Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



DISCOURTESY, n. Discurtesy. [dis and courtesy.] Incivility; rudeness of behavior or language; ill manners; act of disrespect.

Be calm in arguing; for fierceness makes error a fault, and truth discourtesy.

DISCOURTSHIP, n. Want of respect.

DISCOUS, a. [L.] Broad; flat; wide; used of the middle plain and flat part of some flowers.

DISCOVER, v.t. [See Cover.]

1. Literally, to uncover; to remove a covering. Isaiah 22:8.

2. To lay open to the view; to disclose; to show; to make visible; to expose to view something before unseen or concealed.

Go, draw aside the curtains and discover the several caskets to this noble prince.

He discovereth deep things out of darkness. Job 12:22.

Law can discover sin, but not remove.

3. To reveal; to make known.

We will discover ourselves to them. 1 Samuel 14:8.

Discover not a secret to another. Proverbs 25:9.

4. To espy; to have the first sight of; as, a man at mast-head discovered land.

When we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand. Acts 21:3.

5. To find out; to obtain the first knowledge of; to come to the knowledge of something sought or before unknown. Columbus discovered the variation of the magnetic needle. We often discover our mistakes, when too late to prevent their evil effects.

6. To detect; as, we discovered the artifice; the thief, finding himself discovered, attempted to escape.

Discover differs from invent. We discover what before existed, though to us unknown; we invent what did not before exist.


1. That may be discovered; that may be brought to light, or exposed to view.

2. That may be seen; as, many minute animals are discoverable only by the help of the microscope.

3. That may be found out, or made known; as, the scriptures reveal many things not discoverable by the light of reason.

4. Apparent; visible; exposed to view.

Nothing discoverable in the lunar surface is ever covered.

DISCOVERED, pp. Uncovered; disclosed to view; laid open; revealed; espied or first seen; found out; detected.


1. One who discovers; one who first sees or espies; one who finds out, or first comes to the knowledge of something.

2. A scout; an explorer.

DISCOVERING, ppr. Uncovering; disclosing to view; laying open; revealing; making known; espying; finding out; detecting.

DISCOVERTURE, n. A state of being released from coverture; freedom of a woman from the coverture of a husband.


1. The action of disclosing to view, or bringing to light; as, by the discovery of a plot, the public peace is preserved.

2. Disclosure; a making known; as, a bankrupt is bound to make a full discovery of his estate and effects.

3. The action of finding something hidden; as the discovery of lead or silver in the earth.

4. The act of finding out, or coming to the knowledge of; as the discovery of truth; the discovery of magnetism.

5. The act of espying; first sight of; as the discovery of America by Columbus, or of the Continent by Cabot.

6. That which is discovered, found out or revealed; that which is first brought to light, seen or known. The properties of the magnet were an important discovery. Redemption from sin was a discovery beyond the power of human philosophy.

7. In dramatic poetry, the unraveling of a plot, or the manner of unfolding the plot or fable of a comedy or tragedy.

DISCREDIT, n. [See the Verb.]

1. Want of credit or good reputation; some degree of disgrace or reproach; disesteem; applied to persons or things. Frauds in manufactures bring them into discredit.

It is the duty of every Christian to be concerned for the reputation or discredit his life may bring on his profession.

2. Want of belief, trust or confidence; disbelief; as, later accounts have brought the story into discredit.


1. To disbelieve; to give no credit to; not to credit or believe; as, the report is discredited.

2. To deprive of credit or good reputation; to make less reputable or honorable; to bring into disesteem; to bring into some degree of disgrace, or into disrepute.

He least discredits his travels, who returns the same man he went.

Our virtues will be often discredited with the appearance of evil.

3. To deprive of credibility.

DISCREDITABLE, a. Tending to injure credit; injurious to reputation; disgraceful; disreputable.

DISCREDITED, pp. Disbelieved; brought into disrepute; disgraced.

DISCREDITING, ppr. Disbelieving; not trusting to; depriving of credit; disgracing.

