Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



LEATHER-COAT, n. An apple with a tough coat or rind.

LEATHER-DRESSER, n. One who dresses leather; one who prepares hides for use.

LEATHER-JACKET, n. A fish of the Pacific ocean.


By leather-mouthed fish, I mean such as have their teeth in their throat, as the chub.

LEATHERN, LETHERN, a. Made of leather; consisting of leather; as a lethern purse; a lethern girdle.

LEATHER-SELLER, LETHER-SELLER, n. A seller or dealer in leather.

LEATHER-WINGED, LETHER-WINGED, a. Having wings like leather.

LEATHERY, LETHERY, a. Resembling leather; tough.


1. Permission; allowance; license; liberty granted by which restraint or illegality is removed.

No friend has leave to bear away the dead.

David earnestly asked leave of me. 1 Samuel 20:6, 28.

2. Farewell; adieu; ceremony of departure; a formal parting of friends; used chiefly in the phrase to take leave. Acts 18:18.

LEAVE, v.t. pret. and pp. left. [Gr. Let in English has the sense both of permit and of hinder. The most prominent significations of leave, are to stop or forbear, and to withdraw.]

1. To withdraw or depart from; to quit for a longer or shorter time indefinitely, or for perpetuity. We left Cowes on our return to the United States, May 10, 1825. We leave home for a day or a year. The fever leaves the patient daily at a certain hour. The secretary has left the business of his office with his first clerk.

A man shall leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife. Genesis 2:24.

2. To forsake; to desert; to abandon; to relinquish.

We have left all and followed thee. Mark 10:28.

3. To suffer to remain; not to take or remove.

Let no man leave of it till the morning. Exodus 16:19.

4. To have remaining at death; as, to leave a good name.

5. To commit or trust to, as a deposit; or to suffer to remain. I left the papers in the care of the consul.

6. To bequeath; to give by will. The deceased has left his lands to his sons, but he has left a legacy to his only daughter.

7. To permit without interposition. Of this, he leaves the reader to judge.

8. To cease to do; to desist from; to forbear.

Let us return, lest my father leave caring for the asses and take thought for us. 1 Samuel 9:5.

9. To refer; to commit for decision.

To be left to one’s self, to be deserted or forsaken; to be permitted to follow one’s own opinions or desires.

To leave off, to desist from; to forbear; as, to leave off work at six o’clock.

1. To leave off, to cease wearing; as, to leave off a garment.

2. To forsake; as, to leave off an old acquaintance.

To leave out, to omit; as, to leave out a word or name in writing.

LEAVE, v.i. To cease; to desist.

He began at the eldest and left at the youngest. Genesis 44:12.

To leave off, to cease; to desist; to stop.

But when you find that vigorous heat abate, leave off, and for another summons wait.

LEAVE, v.t. To raise. [Not used.]

LEAVED, a. [from leaf; but leafed would be preferable.]

1. Furnished with foliage or leaves.

2. Having a leaf, or made with leaves or folds; as a two-leaved gate.

LEAVEN, n. lev’n. [L. levo, Eng. to lift.]

1. A mass of sour dough, which, mixed with a larger quantity of dough or paste, produces fermentation in it and renders it light. During the seven days of the passover, no leaven was permitted to be in the houses of the Jews. Exodus 12:15, 19.

2. Any thing which makes a general change in the mass. It generally means something which corrupts or depraves that with which it is mixed.

Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Matthew 16:6.

LEAVEN, v.t. lev’n.

1. To excite fermentation in; to raise and make light, as dough or paste.

A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. 1 Corinthians 5:6.

2. to taint; to imbue.

LEAVENED, pp. lev’ened. Taised and made light by fermentation.

LEAVENING, ppr. lev’ening. Making light by fermentation.

LEAVENING, n. lev’ening. that which leavens or makes light.

LEAVENOUS, a. lev’enous. containing leaven; tainted.

LEAVER, n. [from leave.] One who leaves or relinquishes; one who forsakes.

LEAVES, n. plu. of leaf.

LEAVING, ppr. Quitting; withdrawing from; relinquishing; suffering to remain; ceasing; desisting from.

LEAVINGS, n. plu.

1. Things left; remnant; relics.

The leavings of Pharsalia.

2. Refuse; offal.

LEAVY, a. [from leaf.] Full of leaves; covered with leaves. [An improper word; it ought to be leafy.]

LECH, for lick. Obs. [See Lick.]


A man given to lewdness; one addicted, in an exorbitant degree, to the indulgence of the animal appetite, and an illicit commerce with females.

LECHER, v.i. to practice lewdness; to indulge lust.


1. Addicted to lewdness; prone to indulge lust; lustful; lewd.

2. Provoking lust.

LECHEROUSLY, adv. Lustfully; lewdly.

