Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



ELECTRIFIABLE, a. [from electrify.] Capable of receiving electricity, or of being charged with it; that may become electric.

1. Capable of receiving and transmitting the electrical fluid.

ELECTRIFICATION, n. The act of electrifying, or state of being charged with electricity.

ELECTRIFIED, ppr. Charged with electricity.

ELECTRIFY, v.t. To communicate electricity to; to charge with electricity.

1. To cause electricity to pass through; to affect by electricity; to give an electric shock to.

2. To excite suddenly; to give a sudden shock; as, the whole assembly was electrified.

ELECTRIFY, v.i. To become electric.

ELECTRIFYING, ppr. Charging with electricity; affecting with electricity; giving a sudden shock.

ELECTRIZATION, n. The act of electrizing.

ELECTRIZE, v.t. To electrify; a word in popular use.

ELECTRO-CHIMISTRY, n. That science which treats of the agency of electricity and galvanism in effecting chimical changes.

ELECTRO-MAGNETIC, a. Designating what pertains to magnetism, as connected with electricity, or affected by it. Electromagnetic phenomena.

ELECTRO-MAGNETISM, n. That science which treats of the agency of electricity and galvanism in communicating magnetic properties.

ELECTROMETER, n. [L. electrum; Gr. amber, and to measure.]

An instrument for measuring the quantity or intensity of electricity, or its quality; or an instrument for discharging it from a jar.

ELECTROMETRICAL, a. Pertaining to an electrometer; made by an electrometer; as an electrometrical experiment.

ELECTRO-MOTION, n. The motion of electricity or galvanism, or the passing of it from one metal to another, by the attraction or influence of one metal plate in contact with another.

ELECTRO-MOTIVE, a. Producing electro-motion; as electro-motive power.

ELECTROMOTOR, n. [electrum and motor.] A mover of the electric fluid; an instrument or apparatus so called.

ELECTRON, n. Amber; also, a mixture of gold with a fifth part of silver.

ELECTRO-NEGATIVE, a. Repelled by bodies negatively electrified, and attracted by those positively electrified.

ELECTROPHOR, ELECTROPHORUS, n. [electrum, and to bear.] An instrument for preserving electricity a long time.

ELECTRO-POSITIVE, a. Attracted by bodies negatively electrified, or by the negative pole of the galvanic arrangement.

ELECTRUM, n. [L. amber.] In mineralogy, an argentiferous gold ore, or native alloy, of a pale brass yellow color.

ELECTUARY, n. [Low L. electarium, electuarium; Gr. to lick.]

In pharmacy, a form of medicine composed of powders, or other ingredients, incorporated with some conserve, honey or syrup, and made into due consistence, to be taken in doses, like boluses.

ELEEMOSYNARY, a. [Gr. alms, to pity, compassion.]

1. Given in charity; given or appropriated to support the poor; as eleemosynary rents or taxes.

2. Relating to charitable donations; intended for the distribution of alms, or for the use and management of donations, whether for the subsistence of the poor or for the support and promotion of learning; as an eleemosynary corporation. A hospital founded by charity is an eleemosynary institution for the support of the poor, sick and impotent; a college founded by donations is an eleemosynary institution for the promotion of learning. The corporation entrusted with the care of such institutions is eleemosynary.

ELEEMOSYNARY, n. One who subsists on charity.

ELEGANCE, ELEGANCY, n. [L. elegantia, eligo, to choose, though irregularly formed.]

In its primary sense, this word signified that which is choice or select, as distinguished from what is common.

1. “The beauty of propriety, not of greatness,” says Johnson.

Applied to manners or behavior, elegance is that fine polish, politeness or grace, which is acquired by a genteel education, and an association with wellbred company.

