Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



FORNICATION, n. [L. fornicatio.]

1. The incontinence or lewdness of unmarried persons, male or female; also, the criminal conversation of a married man with an unmarried woman.

2. Adultery. Matthew 5:32.

3. Incest. 1 Corinthians 5:1.

4. Idolatry; a forsaking of the true God, and worshipping of idols. 2 Chronicles 21:11; Revelation 19:2.


1. An unmarried person, male or female, who has criminal conversation with the other sex; also, a married man who has sexual commerce with an unmarried woman. [See Adultery.]

2. A lewd person.

3. An idolater.

FORNICATRESS, n. An unmarried female guilty lewdness.

FORPASS, v.i. To go by; to pass unnoticed. Obs.

FORPINE, v.i. To pine or waste away. Obs.

FORRAY, v.t. To ravage. Obs.

FORRAY, n. The act of ravaging. Obs.

FORSAKE, v.t. pret. forsook; pp. forsaken. [See Seek.]

1. To quit or leave entirely; to desert; to abandon; to depart from. Friends and flatterers forsake us in adversity.

Forsake the foolish, and live. Proverbs 9:6.

2. To abandon; to renounce; to reject.

If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments - Psalm 89:30.

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Psalm 37:8.

3. To leave; to withdraw from; to fail. In anger, the color forsakes the cheeks. In severe trials, let not fortitude forsake you.

4. In scripture, God forsakes his people, when he withdraws his aid, or the light of his countenance.

FORSAKER, n. One that forsakes or deserts.

FORSAKEN, pp. Deserted; left; abandoned.

FORSAKING, ppr. Leaving or deserting.

FORSAKING, n. The act of deserting; dereliction.

FORSAY, v.t. To forbid; to renounce. Obs.

FORSLACK, v.t. To delay. Obs.


In truth; in fact; certainly; very well.

A fit man, forsooth, to govern a realm.

It is generally used in an ironical or contemptuous sense.

FORSTER, n. A forester.

FORSWEAR, v.t. pret. forswore; pp. forsworn. [See Swear and Answer.]

1. To reject or renounce upon oath.

2. To deny upon oath.

Like innocence, and as serenely bold as truth, how loudly he forswears thy gold.

To forswear one’s self, is to swear falsely; to perjure one’s self.

Thou shalt not forswear thyself. Matthew 5:33.

FORSWEAR, v.i. To swear falsely; to commit perjury.

FORSWEARER, n. One who rejects on oath; one who is perjured; one that swears a false oath.

FORSWEARING, ppr. Denying on oath; swearing falsely.

FORSWONK, a. Overlabored. Obs.

FORSWORE, pret. of forswear.

FORSWORN, pp. of forswear. Renounced on oath; perjured.

FORSWORNNESS, n. The state of being forsworn.

FORT, n. [L. fortis, strong.]

1. A fortified place; usually, a small fortified place; a place surrounded with a ditch, rampart, and parapet, or with palisades, stockades, or other means of defense; also, any building or place fortified for security against an enemy; a castle.

2. A strong side, opposed to weak side or foible.

FORTE, adv. A direction to sign with strength of voice.

FORTED, a. Furnished with forts; guarded by forts.

FORTH, adv.

1. Forward; onward in time; in advance; as from that day forth; from that time forth.

2. Forward in place or order; as one, two, three, and so forth.

3. Out; aboard; noting progression or advance from a state of confinement; as, the plants in spring put forth leaves.

When winter past, and summer scarce begun, invites them forth to labor in the sun.

4. Out; away; beyond the boundary of a place; as, send him forth of France. [Little used.]

5. Out into public view, or public character. Your country calls you forth into its service.

6. Thoroughly; from beginning to end. Obs.

7. On to the end. Obs.

FORTH, prep. Out of.

From forth the streets of Pomfret.

Some forth their cabins peep.

FORTH-COMING, a. [See Come.] Ready to appear; making appearance. Let the prisoner be forth-coming.

FORTHINK, v.t. To repent of. [Not in use.]

FORTH-ISSUING, a. [See Issue.] Issuing; coming out; coming forward as from a covert.

FORTHRIGHT, adv. [See Right.] Straight forward; in a straight direction. Obs.

FORTHRIGHT, n. A straight path. Obs.