LECHEROUSNESS, n. Lust, or strong propensity to indulge the sexual appetite.

LECHERY, n. Lewdness; free indulgence of lust; practice of indulging the animal appetite.

LECTION, n. [L. lectio, from lego, to read, Gr.]

1. A reading.

2. A difference or variety in copies of a manuscript or book.

3. A lesson or portion of Scripture read in divine service.

LECTIONARY, n. The Romish servicebook, containing portions of Scripture.

LECTURE, n. [L. lectura, from lego, to read.]

1. A discourse read or pronounced on any subject; usually, a formal or methodical discourse, intended for instruction; as a lecture on morals, philosophy, rhetoric, or theology.

2. A reading; the act or practice of reading; as in the lecture of Holy Scripture. [Little used.]

3. A magisterial reprimand; a formal reproof.

4. A recitation; rehearsal of a lesson.


1. To read or deliver a formal discourse.

2. To practice reading lectures for instruction. We say, the professor lectures on geometry, or on chimistry.


1. To instruct by discourses.

2. To instruct dogmatically or authoritatively; to reprove; as, to lecture one for his faults.


1. One who reads or pronounces lectures; a professor or an instructor who delivers formal discourses for the instruction of others.

2. A preacher in a church, hired by the parish to assist the rector, vicar or curate.

LECTURESHIP, n. The office of a lecturer.

LECTURING, ppr. Reading or delivering a discourse; reproving.

LECTURN, n. A reading desk. [Not in use.]

LED, pret. and pp. of lead.

LEDEN, n. Language; true meaning. Obs.


1. A stratum, layer or row.

The lowest ledge or row should be merely of stone.

2. A ridge; a prominent row; as a ledge of rocks.

3. A prominent part; a regular part rising or projecting beyond the rest.

4. A small molding.

5. A small piece of timber placed athwart ships, under the deck between the beams.

6. A long ridge of rocks near the surface of the sea.

LEDGER, n. The principal book of accounts among merchants; the book into which the accounts of the journal are carried in a summary form. [See Leger.]

LEE, n. plu. less. Dregs; sediment. [See Lees.]

LEE, n.

Literally, a calm or sheltered place, a place defended from the wind; hence, that part of the hemisphers towards which the wind blows, as opposed to that from which it proceeds.

Under the lee, denotes properly, in the part defended from the wind.

Under the lee of the land, is properly, near the shore which breaks the force of the wind.

Under the lee of a ship, on the side opposite to that on which the wind blows.

LEE, v.i. To lie. [Not used. See Lie.]

LEE-BOARD, n. A frame of plant affixed to the side of a flat-bottomed vessel, to prevent it from falling to leeward when close-hauled.

LEE-GAGE, n. A greater distance from the point whence the wind blows, than another vessel has.

LEE-LURCH, n. A sudden and violent roll of a ship to leeward in a high sea.

LEE-SHORE, n. The shore under the lee of a ship, or that towards which the wind blows.

LEE-SIDE, n. The side of a ship or boat farthest from the point whence the wind blows; opposed to the weather-side.

LEE-TIDE, n. A tide running in the same direction that the wind blows. A tide under the lee, is a stream in an opposite direction to the wind.

LEEWARD, a. Pertaining to the part towards which the wind blows; as a leeward ship.

LEEWARD, adv. Towards the lee, or that part towards which the wind blows; opposed to windward; as fall to leeward.

LEEWAY, n. The lateral movement of a ship to the leeward of her course, or the angle which the line of her way makes with her keel, when she is close-hauled.


1. A physician; a professor of the art of healing.

[This word, in the United States, is nearly or wholly obsolete. Even cow leech is not used.]

2. A blood-sucker; an animal of the genus Hirudo, a species of aquatic worm, which is used in the medical art for topical bleeding. One large species of this animal is called horse-leech.

3. In seamen’s language, the border or edge of a sail, which is sloping or perpendicular; as the fore-leech, the after-leech, etc.

LEECH-CRAFT, n. The art of healing. Obs.

LEECH-LINE, n. Leech-lines are ropes fastened to the middle of the leeches of the main-sail and fore-sail, serving to truss them up to the yards.

LEECH-ROPE, n. That part of the bolt-rope to which the skirt or border of a sail is sewed.

LEEF, a. Kind; fond; pleasing; willing. Obs.

LEEK, n.

A plant of the genus Allium, with a bulbous root. Numbers 11:5.

LEELITE, n. A mineral, so called from Dr. Lee, of St. John’s College, Cambridge. It is described as a siliceous stone, and by some mineralogists considered to be a hydrate of silica.

LEER, v.i.

1. To look obliquely; to turn the eye and cast a look from a corner, either in contempt, defiance or frowning, or for a sly look.

