Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



HOAX, n. Something done for deception or mockery; a trick played off in sport.

HOAX, v.t. To deceive; to play a trick upon for sport, or without malice. [A colloquial word, but not elegant.]

HOB, HUB, n. The nave of a wheel; a solid piece of timber in which the spokes are inserted.

HOB, n. A clown; a fairy.

HOBBISM, n. The principles of the sceptical Thomas Hobbes.

HOBBIST, n. A follower of Hobbes.

HOBBLE, v.i.

1. To walk lamely, bearing chiefly on one leg; to limp; to walk with a hitch or hop, or with crutches.

The friar was hobbling the same way too.

2. To walk awkwardly, as when the feet are encumbered with a clog, or with fetters.

3. To move roughly or irregularly, as verse.

While you Pindaric truths rehearse,

She hobbles in alternate verse.

HOBBLE, v.t. To perplex. [Not in use.]
HOBBLE, n. An unequal halting gait; an encumbered awkward step.

He has a hobble in his gait.

1. Difficulty; perplexity.

HOBBLEDEHOY, n. A cant phrase for a boy at the age of puberty.

HOBBLER, n. One that hobbles.

HOBBLER, n. [from hobby.] One who by his tenure was to maintain a hobby for military service; or one who served as a soldier on a hobby with light armor.

HOBBLING, ppr. Walking with a halting or interrupted step.

HOBBLINGLY, adv. With a limping or interrupted step.

HOBBY, n. A kind of hawk; a hawk of the lure.


1. A strong active horse, of a middle size, said to have been originally from Ireland; a nag; a pacing horse; a garran.

2. A stick, or figure of a horse, on which boys ride.

3. Any favorite object; that which a person pursues with zeal or delight.

4. A stupid fellow.

HOBBYHORSE, n. [tautological.] A hobby; a wooden horse on which boys ride.

1. A character in the old May games.

2. A stupid or foolish person.

3. The favorite object of pursuit.

HOBGOBLIN, n. A fairy; a frightful apparition.

HOBIT, n. A small mortar, or short gun for throwing bombs. [See Howitzer, the common orthography.]

HOBLIKE, a. Clownish; boorish.

HOBNAIL, n. A nail with a thick strong head, for shoeing horses.

1. A clownish person; in contempt.

HOBNAILED, a. Set with hobnails; rough.

HOBNOB, adv. Take, or not take; a familiar invitation to reciprocal drinking.

Hobson’s choice, a vulgar proverbial expression, denoting without an alternative. It is said to have had its origin in the name of a person who let horses and coaches, and obliged every customer to take in his turn that horse which stood next the stable door.

HOBOY. [See Hautboy.]

HOCK, n. The joint of an animal between the knee and the fetlock.

1. A part of the thigh.

HOCK, HOCKLE, v.t. To hamstring; to hough; to disable by cutting the tendons of the ham.
HOCK, n. A sort of Rhenish wine; sometimes called hockamore.

HOCKDAY, HOKEDAY, n. High day; a day of feasting and mirth, formerly held in England the second Tuesday after Easter, to commemorate the destruction of the Danes in the time of Ethelred.

HOCKEY, n. Harvest-home. [Not used.]

HOCKHERB, n. A plant, the mallows.

HOCKLE, v.t. To hamstring.

1. To mow.

HOCUS POCUS, a. A juggler; a juggler’s trick; a cheat used by conjurers.

HOCUSPOCUS, v.t. To cheat.

HOD, n. A kind of tray for carrying mortar and brick, used in bricklaying. It is fitted with a handle and borne on the shoulder.

HODDY-DODDY, n. An awkward or foolish person.

HODGE-PODGE, HOTCH-POTCH, n. A mixed mass; a medley of ingredients. [Vulgar.] [See Hotchpot.]

HODIERNAL, a. [L. hodiernus, from hodie, hoc die, this day.]

Of this day; belonging to the present day.

HODMAN, n. A man who carries a hod; a mason’s tender.

HODMANDOD, n. A shell-fish, otherwise called dodman.