DISCREET, a. [L., Gr. It is sometimes written discrete; the distinction between discreet and discrete are arbitrary, but perhaps not entirely useless. The literal sense is, separate, reserved, wary, hence discerning.]

1. Prudent; wise in avoiding errors or evil, and in selecting the best means to accomplish a purpose; circumspect; cautious; wary; not rash.

It is the discreet man, not the witty, nor the learned, nor the brave, who guides the conversation, and gives measures to society.

Let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise. Genesis 41:33.

DISCREETLY, adv. Prudently; circumspectly; cautiously; with nice judgment of what is best to be done or omitted.

DISCREETNESS, n. The quality of being discreet; discretion.

DISCREPANCE, DISCREPANCY, n. [L., to give a different sound, to vary, to jar; to creak. See Crepitate.] Difference; disagreement; contrariety; applicable to facts or opinions.

There is no real discrepancy between these tow genealogies.

DISCREPANT, a. Different; disagreeing; contrary.

DISCRETE, a. [L. See Discreet.]

1. Separate; distinct; disjunct. Discrete proportion is when the ratio of two or more pairs of numbers or quantities is the same, but there is not the same proportion between all the numbers; as 3:6::8:16, 3 bearing the same proportion to 6, as 8 does to 16. But 3 is not to 6 as 6 is to 8. It is thus opposed to continued or continual proportion, as 3:6::12:24.

2. Disjunctive; as, I resign my life, but not my honor, is a discrete proposition.

DISCRETE, v.t. To separate; to discontinue. [Not used.]

DISCRETION, n. [L, a separating. See Discreet.]

1. Prudence, or knowledge and prudence; that discernment which enables a person to judge critically of what is correct and proper, united with caution; nice discernment and judgment, directed by circumspection, and primarily regarding ones own conduct.

A good man--will guide his affairs with discretion. Psalm 112:5.

My son, keep sound wisdom and discretion. Proverbs 3:21.

2. Liberty or power of acting without other control than ones own judgment; as, the management of affairs was left to the discretion of the prince; he is left to his own discretion. Hence,

To surrender at discretion, is to surrender without stipulation or terms, and commit ones self entirely to the power of the conqueror.

3. Disjunction; separation. [Not much used.]

DISCRETIONARY, DISCRETIONAL, a. Left to discretion; unrestrained except by discretion or judgment; that is to be directed or managed by discretion only. Thus, the President of the United States is, in certain cases, invested with discretionary powers, to act according to circumstances.

DISCRETIONARILY, DISCRETIONALLY, adv. At discretion; according to discretion.

DISCRETIVE, a. [See Discreet and Discrete.]

1. Disjunctive; noting separation or opposition. In logic, a discretive proposition expresses some distinction, opposition or variety, by means of but, though, yet, etc.; as, travelers change their climate, but not their temper; Job was patient, though his grief was great.

2. In grammar, discretive distinctions are such as imply opposition or difference; as, not a man, but a beast.

3. Separate; distinct.

DISCRETIVELY, adv. In a discretive manner.

DISCRIMINABLE, a. That may be discriminated.

DISCRIMINATE, v.t. [L., difference, distinction; differently applied; Gr., L.]

1. To distinguish; to observe the difference between; as, we may usually discriminate true from false modesty.

2. To separate; to select from others; to make a distinction between; as, in the last judgment, the righteous will be discriminated from the wicked.

3. To mark with notes of difference; to distinguish by some note or mark. We discriminate animals by names, as nature has discriminated them by different shapes and habits.


1. To make a difference or distinction; as, in the application of law, and the punishment of crimes, the judge should discriminate between degrees of guilt.

2. To observe or note a difference; to distinguish; as, in judging of evidence, we should be careful to discriminate between probability and slight presumption.

DISCRIMINATE, a. Distinguished; having the difference marked.

DISCRIMINATED, pp. Separated; distinguished.