2. To look with a forced countenance.

LEER, v.t. To allure with smiles.
LEER, n.

1. The cheek. Obs.

2. Complexion; hue; face. Obs.

3. An oblique view.

- With jealous leer malign eyed them askance.

4. An affected cast of countenance.

Damn with faint praise, concede with civil leer.

LEER, a. Empty; also, trifling; frivolous. Obs.

LEERING, ppr. Looking obliquely; casting a look askance.

LEERINGLY, adv. With an arch oblique look or smile.

LEES, n.

The grosser parts of any liquor which have settled on the bottom of a vessel; dregs; sediment; as the lees of wine.

LEESE, v.t. To lose. Obs. [See Lose.]

LEESE, v.t. [L. lasus.] To hurt. Obs.

LEET, n. In Great Britain, a court. The court-leet or view of frankpledge, is a court of record held once a year and not oftener, within a particular hundred, lordship or manor, before the steward of the leet. Its original intent was to view the frankpledges or freemen within the liberty, to preserve the peace, and punish certain minute offenses. All freeholders within the precinct are obliged to attend this court.

The court-leet is for the most part superseded by the county court.

LEET-ALE, n. A feast or merry making in the time of leet.

LEFT, pret. and pp. of leave.

LEFT, a. [L. lavus; Gr. probably from the root of leave, Gr. and properly weak, deficient. Applied to the hand or arm, it denotes the weak arm, as opposed to the right, the strong or dextrous. Hence the ancient idea of sinister, unfortunate, attached to the left arm or side.]

1. Denoting the part opposed to the right of the body; as the left hand, arm or side. Hence, the noun being omitted, we say, on the left, that is, on the left side or wing, as of an army.

2. The left bank of a river, is that which is on the left hand of a person whose face is towards the mouth of the river.


1. Having the left hand or arm more strong and dextrous than the right; using the left hand and arm with more dexterity than the right.

2. Unlucky; inauspicious; unseasonable. Obs.

LEFT-HANDEDNESS, n. Habitual use of the left hand, or rather the ability to use the left hand with more ease and strength than the right.

LEFT-HANDINESS, n. Awkwardness.

LEG, n.

1. The limb of an animal, used in supporting the body and in walking and running; properly, that part of the limb from the knee to the foot, but in a more general sense, the whole limb, including the thigh, the leg and the foot.

2. The long or slender support of any thing; as the leg of a table.

To make a leg, to bow; a phrase introduced probably by the practice of drawing the right leg backward. [Little used.]

To stand on one’s own legs, to support one’s self; to trust to one’s own strength or efforts without aid.

LEGACY, [L. legatum, from lego, to send, to bequeath.]

A bequest; a particular thing, or certain sum of money given by last will or testament.

Good counsel is the best legacy a father can leave to his child.

LEGACY-HUNTER, n. One who flatters and courts for legacies.

LEGAL, a. [L. legalis, from lex, legis, law.]

1. According to law; in conformity with law; as a legal standard or test; a legal procedure.

2. Lawful; permitted by law; as a legal trade. Anything is legal which the laws do not forbid.

3. According to the law of works, as distinguished from free grace; or resting on works for salvation.

4. Pertaining to law; created by law.

The exception must be confined to legal crimes.

So we use the phrase, criminal law.


1. Lawfulness; conformity to law.

2. In theology, a reliance on works for salvation.


1. To make lawful; to render conformable to law; to authorize. What can legalize revenge?

2. To sanction; to give the authority of law to that which is done without law or authority. Irregular proceedings may be legalized by a subsequent act of the legislature.

LEGALLY, adv. Lawfully; according to law; in a manner permitted by law.

LEGATARY, n. [L. legatarius, from lego, to bequeath.]

A legatee; one to whom a legacy is bequeathed.

[But legatee is generally used.]

LEGATE, n. [L. legatus, from lego, to send. See Lackey.]

1. An embassador; but especially,

2. The pope’s embassador to a foreign prince or state; a cardinal or bishop sent as the pope’s representative or commissioner to a sovereign prince. Legates are of three kinds; legates a latere, or counselors and assistants of his holiness, legates de latere, who are not cardinals, and legates by office.

LEGATEE, n. [L. lego, to send.] One to whom a legacy is bequeathed.

LEGATESHIP, n. The office of a legate.


1. Pertaining to a legate; as legatine power.

2. Made by or proceeding from a legate; as a legatine constitution.

LEGATION, n. [L. legatio, from lego, to send.] An embassy; a deputation; properly a sending, but generally, the person or persons sent as envoys or embassadors to a foreign court.

LEGATOR, n. [L.] A testator; one who bequeaths a legacy. [Little used.]

LEGE, v.t. To allege; to lighten. [Not in use.]

