Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



COVINOUS, a. Deceitful; collusive; fraudulent.

COW, n. plu. cows; old plu. kine. The female of the bovine genus of animals; a quadruped with cloven hoofs, whose milk furnishes an abundance of food and profit to the farmer.

Sea-cow, the Manatus, a species of the Trichechus. [See Sea-cow.]

COW, v.t. To depress with fear; to sink the spirits or courage; to oppress with habitual timidity.

COW-BANE, n. [cow and bane.] A popular name of the Aethusa cynapium.

COWHAGE, COW-ITCH, n. A leguminous plant of the genus Dolichos, a native of warm climates. It has a fibrous root and an herbaceous climbing stalk, with red papilionaceous flowers, and leguminous, coriaceous pods, crooked and covered with sharp hairs, which penetrate the skin, and cause an itching.

COWHERD, n. [See Herd.] One whose occupation is to tend cows.

COW-HOUSE, n. A house or building in which cows are kept or stabled.

COW-KEEPER, n. One whose business is to keep cows.

COW-LEECH, n. [See Leech.] One who professes to heal the diseases of cows.

COW-LEECHING, n. The act or art of healing the distempers of cows.

COW-LICK, n. A tuft of hair that appears as if licked by a cow.

COW-PARSNEP, n. A plant of the genus Heracleum.

COW-PEN, n. A pen for cows.

COW-POX, n. The vaccine disease.

COW-QUAKES, n. Quaking grass, the Briza, a genus of plants.

COWSLIP, COW’S-LIP, n. A plant of the genus Primula, or primrose, of several varieties. The American cowship belongs to the genus Dodecatheon; the Jerusalem and mountain cowslip, to the genus Pulmonaria.

COW’S-LUNGWORT, n. A plant of the genus Verbascum.

COW-WEED, n. A plant of the genus Chaerophyllum, or chervil.

COW-WHEAT, n. A plant of the genus Melampyrum.

COWARD, n. [L.]

1. A person who wants courage to meet danger; a poltroon; a timid or pusillanimous man.

A coward does not always escape with disgrace, but sometimes loses his life.

2. In heraldry, a term given to a lion borne in the escutcheon with his tail doubled between his legs.


1. Destitute of courage; timid; base; as a coward wretch.

2. Proceeding from or expressive of fear, or timidity; as coward cry; coward joy.

COWARDICE, n. Want of courage to face danger; timidity; pusillanimity; fear of exposing ones person to danger.

Cowardice alone is loss of fame.

Did cowardice; did injustice ever save a sinking state.

COWARDLIKE, a. Resembling a coward; mean.

COWARDLINESS, n. Want of courage; timidity; cowardice.


1. Wanting courage to face danger; timid; timorous; fearful; pusillanimous.

2. Mean; base; befitting a coward; as a cowardly action.

3. Proceeding from fear of danger; as cowardly silence.

COWARDLY, adv. In the manner of a coward; meanly; basely.

COWARDOUS, a. Cowardly. [Not used.]

COWARDSHIP, n. Cowardice. [Not used.]

COWER, v.i. To sink by bending the knees; to crouch; to squat; to stoop or sink downwards.

Our dame wits cowering oer a kitchen fire.

COWER, v.t. To cherish with care. [Not used.]

COWISH, a. Timorous; fearful; cowardly. [Little used.]

COWL, n.

1. A monks hood, or habit, worn by the Bernardines and Benedictines. It is either white or black.

What differ more, you cry, than crown and cowl?

2. A vessel to be carried on a pole betwixt two persons, for the conveyance of water.

COWL-STAFF, n. A staff or pole on which a vessel is supported between two persons.

COWLED, a. Wearing a cowl; hooded; in shape of a cowl, as a cowled leaf.

COWLIKE, a. Resembling a cow.

CO-WORKER, n. One that works with another; a co-operator.

COWRY, n. A small shell, the Cypraea moneta, used for coin in Africa and the East Indies.

COXCOMB, n. [cocks comb.]

1. The top of the head.

2. The comb resembling that of a cock, which licensed fools wore formerly in their caps.

3. A fop; a vain showy fellow; a superficial pretender to knowledge or accomplishments.

4. A kind of red flower; a name given to a species of Celosia, and some other plants.

COXCOMBLY, a. Like a coxcomb. [Not used.]

COXCOMICAL, a. Foppish; vain; conceited; a low word.

COY, a. Modest; silent; reserved; not accessible; shy; not easily condescending to familiarity.

Like Daphne she, as lovely and as coy.

COY, v.i.

