Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary




1. Depth; remoteness from the surface in a descending line; interior distance from the surface; profundity.

And forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth. Matthew 13:5.

2. Craft; insidiousness.

DEEP-READ, a. Having fully read; profoundly versed.

DEEP-REVOLVING, a. Profoundly revolving or meditating.

DEEP-THROATED, a. With deep throats.

DEEP-TONED, a. Having a very low or grave tone.

DEEP-VAULTED, a. Formed like a deep vault or arch.

DEEP-WAISTED, a. Having a deep waist, as a ship when the quarter deck and forecastle are raised from four to six feet above the level of the main deck.

DEER, n. sing. and plu. [Gr. A wild beast. The primary sense is simply roving, wild, untamed; hence, a wild beast.] A quadruped of the genus Cervus, of several species, as the stag, the fallow deer, the roe-buck, the rane or rane-deer, etc. These animals are wild and hunted in the forest, or kept in parks. Their flesh called venison, is deemed excellent food.

DEER-STEALER, n. One who steals deer.

DEER-STEALING, n. The act or crime of stealing deer.

DEESS, n. A goddess.

DEFACE, v.t.

1. To destroy or mar the face or surface of a thing; to injure the superficies or beauty; to disfigure; as, to deface a monument; to deface an ediface.

2. To injure any thing; to destroy, spoil or mar; to erase or obliterate; as, to deface letters or writing; to deface a note, deed or bond; to deface a record.

3. To injure the appearance; to disfigure.

DEFACER, n. He or that which defaces; one who injures, mars or disfigures.

DEFACING, ppr. Injuring the face or surface; marring; disfiguring; erasing.

De facto. [L.] actually; in fact; existing; as a king de facto, distinguished from a king de jure, or by right.

DEFAILANCE, n. Failure; miscarriage.

DEFALCATE, v.t. To cut off; to take away or deduct a part; used chiefly of money, accounts, rents, income, etc.


1. The act of cutting off, or deducting a part; deduction; diminution; abatement; as, let him have the amount of his rent without defalcation.

2. That which is cut off; as, this loss is a defalcation from the revenue.

DEFALK, v.t. To defalcate.

DEFAMATION, n. The uttering of slanderous words with a view to injure anothers reputation; the malicious uttering of falsehood respecting another which tends to destroy or impair his good name, character or occupation; slander; calumny. To constitute defamation in law, the words must be false and spoken maliciously. Defamatory words written and published are called a libel.

DEFAMATORY, a. Calumnious; slanderous; containing defamation; false and injurious to reputation; as defamatory words; defamatory reports or writings.

DEFAME, v.t.

1. To slander; falsely and maliciously to utter words respecting another which tend to injure his reputation or occupation; as to say, a judge is corrupt; a man is perjured; a trader is a knave.

2. To speak evil of; to dishonor by false reports; to calumniate; to libel; to impair reputation by acts or words.

Being defamed, we entreat. 1 Corinthians 4:13.

DEFAMED, pp. Slandered; dishonored or injured by evil reports.

DEFAMER, n. A slanderer; a detractor; a calumniator.

DEFAMING, ppr. Slandering; injuring the character by false reports.

DEFAMING, n. Defamation; slander.

DEFATIGABLE, a. Liable to be wearied.

DEFATICATE, v.t. [L. To tire.] To weary or tire.

DEFATIGATION, n. Weariness.


1. A failing, or failure; an omission of that which ought to be done; neglect to do what duty or law requires; as, this evil has happened through the governors default. A default or fault, may be a crime, a vice, or a mere defect, according to the nature of the duty omitted.

2. Defect; want; failure.

Cooks could make artificial birds, in default of real ones.

3. In law, a failure of appearance in court at a day assigned, particularly of the defendant in a suit when called to make answer. It may be applied to jurors, witnesses, etc.; but a plaintiffs failing to appear by himself or attorney, is usually called a non-appearance.

To suffer default, is to permit an action to be called without appearing or answering; applied to a defendant.

DEFAULT, v.i. To fail in performing a contract or agreement.