DISCRIMINATELY, adv. Distinctly; with minute distinction; particularly.

DISCRIMINATENESS, n. Distinctness; marked difference.


1. Separating; distinguishing; marking with notes of difference.

2. a. Distinguishing; peculiar; characterized by peculiar differences; as the discriminating doctrines of the gospel.

3. a. That discriminates; able to make nice distinctions; as a discriminating mind.


1. The act of distinguishing; the act of making or observing a difference; distinction; as the discrimination between right and wrong.

2. The state of being distinguished.

3. Mark of distinction.


1. That makes the mark of distinction; that constitutes the mark of difference; characteristic; as the discriminative features of men.

2. That observes distinction; as discriminative providence.

DISCRIMINATIVELY, adv. With discrimination or distinction.

DISCRIMINOUS, a. Hazardous. [Not used.]

DISCUBITORY, a. [L., to lie down or lean.] Leaning; inclining; or fitted to a leaning posture.

DISCULPATE, v.t. [L., a fault.] To free from blame or fault; to exculpate; to excuse.

Neither does this effect of the independence of nations disculpate the author of an unjust war.

DISCULPATED, pp. Cleared from blame; exculpated.

DISCULPATING, ppr. Freeing from blame; excusing.

DISCUMBENCY, n. [L. See Discubitory.] The act of leaning at meat, according to the manner of the ancients.

DISCUMBER, v.t. [dis and cumber.] To unburden; to throw off any thing cumbersome; to disengage from any troublesome weight, or impediment; to disencumber. [The latter is generally used.]

DISCURE, v.t. To discover; to reveal. [Not used.]

DISCURRENT, a. Not current. [Not used.]

DISCURSION, n. [L., to run.] A running or rambling about.

DISCURSIST, n. [See Discourse.] A disputer. [Not in use.]

DISCURSIVE, a. [L., supra.]

1. Moving or roving about; desultory.

2. Argumentative; reasoning; proceeding regularly from premises to consequences; sometimes written discursive. Whether brutes have a kind of discursive faculty.

DISCURSIVELY, adv. Argumentatively; in the form of reasoning or argument.

DISCURSIVENESS, n. Range or gradation of argument.

DISCURSORY, a. Argumental; rational.

DISCUS, n. [L.]

1. A quoit; a piece of iron, copper or stone, to be thrown in play; used by the ancients.

2. In botany, the middle plain part of a radiated compound flower, generally consisting of small florets, with a hollow regular petal, as in the marigold and daisy.

3. The face or surface of the sun or moon. [See Disk.]

DISCUSS, v.t. [L.] Literally, to drive; to beat or to shake in pieces; to separate by beating or shaking.

1. To disperse; to scatter; to dissolve; to repel; as, to discuss a tumor; a medical use of the word.

2. To debate; to agitate by argument; to clear of objections and difficulties, with a view to find or illustrate truth; to sift; to examine by disputation; to ventilate; to reason on, for the purpose of separating truth from falsehood. We discuss a subject, a point, a problem, a question, the propriety, expedience or justice of a measure, etc.

3. To break in pieces. [The primary sense, but not used.]

4. To shake off. [Not in use.]

DISCUSSED, pp. Dispersed; dissipated; debated; agitated; argued.

DISCUSSER, n. One who discusses; one who sifts or examines.

DISCUSSING, ppr. Dispersing; resolving; scattering; debating; agitating; examining by argument.

DISCUSSING, n. Discussion; examination.


1. In surgery, resolution; the dispersion of a tumor or any coagulated matter.

2. Debate; disquisition; the agitation of a point or subject with a view to elicit truth; the treating of a subject by argument, to clear it of difficulties, and separate truth from falsehood.

DISCUSSIVE, a. Having the power to discuss, resolve or disperse tumors or coagulated matter.

DISCUSSIVE, n. A medicine that discusses; a discutient.

DISCUTIENT, a. [L.] Discussing; dispersing morbid matter.

