Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



FIREWARD, FIREWARDEN, n. An officer who has authority to direct others in the extinguishing of fires.

FIREWOOD, n. Wood for fuel.

FIREWORK, n. Usually in the plural, fireworks.

Preparations of gun-powder, sulphur and other inflammable materials, used for making explosions in the air, on occasions of public rejoicing; pyrotechnical exhibitions. This word is applied also to various combustible preparations used in war.

FIREWORKER, n. An officer of artillery subordinate to the firemaster.

FIRING, ppr. Setting fire to; kindling; animating; exciting; inflaming; discharging firearms.


1. The act of discharging firearms.

2. Fuel; firewood or coal.

FIRING-IRON, n. An instrument used in farriery to discuss swellings and knots.

FIRK, v.t. To beat; to whip; to chastise. [Not used.]

FIRKIN, n. fur’kin.

A measure of capacity, being the fourth part of a barrel. It is nine gallons of beer, or eight gallons of ale, soap or herrings. In America, the firkin is rarely used, except for butter or lard, and signifies a small vessel or cask of indeterminate size, or of different sizes, regulated by the statutes of the different states.

FIRLOT, n. A dry measure used in Scotland. The oat firlot contains 21 1/4 pints of that country; the wheat firlot 224 cubic inches; the barley firlot 21 standard pints.

FIRM, a. ferm. [L. firmus. This is the root of L. ferrum, iron.]

1. Properly, fixed; hence, applied to the matter of bodies, it signifies closely compressed; compact; hard; solid; as firm flesh; firm muscles; some species of wood are more firm than others; a cloth of firm texture.

2. Fixed; steady; constant; stable; unshaken; not easily moved; as a firm believer; a firm friend; a firm adherent or supporter; a firm man, or a man of firm resolution.

3. Solid; not giving way; opposed to fluid; as firm land.

FIRM, n. ferm. A partnership or house; or the name or title under which a company transact business; as the firm of Hope & Co.
FIRM, v.t. ferm. [L. firmo.] To fix; to settle; to confirm; to establish.

And Jove has firm’d it with an awful nod.

This word is rarely used, except in poetry. In prose, we use confirm.

FIRMAMENT, n. ferm’ament. [L. firmamentum, from firmus, firmo.]

The region of the air; the sky or heavens. In scripture, the word denotes an expanse, a wide extent; for such is the signification of the Hebrew word, coinciding with regio, region, and reach. The original therefore does not convey the sense of solidity, but of stretching, extension; the great arch or expanse over our heads, in which are placed the atmosphere and the clouds, and in which the stars appear to be placed, and are really seen.

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. Genesis 1:6.

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament. Genesis 1:14.

FIRMAMENTAL, a. Pertaining to the firmament; celestial; being of the upper regions.

FIRMAN, n. An Asiatic word, denoting a passport, permit, license, or grant of privileges.

FIRMED, pp. ferm’ed. Established; confirmed.

FIRMING, ppr. ferm’ing, Settling; making firm and stable.

FIRMITUDE, n. ferm’itude. Strength; solidity. [Not in use.]

FIRMITY, n. ferm’ity. Strength; firmness. [Not used.]

FIRMLESS, a. ferm’less. Detached from substance.

Does passion still the firmless mind control.

FIRMLY, ad. ferm’ly.

1. Solidly; compactly; closely; as particles of matter firmly cohering.

2. Steadily; with constancy or fixedness; immovably; steadfastly. He firmly believes in the divine origin of the scriptures. His resolution is firmly fixed. He firmly adheres to his party.

FIRMNESS, n. ferm’ness.

1. Closeness or denseness of texture or structure; compactness; hardness; solidity; as the firmness of wood, stone, cloth or other substance.

2. Stability; strength; as the firmness of a union, or of a confederacy.

3. Steadfastness; constancy; fixedness; as the firmness of a purpose or resolution; the firmness of a man, or of his courage; firmness of mind or soul.

4. Certainty; soundness; as the firmness of notions or opinions.

FIRST, a. furst. [See Fare and For.]