Applied to language, elegance respects the manner of speaking or of writing. Elegance of speaking is the propriety of diction and utterance, and the gracefulness of action or gesture; comprehending correct, appropriate and rich expressions, delivered in an agreeable manner. Elegance of composition consists in correct, appropriate and rich expressions, or well chosen words, arranged in a happy manner. Elegance implies neatness, purity, and correct, perspicuous arrangement, and is calculated to please a delicate taste, rather than to excite admiration or strong feeling. Elegance is applied also to form. Elegance in architecture, consists in the due symmetry and distribution of the parts of an edifice, or in regular proportions and arrangement. And in a similar sense, the word is applied to the person or human body. It is applied also to penmanship, denoting that form of letters which is most agreeable to the eye. In short, in a looser sense, it is applied to many works of art or nature remarkable for their beauty; as elegance of dress or furniture.

2. That which pleases by its nicety, symmetry, purity or beauty. In this sense it has a plural; as the nicer elegancies of art.

ELEGANT, a. [L. elegans.] Polished; polite; refined; graceful; pleasing to good taste; as elegant manners.

1. Polished, neat; pure; rich in expressions; correct in arrangement; as an elegant style or composition.

2. Uttering or delivering elegant language with propriety and grace; as an elegant speaker.

3. Symmetrical; regular; well formed in its parts, proportions and distribution; as an elegant structure.

4. Nice; sensible to beauty; discriminating beauty from deformity or imperfection; as an elegant taste. [This is a loose application of the word; elegant being used for delicate.]

5. Beautiful in form and colors; pleasing; as an elegant flower.

6. Rich; costly and ornamental; as elegant furniture or equipage.

ELEGANTLY, adv. In a manner to please; with elegance; with beauty; with pleasing propriety; as a composition elegantly written.

1. With due symmetry; with well formed and duly proportioned parts; as a house elegantly built.

2. Richly; with rich or handsome materials well disposed; as a room elegantly furnished; a woman elegantly dressed.

ELEGIAC, a. [Low L. elegiacus. See Elegy.] Belonging to elegy; plaintive; expressing sorrow or lamentation; as an elegiac lay; elegiac strains.

1. Used in elegies. Pentameter verse is elegiac.

ELEGIST, n. A writer of elegies.

ELEGIT, n. [L. eligo, elegi, to choose.] A writ of execution, by which a defendant’s goods are apprized, and delivered to the plaintiff, and if not sufficient to satisfy the debt, one moiety of his lands are delivered, to be held till the debt is paid by the rents and profits.

1. The title to estate by elegit.

ELEGY, n. [L. elegia; Gr. to speak or utter.; L. lugeo. The verbs may have a common origin, for to speak and to cry out in wailing are only modifications of the same act, to throw out the voice with more or less vehemence.]

1. A mournful or plaintive poem, or a funeral song; a poem or a song expressive of sorrow and lamentation.

2. A short poem without points or affected elegancies.

ELEMENT, n. [L. elementus.]

1. The first or constituent principle or minutest part or any thing; as the elements of earth, water, salt, or wood; the elements of the world; the elements of animal or vegetable bodies. So letters are called the elements of language.

2. An ingredient; a constituent part of any composition.

3. In a chimical sense, an atom; the minutest particle of a substance; that which cannot be divided by chimical analysis, and therefore considered as a simple substance, as oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, etc.

An element is strictly the last result of chimical analysis; that which cannot be decomposed by any means now employed.

An atom is the last result of mechanical division; that which cannot be any farther divided, without decomposition; hence there may be both elementary and compound atoms.

4. In the plural, the first rules or principles of an art or science; rudiments; as the elements of geometry; the elements of music; the elements of painting; the elements of a theory.

5. In popular language, fire, air, earth and water, are called the four elements, as formerly it was supposed that these are simple bodies, of which the world is composed. Later discoveries prove air, earth and water to be compound bodies, and fire to be only the extrication of light and heat during combustion.

