradictions; inconsistent.

2. Inclined to contradict; disposed to deny or cavil.

3. Opposite; inconsistent.


1. Inconsistency; contrariety to itself.

2. Disposition to contradict or cavil.

CONTRADICTORILY, adv. In a contradictory manner; in a manner inconsistent with itself, or opposite to others.

CONTRADICTORINESS, n. Direct opposition; contrariety in assertion or effect.


1. Affirming the contrary; implying a denial of what has been asserted; as contradictory assertion.

2. Inconsistent; opposite; contrary; as contradictory schemes.

CONTRADICTORY, n. A proposition which denies or opposes another in all its terms; contrariety; inconsistency.

It is common with princes to will contradictories.

CONTRADISTINCT, a. Distinguished by opposite qualities.

CONTRADISTINCTION, n. [contra and distinction.] Distinction by opposite qualities.

We speak of sins of infirmity, in contradistinction to those of presumption.

CONTRADISTINCTIVE, a. Distinguishing by opposites.

CONTRADISTINGUISH, v.t. [contra and distinguish.] To distinguish not merely by differential, but by opposite qualities.

These are our complex ideas of soul and body, as contradistinguished.

CONTRADISTINGUISHED, pp. Distinguished by opposites.

CONTRADISTINGUISHING, ppr. Distinguishing by opposites.

CONTRAFISSURE, n. [contra and fissure.] In surgery, a fissure or fracture in the cranium, on the side opposite to that which received the blow, or at some distance from it.

CONTRAINDICANT, n. A symptom that forbids to treat a disorder in the usual way.

CONTRAINDICATE, v.t. [contra and indicate.] In medicine, to indicate some method of cure, contrary to that which the general tenor of the disease requires; or to forbid that to be done which the main scope of the malady points out.

CONTRAINDICATION, n. An indication, from some peculiar symptom or fact, that forbids the method of cure which the main symptoms or nature of the disease requires.

CONTRAMURE, n. An out wall. [See Countermure.]

CONTRANATURAL, a. Opposite to nature. [Little used.]

CONTRANITENCY, n. [L. contra and nitor, to strive.] Reaction; resistance to force.

CONTRAPOSITION, n. [contra and position.] A placing over against; opposite position.

CONTRAPUNTIST, n. One skilled in counterpoint.

CONTRAREGULARITY, n. [contra and regularity.] Contrariety to rule, or to regularity.

CONTRARIANT, a. Contradictory; opposite; inconsistent. [Little used.]

CONTRARIES, n. [See Contrary.] In logic, propositions which destroy each other, but of which the falsehood of one does not establish the truth of the other.

If two universals differ in quality, they are contraries; as, every vine is a tree; no vine is a tree. These can never be both true together; but they may be both false.

CONTRARIETY, n. [L. See Contrary.]

1. Opposition in fact, essence, quality or principle; repugnance. The expedition failed by means of a contrariety of winds. There is a contrariety in the nature of virtue and vice; of love and hatred; of truth and falsehood. Among men of the same profession, we find a contrariety of opinions.

2. Inconsistency; quality or position destructive of its opposite.

How can these contrarieties agree.

CONTRARILY, adv. In an opposite manner; in opposition; on the other side; in opposite ways.

CONTRARINESS, n. Contrariety; opposition.

CONTRARIOUS, a. Contrary; opposite; repugnant.

CONTRARIOUSLY, adv. Contrarily; oppositely.