Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



HANDFUL, n. As much as the hand will grasp or contain.

1. As much as the arms will embrace.

2. A palm; four inches.

3. A small quantity or number. A handful of men.

4. As much as can be done; full employment.

In America, the phrase is, he has his hands full.

HANDGALLOP, n. A slow and easy gallop, in which the hand presses the bridle to hinder increase of speed.

HANDGLASS, n. In gardening, a glass used for placing over, protecting and forwarding various plants, in winter.

HAND-GRENADE, n. A grenade to be thrown by the hand.

HANDGUN, n. A gun to be used by the hand.

HANDICRAFT, n. Manual occupation; work performed by the hand.

1. A man who obtains his living by manual labor; one skilled in some mechanical art.

HANDICRAFTSMAN, n. A man skilled or employed in manual occupation; a manufacturer.

HANDILY, adv. [See Handy.] With dexterity or skill; dexterously; adroitly.

1. With ease or convenience.

HANDINESS, n. The ease of performance derived from practice; dexterity; adroitness.

HANDIWORK, n. [for hand-work.] Work of the hands; product of manual labor; manufacture.

1. Work performed by power and wisdom. Psalm 19:1.

HANDKERCHIEF, n. [hand and kerchief. See Kerchief.]

1. A piece of cloth, usually silk or linen, carried about the person for the purpose of cleaning the face or hands, as occasion requires.

2. A piece of cloth to be worn about the neck, and sometimes called a neckerchief.

HANDLANGUAGE, n. The art of conversing by the hands. [Not in use.]

HANDLE, v.t. [L. manus.]

1. To touch; to feel with the hand; to use or hold with the hand.

The bodies we daily handle--hinder the approach of the part of our hands that press them.

2. To manage; to use; to wield.

That fellow handles a bow like a crow-keeper.

3. To make familiar by frequent touching.

The breeders in Flanders--handle their colts six months every year.

4. To treat; to discourse on; to discuss; to use or manage in writing or speaking. The author handled the subject with address. The speaker handled the arguments to the best advantage.

5. To use; to deal with; to practice.

They that handle the law knew me not. Jeremiah 2:8.

6. To treat; to use well or ill.

How wert thou handled?

7. To manage; to practice on; to transact with.

You shall see how I will handle her.

HANDLE, n. [L. ansa.]

1. That part of a vessel or instrument which is held in the hand when used, as the haft of a sword, the bail of a kettle, etc.

2. That of which use is made; the instrument of effecting a purpose.

HANDLEAD, n. A lead for sounding.

HANDLED, pp. Touched; treated; managed.

HANDLESS, a. Without a hand.

HANDLING, ppr. Touching; feeling; treating; managing.

HANDMAID, HANDMAIDEN, n. A maid that waits at hand; a female servant or attendant.

HANDMILL, n. A mill moved by the hand.

HANDSAILS, n. Sails managed by the hand.

HANDSAW, n. A saw to be used with the hand.

HANDSCREW, n. An engine for raising heavy timbers or weights; a jack.


1. The first act of using any thing; the first sale.

2. An earnest; money for the first sale. [Little used.]

HANDSEL, v.t. To use or do any thing the first time.


1. Properly, dexterous; ready; convenient.

For a thief it is so handsome, as it may seem it was first invented for him.

This sense is either from the original meaning of hand, or from the use of the hand, or rather of the right hand. In this sense the word is still used. We say of a well fought combat and victory, it is a handsome affair, an affair well performed, done with dexterity or skill. [See Handy.]

2. Moderately beautiful, as the person or other thing; well made; having symmetry of parts; well formed. It expresses less than beautiful or elegant; as a handsome woman or man; she has a handsome person or face. So we say, a handsome house; a handsome type.

3. Graceful in manner; marked with propriety and ease; as a handsome address.

4. Ample; large; as handsome fortune.

5. Neat; correct; moderately elegant; as a handsome style or composition.

6. Liberal; generous; as a handsome present.

The applications of this word in popular language are various and somewhat indefinite. In general, when applied to things, it imports that the form is agreeable to the eye, or to just taste; and when applied to manner, it conveys the idea of suitableness or propriety with grace.

