Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



CULVERTAILED, a. United or fastened, as pieces of timber by a dove-tailed joint; a term used by shipwrights.

CUMBENT, a. [L.] Lying down.

CUMBER, v.t. [G., to arrest, to concern, to trouble, to grieve.]

1. To load; to crowd.

A variety of frivolous arguments cumbers the memory to no purpose.

2. To check, stop or retard, as by a load or weight; to make motion difficult; to obstruct.

Why asks he what avails him not in fight, and would but cumber and retard his flight.

3. To perplex or embarrass; to distract or trouble.

Martha was cumbered about much serving. Luke 10:40.

4. To trouble; to be troublesome to; to cause trouble or obstruction in, as any thing useless. Thus, brambles cumber a garden or field. [See Encumber, which is more generally used.]

CUMBER, n. Hindrance; obstruction; burdensomeness; embarrassment; disturbance; distress.

Thus fade thy helps, and thus thy cumbers spring. [This word is now scarcely used.]


1. Troublesome; burdensome; embarrassing; vexatious; as cumbersome obedience.

2. Unwieldy; unmanageable not easily borne or managed; as a cumbersome load; a cumbersome machine.

CUMBERSOMELY, adv. In a manner to encumber.

CUMBERSOMENESS, n. Burdensomeness; the quality of being cumbersome and troublesome.

CUMBRANCE, n. That which obstructs, retards, or renders motion or action difficult and toilsome; burden; encumbrance; hindrance; oppressive load; embarrassment.


1. Burdensome; troublesome; rendering action difficult or toilsome; oppressive; as a cumbrous weight or charge.

2. Giving trouble; vexatious; as a cloud of cumbrous gnats.

3. Confused; jumbled; obstructing each other; as the cumbrous elements.

CUMBROUSLY, adv. In a cumbrous manner.

CUMFREY, n. A genus of plants, the Symphytum; sometimes written comfrey, comfry, and comphry.

CUMIN, n. [L., Gr.] An annual plant of one species, whose seeds have a bitterish warm taste, with an aromatic flavor.

CUMULATE, v.t. [L., a heap.] To gather or throw into a heap; to form a heap; to heap together. [Accumulate is more generally used.]

CUMULATION, n. The act of heaping together; a heap. [See Accumulation.]


1. Composed of parts in a heap; forming a mass.

2. That augments by addition; that is added to something else. In law, that augments, as evidence, facts or arguments of the same kind.

CUN, v.t.

1. To know. [Not used.] [See Con.]

2. To direct the course of a ship. [See Cond, the true orthography.]

CUNCTATION, n. [L., to delay.] Delay. [Not much used.]

CUNCTATOR, n. One who delays or lingers. [Little used.]

CUND, v.t. To give notice. [See Cond.]

CUNEAL, a. [L., a wedge. See Coin.] Having the form of a wedge.

CUNEATE, CUNEATED, a. Wedge-shaped.

CUNEIFORM, CUNIFORM, a. [L., a wedge, and form.] Having the shape or form of a wedge.

CUNNER, n. A kind of fish, less than an oyster, that sticks close to the rocks.

CUNNING, a. [G. See Can.]

1. Knowing; skillful; experienced; well-instructed. It is applied to all kinds of knowledge, but generally and appropriately, to the skill and dexterity of artificers, or the knowledge acquired by experience.

Esau was a cunning hunter. Genesis 25:27.

I will take away the cunning artificer. Isaiah 3:3.

A cunning workman. Exodus 38:23.

2. Wrought with skill; curious; ingenious.

With cherubs of cunning work shalt thou make them. Exodus 26:1.

[The foregoing senses occur frequently in our version of the scriptures, but are nearly or quite obsolete.]

3. Artful; shrewd; sly; crafty; astute; designing; as a cunning fellow.

They are resolved to be cunning; let others run the hazard of being sincere.

