Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



FINDER, n. One who meets or falls on any thing; one that discovers what is lost or is unknown; one who discovers by searching, or by accident.

FINDFAULT, n. A censurer; a caviller.

FINDFAULTING, a. Apt to censure; captious.

FINDING, ppr. Discovering.


1. Discovery; the act of discovering.

2. In law, the return of a jury to a bill; a verdict.

FINDY, a. Full; heavy; or firm, solid, substantial. Obs.

A cold May and a windy,

Makes the barn fat and findy.

FINE, a.

1. Small; thin; slender; minute; of very small diameter; as a fine thread; fine silk; a fine hair. We say also, fine sand, fine particles.

2. Subtil; thin; tenuous; as, fine spirits evaporate; a finer medium opposed to a grosser.

3. Thin; keep; smoothly sharp; as the fine edge of a razor.

4. Made of fine threads; not coarse; as fine linen or cambric.

5. Clear; pure; free from feculence or foreign matter; as fine gold or silver; wine is not good till fine.

6. Refined.

Those things were too fine to be fortunate, and succeed in all parts.

7. Nice; delicate; perceiving or discerning minute beauties or deformities; as a fine taste; a fine sense.

8. Subtil; artful; dextrous. [See Finess.]

9. Subtil; sly; fraudulent.

10. Elegant; beautiful in thought.

To call the trumpet by the name of the metal was fine.

11. Very handsome; beautiful with dignity.

The lady has a fine person, or a fine face.

12. Accomplished; elegant in manners. He was one of the finest gentlemen of his age.

13. Accomplished in learning; excellent; as a fine scholar.

14. Excellent; superior; brilliant or acute; as a man of fine genius.

15. Amiable; noble; ingenuous; excellent; as a man of a fine mind.

16. Showy; splendid; elegant; as a range of fine buildings; a fine house or garden; a fine view.

17. Ironically, worthy of contemptuous notice; eminent for bad qualities.

That same knave, Ford, her husband, has the finest mad devil of jealousy in him, Master Brook, that ever governed frenzy.

Fine Arts or polite arts, are the arts which depend chiefly on the labors of the mind or imagination, and whose object is pleasure; as poetry, music, painting and sculpture.

The uses of this word are so numerous and indefinite, as to preclude a particular definition of each. In general, fine, in popular language, expresses whatever is excellent, showy or magnificent.

FINE, n. [This word is the basis of finance, but I have not found it, in its simple form, in any modern language, except the English. The word seems to be the L. finis, and the application of it to pecuniary compensation seems to have proceeded from its feudal use, in the transfer of lands, in which a final agreement or concord was made between the lord and his vassal.]

1. In a feudal sense, a final agreement between persons concerning lands or rents, or between the lord and his vassal, prescribing the conditions on which the latter should hold his lands.

2. A sum of money paid to the lord by his tenant, for permission to alienate or transfer his lands to another. This in England was exacted only from the king’s tenants in capite.

3. A sum of money paid to the king or state by way of penalty for an offense; a mulet; a pecuniary punishment. Fines are usually prescribed by statute, for the several violations of law; or the limit is prescribed, beyond which the judge cannot impose a fine for a particular offense.

In fine. [L. in and finis.] In the end or conclusion; to conclude; to sum up all.

FINE, v.t. [See Fine, the adjective.]

1. To clarify; to refine; to purify; to defecate; to free from feculence or foreign matter; as, to fine wine.

[This is the most general use of this word.]

2. To purify, as a metal; as, to fine gold or silver. In this sense, we now generally use refine; but fine is proper. Job 28:1; Proverbs 17:3.

3. To make less coarse; as, to fine grass. [Not used.]

4. To decorate; to adorn. [Not in use.]

FINE, v.t. [See Fine, the noun.]

1. To impose on one a pecuniary penalty, payable to the government, for a crime or breach of law; to set a fine on by judgment of a court; to punish by fine. The trespassers were fined ten dollars and imprisoned a month.

2. v.i. To pay a fine. [Not used.]

FINEDRAW, v.t. [find and draw.] To sew up a rent with so much nicety that it is not perceived.

FINEDRAWER, n. One who finedraws.

FINEDDRAWING, n. Rentering; a dextrous or nice sewing up the rents of cloths or stuffs.

FINEFINGERED, a. Nice in workmanship; dextrous at fine work.

FNESPOKEN, a. Using fine phrases.

FINESPUN, a. Drawn to a fine thread; minute; subtle.

