Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary




G, the seventh letter and the fifth articulation of the English Alphabet, is derived to us, through the Latin and Greek, from the Assyrian languages; it being found in the Chaldee, Syriac, Hebrew, Samaritan, Phenician, Ethiopic and Arabic. In the latter language, it is called giim or jim; ;but in the others, gimel, gomal or gamal, that is camel, from its shape. which resembles the neck of that animal, at least in the Chaldee and Hebrew. It is the third letter in the Chaldee, Syriac, Hebrew, Samaritan and Greek; the fifth in the Arabic, and the twentieth in the Ethiopic. The early Latins used C for the Greek gamma, and hence C came to hold the third place in the order of the Alphabet; the place which gimel holds in the oriental languages. The two letters are primarily palatals, and so nearly allied in sound that they are easily convertible; and they have been reciprocally used the one for the other. But in the Assyrian languages; gimel had two sounds; one hard or close, as we pronounce the letter in gave, good; the other soft, or rather compound, as the English j or as ch in chase. In the Arabic, this letter has the sound of the English j or dzh, and this sound it has in many English words, as in genius, gem, ginger. It retains its hard sound in all cases, before a, o and u; but before e, i and y, its sound is hard or soft, as custom has dictated, and its different sounds are not reducible to rules. It is silent in some words before n, as in benign, condign, malign, campaign; but it resumes its sound inbenignityand malignity. G is mute before n in gnash; it is silent also in many words when united with h, as in bright, might, night, nigh, high. The Saxon g has in many words been softened or liquefied into y or ow; as Sax. daeg, gear, Eng. day, year; Sax. bugan, Eng. to Bow.

The Celtic nations had a peculiar manner of beginning the sound of u or w with the articulation g, or rather prefixing this articulation to that vowel. Thus guard for ward, gwain for wain, guerre for war, gwell for well. Whether this g has been added by the Celtic races, or whether the Teutonic nations have lost it, is a question I have not examined with particular attention. As a numeral G was anciently used to denote 400, and with a dash over it G, 40,000. As an abbreviation, it stands for Gaius, Geelius, etc. In music, it is the mark of the treble cliff, and from its being placed at the head or marking the first sound in Guido’s scale, the whole scale took the name, Gammut, from the Greek name of the letter.

GA, in Gothic, is a prefix, answering to ge in Saxon and other Teutonic languages. It sometimes has the force of the Latin cum or con, as in gawithan, to conjoin. But in most words it appears to have no use, and in modern English it is entirely lost. Y-cleped, in which ge is changed into y, is the last word in which the English retained this prefix.

GAB, n. The mouth; as in the phrase, the gift of the gab, that is, loquaciousness. But the word is so vulgar as rarely to be used.

GABARDINE, n. A coarse frock or loose upper garment; a mean dress.

GABBLE, v.i. [Eng. to gibe.]

1. To prate; to talk fast, or to talk without meaning.

Such a rout, and such a rabble,

Run to hear Jack Pudding gabble.

2. To utter inarticulate sounds with rapidity; as gabbling fowls.

GABBLE, n. Loud or rapid talk with meaning.

1. Inarticulate sounds rapidly uttered, as of fowls.

GABBLER, n. A prater; a noisy talker; one that utters inarticulate sounds.

GABBLING, ppr. Prating; chattering; uttering unmeaning or inarticulate sounds.

GABBRO, n. In mineralogy, the name given by the Italians to the aggregate of diallage and saussurite. It is the euphotide of the French, and the verde di Corcisa duro of artists.

GABEL, n. A tax, import or duty; usually an excise.

GABELER, n. A collector of the gabel or of taxes.

GABION, n. In fortification, a large basket of wickerwork, of a cylindrical form; filled with earth, and serving to shelter men from an enemy’s fire.

GABLE, n. The triangular end of a house or other building, from the cornice or eaves to the top. In America, it is usually called the gable-end.

GABRIELITES, n. In ecclesiastical history, a sect of anabaptists in Pomerania, so called from one Gabriel Scherling.

GABRONITE, n. A mineral, supposed to be a variety of fettstein. It occurs in masses, whose structure is more or less foliated, or sometimes compact. Its colors are gray, bluish or greenish gray, and sometimes red.

GAD, n.

1. A wedge or ingot of steel.

2. A style or graver.

3. A punch of iron with a wooden handle, used by miners.

GAD, v.i.

1. To walk about; to rove or ramble idly or without any fixed purpose.

Give the water no passage, neither a wicked woman liberty to gad abroad.

2. To ramble in growth; as the gadding vine.

GADDER, n. A rambler; one that roves about idly.