DISCUTIENT, n. A medicine or application which disperses a tumor or any coagulated fluid in the body; sometimes it is equivalent to carminative.

DISDAIN, v.t. [L., to think worthy; worthy. See Dignity.] To think unworthy; to deem worthless; to consider to be unworthy of notice, care, regard, esteem, or unworthy of ones character; to scorn; to contemn. The man of elevated mind disdains a mean action; he disdains the society of profligate, worthless men; he disdains to corrupt the innocent, or insult the weak. Goliath disdained David.

Whose fathers I would have disdained to set with the dogs of my flock. Job 30:1.

DISDAIN, n. Contempt; scorn; a passion excited in noble minds, by the hatred or detestation of what is mean and dishonorable, and implying a consciousness of superiority of mind, or a supposed superiority of mind, or a supposed superiority. In ignoble minds, disdain may spring from unwarrantable pride or haughtiness, and be directed toward objects of worth. It implies hatred, and sometimes anger.

How my soul is moved with just disdain.

DISDAINED, pp. Despised; contemned; scorned.


1. Full of disdain; as disdainful soul.

2. Expressing disdain; as a disdainful look.

3. Contemptuous; scornful; haughty; indignant.

DISDAINFULLY, adv. Contemptuously; with scorn; in a haughty manner.

DISDAINFULNESS, n. Contempt; contemptuousness; haughty scorn.

DISDAINING, ppr. Contemning; scorning.

DISDAINING, n. Contempt; scorn.

DISDIACLASTIC, a. An epithet given by Bartholine and others to a substance supposed to be crystal, but which is a fine pellucid spar, called also Iceland crystal, and by Dr. Hill, from its shape, parallelopipedum.

DISDIAPASON, BISDIAPASON, n. [See Diapason.] In music, a compound concord in the quadruple ratio of 4:1 or 8:2.

Disdiapason diapente, a cocord in a sectuple ratio of 1:6.

Disdiapason semi-diapente, a compound concord in the proportion of 16:3.

Disdiapason ditone, a compound consontance in the proportion of 10:2.

Disdiapason semi-ditone, a compound concord in the proportion of 24:5.

DISEASE, n. Dizeze. [dis and ease.]

1. In its primary sense, pain, uneasiness, distress, and so used by Spenser; but in this sense, obsolete.

2. The cause of pain or uneasiness; distemper; malady; sickness; disorder; any state of a living body in which the natural functions of the organs are interrupted or disturbed, either by defective or preternatural action, without a disrupture of parts by violence, which is called a wound. The first effect of disease is uneasiness or pain, and the ultimate effect is death. A disease may affect the whole body, or a particular limb or part of the body. We say a diseased limb; a disease in the head or stomach; and such partial affection of the body is called a local or topical disease. The word is also applied to the disorders of other animals, as well as to those of man; and to any derangement of the vegetative functions of plants.

The shafts of disease shoot across our path in such a variety of courses, that the atmosphere of human life is darkened by their number, and the escape of an individual becomes almost miraculous.

3. A disordered state of the mind or intellect, by which the reason is impaired.

4. In society, vice; corrupt state of morals. Vices are called moral diseases.

A wise man converses with the wicked, as a physician with the sick, not to catch the disease, but to cure it.

5. Political or civil disorder, or vices in a state; any practice which tends to disturb the peace of society, or impede or prevent the regular administration of government.

The instability, injustice and confusion introduced into the public councils have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have every where perished.

DISEASE, v.t. dizeze.

1. To interrupt or impair any or all the natural and regular functions of the several organs of a living body; to afflict with pain or sickness to make morbid; used chiefly in the passive participle, as a diseased body, a diseased stomach; but diseased may here be considered as an adjective.

2. To interrupt or render imperfect the regular functions of the brain, or of the intellect; to disorder; to derange.

3. To infect; to communicate disease to, by contagion.

4. To pain; to make uneasy.

DISEASED, pp. or a. Dizezed. Disordered; distempered; sick.