1. In law, to call out a defendant, (according to common expression.) To call a defendant officially, to appear and answer in court, and on his failing to answer, to declare him in default, and enter judgement against him; as, let the defendant be defaulted.

No costs are to be awarded for such town, if defaulted.

2. To call out a cause, in which the defendant does not appear, and enter judgment on the default; as, the cause was defaulted.

3. To fail in performance.

DEFAULT, v.t. To offend.


1. Called out of court, as a defendant or his cause.

2. a. Having defect.


1. One who makes default; one who fails to appear in court when called.

2. One who fails to perform a public duty; particularly, one who fails to account for public money entrusted to his care; a delinquent.


1. Failing to fulfil a contract; delinquent.

2. Failing to perform a duty or legal requirement; as a defaulting creditor.

3. Calling out of court, and entering judgment against for non-appearance, as a defendant.

DEFEASANCE, n. s as z.

1. Literally, a defeating; a rendering null; the preventing of the operation of an instrument.

2. In law, a condition, relating to a deed, which being performed, the deed is defeated or rendered void; or a collateral deed, made at the same time with a feoffment or other conveyance, containing conditions, on the performance of which the estate then created may be defeated. A defeasance, on a bond, or a recognizance, or a judgment recovered, is a condition which, when performed, defeats it. A defeasance differs from the common condition of a bond, in being a separate deed, whereas a common condition is inserted in the bond itself.

3. The writing containing a defeasance.

4. Defeat.

DEFEASIBLE, a. s as z. That may be defeated, or annulled; as a defeasible title; a defeasible estate.

DEFEASIBLENESS, n. The quality of being defeasible.


1. Overthrow; loss of battle; the check, rout, or destruction of an army by the victory of an enemy.

2. Successful resistance; as the defeat of an attack.

3. Frustration; a rendering null and void; as the defeat of a title.

4. Frustration; prevention of success; as the defeat of a plan or design.

DEFEAT, v.t.

1. To overcome or vanquish, as an army; to check, disperse or ruin by victory; to overthrow; applies to an army, or a division of troops; to a fleet, or to a commander.

The English army defeated the French on the plains of Abraham. Gen. Wolf defeated Montcalm. The French defeated the Austrians at Marengo.

2. To frustrate; to prevent the success of; to disappoint.

Then mayest thou for me defeat the counsel of Ahithophel. 2 Samuel 15:34; 2 Samuel 17:14

We say, our dearest hopes are often defeated.

3. To render null and void; as, to defeat a title or an estate.

4. To resist with success; as, to defeat an attempt or assault.

DEFEATING, ppr. Vanquishing; subduing; opposing successfully; overthrowing; frustrating; disappointing; rendering null and void.


1. Change of feature.

2. Overthrow; defeat.

DEFECATE, v.t. [L. Dregs.]

1. To purify; to refine; to clear from dregs or impurities; to clarify; as, to defecate liquor.

2. To purify from admixture; to clear; to purge of extraneous matter.

DEFECATED, pp. Purtified; clarified; refined.

DEFECATING, ppr. Purifying; purging of lees or impurities.

DEFECATION, n. The act of separating from lees or dregs; purification from impurities or foreign matter.

DEFECT, n. [L. To fail; to make or do.]

1. Want or absence of something necessary or useful towards perfection; fault; imperfection.

Errors have been corrected, and defects supplied.

We say, there are numerous defects in the plan, or in the work, or in the execution.

2. Failing; fault; mistake; imperfection in moral conduct, or in judgment.

A deep conviction of the defects of our lives tends to make us humble.

Trust not yourself; but, your defects to know,

Make use of every friend and every foe.

3. Any want, or imperfection, in natural objects; the absence of any thing necessary to perfection; any thing unnatural or misplaced; blemish; deformity. We speak of a defect in the organs of seeing or hearing, or in a limb; a defect in timber; a defect in an instrument, etc.

DEFECT, v.i. To be deficient.

DEFECTIBILITY, n. Deficiency; imperfection.

DEFECTIBLE, a. Imperfect; deficient; wanting.


