Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



FENNEL, n. [L. faeiculum, from faenum, hay.]

A fragrant plant of the genus Anethum, cultivated in gardens.

FENNEL-FLOWER, n. A plant of the genus Nigella.

FENNEL-GIANT, n. A plant of the genus Ferula.

FENNY, a. [from fen.]

1. Boggy; marshy; moorish.

2. Growing in fens; as fenny brake.

3. Inhabiting marshy ground; as a fenny snake.

FENNYSTONES, n. A plant.

FENOWED, a. Corrupted; decayed. [Not in use.]

FENUGREEK, n. [L. faenum graecum.] A plant of the genus Trigonella.

FEOD, n. A feud. So written by Blackstone and other authors; but more generally, feud, which see.

FEODAL, a. Feudal, which see.

FEODALITY, n. Feudal tenures; the feudal system.

FEODARY, n. One who holds lands of a superior, on condition of suit and service. [Little used. See Feudatory.]

FEODATORY. [See Feudatory.]

FEOFF, v.t. feff.

To invest with a fee or feud; to give or grant to one any corporeal hereditament. The compound infeoff is more generally used.

FEOFF, a. fief. [See Fief.]

FEOFFEE, n. feffee’. A person who is infeoffed, that is, invested with a fee or corporeal hereditament.

FEOFFER, FEOFFOR, n. feff’er. One who infeoff’s or grants a fee.

FEOFFMENT, n. feff’ment. [Law L. feoffamentum.] The gift or grant of a fee or corporeal hereditament, as land, castles, honors, or other immovable thing; a grant in fee simple, to a man and his heirs forever. When in writing, it is called a deed of feoffment. The primary sense is the grant of a feud or an estate in trust. [See Feud.]

FERACIOUS, a. [L. ferax, from fero, to bear.] Fruitful; producing abundantly.

FERACITY, n. [L. feracitas.] Fruitfulness. [Little used.]

FERAL, a. [L. feralis.] Funeral; pertaining to funerals; mournful.

FERE, n. A fellow; a mate; a peer. Obs.

FERETORY, n. [L. feretrum, a bier.] A place in a church for a bier.

FERIAL, a. [L. ferialis.] Pertaining to holidays, or to common days.

FERIATION, n. [L. feriatio, from feriae, vacant days, holidays.]

The act of keeping holiday; cessation from work.

FERINE, a. [L. ferinus, from ferus, wild.]

Wild; untamed; savage. Lions, tigers, wolves and bears are ferine beasts.

FERINENESS, n. Wildness; savageness.

FERITY, n. [L. feritas, from ferus, wild.]

Wildness, savageness; cruelty.

FERM, n. A farm or rent; a lodging-house. Obs. [See Farm.]

FERMENT, n. [L. fermentum, from fervo, to boil. See Fervent.]

1. A gentle boiling; or the internal motion of the constituent parts of a fluid.

[In this sense it is rarely used. See Fermentation.]

2. Intestine motion; heat; tumult; agitation; as, to put the passions in a ferment; the state of people are in a ferment.

Subdue and cool the ferment of desire.

3. That which causes fermentation, as yeast, barm, or fermenting beer.

FERMENT, v.t. [L. fermento.]

To set in motion; to excite internal motion; to heat; to raise by intestine motion.

While youth ferments the blood.

FERMENT, v.i. To work; to effervesce; to be in motion, or to be excited into sensible internal motion, as the constituent particles of an animal or vegetable fluid. To the vinous fermentation we apply the term, work. We say that new cider, beer or wine ferments or works. But work is not applied to the other kinds of fermentation.

FERMENTABLE, a. Capable of fermentation; thus, cider, beer of all kinds, wine, and other vegetable liquors, are fermentable.

FERMENTATION, n. [L. fermentatio.] The sensible internal motion of the constituent particles of animal and vegetable substances, occasioned by a certain degree of heat and moisture, and accompanied by an extrication of gas and heat. Fermentation is followed by a change of properties in the substances fermented, arising from new combinations of their principles. It may be defined, in its most general sense, any spontaneous change which takes place in animal or vegetable substances, after life has ceased. It is of three kinds, vinous, acetous, and putrefactive. The term is also applied to other processes, as the panary fermentation, or the raising of bread; but it is limited, by some authors, to the vinous and acetous fermentations, which terminate in the production of alcohol or vinegar. Fermentation differs from effervescence. The former is confined to animal and vegetable substances; the latter is applicable to mineral substances. The former is spontaneous; the latter produced by the mixture of bodies.