GADDING, ppr. Rambling; roving; walking about.

GADFLY, n. An insect of the genus Oestrus, which stings cattle, and deposits its eggs in their skin; called also the breeze.

GADOLINITE, n. A mineral, so called from Professor Gadolin, usually in amorphous masses of a blackish color, and having the appearance of vitreous lava. It contains a new earth called yttria.

GADWALL, n. A fowl of the genus Anas, inhabiting the north of Europe.

GAELIC, GALIC, a. [from Gael, Gaul, Gallia.] An epithet denoting what belongs to the Gaels, tribes of Celtic origin inhabiting the highlands of Scotland; as the Gaelic language.

GAELIC, n. The language of the highlanders of Scotland.

GAFF, n.

1. A harpoon.

2. A sort of boom or pole, used in small ships, to extend the upper edge of the mizen, and of those sails whose foremost edge is joined to the mast by hoops or lacings, and which are extended by a boom below, as the main-sail of a sloop.

GAFFER, n. [Heb. gebar, a man, vir.] A word of respect, which seems to have degenerated into a term of familiarity or contempt. [Little used.]


1. An artificial spur put on cocks when the are set to fight.

2. A steel lever to bend cross-bows.

GAG, v.t.

1. To stop the mouth by thrusting something into the throat, so as to hinder speaking.

2. To keck; to heave with nausea.

GAG, n. Something thrust into the mouth and throat to hinder speaking.

GAGE, n. [Eng. to wage.]

1. A pledge or pawn; something laid down or given as a security for the performance of some act to be done by the person depositing the thing, and which is to be forfeited by non-performance. It is used of a movable thing; not of land or other immovable.

There I throw my gage.

2. A challenge to combat; that is, a glove, a cap, a gauntlet, or the like, cast on the ground by the challenger, and taken up by the accepter of the challenge.

3. A measure, or rule of measuring; a standard. [See Gauge.]

4. The number of feet which a ship sinks in the water.

5. Among letter-founders, a piece of hard wood variously notched, used to adjust the dimensions, slopes, etc. of the various sorts of letters.

6. An instrument in joinery made to strike a line parallel to the straight side of a board.

A sliding-gage, a tool used by mathematical instrument makers for measuring and setting off distances.

Sea-gage, an instrument for finding the depth of the sea.

Tide-gage, an instrument for determining the highth of the tides.

Wind-gage, an instrument for measuring the force of the wind on any given surface.

Weather-gage, the windward side of a ship.

GAGE, v.t. To pledge; to pawn; to give or deposit as a pledge or security for some other act; to wage or wager.

1. To bind by pledge, caution or security; to engage.

2. To measure; to take or ascertain the contents of a vessel, cask or ship; written also gauge.

GAGED, pp. Pledged; measured.

GAGER, n. One who gages or measures the contents.

GAGGER, n. One that gags.

GAGGLE, v.i. To make a noise like a goose.

GAGGLING, n. The noise of geese.

GAGING, ppr. Pledging; measuring the contents.

GAHNITE, n. [from Gahn, the discoverer.] A mineral, called also automalite and octahedral corundum. It is always crystallized in regular octahedrons, or in tetrahedrons with truncated angles.

GAILY, adv. [from gay, and better written gayly.]

1. Splendidly; with finery or showiness.

2. Joyfully; merrily.

GAIN, v.t. [Heb. to gain, to possess.]

1. To obtain by industry or the employment of capital; to get as profit or advantage; to acquire. Any industrious person may gain a good living in America; but it is less difficult to gain property, than it is to use it with prudence. Money at interest may gain five, six, or seven per cent.

What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Matthew 16:26.

2. To win; to obtain by superiority or success; as, to gain a battle or a victory; to gain a prize; to gain a cause in law.

3. To obtain; to acquire; to procure; to receive; as, to gain favor; to gain reputation.

For fame with toil we gain, but lose with ease.

4. To obtain an increase of anything; as, to gain time.

5. To obtain or receive anything, good or bad; as, to gain harm and loss. Acts 27:21.

6. To draw into any interest or party; to win to one’s side; to conciliate.

To gratify the queen, and gain the court.

If he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. Matthew 18:15.

7. To obtain as a suitor.

8. To reach; to attain to; to arrive at; as, to gain the top of a mountain; to gain a good harbor.

To gain into, to draw or persuade to join in.

He gained Lepidus into his measures.

To gain over, to draw to another party or interest; to win over.

To gain ground, to advance in any undertaking; to prevail; to acquire strength or extent; to increase.

GAIN, v.i. To have advantage or profit; to grow rich; to advance in interest or happiness.

Thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbors by extortion. Ezekiel 22:12.