1. Want or failure of duty; particularly, a falling away; apostasy; the act of abandoning a person or cause to which one is bound by allegiance or duty, or to which one has attached himself. Our defection from God is proof of our depravity. The cause of the king was rendered desperate by the defection of the nobles.

2. Revolt; used of nations or states.


1. Wanting either in substance, quantity or quality, or in any thing necessary; imperfect; as a defective limb; defective timber; a defective copy or book; a defective account. Defective articulation, in speaking, renders utterance indistinct.

2. Wanting in moral qualities; faulty; blamable; not conforming to rectitude or rule; as a defective character.

3. In grammar, a defective noun is one which wants a whole number or a particular case; an indeclinable noun.

4. A defective verb, is one which wants some of the tenses.

DEFECTIVELY, adv. In a defective manner; imperfectly.

DEFECTIVENESS, n. Want; the state of being imperfect; faultiness.

DEFECTUOSITY, n. Defectiveness; faultiness.

DEFECTUOUS, a. Full of defects.

DEFEDATION, n. Pollution.

DEFEND, v.t.

1. To drive from; to thrust back; hence, to deny; to repel a demand, charge, or accusation; to oppose; to resist; the effect of which is to maintain ones own claims.

2. To forbid; to prohibit; that is, to drive from, or back. Milton calls the forbidden fruit, the defended fruit.

The use of wine in some places is defended by customs or laws.

3. To drive back a foe or danger; to repel from any thing that which assails or annoys; to protect by opposition or resistance; to support or maintain; to prevent from being injured, or destroyed.

There arose, to defend Israel, Tola the son of Puah. Judges 10:1.

4. To vindicate; to assert; to uphold; to maintain uninjured, by force or by argument; as, to defend our cause; to defend rights and privileges; to defend reputation.

5. To secure against attacks or evil; to fortify against danger or violence; to set obstacles to the approach of any thing that can annoy. A garden may be defended by a wall, a hill or a river.

DEFEND, v.i. To make opposition; as, the party comes into court, defends and says.

DEFENDABLE, a. That may be defended.


1. Defensive; proper for defense.

2. Making defense; being in the character of a defendant.


1. He that defends against an assailant, or against the approach of evil or danger.

2. In law, the party that opposes a complaint, demand or charge; he that is summoned into court, and defends, denies or opposes the demand or charge, and maintains his own right. It is applied to any party of whom a demand is made in court, whether the party denies and defends, or admits the claim and suffers a default.

DEFENDED, pp. Opposed; denied; prohibited; maintained by resistance; vindicated; preserved uninjured; secured.

DEFENDER, n. One who defends by oppostition; one who maintains, supports, protects or vindicates; an assertor; a vindicator, either by arms or by arguments; a champion or an advocate.

DEFENDING, ppr. Denying; opposing; resisiting; forbidding; maintaining uninjured by force or by reason; securing from evil.

DEFENSATIVE, n. Guard; defense; a bandage, plaster, or the like, to secure a wound from external injury.


1. Any thing that opposes attack, violence, danger or injury; any thing that secures the person, the rights or the possessions of men; fortification; guard; protection; security. A wall, a parapet, a ditch, or a garrison, is the defense of a city or fortress. The Almighty is the defense of the righteous. Psalm 59:9, 16, 17.

2. Vindication; justification; apology; that which repels or disproves a charge or accusation.

Men, brethren, fathers, hear ye my defense. Acts 22:1.

3. In law, the defendants reply to the plaintiffs declaration, demands or charges.

4. Prohibition.

5. Resistance; opposition.

6. The science of defending against enemies; military skill.

7. In fortification, a work that flanks another.

DEFENSE, v.t. To defend by fortification.

DEFENSED, pp. Fortified.

DEFENSELESS, a. Being without defense, or without means of repelling assault or injury; applied to a town, it denotes unfortified or ungarrisoned; open to an enemy; applied to a person, it denotes naked; unarmed; unprotected; unprepared to resist attack; weak; unable to oppose; uncovered; unsheltered.

DEFENSELESSNESS, n. The state of being unguarded or unprotected.