1. Advanced before or further than any other in progression; foremost in place; as the first man in a marching company or troop is the man that precedes all the rest. Hence,

2. Preceding all others in the order of time. Adam was the first man. Cain was the first murderer. Monday was the first day of January.

3. Preceding all others in numbers or a progressive series; the ordinal of one; as, 1 is the first number.

4. Preceding all others in rank, dignity or excellence. Demosthenes was the first orator of Greece. Burke was one of the first geniuses of his age. Give God the first place in your affections.

FIRST, adv. furst.

1. Before any thing else in the order of time.

Adam was first formed, then Eve. 1 Timothy 2:13.

2. Before all others in place or progression.

Let the officers enter the gate first.

3. Before any thing else in order of proceeding or consideration. First, let us attend to the examination of the witnesses.

4. Before all others in rank. He stands or ranks first in public estimation.

At first, at the first, as the beginning or origin.

First or last, at one time or another; at the beginning or end.

And all fools and lovers first or last.

FIRST-BEGOTTEN, a. First produced; the eldest of children.


1. First brought forth; first in the order of nativity; eldest; as the first-born son.

2. Most excellent; most distinguished or exalted. Christ is called the first-born of every creature. Colossians 1:15.

FIRST-BORN, n. The eldest child; the first in the order of birth.

The first-born of the poor are the most wretched. Isaiah 14:30.

The first-born of death is the most terrible death. Job 18:13.

FIRST-CREATED, a. Created before any other.


1. The fruit or produce first matured and collected in any season. Of these the Jews made an oblation to God, as an acknowledgment of his sovereign dominion.

2. The first profits of any thing. In the church of England, the profits of every spiritual benefice for the first year.

3. The first or earliest effect of any thing, in a good or bad sense; as the first-fruits of grace in the heart, or the first-fruits of vice.

FIRSTLING, a. First produced; as firstling males. Deuteronomy 15:19.


1. The first produce or offspring; applied to beasts; as the firstlings of cattle.

2. The thing first thought or done. [Not used.]

The very firstlings of my heart shall be the firstlings of my hand.


1. Of the highest excellence; preeminent; as a first-rate scholar or painter.

2. Being of the largest size; as a first-rate ship.

FISC, n. [L. fiscus. Fiscus, signifies a basket or hanaper, probably from the twigs which composed the first baskets. Eng. whisk. The word coincides in elements with basket, and L. fascia, twigs being the primitive bands.]

The treasury of a prince or state; hence to confiscate to take the good of a criminal and appropriate then to the public treasure.

FISCAL, a. Pertaining to the public treasury or revenue.

The fiscal arrangement of government.


1. Revenue; the income of a prince or state.

2. A treasurer.

FISH, n. [L. piscis.]

1. An animal that lives in water. Fish is a general name for a class of animals subsisting in water, which were distributed by Linne into six orders. They breathe by means of gills, swim by the aid of fins, and are oviparous. Some of them have the skeleton bony, and others cartilaginous. Most of the former have the opening of the gills closed by a peculiar covering, called the gill-lid; many of the latter have no gill-lid, and are hence said to breathe through apertures. Cetaceous animals, as the whale and dolphin, are, in popular language, called fishes, and have been so classed by some naturalists; but they breathe by lungs, and are viviparous, like quadrupeds. The term fish has been also extended to other aquatic animals, such as shell-fish, lobsters, etc. We use fish, in the singular, for fishes in general or the whole race.

2. The flesh of fish, used as food. But we usually apply flesh to land animals.

FISH, v.i.

1. To attempt to catch fish; to be employed in taking fish, by any means, as by angling or drawing nets.

2. To attempt or seek to obtain by artifice, or indirectly to seek to draw forth; as, to fish for compliments.

FISH, v.t.

1. To search by raking or sweeping; as, to fish the jakes for papers.

2. In seamanship, to strengthen, as a mast or yard, with a piece of timber.

3. To catch; draw out or up; as, to fish up a human body when sunk; to fish an anchor.

FISH, n.