1. To encroach; to advance on; to come forward by degrees; with on; as, the ocean or river gains on the land.

2. To advance nearer; to gain ground on; with on; as, a fleet horse gains on his competitor.

3. To get ground; to prevail against or have the advantage.

The English have not only gained upon the Venetians in the Levant, but have their cloth in Venice itself.

4. To obtain influence with.

My good behavior had so far gained on the emperor, that I began to conceive hopes of liberty.

To gain the wind, in sea language, is to arrive on the windward side of another ship.

GAIN, n. Profit; interest; something obtained as an advantage.

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Philippians 3:7.

1. Unlawful advantage. 2 Corinthians 12:17-18.

2. Overplus in computation; any thing opposed to loss.

GAIN, n. In architecture, a beveling shoulder; a lapping of timbers, or the cut that is made for receiving a timber.
GAIN, a. Handy; dexterous.

GAINABLE, a. That may be obtained or reached.

GAINAGE, n. In old laws, the same as wainage, that is, guainage; the horses, oxen and furniture of the wain, or the instruments for carrying on tillage, which, when a villain was amerced, were left free, that cultivation might not be interrupted. The word signifies also the land itself, or the profit made by cultivation.

GAINED, pp. Obtained as profit or advantage; won; drawn over to a party; reached.

GAINER, n. One that gains or obtains profit, interest or advantage.

GAINFUL, a. Producing profit or advantage; profitable; advantageous; advancing interest or happiness.

1. Lucrative; productive of money; adding to the wealth or estate.

GAINFULLY, adv. With increase of wealth; profitably; advantageously.

GAINFULNESS, n. Profit; advantage.

GAINGIVING, n. [from the root of again, against, and give. See Gainsay.] A misgiving; a giving against or away. [Not used.]

GAINLESS, a. Not producing gain; unprofitable; not bringing advantage.

GAINLESSNESS, n. Unprofitableness; want of advantage.

GAINLY, adv. Handily; readily; dextrously.

GAINSAY, v.t. [Eng. against.] To contradict; to oppose in words; to deny or declare not to be true what another says; to controvert; to dispute; applied to persons, or to propositions, declarations or facts.

I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. Luke 21:15.

GAINSAYER, n. One who contradicts or denies what is alleged; an opposer. Titus 1:9.

GAINSAYING, ppr. Contradicting; denying; opposing.

GAINST. [See Against.]

GAINSTAND, v.t. To withstand; to oppose; to resist.

GAINSTRIVE, v.i. To make resistance.

GAINSTRIVE, v.t. To withstand.

GAIRISH, a. [Gr. proud, boasting.]

1. Gaudy; showy; fine; affectedly fine; tawdry.

Monstrous hats and gairish colors.

2. Extravagantly gay; flighty.

Fame and glory transport a man out of himself; it makes the mind loose and gairish.

GAIRISHNESS, n. Gaudiness; finery; affected or ostentatious show.

1. Flighty or extravagant joy, or ostentation.

GAIT, n. [This word is probably connected with go or gad.]

1. A going; a walk; a march; a way.

2. Manner of walking or stepping. Every man has his peculiar gait.

GAITER, n. A covering of cloth for the leg.

GALA, n. A gala day is a day of pomp, show or festivity, when persons appear in their best apparel.

GALACTITE, n. [Gr. milk.] A fossil substance resembling the morochthus or French chalk in many respects, but different in color. Immersed or triturated in water, it gives it the color of milk.

GALAGE, n. A wooden shoe.

GALANGA, n. A plant, species of the Maranta or Indian Arrow-Root, so called because the root is used to extract the virus communicated by poisoned arrows. This plant has thick, knotty, creeping roots, crowned with long, broad, arundinaceous leaves, with stalks half a yard high, terminated by bunches of monopetalous, ringent flowers.

GALANGAL, n. Zedoary, a species of Kaempferia. It has tuberous, thick, oblong, fleshy roots, crowned with oval close-sitting leaves, by pairs, without footstalks.

GALATIANS, n. Inhabitants of Galatia, in the Lesser Asia, said to be descendants of the Gauls. [See Paul’s epistle to them.]

GALAXY, n. [Gr. milk; fair.]

1. The milky way; that long, white, luminous track which seems to encompass the heavens like a girdle. This luminous appearance is found by the telescope to be occasioned by a multitude of stars, so small as not to be distinguished by the naked eye.

2. An assemblage of splendid persons or things.

GALBAN, GALBANUM, n. [Heb. varied in orthography, from to milk.]

