Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



GRAVITATION, n. The act of tending to the center.

1. The force by which bodies are pressed or drawn, or by which they tend towards the center of the earth or other center, or the effect of that force. Thus the falling of a body to the earth is ascribed to gravitation.

GRAVITY, n. [L. gravitas, from gravis, heavy. See Grave.]

1. Weight; heaviness.

2. In philosophy, that force by which bodies tend or are pressed or drawn towards the center of the earth, or towards some other center, or the effect of that force; in which last sense gravity is synonymous with weight.

Gravity is the tendency of great bodies to a center, or the sum or results of all the attractions of all the molecules composing a great body.

3. Specific gravity, the weight belonging to an equal bulk of every different substance. Thus the exact weight of a cubic inch of gold, compared with that of a cubic inch of gold, compared with that of a cubic inch of water or tin, is called its specific gravity. The specific gravity of bodies is usually ascertained by weighing them in distilled water.

4. Seriousness; sobriety of manners; solemnity of deportment or character.

Great Cato there, for gravity renowned.

5. Weight; enormity; atrociousness; as the gravity of an injury. [Not used.]

6. In music, lowness of sound.

GRAVY, n. The fat and other liquid matter that drips from flesh in roasting, or when roasted or baked, or a mixture of that juice with flour.

GRAY, a. [This is probably the name given to the Greeks, on account of their fair complexion compared with the Asiatics and Africans. [See Europe.] “Keto bore to Phorcus the Graiae with fair cheeks, white from their birth, and hence they were called Graiae.” The Greek word is rendered an old woman, and in this passage of Hesiod, is supposed to mean certain deities. The probability is, that it is applied to an old woman, because she is gray. But the fable of Hesiod is easily explained by supposing the author to have had in his mind some imperfect account of the origin of the Greeks.]

1. White, with a mixture of black.

These gray and dun colors may be also produced by mixing whites and blacks.

2. White; hoary; as gray hair. We apply the word to hair that is partially or wholly white.

3. Dark; of a mixed color; of the color of ashes; as gray eyes; the gray-eyed morn.

4. Old; mature; as gray experience.

GRAY, n. A gray color.

1. A badger.

GRAY-BEARD, n. An old man.

GRAY-EYED, a. Having gray eyes.

GRAYFLY, n. The trumpet-fly.

GRAY-HAIRED, a. Having gray hair.

GRAY-HEADED, a. Having a gray head or gray hair.

GRAYHOUND, n. A tall fleet dog, used in the chase.

GRAYISH, a. Somewhat gray; gray in a moderate degree.

GRAYLING, n. A fish of the genus Salmo, called also umber, a voracious fish, about sixteen or eighteen inches in length, of a more elegant figure than the trout; the back and sides of a silvery gray color. It is found in clear rapid streams in the north of Europe, and is excellent food.

GRAYNESS, n. The quality of being gray.

GRAYWACKE, n. A rock somewhat remarkable in its structure and geological relations; a kind of sandstone, composed of grains or fragments of different minerals, chiefly of quartz, feldspar, siliceous slate and argillite. These fragments are sometimes angular, and sometimes their edges and angles are rounded, thus forming nodules or globular masses. The size is very variable, passing from grains to nodules of a foot in diameter. The several ingredients are united by an indurated argillaceous substance, or the interstices between the larger fragments are filled by the same materials which compose the larger parts of the rock, but in grains so comminuted as to resemble a homogeneous cement. The colors are some shade of gray or brown, as bluish gray, reddish brown. etc.

GRAZE, v.t. [L. rado, rasi, or rodo, rosi.]

1. To rub or touch lightly in passing; to brush lightly in passing; as, the bullet grazed the wall or the earth.

2. To feed or supply cattle with grass; to furnish pasture for; as, the farmer grazes large herds of cattle.

3. To feed on; to eat from the ground, as growing herbage.

The lambs with wolves shall graze the verdant mead.