6. Element, in the singular, is sometimes used for the air.

7. The substance which forms the natural or most suitable habitation of an animal. Water is the proper element of fishes; air, of man. Hence,

8. The proper state or sphere of any thing; the state of things suited to one’s temper or habits. Faction is the element of a demagogue.

9. The matter or substances which compose the world.

The elements shall melt with fervent heat. 2 Peter 3:10.

10. The outline or sketch; as the elements of a plan.

11. Moving cause or principle; that which excites action.

Passions, the elements of life.

ELEMENT, v.t. To compound of elements or first principles.

1. To constitute; to make as a first principle.

[This word is rarely or never used.]

ELEMENTAL, a. Pertaining to elements.

1. Produced by some of the four supposed elements; as elemental war.

2. Produced by elements; as elemental strife.

3. Arising from first principles.

ELEMENTALITY, n. Composition of principles or ingredients.

ELEMENTALLY, adv. According to elements; literally; as the words, “Take, eat; this is my body,” elementally understood.

ELEMENTARITY, ELEMENTARINESS, n. The state of being elementary; the simplicity of nature; uncompounded state.

ELEMENTARY, a. Primary; simple; uncompounded; uncombined; having only one principle or constituent part; as an elementary substance. Elementary particles are those into which a body is resolved by decomposition.

1. Initial; rudimental; containing, teaching or discussing first principles, rules or rudiments; as an elementary treatise or disquisition.

2. Treating of elements; collecting, digesting or explaining principles; as an elementary writer.

ELEMI, n. The gum elemi, so called; but said to be a resinous substance, the produce of the Amyris elemifera, a small tree or shrub of South America. It is of a whitish color tinged with green or yellow.

ELENCH, n. [L. elenchus; Gr. to argue, to refute.]

1. A vicious or fallacious argument, which is apt to deceive under the appearance of truth; a sophism. [Little used.]

2. In antiquity, a kind of earring set with pearls.

ELENCHICAL, a. Pertaining to an elench.

ELENCHICALLY, adv. By means of an elench. [Not in use.]

ELENCHIZE, v.i. To dispute. [Not in use.]

ELEPHANT, n. [L. elephas, elephantus; probably from the Heb. a leader or chief, the chief or great animal.]

1. The largest of all quadrupeds, belonging to the order of Bruta. This animal has no foreteeth in either jaw; the canine-teeth are very long; and he has a long proboscis or trunk, by which he conveys food and drink to his mouth. The largest of these animals is about 16 feet long and 14 feet high; but smaller varieties are not more than seven feet high. The eyes are small and the feet short, round, clumsy, and distinguishable only by the toes. The trunk is a cartilaginous and muscular tube, extending from the upper jaw, and is seven or eight feet in length. The general shape of his body resembles that of swine. His skin is rugged, and his hair thin, The two large tusks are of a yellowish color, and extremely hard. The bony substance of these is called ivory. The elephant is 30 years in coming to his full growth, and he lives to 150 or 200 years of age. Elephants are natives of the warm climates of Africa and Asia, where they are employed as beasts of burden. They were formerly used in war.

2. Ivory; the tusk of the elephant.

ELEPHANT-BEETLE, n. A large species of Scarabaeus, or beetle, found in South America. It is of a black color; the body covered with a hard shell, as thick as that of a crab. It is nearly four inches long. The feelers are horny, and the proboscis an inch and a quarter in length.

ELEPHANT’S-FOOT, n. A plant, the Elephantopus.

ELEPHANTIASIS, n. [L. and Gr. from elephant.]

A species of leprosy, so called from covering the skin with incrustations, like those of an elephant. It is a chronic and contagious disease, marked by a thickening and greasiness of the legs, with loss of hair and feeling, a swelling of the face, and a hoarse, nasal voice. It affects the whole body; the bones, as well as the skin, are covered with spots and tumors, at first red, but afterwards black.

ELEPHANTINE, a. Pertaining to the elephant; huge; resembling an elephant; or perhaps white, like ivory.

