Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary




1. Steady in application to business; constant in effort or exertion to accomplish what is undertaken; assiduous; attentive; industrious; not idle or negligent; applied to persons.

Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings. Proverbs 22:29.

2. Steadily applied; prosecuted with care and constant effort; careful; assiduous; as, make diligent search.

The judges shall make diligent inquisition. Deuteronomy 19:18.

DILIGENTLY, adv. With steady application and care; with industry or assiduity; not carelessly; not negligently.

Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 6:17.

DILL, n. [G.] An annual plant of the genus Anethum, the seeds of which are moderately warming, pungent and aromatic.

DILUCID, a. [L.] Clear. [Not in use.]

DILUCIDATE, v.t. To make clear. [Not in use. See Elucidate.]

DILUENT, a. [L. See Dilute.]

1. Making liquid or more fluid; making thin; attenuating.

2. Weakening the strength of, by mixture with water.


1. That which thins or attenuates; that which makes more liquid.

2. That which weakens the strength of; as water, which, mixed with wine or spirit, reduces the strength of it.

DILUTE, v.t. [L., to wash. See Deluge.]

1. Literally, to wash; but appropriately, to render liquid, or more liquid; to make thin, or more fluid. Thus sirup or molasses is made thin or more liquid by an admixture with water; and the water is said to dilute it. Hence,

2. To weaken, as spirit or an acid, by an admixture of water, which renderst the spirit or acid less concentrated. Thus, we dilute spirit, wine or a decoction by adding to it water.

3. To make weak or weaker, as color, by mixture.

4. To weaken; to reduce the strength or standard of; as, to dilute virtue.

DILUTE, a. Thin; attenuated; reduced in strength, as spirit or color.

DILUTED, pp. Made liquid; rendered more fluid; weakened, made thin, as liquids.

DILUTER, n. That which makes thin, or more liquid.

DILUTING, ppr. Making thin or more liquid; weakening.

DILUTION, n. The act of making thin, weak, or more liquid. Opposite to dilution is coagulation or thickening.

DILUVIAL, DILUVIAN, a. [L., a deluge. See Dilute.]

1. Pertaining to a flood or deluge, more especially to the deluge in Noahs day.

2. Effected or produced by a deluge, particularly by the great flood in the days of Noah.

DILUVIATE, v.i. To run as a flood. [Not much used.]

DILUVIUM, n. [L.] In geology, a deposit of superficial loam, sand, gravel, etc., caused by the deluge.

DIM, a. [See Damp.]

1. Not seeing clearly; having the vision obscured and indistinct.

When Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim. Genesis 27:1.

2. Not clearly seen; obscure; imperfectly seen or discovered; as a dim prospect.

3. Somewhat dark; dusky; not luminous; as a dim shade.

4. Dull of apprehension; having obscure conceptions.

The understanding is dim.

5. Having its luster obscured; sullied; tarnished.

How is the gold become dim? Lamentations 4:1.

DIM, v.t.

1. To cloud; to impair the powers of vision; as, to dim the eyes.

2. To obscure; as, to dim the sight; to dim the prospect.

3. To render dull the powers of conception.

4. To make less bright; to obscure.

Each passion dimmed his face.

5. To render less bright; to tarnish or sully; as, to dim gold.

DIMBLE, n. A bower; a cell or retreat. [Not in use.]

DIME, n. A silver coin of the United States, of the value of ten cents; the tenth of a dollar.

DIMENSION, n. [L., to measure; Gr. See Mete and Measure.] In geometry, the extent of a body, or length, breadth and thickness or depth. A line has one dimension, or length; a superficies has two dimensions, length and breadth; and a solid has three dimensions, length, breadth and thickness or depth. The word is generally used int eh plural, and denotes the whole space occupied by a body, or its capacity, size, measure; as the dimensions of a room, or of a ship; the dimensions of a farm, of a kingdom, etc.

DIMENSIONLESS, a. Without any definite measure or extent; boundless.

DIMENSITY, n. Extent; capacity.

DIMENSIVE, a. That marks the boundaries or outlines.

Who can draw the souls dimensive lines?

DIMETER, a. [L.] Having two poetical measures.

DIMETER, n. A verse of two measures.

