Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



DEFLAGRATOR, n. A galvanic instrument for producing combustion, particularly the combustion of metallic substances.

DEFLECT, v.i. [L. To turn or bend.] To turn from or aside; to deviate from a true course or right line; to swerve.

The needle deflects from the meridian.

DEFLECT, v.t. To turn aside; to turn or bend from a right line or regular course.

DEFLECTED, pp. Turned aside, or from a direct line or course. In botany, bending downward archwise.

DEFLECTING, ppr. Turning aside; turning from a right line or regular course.


1. Deviation; the act of turning aside; a turning from a true line or the regular course.

2. The departure of a ship from its true course.

3. A deviation of the rays of light towards the surface of an opake body; inflection.

DEFLEXURE, n. A bending down; a turning aside; deviation.

DEFLORATE, a. [L. To deflour.] In botany, having cast its farin, pollen, or fecundating dust.


1. The act of deflouring; the act of depriving of the flower or prime beauties; particularly, the act of taking away a womans virginity.

2. A selection of the flower, or of that which is most valuable.

The laws of Normandy are, in a great measure, the defloration of the English laws.

DEFLOUR, v.t. [L. A flower.]

1. To deprive a woman of her virginity, either by force or with consent. When by force, it may be equivalent to ravish or violate.

2. To take away the prime beauty and grace of any thing.

The sweetness of his soul was defloured.

3. To deprive of flowers.

DEFLOURED, pp. Deprived of maidenhood; ravished; robbed or prime beauty .

DEFLOURER, n. One who deprives a woman of her virginity.

DEFLOURING, ppr. Depriving of virginity or maidenhood; robbing of prime beauties.

DEFLOW, v.i. To flow down.

DEFLUOUS, a. [L. To flow.] Flowing down; falling off.

DEFLUX, n. A flowing down; a running downward; as a deflux of humors.

DEFLUXION, n. [L. To flow down.]

1. A flowing, running or falling of humors or fluid matter, from a superior to an inferior part of the body; properly, an inflammation of a part, attended with increased secretion.

2. A discharge of flowing off of humors; as a defluxion from the nose or head in catarrh.

DEFLY, adv. Dextrously; skilfully.

DEFOLIATION, n. [L. Foliage; a leaf.] Literally, the fall of the leaf or shedding of leaves; but technically, the time or season of shedding leaves in autumn; applied to trees and shrubs.

DEFORCE, v.t. To disseize and keep out of lawful possession of an estate; to withhold the possession of an estate from the rightful owner; applies to any possessor whose entry was originally lawful, but whose detainer is become unlawful.

DEFORCED, pp. Kept out of lawful possession.


1. The holding of lands or tenements to which another person has a right; a general term including abatement, intrusion, disseisin, discontinuance, or any other species of wrong, by which he that hath a right to the freehold is kept out of possession.

2. In Scotland, a resisting of an officer in the execution of law.

DEFORCIANT, n. He that keeps out of possession the rightful owner of an estate; he against whom a fictitious action is brought in fine and recovery.

DEFORCING, ppr. Keeping out of lawful possession.

DEFORM, v.t. [L. Form.]

1. To mar or injure the form; to alter that form or disposition of parts which is natural and esteemed beautiful, and thus to render it displeasing to the eye; to disfigure; as, a hump on the back deforms the body.

2. To render ugly or displeasing, by exterior applications or appendages; as, to deform the face by paint, or the person by unbecoming dress.

3. To render displeasing.

Wintry blasts deform the year.

4. To injure and render displeasing or disgusting; to disgrace; to disfigure moral beauty; as, all vices deform the character of rational beings.

5. To dishonor; to make ungraceful.

DEFORM, a. Disfigured; being of an unnatural, distorted, or disproportioned form; displeasing to the eye.

Sight so deform what heart of rock could long

Dry-eyed behold?

DEFORMATION, n. A disfiguring or defacing.


1. Injured in the form; disfigured; distorted; ugly; wanting natural beauty, or symmetry.

2. Base; disgraceful.

DEFORMEDLY, adv. In an ugly manner.

DEFORMEDNESS, n. Ugliness; a disagreeable or unnatural form.

DEFORMER, n. One who deforms.

DEFORMING, ppr. Marring the natural form or figure; rendering ugly or disppleasing; destroying beauty.


1. Any unnatural state of the shape or form; want of that uniformity or symmetry which constitutes beauty; distortion; irregularity of shape or features; disproportion of limbs; defect; crookedness, etc. Hence, ugliness; as bodily deformity.

