Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



DEBARRED, pp. Hindered from approach, entrance or possession.

DEBARRING, ppr. Preventing from approach, entrance or enjoyment.

DEBASE, v.t.

1. To reduce from a higher to a lower state or rank, in estimation.

The drunkard debases himself and his character.

Intemperance and debauchery debase men almost to a level with beasts.

2. To reduce or lower in quality, purity, or value; to adulterate; as, to debase gold or silver by alloy.

3. To lower or degrade; to make mean or despicable. Religion should not be debased by frivolous disputes. Vicious habits debase the mind, as well as the character.

4. To sink in purity or elegance; to vitiate by meanness; as, to debase style by the use of vulgar words.

DEBASED, pp. Reduced in estimated rank; lowered in estimation; reduced in purity, fineness, quality or value; adulterated; degraded; rendered mean.

DEBASEMENT, n. The act of debasing; degradation; reduction of purity, fineness, quality or value; adulteration; a state of being debased; as debasement of character, of our faculties, of the coin, of style, etc.

DEBASER, n. One who debases or lowers in estimation, or in value; one who degrades or renders mean; that which debases.


1. Reducing in estimation or worth; adulterating; reducing in purity or elegance; degrading; rendering mean.

2. a. Lowering; tending to debase or degrade; as debasing vices.

DEBATABLE, a. That may be debated; disputable; subject to controversy or contention; as a debatable question.


1. Contention in words or arguments; discussion for elucidating truth; strife in argument or reasoning, between persons of different opinions, each endeavoring to prove his own opinion right, and that of his opposer wrong; dispute; controversy; as the debates in parliament or in congress.

2. Strife; contention.

Behold, ye fast for strife and debate. Isaiah 1:8.

3. The power of being disputed; as, this question is settled beyond debate; the story is true beyond debate.

4. Debate or debates, the published report of arguments for and against a measure; as, the debates in the convention are printed.

DEBATE, v.t. To contend for in words or arguments; to strive to maintain a cause by reasoning; to dispute; to discuss; to argue; to contest, as opposing parties; as, the question was debated till a late hour.

Debate thy cause with thy neighbor himself. Proverbs 25:9.

DEBATE, v.i.

1. To debate on or in, to deliberate; to discuss or examine different arguments in the mind.

2. To dispute.

3. To engage in combat.

DEBATED, pp. Disputed; argued; discussed.


1. Of things, contested; occasioning contention.

2. Of persons, quarrelsome; contentious.

DEBATEFULLY, adv. With contention.

DEBATEMENT, n. Controversy; deliberation.

DEBATER, n. One who debates; a disputant; a controvertist.

DEBATING, ppr. Disputing; discussing; contending by arguments.

DEBAUCH, v.t. [The general sense of debauch, in English, is to lead astray, like seduce.]

1. To corrupt or vitiate; as, to debauch a prince or a youth; to debauch good principles.

2. To corrupt with lewdness; as, to debauch a woman.

3. To seduce from duty or allegiance; as, to debauch an army.

DEBAUCH, n. Excess in eating or drinking; intemperance; drunkenness; gluttony; lewdness.

DEBAUCHED, pp. Corrupted; vitiated in morals or purity of character.

DEBAUCHEDLY, adv. In a profligate manner.

DEBAUCHEDNESS, n. Intemperance.

DEBAUCHEE, n. A man given to intemperance, or bacchanalian excesses. But chiefly, a man habitually lewd.

DEBAUCHER, n. One who debauches or corrupts others; a seducer to lewdness, or to any dereliction of duty.


1. Excess in the pleasures of the table; gluttony; intemperance. But chiefly, habitual lewdness; excessive unlawful indulgence of lust.

2. Corruption of fidelity; seduction from duty or allegiance.

The republic of Paris will endeavor to complete the debauchery of the army.

DEBAUCHMENT, n. The act of debauching or corrupting; the act of seducing from virtue or duty.

DEBELLATE, v.t. To subdue.

DEBELLATION, n. The act of conquering or subduing.

DEBENTURE, n. [Fr. from L. debeo, to owe.]

1. A writing acknowledging a debt; a writing or certificate signed by a public officer, as evidence of a debt due to some person. This paper, given by an officer of the customs, entitles a merchant exporting goods, to the receipt of a bounty, or a drawback of duties. When issued by a treasurer, it entitles the holder to a sum of money from the state.

2. In the customs, a certificate of drawback; a writing which states that a person is entitled to a certain sum from the government, on the exportation of specified goods, the duties on which had been paid.

DEBENTURED, a. Debentured goods are those for which a debenture has been given, as being entitled to drawback.

DEBILE, a. Relaxed; weak; feeble; languid; faint; without strength.

DEBILITATE, v.t. To weaken; to impair the strength of; to enfeeble; to make faint or languid. Intemperance debilitates the organs of digestion. Excessive indulgence debilitates the system.

DEBILITATED, pp. Weakened; enfeebled; relaxed.

DEBILITATING, ppr. Weakening; enfeebling; impairing strength.

DEBILITATION, n. The act of weakening; relaxation.