FINESTILL, v.t. To distill spirit from molasses, treacle or some preparation of saccharine matter.

FINESTILLER, n. One who distills spirit from treacle or molasses.

FINESTILLING, n. The operation of distilling spirit from molasses or treacle.

FINED, pp.

1. Refined; purified; defecated.

2. Subjected to a pecuniary penalty.

FINELESS, a. Endless; boundless. [Not used.]

FINELY, adv.

1. In minute parts; as a substance finely pulverized.

2. To a thin or sharp edge; as an instrument finely sharpened.

3. Gaily; handsomely; beautifully; with elegance and taste. she was finely attired.

4. With elegance or beauty.

Plutarch says very finely, that a man should not allow himself to hate even his enemies; for it you indulge this passion on some occasions, it will rise of itself in others.

5. With advantage; very favorably; as a house or garden finely situated.

6. Nicely; delicately; as a stuff finely wrought.

7. Purely; completely.

8. By way of irony, wretchedly; in a manner deserving of contemptuous notice. He is finely caught in his own snare.


1. Thinness; smallness; slenderness; as the finances of a thread or silk. Hence.

2. Consisting of fine threads; as fine linen.

3. Smallness; minuteness; as the fineness of sand or particles; the fineness of soil or mold.

4. Clearness; purity; freedom from foreign matter; as the fineness of wine or other liquor; the fineness of gold.

5. Niceness; delicacy; as the fineness of taste.

6. Keenness; sharpness; thinness; as the finances of an edge.

7. Elegance; beauty; as fineness of person.

8. Capacity for delicate or refined conceptions; as the fineness of genius.

9. Show; splendor; gayety of appearance; elegance; as the fineness of clothes or dress.

10. Clearness; as the fineness of complexion.

11. Subtility; artfulness; ingenuity; as the fineness of wit.

12. Smoothness.


1. One who refines or purifies. Proverbs 25:4.

2. a. Comparative of fine.


1. Show; splendor; gaiety of colors or appearance; as the finery of a dress.

2. Showy articles of dress; gay clothes, jewels, trinkets, etc.

3. In iron-works, the second forge at the iron-mills. [See Finary.]

FINESS, FINESSE, n. Artifice; stratagem; subtilty of contrivance to gain a point.

FINESS, v.i. To use artifice or stratagem.

FINESSING, ppr. Practicing artifice to accomplish a purpose.

FINFISH, n. A species of slender whale.

FINFOOTED, a. Having palmated feet, or feet with toes connected by a membrane.

FINGER, n. fing’ger.

1. One of the extreme parts of the hand, a small member shooting to a point. The fingers have joints which peculiarly fit them to be the instruments of catching, seizing and holding. When we speak of the fingers generally, we include the thumb; as the five fingers. But we often make a distinction. The fingers and thumb consist of fifteen bones; three to each. The word is applied to some other animals as well as to man.

2. A certain measure. We say a finger’s breadth, or the breadth of the four fingers, or of three fingers.

3. The hand.

Who teacheth my fingers to fight. Psalm 144:1.

4. The finger or fingers of God, in scripture, signify his power, strength or operation.

The magicians said to Pharaoh, this is the finger of God. Exodus 8:19.

5. In music, ability; skill in playing on a keyed instrument. She has a good finger.

FINGER, v.t.

1. To handle with the fingers; to touch lightly; to toy. The covetous man delights to finger money.

2. To touch or take thievishly; to pilfer.

3. To touch an instrument of music; to play on an instrument.

4. To perform work with the fingers; to execute delicate work.

5. To handle without violence.

FINGER, v.i. To dispose the fingers aptly in playing on an instrument.

FINGER-BOARD, n. The board at the neck of a violin, guitar or the like, where the fingers act on the strings.


1. Played on; handled; touched.

2. a. Having fingers. In botany, digitate; having leaflets like fingers.

FINGER-FERN, n. A plant, asplenium.

FINGERING, ppr. Handling; touching lightly.


1. The act of touching lightly or handling.

2. The manner of touching an instrument of music.

3. Delicate work made with the fingers.

FINGER-SHELL, n. A marine shell resembling a finger.

FINGER-STONE, n. A fossil resembling an arrow.

FINGLE-FANGLE, n. A trifle. [Vulgar.]

FINGRIGO, n. A plant, of the genus Pisonia. The fruit is a kind of berry or plum.

FINICAL, a. [from fine.]

1. Nice; spruce; foppish; pretending to a great nicety or superfluous elegance; as a finical fellow.

2. Affectedly nice or showy; as a finical dress.

FINICALLY, adv. With great nicety or spruceness; foppishly.