FORTHWARD, adv. Forward.

FORTHWITH, adv. [forth and with.] Immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales; and he received his sight forthwith. Acts 9:18.

FORTHY, adv. Therefore. [Not used.]

FORTIETH, a. [See Forty.] The fourth tenth; noting the number next after the thirty ninth.

FORTIFIABLE, a. That may be fortified. [Little used.]

FORTIFICATION, n. [See Fortify.]

1. The act of fortifying.

2. The art or science of fortifying places to defend them against an enemy, by means of moats, ramparts, parapets and other bulwarks.

3. The works erected to defend a place against attack.

4. A fortified place; a fort; a castle.

5. Additional strength.


1. One who erects works for defense.

2. One who strengthens, supports and upholds; that which strengthens.


1. To surround with a wall, ditch, palisades or other works, with a view to defend against the attacks of an enemy; to strengthen and secure by forts, batteries and other works of art; as, to fortify a city, town or harbor.

2. To strengthen against any attack; as, to fortify the mind against sudden calamity.

3. To confirm; to add strength and firmness to; as, to fortify an opinion or resolution; to fortify hope or desire.

4. To furnish with strength or means of resisting force, violence or assault.

FORTIFY, v.i. To raise strong places.

FORTILAGE, n. A little fort; a blockhouse. [Not used.]

FORTIN, n. A little fort; a field fort; a sconce.

FORTITUDE, n. [L. fortitudo, from fortis, strong.]

That strength or firmness of mind or soul which enables a person to encounter danger with coolness and courage, or to bear pain or adversity without murmuring, depression or despondency. Fortitude is the basis or source of genuine courage or intrepidity in danger, of patience in suffering, of forbearance under injuries, and of magnanimity in all conditions of life. We sometimes confound the effect with the cause, and use fortitude as synonymous with courage or patience; but courage is an active virtue or vice, and patience is the effect of fortitude.

Fortitude is the guard and support of the other virtues.

FORTLET, n. A little fort.

FORTNIGHT, n. fort’nit. The space of fourteen days; two weeks.


1. Any fortified place; a fort; a castle; a strong hold; a place of defense or security. The English have a strong fortress on the rock of Gibraltar, or that rock is a fortress.

2. Defense; safety; security;

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress. Psalm 18:2.

FORTRESS, v.t. To furnish with fortresses; to guard; to fortify.

FORTRESSED, a. Defended by a fortress; protected; secured.

FORTUITOUS, a. [L. fortuitus, from the root of fors, forte, fortuna. The primary sense is to come, to fall, to happen. See Fare.]

Accidental; casual; happening by chance; coming or occurring unexpectedly, or without any known cause. We speak of fortuitous events, when they occur without our foreseeing or expecting them, and of a fortuitous concourse of atoms, when we suppose the concourse not to result from the design and power of a controlling agent. But an event cannot be in fact fortuitous. [See Accidental and Casual.]

FORTUITOUSLY, adv. Accidentally; casually; by chance.

FORTUITOUSNESS, n. The quality of being accidental; accident; chance.

FORTUNATE, a. [L. fortunatus. See Fortune.]

1. Coming by good luck or favorable chance; bringing some unexpected good; as a fortunate event; a fortunate concurrence of circumstances; a fortunate ticket in a lottery.

2. Lucky; successful; receiving some unforeseen or unexpected good, or some good which was not dependent on one’s own skill or efforts; as a fortunate adventurer in a lottery. I was most fortunate thus unexpectedly to meet my friend.

3. Successful; happy; prosperous; receiving or enjoying some good in consequence of efforts, but where the event was uncertain, and not absolutely in one’s power. The brave man is usually fortunate. We say, a fortunate competitor for a fair lady, or for a crown.

FORTUNATELY, adv. Luckily; successfully; happily; by good fortune, or favorable chance or issue.

FORTUNATENESS, n. Good luck; success; happiness.

FORTUNE, n. [L. fortuna, fero or porto, tempestivus. See Hour and Time.]

1. Properly, chance; accident; luck; the arrival of something in a sudden or unexpected manner. Hence the heathens deified chance, and consecrated temples and altars to the goddess. Hence the modern use of the word, for a power supposed to distribute the lots of life, according to her own humor.