1. A shell-snail.

HOE, n. ho. A farmer’s instrument for cutting up weeds and loosening the earth in fields and gardens. It is in shape something like an adz, being a plate of iron, with an eye for a handle, which is set at an acute angle with the plate.

HOE, v.t. To cut, dig, scrape or clean with a hoe; as, to hoe the earth in a garden; to hoe the beds.

1. To clear from weeds; as, to hoe maiz; to hoe cabbages.

HOE, v.i. To use a hoe.

HOED, pp. Cleared from weeds, or loosened by the hoe.

HOEING, ppr. Cutting, scraping or digging with a hoe.

1. Clearing of weeds with a hoe.

HOFUL, a. Careful.

HOG, n.

1. A swine; a general name of that species of animal.

2. In England, a castrated sheep of a year old.

3. A bullock of a year old.

4. A brutal fellow; one who is mean and filthy.

5. Among seamen, a sort of scrubbing-broom for scraping a ship’s bottom under water.

HOG, v.t. To scrape a ship’s bottom under water.

1. To carry on the back. [Local.]

2. To cut the hair short, like the bristles of a hog. [Local.]

HOG, v.i. To bend, so as to resemble in some degree a hog’s back; as, a ship hogs in lanching.

HOGCOTE, n. [hog and cote.] A shed or house for swine; a sty.

HOGGED, pp. Scraped under water.

1. Curving; having the ends lower than the middle.

HOGGEREL, n. A sheep of the second year.

A two year old ewe.

HOGGET, n. A sheep two years old.

1. A colt of a year old, called also hog-colt. [Local.]

2. A young boar of the second year.

HOGGISH, a. Having the qualities of a hog; brutish; gluttonous; filthy; meanly selfish.

HOGGISHLY, adv. In a brutish, gluttonous or filthy manner.

HOGGISHNESS, n. Brutishness; voracious greediness in eating; beastly filthiness; mean selfishness.

HOGH, n. [See High.] A hill; a cliff.

HOGHERD, n. [hog and herd.] A keeper of swine.

HOGPEN, n. [hog and pen.] A hogsty.

HOG-PLUMBTREE, n. A tree of the genus Spondias.

HOG-RINGER, n. One whose business is to put rings in the snouts of swine.

HOG’S-BEANS, n. A plant.

HOG’S-FENNEL, n. A plant of the genus Peucedanum.

HOG’S-MUSHROOMS, n. A plant.

HOGSHEAD, n. [the English orthography is grossly corrupt.]

1. A measure of capacity, containing 63 gallons.

2. In America, this name is often given to a butt, a cask containing from 110 to 120 gallons; as a hogshead of spirit or molasses.

3. A large cask, of indefinite contents.

HOGSTY, n. [hog and sty.] A pen or inclosure for hogs.

HOGWASH, n. [hog and wash.] Swill; the refuse matters of a kitchen or brewery, or like matter for swine.

HOHLSPATH, n. The mineral otherwise called macle, and chiastolite.

HOIDEN, n. A rude, bold girl; a romp.

1. A rude, bold man. [Not used in the United States.]

HOIDEN, a. Rude; bold; inelegant; rustic.
HOIDEN, v.i. To romp rudely or indecently.

HOIST, v.t. [originally hoise; but corrupted, perhaps beyond remedy.]

1. To raise; to lift.

We’ll quickly hoist duke Humphrey from his seat.

In popular language, it is a word of general application. But the word has two appropriate uses, one by seamen, and the other by milkmaids, viz.

2. To raise, to lift or bear upwards by means of tackle; and to draw up or raise, as a sail along the masts or stays, or as a flag, though by a single block only. Hoist the main-sail. Hoist the flag.

3. To lift and move the leg backwards; a word of command used by milkmaids to cows, when they wish them to lift and set back the right leg.

HOIST, n. In marine language, the perpendicular highth of a flag or ensign, as opposed to the fly, or breadth from the staff to the outer edge.

HOISTED, pp. Raised; lifted; drawn up.

HOISTING, ppr. Raising; lifting.