LEGEND, n. [L. legenda, from lego, to read; originally, in the Romish church, a book of service or lessons to be read in worship.]

1. A chronicle or register of the lives of saints, formerly read at matins and at the refectories of religious houses. Hence,

2. An idle or ridiculous story told respecting saints.

3. Any memorial or relation.

4. An incredible, unauthentic narrative.

5. An inscription, particularly on medals and on coins.

LEGEND, v.t. To tell or narrate, as a legend.

LEGENDARY, a. Consisting of legends; fabulous; strange.

LEGENDARY, n. A book of legends; a relater of legends.

LEGER, n. Any thing that lies in a place; that which rests or remains; sometimes used as a noun, but more frequently as an adjective, as a leger ambassador, that is, resident; but the word is now obsolete, except in particular phrases.

A leger-line, in music, a line added to the staff of five lines, when more lines than five are wanted, for designating notes ascending or descending.

A leger-book, or leger, a book that lies in the counting house, the book into which merchants carry a summary of the accounts of the journal; usually written ledger.

LEGERDEMAIN, n. [See Light.]

Slight of hand; a deceptive performance which depends on dexterity of hand; a trick performed with such art and adroitness, that the manner or art eludes observation. The word is sometimes used adjectively; as a legerdemain trick.

LEGERITY, n. Lightness; nimbleness. [Not in use.]

LEGGED, a. [from leg.] Having legs; used in composition; as a two-legged animal.

LEGGIN, n. [from leg.] A cover for the leg; a garment that encloses the leg.

LEGIBILITY, n. Legibleness; the quality or state of being legible.

LEGIBLE, a. [L. legibilis, from lego, to read.]

1. That may be read; consisting of letters or figures that may be distinguished by the eye; as a fair, legible manuscript.

2. That may be discovered or understood by apparent marks or indications. The thoughts of men are often legible in their countenances.

LEGIBLENESS, n. The quality or state of being legible.

LEGIBLY, adv. In such a manner as may be read; as a manuscript legibly written.

LEGION, n. [L. legio, from lego, to collect.]

1. In Roman antiquity, a body of infantry consisting of different numbers of men at different periods, from three to five thousand. Each legion was divided into ten cohorts, each cohort into ten companies, and each company into two centuries.

2. A military force; military bands.

3. A great number.

Where one sin has entered, legions will force their way through the same breach.

My name is legion, for we are many. Mark 5:9.


1. Relating to a legion or to legions.

2. Consisting of a legion or of legions; as a legionary force.

3. Containing a great number; as a legionary body of errors.

LEGIONARY, n. One of a legion.

LEGISLATE, v.i. [L. lex, legis, law, and fero, latum, to give, pass or enact.]

To make or enact a law or laws. It is a question whether it is expedient to legislate at present on the subject. Let us not legislate, when we have no power to enforce our laws.

LEGISLATION, n. The act of passing a law or laws; the enacting of laws.

Pythagoras joined legislation to his philosophy.


1. Giving or enacting laws; as a legislative body.

2. Capable of enacting laws; as legislative power.

3. Pertaining to the enacting of laws; suitable to laws; as the legislative style.

4. Done by enacting; as a legislative act.

[Note. In this word, and in legislator, legislatrix, legislature, the accent is nearly equal on the first and third syllables, and a, in the third, has its first or long sound.]

LEGISLATOR, n. [L.] A lawgiver; one who makes laws for a state or community. This word is limited in its use to a supremem lawgiver, the lawgiver of a sovereign state or kingdom, and is not applied to men that make the by-laws of a subordinate corporation.

LEGISLATORSHIP, n. the office of a legislator. [Not in use.]

LEGISLATRESS, LEGISLATRIX, n. a female who makes laws.

LEGISLATURE, n. the body of men in a state or kingdom, invested with power to make and repeal laws; the supreme power of a state. The legislature of Great Britain consists of the house of lords and the house of commons with the king, whose sanction is necessary to every bill before it becomes a law. The legislatures of most of the states in America, consist of two houses or branches, but the sanction of the govenor is required to give their acts the force of law, or a concurrence of two thirds of the two houses, after he has declined and assigned his objections.

LEGIST, n. One skilled in the laws.

LEGITIMACY, n. [from legitimate.]

1. Lawfulness of birth; opposed to bastardy.

2. Genuineness; opposed to spuriousness. the legitimacy of his conclusions is not to be questioned.

LEGITIMATE, a. [L. legitimus, from lex, law.]

1. Lawfully begotten or born; born in wedlock; as legitimate heirs or children.

2. Genuine; real; proceeding from a pure source; not false or spurious; as legitimate arguments or inferences.


1. To make lawful

2. To render legitimate; to communicate the rights of a legitimate child to one that is illegitimate; to invest with the rights of a lawful heir.