1. To behave with reserve; to be silent or distant; to refrain from speech or free intercourse.

2. To make difficulty; to be backward or unwilling; not freely to condescend.

3. To smooth or stroke.

COY, for decoy, to allure. [Not in use.]

COYISH, a. Somewhat coy, or reserved.

COYLY, adv. With reserve; with disinclination to familiarity.

COYNESS, n. Reserve; unwillingness to become familiar; disposition to avoid free intercourse, by silence or retirement.

When the kind nymph would coyness feign, and hides but to be found again.

COYSTREL, n. A species of degenerate hawk.

COZ. A contraction of cousin.

COZEN, v.t.

1. To cheat; to defraud.

He that suffers a government to be abused by carelessness and neglect, does the same thing with him that corruptly sets himself to cozen it.

2. To deceive; to beguile.

Children may be cozened into a knowledge of the letters.

COZENAGE, n. Cheat; trick; fraud; deceit; artifice; the practice of cheating.

COZENED, pp. Cheated; defrauded; beguiled.

COZENER, n. One who cheats, or defrauds.

COZENING, ppr. Cheating; defrauding; beguiling.

CRAB, n. [Gr. L.]

1. A crustaceous fish, the cray-fish, Cancer, a genus containing numerous species. They have usually ten feet, two of which are furnished with claws; two eyes, pedunculated, elongated and movable. To this genus belong the lobster, the shrimp, etc.

2. A wild apple, or the tree producing it; so named from its rough taste.

3. A peevish morose person.

4. A wooden engine with three claws for launching ships and heaving them into the dock.

5. A pillar used sometimes for the same purpose as a capstan.

6. Cancer, a sign in the zodiac.

Crabs claws, in the materia medica, the tips of the claws of the common crab; used as absorbents.

Crabs eyes, in pharmacy, concretions formed in the stomach of the cray-fish. They are rounded on one side, and depressed and sinuated on the other, considerably heavy, moderately hard, and without smell. They are absorbent, discussive and diuretic.

Crab-lice, small insects that stick fast to the skin.

CRAB, a. Sour; rough; austere.

CRAB-APPLE, n. A wild apple. [See Crab.]

CRAB-GRASS, n. A genus of plants, the Digitaria.

CRAB-TREE, n. The tree that bears crabs.

CRAB-YAWS, n. The name of a disease in the West Indies, being a kind of ulcer on the soles of the feet, with hard callous lips.

CRABBED, a. [from crab.]

1. Rough; harsh; austere; sour; peevish; morose; cynical; applied to the temper.

2. Rough; harsh; applied to things.

3. Difficult; perplexing; as a crabbed author or subject.

CRABBEDLY, adv. Peevishly; roughly; morosely; with perplexity.


1. Roughness; harshness.

2. Sourness; peevishness; asperity.

3. Difficulty; perplexity.

CRABBY, a. Difficult.

CRABER, n. The water-rat.

CRACK, v.t.

1. To rend, break, or burst into chinks; to break partially; to divide the parts a little from each other; as, to crack a board or a rock; or to break without an entire severance of the parts; as, to crack glass, or ice.

2. To break in pieces; as, to crack nuts.

3. To break with grief; to affect deeply; to pain; to torture; as, to crack the heart. We now use break, or rend.

4. To open and drink; as, to crack a bottle of wine. [Low.]

5. To thrust out, or cast with smartness; as, to crack a joke.

6. To snap; to make a sharp sudden noise; as, to crack a whip.

7. To break or destroy.

8. To impair the regular exercise of the intellectual faculties; to disorder; to make crazy; as, to crack the brain.

CRACK, v.i.

1. To burst; to open in chinks; as, the earth cracks by frost; or to be marred without an opening; as, glass cracks by a sudden application of heat.

2. To fall to ruin, or to be impaired.

The credit of the exchequer cracks, when little comes in and much goes out. [Not elegant.]

3. To utter a loud or sharp sudden sound; as, the clouds crack; the whip cracks.

4. To boast; to brag; that is, to utter vain, pompous, blustering words; with of.

The Ethiops of their sweet complexion crack. [Not elegant.]

CRACK, n. [Gr.]

1. A disruption; a chinkor fissure; a narrow breach; a crevice; a partial separation of the parts of a substance, with or without an opening; as a crack in timber, in a wall, or in glass.

2. A burst of sound; a sharp or loud sound, uttered suddenly or with vehemence; the sound of any thing suddenly rent; a violent report; as the crack of a falling house; the crack of a whip.

3. Change of voice in puberty.

4. Craziness of intellect; or a crazy person.

5. A boast, or boaster. [Low.]

6. Breach of chastity; and a prostitute. [Low.]

7. A lad; an instant. [Not used.]

CRACK-BRAINED, a. Having intellects impaired; crazy.