1. Causing or having power to cause fermentation; as fermentative heat.

2. Consisting in fermentation; as fermentative process.

FERMENTATIVENESS, n. The state of being fermentative.

FERMENTED, pp. Worked; having undergone the process of fermentation.

FERMENTING, ppr. Working; effervesing.

FERN, n.

A plant of several species constituting the tribe or family of Filices, which have their fructification on the back of the fronds or leaves, or in which the flowers are borne on footstalks which overtop the leaves. The stem is the common footstalk or rather the middle rib of the leaves, so that most ferns want the stem altogether. The ferns constitute the first order of cryptogams, in the sexual system.

FERN-OWL, n. The goatsucker.

FERNY, a. Abounding or overgrown with fern.

FEROCIOUS, a. [L. ferox; allied to ferus, wild, fera, a wild animal.]

1. Fierce; savage; wild; indicating cruelty; as a ferocious look, countenance or features.

2. Ravenous; rapacious; as a ferocious lion.

3. Fierce; barbarous; cruel; as ferocious savages.

FERCIOUSLY, adv. Fiercely; with savage cruelty.

FEROCIOUSNESS, n. Savage fierceness; cruelty; ferocity.

FEROCITY, n. [L. ferocitas.]

1. Savage wildness or fierceness; fury; cruelty; as the ferocity of barbarians.

2. Fierceness indicating a savage heart; as ferocity of countenance.

FERREOUS, a. [L. ferreus, from ferrum, iron.]

Partaking of iron; pertaining to iron; like iron; made of iron.


1. An animal of the genus Mustela, or Weasel kind, about 14 inches in length, of a pale yellow color with red eyes. It is a native of Africa, but has been introduced into Europe. It cannot however bear cold, and cannot subsist even in France, except in a domestic state. Ferrets are used to catch rabbits.

2. A kind of narrow woolen tape.

3. Among glass makers, the iron used to try the melted matter, to see if it is fit to work, and to make the rings at the mouths of bottles.

FERRET, v.t. To drive out of a lurking place, as a ferret does the coney.

FERRETED, pp. Driven from a burrow or lurking place.

FERRETER, n. One that hunts another in his private retreat.

FERRETING, ppr. Driving from a lurking place.

FERRIAGE, n. [See Ferry.] The price or fare to be paid at a ferry; the compensation established or paid for conveyance over a river or lake in a boat.

FERRIC, a. Pertaining to or extracted from iron. Ferric acid is the acid of iron saturated with oxygen.

FERRI-CALCITE, n. [L. ferrum, iron, and calx, lime.]

A species of calcarious earth or limestone combined with a large portion of iron, from 7 to 14 per cent.

FERRIFEROUS, a. [L. ferrum and fer.] Producing or yielding iron.

FERRILITE, n. [L. ferrum, iron and Gr. a stone.]

Rowley ragg; a variety of trap, containing iron in the state of oxyd.

FERRO-CYANATE, n. A compound of the ferro-cyanic acid with a base.

FERRO-CYANIC, a. [L. ferrum, iron and cyanic, which see.] The same as ferroprussic.

FERRO-PRUSSIATE, n. A compound of the ferro-silicic acid with a base, forming a substance analogous to a salt.

FERRO-PRUSSIC, a. [L. ferrum, iron, and prussic.] Designating a peculiar acid, formed of prussic acid and protoxyd of iron.

FERRO-SILICATE, n. A compound of ferro-silicic acid with a base, forming a substance analogous to a salt.

FERRO-SILICIC, a. [L. ferrum, iron, and silex.] Designating a compound of iron and silex.

FERRUGINATED, a. [infra.] Having the color or properties of the rust of iron.

FERRUGINOUS, a. [L. ferrugo, rust of iron, from ferrum, iron.]