HOITY TOITY, an exclamation, denoting surprise or disapprobation, with some degree of contempt.

Hoity toity, what have I to do with dreams?

HOLCAD, n. [Gr.] In ancient Greece, a large ship of burden.

HOLD, v.t. pret. held; pp. held. Holden is obsolete in elegant writing. [Gr. to hold or restrain; Heb. to hold or contain.]

1. To stop; to confine; to restrain from escape; to keep fast; to retain. It rarely or never signifies the first act of seizing or falling on, but the act of retaining a thing when seized or confined. To grasp, is to seize, or to keep fast in the hand; hold coincides with grasp in the latter sense, but not in the former. We hold a horse by means of a bridle. An anchor holds a ship in her station.

2. To embrace and confine, with bearing or lifting. We hold an orange in the hand, or a child in the arms.

3. To connect; to keep from separation.

The loops held one curtain to another. Exodus 36:12.

4. To maintain, as an opinion. He holds the doctrine of justification by free grace.

5. To consider; to regard; to think; to judge, that is, to have in the mind.

I hold him but a fool.

The Lord will not hold him guiltless, that taketh his name in vain. Exodus 20:7.

6. To contain, or to have capacity to receive and contain. Here is an empty basket that holds two bushels. This empty cask holds thirty gallons. The church holds two thousand people.

7. To retain within itself; to keep from running or flowing out. A vessel with holes in its bottom will not hold fluids.

They have hewed them out broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:13.

8. To defend; to keep possession; to maintain.

We mean to hold what anciently we claim

Of empire.

9. To have; as, to hold a place, office or title.

10. To have or possess by title; as, he held his lands of the king. The estate is held by copy of court-roll.

11. To refrain; to stop; to restrain; to withhold. Hold your laughter. Hold your tongue.

Death! what do’st? O, hold thy blow.

12. To keep; as, hold your peace.

13. To fix; to confine; to compel to observe or fulfill; as, to hold one to his promise.

14. To confine; to restrain from motion.

The Most High--held still the flood till they had passed. 2 Esdras 13:44.

15. To confine; to bind; in a legal or moral sense. He is held to perform his covenants.

16. To maintain; to retain; to continue.

But still he held his purpose to depart.

17. To keep in continuance or practice.

And Night and Chaos, ancestors of nature, hold Eternal anarchy.

18. To continue; to keep; to prosecute or carry on.

Seed-time and harvest, heat and hoary-frost,

Shall hold their course.

19. To have in session; as, to hold a court or parliament; to hold a council.

20. To celebrate; to solemnize; as, to hold a feast.

21. To maintain; to sustain; to have in use or exercise; as, to hold an argument or debate.

22. To sustain; to support.

Thy right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:10.

23. To carry; to wield.

They all hold swords, being expert in war. Song of Solomon 3:8.

24. To maintain; to observe in practice.

Ye hold the traditions of men. Mark 7:8.

25. To last; to endure. The provisions will hold us, till we arrive in port. So we say, the provisions will last us; but the phrase is elliptical for will hold or last for us, the verb being intransitive.

To hold forth, to offer; to exhibit; to propose.

Observe the connection of ideas in the propositions which books hold forth and pretend to teach.

1. To reach forth; to put forward to view.

To hold in, to restrain; to curb; to govern by the bridle.

1. To restrain in general; to check; to repress.

To hold off, to keep at a distance.

To hold on, to continue or proceed in; as, to hold on a course.

To hold out, to extend; to stretch forth.

The king held out to Esther the golden scepter. Esther 5:2.

1. To propose; to offer.

Fortune holds out these to you as rewards.

2. To continue to do or suffer.

He cannot long hold out these pangs. [Not used.]

To hold up, to raise; as, hold up your head.

1. To sustain; to support.

He holds himself up in virtue.

2. To retain; to withhold.

3. To offer; to exhibit. He held up to view the prospect of gain.

4. To sustain; to keep from falling.

To hold one’s own, to keep good one’s present condition; not to fall off, or to lose ground. In seamen’s language, a ship holds her own, when she sails as fast as another ship, or keeps her course.