DIMIDIATE, v.t. [L.] To divide into two equal parts.

DIMIDIATED, a. [L., middle.] Divided into two equal parts; halved.

DIMIDIATION, n. The act of having; division into two equal parts.

DIMINISH, v.t. [L., to lessen; less.]

1. To lessen; to make less or smaller, by any means; opposed to increase and augment; as, to diminish the size of a thing by contraction, or by cutting off a part; to diminish a number by subtraction; to diminish the revenue by limiting commerce, or reducing the customs; to diminish strength or safety; to diminish the heat of a room. It is particularly applied to bulk and quantity, as shorten is to length.

2. To lessen; to impair; to degrade.

I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations. Ezekiel 29:15.

3. In music, to take from a note by a sharp, flat or natural.

To diminish from, to take away something.

Neither shall you diminish aught from it Deuteronomy 4:2.

DIMINISH, v.i. To lessen; to become or appear less or smaller. The size of an object diminishes, as we recede from it.

DIMINISHABLE, a. Capable of being reduced in size or quantity.

DIMINISHED, pp. Lessened; made smaller; reduced in size; contracted; degraded.

DIMINISHING, ppr. Lessening; contracting; degrading.

DIMINISHINGLY, adv. In a manner to lessen reputation.

DIMINUENT, a. Lessening. [Little used.]

DIMINUTE, a. Small. [Not in use.]


1. The act of lessening; a making smaller; opposed to augmentation; as the diminution of size, of wealth, of power, of safety.

2. The state of becoming or appearing less; opposed to increase; as the diminution of the apparent diameter of a receding body.

3. Discredit; loss of dignity; degradation.

4. Deprivation of dignity; a lessening of estimation.

5. In architecture, the contraction of the upper part of a column, by which its diameter is made less than that of the lower part.

6. In music, the imitation of or reply to a subject in notes of half the length or value of those of the subject itself.

DIMINUTIVE, a. Small; little; narrow; contracted; as a diminutive race of men or other animals; a diminutive thought.

DIMINUTIVE, n. In grammar, a word formed from another word, usually an appellative or generic term, to express a little thing of the kind; as, in Latin, lapillus, a little stone, from lapis; cellula, a little cell, from cella, a cell; in French, maisonnette, a little house, from maison, a house; in English, manikin, a little man, from man.

DIMINUTIVELY, adv. In a diminutive manner; in a manner to lessen; as, to speak diminutively of another.

DIMINUTIVENESS, n. Smallness; littleness; want of bulk; want of dignity.

DIMISH, a. [from dim.] Somewhat dim, or obscure.

DIMISSORY, a. [L. See Dismiss.]

1. Sending away; dismissing to another jurisdiction. A letter dimissory, is one given by a bishop to a candidate for holy orders, having a title in his diocese, directed to some other bishop, and giving leave for the bearer to be ordained by him.

2. Granting leave to depart.

DIMIT, v.t. [L.] To permit to go; to grant to farm; to let. [Not in use.]

DIMITY, n. A kind of white cotton cloth, ribbed or figured.

DIMLY, adv. [See Dim.]

1. In a dim or obscure manner; with imperfect sight.

2. Not brightly, or clearly; with a faint light.

DIMMING, ppr. Obscuring.

DIMMING, n. Obscurity.


1. Dullness of sight; as the dimness of the eyes.

2. Obscurity of vision; imperfect sight; as the dimness of a view.

3. Faintness; imperfection; as the dimness of a color.

4. Want of brightness; as the dimness of gold or silver.

5. Want of clear apprehension; stupidity; as the dimness of perception.

DIMPLE, n. [G., to reel, to indent.] A small natural cavity or depression in the cheek or other part of the face.

DIMPLE, v.i. To form dimples; to sink into depressions or little inequalities.

And smiling eddies dimpled on the main.

DIMPLED, a. Set with dimples; as a dimpled cheek.

DIMPLY, a. Full of dimples, or small depressions; as the dimply flood.

DIM-SIGHTED, a. Having dim or obscure vision.

DIN, n. [L. This word probably belongs to the root of tone and thunder, and denotes a rumbling or rattling noise.] Noise; a loud sound; particularly, a rattling, clattering or rumbling sound, long continued; as the din of arms; the din of war.