1. A noisy boasting fellow.

2. A rocket; a quantity of gunpowder confined so as to explode with noise.

3. A hard biscuit.

4. That which cracks any thing.

CRACK-HEMP, CRACK-ROPE, n. A wretch fated to the gallows; one who deserves to be hanged.

CRACKING, ppr. Breaking or dividing partially; opening; impairing; snapping; uttering a sudden sharp or loud sound; boasting; casting jokes.

CRACKLE, v.i. To make slight cracks; to make small abrupt noises, rapidly or frequently repeated; to decrepitate; as, burning thorns crackle.

CRACKLING, ppr. Making slight cracks, or abrupt noises.

CRACKLING, n. The making of small abrupt cracks or reports, frequently repeated.

The crackling of thorns under a pot. Ecclesiastes 7:6.

CRACKNEL, n. A hard brittle cake or biscuit. 1 Kings 14:3.

CRADLE, n. [Gr., to swing.]

1. A movable machine of various constructions, placed on circular pieces of board, for rocking children or inform persons to sleep, for alleviating pain, or giving moderate exercise.

Me let the tender office long engage, to rock the cradle of reposing age.

2. Infancy. From the cradle, is from the state of infancy; in the cradle, in a state of infancy.

3. That part of the stock of a cross-bow, where the bullet is put.

4. In surgery, a case in which a broken leg is laid after being set.

5. In ship-building, a frame placed under the bottom of a ship for launching. It supports the ship and slides down the timbers or passage called the ways.

6. A standing bedstead for wounded seamen.

7. In engraving, an instrument, formed of steel, and resembling a chisel, with one sloping side, used in scraping mezzotintos, and preparing the plate.

8. In husbandry, a frame of wood, with long bending teeth, to which is fastened a sythe, for cutting and laying oats and other grain in a swath.

CRADLE, v.t.

1. To lay in a cradle; to rock in a cradle; to compose, or quiet.

It cradles their fears to sleep.

2. To nurse in infancy.

3. To cut and lay with a cradle, as grain.

CRADLE, v.i. To lie or lodge in a cradle.

CRADLE-CLOTHES, n. The clothes used for covering one in a cradle.

CRADLED, pp. Laid or rocked in a cradle; cut and laid with a cradle, as grain.

CRADLING, ppr. Laying or rocking in a cradle; cutting and laying with a cradle, as grain.


1. Art; ability; dexterity; skill.

Poesy is the poets skill or craft of making--

2. Cunning, art or skill, in a bad sense, or applied to bad purposes; artifice; guile; skill or dexterity employed to effect purposes by deceit.

The chief priests and scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. Mark 14:1.

3. Art; skill; dexterity in a particular manual occupation; hence, the occupation or employment itself; manual art; trade.

Ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. Acts 19:25.

4. All sorts of vessels employed in loading or unloading ships, as lighters, hoys, barges, scows, etc.

Small craft is a term given to small vessels of all hinds, as sloops, schooners, cutters, etc.

CRAFT, v.i. To play tricks. [Not in use.]

CRAFTILY, adv. [See Crafty.] With craft, cunning or guile; artfully; cunningly; with more art than honesty.

CRAFTINESS, n. Artfulness; dexterity in devising and effecting a purpose; cunning; artifice; stratagem.

He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. Job 5:13.

Not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully. 2 Corinthians 4:2.

CRAFTSMAN, n. An artificer; a mechanic; one skilled in a manual occupation.

CRAFTSMASTER, n. One skilled in his craft or trade.


1. Cunning; artful; skillful in devising and pursuing a scheme, by deceiving others, or by taking advantage of their ignorance; wily; sly; fraudulent.

He disappointeth the devices of the crafty. Job 5:12.

2. Artful; cunning; in a good sense, or in a laudable pursuit.

Being crafty, I caught you with guile. 2 Corinthians 12:16.

CRAG, n. [Gr., to break, L., breaking. See Crack.] A steep rugged rock; a rough broken rock, or point of a rock.

CRAG, n. [Gr. Roughness, or break. We now call it rack.] The neck, formerly applied to the neck of a human being, as in Spenser. We now apply it to the neck or neck-piece of mutton, and call it a rack of mutton.

CRAGGED, a. Full of crags or broken rocks; rough; rugged; abounding with prominences, points and inequalities.

CRAGGEDNESS, n. The state of abounding with crags, or broken, pointed rocks.

CRAGGINESS, n. The state of being craggy.

CRAGGY, a. Full of crags; abounding with broken rocks; rugged with projecting points of rocks; as the craggy side of a mountain; a craggy cliff.