The concrete gummy resinous juice of an umbelliferous plant, called Ferula Africana, etc., and by Linne, Bubon galbanum, which grows in Syria, the East Indies and Ethiopia. This gum comes in pale-colored, semitransparent, soft, tenacious masses, of different shades, from white to brown. It is rather resinous than gummy, and has a strong unpleasant smell, with a bitterish warm taste. It is unctuous to the touch, and softens between the fingers. When distilled with water or spirit, it yields an essential oil, and by distillation in a retort without mixture, it yields an empyreumatic oil of a fine blue color, but this is changed in the air to a purple.

GALE, n. A current of air; a strong wind. The sense of this word is very indefinite. The poets use it in the sense of a moderate breeze of current of air, as a gentle gale. A stronger wind is called a fresh gale.

In the language of seamen, the word gale, unaccompanied by an epithet, signifies a vehement wind, a storm or tempest. They say, the ship carried away her top-mast in a gale, or gale of wind; the ship rode out the gale. But the word is often qualified, as a hard or strong gale, a violent gale. A current of wind somewhat less violent is denominated a stiff gale. A less vehement wind is called a fresh gale, which is a wind not too strong for a ship to carry single reefed top-sails, when close hauled. When the wind is not so violent but that a ship will carry her top-sails a-trip or full spread, it is called a loom-gale.

GALE, v.i. In seamen’s language, to sail, or sail fast.

GALEA, n. [L. galea, a helmet.] A genus of sea hedge-hogs.

GALEAS, n. A Venetian ship, large, but low built, and moved both by oars and sails.

GALEATED, a. [L. galeatus, from galea, a helmet.]

1. Covered as with a helmet.

2. In botany, having a flower like a helmet, as the monk’s-hood.

GALEETO, n. A fish of the genus Blennius, of a greenish color, sometimes variegated with blue transverse lines, and like the eel, living many hours after being taken from the water.

GALENA, n. [Gr. tranquillity, so named from its supposed effects in mitigating the violence of disease.] Originally, the name of the theriaca.

1. Sulphuret of lead; its common color is that shining bluish gray, usually called lead gray; sometimes it is nearly steel gray. Its streak has a metallic luster, but its fine powder is nearly black. Its structure is commonly foliated, sometimes granular or compact, and sometimes striated or fibrous. It occurs in regular crystals, or more frequently massive.

GALENIC, GALENICAL, a. Pertaining to or containing galena.

1. [from Galen, the physician.] Relating to Galen or his principles and method of treating diseases. The galenic remedies consist of preparations of herbs and roots, by infusion, decoction, etc. The chimical remedies consist of preparations by means of calcination, digestion, fermentation, etc.

GALENISM, GALENIST, n. A follower of Galen in the preparation of medicine and modes of treating diseases; opposed to the chimists.

GALERITE, n. [L. galerus, a hat or cap.] A genus of fossil shells.

GALILEAN, n. A native or inhabitant of Galilee, in Judea. Also, one of a sect among the Jews, who opposed the payment of tribute to the Romans.

GALIMATIA, n. Nonsense.

GALIOT, n. [L. galea.]

1. A small galley, or sort of brigantine, built for chase. It is moved both by sails and oars, having one mast and sixteen or twenty seats for rowers.

2. Galiot or galliott, a Dutch vessel, carrying a main-mast and a mizen-mast, and a large gaff main-sail.

GALIPOT, n. A white resin or resinous juice which flows by incision from the pine tree, especially the maritime pine. Galipot encrusts the wounds of fir trees during winter. It consists of resin and oil.

GALL, n. [Gr. probably from its color.]

1. In the animal economy, the bile, a bitter, a yellowish green fluid, secreted in the glandular substance of the liver. It is glutinous or imperfectly fluid, like oil.

2. Any thing extremely bitter.

3. Rancor; malignity.

4. Anger; bitterness of mind.

GALLBLADDER, n. A small membranous sack, shaped like a pear, which receives the bile from the liver by the cystic duct.

GALLSICKNESS, n. A remitting bilious fever in the Netherlands.

GALLSTONE, n. A concretion formed in the gallbladder.

GALL, n. [L. galla.] A hard round excrescence on the oak tree in certain warm climates, said to be the nest of an insect called cynips. It is formed from the tear issuing from a puncture made by the insect, and gradually increased by accessions of fresh matter, till it forms a covering to the eggs and succeeding insects. Galls are used in making ink; the best are from Aleppo.

GALL, v.t.

1. To fret and wear away by friction; to excoriate; to hurt or break the skin by rubbing; as, a saddle galls the back of a horse, or a collar his breast.

Tyrant, I well deserve thy galling chain.

