Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



DOWERLESS, a. Destitute of dower; having no portion or fortune.

DOWERY, DOWRY, A different spelling of dower, but little used, and they may well be neglected.

DOWLAS, n. A kind of coarse linen cloth.

DOWLE, n. A feather. [Not in use.]

DOWN, n.

1. The fine soft feathers of fowls, particularly of the duck kind. The eider duck yields the best kind. Also, fine hair; as the down of the chin.

2. The pubescence of plants, a fine hairy substance.

3. The pappus or little crown of certain seeds of plants; a fine feathery or hairy substance by which seeds are conveyed to distance by the wind; as in dandelion and thistle.

4. Any thing that soothes or mollifies.

Thou bosom softness; down of all my cares.

DOWN, n. [G.]

1. A bank or elevation of sand, thrown up by the sea.

2. A large open plain, primarily on elevated land. Sheep feeding on the downs.

DOWN, prep.

1. Along a descent; from a higher to a lower place; as, to run down a hill; to fall down a precipice; to go down the stairs.

2. Toward the mouth of a river, or toward the place where water is discharged into the ocean or a lake. We sail or swim down a stream; we sail down the sound from New York to New London. Hence figuratively, we pass down the current of life or of time.

Down the sound, in the direction of the ebb-tide towards of the sea.

Down the country, towards the sea, or towards the part where rivers discharge their waters into the ocean.

DOWN, adv.

1. In a descending direction; tending from a higher to a lower place; as, he is going down.

2. On the ground, or at the bottom; as, he is down; hold him down.

3. Below the horizon; as, the sun is down.

4. In the direction from a higher to a lower condition; as, his reputation is going down.

5. Into disrepute or disgrace. A man may sometimes preach down error; he may write down himself or his character, or run down his rival; but he can neither preach nor write down folly, vice or fashion.

6. Into subjection; into a due consistence; as, to boil down, in decoctions and culinary processes.

7. At length; extended or prostrate, on the ground or on any flat surface; as, to lie down; he is lying down.

Up and down, here and there; in a rambling course.

It is sometimes used without a verb, as down, down; in which cases, the sense is known by the construction.

Down with a building, is a command to pull it down, to demolish it.

Down with him, signifies, throw him.

Down, down, may signify, come down, or go down, or take down, lower.

It is often used by seamen, down with the fore sail, etc.

Locke uses it for go down, or be received; as, any kind of food will down; but the use is not elegant, nor legitimate.

Sidney uses it as a verb, To down proud hearts, to subdue or conquer them; but the use is not legitimate.

DOWN-BED, n. A bed of down.

DOWNCAST, a. Cast downward; directed to the ground; as a downcast eye or look, indicating bashfulness, modesty or dejection of mind.

DOWNCAST, n. Sadness; melancholy look.

DOWNED, a. Covered or stuffed with down.


1. A falling, or body of things falling; as the downfall of a flood.

2. Ruin; destruction; a sudden fall; or ruin by violence, in distinction from slow decay or declension; as the downfall of the Roman empire, occasioned by the conquests of the Northern nations; the downfall of a city.

3. The sudden fall, depression or ruin of reputation or estate. We speak of the downfall of pride or glory, and of distinguished characters.

DOWNFALLEN, a. Fallen; ruined.

DOWNGYVED, a. Hanging down like the loose cincture of fetters.

DOWN-HAUL, n. In seamens language, a rope passing along a stay, through the cringles of the stay-sail or jib, and made fast to the upper corner of the sail, to haul it down.

DOWNHEARTED, a. Dejected in spirits.

DOWNHILL, n. Declivity; descent; slope.

And though tis downhill all.

DOWNHILL, a. Declivous; descending; sloping.

A downhill greensward.

DOWNLOOKED, a. Having a downcast countenance; dejected; gloomy; sullen; as jealousy downlooked.

DOWNLYING, n. The time of retiring to rest; time of repose.

DOWNLYING, a. About to be in travel of childbirth.


1. Right down; straight down; perpendicularly.

A giant cleft downright.

2. In plain terms; without ceremony or circumlocution.

We shall chide downright.