DEBILITY, n. Relaxation of the solids; weakness; feebleness; languor of body; faintness; imbecility; as, morbid sweats induce debility.

DEBIT, n. [L. debitum, from debeo, to owe.] Debt. It is usually written debt. But it is used in mercantile language, as the debit side of an account.

DEBIT, v.t.

1. To charge with debt; as, to debit a purchaser the amount of goods sold.

2. To enter an account on the debtor side of a book; as, to debit the sum or amount of goods sold.


1. Charged in debt; made debtor on account.

2. Charged to one’s debt, as money or goods.


1. Making debtor on account, as a person.

2. Charging to the debt of a person, as goods.

DEBITOR, n. A debtor.

DEBOISE, DEBOISH, for debauch.

DEBONNAIR, a. Civil; wellbred; complaisant; elegant.

DEBOUCH, v.i. To issue or march out of a narrow place, or from defiles, as troops.

DEBRIS, n. debree’. Fragments; rubbish; ruins; applied particularly to the fragments of rocks.

DEBT, n. det. [L. debitum, contracted.]

1. That which is due from one person to another, whether money, goods, or services; that which one person is bound to pay or perform to another; as the debts of a bankrupt; the debts of a nobleman. It is a common misfortune or vice to be in debt.

When you run in debt, you give to another power over your liberty.

2. That which any one is obliged to do or to suffer.

Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier’s debt.

Hence death is called the debt of nature.

3. In law, an action to recover a debt. This is a customary ellipsis. He brought debt, instead of an action of debt.

4. In scripture, sin; trespass; guilt; crime; that which renders liable to punishment.

Forgive us our debts. Lord’s Prayer.

DEBTED, pp. det’ted. Indebted; obliged to.

DEBTEE, n. dettee’. A creditor; one to whom a debt is due.

DEBTLESS, a. det’less. Free from debt.

DEBTOR, n. det’tor.

1. The person who owes another either money, goods or services.

In Athens an insolvent debtor became slave to his creditor.

2. One who is under obligation to do something.

I am debtor to the Greeks and barbarians. Romans 1:14.

He is a debtor to do the whole law. Galatians 5:3.

3. The side of an account in which debts are charged.

DECACHORD, DECACHORDON, n. [Gr. ten or string]

1. A musical instrument of ten strings.

2. Something consisting of ten parts.

DECADAL, a. Pertaining to ten; consisting of tens.

DECADE, n. [Gr., ten.] The sum or number of ten; an aggregate consisting of ten; as a decade of years; the decades of Livy.


DECAGON, n. [Gr., ten and corner.] In geometry, a plane figure having ten sides and ten angles.

DECAGRAM, n. [Gr., ten and a weight.] A French weight of ten grams, or 154 grains, 44 decimals, equal to 6 penny weights, and 10 grains, 44 decimals, equal to 5 grams, 63 decimals, avoirdupoise.

DECAGYN, n. [Gr., ten and female.] In botany, a plant having ten pistils.

DECAGYNIAN, a. Having ten pistils.

DECAHEDRAL, a. Having ten sides.

DECAHEDRON, n. [Gr., ten and a base.] In geometry, a figure or body having ten sides.

DECALITER, n. [Gr., ten and liter.] A French measure of capacity, containing ten liters, or 610.28 cubic inches, equal to two gallons and 64,44231 cubic inches.

DECALOGIST, n. One who explains the decalogue.

DECALOGUE, n. dec’alog. [Gr., ten and speech.] The ten commandments or precepts given by God to Moses at mount Sinai, and originally written on two tables of stone.

DECAMETER, n. [Gr., ten and measure.] A French measure of length, consisting of ten meters, and equal to 393 English inches, and 71 decimals.

DECAMP, v.i. To remove or depart from a camp; to march off; as, the army decamped at six o’clock.

DECAMPMENT, n. Departure from a camp; a marching off.

DECANAL, a. Pertaining to a deanery.

DECANDER, n. [Gr., ten and a male.] In botany, a plant having ten stamens.

DECANDRIAN, a. Having ten stamens.

DECANGULAR, a. [Gr., ten and angular.] Having ten angles.

DECANT, v.t. [L., to sing; literally, to throw.] To pour off gently, as liquor from its sediment; or to pour from one vessel into another; as, to decant wine.

DECANTATION, n. The act of pouring liquor gently from its lees or sediment, or from one vessel into another.

DECANTED, pp. Poured off, or from one vessel into another.


1. A vessel used to decant liquors, or for receiving decanted liquors. A glass vessel or bottle used for holding wine or other liquors, for filling the drinking glasses.

2. One who decants liquors.

DECANTING, ppr. Pouring off, as liquor from its lees, or from one vessel to another.

DECAPITATE, v.t. [L., head.] To behead; to cut off the head.

DECAPITATION, n. The act of beheading.

DECAPHYLLOUS, a. [Gr. ten and a leaf.] Having ten leaves.

DECARBONIZE, v.t. To deprive of carbon; as, to decarbonize steel.

DECARBONIZED, pp. Deprived of carbon.