1. In antiquity, an appellation given to certain books in which the Romans registered the transactions of the senate, magistrates, emperors and generals; so called perhaps, as being made of ivory.

ELEUSINIAN, a. Relating to Eleusis in Greece; as Eleusinian mysteries or festivals, the festivals and mysteries of Ceres.

ELEVATE, v.t. [L. elevo; e and levo, to raise; Eng. to lift. See Lift.]

1. To raise, in a literal and general sense; to raise from a low or deep place to a higher.

2. To exalt; to raise to higher state or station; as, to elevate a man to an office.

3. To improve, refine or dignify; to raise from or above low conceptions; as, to elevate the mind.

4. To raise from a low or common state; to exalt; as, to elevate the character; to elevate a nation.

5. To elate with price.

6. To excite; to cheer; to animate; as, to elevate the spirits.

7. To take from; to detract; to lessen by detraction. [Not used.]

8. To raise from any tone to one more acute; as, to elevate the voice.

9. To augment or swell; to make louder, as sound.

ELEVATE, a. [L. elevatus.] Elevated; raised aloft.

ELEVATED, pp. Raised; exalted; dignified; elated; excited; made more acute or more loud, as sound.

ELEVATING, ppr. Raising; exalting; dignifying; elating; cheering.

ELEVATION, n. [L. elevatio.] The act of raising or conveying from a lower or deeper place to a higher.

1. The act of exalting in rank, degree or condition; as the elevation of a man to a throne.

2. Exaltation; an elevated state; dignity.

Angels, in their several degrees of elevation above us, may be endowed with more comprehensive faculties.

3. Exaltation of mind by more noble conceptions; as elevation of mind, of thoughts, of ideas.

4. Exaltation of style; lofty expressions; words and phrases expressive of lofty conceptions.

5. Exaltation of character or manners.

6. Attention to objects above us; a raising of the mind to superior objects.

7. An elevated place or station.

8. Elevated ground; a rising ground; a hill or mountain.

9. A passing of the voice from any note to one more acute; also, a swelling or augmentation of voice.

10. In astronomy, altitude; the distance of a heavenly body above the horizon, or the arc of a vertical circle intercepted between it and the horizon.

11. In gunnery, the angle which the chace of a cannon or mortar, or the axis of the hollow cylinder, makes with the plane of the horizon.

12. In dialling, the angle which the style makes with the substylar line.

Elevation of the Host, in Catholic countries, that part of the mass in which the priest raises the host above his head for the people to adore.

ELEVATOR, n. One who raises, lifts or exalts.

1. In anatomy, a muscle which serves to raise a part of the body, as the lip or the eye.

2. A surgical instrument for raising a depressed portion of a bone.

ELEVATORY, n. An instrument used in trepanning, for raising a depressed or fractured part of the skull.

ELEVE, n. One brought up or protected by another.

ELEVEN, a. elev’n. Ten and one added; as eleven men.

ELEVENTH, a. The next in order to the tenth; as the eleventh chapter.

ELF, n. plu. elves.

1. A wandering spirit; a fairy; a hobgoblin; an imaginary being which our rude ancestors supposed to inhabit unfrequented places, and in various ways to affect mankind. Hence in Scottish, elf-shot is an elf-arrow; an arrow-head of flint, supposed to be shot by elfs; and it signifies also a disease supposed to be produced by the agency of spirits.

Every elf, and fairy sprite,

Hope as light as bird from brier.

2. An evil spirit; a devil.

3. A diminutive person.

ELF, v.t. To entangle hair in so intricate a manner, that it cannot be disentangled. This work was formerly ascribed to elves.

ELF-ARROW, n. A name given to flints in the shape of arrow-heads, vulgarly supposed to be shot by fairies.

ELF-LOCK, n. A knot of hair twisted by elves.

ELFIN, a. Relating or pertaining to elves.