HANDSOME, as a verb, to render neat or beautiful, is not an authorized word.

HANDSOMELY, adv. Dexterously; cleverly; with skill.

1. Gracefully; with propriety and ease.

2. Neatly; with due symmetry or proportions; as, a thing is handsomely made or finished.

3. With a degree of beauty; as a room handsomely furnished or ornamented.

4. Amply; generously; liberally.

She is handsomely endowed.

HANDSOMENESS, n. A moderate degree of beauty or elegance; as the handsomeness of the person or of an edifice.

1. Grace; gracefulness; ease and propriety in manner.

HANDSPIKE, n. A wooden bar, used with the hand as a lever, for various purposes, as in raising weights, heaving about a windlass, etc.

HANDSTAFF, n. A javelin; plu. handstaves. Ezekiel 39:9.

HANDVISE, n. A vise used by hand, or for small work.

HANDWEAPON, n. Any weapon to be wielded by the hand. Numbers 35:18.

HANDWRITING, n. The cast or form of writing peculiar to each hand or person.

1. Any writing.


1. Performed by the hand.

They came to handy blows.

2. Dexterous; ready; adroit; skilled to use the hands with ease in performance; applied to persons. He is handy with the saw or the place. Each is handy in his way.

3. Ingenious; performing with skill and readiness.

4. Ready to the hand; near. My books are very handy.

5. Convenient; suited to the use of the hand.

6. Near; that may be used without difficulty or going to a distance. We have a spring or pasture that is handy.

HANDYBLOW, n. A blow with the hand; an act of hostility.

HANDY-DANDY, n. A play in which children change hands and places.

HANDYGRIPE, n. Seizure by the hand.

HANDYSTROKE, n. A blow inflicted by the hand.

HANG, v.t. pret. and pp. hanged or hung.

1. To suspend; to fasten to some fixed object above, in such a manner as to swing or move; as, to hang a thief. Pharaoh hanged the chief baker. Hence,

2. To put to death by suspending by the neck.

Many men would rebel, rather than be ruined; but they would rather not rebel than be hanged.

3. To place without any solid support or foundation.

He hangeth the earth upon nothing. Job 26:7.

4. To fix in such a manner as to be movable; as, to hang a door or grate on hooks or by butts.

5. To cover or furnish by any thing suspended or fastened to the walls; as, to hang an apartment with curtains or with pictures.

Hung by the heavens with black--

And hung thy holy roofs with savage spoils.

To hang out, to suspend in open view; to display; to exhibit to notice; as, to hang out false colors.

1. To hang abroad; to suspend in the open air.

To hang over, to project or cause to project above.

To hang down, to let fall below the proper situation; to bend down; to decline; as, to hand down the head, and elliptically, to hang the head.

To hang up, to suspend; to place on something fixed on high.

1. To suspend; to keep or suffer to remain undecided; as, to hang up a question in debate.

HANG, v.i. To be suspended; to be sustained by something above, so as to swing or be movable below.

1. To dangle; to be loose and flowing below.

2. To bend forward or downward; to lean or incline.

His neck obliquely o’er his shoulder hung.

3. To float; to play.

And fall those sayings from that gentle tongue,

Where civil speech and soft persuasion hung.

4. To be supported by something raised above the ground; as a hanging garden on the top of a house.

5. To depend; to rest on something for support. This question hangs on a single point.

6. To rest on by embracing; to cling to; as, to hang on the neck of a person.

Two infants hanging on her neck.

7. To hover; to impend; with over.

View the dangers that hang over the country.

8. To be delayed; to linger.

A noble stroke he lifted high,

Which hung not.

9. To incline; to have a steep declivity; as hanging grounds.

10. To be executed by the halter.

Sir Balaam hangs.

To hang fire, in the military art, is to be slow in communicating, as fire in the pan of a gun to the charge.

To hang on, to adhere to, often as something troublesome and unwelcome.

A cheerful temper dissipates the apprehensions which hang on the timorous.

1. To adhere obstinately; to be importunate.

2. To rest; to reside; to continue.

3. To be dependent on.

How wretched

Is that poor man that hangs on princes’ favors!