2. Any thing that destroys beauty, grace or propriety; irregularity; absurdity; gross deviation from order, or the established laws of propriety. Thus we speak of deformity in an edifice, or deformity of character.

DEFORSER, n. One that casts out by force.

DEFRAUD, v.t. [L. To cheat.]

1. To deprive of right, either by obtaining something by deception or artifice, or by taking something wrongfully without the knowledge or consent of the owner; to cheat; to cozen; followed by of before the thing taken; as, to defraud; a man of his right.

We have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man. 2 Corinthians 7:2.

The agent who embezzles public property, defrauds the state.

The man who by deception obtains a price for a commodity above its value, defrauds the purchaser.

2. To withhold wrongfully from another what is due to him. Defraud not the hireling of his wages.

3. To prevent one wrongfully from obtaining what he may justly claim.

A man of fortune who permits his son to consume the season of education in hunting, shooting, or in frequenting horse-races, assemblies, etc., defrauds the community of a benefactor, and bequeaths them a nuissance.

4. To defeat or frustrate wrongfully.

By the duties deserted-by the claims defrauded.

DEFRAUDED, pp. Deprived of property or right by trick, artifice or deception; injured by the withholding of what is due.

DEFRAUDER, n. One who defrauds; one who takes from another his right by deception, or withholds what is his due; a cheat; a cozener; an embezzler; a peculator.

DEFRAUDING, ppr. Depriving another of his property or right by deception or artifice; injuring by withholding wrongfully what is due.

DEFRAUDMENT, n. Tha act of defrauding.

DEFRAY, v.t.

1. To pay; to discharge, as cost or expense; to bear, as charge, cost or expense. It is followed chiefly by expense, charge or cost. The acquisitions of war seldom defray the expenses. The profits of a voyage will not always defray the charges, or even the cost of the first outfits.

2. To satisfy; as, to defray anger.

3. To fill; as, to defray a bottle.

DEFRAYED, pp. Paid; discharged; as expense, or cost.

DEFRAYER, n. One who pays or discharges expenses.

DEFRAYING, ppr. Paying; discharging.

DEFRAYMENT, n. Payment.

DEFT, a. Neat; handsome; spruce; ready; dextrous; fit; convenient.

DEFTLY, adv. Neatly; dextrously; in a skilful manner.

DEFTNESS, n. Neatness; beauty.

DEFUNCT, a. [L. To perform and discharge.] Having finished the course of life; dead; deceased.

DEFUNCT, n. A dead person; one deceased.


DEFY, v.t.

1. To dare; to provoke to combat or strife, by appealing to the courage of another; to invite one to contest; to challenge; as, Goliath defied the armies of Israel.

2. To dare; to brave; to offer to hazard a conflict by manifesting a contempt of opposition, attack or hostile force; as, to defy the arguments of an opponent; to defy the power of the magistrate.

Were we to abolish the common law, it would rise triumphant above its own ruins, deriding and defying its impotent enemies.

3. To challenge to say or do any thing.

DEFY, n. A challenge.

DEFYER, [See Defier.]


1. To unfurnish; to strip of furniture, ornaments or apparatus.

2. To deprive of a garrison, or troops necessary for defense; as, to degarnish a city or fort. Washingtons Letter. Nov. 11, 1778.

DEGARNISHED, pp. Stripped of furniture or apparatus; deprived of troops for defense.

DEGARNISHING, ppr. Stripping of furniture, dress, apparatus or a garrison.

DEGARNISHMENT, n. The act of depriving of furniture, apparatus or a garrison.

DEGENDER, v.i. To degenerate.


1. A growing worse or inferior; a decline in good qualities; or a state of being less valuable; as the degeneracy of a plant.

2. In morals, decay of virtue; a growing worse; departure from the virtues of ancestors; desertion of that which is good. We speak of the degeneracy of men in modern times, or of the degeneracy of manners, of the age, of virtue, etc., sometimes without reason.

3. Poorness; meanness; as a degeneracy of spirit.

DEGENERATE, v.i. [L. Grown worse, ignoble, base.]

1. To become worse; to decay in good qualities; to pass from a good to a bad or worse state; to lose or suffer a diminution of valuable qualities, either in the natural or moral world. In the natural world, plants and animals degenerate when they grow to a less size than usual, or lose a part of the valuable qualities which belong to the species. In the moral world, men degenerate when they decline in virtue, or other good qualities. Manners degenerate when they become corrupt. Wit may degenerate into indecency or impiety.


1. Having fallen from a perfect or good state into a less excellent or worse state; having lost something of the good qualities possessed; having declined in natural or moral worth.