In this sense, the purpose or final end of the person may not be illaudalbe; but cunning implies the use of artifice to accomplish the purpose, rather than open, candid, or direct means. Hence,

4. Deceitful; trickish; employing stratagems for a bad purpose.

5. Assumed with subtilty; artful.

Accounting his integrity to be but a cunning face of falsehood.


1. Knowledge; art; skill; dexterity.

Let my right hand forget her cunning. Psalm 137:5.

2. Art; artifice; artfulness; craft; shrewdness; the faculty or act of using stratagem to accomplish a purpose. Hence in a bad sense, deceitfulness or deceit; fraudulent skill or dexterity.

Discourage cunning in a child; cunning is the ape of wisdom.

CUNNINGLY, adv. Artfully; craftily; with subtilty; with fraudulent contrivance.

We have not followed cunningly devised fables. 2 Peter 1:16.

CUNNINGMAN, n. A man who pretends to tell fortunes, or teach how to recover stolen or lost goods.

CUNNINGNESS, n. Cunning; craft; deceitfulness.

CUP, n. [L., a little cup.]

1. A small vessel of capacity, used commonly to drink out of. It is usually made of metal; as a silver cup; a tin cup. But the name is also given to vessels of like shape used for other purposes. It is usually more deep than wide; but tea-cups and coffee-cups are often exceptions.

2. The contents of a cup; the liquor contained in a cup, or that it may contain; as a cup of beer. See 1 Corinthians 11:25-28.

3. In a scriptural sense, sufferings and afflictions; that which is to be received or endured.

O my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Matthew 26:39.

4. Good received; blessings and favors.

My cup runneth over. Psalm 23:5.

Take the cup of salvation, that is, receive the blessings of deliverance and redemption with joy and thanksgiving.

5. Any thing hollow like a cup; as the cup of an acorn. The bell of a flower, and a calyx is called a flower-cup.

6. A glass cup or vessel used for drawing blood in scarification.

Cup and can, familiar companions; the can being the large vessel out of which the cup is filled, and thus the two being constantly associated.

Cups, in the plural, social entertainment in drinking; merry bout.

Thence from cups to civil broils.

CUP, v.i.

1. In surgery, to apply a cupping-glass to procure a discharge of blood from a scarified part of the body.

2. To supply with cups.

CUPBEARER, n. An attendant of a prince or at a feast, who conveys wine or other liquors to the guests; an officer of the kings household. Nehemiah 1:11.

CUPBOARD, n. [cup and board.] Originally, a board or shelf for cups to stand on. In modern houses, a small case or inclosure in a room with shelves destined to receive cups, plates, dishes and the like.

CUPBOARD, v.t. To collect into a cupboard; to hoard. [Not used.]

CUPGALL, n. A singular kind of gall found on the leaves of oak, etc. It contains the worm of a small fly.

CUP-ROSE, n. The poppy.

CUPEL, n. [L., a little cup.] A small cup or vessel used in refining metals. It retains them while in a metallic state, but when changed by fire into a fluid scoria, it absorbs them. Thus when a mixture of lead with gold or silver is heated in a strong fire, the lead is oxydated and vitrified, and sinks into the substance of the cupel, while the gold or silver remains pure. This kind of vessel is made usually of phosphate of lim, or the residue of burnt bones, rammed into a mold, which gives it its figure.

CUPELLATION, n. The refining of gold or silver by a cupel or by scorification.

CUPIDITY, n. [L., to desire, to covet.] An eager desire to possess something; an ardent wishing or longing; inordinate or unlawful desire of wealth or power. It is not used, I believe, for the animal appetite, like lust or concupiscence, but for desire of the mind.

No property is secure when it becomes large enough to tempt the cupidity of indigent power.

CUPOLA, n. In architecture, a spherical vault on the top of an edifice; a dome, or the round top of a dome.

CUPOLAID, a. Having a cupola. [Not used.]

CUPPER, n. [from cup.] One who applies a cupping-glass; a scarifier.

CUPPING, ppr. Applying a cupping-glass, with scarification; a drawing blood with a cupping-glass.