3. Completely; without stopping short; as, she fell downright into a fit.


1. Directly to the point; plain; open; artless; undisguised; as downright madness; downright nonsense; downright wisdom; downright falsehood; downright atheism.

2. Plain; artless; unceremonious; blunt; as, he spoke in his downright way.

DOWNRIGHTLY, adv. Plainly; in plain terms; bluntly.

DOWN-SITTING, n. The act of sitting down; repose; a resting.

Thou knowest my down-sitting and my uprising. Psalm 139:2.

DOWNTROD, DOWNTRODDEN, a. Trodden down; trampled down.


1. From a higher place to a lower; in a descending course, whether directly toward the center of the earth, or not; as, to tend downward; to move or roll downwards; to look downward; to take root downwards.

2. In a course or direction from a head, spring, origin or source. Water flows downward toward the sea; we sailed downward on the stream.

3. In a course of lineal descent from an ancestor, considered as a head; as, to trace successive generations downward from Adam or Abraham.

4. In the course of falling or descending from elevation or distinction.


1. Moving or extending from a higher to a lower place, as on a slope or declivity, or in the open air; tending towards the earth or its center; as a downward course; he took his way with downward force.

2. Declivous; bending; as the downward heaven.

3. Descending from a head, origin or source.

4. Tending to a lower condition or state; depressed; dejected; as downward thoughts.

DOWNWEED, n. Cottonweed, a downy plant.

DOWNY, a. [See Down.]

1. Covered with down or nap; as a downy feather; downy wings.

2. Covered with pubescence or soft hairs, as a plant.

3. Made of down or soft feathers; as a downy pillow.

4. Soft, calm, soothing; as downy sleep.

5. Resembling down.

DOWRY, n. [See Dower. This word differs not from dower. It is the same word differently written, and the distinction made between them is arbitrary.]

1. The money, goods or estate which a woman brings to her husband in marriage; the portion given with a wife.

2. The reward paid for a wife.

3. A gift; a fortune, given.

DOWSE, v.t. To strike on the face. [Not in use.]

DOWST, n. A stroke. [Not in use.]

DOXOLOGICAL, a. Pertaining to doxology; giving praise to God.

DOXOLOGY, n. [Gr., praise, glory; to speak.] In Christian worship, a hymn in praise of the Almighty; a particular form of giving glory to God.

DOXY, n. A prostitute.

DOZE, v.i. [See Dote.]

1. To slumber; to sleep lightly.

If he happened to doze a little, the jolly cobbler waked him.

2. To live in a state of drowsiness; to be dull or half asleep; as, to doze away the time; to doze over a work.

DOZE, v.t. To make dull; to stupefy. Dryden uses the participle dozed, Dozed with his fumes; but the transitive verb is seldom or never used.

DOZEN, a. Duzn. [G.] Twelve in number, applied to things of the same kind, but rarely or never to that number in the abstract. We say, a dozen men; a dozen pair of gloves. It is a word much used in common discourse and in light compositions; rarely in the grave or elevated style.

DOZEN, n. The number twelve of things of a like kind; as a dozen of eggs; twelve dozen of gloves; a dozen of wine.

DOZER, n. One that dozes or slumbers.

DOZINESS, n. [from dozy.] Drowsiness; heaviness; inclination to sleep.

DOZING, ppr. Slumbering.

DOZING, n. A slumbering; sluggishness.

DOZY, a. [See Doze.] Drowsy; heavy; inclined to sleep; sleepy; sluggish; as a dozy head.

DRAB, n.

1. A strumpet; a prostitute.

2. A low, sluttish woman. [This seems to be the sense in which it is generally used in New England.]

3. A kind of wooden box, used in salt works for holding the salt when taken out of the boiling pans. Its bottom is shelving or inclining that the water may drain off.

DRAB, n. [L.] A kind of thick woolen cloth.
DRAB, a. Being of a dun color, like the cloth so called.
DRAB, v.i. To associate with strumpets.

DRABBING, ppr. Keeping company with lewd women.

DRABBING, n. An associating with strumpets.

DRABBLE, v.t. To draggle; to make dirty by drawing in mud and water; to wet and befoul; as, to drabble a gown or cloke. In scottish, this word signifies to dirty by slabbering, as if it were allied to dribble, drivel, from the root of drip, which coincides with drop.