4. To tend grazing cattle; as, Jacob grazed Laban’s sheep.

GRAZE, v.i. To eat grass; to feed on growing herbage; as, cattle graze on the meadows.

1. To supply grass; as, the ground will not graze well.

2. To move on devouring.

GRAZED, pp. Touched lightly by a passing body; brushed.

1. Fed by growing grass; as, cattle are grazed.

2. Eaten, as growing herbage; as, the fields were grazed.

GRAZER, n. One that grazes or feeds on growing herbage.

GRAZIER, n. gra’zhur. One who feeds cattle with grass, or supplies them with pasture.

GRAZING, ppr. Touching lightly, as a moving body.

1. Feeding on growing herbage; as grazing cattle.

2. Supplying pasture; as a grazing farm.


1. Animal fat in a soft state; oily or unctuous matter of any kind, as tallow, lard; but particularly the fatty matter of land animals, as distinguished from the oily matter of marine animals.

2. A swelling and gourdiness of a horse’s legs, occasioned by traveling or by standing long in a stable.

GREASE, v.t. greez. To smear, anoint or daub with grease or fat.

1. To bribe; to corrupt with presents. [Not elegant.]

GREASED, pp. Smeared with oily matter; bribed.

GREASILY, adv. With grease or an appearance of it; grossly.

GREASINESS, n. The state of being greasy; oiliness; unctuousness.

GREASING, ppr. Smearing with fat or oily matter; bribing.

GREASY, a. greez’y. Oily; fat; unctuous.

1. Smeared or defiled with grease.

2. Like grease or oil; smooth; as a fossil that has a greasy feel.

3. Fat of body; bulky. [Little used.]

4. Gross; indelicate; indecent.

GREAT, a. [L. crassus.]

1. Large in bulk or dimensions; a term of comparison, denoting more magnitude or extension than something else, or beyond what is usual; as a great body; a great house; a great farm.

2. Being of extended length or breadth; as a great distance; a great lake.

3. Large in number; as a great many; a great multitude.

4. Expressing a large, extensive or unusual degree of any thing; as great fear; great love; great strength; great wealth; great power; great influence; great folly.

5. Long continued; as a great while.

6. Important; weighty; as a great argument; a great truth; a great event; a thing of no great consequence; it is no great matter.

7. Chief; principal; as the great seal of England.

8. Chief; of vast power and excellence; supreme; illustrious; as the great God; the great Creator.

9. Vast; extensive; wonderful; admirable.

Great are thy works. Jehovah.

10. Possessing large or strong powers of mind; as a great genius.

11. Having made extensive or unusual acquisitions of science or knowledge; as a great philosopher or botanist; a great scholar.

12. Distinguished by rank, office or power; elevated; eminent; as a great lord; the great men of the nation; the great Mogul; Alexander the great.

13. Dignified in aspect, mien or manner.

Amidst the crowd she walks serenely great.

14. Magnanimous; generous; of elevated sentiments; high-minded. He has a great soul.

15. Rich; sumptuous; magnificent. He disdained not to appear at great tables. A great feast or entertainment.

16. Vast; sublime; as a great conception or idea.

17. Dignified; noble.

Nothing can be great which is not right.

18. Swelling; proud; as, he was not disheartened by great looks.

19. Chief; principal; much traveled; as a great road. The ocean is called the great highway of nations.

20. Pregnant; teeming; as great with young.

21. Hard; difficult. It is no great matter to live in peace with meek people.

22. Familiar; intimate. [Vulgar.]

23. Distinguished by extraordinary events, or unusual importance. Jude 6.

24. Denoting a degree of consanguinity, in the ascending or descending line, as great grandfather, the father of a grandfather; great great grandfather, the father of a great grandfather, and so on indefinitely; and great grandson, great great grandson. etc.

25. Superior; preeminent; as great chamberlain; great marshal.

The sense of great is to be understood by the things it is intended to qualify. Great pain or wrath is violent pain or wrath; great love is ardent love; great peace is entire peace; a great name is extensive renown; a great evil or sin, is a sin of deep malignity, etc.