CUPPING-GLASS, n. A glass vessel like a cup, to be applied to the skin, before and after scarification, for drawing blood.

CUPREOUS, a. [L., copper.] Coppery; consisting of copper; resembling copper, or partaking of its qualities.

CUPRIFEROUS, a. [L., copper; to bear.] Producing or affording copper; as cupriferous silver.

CUR, n. A degenerate dog; and in reproach, a worthless man.

CURABLE, a. [See Cure.] That may be healed or cured; admitting a remedy; as acurable wound or disease; a curable evil.

CURABLENESS, n. Possibility of being cured, healed or remedied.

CURACY, CURATESHIP, n. [See Cure and Curate.]

1. The office or employment of a curate; the employment of a clergyman who represents the incumbent or beneficiary of a church, parson or vicar, and officiates in his stead.

2. A benefice held by license from the bishop.

CURATE, n. [L., care. See Cure.]

1. A clergyman in the church of England, who is employed to perform divine service in the place of the incumbent, parson or vicar. He must be licenced by the bishop or ordinary, and having no fixed estate in the curacy, he may be removed at pleasure. But some curates are perpetual.

2. One employed to perform the duties of another.

CURATIVE, a. Relating to the cure of diseases; tending to cure.

CURATOR, n. [L. See Cure.]

1. One who hast he care and superintendence of any thing.

2. A guardian appointed by law.

3. Among the Romans, a trustee of the affairs and interests of a person emancipated or interdicted. Also, one appointed to regulate the price of merchandize in the cities, and to superintend the customs and tributes.

4. In the United Provinces, or Holland, the Curator of a University superintends the affairs of the institution, the administration of the revenues, the conduct of the professors, etc.

CURB, n.

1. In the manege, a chain of iron made fast to the upper part of the branches of the bridle, in a hole called the eye, and running over the beard of the horse. It consists of three parts; the hook, fixed to the eye of the branch; the chain or links; and the two rings or mails.

2. Restraint; check; hindrance.

Religion should operate as an effectual curb to the passions.

3. A frame or a wall round the mouth of a well.

4. A hard and callous swelling on the hind part of the hock of a horses leg, attended with stiffness, and sometimes pain and lameness. A tumor on the inside of a horses hoof. A swelling beneath the elbow of a horses hoof.

CURB, v.t.

1. To restrain; to guide and manage; as a horse.

2. To restrain; to check; to hold back; to confine; to keep in subjection; as, to curb the passions.

And wisely learn to curb thy sorrows wild.

3. To furnish or surround with a curb, as a well.

4. To bend. [Not used.]

CURBED, pp. Restrained; checked; kept in subjection; furnished with a curb.

CURBING, ppr. Holding back; checking; restraining.

CURBING, n. A check.

CURB-STONE, n. A stone placed at the edge of a pavement, to hold the work together. It is written sometimes kerb or kirb.

CURD, n. [See Crystal.] The coagulated or thickened part of milk, which is formed into cheese, or, in some countries, eaten as common food. The word may sometimes perhaps be used for the coagulated part of any liquor.

CURD, v.t. To cause to coagulate; to turn to curd.

CURDLE, v.i. [sometimes written crudle. See Curd.]

1. To coagulate or concrete; to thicken, or change into curd. Milk curdles by a mixture of runnet.

2. To thicken; to congeal; as, the blood curdles in the veins.

CURDLE, v.t.

1. To change into curd; to cause to thicken, coagulate, or concrete. Runnet or brandy curdles milk.

At Florence they curdle their milk with artichoke flowers.

2. To congeal or thicken. The recital curdled my blood.

CURDLED, pp. Coagulated; congealed.

CURDLING, ppr. Concreting; coagulating.

CURDY, a. Like curd; full of curd; coagulated.

CURE, n. [L., to cure, to take care, to prepare.]

1. A healing; the act of healing; restoration to health from disease, and to soundness from a wound. We say, a medicine will effect a cure.