To hold, is used by the Irish, for to lay, as a bet, to wager. I hold a crown, or a dollar; but this is a vulgar use of the word.

HOLD, v.i. To be true; not to fail; to stand, as a fact or truth. This is a sound argument in many cases, but does not hold in the case under consideration.

The rule holds in lands as well as in other things.

In this application, we often say, to hold true, to hold good. The argument holds good in both cases. This holds true in most cases.

1. To continue unbroken or unsubdued.

Our force by land hath nobly held. [Little used.]

2. To last; to endure.

We now say, to hold out.

3. To continue.

While our obedience holds.

4. To be fast; to be firm; not to give way, or part. The rope is strong; I believe it will hold. The anchor holds well.

5. To refrain.

His dauntless heart would fain have held

From weeping.

6. To stick or adhere. The plaster will not hold.

To hold forth, to speak in public; to harangue; to preach; to proclaim.

To hold in, to restrain one’s self. He was tempted to laugh; he could hardly hold in.

1. To continue in good luck. [Unusual.]

To hold off, to keep at a distance; to avoid connection.

To hold of, to be dependent on; to derive title from.

My crown is absolute and holds of none.

To hold on, to continue; not to be interrupted.

The trade held on many years.

1. To keep fast hold; to cling to.

2. To proceed in a course. Job 17:9.

To hold out, to last; to endure; to continue.

A consumptive constitution may hold out a few years. He will accomplish the work, if his strength holds out.

1. Not to yield; not to surrender; not to be subdued.

The garrison still held out.

To hold to, to cling or cleave to; to adhere.

Else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Matthew 6:24.

To hold under, or from, to have title from; as petty barons holding under the greater barons.

To hold with, to adhere to; to side with; to stand up for.

To hold plow, to direct or steer a plow by the hands, in tillage.

To hold together, to be joined; not to separate; to remain in union.

To hold up, to support one’s self; as, to hold up under misfortunes.

1. To cease raining; to cease, as falling weather; used impersonally. It holds up; it will hold up.

2. To continue the same speed; to run or move fast.

But we now say, to keep up.

To hold a wager, to lay, to stake or to hazard a wager.

Hold, used imperatively, signifies stop; cease; forbear; be still.

HOLD, n. A grasp with the hand; an embrace with the arms; any act or exertion of the strength or limbs which keeps a thing fast and prevents escape. Keep your hold; never quit your hold.

It is much used after the verbs to take, and to lay; to take hold, or to lay hold, is to seize. It is used in a literal sense; as to take hold with the hands, with the arms, or with the teeth; or in a figurative sense.

Sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestine. Exodus 15:14.

Take fast hold of instruction. Proverbs 4:13.

My soul took hold on thee.

1. Something which may be seized for support; that which supports.

If a man be upon a high place, without a good hold, he is ready to fall.

2. Power of keeping.

On your vigor now,

My hold of this new kingdom all depends.

3. Power of seizing.

The law hath yet another hold on you.

4. A prison; a place of confinement.

They laid hands on them, and put them in hold till the next day. Acts 4:3.

5. Custody; safe keeping.

King Richard, he is in the mighty hold

Of Bolingbroke.

6. Power or influence operating on the mind; advantage that may be employed in directing or persuading another, or in governing his conduct.

Fear--by which God and his laws take the surest hold of us.

--Gives fortune no more hold of him than is necessary.

7. Lurking place; a place of security; as the hold of a wild beast.

8. A fortified place; a fort; a castle; often called a strong hold. Jeremiah 51:30.

9. The whole interior cavity of a ship, between the floor and the lower deck. In a vessel of one deck, the whole interior space from the keel or floor to the deck. That part of the hold which lies abaft the main-mast is called the after-hold; that part immediately before the main-mast, the main-hold; that part about the fore-hatchway, the fore-hold.

10. In music, a mark directing the performer to rest on the note over which it is placed. It is called also a pause.

HOLDBACK, n. Hinderance; restraint.

HOLDER, n. One who holds or grasps in his hand, or embraces with his arms.