4. In seamen’s language, to hold fast without belaying; to pull forcibly.

To hang in doubt, to be in suspense, or in a state of uncertainty.

Thy life shall hang in doubt before thee. Deuteronomy 28:66.

To hang together, to be closely united; to cling.

In the common cause we are all of a piece; we hang together.

1. To be just united, so as barely to hold together.

To hang on or upon, to drag; to be incommodiously jointed.

Life hangs upon me and becomes a burden.

To hang to, to adhere closely; to cling.

HANG, n. A sharp declivity.

HANGBY, n. A dependent, in contempt.

HANGED, pp. Suspended; put to death by being suspended by the neck.

HANGER, n. That by which a thing is suspended.

1. A short broad sword, incurvated towards the point.

2. One that hangs, or causes to be hanged.

HANGER-ON, n. One who besets another importunately in soliciting favors.

1. A dependant; one who eats and drinks without payment.

HANGING, ppr. Suspending to something above.

1. Being suspended; dangling; swinging.

2. Foreboding death by the halter.

What a hanging face!

3. Requiring punishment by the halter; as a hanging matter.

HANGING, n. Any kind of drapery hung or fastened to the walls or a room, by way of ornament.

No purple hangings clothe the palace walls.

1. Death by the halter; as hard words or hanging.

2. Display; exhibition.

HANGING-SLEEVES, n. Strips of the same stuff with the gown, hanging down the back from the shoulders.

HANGING-SIDE, n. In mining, the overhanging side of an inclined or hading vein.

HANGMAN, n. One who hangs another; a public executioner; also, a term of reproach.

HANGNEST, n. The name of certain species of birds, which build nests suspended from the branches of trees, such as the Baltimore oriole or red-bird; also, the nest so suspended.

HANK, n.

1. A skein of thread; as much thread as is tied together; a tie.

2. In ships. a wooden ring fixed to a stay, to confine the stay-sails; used in the place of a grommet.

3. A rope or withy for fastening a gate.

HANK, v.t. To form into hanks.

HANKER, v.i.

1. To long for with a keen appetite and uneasiness; in a literal sense; as, to hanker for fruit, or after fruit.

2. To have a vehement desire of something, accompanied with uneasiness; as, to hanker after the diversions of the town.

It is usually followed by after. It is a familiar, but not a low word.

HANKERING, ppr. Longing for with keen appetite or ardent desire.

HANKERING, n. A keen appetite that causes uneasiness till it is gratified; vehement desire to possess or enjoy.

HANKLE, v.t. [See Hank.] To twist. [Not in use.]

HANT, a contraction of have not, or has not; as, I ha’nt, he ha’nt, we ha’nt.

Hanse Towns. Hanse signifies a society; Goth. hansa, a multitude. The Hanse towns in Germany were certain commercial cities which associated for the protection of commerce as early as the twelfth century. To this confederacy acceded certain commercial cities in Holland, England, France, Spain and Italy, until they amounted to seventy two, and for centuries, this confederacy commanded the respect and defied the power of kings. This confederacy at present consists of the cities of Lubeck, Hamburg, and Bremen.

HANSEATIC, a. Pertaining to the Hanse towns, or to their confederacy.

HAP, n. [L. capio.]

1. That which comes suddenly or unexpectedly; chance; fortune; accident; casual event. [See Chance and Casual.]

Whether art it was or heedless hap.

Curs’d by good haps, and curs’d be they that build

Their hopes on haps.

2. Misfortune. [But this word is obsolete or obsolescent, except in compounds and derivatives.]

HAP, v.i. To happen; to befall; to come by chance.

HAP-HAZARD, n. [This is tautological. See Hazard.]

Chance; accident.

We take our principles at hap-hazard on trust.

HAPLESS, a. Luckless; unfortunate; unlucky; unhappy; as hapless youth; hapless maid.

HAPLY, adv. By chance; perhaps; it may be.

Lest haply ye be found to fight against God. Acts 5:39.

1. By accident; casually.

HAPPEN, v.i. hap’n.

1. To come by chance; to come without one’s previous expectation; to fall out.

There shall no evil happen to the just. Proverbs 12:21.

2. To come; to befall.

They talked together of all those things which had happened. Luke 24:14.