DRABBLE, v.i. To fish for barbels with a long line and rod.

DRABBLING, a. Drawing in mud or water; angling for barbels.

DRABBLING, n. A method of angling for barbels with a rod and a long line passed through a piece of lead.

DRABLER, n. In seamens language, a small additional sail, sometimes laced to the bottom of a bonnet on a square sail, in sloops and schooners. It is the same to a bonnet, as a bonnet is to a course.

DRACHMA, n. [L., Gr.]

1. A Grecian coin. Of the value of seven pence, three farthings, sterling, or nearly fourteen cents.

2. The eighth part of an ounce, or sixty grains, or three scruples; a weight used by apothecaries, but usually written dram.

DRACO, n. [See Dragon.]

1. In astronomy, a constellation of the northern hemisphere, containing according to Flamstead, eighty stars.

2. A luminous exhalation from marshy grounds.

3. A genus of animals of two species. [See Dragon.]

DRACONTIC, a. [L.] In astronomy, belonging to that space of time in which the moon performs one entire revolution.


1. In botany, a plant, a species of Arum, with a long stalk, spotted like a serpents belly.

2. In medicine, a long slender worm, bred in the muscular parts of the arms and legs called Guinea worm. These are troublesome in tropical climates, and are usually extirpated by the point of a needle.

DRAD, a. Terrible. [See Dread.] This was also the old pret. of dread.

DRAFF, n. Refuse; lees; dregs; the wash given to swine, or grains to cows; waste matter.

DRAFFISH, a. Worthless.

DRAFFY, a. Dreggy; waste; worthless

DRAFT, n. [corrupted from draught, from drag, draw, but authorized by respectable use.]

1. A drawing; as, this horse is good for draft. In this sense, draught is perhaps most common.

2. A drawing of men from a military band; a selecting or detaching of soldiers from an army, or any part of it, or from a military post. Sometimes a drawing of men from other companies or societies.

Several of the States had supplied the deficiency by drafts to serve for the year.

These important posts, in consequence of heavy drafts, were left weakly defended.

3. An order from one man to another directing the payment of money; a bill of exchange.

I thought it most prudent to defer the drafts, till advice was received of the progress of the loan.

4. A drawing of lines for a plan; a figure described on paper; delineation; sketch; plan delineated. [See Draught.]

5. Depth of water necessary to float a ship. [See Draught.]

6. A writing composed.

DRAFT, v.t.

1. To draw the outline; to delineate.

2. To compose and write; as, to draft a memorial or a lease.

3. To draw men from a military band or post; to select; to detach.

4. To draw men from any company, collection or society.

This Cohen-Caph-El was some royal seminary in Upper Egypt, from whence they drafted novices to supply their colleges and temples.

DRAFT-HORSE, n. A horse employed in drawing, particularly in drawing heavy loads or in plowing.

DRAFT-OX, n. An ox employed in drawing.

DRAFTED, pp. Drawn; delineated; detached.

DRAFTING, ppr. Drawing; delineating; detaching.

DRAFTS, n. A game played on checkers.

DRAG, v.t. [G., L. See Drink and Drench.]

1. To pull; to haul; to draw along the ground by main force; applied particularly to drawing heavy things with labor, along the ground or other surface; as, to drag stone or timber; to drag a net in fishing. John 21:8.

2. To break land by drawing a drag or harrow over it; to harrow; a common use of this word in New England.

3. To draw along slowly or heavily; to draw any thing burdensome; as, to drag a lingering life.

4. To draw along in contempt, as unworthy to be carried.

He drags me at his chariot-wheels.

To drag one in chains.

5. To pull or haul about roughly and forcibly.

In seamens language, to drag an anchor, is to draw or trail it along the bottom when loosened, or when the anchor will not hold the ship.

DRAG, v.i.

1. To hang so low as to trail on the ground.

2. To fish with a drag; as, they have been dragging for fish all day, with little success.

3. To be drawn along; as, the anchor drags.

4. To be moved slowly; to proceed heavily; as, this business drags.

5. To hang or grate on the floor, as a door.

DRAG, n.