1. In ships, a machine to hoist and draw up the flukes of an anchor, towards the top of the bow.

2. A long piece of timber, used to strengthen a lower mast or a yard, when sprung or damaged.


1. One who is employed in catching fish.

2. A species of weasel.

FISHERBOAT, n. A boat employed in catching fish.


1. One whose occupation is to catch fish.

2. A ship or vessel employed in the business of taking fish, as in the cod and whale fishery.

FISHERTOWN, n. A town inhabited by fishermen.


1. The business of catching fish.

2. A place for catching fish with nets or hooks, as the banks of Newfoundland, the coast of England or Scotland, or on the banks of rivers.

FISHFUL, a. Abounding with fish; as a fishful pond.

FISHGIG, FIZGIG, n. An instrument used for striking fish at sea, consisting of a staff with barbed prongs, and a line fastened just above the prongs.

FISHHOOK, n. A hook for catching fish.

FISHING, ppr. Attempting to catch fish; searching; seeking to draw forth by artifice or indirectly; adding a piece of timber to a mast or spar to strengthen it.


1. The art or practice of catching fish.

2. A fishery.

FISHING-FROG, n. The toad-fish, or Lophius, whose head is larger than the body.

FISHING-PLACE, n. A place where fishes are caught with seines; a convenient place for fishing; a fishery.

FISHKETTLE, n. A kettle made long for boiling fish whole.

FISHLIKE, a. Resembling fish.

FISHMARKET, n. A place where fish are exposed for sale.

FISHMEAL, n. A meal of fish; diet on fish; abstemious diet.

FISHMONGER, n. A seller of fish; a dealer in fish.

FISHPOND, n. A pond in which fishes are bred and kept.

FISHROOM, n. An apartment in a ship between the after-hold and the spirit room.

FISHSPEAR, n. A spear for taking fish by stabbing them.

FISHWIFE, n. A woman that cries fish for sale.

FISHWOMAN, n. A woman who sells fish.


1. Consisting of fish.

2. Inhabited by fish; as the fishy flood.

3. Having the qualities of fish; like fish; as a fishy form; a fishy taste or smell.

FISSILE, a. [L. fissilis, from fissus, divided, from findo, to split.]

That may be split, cleft or divided in the direction of the grain, or of natural joints.

This crystal is a pellucid fissile stone.

FISSILITY, n. The quality of admitting to be cleft.

FISSIPED, a. [L. fissus, divided, and pes, foot.] Having separate toes.

FISSIPED, n. An animal whose toes are separate, or not connected by a membrane.

FISSURE, n. fish’ure. [L. fissura, from findo, to split.]

1. A cleft; a narrow chasm made by the parting of any substance; a longitudinal opening; as the fissure of a rock.

2. In surgery, a crack or slit in a bone, either transversely or longitudinally, by means of external force.

3. In anatomy, a deep, narrow sulcus, or depression, dividing the anterior and middle lobes of the cerebrum on each side.

FISSURE, v.t. To cleave; to divide; to crack or fracture.

FISSURED, pp. Cleft; divided; cracked.

FIST, n.

The hand clinched; the hand with the fingers doubled into the palm.

FIST, v.t.

1. To strike with the fist.

2. To gripe with the fist.

FISTICUFFS, n. [fist and cuff.] Blows or a combat with the fist; a boxing.

FISTULA, n. [L.; Eng. whistle.]

1. Properly, a pipe; a wind instrument of music, originally a reed.

2. A surgery, a deep, narrow and callous ulcer, generally arising from abscesses. It differs from a sinus, in being callous.

Fistula lachrymalis, a fistula of the lachrymal sac, a disorder accompanied with a flowing of tears.

FISTULAR, a. Hollow, like a pipe or reed.

FISTULATE, v.i. To become a pipe or fistula.

FISTULATE, v.t. To make hollow like a pipe. [Little used.]

FISTULIFORM, a. [fistula and form.] Being in round hollow columns, as a mineral.

Stalactite often occurs fistuliform.

FISTULOUS, a. Having the form or nature of a fistula; as a fistulous ulcer.