Though fortune’s malice overthrow my state.

2. The good or ill that befalls man.

In you the fortune of Great Britain lies.

3. Success, good or bad; event.

Our equal crimes shall equal fortune give.

4. The chance of life; means of living; wealth.

His father dying, he was driven to London to seek his fortune.

5. Estate; possessions, as a gentleman of small fortune.

6. A large estate; great wealth. This is often the sense of the word standing alone or unqualified; as a gentleman or lady of fortune. To the ladies we say, beware of fortune-hunters.

7. The portion of a man or woman; generally of a woman.

8. Futurity; future state or events; destiny. The young are anxious to have their fortunes told.

You who men’s fortunes in their faces read.


1. To make fortunate. [Not used.]

2. To dispose fortunately or not; also, to presage. Obs.

FORTUNE, v.i. To befall; to fall out; to happen; to come casually to pass.

It fortuned the same night that a christian serving a Turk in the camp, secretly gave the watchmen warning.

FORTUNEBOOK, n. A book to be consulted to discover future events.

FORTUNED, a. Supplied by fortune.

FORTUNE-HUNTER, n. A man who seeks to marry a woman with a large portion, with a view to enrich himself.

FORTUNELESS, a. Luckless; also, destitute of a fortune or portion.

FORTUNETELL, v.t. To tell or pretend to tell the future events of one’s life; to reveal futurity.

FORTUNETELLER, n. One who tells or pretends to foretell the events of one’s life; an impostor who deceives people by pretending to a knowledge of future events.

FORTUNETELLING, ppr. Telling the future events of one’s life.

FORTUNETELLING, n. The act or practice of foretelling the future fortune or events of one’s life, which is a punishable crime.

FORTUNIZE, v.t. To regulate the fortune of. [Not in use.]

FORTY, a. [See Four.]

1. Four times ten.

2. An indefinite number; a colloquial use. A, B and C, and forty more.

FORUM, n. [L. See Fair.]

1. In Rome, a public place, where causes were judicially tried, and orations delivered to the people; also, a market place. Hence,

2. A tribunal; a court; any assembly empowered to hear and decide causes; also, jurisdiction.

FORWANDER, v.i. To wander away; to rove wildly. [Not used.]

FORWARD, adv. [L. versus; directed to the forepart. Forwards is also used, but it is a corruption.]

Toward a part or place before or in front; onward; progressively; opposed to backward. Go forward; move forward. He ran backward and forward.

In a ship, forward denotes toward the forepart.


1. Near or at the forepart; in advance of something else; as the forward gun in a ship, or the forward ship in a fleet; the forward horse in a team.

2. Ready; prompt; strongly inclined.

Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do. Galatians 2:10.

3. Ardent; eager; earnest; violent.

Or lead the forward youth to noble war.

4. Bold; confident; less reserved or modest than is proper; in an ill sense; as, the boy is too forward for his years.

5. Advanced beyond the usual degree; advanced for the season. The grass or the grain is forward, or forward for the season; we have a forward spring.

6. Quick; hasty; too ready. Be not forward to speak in public. Prudence directs that we be not too forward to believe current reports.

7. Anterior; fore.

Let us take the instant by the forward top.

8. Advanced; not behindhand.


1. To advance; to help onward; to promote; as, to forward a good design.

2. To accelerate; to quicken; to hasten; as, to forward the growth of a plant; to forward one in improvement.

3. To send forward; to send towards the place of destination; to transmit; as, to forward a letter or dispatches.

FORWARDED, pp. Advanced; promoted; aided in progress; quickened; sent onward; transmitted.

FORWARDER, n. He that promotes, or advanced in progress.

FORWARDING, ppr. Advancing; promoting; aiding in progress; accelerating in growth; sending onwards; transmitting.

FORWARDLY, adv. Eagerly; hastily; quickly.


1. Cheerful readiness; promptness. It expresses more than willingness. We admire the forwardness of christians in propagating the gospel.

2. Eagerness; ardor. It is sometimes difficult to restrain the forwardness of youth.

3. Boldness; confidence; assurance; want of due reserve or modesty.

In France it is usual to bring children into company, and cherish in them, from their infancy, a kind of forwardness and assurance.

4. A state of advance beyond the usual degree; as the forwardness of spring or of corn.

FORWASTE, v.t. To waste; to desolate. [Not in use.]