2. Remedy for disease; restorative; that which heals.

Colds, hunger, prisons, ills without a cure.

3. The employment of a curate; the care of souls; spiritual charge.

CURE, v.t. [L. See the Noun.]

1. To heal, as a person diseased or a wounded limb; to restore to health, as the body, or to soundness, as a limb.

The child was cured from that very hour. Matthew 17:18.

2. To subdue, remove, destroy or put an end to; to heal, as a disease.

Christ gave his disciples power to cure diseases. Luke 9:1.

When the person and the disease are both mentioned, cure is followed by of before the disease. The physician cured the man of his fever.

3. To remedy; to remove an evil, and restore to a good state.

Patience will alleviate calamities, which cannot cure.

4. To dry; to prepare for preservation; as, to cure hay; or to prepare by salt, or in any manner, so as to prevent speedy putrefaction; as, to cure fish or beef.

CURED, pp. Healed; restored to health or soundness; removed, as a disease; remedied; dried, smoked, or otherwise prepared for preservation.

CURELESS, a. That cannot be cured or healed; incurable; not admitting of a remedy; as a cureless disorder; a cureless ill.

CURER, n. A healer; a physician; one who heals.


1. The ringing of a bell or bells at night, as a signal to the inhabitants to rake up their fires and retire to rest. This practice originated in England from an order of William the conqueror, who directed that at the ringing of the bell, at eight o’clock, every one should put out his light and go to bed. This word is not used in America; although the practice of ringing a bell, at nine o’clock, continues in many places, and is considered in New England, as a signal for people to retire from company to their own abodes; and in general, the signal is obeyed.

2. A cover for a fire; a fire-plate. [Not used.]

CURIALITY, n. [L., a court.] The privileges, prerogatives, or retinue of a court. [Not used.]

CURING, ppr. Healing; restoring to health or soundness; removing, as an evil; preparing for preservation.

CURING-HOUSE, n. A building in which sugar is drained and dried.

CURIOLOGIC, a. [Gr., propriety of speaking.] Designating a rude kind of hieroglyphics, in which a thing is represented by its picture.

CURIOSITY, n. [L. See Curious.]

1. A strong desire to see something novel, or to discover something unknown, either by research or inquiry; a desire to gratify the senses with a sight of what is new or unusual, or to gratify the mind with new discoveries; inquisitiveness. A man’s curiosity leads him to view the ruins of Balbec, to investigate the origin of Homer, to discover the component parts of a mineral, or the motives of anothers actions.

2. Nicety; delicacy.

3. Accuracy; exactness; nice performance; curiousness; as the curiosity of workmanship.

4. A nice experiment; a thing unusual or worthy of curiosity.

There hath been practiced a curiosity, to set a tree on the north side of a walk and at a little height, to draw it through the wall, etc.

5. An object of curiosity; that which excites a desire of seeing, or deserves to be seen, as novel and extraordinary.

We took a ramble together to see the curiosities of this great town.

[The first and last senses are chiefly used.]

CURIOSO, n. A curious person; a virtuoso.

CURIOUS, a. [L., care. See Cure.]

1. Strongly desirous to see what is novel, or to discover what is unknown; solicitous to see or to know; inquisitive.

Be not curious in unnecessary matters, nor to pry into the concerns of your neighbors.

2. Habitually inquisitive; addicted to research or enquiry; as a man of a curious turn of mind; sometimes followed by after, and sometimes by of.

Curious after things elegant and beautiful; curious of antiquities.

3. Accurate; careful not to mistake; solicitous to be correct.

Men were not curious what syllables or particles they used.

4. Careful; nice; solicitous in selection; difficult to please.

A temperate man is not curious of delicacies.

5. Nice; exact; subtile; made with care.

Both these senses embrace their objects--with a more curious discrimination.

6. Artful; nicely diligent.

Each ornament about her seemly lies, by curious chance, or careless art, composed.