DIN, v.t. To strike with continued or confused sound; to stun with noise; to harass with clamor; as, to din the ears with cries; to din with clamor.

DINE, v.i. [L., to cease. Gr., to feast.] To eat the chief meal of the day. This meal seems originally to have been taken about the middle of the day, at least in northern climates, as it still is by laboring people. Among people in the higher walks of life, and in commercial towns, the time of dining is from tow to five or six o’clock in the afternoon.

DINE, v.t. To give a dinner to; to furnish with the principal meal; to feed; as, the landlord dined a hundred men.

DINETICAL, a. [Gr.] Whirling round. [Not used.]

DING, v.t. pret. dung or dinged. To thrust or dash with violence. [Little used.]

DING, v.i. To bluster; to bounce. [A low word.]

DING-DONG, Words used to express the sound of bells.

DINGINESS, n. [See Dingy.] A dusky or dark hue; brownness.

DINGLE, n. A narrow dale or valley between hills.

DINGLE-DANGLE. Hanging loosely, or something dangling.

DINGY, a. Soiled; sullied; of a dark color; brown; dusky; dun.

DINING, ppr. Eating the principal meal in the day.

DINING-ROOM, n. A room for a family or for company to dine in; a room for entertainments.

DINNER, n. [See Dine.]

1. The meal taken about the middle of the day; or the principal meal of the day, eaten between noon and evening.

2. An entertainment; a feast.

Behold, I have prepared my dinner. Matthew 22:4.

DINNER-TIME, n. The usual time of dining.

DINT, n.

1. A blow; a stroke.

2. Force; violence; power exerted; as, to win by dint of arms, by dint of war, by dint of argument or importunity.

3. The mark made by a blow; a cavity or impression made by a blow or by pressure on a substance; often pronounced dent.

His hands had made a dint.

DINT, v.t. To make a mark or cavity on a substance by a blow or by pressure. [See Indent.]

DINTED, pp. Marked by a blow or by pressure; as deep-dinted furrows.

DINTING, ppr. Impressing marks or cavities.

DINUMERATION, n. The act of numbering singly. [Little used.]

DIOCESAN, a. [See Diocese. The accent on the first and on the third syllable is nearly equal. The accent given to this word int he English books is wrong, almost to ridiculousness.] Pertaining to a diocese.

DIOCESAN, n. A bishop; one in possession of a diocese, and having the ecclesiastical jurisdiction over it.

DIOCESE, n. [Gr., administration, a province or jurisdiction; residence; to dwell; a house. Diocese is a very erroneous orthography.] The circuit or extent of a bishops jurisdiction; an ecclesiastical division of a kingdom or state, subject to the authority of a bishop. In England there are two provinces or circuits of archbishops jurisdiction, Canterbury and York. The province of Canterbury contains twenty-one dioceses, and that of York three, besides the isle of Man. Every diocese is divided into archdeaconries, of which there are sixty; and each archdeaconry, into rural deaneries; and every deanery, into parishes. A diocese was originally a division of the Roman empire for the purpose of civil government, a prefecture. But the term is now exclusively appropriated to ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

DIOCTAHEDRAL, a. [Dis and octahedral.] In crystalography, having the form of an octahedral prism with tetrahedral summits.

DIODON, n. The sun-fish; a genus of fishes of a singular form, appearing like the fore part of the body of a deep fish amputated in the middle.

DIOMEDE, n. An aquatic fowl of the webfooted kind, about the size of a common domestic hen, but its neck and legs much longer.

DIOPSIDE, n. [Gr.] A rare mineral, regarded by Hauy as a variety of augite, and called by Jameson a subspecies of oblique-edged augite, occurring in prismatic crystals, of a vitreous luster, and of a pale green, or a greenish or yellowish white. The variety with four-sided prims has been called Mussite, from Mussa in Piedmont. It resembles the Sahlite.

DIOPTASE, n. Emerald copper ore, a translucent mineral, occurring crystalized in six-sided prisms.

DIOPTRIC, DIOPTRICAL, a. [Gr., to see through; to see.]