1. That may be defended; as a defensible city.

2. That may be vindicated, maintained or justified; as a defensible cause.


1. That serves to defend; proper for defense; as defensive armor, which repels attacks or blows, opposed to offensive arms, which are used in attack.

2. Carried on in resisting attack or aggression; as defensive war, in distinction from offensive war, which is aggressive.

3. In a state or posture to defend.

DEFENSIVE, n. Safeguard; that which defends.

Wars preventive, upon just fears, are true defensives.

To be on the defensive, or to stand on the defensive, is to be or stand in a state or posture of defense or resistance, in opposition to aggrression or attack.

DEFENSIVELY, adv. In a defensive manner; on the defensive; in defense.

DEFER, v.t. [L. To bear.]

1. To delay; to put off; to postpone to a future time; as, to defer the execution of a design.

When thou vowest a vow, defer not to pay it. Ecclesiastes 5:4.

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick. Proverbs 13:12.

2. To refer; to leave to anothers judgment and determination.

[In this sense, refer is now used.]


1. A yielding in opinion; submission of judgment to the opinion or judgment of another. Hence, regard; respect. We often decline acting in opposition to those for whose wisdom we have a great deference.

2. Complaisance; condescension.

3. Submission.

DEFERENT, a. Bearing; carrying; conveying.


1. That which carries or conveys. The deferent of a planet, is an imaginary circle or orb in the Ptolemaic system, that is supposed to carry about the body of the planet.

2. A vessel in the human body for the conveyance of fluids.

DEFERENTIAL, a. Expressing deference.

DEFERMENT, n. Delay.

DEFERRER, n. One who delays or puts off.

DEFERRING, ppr. Delaying; postponing.


1. A daring; a challenge to fight; invitation to combat; a call to an adversary to encounter, if he dare. Goliath bid defiance to the army of Israel.

2. A challenge to meet in any contest; a call upon one to make good any assertion or charge; an invitation to maintain any cause or point.

3. Contempt of opposition or danger; a daring or resistance that implies the contempt of an adversary, or of any opposing power. Men often transgress the law and act in defiance of authority.

DEFIATORY, a. Bidding or bearing defiance.

DEFICIENCE, DEFICIENCY, n. [L. To fail to do.]

1. A failing; a falling short; imperfection; as a deficiency in moral duties.

2. Want; defect; something less than is necessary; as a deficiency of means; a deficiency of revenue; a deficiency of blood.


1. Wanting; defective; imperfect; not sufficient or adequate; as deficient estate; deficient strength.

2. Wanting; not having a full or adequate supply; as, the country may be deficient in the means of carrying on war.

Deficient numbers, in arithmetic, are those numbers, whose parts, added together, make less than the integer, whose parts they are.

DEFICIT, n. Want; deficiency; as a deficit in the taxes or revenue.

DEFIER, n. A challenger; one who dares to combat or encounter; one who braves; one who acts in contempt of opposition, law or authority; as a defier of the laws.

DEFIGURATION, n. A disfiguring.

DEFIGURE, v.t. To delineate.

DEFILE, v.t.

1. To make unclean; to render foul or dirty; in a general sense.

2. To make impure; to render turbid; as, the water or liquor is defiled.

3. To soil or sully; to tarnish; as reputation, etc.

He is among the greatest prelates of the age, however his character may be defiled by dirty hands.

They shall defile thy brightness. Ezekiel 28:7.

4. To pollute; to make ceremonially unclean.

That which dieth of itself, he shall not eat, to defile himself therewith. Leviticus 22:8.

5. To corrupt chastity; to debauch; to violate; to tarnish the purity of character by lewdness.

Schechem defiled Dinah. Genesis 34:2.

6. To taint, in a moral sense; to corrupt; to vitiate; to render impure with sin.

Defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt. Ezekiel 20:7.

He hath defiled the sanctuary of the Lord. Numbers 19:20.

DEFILE, v.i. [L. A thread.] To march off in a line, or file by file; to file off.
DEFILE, n. A narrow passage or way, in which troops may march only in a file, or with a narrow front; a long narrow pass, as between hills, etc.

DEFILED, pp. Made dirty, or foul; polluted; soiled; corrupted; violated; vitiated.