FINICALNESS, n. Extreme nicety in dress or manners; foppishness.

FINING, ppr. [See Fine, the verb.]

1. Clarifying; refining; purifying; defecating; separating from extraneous matter.

2. [See Fine, the noun.] Imposing a fine or pecuniary penalty.

FINING-POT, n. A vessel in which metals are refined.

FINIS, n. [L.] An end; conclusion.

FINISH, v.t. [L. finio, from finis, an end.]

1. To arrive at the end of, in performance; to complete; as, to finish a house; to finish a journey.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished. Genesis 2:1.

2. To make perfect.

Episodes, taken separately, finish nothing.

3. To bring to an end; to end; to put an end to.

Seventy weeks are determined on thy people, and on thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and make an end of sins. Daniel 9:24.

4. To perfect; to accomplish; to polish to the degree of excellence intended. In this sense it is frequently used in the participle of the perfect tense as an adjective. It is a finished performance. He is a finished scholar.

FINISH, n. [See Finishing.]


1. Completed; ended; done; perfected.

2. a. Complete; perfect; polished to the highest degree of excellence; as a finished poem; a finished education.


1. One who finishes; one who completely performs.

2. One who puts an end to.

3. One who completes or perfects.

Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews 12:2.

FINISHING, ppr. Completing; perfecting; bringing to an end.

FINISHING, FINISH, n. Completion; completeness; perfection; last polish.

FINITE, a. [L. finitus, from finio, to finish, from finis, limit.]

Having a limit; limited; bounded; opposed to infinite, as finite number, finite existence; applied to this life, we say, a finite being, finite duration.

FINITELY, adv. Within limits; to a certain degree only.

FINITENESS, n. Limitation; confinement within certain boundaries; as the finiteness of our natural powers.

FINITUDE, n. Limitation. [Not used.]

FINLESS, a. [from fin.] Destitute of fins; as finless fish.

FINLIKE, a. Resembling a fin; as a finlike oar.

FINN, n. A native of Finland, in Europe.

FINNED, a. Having broad edges on either side; applied to a plow.

FINNIKIN, n. A sort of pigeon, with a crest somewhat resembling the mane of a horse.

FINNY, a. Furnished with fins; as finny fish; finny tribes; finny prey.

FIN-TOED, a. [fin and toe.] Palmiped; palmated; having toes connected by a membrane, as aquatic fowls.

FINOCHIO, n. A variety of fennel.

FINSCALE, n. A river fish, called the rudd.

FIPPLE, n. [L. fibula.] A stopper. [Not in use.]

FIR, n.

The name of several species of the genus Pinus; as the Scotch fir, the silver fir, spruce fir, hemlock fir, and oriental fir.

FIR-TREE. [See Fir.]

FIRE, n. [The radical sense of fire is usually, to rush, to rage, to be violently agitated; and if this is the sense of fire, in coincides with L. furo. It may be from shining or consuming.]

1. Heat and light emanating visibly, perceptibly and simultaneously from any body; caloric; the unknown cause of the sensation of heat and of the retrocession of the homogeneous particles of bodies from one another, producing expansion, and thus enlarging all their dimensions; one of the causes of magnetism, as evinced by Dr. Hare’s calorimotor.

In the popular acceptation of the word, fire is the effect of combustion. The combustible body ignited or heated to redness we call fire; and when ascending in a stream or body, we call it flame. A piece of charcoal in combustion, is of a red color and very hot. In this state it is said to be on fire, or to contain fire. When combustion ceases, it loses its redness and extreme heat, and we say, the fire is extinct.

2. The burning of fuel on a hearth, or in any other place. We kindle a fire in the morning, and at night we rake up the fire. Anthracite will maintain fire during the night.

3. The burning of a house or town; a conflagration. Newburyport and Savannah have suffered immense losses by fire. The great fire in Boston in 1711 consumed a large part of the town.

4. Light; luster; splendor.

Stars, hide your fires!

5. Torture by burning.

6. The instrument of punishment; or the punishment of the impenitent in another state.

Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Isaiah 33:14.

7. That which inflames or irritates the passions.

What fire is in my ears?

8. Ardor of temper; violence of passion.

He had fire in his temper.

9. Liveliness of imagination; vigor of fancy; intellectual activity; animation; force of sentiment or expression.

And warm the critic with a poet’s fire.

10. The passion of love; ardent affection.

The God of love retires; dim are his torches, and extinct his fires.