GREAT, n. The whole; the gross; the lump or mass; as, a carpenter contracts to build a ship by the great.

1. People of rank or distinction. The poor envy the great, and the great despise the poor.

GREAT-BELLIED, a. Pregnant; teeming.

GREATEN, v.t. To enlarge.

GREAT-HEARTED, a. High-spirited; undejected.

GREATLY, adv. In a great degree; much.

I will greatly multiply thy sorrow. Genesis 3:16.

1. Nobly; illustriously.

By a high fate, thou greatly didst expire.

2. Magnanimously; generously; bravely.

He greatly scorned to turn his back on his foe. He greatly spurned the offered boon.

GREATNESS, n. Largeness of bulk, dimensions, number or quantity; as the greatness of a mountain, of an edifice, of a multitude, or of a sum of money. With reference to solid bodies, however, we more generally use bulk, size, extent or magnitude than greatness; as the bulk or size of the body; the extent of the ocean; the magnitude of the sun or of the earth.

1. Large amount; extent; as the greatness of a reward.

2. High degree; as the greatness of virtue or vice.

3. High rank or place; elevation; dignity; distinction; eminence; power; command.

4. Swelling pride; affected state.

It is not of pride or greatness that he cometh not aboard your ships.

5. Magnanimity; elevation of sentiment; nobleness; as greatness of mind.

Virtue is the only solid basis of greatness.

6. Strength or extent of intellectual faculties; as the greatness of genius.

7. Large extent or variety; as the greatness of a man’s acquisitions.

8. Grandeur; pomp; magnificence.

Greatness with Timon dwells in such a draught,

As brings all Brobdignag before your thought.

9. Force; intensity; as the greatness of sound, of passion, heat, etc.

GREAVE, for grove and groove. [See Grove and Groove.]

GREAVES, n. plu. greevz. Armor for the legs; a sort of boots. 1 Samuel 17:6.

GREBE, n. A fowl of the genus Colymbus and order of ansers, of several species; as the tippet-grebe, the horned grebe, the eared grebe or dob-chick.

GRECIAN, a. Pertaining to Greece.

GRECIAN, n. A native of Greece. Also, a Jew who understood Greek. Acts 6:1.

1. One well versed in the Greek language.

GRECISM, n. [L. groecismus.] An idiom of the Greek language.

GRECIZE, v.t. To render Grecian.

1. To translate into Greek.

GRECIZE, v.i. To speak the Greek language.

GREE, n. Good will.

1. Step; rank; degree. [See Degree.]

GREE, v.i. To agree. [See Agree.]

GREECE, n. [L. gressus. It ought to be written grese, but it is entirely obsolete.] A flight of steps.

GREED, n. Greediness.

GREEDILY, adv. [See Greedy.] With a keen appetite for food or drink; voraciously; ravenously; as, to eat or swallow greedily.

1. With keen or ardent desire; eagerly. Jude 11.

GREEDINESS, n. Keenness of appetite for food or drink; ravenousness; voracity.

Fox in stealth, wolf in greediness.

1. Ardent desire.

GREEDY, a. [L. gradior, and probably signifies reaching forward.]

1. Having a keen appetite for food or drink; ravenous; voracious; very hungry; followed by of; as a lion that is greedy of his prey. Psalm 17:12.

2. Having a keen desire of any thing; eager to obtain; as greedy of gain.

GREEK, a. Pertaining to Greece. [See Gray.]

GREEK, n. A native of Greece.

1. The language of Greece.

Greek-fire, a combustible composition, the constituents of which are supposed to be asphalt, with niter and sulphur.

GREEKISH, a. Peculiar to Greece.

GREEKLING, n. An inferior Greek writer.

GREEKROSE, n. The flower campion.


1. Properly, growing, flourishing, as plants; hence, of the color of herbage and plants when growing, a color composed of blue and yellow rays, one of blue and yellow rays, one of the original prismatic colors; verdant.