1. Partaking of iron; containing particles of iron.

2. Of the color of the rust or oxyd of iron. [Ferrugineous is less used.]


A ring of metal put round a cane or other thing to strengthen it.

FERRY, v.t. [L. fero; allied to bear.]

To carry or transport over a river, strait or other water, in a boat. We ferry men, horses, carriages, over rivers, for a moderate fee or price called fare or ferriage.

FERRY, v.i. To pass over water in a boat.

1. A boat or small vessel in which passengers and goods are conveyed over rivers or other narrow waters; sometimes called a wherry. This application of the word is, I believe, entirely obsolete, at least in America.

2. The place or passage where boats pass over water to convey passengers.

3. The right of transporting passengers over a lake or stream. A.B. owns the ferry at Windsor. [In New England, this word is used in the two latter senses.]

FERRYBOAT, n. A boat for conveying passengers over streams and other narrow waters.

FERRYMAN, n. One who keeps a ferry, and transports passengers over a river.

FERTILE, a. [L. fertilis, from fero, to bear.]

1. Fruitful; rich; producing fruit in abundance; as fertile land, ground, soil, fields or meadows. This word in America is rarely applied to trees, or to animals, but to land. It formerly had of before the thing producing; as fertile of all kinds of grain: but in is now used; fertile in grain.

2. Rich; having abundant resources; prolific; productive; inventive; able to produce abundantly; as a fertile genius, mind or imagination.

FERTILENESS, n. [See Fertility.]

FERTILITY, n. [L. fertilitas.]

1. Fruitfulness; the quality of producing fruit in abundance; as the fertility of land, ground, soil, fields and meadows.

2. Richness; abundant resources; fertile invention; as the fertility of genius, of fancy or imagination.

FERTILIZE, v.t. To enrich; to supply with the pabulum of plants; to make fruitful or productive; as, to fertilize land, soil, ground and meadows. [Fertilitate is not used.]

FERTILIZED, pp. Enriched; rendered fruitful.


1. Enriching; making fruitful or productive. The Connecticut overflows the adjacent meadows, fertilizing them by depositing fine particles of earth or vegetable substances.

2. a. Enriching; furnishing the nutriment of plants.

FERULACEOUS, a. [L. ferula.] Pertaining to reeds or canes; having a stalk like a reed; or resembling the Ferula, as ferulaceous plants.

FERULE, n. [L. ferula, from ferio, to strike, or from the use of stalks of the Ferula.]

1. A little wooden pallet or slice, used to punish children in school, by striking them on the palm of the hand. [Ferular is not used.]

2. Under the Eastern empire, the ferula was the emperor’s scepter. It was a long stem or shank, with a flat square head.

FERULE, v.t. To punish with a ferule.

FERVENCY, n. [See Fervent.]

1. Heat of mind; ardor; eagerness.

2. Pious ardor; animated zeal; warmth of devotion.

When you pray, let it be with attention, with fervency, and with perseverance.

FERVENT, a. [L. fervens, from ferveo, to be hot, to boil, to glow.]

1. Hot; boiling; as a fervent summer; fervent blood.

2. Hot in temper; vehement.

They are fervent to dispute.

3. Ardent; very warm; earnest; excited; animated; glowing; as fervent zeal; fervent piety.

Fervent in spirit. Romans 12:11.


1. Earnestly; eagerly; vehemently; with great warmth.

2. With pious ardor; with earnest zeal; ardently.

Epaphras - saluteth you, laboring fervently for you in prayers. Colossians 4:12.

FERVID, a. [L. fervidus.]

1. Very hot; burning; boiling; as fervid heat.

2. Very warm in zeal; vehement; eager; earnest; as fervid zeal.

FERVIDLY, adv. Very hotly; with glowing warmth.

FERVIDNESS, n. Glowing heat; ardor of mind; warm zeal.

FERVOR, n. [L. fervor.]

1. Heat or warmth; as the fervor of a summer’s day.

2. Heat of mind; ardor; warm or animated zeal and earnestness in the duties of religion, particularly in prayer.

FESCENNINE, a. Pertaining to Fescennium in Italy; licentious.

FESCENNINE, n. A nuptial song, or a licentious song.

FESCUE, n. [L. festuca, a shoot or stalk of a tree, a rod.]