The degenerate plant of a strange vine. Jeremiah 2:21.

2. Low; base; mean; corrupt; fallen from primitive or natural excellence; having lost the good qualities of the species. Man is considered a degenerate being. A coward is a man of degenerate spirit.

DEGENERATELY, adv. In a degenerate or base manner.

DEGENERATENESS, n. A degenerate state; a state in which the natural good qualities of the species are decayed or lost.


1. A growing worse, or losing of good qualities; a decline from the virtue and worth of ancestors; a decay of the natural good qualities of the species; a falling from a more excellent state to one of less worth, either in the natural or moral world.

2. The thing degenerated.


1. Degenerated; fallen from a state of excellence, or from the virtue and merit of ancestors. Hence,

2. Low; base; mean; unworthy; as a degenerous passion.

DEGENEROUSLY, adv. In a degenerous manner; basely; meanly.

DEGLUTINATE, v.t. [L. To glue.] To unglue; to loosen or separate substances glued together.

DEGLUTITION, n. [L. To swallow.]

1. The act of swallowing; as, deglutition is difficult.

2. The power of swallowing; as, deglutition is lost.


1. A reducing in rank; the act of depriving one of a degree of honor, of dignity, or of rank; also, deposition; removal or dismission from office; as the degradation of a peer, of a knight, or of a bishop, in England.

2. The state of being reduced from an elevated or more honorable station, to one that is low in fact or in estimation; baseness; degeneracy.

Deplorable is the degradation of our nature.

3. Diminution or reduction of strength, efficacy or value.

4. In painting, a lessening and obscuring of the appearance of distant objects in a landscape, that they may appear as they would do to an eye placed at a distance.

5. Diminution; reduction of altitude or magnitude.

DEGRADE, v.t. [L. A step, a degree.]

1. To reduce from a higher to a lower rank or degree; to deprive one of any office or dignity, by which he loses rank in society; to strip of honors; as, to degrade a nobleman, an archbishop or a general officer.

2. To reduce in estimation; to lessen the value of; to lower; to sink. Vice degrades a man in the view of others; often in his own view. Drunkenness degrades a man to the level of a beast.

3. To reduce in altitude or magnitude.

Although the ridge is still there, the ridge itself has been degraded.

DEGRADED, pp. Reduced in rank; deprived of an office or dignity; lowered; sunk; reduced in estimation or value.

DEGRADEMENT, n. Deprivation of rank or office.


1. Reducing in rank; depriving of honors or offices; reducing in value or estimation; lowering.

2. a. Dishonoring; disgracing the character; as degrading obsequiousness.

The inordinate love of money and of fame are base and degrading passions.

DEGRADINGLY, adv. In a degrading manner, or in a way to depreciate.


1. A step; a distinct portion of space of indefinite extent; a space in progression; as, the army gained the hill by degrees; a balloon rises or descends by slow degrees; and figuratively, we advance in knowledge by slow degrees. Men are yet in the first degree of improvement. It should be their aim to attain to the furthest degree, or the highest degree. There are degrees of vice and virtue.

2. A step or portion of progression, in elevation, quality, dignity or rank; as a man of great degree.

We speak of men of high degree, or of low degree; of superior or inferior degree. It is supposed there are different degrees or orders of angels.

They purchase to themselves a good degree. 1 Timothy 3:13.

3. In genealogy, a certain distance or remove in the line of descent, determining the proximity of blood; as a relation in the third or fourth degree.

4. Measure; extent. The light is intense to a degree that is intolerable. We suffer an extreme degree of heat or cold.

5. In geometry, a division of a circle, including a three hundred and sixtieth part of its circumference. Hence a degree of latitude is the 360th part of the earths surface north or south of the equator, and a degree of longitude, the same part of the surface east or west of any given meridian.

6. In music, an interval of sound, marked by a line on the scale.

7. In arithmetic, a degree consists of three figures; thus, 270, 360, compose two degrees.

8. A division, space or interval, marked on a mathematical or other instrument; as on a thermometer, or barometer.

9. In colleges and universities, a mark of distinction conferred on students, as a testimony of their proficiency in arts and sciences; giving them a kind of rank, and entitling them to certain privileges. This is usually evidenced by a diploma. Degrees are conferred pro meritis on the alumni of a college; or they are honorary tokens of respect, conferred on strangers of distinguished reputation. The first degree is that of Bachelor of Arts; the second, that of Master of Arts. Honorary degrees are those of Doctor of Divinity, Doctor of Laws, etc. Physicians also receive the degree of Doctor of Medicine.