7. Wrought with care and art; elegant; neat; finished; as a curious girdle; curious work Exodus 28:8 and Exodus 35:32.

8. Requiring care and nicety; as curious arts. Acts 19:19.

9. Rigid; severe; particular. [Little used.]

10. Rare; singular; a a curious fact.


1. With nice inspection; inquisitively; attentively.

I saw nothing at first, but observing it more curiously, the spots appeared.

2. With nice care and art; exactly; neatly; elegantly. Psalm 139:15.

3. In a singular manner; unusually.


1. Fitness to excite curiosity; exactness of workmanship.

2. Singularity of contrivance.

3. Curiosity.

CURL, v.t.

1. To turn, bend or form into ringlets; to crisp; as the hair.

2. To writhe; to twist; to coil; as a serpent.

3. To dress with curls.

The snaky locks that curled Megaera.

4. To raise in waves or undulations; to ripple.

Seas would be pools, without the brushing air to curl the waves.

CURL, v.i.

1. To bend in contraction; to shrink into ringlets.

2. To rise in waves or undulation; to ripple; and particularly, to roll over at the summit; as a curling wave.

3. To rise in a winding current, and to roll over at the ends; as curling smoke.

4. To writhe; to twist itself.

Then round her slender waist he curled.

5. To shrink; to shrink back; to bend and sink. He curled down into a corner.

CURL, n.

1. A ringlet of hair, or any thing of a like form.

2. Undulation; a waving; sinuosity; flexure.

3. A winding int he grain of wood.

CURLED, pp. Turned or formed into ringlets; crisped; twisted; undulated.


1. An aquatic fowl of the genus Scolopax and the grallic order. It has a long bill; its color is diversified with ash and black; and the largest species spread more than three feet of wing. It frequents the sea shore in winter, and in summer, retires to the mountains.

2. A fowl, larger than a partridge, with longer legs, which frequents the corn-fields in Spain.

CURLINESS, n. A state of being curly.

CURLING, ppr. Bending; twisting; forming into ringlets.

CURLING-IRONS, CURLING-TONGS, n. An instrument for curling the hair.

CURLY, a. Having curls; tending to curl; full of ripples.

CURMUDGEON, n. An avaricious churlish fellow; a miser; a niggard; a churl.

CURMUDGEONLY, a. Avaricious; covetous; niggardly; churlish.

CURRANT, n. [from Corinth.]

1. The fruit of a well known shrub belonging to the genus Ribes, of which Grossularia is now considered a species; the grossberry or gooseberry and the currant falling under the same genus. Currants are of various species and varieties; as the common red and white currants, and the black currant.

2. A small kind of dried grape, imported from the Levant, chiefly from Zante and Cephalonia; used in cookery.

CURRENCY, n. [See Current.]

1. Literally, flowing, running or passing; a continued or uninterrupted course, like that of a stream; as the currency of time.

2. A continued course in public opinion, belief or reception; a passing from person to person, or from age to age; a, a report has had a long or general currency.

3. A continual passing from hand to hand, as coin or bills of credit; circulation; as the currency of cents, or of English crowns; the currency of bank bills or treasury notes.

4. Fluency; readiness of utterance; but in this sense we generally use fluency.

5. General estimation; the rate at which any thing is generally valued.

He takes greatness of kingdoms according to their bulk and currency, and not after intrinsic value.

6. That which is current or in circulation, as a medium of trade. The word may be applied to coins, or to bills issued by authority. It is often applied to bank notes, and to notes issued by government.

CURRENT, a. [L., to flow or run.]

1. Literally, flowing, running, passing. Hence, passing from person to person, or from hand to hand; circulating; as current opinions; current coin. Hence, common, general or fashionable; generally received; popular; as the current notions of the day or age; current folly.

2. Established by common estimation; generally received; as the current value of coin.

3. Passable; that may be allowed or admitted.

4. Now passing; present in its course; as the current month or year.


1. A flowing or passing; a stream; applied to fluids; as a current of water, or of air. The gulf stream is a remarkable current in the Atlantic. A current sets into the Mediterranean.