2. New; fresh; recent; as a green wound.

The greenest usurpation.

3. Fresh; flourishing; undecayed; as green old age.

4. Containing its natural juices; not dry; not seasoned; as green wood; green timber.

5. Not roasted; half raw.

We say the meat is green, when half-roasted.

[Rarely, if ever used in America.]

6. Unripe; immature; not arrived to perfection; as green fruit. Hence,

7. Immature in age; young; as green in age or judgment.

8. Pale; sickly; wan; of a greenish pale color.

GREEN, n. The color of growing plants; a color composed of blue and yellow rays, which, mixed in different proportions, exhibit a variety of shades; as apple green, meadow green, leek green, etc.

1. A grassy plain or plat; a piece of ground covered with verdant herbage.

O’er the smooth enameled green.

2. Fresh leaves or branches of trees or other plants; wreaths; usually in the plural.

The fragrant greens I seek, my brows to bind.

3. The leaves and stems of young plants used in cookery or dressed for food in the spring; in the plural.

GREEN, v.t. To make green. This is used by Thomson and by Barlow, but is not an elegant word, nor indeed hardly legitimate, in the sense in which these writers use it. “Spring greens the year.” “God greens the groves.” The only legitimate sense of this verb, if used, would be, to dye green, or to change to a green color. A plant growing in a dark room is yellow; let this plant be carried into the open air, and the rays of the sun will green it. This use would correspond with the use of whiten, blacken, redden.

GREENBROOM, GREENWEED, n. A plant of the genus Genista.

GREENCLOTH, n. A board or court of justice held in the counting house of the British king’s household, composed of the lord steward and the officers under him. This court has the charge and cognizance of all matters of justice in the king’s household, with power to correct offenders and keep the peace of the verge, or jurisdiction of the court-royal, which extends every way two hundred yards from the gate of the palace.

GREEN-CROP, n. A crop of green vegetables, such as artificial grasses, turnips, etc.

GREEN-EARTH, n. A species of earth or mineral, so called; the mountain green of artists.

GREEN-EYED, a. Having green eyes; as green-eyed jealousy.

GREENFINCH, n. A bird of the genus Fringilla.

GREENFISH, n. A fish so called.

GREENGAGE, n. A species of plum.

GREEN-GROCER, n. A retailer of greens.

GREENHAIRED, a. Having green locks or hair.

GREENHOOD, n. A state of greenness.

GREENHORN, n. A raw youth.

GREEN-HOUSE, n. A house in which tender plants are sheltered from the weather, and preserved green during the winter or cold weather.

GREENISH, a. Somewhat green; having a tinge of green; as a greenish yellow.

GREENISHNESS, n. The quality of being greenish.

GREENLY, adv. With a green color; newly; freshly; immaturely.

GREENNESS, n. The quality of being green; viridity; as the greenness of grass or of a meadow.

1. Immaturity; unripeness; in a literal or figurative sense; as the greenness of fruit; the greenness of youth.

2. Freshness; vigor.

3. Newness.

GREEN-SICKNESS, n. The chlorosis, a disease of maids, so called from the color it occasions in the face.

GREEN-STALL, n. A stall on which greens are exposed to sale.

GREENSTONE, n. [so called from a tinge of green in the color.]

A rock of the trap formation, consisting of hornblend and feldspar in the state of grains or small crystals.

GREEN-SWARD, n. Turf green with grass.

GREEN-WEED, n. Dyer’s weed.

GREENWOOD, n. Wood when green, as in summer.

GREENWOOD, a. Pertaining to a greenwood; as a greenwood shade.

GREET, v.t. [L. rudo, to bray, to roar.]

1. To address with expressions of kind wishes; to salute in kindness and respect.

My lord, the Mayor if London comes to greet you.