1. Affording a medium for the sight; assisting the sight in the view of distant objects; as a dioptric glass.

2. Pertaining to dioptrics, or the science of refracted light.

DIOPTRICS, n. That part of optics which treats of the refractions of light passing through different mediums, as through air, water or glass.

DIORISM, n. [Gr.] Definition. [Rarely used.]

DIORISTIC, a. Distinguishing; defining. [Rarely used.]

DIORISTICALLY, adv. In a distinguishing manner. [Rarely used.]

DIP, v.t. pret. and pp. dipped or dipt. [G.]

1. To plunge or immerse, for a moment or short time, in water or other liquid substance; to put into a fluid and withdraw.

The priest shall dip his finger in the blood. Leviticus 4:6.

Let him dip his foot in oil. Deuteronomy 33:24.

One dip the pencil, and one string the lyre.

2. To take with a ladle or other vessel by immersing it in a fluid, as to dip water from a boiler; often with out, as to dip out water.

3. To engage; to take concern; used intransitively, but the passive participle is used.

He was a little dipt in the rebellion of the commons.

4. To engage as a pledge; to mortgage. [Little used.]

5. To moisten; to wet. [Unusual.]

6. To baptize by immersion.

DIP, v.i.

1. To sink; to emerge in a liquid.

2. To enter; to pierce.

3. To engage; to take a concern; as, to dip into the funds.

4. To enter slightly; to look cursorily, or here and there; as, to dip into a volume of history.

5. To choose by chance; to thrust and take.

6. To incline downward; as, the magnetic needle dips. [See Dipping.]

DIP, n. Inclination downward; a sloping; a direction below a horizontal line; depression; as the dip of the needle. The dip of a stratum, in geology, is its greatest inclination to the horizon, or that on a line perpendicular to its direction or course; called also the pitch.

DIP-CHICK, n. A small bird that dives.

DIPETALOUS, a. [Gr., a leaf or petal.] Having two flower-leaves or petals; two-petaled.

DIPH-THONG, n. [Gr., sound; L.] A coalition or union of two vowels pronounced in one syllable. In uttering a diphthong, both vowels are pronounced; the sound is not simple, but the two sounds are so blended as to be considered as forming one syllable, as in joy, noise, bound, out. [The pronunciation dipthong is vulgar.]

DIPHTHONGAL, a. Belonging to a diphthong; consisting of two vowel sounds pronounced in one syllable.

DIPHYLLOUS, a. [Gr., a leaf.] In botany, having two leaves, as a calyx, etc.

DIPLOE, n. [Gr., double.] The soft meditullium, medullary substance, or porous part, between the plates of the skull.

DIPLOMA, n. [Gr., to double or fold. Anciently, a letter or other composition written on paper or parchment and folded; afterwards, an y letter, literary monument, or public document.] A letter or writing conferring some power, authority, privilege or honor. Diplomas are given to graduates of colleges on their receiving the usual degrees; to clergymen who are licensed to exercise the ministerial functions; to physicians who are licensed to practice their profession; and to agents who are authorized to transact business for their principals. A diploma then is a writing or instrument, usually under seal and signed by the proper person or officer, conferring merely honor, as int he case of graduates, or authority, as int he case of physicians, agents, etc.

DIPLOMACY, n. [This word, like supremacy, retains the accent of its original.]

1. The customs, rules and privileges of embassadors, envoys and other representatives of princes and states at foreign courts; forms of negotiation.

2. A diplomatic body the whole body of ministers at a foreign court.

3. The agency or management of ministers at a foreign court.

DIPLOMATED, a. Made by diplomas.


1. Pertaining to diplomas; privileged.

2. Furnished with a diploma; authorized by letters or credentials to transact business for a sovereign at a foreign court. Ministers at a court are denominated a diplomatic body.

3. Pertaining to ministers at a foreign court, or to men authorized by diploma; as a diplomatic character; diplomatic management.

DIPLOMATIC, n. A minister, official agent or envoy to a foreign court.

DIPLOMATICS, n. The science of diplomas, or of ancient writings, literary and public documents, letters, decrees, charters, codicils, etc., which has for its object to decipher old writings, to ascertain their authenticity, their dat, signatures, etc.