3. To light; to fall or come unexpectedly.

I have happened on some other accounts relating to mortalities.

HAPPILY, adv. [See Happy.] By good fortune; fortunately; luckily; with success.

Preferr’d by conquest, happily o’erthrown.

1. In a happy state; in a state of felicity.

He lived happily with his consort.

2. With address or dexterity; gracefully; in a manner to ensure success.

Formed by thy converse, happily to steer

From grave to gay, from lively to severe.

3. By chance. [See Haply.]

HAPPINESS, n. [from happy.] The agreeable sensations which spring from the enjoyment of good; that state of a being in which his desires are gratified, by the enjoyment of pleasure without pain; felicity; but happiness usually expresses less than felicity, and felicity less than bliss. Happiness is comparative. To a person distressed with pain, relief from that pain affords happiness; in other cases we give the name happiness to positive pleasure or an excitement of agreeable sensations. Happiness therefore admits of indefinite degrees of increase in enjoyment, or gratification of desires. Perfect happiness, or pleasure unalloyed with pain, is not attainable in this life.

2. Good luck; good fortune.

3. Fortuitous elegance; unstudied grace.

For there’s a happiness as well as care.

HAPPY, a. [from hap.]

1. Lucky; fortunate; successful.

Chimists have been more happy in finding experiments, than the causes of them.

So we say, a happy thought; a happy expedient.

2. Being in the enjoyment of agreeable sensations from the possession of good; enjoying pleasure from the gratification of appetites or desires. The pleasurable sensations derived from the gratification of sensual appetites render a person temporarily happy; but he only can be esteemed really and permanently happy, who enjoys peace of mind in the favor of God. To be in any degree happy, we must be free from pain both of body and of mind; to be very happy, we must be in the enjoyment of lively sensations of pleasure, either of body or mind.

Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed. Genesis 30:13.

He found himself happiest, in communicating happiness to others.

3. Prosperous; having secure possession of good.

Happy is that people whose God is Jehovah. Psalm 144:15.

4. That supplies pleasure; that furnishes enjoyment; agreeable; applied to things; as a happy condition.

5. Dexterous; ready; able.

One gentleman is happy at a reply, another excels in a rejoinder.

6. Blessed; enjoying the presence and favor of God, in a future life.

7. Harmonious; living in concord; enjoying the pleasures of friendship; as a happy family.

8. Propitious; favorable.

HARANGUE, n. harang’. har’ang.

1. A speech addressed to an assembly or an army; a popular oration; a public address. This word seems to imply loudness or declamation, and is therefore appropriated generally to an address made to a popular assembly or to an army, and not to a sermon, or to an argument at the bar of a court, or to a speech in a deliberative council, unless in contempt.

2. Declamation; a noisy, pompous or irregular address.

HARANGUE, v.i. harang’. To make an address or speech to a large assembly; to make a noisy speech.
HARANGUE, v.t. harang’. To address by oration; as, the general harangued the troops.

HARANGUER, n. harang’er. An orator; one who addresses an assembly or army; a noisy declaimer.

HARANGUING, ppr. Declaiming; addressing with noisy eloquence.

HARASS, v.t.

1. To weary; to fatigue to excess; to tire with bodily labor; as, to harass an army by a long march.

2. To weary with importunity, care, or perplexity; to tease; to perplex.

Nature oppress’d and harrass’d out with care.

3. To waste or desolate.

HARASS, n. Waste; disturbance; devastation. [Little used.]

HARASSED, pp. Wearied; tired; teased.

HARASSER, n. One who harasses or teases; a spoiler.

HARASSING, ppr. Tiring; fatiguing; teasing.

HARBINGER, n. [See Harbor. Harbinger is properly a person who goes to provide harbor or lodgings for those that follow.]

1. In England, an officer of the king’s household who rides a day’s journey before the court when traveling, to provide lodgings and other accommodations.

2. A forerunner; a precursor; that which precedes and gives notice of the expected arrival of something else.


1. A lodging; a place of entertainment and rest.

For harbor at a thousand doors they knocked.

2. A port or haven for ships; a bay or inlet of the sea, in which ships can moor, and be sheltered from the fury of winds and a heavy sea; any navigable water where ships can ride in safety.