A small wire used to point out letters to children when learning to read.

FESCUE-GRASS, n. The Festuca, a genus of grasses.

FESELS, n. A kind of base grain.

FESSE, n. fess. [L. fascia, a band.] In heraldry, a bank or girdle, possessing the third part of the escutcheon; one of the nine honorable ordinaries.

FESSE-POINT, n. The exact center of the escutcheon.

FESTAL, a. [L. festus, festive. See Feast.]

Pertaining to a feast; joyous; gay; mirthful.

FESTER, v.i. [L. pestis, pus, or pustula.]

To rankle; to corrupt; to grow virulent.

We say of a sore or wound, it festers.

Passion and unkindness may give a wound that shall bleed and smart; but it is treachery that makes it fester.

FESTERING, ppr. Rankling; growing virulent.

FESTINATE, a. [L. festino, festinatus.] Hasty; hurried. [Not in use.]

FESTINATION, n. Haste. [Not used.]

FESTIVAL, a. [L. festivus, from festus, or festum or fasti. See Feast.]

Pertaining to a feast; joyous; mirthful; as a festival entertainment.

FESTIVAL, n. The time of feasting; an anniversary day of joy, civil or religious.

The morning trumpets festival proclaimed.

FESTIVE, a. [L. festivus.] Pertaining to or becoming a feast; joyous; gay; mirthful.

The glad circle round them yield their souls to festive mirth and wit that knows no gall.

FESTIVITY, n. [L. festivitas.]

1. Primarily, the mirth of a feast; hence, joyfulness; gaiety; social joy or exhilaration of spirits at an entertainment.

2. A festival. [Not in use.]


Something in imitation of a garland or wreath. In architecture and sculpture, an ornament of carved work in the form of a wreath of flowers, fruits and leaves intermixed or twisted together. It is in the form of a string or collar, somewhat largest in the middle, where it falls down in an arch, being suspended by the ends, the extremities of which hang down perpendicularly.

FESTUCINE, a. [L. festuca.] Being of a straw-color.

FESTUCOUS, a. Formed of straw.

FET, n. A piece. [Not used.]

FET, v.t. or i. To fetch; to come to. [Not used.]

FETAL, a. [from fetus.] Pertaining to a fetus.

FETCH, v.t.

1. To go and bring, or simply to bring, that is, to bear a thing towards or to a person.

We will take men to fetch victuals for the people. Judges 20:10.

Go to the flock, and fetch me from thence two kids of the goats. Genesis 27:9.

In the latter passage, fetch signifies only to bring.

2. To derive; to draw, as from a source.

On you noblest English, whose blood is fetched from fathers of war-proof.

[In this sense, the use is neither common nor elegant.]

3. To strike at a distance. [Not used.]

The conditions and improvements of weapons are the fetching afar off.

4. To bring back; to recall; to bring to any state. [Not used or vulgar.]

In smells we see their great and sudden effect in fetching men again, when they swoon.

5. To bring or draw; as, to fetch a thing within a certain compass.

6. To make; to perform; as, to fetch a turn; to fetch a leap or bound.

Fetch a compass behind them. 2 Samuel 5:23.

7. To draw; to heave; as, to fetch a sigh.

8. To reach; to attain or come to; to arrive at.

We fetched the syren’s isle.

9. To bring; to obtain its price. Wheat fetches only 75 cents the bushel. A commodity is worth what it will fetch.

To fetch out, to bring or draw out; to cause to appear.

To fetch to, to restore, to revive, as from a swoon.

To fetch up, to bring up; to cause to come up or forth.

To fetch a pump, to pour water into it to make it draw water.

FETCH, v.i. To move or turn; as, to fetch about.
FETCH, n. A stratagem, by which a thing is indirectly brought to pass, or by which one thing seems intended and another is done; a trick; an artifice; as a fetch of wit.

Straight cast about to over-reach

Th’ unwary conqueror with a fetch.

FETCHER, n. One that brings.

FETCHING, ppr. Bringing; going and bringing; deriving; drawing; making; reaching; obtaining as price.

FETICHISM, FETICISM, n. The worship of idols among the negroes of Africa, among whom fetch is an idol, any tree, stone or other thing worshipped.