FIT, n. [L. peto, impeto, to assult, or to Eng. pet, and primarily to denote a rushing on or attach, or a start. See fit, suitable.]

1. The invasion, exacerbation or paroxysm of a disease. We apply the word to the return of an ague, after intermission, as a cold fit. We apply it to the first attack, or to the return of other diseases, as a fit of the gout or stone; and in general, to a disease however continued, as a fit of sickness.

2. A sudden and violent attack of disorder, in which the body is often convulsed, and sometimes senseless; as a fit of apoplexy or epilepsy; hysteric fits.

3. Any short return after intermission; a turn; a period or interval. He moves by fits and starts.

By fits my swelling grief appears.

4. A temporary affection or attack; as a fit of melancholy, or of grief; a fit of pleasure.

5. Disorder; distemperature.

6. Anciently, a song, or part of a song; a strain; a canto.

FIT, a. [This is from the root of Eng. pass; pat. In L. competo, whence compatible, signifies properly to meet or to fall on, hence to suit or be fit, from peto. This is probably the same word. The primary sense is to come to, to fall on, hence to meet, to extend to, to be close, to suit. To come or fall, is the primary sense of time or season.]

1. Suitable; convenient; meet; becoming.

Is it fit to say to a king, thou art wicked? Job 34:18.

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Colossians 3:18.

2. Qualified; as men of valor fit for war.

No man having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. Luke 9:62.

FIT, v.t.

1. To adapt; to suit; to make suitable.

The carpenter - marketh it out like a line, he fitteth it with planes. Isaiah 44:13.

2. To accommodate a person with any thing; as, the tailor fits his customer with a coat. The original phrase is, he fits a coat to his customer. But the phrase implies also furnishing, providing a thing suitable for another.

3. To prepare; to put in order for; to furnish with things proper or necessary; as, to fit a ship for a long voyage. Fit yourself for action or defense.

4. To qualify; to prepare; as, to fit a student for college.

To fit out, to furnish; to equip; to supply with necessaries or means; as, to fit out a privateer.

To fit up, to prepare; to furnish with things suitable; to make proper for the reception or use of any person; as, to fit up a house for a guest.

FIT, v.i.

1. To be proper or becoming.

Nor fits it to prolong the feast.

2. To suit or be suitable; to be adapted. His coat fits very well. But this is an elliptical phrase.

FITCH, n. A chick-pea.

FITCHET, FITCHEW, n. A polecat; a foumart.

FITFUL, a. Varied by paroxysms; full of fits.

FITLY, adv.

1. Suitably; properly; with propriety. A maxim fitly applied.

2. Commodiously; conveniently.

FITMENT, n. Something adapted to a purpose. [Not used.]


1. Suitableness; adaptedness; adaptation; as the fitness of things to their use.

2. Propriety; meetness; justness; reasonableness; as the fitness of measures or laws.

3. Preparation; qualification; as a student’s fitness for college.

4. Convenience; the state of being fit.

FITTED, pp. Made suitable; adapted; prepared; qualified.

FITTER, n. One who makes fit or suitable; one who adapts; one who prepares.

FITTING, ppr. Making suitable; adapting; preparing; qualifying; providing with.

FITTINGLY, adv. Suitably.

FITZ, Norm. fites, fuz or fiz, a son, is used in names, as in Fitzherbert, Fitzroy, Carlovitz.

FIVE, a.

Four and one added; the half of ten; as five men; five loaves. Like other adjectives, it is often used as a noun.

Five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Matthew 25:2.

FIVEBAR, FIVEBARRED, a. Having five bars; as a fivebarred gate.

FIVECLEFT, a. Quinquefid; divided into five segments.

FIVEFOLD, a. In fives; consisting of five in one; five-double; five times repeated.

FIVELEAF, n. Cinquefoil.

FIVELEAFED, a. Having five leaves; as fiveleafed clover, or cinquefoil.

FIVELOBED, a. Consisting of five lobes.

FIVEPARTED, a. Divided into five parts.

FIVES, n. A kind of play with a ball.

FIVES, VIVES, n. A disease of horses, resembling the strangles.