3. An asylum; a shelter; a place of safety from storms or danger.

H`ARBOR, v.t. To shelter; to secure; to secrete; as, to harbor a thief.

1. To entertain; to permit to lodge, rest or reside; as, to harbor malice or revenge.

Harbor not a thought of revenge.

H`ARBOR, v.i. To lodge or abide for a time; to receive entertainment.

This night let’s harbor here in York.

1. To take shelter.

HARBORAGE, n. Shelter; entertainment. [Not used.]

HARBORED, pp. Entertained; sheltered.

HARBORER, n. One who entertains or shelters another.

HARBORING, ppr. Entertaining; sheltering.

HARBORLESS, a. Without a harbor; destitute of shelter or a lodging.

HARBOR-MASTER, n. An officer who has charge of the mooring of ships, and executes the regulations respecting harbors.

HARBOROUGH, n. A harbor or lodging. [Not in use.]

HARBOROUS, a. Hospitable. [Not in use.]

HARD, a.

1. Firm; solid; compact; not easily penetrated, or separated into parts; not yielding to pressure; applied to material bodies, and opposed to soft; as hard wood; hard flesh; a hard apple.

2. Difficult; not easy to the intellect.

In which are some things hard to be understood. 2 Peter 3:16.

The hard causes they brought to Moses. Exodus 18:26.

3. Difficult of accomplishment; not easy to be done or executed. A hard task; a disease hard to cure.

Is any thing too hard for the Lord? Genesis 18:14.

4. Full of difficulties or obstacles; not easy to be traveled; as a hard way.

5. Painful; difficult; distressing.

Rachel travailed, and she had hard labor. Genesis 35:16.

6. Laborious; fatiguing; attended with difficulty or pain, or both; as hard work or labor; hard duty; hard service.

7. Oppressive; rigorous; severe; cruel; as hard bondage; a hard master. Exodus 1:14; Isaiah 14:3.

8. Unfeeling; insensible; not easily moved by pity; not susceptible of kindness, mercy or other tender affections; as a hard heart.

9. Severe; harsh; rough; abusive.

Have you given him any hard words of late?

10. Unfavorable; unkind; implying blame of another; as hard thoughts.

11. Severe; rigorous; oppressive. The enemy was compelled to submit to hard terms. So we say, a hard bargain; hard conditions.

12. Unreasonable; unjust. It is hard to punish a man for speculative opinions. It is a hard case.

13. Severe; pinching with cold; rigorous; tempestuous; as a hard winter; hard weather.

14. Powerful; forcible; urging; pressing close on.

The stag was too hard for the horse.

The disputant was too hard for his antagonist.

15. Austere; rough; acid; sour; as liquors.

The cider is hard.

16. Harsh; stiff; forced; constrained; unnatural.

Others--make the figures harder than the marble itself.

His diction is hard, his figures too bold.

17. Not plentiful; not prosperous; pressing; distressing; as hard times, when markets are bad, and money of course scarce.

18. Avaricious; difficult in making bargains; close. Matthew 25:24.

19. Rough; of coarse features; as a hard face or countenance.

20. Austere; severe; rigorous.

21. Rude; unpolished or unintelligible.

A people of hard language. Ezekiel 3:5-6.

22. Coarse; unpalatable or scanty; as hard fare.

H`ARD, adv. Close; near; as in the phrase, hard by. In this phrase, the word retains its original sense of pressed, or pressing.

[L. pressus.]

1. With pressure; with urgency; hence, diligently; laboriously; earnestly; vehemently; importunately; as, to work hard for a living.

And pray’d so hard for mercy from the prince.

2. With difficulty; as, the vehicle moves hard.

3. Uneasily; vexatiously.

4. Closely; so as to raise difficulties.

The question is hard set.

5. Fast; nimbly; rapidly; vehemently; as, to run hard, that is, with pressure or urgency.

6. Violently; with great force; tempestuously; as, the wind blows hard, or it blows hard.

7. With violence; with a copious descent of water; as, it rains hard.

8. With force; as, to press hard.

Hard-a-lee, in seamen’s language, an order to put the helm close to the lee side of the ship, to tack or keep her head to the wind; also, that situation of the helm.