2. To address at meeting; to address in any manner.

3. To congratulate.

4. To pay compliments at a distance; to send kind wishes to. Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:21.

5. To meet and address with kindness; or to express kind wishes accompanied with an embrace. 1 Thessalonians 5:26.

6. To meet.

GREET, v.i. To meet and salute.

There greet in silence, as the dead are wont,

And sleep in peace.

1. To weep; written by Spenser greit.

GREETED, pp. Addressed with kind wishes; complimented.

GREETER, n. One who greets.

GREETING, ppr. Addressing with kind wishes or expressions of joy; complimenting; congratulating; saluting.

GREETING, n. Expression of kindness or joy; salutation at meeting; compliment addressed from one absent.

GREEZE, n. [L. gressus.] A step, or flight of steps. [See Greece.]

GREFFIER, n. A registrar, or recorder.

GREGAL, a. [L. grex.] Pertaining to a flock.

GREGARIAN, a. [See Gregarious.] Belonging to the herd or common sort.

GREGARIOUS, a. [L. gregarius, from grex, a herd.]

Having the habit of assembling or living in a flock or herd; not habitually solitary or living alone. Cattle and sheep are gregarious animals. Many species of birds are gregarious. Rapacious animals are generally not gregarious.

GREGARIOUSLY, adv. In a flock or herd; in a company.

GREGARIOUSNESS, n. The state or quality of living in flocks or herds.

GREGORIAN, a. Denoting what belongs to Gregory. The Gregorian calendar, is one which shows the new and full moon, with the time of Easter, and the movable feasts depending thereon, by means of epacts. The Gregorian year, is the present year, as reformed by pope Gregory XIII, in 1582; consisting of 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 47 seconds, with an additional day every fourth year.

GREIT, v.i. To lament.

GREITH, v.t. To make ready.

GREITH, n. Goods; furniture.

GREMIAL, a. [L. gremium.] Belonging to the lap or bosom.

GRENADE, n. In the art of war, a hollow ball or shell of iron or other metal, about two inches and a half in diameter, to be filled with powder which is to be fired by means of a fusee, and thrown by hand among enemies. This, bursting into many pieces, does great injury, and is particularly useful in annoying an enemy in trenches and other lodgments.


1. A foot soldier, wearing a high cap. Grenadiers are usually tall, active soldiers, distinguished from others chiefly by their dress and arms; a company of them is usually attached to each battalion.

2. A fowl found in Angola, in Africa.

GRENATITE, n. Staurotide or staurolite, a mineral of a dark reddish brown. It occurs imbedded in mica slate, and in talc, and is infusible by the blowpipe. It is called also prismatic garnet.

GREW, pret. of grow.

GREY. [See Gray.]

GREYHOUND, n. A tall fleet dog, kept for the chase.

GRICE, n. A little pig.

GRIDDLE, n. A pan, broad and shallow, for baking cakes.

GRIDE, v.t. [Eng. to cry.] To grate, or to cut with a grating sound; to cut; to penetrate or pierce harshly; as the griding sword.

That through his thigh the mortal steel did gride.

GRIDELIN, n. A color mixed of white and red, or a gray violet.

GRIDIRON, n. A grated utensil for broiling flesh and fish over coals.

GRIEF ,n. [L. gravis.]

1. The pain of mind produced by loss, misfortune, injury or evils of any kind; sorrow; regret. We experience grief when we lose a friend, when we incur loss, when we consider ourselves injured, and by sympathy, we feel grief at the misfortunes of others.

2. The pain of mind occasioned by our own misconduct; sorrow or regret that we have done wrong; pain accompanying repentance. We feel grief when we have offended or injured a friend, and the consciousness of having offended the Supreme Being, fills the penitent heart with the most poignant grief.

3. Cause of sorrow; that which afflicts.

Who were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah. Genesis 26:35.

A foolish son is a grief to his father. Proverbs 17:25.

GRIEFFUL, a. Full of grief or sorrow.

GRIEFSHOT, a. Pierced with grief.

GRIEVABLE, a. Lamentable.