11. Ardor; heat; as the fire of zeal or of love.

12. Combustion; tumult; rage; contention.

13. Trouble; affliction.

When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt. Isaiah 43:2.

To set on fire, to kindle; to inflame; to excite violent action.

St. Anthony’s fire, a disease marked by an eruption on the skin, or a diffused inflammation, with fever; the Erysipelas.

Wild fire, an artificial or factitious fire, which burns even under water. it is made by a composition of sulphur, naphtha, pitch, gum and bitumen. It is called also Greek fire.

FIRE, v.t.

1. To set on fire; to kindle; as, to fire a house or chimney; to fire a pile.

2. To inflame; to irritate the passions; as, to fire with anger or revenge.

3. To animate; to give life or spirit; as, to fire the genius.

4. To drive by fire. [Little used.]

5. To cause to explode; to discharge; as, to fire a musket or cannon.

6. To cauterize; a term in farriery.

FIRE, v.i.

1. To take fire; to be kindled.

2. To be irritated or inflamed with passion.

3. To discharge artillery or firearms. They fired on the town.

FIREARMS, n. plu. Arms or weapons which expel their charge by the combustion of powder, as pistols, muskets, etc.

FIRE-ARROW, n. A small iron dart, furnished with a match impregnated with powder and sulphur, used to fire the sails of ships.


1. A grenade; a ball filled with powder or other combustibles, intended to be thrown among enemies, and to injure by explosion.

2. A meteor which passes rapidly through the air and displodes.

FIREBARE, n. In old writers, a beacon.

FIREBARREL, n. A hollow cylinder used in fireships, to convey the fire to the shrouds.

FIREBAVIN, n. A bundle of brush-wood, used in fireships.

FIREBLAST, n. A disease in hops, chiefly towards the later periods of their growth.

FIREBOTE, n. Allowance of fuel, to which a tenant is entitled.


1. A piece of wood kindled or on fire.

2. An incendiary; one who inflames factions, or causes contention and mischief.

FIREBRICK, n. A brick that will sustain intense heat without fusion.

FIREBRUSH, n. A brush used to sweep the hearth.

FIREBUCKET, n. A bucket to convey water to engines for extinguishing fire.

FIRECLAY, n. A kind of clay that will sustain intense heat, used in making firebricks.

FIRECOCK, n. A cock or spout to let out water for extinguishing fire.

FIRE-COMPANY, n. A company of men for managing an engine to extinguish fires.

FIRECROSS, n. Something used in Scotland as a signal to take arms; the ends being burnt black, and in some parts smeared with blood.

FIRED, pp. Set on fire; inflamed; kindled; animated; irritated.

FIREDAMP. [See Damp.]


1. A fiery serpent.

2. An ignis fatuus.

FIRE-ENGINE, n. An engine for throwing water to extinguish fire and save buildings.

FIRE-ESCAPE, n. A machine for escaping from windows, when houses are on fire.

FIREFLAIR, n. A species of ray-fish or Raja.

FIREFLY, n. A species of fly which has on its belly a spot which shines; and another species which emits light from under its wings, as it flies.

FIREHOOK, n. A large hook for pulling down building in conflagrations.

FIRELOCK, n. A musket, or other gun, with a lock, which is discharged by striking fire with flint and steel.


1. A man whose business is to extinguish fires in towns.

2. A man of violent passions. [Not used.]

FIREMASTER, n. An officer of artillery who superintends the composition of fireworks.

FIRENEW, a. Fresh from the forge; bright.

FIRE-OFFICE, n. An office for making insurance against fire.

FIRE-ORDEAL, n. [See Ordeal.]

FIREPAN, n. A pan for holding or conveying fire. Exodus 27:3.

FIREPLACE, n. The part of a chimney appropriated to the fire; a hearth.

FIREPLUG, n. A plug for drawing water from a pipe to extinguish fire.

FIREPOT, n. A small earthen pot filled with combustibles, used in military operations.

FIRER, n. One who sets fire to any thing; an incendiary.

FIRESHIP, n. A vessel filled with combustibles and furnished with grappling irons to hook and set fire to an enemy’s ships.

FIRESHOVEL, n. A shovel or instrument for taking up or removing coals of fire.

FIRESIDE, n. A place near the fire or hearth; home; domestic life or retirement.

FIRESTICK, n. A lighted stick or brand.


1. A fossil, the pyrite. [See Pyrite.]

2. A kind of freestone which bears a high degree of heat.