1. Something to be drawn along the ground, as a net or a hook.

2. A particular kind of harrow.

3. A car; a low cart.

4. In sea-language, a machine consisting of a sharp square frame of iron, encircled with a net, used to take the wheel off from the platform or bottom of the decks.

5. Whatever is drawn; a boat in tow; whatever serves to retard a ships way.

DRAGGED, pp. Drawn on the ground; drawn with labor or force; drawn along slowly and heavily; raked with a drag or harrow.

DRAGGING, ppr. Drawing on the ground; drawing with labor or by force; drawing slowly or heavily; raking with a drag.

DRAGGLE, v.t. To wet and dirty by drawing on the ground or mud, or on wet grass; to drabble.

DRAGGLE, v.i. To be drawn on the ground; to become wet or dirty by being drawn on the mud or wet grass.

DRAGGLE-TAIL, n. A slut.

DRAGGLED, pp. Drawn on the ground; wet or dirtied by being drawn on the ground or mire.

DRAGGLING, ppr. Drawing on the ground; making dirty by drawing on the ground or wet grass.

DRAGMAN, n. A fisherman that uses a dragnet.

DRAGNET, n. A net to be drawn on the bottom of a river or pond for taking fish.

DRAGOMAN, DROGMAN, n. An interpreter; a term in general use in the Levant and other parts of the East.

DRAGON, n. [L., Gr., G.]

1. A kind of winged serpent, much celebrated in the romances of the middle ages.

2. A fiery, shooting meteor, or imaginary serpent.

Swift, swift, ye dragons of the night! That dawning may bear the ravens eye.

3. A fierce, violent person, male or female; as, this man or woman is a dragon.

4. A constellation of the northern hemisphere. [See Draco.]

In Scripture, dragon seems sometimes to signify a large marine fish or serpent, Isaiah 27:1. Where the leviathan is also mentioned; also Psalm 74:13.

Sometimes it seems to signify a venomous land serpent. Psalm 91:13. The dragon shalt thou trample under foot.

It is often used for the devil, who is called the old serpent. Revelation 20:2.

DRAGON, n. A genus of animals, the Draco. They have four legs, a cylindrical tail, and membranaceous wings, radiated like the fins of a flying-fish.


1. A little dragon.

2. A fish with a slender round body, colored with yellow, blue and white; the head is large and depressed at the top and has two orifices, through which it breathes and ejects water, like the cetaceous tribe.

DRAGON-FISH, n. A species of Trachinus, called the weaver. This fish is about twelve inches in length; it has two or three longitudinal lines of a dirty yellow on the sides, and the belly of a silvery hue. The wounds of its spines occasion inflammation. It buries itself int he sand, except its nose.

DRAGON-FLY, n. A genus of insects, the Libella or Libellula, having four extended wings; they are furnished with jaws; the antennae are shorter than the thorax; and the tail of the male is terminated by a kind of hooked forceps. There are many species, with a great diversity of colors.

DRAGONISH, a. In the form of a dragon; dragonlike.

DRAGONLIKE, a. Like a dragon; fiery; furious.

DRAGONS, n. A genus of plants, the Dracontium, of several species, natives of the Indies.

DRAGON’S-BLOOD, n. A resinous substance, or red juice, extracted from the Dracaena draco, and other trees of a similar nature. It comes from the East Indies, in small flat cakes or round balls, or in oval drops, wrapped in leaves, and knotted like a chaplet. It has no sensible smell or taste. It has been considered as an astringent medicine, but is now little used for medicinal purposes. A solution of it in spirit of wine is used for staining marble, to which it gives a red tinge.

DRAGON’S-HEAD, n. A genus of plants, the Dracocephalum, of many species, most of them herbaceous, annual or perennial plants.

Dragons Head and Tail, in astronomy, are the nodes of the planets, or the two points in which the orbits of the planets intersect the ecliptic.

DRAGON-SHELL, n. A species of concamerated patella or limpet. The top is much curved, and of an ash-color on the outside, but internally, of a bright flesh color. It is found adhering to larger shells, or to the back of the tortoise, as common limpets do to the sides of rocks.

DRAGON’S-WATER, n. A plant, the Calla or African Arum.