ELFIN, n. A little urchin.

ELFISH, a. Resembling elves; clad in disguise.

ELICIT, v.t. [L. elicio; e or ex and lacio, to allure.]

1. To draw out; to bring to light; to deduce by reason or argument; as, to elicit truth by discussion.

2. To strike out; as, to elicit sparks of fire by collision.

ELICIT, a. Brought into act; brought from possibility into real existence. [Little used.]

ELICITATION, n. The act of eliciting; the act of drawing out.

ELICITED, pp. Brought or drawn out; struck out.

ELICITING, ppr. Drawing out; bringing to light; striking out.

ELIDE, v.t. [L. elido; e and loedo.] To break or dash in pieces; to crush. [Not used.]

1. To cut off a syllable.

ELIGIBILITY, n. [from eligible] Worthiness or fitness to be chosen; the state or quality of a thing which renders it preferable to another, or desirable.

1. The state of being capable of being chosen to an office.

ELIGIBLE, a. [L. eligo, to choose or select; e and lego.]

1. Fit to be chosen; worthy of choice, preferable.

In deep distress, certainty is more eligible than suspense.

2. Suitable; proper; desirable; as, the house stands in an eligible situation.

3. Legally qualified to be chosen; as, a man is or is not eligible to an office.

ELIGIBLENESS, n. Fitness to be chosen in preference to another; suitableness; desirableness.

ELIGIBLY, adv. In a manner to be worthy of choice; suitably.

ELIMINATE, v.t. [L. elimino; e or ex and limen, threshhold.]

1. To thrust out of doors.

2. To expel; to thrust out; to discharge, or throw off; to set at liberty.

This detains secretions which nature finds it necessary to eliminate.

ELIMINATED, pp. Expelled; thrown off; discharged.

ELIMINATING, ppr. Expelling; discharging; throwing off.

ELIMINATION, n. The act of expelling or throwing off; the act of discharging, or secreting by the pores.

ELIQUATION, n. [L. eliquo, to melt; e and liquo.]

In chimistry, the operation by which a more fusible substance is separated from one that is less so, by means of a degree of heat sufficient to melt the one and not the other; as an alloy of copper and lead.

ELISION, n. s as z. [L. elisio, from elido, to strike off; e and loedo.]

1. In grammar, the cutting off or suppression of a vowel at the end of a word, for the sake of sound or measure, when the next word begins with a vowel; as, th’ embattled plain; th’ empyreal sphere.

2. Division; separation. [Not used.]

ELISOR, n. s as z. In law, a sheriff’s substitute for returning a jury. When the sheriff is not an indifferent person, as when he is a party to a suit, or related by blood or affinity to either of the parties, the venire is issued to the coroners; or if any exception lies to the coroners, the venire shall be directed to two clerks of the court, or to two persons of the county, named by the court, and sworn; and these, who are called elisors or electors, shall return the jury.

ELIXATE, v.t. [L. elixo.] To extract by boiling.

ELIXATION, n. [L. elixus, from elixio, to boil, to moisten or macerate, from lixo, lix.]

1. The act of boiling or stewing; also, concoction in the stomach; digestion.

2. In pharmacy, the extraction of the virtues of ingredients by boiling or stewing; also, lixiviation.


1. In medicine, a compound tincture, extracted from two or more ingredients. A tincture is drawn from one ingredient; an elixir from several. But tincture is also applied to a composition of many ingredients. An elixir is a liquid medicine made by a strong infusion, where the ingredients are almost dissolved in the menstruum, and give it a thicker consistence than that of a tincture.

2. A liquor for transmuting metals into gold.

3. Quintessence; refined spirit.

4. Any cordial; that substance which invigorates.

ELK, n. [L. alce, alces.] A quadruped of the Cervine genus, with palmated horns, and a fleshy protuberance on the throat. The neck is short, with a short, thick, upright mane; the eyes are small; the ears long, broad and slouching; and the upper lip hangs over the under lip. It is the largest of the deer kind, being seventeen hands high and weighing twelve hundred pounds. It is found in the northern regions of Europe, Asia and America. In the latter country it is usually called Moose, from the Indian name musu.