2. Course; progressive motion, or movement; continuation; as the current of time.

3. A connected series; successive course; as the current of events.

4. General or main course; as the current of opinion.

CURRENTLY, a. In constant motion; with continued progression. Hence, commonly; generally; popularly; with general reception; as, the story is currently reported and believed.


1. Currency; circulation; general reception.

2. Fluency; easiness of pronunciation. [Not much used.]

CURRICLE, n. [L., to run.]

1. A chaise or carriage, with two wheels, drawn by two horses abreast.

2. A chariot. [Not in use.]

3. A course. [Not in use.]

CURRIED, pp. [See Curry.] Dressed by currying; dressed as leather; cleaned; prepared.

CURRIER, n. [L. See Curry.] A man who dresses and colors leather, after it is tanned.

CURRISH, a. [See Cur.] Like a cur; having the qualities of a cur; brutal; malignant; snappish; snarling; churlish; intractable; quarrelsome.

CURRISHLY, adv. Like a cur; in a brutal manner.

CURRISHNESS, n. Moroseness; churlishness.

CURRY, v.t. [L., to scrape; scrape, from cutting.]

1. To dress leather, after it is tanned; to soak, pare or scrape, cleanse, beat and color tanned hides, and prepare them for use.

2. To rub and clean with a comb; as, to curry a horse.

3. To scratch or claw; to tear, in quarrels.

By setting brother against brother, to claw and curry one another.

4. To rub or stroke; to make smooth; to tickle by flattery; to humor. But generally used in the phrase,

To curry favor, to seek or gain favor by flattery, caresses, kindness, or officious civilities. [Not elegant.]

CURRY-COMB, n. [See Comb.] An iron instrument or comb, for rubbing and cleaning horses.

CURRYING, ppr. Scraping and dressing; cleaning; scratching.

CURSE, v.t. pret. and pp. cursed or curst.

1. To utter a wish of evil against one; to imprecate evil upon; to call for mischief or injury to fall upon; to execrate.

Thou shalt not curse the ruler of thy people. Exodus 22:28.

Bless and curse not. Romans 12:14.

Curse me this people, for they are too mighty for me. Numbers 22:6.

2. To injure; to subject to evil; to vex, harass or torment with great calamities.

On impious realms and barbarous kings impose thy plagues, and curse em with such sons as those.

3. To devote to evil.

CURSE, v.i. To utter imprecations; to affirm or deny with imprecations of divine vengeance.

Then began he to curse and to swear. Matthew 26:74.


1. Malediction; the expression of a wish of evil to another.

Shimei--who cured me with a grievous curse. 1 Kings 2:8.

2. Imprecation of evil.

They entered into a curse, and into an oath. Nehemiah 10:29.

3. Affliction; torment; great vexation.

I will make this city a curse to all nations. Jeremiah 26:6.

4. Condemnation; sentence of divine vengeance on sinners.

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law. Galatians 3:13.

5. Denunciation of evil.

The priest shall write all these curses in a book. Numbers 5:23.


1. Execrated; afflicted; vexed; tormented; blasted by a curse.

2. Devoted to destruction.

Thou art cursed from the earth. Genesis 4:11.

3. a. Deserving a curse; execrable; hateful; detestable; abominable.

4. a. Vexatious; as a cursed quarrel; cursed thorns.

CURSEDLY, adv. In a cursed manner; enormously; miserably; in a manner to be cursed or detested. [A low word.]

CURSEDNESS, n. The state of being under a curse, or of being doomed to execration or to evil.

CURSER, n. One who curses, or utters a curse.

CURSHIP, n. [See Cur.] Dogship; meanness; ill-nature.

CURSING, ppr. Execrating; imprecating evil on; denouncing evil; dooming to evil, misery, or vexation.

CURSING, n. Execration; the uttering of a curse; a dooming to vexation or misery.