DRAGON’S-WORT, n. A plant, a species of Artemisia.

DRAGON-TREE, n. A species of palm.

DRAGOON, n. [G., L, an ensign bearer; dragon; an appellation given to horsemen, perhaps for their rapidity or fierceness.] A soldier or musketeer who serves on horseback or on foot, as occasion may require. Their arms are a sword, a musket and a bayonet.


1. To persecute by abandoning a place to the rage of soldiers.

2. To enslave or reduce to subjection by soldiers.

3. To harass; to persecute; to compel to submit by violent measures; to force. [This is the more usual sense.]

The colonies may be influenced to any thing, but they can de dragooned to nothing.

DRAGOONADE, n. The abandoning of a place to the rage of soldiers.

DRAGOONED, pp. Abandoned to the violence of soldiers; persecuted; harassed.

DRAGOONING, ppr. Abandoning to the rage of soldiers; persecuting; harassing; vexing.

DRAIL, v.t. To trail. [Not in use.]

DRAIL, v.i. To draggle. [Not in use.]

DRAIN, v.t.

1. To filter; to cause to pass through some porous substance.

Salt water, drained through twenty vessels of earth, hath become fresh.

2. To empty or clear of liquor, by causing the liquor to drop or run off slowly; as, to drain a vessel or its contents.

3. To make dry; to exhaust of water or other liquor, by causing it to flow off in channels, or through porous substances; as, to drain land; to drain a swamp or marsh.

4. To empty; to exhaust; to draw off gradually; as, a foreign war drains a country of specie.

DRAIN, v.i.

1. To flow off gradually; as, let the water of low ground drain off.

2. To be emptied of liquor, by flowing or dropping; as, let the vessel stand and drain; let the cloth hand and drain.

DRAIN, n. A channel through which water or other liquid flows off; particularly, a trench or ditch to convey water from wet land; a watercourse; a sewer; a sink.

DRAINABLE, a. Capable of being drained.

DRAINAGE, n. A draining; a gradual flowing off of any liquid.

DRAINED, pp. Emptied of water or other liquor by a gradual discharge, flowing or dropping; exhausted; drawn off.

DRAINING, ppr. Emptying of water or other liquor by filtration or flowing in small channels.

DRAKE, n. [G., L, a duck.]

1. The male of the duck kind.

2. [L., dragon.] A small piece of artillery.

3. The drake-fly.

DRAM, n. [contracted from drachma, which see.]

1. Among druggists and physicians, a weight of the eighth part of an ounce, or sixty grains. In avoirdupois weight, the sixteenth part of an ounce.

2. A small quantity; as no dram of judgment.

3. As much spirituous liquor as is drank at once; as a dram of brandy. Drams are the slow poison of life.

4. Spirit; distilled liquor.

DRAM, v.i. To drink drams; to indulge in the use of ardent spirit. [A low word expressing a low practice.]

DRAM-DRINKER, n. One who habitually drinks spirits.

DRAMA, n. [Gr., to make.] A poem or composition representing a picture of human life, and accommodated to action. The principal species of the drama are tragedy and comedy; inferior species are tragi-comedy, opera, etc.

DRAMATIC, DRAMATICAL, a. Pertaining to the drama; represent by action; theatrical; not narrative.

DRAMATICALLY, a. By representation; in the manner of the drama.

DRAMATIST, n. The author of a dramatic composition; a writer of plays.

DRAMATIZE, v.t. To compose in the form of the drama; or to give to a composition the form of a play.

At Riga in 1204 was acted a prophetic play, that is, a dramatized extract from the history of the Old and New Testaments.

DRAMSELLER, n. One who sells distilled liquors by the dram or glass.

DRAMSHOP, n. A shop or barroom where spirits are sold by the dram.

DRANK, pret. and pp. of drink.

DRANK, n. A term for wild oats.

DRAPE, v.t. To make cloth; also, to banter.

DRAPER, n. One who sells cloths; a dealer in cloths; as a linen-draper or woolen-draper.


1. Clothwork; the trade of making cloth.

2. Cloth; stuffs of wool.

3. In sculpture and painting, the representation of the clothing or dress of human figures; also, tapestry, hangings, curtains, etc.