DISEASEDNESS, n. Dizezedness. The state of being diseased; a morbid state; sickness.

DISEASEFUL, a. Dizezeful.

1. Abounding with disease; producing diseases; as diseaseful climate.

2. Occasioning uneasiness.

DISEASEMENT, n. Dizezement. Uneasiness; inconvenience.

DISEDGED, a. [dis and edge.] Blunted; made dull.

DISEMBARK, v.t. [dis and embark.] To land; to debark; to remove from on board a ship to the land; to put on shore; applied particularly to the landing of troops and military apparatus; as, the general disembarked the troops at sun-rise.

DISEMBARK, v.i. To land; to debark; to quit a ship for residence or action on shore; as, the light infantry and calvary disembarked, and marched to meet the enemy.

DISEMBARKED, pp. Landed; put on shore.

DISEMBARKING, ppr. Landing; removing from on board a ship to land.

DISEMBARKMENT, n. The act of disembarking.

DISEMBARRASS, v.t. [dis and embarrass.] To free from embarrassment or perplexity; to clear; to extricate.

DISEMBARRASSED, pp. Freed from embarrassment; extricated from difficulty.

DISEMBARRASSING, ppr. Freeing from embarrassment or perplexity; extricating.

DISEMBARRASSMENT, n. The act of extricating from perplexity.

DISEMBAY, v.t. To clear from a bay.

DISEMBITTER, v.t. [dis and embitter.] To free from bitterness; to clear from acrimony; to render sweet or pleasant.

DISEMBODIED, a. [dis and embodied.]

1. Divested of the body; as disembodied spirits or souls.

2. Separated; discharged from keeping in a body.


1. To divest of body; to free from flesh.

2. To discharge from military array.

DISEMBOGUE, v.t. [See Voice.] To pour out or discharge at the mouth, as a stream; to vent; to discharge into the ocean or a lake.

Rolling down, the steep Timavus raves, and through nine channels disembogues his waves.


1. To flow out at the mouth, as a river; to discharge waters into the ocean, or into a lake. Innumerable rivers disembogue into the ocean.

2. To pass out of a gulf or bay.

DISEMBOGUEMENT, n. Discharge of waters into the ocean or a lake.

DISEMBOSOM, v.t. To separate from the bosom.

DISEMBOWEL, v.t. [dis and embowel.] To take out the bowels; to take or draw from the bowels, as the web of a spider.

DISEMBOWELED, pp. Taken or drawn from the bowels.

Disemboweled web.

DISEMBOWELING, ppr. Taking or drawing from the bowels.

DISEMBRANGLE, v.t. To free from litigation. [Not used.]

DISEMBROIL, v.t. [dis and embroil.] To disentangle; to free from perplexity; to extricate from confusion.

DISEMBROILED, pp. Disentangled; cleared from perplexity or confusion.

DISEMBROILING, ppr. Disentangling; freeing from confusion.

DISENABLE, v.t. [dis and enable.] To deprive of power, natural or moral; to disable; to deprive of ability or means. A man may be disenabled to walk by lameness; and by poverty he is disenabled to support his family.

DISENABLED, pp. Deprived of power, ability or means.

DISENABLING, ppr. Depriving of power, ability or means.

DISENCHANT, v.t. [dis and enchant.] To free from enchantment; to deliver from the power of charms or spells.

Haste to thy work; a noble stroke or two ends all the charms, and disenchants the grove.

DISENCHANTED, pp. Delivered from enchantment, or the power of charms.

DISENCHANTING, ppr. Freeing from enchantment, or the influence of charms.

DISENCUMBER, v.t. [dis and encumber.]

1. To free from encumbrance; to deliver from clogs and impediments; to disburden; as, to disencumber troops of their baggage; to disencumber the soul of its body of clay; to disencumber the mind of its cares and griefs.

2. To free from any obstruction; to free from any thing heavy or unnecessary; as a disencumbered building.

DISENCUMBERED, pp. Freed from incumbrance.