CRAKE, n. A boast. [See Crack.]

CRAKE, n. The corn-crake, a migratory fowl, is a species of the rail, Rallus, found among grass, corn, broom or furze. Its cry is very singular, crek, crek, and is imitated by rubbing the blade of a knife on an indented bone, by which it may be decoyed into a net.

CRAKE-BERRY, n. A species of Empetrum or berry-bearing heath.

CRAM, v.t.

1. To press or drive, particularly in filling or thrusting one thing into another; to stuff; to crowd; to fill to superfluity; as, to cram any thing into a basket or bag; to cram a room with people; to cram victuals down the throat.

2. To fill with food beyond satiety; to stuff.

Children would be more free from diseases, if they were not crammed so much by fond mothers.

3. To thrust in by force; to crowd.

Fate has crammed us all into one lease.

CRAM, v.i. TO eat greedily or beyond satiety; to stuff.

CRAMBO, n. A rhyme; a play in which one person gives a word to which another finds a rhyme.

CRAMMED, pp. Stuffed; crowded; thrust in; filled with food.

CRAMMING, ppr. Driving in; stuffing; crowding; eating beyond satiety of sufficiency.


1. Spasm; the contraction of a limb, or some muscle of the body, attended with pain, and sometimes with convulsions, or numbness.

2. Restraint; confinement; that which hinders from motion or expansion.

A narrow fortune is a cramp to a great mind.

3. A piece of iron bent at the ends, serving to hold together pieces of timber, stones, etc.; a cramp-iron.

CRAMP, v.t.

1. To pain or affect with spasms.

2. To confine; to restrain; to hinder from action or expansion; as, to cramp the exertions of a nation; to cramp the genius.

3. To fasten, confine or hold with a cramp or cramp-iron.

CRAMP, a. Difficult; knotty. [Little used.]

CRAMPED, pp. Affected with spasm; convulsed; confined; restrained.

CRAMP-FISH, n. The torpedo, or electric ray, the touch of which affects a person like electricity, causing a slight shock and producing numbness, tremor, and sickness of the stomach.

CRAMPING, ppr. Affecting with cramp; confining.

CRAMP-IRON, n. An iron used for fastening things together; a cramp, which see.

CRANAGE, n. [from crane. Low L.] The liberty of using a crane at a wharf for raising wares from a vessel; also, the money or price paid for the use of a crane.

CRANBERRY, n. [crane and berry.] A species of Vaccinium; a berry that grows on a slender, bending stalk. Its botanical name is oxycoccus, [sour berry,] and it is also called moss-berry, or moor-berry, as it grows only on peat-bogs or swampy land. The berry when ripe is red, and of the size of a small cherry or of the hawthorn berry. These berries form a sauce of exquisite flavor, and are used for tarts. The cranberry of the United States is a distinct species, the V. Macrocarpon. [The common pronunciation, cramberry, is erroneous.]

CRANE, n. [Gr., the plant, cranes-bill.]

1. A migratory fowl of the genus Ardea, belonging to the grallic order. The bill is straight, sharp and long, with a furrow from the nostrils towards the point; the nostrils are linear, and the feet have four toes. These fowls have long legs, and a long neck, being destined to wade and seek their food among grass and reeds in marshy grounds. The common crane is about four feet in length, of a slender body, with ash-coloured feathers.

2. A machine for raising great weights, consisting of a horizontal arm, or piece of timber, projecting from a post, and furnished with a tackle or pulley.

3. A siphon, or crooked pipe for drawing liquors out of a cask.

CRANE’S-BILL, n. The plant Geranium, of many species; so named from an appendage of the seed-vessel, which resembles the beak of a crane or stork. Some of the species have beautiful flowers and a fragrant scent, and several of them are valued for their astringent properties. [See Crane.]

2. A pair of pinchers used by surgeons.

CRANE-FLY, n. An insect of the genus Tipula, of many species. The mouth is a prolongation of the head; the upper jaw is arched; the palpi are two, curved and longer than the head; the proboscis is short.

CRANIOGNOMY, n. [Gr., the skull, and knowledge; index; L., the skull.] The doctrine or science of determining the properties or characteristics of the mind by the conformation of the skull.

CRANIOLOGICAL, a. Pertaining to craniology.

CRANIOLOGIST, n. One who treats of craniology, or one who is versed in the science of the cranium.

CRANIOLOGY, n. [Gr., the skull, and discourse.] A discourse or treatise on the cranium or skull; or the science which investigates the structure and uses of the skulls in various animals, particularly in relation to their specific character and intellectual powers.

CRANIOMETER, n. [the skull, and measure.] An instrument for measuring the skulls of animals.