1. A tenant; one who holds land under another.

2. Something by which a thing is held.

3. One who owns or possesses; as a holder of stock, or shares in a joint concern.

4. In ships, one who is employed in the hold.

HOLDERFORTH, n. A haranguer; a preacher.

HOLDFAST, n. A thing that takes hold; a catch; a hook.

HOLDING, ppr. Stopping; confining; restraining; keeping; retaining; adhering; maintaining, etc.

HOLDING, n. A tenure; a farm held of a superior.

1. The burden or chorus of a song.

2. Hold; influence; power over.

HOLE, n.

1. A hollow place or cavity in any solid body, of any shape or dimensions, natural or artificial. It may differ from a rent or fissure in being wider. A cell; a den; a cave or cavern in the earth; an excavation in a rock or tree; a pit, etc. Isaiah 11:8; Ezekiel 8:7; Nahum 2:12; Matthew 8:20.

2. A perforation; an aperture; an opening in or through a solid body, left in the work or made by an instrument.

Jehoida took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it. 2 Kings 12:9.

3. A mean habitation; a narrow or dark lodging.

4. An opening or means of escape; a subterfuge; in the vulgar phrase, he has a hole to creep out at.

Arm-hole, the arm-pit; the cavity under the shoulder of a person.

1. An opening in a garment for the arm.

HOLE, v.i. To go into a hole.
HOLE, v.t. To cut, dig or make a hole or holes in; as, to hole a post for the insertion of rails or bars.

1. To drive into a bag, as in billiards.

HOLIBUT. [See Halibut.]

HOLIDAM, n. [holy and dame.] Blessed lady; an ancient oath.

HOLIDAY. [See Holyday.]

HOLILY, adv. [from holy.] Piously; with sanctity.

1. Sacredly; inviolably; without breach. [Little used.]

HOLINESS, n. [from holy.] The state of being holy; purity or integrity of moral character; freedom from sin; sanctity. Applied to the Supreme Being, holiness denotes perfect purity or integrity of moral character, one of his essential attributes.

Who is like thee, glorious in holiness? Exodus 15:11.

1. Applied to human beings, holiness is purity of heart or dispositions; sanctified affections; piety; moral goodness, but not perfect.

We see piety and holiness ridiculed as morose singularities.

2. Sacredness; the state of any thing hallowed, or consecrated to God or to his worship; applied to churches or temples.

3. That which is separated to the service of God.

Israel was holiness unto the Lord. Jeremiah 2:3.

4. A title of the pope, and formerly of the Greek emperors.

HOLING-AX, n. A narrow ax for cutting holes in posts.

HOLLA, HOLLOA, exclam. A word used in calling. Among seamen, it is the answer to one that hails, equivalent to, I hear, and am ready.

HOLLA, HOLLO, v.i. To call out or exclaim. [See Halloo.]

HOLLAND, n. Fine linen manufactured in Holland.

HOLLANDER, n. A native of Holland.

HOLLEN, n. [See Holly.]


1. Containing an empty space, natural or artificial, within a solid substance; not solid; as a hollow tree; a hollow rock; a hollow sphere.

Hollow with boards shalt thou make it. Exodus 27:8.

2. Sunk deep in the orbit; as a hollow eye.

3. Deep; low; resembling sound reverberated from a cavity, or designating such a sound; as a hollow roar.

4. Not sincere or faithful; false; deceitful; not sound; as a hollow heart; a hollow friend.

Hollow spar, the mineral called also chiastolite.

HOLLOW, n. A cavity, natural or artificial; any depression of surface in a body; concavity; as the hollow of the hand.

1. A place excavated; as the hollow of a tree.

2. A cave or cavern; a den; a hole; a broad open space in any thing.

3. A pit.

4. Open space of any thing; a groove; a channel; a canal.

HOLLOW, v.t. To make hollow, as by digging, cutting, or engraving; to excavate.

Trees rudely hollowed did the waves sustain.

HOLLOW, v.i. To shout. [See Holla and Hollo.]

HOLLOWED, pp. Made hollow; excavated.