Hard-a-weather, an order to put the helm close to the weather or windward side of the ship; also, that position of the helm.

Hard-a-port, an order to put the helm close to the larboard side of a ship.

Hard-a-starboard, an order to put the helm close to the starboard side of a ship.

HARD-BESETTING, a. Closely besetting or besieging.

HARDBOUND, a. Costive; fast or tight; as hardbound brains.

HARDEARNED, a. Earned with toil and difficulty.

HARDEN, v.t. h`ardn. To make hard or more hard; to make firm or compact; to indurate; as, to harden iron or steel; to harden clay.

1. To confirm in effrontery; to make impudent; as, to harden the face.

2. To make obstinate, unyielding or refractory; as, to harden the neck. Jeremiah 19:15.

3. To confirm in wickedness, opposition or enmity; to make obdurate.

Why then do ye harden your hearts, as Pharaoh and the Egyptians hardened their hearts? 1 Samuel 6:6.

So God is said to harden the heart, when he withdraws the influences of his spirit from men, and leaves them to pursue their own corrupt inclinations.

4. To make insensible or unfeeling; as, to harden one against impressions of pity or tenderness.

5. To make firm; to endure with constancy.

I would harden myself in sorrow. Job 6:10.

6. To inure; to render firm or less liable to injury, by exposure or use; as, to harden to a climate or to labor.

H`ARDEN, v.i. h`ardn. To become hard or more hard; to acquire solidity or more compactness. Mortar hardens by drying.

1. To become unfeeling.

2. To become inured.

3. To indurate, as flesh.

HARDENED, pp. Made hard, or more hard or compact; made unfeeling; made obstinate; confirmed in error or vice.

HARDENER, n. He or that which makes hard, or more firm and compact.

HARDENING, ppr. Making hard or more compact; making obdurate or unfeeling; confirming; becoming more hard.

H`ARDENING, n. The giving a greater degree of hardness to bodies than they had before.

HARDFAVORED, a. Having coarse features; harsh of countenance.

HARDFAVOREDNESS, n. Coarseness of features.

HARDFEATURED, a. Having coarse features.

HARDFISTED, a. Close fisted; covetous.

HARDFOUGHT, a. Vigorously contested; as a hard-fought battle.

HARDGOTTEN, a. Obtained with difficulty.

HARDHANDED, a. Having hard hands, as a laborer.

HARDHEAD, n. Clash or collision of heads in contest.

HARDHEARTED, a. Cruel; pitiless; merciless; unfeeling; inhuman; inexorable.

HARDHEARTEDNESS, n. Want of feeling or tenderness; cruelty; inhumanity.

HARDIHOOD, n. [See Hardy and Hood.] Boldness, united with firmness and constancy of mind; dauntless bravery; intrepidity.

It is the society of numbers which gives hardihood to iniquity.

Hardihead and hardiment, in the sense of hardihood, are obsolete.

HARDILY, adv. With great boldness; stoutly.

1. With hardship; not tenderly.


1. Boldness; firm courage; intrepidity; stoutness; bravery; applied to the mind, it is synonymous with hardihood.

2. Firmness of body derived from laborious exercises.

3. Hardship; fatigue.

4. Excess of confidence; assurance; effrontery.

HARD-LABORED, a. Wrought with severe labor; elaborate; studies; as a hard-labored poem.

HARDLY, adv. [See Hard.] With difficulty; with great labor.

Recovering hardly what he lost before.

1. Scarcely; barely; almost not.

Hardly shall you find any one so bad, but he desires the credit of being thought good.

2. Not quite or wholly. The object is so distant we can hardly see it. The veal is hardly done. The writing is hardly completed.

3. Grudgingly, as an injury.

4. Severely; unfavorably; as, to think hardly of public measures.

5. Rigorously; oppressively. The prisoners were hardly used or treated.

6. Unwelcomely; harshly.

Such information comes very hardly and harshly to a grown man.

7. Coarsely; roughly; not softly.

Heaven was her canopy, bare earth her bed;

So hardly lodged.

HARD-MOUTHED, a. Not sensible to the bit; not easily governed; as a hard-mouthed horse.