FORWEARY, v.t. To dispirit. [Not in use.]

FORWEEP, v.i. To weep much.

FORWORD, n. [fore and word.] A promise. [Not in use.]

FOSS, n. [L. fossa; from fossus, fodio, to dig.]

1. A ditch or moat; a word used in fortification.

2. In anatomy, a kind of cavity in a bone, with a large aperture.

FOSSIL, a. [L. fossitis, from fodio, fossius, to dig.]

1. Dug out of the earth; as fossil coal; fossil salt. The term fossil is now usually appropriated to those inorganic substances, which have become penetrated by earthy or metallic particles. Thus we say, fossil shells, fossil bones, fossil wood.

2. That may be taken from the earth by digging.

FOSSIL, n. A substance dug from the earth, or penetrated with earthy or metallic particles.

Fossils are native or extraneous. Native fossils are minerals, properly so called, as earth, salts, combustibles and metallic bodies. Extraneous fossils are bodies of vegetable or animal origin accidentally buried in the early, as plants, shells, bones and other substances, many of which are petrified.

FOSSIL-COPAL, n. Highgate resin; a resinous substance found in perforating the bed of blue clay at Highgate, near London. It appears to be a true vegetable gum or resin, partly changed by remaining in the earth.

FOSSILIST, n. One who studies the nature and properties of fossils; one who is versed in the science of fossils.

FOSSILIZATION, n. The act or process of converting into a fossil or petrification.

FOSSILIZE, v.t. To convert into a fossil; as, to fossilize bones or wood.

FOSSILIZE, v.i. To become or be changed into a fossil.

FOSSILIZED, pp. Converted into a fossil.

FOSSILIZING, ppr. Changing into a fossil.

FOSSILOGY, n. [fossil, and Gr. discourse.]

A discourse or treatise on fossils; also, the science of fossils.

FOSSROAD, FOSSWAY, n. A Roman military way in England, leading from Totness through Exeter to Barton on the Humber; so called from the ditches on each side.

FOSTER, v.t.

1. To feed; to nourish; to support; to being up.

Some say that ravens foster forlorn children.

2. To cherish; to forward; to promote growth. The genial warmth of spring fosters the plants.

3. To cherish; to encourage; to sustain and promote; as, to foster passion or genius.

FOSTER, v.i. To be nourished or trained up together.

FOSTERAGE, n. The charge of nursing.

FOSTER-BROTHER, n. A male nursed as the same breast, or fed by the same nurse.

FOSTER-CHILD, n. A child nursed by a woman not the mother, or bred by a man not the father.

FOSTER-DAM, n. A nurse; one that performs the office of a mother by giving food to a child.

FOSTER-EARTH, n. Earth by which a plant is nourished, though not its native soil.

FOSTERED, pp. Nourished; cherished; promoted.

FOSTERER, n. A nurse; one that feeds and nourishes in the place of parents.

FOSTER-FATHER, n. One who takes the place of a father in feeding and educating a child.

FOSTERING, ppr. Nursing; cherishing; bringing up.


1. The act of nursing, nourishing and cherishing.

2. Nourishment.

FOSTERLING, n. A fosterchild.

FOSTERMENT, n. Food; nourishment. [Not used.]

FOSTER-MOTHER, n. A nurse.

FOSTER-NURSE, n. A nurse.

FOSTER-SISTER, n. A female nursed by the same person.

FOSTER-SON, n. One fed and educated, like a son, though not a son by birth.

FOSTRESS, n. A female who feeds and cherishes; a nurse.

FOTHER, n. [See Food.]

A weight of lead containing eight pigs, and every pig twenty one stone and a half. But the fother is of different weights. With the plumbers in London it is nineteen hundred and a half, and at the mines, it is twenty two hundred and a half.

FOTHER, v.t. [from stuffing. See the preceding word.]

To endeavor to stop a leak in the bottom of a ship, while afloat, by letting down a sail by the corners, and putting chopped yarn, oakum, wool, cotton, etc. Between it and the ship’s sides. These substances are sometimes sucked into the cracks and the leak stopped.

FOTHERING, ppr. Stopping leaks, as above.

FOTHERING, n. The operation of stopping leaks in a ship, as above.