By degrees, step by step; gradually; by little and little; by moderate advances. Frequent drinking forms by degrees a confirmed habit of intemperance.

DEGUSTATION, n. A tasting.

DEHISCENCE, n. [L. To gape.] A gaping. In botany, the opening of capsules; the season when capsules open.

DEHISCENT, a. Opening, as the capsule of a plant.

DEHORT, v.t. [L. To dissuade; to advise.] To dissuade; to advise to the contrary; to counsel not to do nor to undertake.

DEHORTATION, n. Dissuasion; advice or counsel against something.

DEHORTATORY, a. Dissuading; belonging to dissuasion

DEHORTER, n. A dissuader; an adviser to the contrary.

DEHORTING, ppr. Dissuading.

DEICIDE, n. [L. God and to slay.]

1. The act of putting to death Jesus Christ, our Savior.

2. One concerned in putting Christ to death.

DEIFIC, a. [L. To make.]

1. Divine; pertaining to the gods.

2. Making divine.

DEIFICATION, n. The act of deifying; the act of exalting to the rank of, or enrolling among the heathen deities.

DEIFIED, pp. Exalted or ranked among the gods; regarded or praised as divine.

DEIFIER, n. One that deifies.

DEIFORM, a. [L. A god, and form.] Like a god; of a godlike form.

These souls exhibit a deiform power.

DEIFY, v.t. [L. A god, and to make.]

1. To make a god; to exalt to the rank of a heathen deity; to enroll among the deities; as, Julius Cesar was deified.

2. To exalt into an object of worship; to treat as an object of supreme regard; as a covetous man deifies his treasures.

3. To exalt to a deity in estimation; to reverence or praise as a deity.

The pope was formerly extolled and deified by his votaries.

DEIFYING, ppr. Exalting to the rank of a deity; treating as divine.

DEIGN, v.i. Dane. To think worthy; to vouchsafe; to condescend.

O deign to visit our foraken seats.

DEIGN, v.t. dane. To grant or allow; to condescend to give to.

Nor would we deign him burial of his men.

DEIGNING, ppr. Daning. Vouchsafing; thinking worthy.

DEINTGRATE, v.t. To disintegrate.

DEIPAROUS, a. Bearing or bringing forth a god; an epithet applied the Virgin Mary.

DEIPNOSOPHIST, n. [Gr. A feast; a sophist.] One of an ancient sect of philosophers, who were famous for their learned conversation at meals.

DEISM, n. [L. God.] The doctrine or creed of a deist; the belief or system of religious opinions of those who acknowledge the existence of one God, but deny revelation: or deism is the belief in natural religion only, or those truths, in doctrine and practice, which man is to discover by the light of reason, independent and exclusive of any revelation from God. Hence deism implies infidelity or a disbelief in the divine origin of the scriptures.

The view which the rising greatness of our country presents to my eyes, is greatly tarnished by the general prevalence of deism, which, with me, is but another name for vice and depravity. P. Henry, Wirys Sketches.

DEIST, n. One who believes in the existence of a God, but denies revealed religion, but follows the light of nature and reason, as his only guides in doctrine and practice; a freethinker.

DEISTIC, DEISTICAL, a. Pertaining to deism or to deists; embracing deism, as a deistical writer; or containing deism, as a deistical book.


1. Godhead; divinity; the nature and essence of the Supreme Being; as, the deity of the Supreme Being is manifest in his works.

2. God; the Supreme Being, or infinite self-existing Spirit.

3. A fabulous god or goddess; a superior being supposed, by heathen nations, to exist, and to preside over particular departments of nature; as Jupiter, Juno, Apollo, Diana, etc.

4. The supposed divinity or divine qualities of a pagan god.

DEJECT, v.t. [L. To throw.]

1. To cast down; usually, to cast down the countenance; to cause to fall with grief; to make to look sad or grieved, or to express discouragement.

But gloomy were his eyes, dejected was his face.

2. To depress the spirits; to sink; to dispirit; to discourage; to dishearten.

Nor think to die dejects my lofty mind.

DEJECT, a. Cast down; low-spirited.

DEJECTED, pp. Cast down; depressed; grieved; discouraged.

DEJECTEDLY, adv. In a dejected manner; sadly; heavily.

DEJECTEDNESS, n. The state being cast down; lowness of spirits.

DEJECTING, ppr. Casting down; depressing; dispiriting.


1. A casting down; depression of mind; melancholy; lowness of spirits, occasioned by grief or misfortune.

2. Weakness; as dejection of appetite.

3. The act of voiding the excrements; or the matter ejected.