DECARBONIZING, ppr. Depriving of carbon.

DECASTICH, n. [Gr. ten and a verse.] A poem consisting of ten lines.

DECASTYLE, n. [Gr. ten and a column.] A building with an ordnance of ten columns in front.

DECAY, v.i. [Fr. dechoir, from L. de and cado, to fall, or decedo.]

1. To pass gradually from a sound, prosperous, or perfect state, to a less perfect state, or towards destruction; to fail; to decline; to be gradually impaired. Our bodies decay in old age; a tree decays; buildings decay; fortunes decay.

2. To become weaker; to fail; as, our strength decays, or hopes decay.

DECAY, v.t. To cause to fail; to impair; to bring to a worse state.

Infirmity, that decays the wise, doth ever make better the fool.


1. Gradual failure of health, strength, soundness, prosperity, or any species of excellence or perfection; decline to a worse or less perfect state; tendency towards dissolution or extinction; a state of depravation or diminution. Old men feel the decay of the body. We perceive the decay of the faculties in age. We lament the decay of virtue and patriotism in the state. The northern nations invaded the Roman Empire, when in a state of decay.

2. Declension from prosperity; decline of fortune.

If thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay. Leviticus 25:35.

3. Cause of decay.

He that plots to be the only figure among ciphers, is the decay of the whole age.

DECAYED, pp. Having fallen from a good or sound state; impaired; weakened; diminished.

DECAYEDNESS, n. A state of being impaired; decayed state.

DECAYER, n. That which causes decay.

DECAYING, ppr. Failing; declining; passing from a good, prosperous or sound state, to a worse condition; perishing.

DECAYING, n. Decay; decline.

DECEASE, n. [L. to depart or to withdraw.] Literally, departure; hence, departure from this life; death; applied to human beings only.

Moses and Elias, who appeared in glory, and spoke of his decease, which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. Luke 9:31.

DECEASE, v.i. To depart from this life; to die.

Gen. Washington deceased, December 14, 1799, in the 68th year of his age.

DECEASED, pp. or a. Departed from life. This is used as a passive participle. He is deceased, for he has deceased; he was deceased, for he had deceased. This use of the participle of an intransitive verb is not infrequent, but the word omitted is really has. He has deceased. It is properly an adjective, like dead.

DECEASING, ppr. Departing from life; dying.

DECEDENT, n. A deceased person.


1. Literally, a catching or ensnaring. Hence, the misleading of a person; the leading of another person to believe what is false, or not to believe what is true, and thus to ensnare him; fraud; fallacy; cheat; any declaration, artifice or practice, which misleads another, or causes him to believe what is false.

My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. Job 27:4.

2. Stratagem; artifice; device intended to mislead.

They imagine deceits all the day long. Psalm 38:12.

3. In scripture, that which is obtained by guile, fraud or oppression.

Their houses are full of deceit. Jeremiah 5:27; Zephaniah 1:9.

4. In law, any trick, device, craft, collusion, shift, covin, or underhand practice, used to defraud another.


1. Tending to mislead, deceive or ensnare; as deceitful words; deceitful practices.

Favor is deceitful. Proverbs 31:30.

2. Full of deceit; trickish; fraudulent; cheating; as a deceitful man.

DECEITFULLY, adv. In a deceitful manner; fraudulently; with deceit; in a manner or with a view to deceive.

The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully. Genesis 34:13.


1. Tendency to mislead or deceive; as the deceitfulness of sin.

2. The quality of being fraudulent; as the deceitfulness of a man’s practices.

3. The disposition to deceive; as, a man’s deceitfulness may be habitual.

DECEITLESS, a. Free from deceit.


1. Subject to deceit or imposition; capable of being misled or entrapped; exposed to imposture; as, young persons are very deceivable.

2. Subject or apt to produce error or deception; deceitful.

Fair promises often prove deceivable.


1. Liableness to be deceived.

2. Liableness to deceive.

The deceivableness of unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:10.

DECEIVE, v.t. [L to take asid, to ensnare.]

1. To mislead the mind; to cause to err; to cause to believe what is false, or disbelieve what is true; to impose on; to delude.

Take heed that no man deceive you. Matthew 24:4.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. 1 John 1:8.

2. To beguile; to cheat.

Your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times.

3. To cut off from expectation; to frustrate or disappoint; as, his hopes were deceived.

4. To take from; to rob.

Plant fruit trees in large borders, and set therein fine flowers, but thin and sparingly, lest they deceive the trees.

DECEIVED, pp. Misled; led into error; beguiled; cheated; deluded.

DECEIVER, n. One who deceives; one who leads into error; a cheat; an impostor.

I shall seem to my father as a deceiver. Genesis 27:12.

DECEIVING, ppr. Misleading; ensnaring; beguiling; cheating.

DECEMBER, n. [L. december, from decem, ten; this being the tenth month among the early Romans, who began the year in March.]

The last month in the year, in which the sun enters the tropic of Capricorn, and makes the winter solstice.

DECEMDENTATE, a. [L. decem, ten, and dentatus, toothed.] Having ten points or teeth.