1. The act of defiling, or state of being defiled; foulness; dirtiness; uncleanness.

2. Corruption of morals, principles or character; impurity; pollution by sin.

The chaste cannot rake into such filth without danger of defilement.

DEFILER, n. One who defiles; one who corrupts or violates; that which pollutes.


1. Polluting; making impure.

2. Marching in a file, or with a narrow front.


1. Literally, that may be limited, or have its limits ascertained. Hence, capable of having its extent ascertained with precision; capable of being fixed and determined. The extent of the Russian empire is hardly definable. The limits are hardly definable.

2. That may be defined or described; capable of having its signification rendered certain, or expressed with certainty or precision; as definable words.

3. That may be fixed, determined or ascertained; as, the time or period is not definable.

DEFINE, v.t. [L. To end, to limit, from finis, end.]

1. To determine or describe the end or limit; as, to define the extent of a kingdom or country.

2. To determine with precision; to ascertain; as, to define the limits of a kingdom.

3. To mark the limit; to circumscribe; to bound.

4. To determine or ascertain the extent of the meaning of a word; to ascertain the signification of a term; to explain what a word is understood to express; as, to define the words, virtue, courage, belief, or charity.

5. To describe; to ascertain or explain the distinctive properties or circumstances of a thing; as, to define a line or an angle.

DEFINE, v.i. To determine; to decide.


1. Determined; having the extent ascertained; having the signification determined.

2. Having the precise limit marked, or having a determinate limit; as, the shadow of a body is well defined.

DEFINER, n. He who defines; he who ascertains or marks the limits; he who determines or explains the signification of a word, or describes the distinctive properties of a thing.

DEFINING, ppr. Determining the limits; ascertaining the extent; explaining the meaning; describing the properties.


1. Having certain limits; bounded with precision; determinate; as a definite extent of land; definite dimensions; definite measure.

2. Having certain limits in signification; determinate; certain; precise; as a definite word, term or expression.

3. Fixed; determinate; exact; precise; as a definite time or period.

4. Defining; limiting; determining the extent; as a definite word.

DEFINITE, n. Thing defined.

DEFINITENESS, n. Certainty of extent; certainty of signification; determinateness.


1. A brief description of a thing by its properties; as a definition of wit or of a circle.

2. In logic, the explication of the essence of a thing by its kind and difference.

3. In lexicography, an explanation of the signification of a word or term, or of what a word is understood to express.


1. Limiting the extent; determinate; positive; express; as a definitive term.

2. Limiting; ending; determining; final; opposed to conditional, provisional, or interlocutory; as a definitive sentence or decree.

DEFINITIVE, n. In grammar, an adjective used to define or limit the extent of the signification of an appelative or common noun. Such are the Latin hic, ille, ipse; the, this and that, in English; le, la, les, in French; il, la, lo in Italian. Thus tree is an appellative or common noun; the tree, this tree, that tree, designate a particular tree, determinate or known. Homo signifies man; hic homo, ille homo, a particular man, etc. But in some languages, the definitives have lost their original use, in a great degree; as in the Greek and French. Thus La force de la vertu, must be rendered in English, the force of virtue, not the force of the virtue. The first la is a definitive; the last has no definitive effect.


1. Determinately; positively; expressly.

2. Finally; conclusively; unconditionally; as, the points between the parties are definitively settled.

DEFINITIVENESS, n. Determinateness; decisiveness; conclusiveness.

DEFIX, v.t. To fix; to fasten.

DEFLAGRABILITY, n. Combustibility; the quality of taking fire and burning away, as a metallic wire; a chimical term.

DEFLAGRABLE, a. Combustible; having the quality of taking fire and burning, as alcohol, oils, etc.

DEFLAGRATE, v.t. [L. To burn.] To set fire to; to burn; to consume; as, to deflagrate oil or spirit.

DEFLAGRATION, n. A kindling or setting fire to a substance; burning; combustion.

The strength of spirit is proved by deflagration.

A rapid combustion of a mixture, attended with much evolution of flame and vapor, as of niter and charcoal.

This term is also applied to the rapid combustion of metals by galvanism.