HOLLOW-EYED, a. Having sunken eyes.

HOLLOW-HEARTED, a. Insincere; deceitful; not sound and true; of practice or sentiment different from profession.

HOLLOWING, ppr. Making hollow; excavating.

HOLLOWLY, adv. Insincerely; deceitfully.

HOLLOWNESS, n. The state of being hollow; cavity; depression of surface; excavation.

1. Insincerity; deceitfulness; treachery.

HOLLOW-ROOT, n. A plant, tuberous moschatel, or inglorious, constituting the genus Adoxa; a low plant, whose leaves and flowers smell like musk; hence it is sometimes called musk-crowfoot.

HOLLY, n. [perhaps L. ilex, for hilex; L. celo.]

The holm tree, of the genus Ilex, of several species. The common holly grows from 20 to 30 feet high; the stem by age becomes large, and is covered with a grayish smooth bark, and set with branches which form a sort of cone. The leaves are oblong oval, of a lucid green on the upper surface, but pale on the under surface; the edges are indented and waved, with sharp thorns terminating each of the points. The flowers grow in clusters and are succeeded by roundish berries, which turn to a beautiful red about Michaelmas. This tree is a beautiful evergreen.

Knee-Holly, a plant, the butcher’s broom, of the genus Ruscus.

Sea-Holly, a plant, of the genus Eryngium.

HOLLYHOCK, n. A plant of the genus Alcea, bearing flowers of various colors. It is called also rose-mallow.

HOLLYROSE, n. A plant.

HOLM, n. The evergreen oak; the ilex.

1. An islet, or river isle.

2. A low flat tract of rich land on the banks of a river.

HOLMITE, n. A variety of carbonate of lime; so called from Mr. Holme, who analyzed it.

HOLOCAUST, n. [Gr. whole, and burnt, to burn.] A burnt-sacrifice or offering, the whole of which was consumed by fire; a species of sacrifice in use among the Jews and some pagan nations.

HOLOGRAPH, n. [Gr. whole, and to write.] A deed or testament written wholly by the grantor’s or testator’s own hand.

HOLOGRAPHIIC, a. Written wholly by the grantor or testator himself.

HOLOMETER, n. [Gr. all, and to measure.] An instrument for taking all kinds of measures, both on the earth and in the heavens; a pentameter.

HOLP, HOLPEN, the antiquated pret. and pp. of help.

HOLSTER, n. [L. celo.] A leathern case for a pistol, carried by a horseman at the fore part of his saddle.

HOLSTERED, a. Bearing holsters; as a holstered steed.

HOLT, n. [L. celo.] A wood or woodland; obsolete, except in poetry.

HOLY, a.

1. Properly, whole, entire or perfect, in a moral sense. Hence, pure in heart, temper or dispositions; free from sin and sinful affections. Applied to the Supreme Being, holy signifies perfectly pure, immaculate and complete in moral character; and man is more or less holy, as his heart is more or less sanctified, or purified from evil dispositions. We call a man holy, when his heart is conformed in some degree to the image of God, and his life is regulated by the divine precepts. Hence, holy is used as nearly synonymous with good, pious, godly.

Be ye holy; for I am holy. 1 Peter 1:16.

2. Hallowed; consecrated or set apart to a sacred use, or to the service or worship of God; a sense frequent in Scripture; as the holy sabbath; holy oil; holy vessels; a holy nation; the holy temple; a holy priesthood.

3. Proceeding from pious principles, or directed to pious purposes; as holy zeal.

4. Perfectly just and good; as the holy law of God.

5. Sacred; as a holy witness.

Holy of holies, in Scripture, the innermost apartment of the Jewish tabernacle or temple, where the ark was kept, and where no person entered, except the high priest, once a year.

Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, the Divine Spirit; the third person in the Trinity; the sanctifier of souls.

Holy war, a war undertaken to rescue the holy land, the ancient Judea, from the infidels; a crusade; an expedition carried on by christians against the Saracens in the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries; a war carried on in a most unholy manner.

HOLY-CROSS DAY, n. The fourteenth of September.