FIVETOOTHED, a. Having five teeth.

FIVEVALVED, a. Having five valves.

FIX, v.t. [L. firus, figo.]

1. To make stable; to set or establish immovably. The universe is governed by fixed laws.

2. To set or place permanently; to establish. The prince fixed his residence at York. The seat of our government is fixed at Washington in the district of Columbia. Some men have no fixed opinions.

3. To make fast; to fasten; to attach firmly; as, to fix a cord or line to a hook.

4. To set or place steadily; to direct, as the eye, without moving it; to fasten. The gentleman fixed his eyes on the speaker, and addressed him with firmness.

5. To set or direct steadily, without wandering; as, to fix the attention. The preacher fixes the attention of his audience, or the hearers fix their attention on the preacher.

6. To set or make firm, so as to bear a high degree of heat without evaporating; to deprive of volatility. Gold, diamonds, silver, platina, are among the most fixed bodies.

7. To transfix; to pierce. [Little used.]

8. To withhold from motion.

9. In popular use, to put in order; to prepare; to adjust; to set or place in the manner desired or most suitable; as, to fix clothes or dress; to fix the furniture of a room. this use is analogous to that of set, in the phrase, to set a razor.

FIX, v.i.

1. To rest; to settle or remain permanently; to cease from wandering.

Your kindness banishes your fear, resolved to fix forever here.

2. To become firm, so as to resist volatilization.

3. To cease to flow or be fluid; to congeal; to become hard and malleable; as a metallic substance.

To fix on, to settle the opinion or resolution on any thing; to determine on. The contracting parties have fixed on certain leading points. the legislature fixed on Wethersfield as the place for a State Prison.

FIXABLE, a. That may be fixed, established, or rendered firm.


1. The act of fixing.

2. Stability; firmness; steadiness; a state of being established; as fixation in matters of religion.

3. Residence in a certain place; or a place of residence. [Little used.]

To light, created in the first day, God gave no certain place or fixation.

4. That firm state of a body which resists evaporation or volatilization by heat; as the fixation of gold or other metals.

5. The act or process of ceasing to be fluid and becoming firm; state of being fixed.

FIXED, pp. Settled; established; firm; fast; stable.

Fixed air, an invisible and permanently elastic fluid, heavier than common air and fatal to animal life, produced from the combustion of carbonaceous bodies, as wood or charcoal, and by artificial processes; called also aerial acid, cretaceous acid, and more generally, carbonic acid.

Fixed bodies, are those which bear a high heat without evaporation or volatilization.

Fixed stars, are such stars as always retain the same apparent position and distance with respect to each other, and are thus distinguished from planets and comets, which are revolving bodies.

Fixed oils, such as are obtained by simple pressure, and are not readily volatilized; so called in distinction from volatile or essential oils.

FIXEDLY, adv. Firmly; in a settled or established manner; steadfastly.


1. A state of being fixed; stability; firmness; steadfastness; as a fixedness in religion or politics; fixedness of opinion on any subject.

2. The state of a body which resists evaporation or volatilization by heat; as the fixedness of gold.

3. Firm coherence of parts; solidity.

FIXIDITY, n. Fixedness. [Not used.]

FIXITY, n. Fixedness; coherence of parts; that property of bodies by which they resist dissipation by heat.


1. Position.

2. Fixedness; firm pressure; as the fixture of the foot.

3. Firmness; stable state.

4. That which is fixed to a building; any appendage or part of the furniture of a house which is fixed to it, as by nails, screws, etc., and which the tenant cannot legally take away, when he removes to another house.

FIXURE, n. Position; stable pressure; firmness. [Little used.]


1. A fishgig, which see.

2. A gadding flirting girl.

3. A fire-work, made of powder rolled up in a paper.

FIZZ, FIZZLE, v.i. To make a hissing sound.

FLABBINESS, n. [See Flabby.] A soft, flexible state of a substance, which renders it easily movable and yielding to pressure.


Soft; yielding to the touch and easily moved or shaken; easily bent; hanging loose by its own weight; as flabby flesh.