ELK-NUT, n. A plant, the Hamiltonia, called also oil-nut.

ELL, n. [L. ulna.] A measure of different lengths in different countries, used chiefly for measuring cloth. The ells chiefly used in Great Britain are the English and Flemish. The English ell is three feet and nine inches, or a yard and a quarter. The Flemish ell is 27 inches, or three quarters of a yard. The English is to the Flemish as five to three. In Scotland, an ell is 37 2/10 English inches.

ELLIPSE, n. ellips’. An ellipsis.

ELLIPSIS, n. [Gr. an omission or defect, to leave or pass by.]

1. In geometry, an oval figure generated from the section of a cone, by a plane cutting both sides of it, but not parallel to the base.

2. In grammar, defect; omission; a figure of syntax, by which one or more words are omitted, which the hearer or reader may supply; as, the heroic virtues I admire, for the heroic virtues which I admire.

ELLIPSOID, n. [ellipsis and Gr. form.] In conics, a solid or figure formed by the revolution of an ellipse about its axis; an elliptic conoid; a spheroid.

ELLIPSOIDAL, a. Pertaining to an ellipsoid; having the form of an ellipsoid.

ELLIPTIC, ELLIPTICAL, a. Pertaining to an ellipsis; having the form of an ellipse; oval.

The plants move in elliptical orbits, having the sun in one focus, and by a radius from the sun, they describe equal areas in equal times.

1. Defective; as an elliptical phrase.

ELLIPTICALLY, adv. According to the figure called an ellipsis.

1. Defectively.

ELM, n. [L. ulmus.] A tree of the genus Ulmus. The common elm is one of the largest and most majestic trees of the forest, and is cultivated for shade and ornament. Another species, the fulva, is called slippery elm, from the quality of its inner bark. One species seems to have been used to support vines.

The treaty which William Penn made with the natives in 1682 was negotiated under a large Elm which grew on the spot now called Kensington, just above Philadelphia. It was prostrated by a storm in 1810, at which time its stem measured 24 feet in circumference.

ELMY, a. Abounding with elms.

ELOCATION, n. [L. eloco.] A removal from the usual place of residence.

1. Departure from the usual method; an ecstasy.

ELOCUTION, n. [L. elocutio, from eloquor; e and loquor, to speak.]

1. Pronunciation; the utterance or delivery of words, particularly in public discourses and arguments. We say of elocution, it is good or bad; clear, fluent or melodious.

Elocution, which anciently embraced style and the whole art of rhetoric, now signifies manner of delivery.

2. In rhetoric, elocution consists of elegance, composition and dignity; and Dryden uses the word as nearly synonymous with eloquence, the act of expressing thoughts with elegance or beauty.

3. Speech; the power of speaking.

Whose taste--gave elocution to the mute.

4. In ancient treatises on oratory, the wording of a discourse; the choice and order of words; composition; the act of framing a writing or discourse.

ELOCUTIVE, a. Having the power of eloquent speaking.

ELOGIST, n. An eulogist. [Not used.]

ELOGY, ELOGIUM, n. [L. elogium. See Eulogy.]

The praise bestowed on a person or thing; panegyric. [But we generally use eulogy.]

ELOIN, v.t.

1. To separate and remove to a distance.

2. To convey to a distance, and withhold from sight.

The sheriff may return that the goods or beasts are eloined.

ELOINATE, v.t. To remove.

ELOINED, pp. Removed to a distance; carried far off.

ELOINING, ppr. Removing to a distance from another, or to a place unknown.

ELOINMENT, n. Removal to a distance; distance.

ELONG, v.t. [Low L. elongo.] To put far off; to retard.