2. To impair; to wear away; as, a stream galls the ground.

3. To tease; to fret; to vex; to chagrin; as, to be galled by sarcasm.

4. To wound; to break the surface of any thing by rubbing; as, to gall a mast or a cable.

5. To injure; to harass; to annoy. The troops were galled by the shot of the enemy.

In our wars against the French of old, we used to gall them with our long bows, at a greater distance than they could shoot their arrows.

GALL, v.i. To fret; to be teased.
GALL, n. A wound in the skin by rubbing.

GALLANT, a. [Eng. could; L. gallus, a cock.]

1. Gay; well dressed; showy; splendid; magnificent.

Neither shall gallant ships pass thereby. Isaiah 33:21.

The gay, the wise, the gallant, and the grave.

[This sense is obsolete.]

2. Brave; high-spirited; courageous; heroic; magnanimous; as a gallant youth; a gallant officer.

3. Fine; noble.

4. Courtly; civil; polite and attentive to ladies; courteous.

GALLANT, n. A gay, sprightly man; a courtly or fashionable man.

1. A man who is polite and attentive to ladies; one who attends upon ladies at parties, or to places of amusement.

2. A wooer; a lover; a suitor.

3. In an ill sense, one who caresses a woman for lewd purposes.

GALLANT, v.t. To attend or wait on, as a lady.

1. To handle with grace or in a modish manner; as, to gallant a fan.

GALLANTLY, adv. Gaily; splendidly.

1. Bravely; nobly; heroically; generously; as, to fight gallantly; to defend a place gallantly.

GALLANTNESS, n. Elegance or completeness of an acquired qualification.


1. Splendor of appearance; show; magnificence; ostentatious finery. [Obsolete or obsolescent.]

2. Bravery; courageousness; heroism; intrepidity. The troops entered the fort with great gallantry.

3. Nobleness; generosity.

4. Civility or polite attentions to ladies.

5. Vicious love or pretensions to love; civilities paid to females for the purpose of winning favors; hence, lewdness; debauchery.

GALLATE, n. [from gall.] A neutral salt formed by the gallic acid combined with a base.

GALLEASS. [See Galeas.]

GALLED, pp. [See Gall, the verb.] Having the skin or surface worn or torn by wearing or rubbing; fretted; teased; injured; vexed.

GALLEON, n. A large ship formerly used by the Spaniards, in their commerce with South America, usually furnished with four decks.


1. In architecture, a covered part of a building, commonly in the wings, used as an ambulatory or place for walking.

2. An ornamental walk or apartment in gardens, formed by trees.

3. In churches, a floor elevated on columns and furnished with pews or seats; usually ranged on three sides of the edifice. A similar structure in a play-house.

4. In fortification, a covered walk across the ditch of a town, made of beams covered with planks and loaded with earth.

5. In a mine, a narrow passage or branch of the mine carried under ground to a work designed to be blown up.

6. In a ship, a frame like a balcony projecting from the stern or quarter of a ship of war or of a large merchantman. That part at the stern, is called the stern-gallery; that at the quarters, the quarter-gallery.

GALLETYLE, n. Gallipot.

GALLEY, n. plu. galleys. [L. galea. The Latin word signifies a helmet, the top of a mast, and a galley; and the name of this vessel seems to have been derived from the head-piece, or kind of basket-work, at mast-head.]

1. A low flat-built vessel, with one deck, and navigated with sails and oars; used in the Mediterranean. The largest sort of galleys, employed by the Venetians, are 162 feet in length, or 133 feet keel. They have three masts and thirty two banks of oars; each bank containing two oars, and each oar managed by six or seven slaves. In the fore-part they carry three small batteries of cannon.

2. A place of toil and misery.

3. An open boat used on the Thames by custom-house officers, press-gangs, and for pleasure.

4. The cook room or kitchen of a ship of war; answering to the caboose of a merchantman.

5. An oblong reverberatory furnace, with a row of retorts whose necks protrude through lateral openings.

GALLEYFOIST, n. A barge of state.

GALLEY-SLAVE, n. A person condemned for a crime to work at the oar on board of a galley.

GALLFLY, n. The insect that punctures plants and occasions galls; the cynips.

GALLIARD, a. Gay; brisk; active.

GALLIARD, n. A brisk, gay man; also, a lively dance.

GALLIARDISE, n. Merriment; excessive gayety.


GALLIC, a. [From Gallia, Gaul.] Now pertaining to Gaul or France.

GALLIC, a. [from gall.] Belonging to galls or oak apples; derived from galls; as the gallic acid.

GALLICAN, a. [L. gallicus, from Gallia, Gaul.] Pertaining to Gaul or France; as the Gallican church or clergy.