1. One that dips; he or that which dips.

2. A vessel used to dip water or other liquor; a ladle.


1. Plunging or immersing into a liquid and speedily withdrawing, as to ascertain the temperature of water by dipping the finger int it; baptizing by immersion.

2. Engaging or taking a concern in.

3. Looking into here and there; examining in a cursory, slight or hasty manner.

4. Inclining downward, as the magnetic needle.

5. Breaking; inclining; as a vein of ore.


1. The act of plunging or immersing.

2. The act of inclining towards the earth; inclination downwards; as the dipping of the needle.

3. The interruption of a vein of ore, or stratum of a fossil, in a mine; or a sloping downwards.

4. The act of baptizing by the immersion of the whole body in water.

DIPPING-NEEDLE, n. A needle that dips; a magnetic needle which dips or inclines to the earth; an instrument which shows the inclination of the magnet, at the different points of the earths surface. In the equatorial regions, the needle takes a horizontal position; but as we recede from the equator towards either pole, it dips or inclines one end to the earth, the north end, as we proceed northward, and the south end, as we proceed southward, and the farther north or south we proceed, the greater is the dip or inclination. This is on the supposition that the poles of the earth and the magnetic poles coincide, which is not the case. The above statement is strictly true, only of the magnetic equator and its poles.

DIPRISMATIC, a. [di and prismatic.] Doubly prismatic.

DIPSAS, n. [gr., dry, thirsty; to thirst.] A serpent whose bite produces a mortal thirst. See Deuteronomy 8:15.

DIPTER, DIPTERA, n. [Gr., a wing.] The dipters are an order of insects having only two wings, and two poisers, as the fly.

DIPTERAL, a. Having two wings only.

DIPTOTE, n. [Gr., to fall.] In grammar, a noun which has only two cases; as, suppetiae, supetias.

DIPTYCH, n. [Gr., to fold.] A public register of the names of consuls and other magistrates among pagans; and of bishops, martyrs and others, among Christians; so called because it sometimes two leaves folded, but is sometimes contained three or more leaves. The sacred diptych was a double catalogue, in one of which were registered the names of the living, and in the other the names of the dead, which were to be rehearsed during the office.

DIPYRE, n. A mineral occurring in minute prisms, either single or adhering to each other in fascicular groups. Before the blowpipe, it melts with ebullition or intumescence, and its powder on hot coals phosphoresces with a feeble light. Its name, from Gr., two; fire, indicates the double effect of fire, in producing fusion and phosphorescence.

DIRE, a. [L.] Dreadful; dismal; horrible; terrible; evil in a great degree.

Dire was the tossing, deep the groans.

DIRECT, a. [L., to make straight. See Right.]

1. Straight; right; as, to pass in a direct line from one body or place to another. It is opposed to crooked, winding, oblique. It is also opposed to refracted; as a direct ray of light.

2. In astronomy, appearing to move forward in the zodiac, in the direction of the sign; opposed to retrograde; as, the motion of a planet is direct.

3. In the line of father and sons; opposed to collateral; as a descendant in the direct line.

4. Leading or tending to an end, as by a straight line or course; not circuitous. Thus we speak of direct means to effect an object; a direct course; a direct way.

5. Open; not ambiguous or doubtful.

6. Plain; express; not ambiguous; as, he said this in direct words; he made a direct acknowledgment.

7. In music, a direct interval is that which forms any kind of harmony on the fundamental sound which produces it; as the fifth, major third and octave.

Direct tax, is a tax assess on real estate, as houses and lands.

DIRECT, v.t. [L.]

1. To point or aim in a straight line, towards a place or object; as, to direct an arrow or a piece of ordnance; to direct the eye; to direct a course or flight.

2. To point; to show the right road or course; as, he directed me to the left hand road.

3. To regulate; to guide or lead; to govern; to cause to proceed in a particular manner; as, to direct the affairs of a nation.

Wisdom is profitable to direct. Ecclesiastes 10:10.

4. To prescribe a course; to mark out a way. Job 37:3.

5. To order; to instruct; to point out a course of proceeding, with authority; to command. But direct is a softer term than command.

DIRECT, n. In music, a character placed at the end of a stave to direct the performer to the first note of the next stave.

DIRECTED, pp. Aimed; pointed; guided; regulated; governed; ordered; instructed.