Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



LEUCOPHLEGMACY, n. [Gr. white, and phlegm.]

A dropsical habit of body, or the commencement of anasarca; paleness, with viscid juices and cold sweats.

LEUCOPHLEGMATIC, a. Having a dropsical habit of body with a white bloated skin.

LEUCOTHIOP, n. [See Leuco-ethiopic.] An albino; a white man of a black race.


A substance that appears to be a recomposed rock, or a loose texture, gritty and harsh to the touch. Its color is a grayish white, tinged here and there with an ocherous brown. It includes small fragments of mica.

LEVANT, a. [L. levo.]

Eastern; denoting the part of the hemisphere where the sun rises.

Forth rush the levant and the ponent winds.

LEVANT, n. Properly, a country to the eastward; but appropriately, the countries of Turkey, Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, Egypt, etc. which are washed by the Mediterranean and its contiguous waters.


1. Pertaining to the Levant.

2. Designating a particular kind of silk cloth.

LEVANTINE, n. A particular kind of silk cloth.

LEVATOR, n. [L. from levo, to raise.]

1. In anatomy, a muscle that serves to raise some part, as the lip or the eyelid.

2. A surgical instrument used to raise a depressed part of the skull.

LEVE, for believe. Obs.

LEVEE, n. [L. levo.]

1. The time of rising.

2. The concourse of persons who visit a prince or great personage in the morning.

3. A bank or causey, particularly along a river to prevent inundation; as the levees along the Mississippi.

LEVEL, a. [Eng. sleek. L. libella, libra, belong to the root.]

1. Horizontal; coinciding with the plane of the horizon. To be perfectly level is to be exactly horizontal.

2. Even; flat; not having one part higher than another; not ascending or descending; as a level plain or field; level ground; a level floor or pavement. In common usage, level is often applied to surfaces that are not perfectly horizontal, but which have no inequalities of magnitude.

3. Even with any thing else; of the same height; on the same line or plane.

4. Equal in rank or degree; having no degree of superiority.

Be level in preferments, and you will soon be level in your learning.

LEVEL, v.t.

1. To make horizontal.

2. To make even; to reduce or remove inequalities of surface in any thing; as, to level a road or walk.

3. To reduce or bring to the same height with something else.

And their proud structures level with the ground.

4. To lay flat; to reduce to an even surface or plain.

He levels mountains, and he raises plains.

5. To reduce to equality of condition, state or degree; as, to level all ranks and degrees of men.

6. To point, in taking aim; to elevate or depress so as to direct a missile weapon to an object; to aim; as, to level a cannon or musket.

7. To aim; to direct; as severe remarks leveled at the vices and follies of the age.

8. To suit; to proportion; as, to level observations to the capacity of children.

LEVEL, v.i.

1. To accord; to agree; to suit. [Little used.]

2. To aim at; to point a gun or an arrow to the mark.

3. To aim at; to direct the view or purpose.

The glory of God and the good of his church, ought to be the mark at which we level.

4. To be aimed; to be in the same direction with the mark.

He raised it till he level’d right.

5. To aim; to make attempts.

Ambitious York did level at thy crown.

6. To conjecture; to attempt to guess. [Not used.]


1. A horizontal line, or a plane; a surface without inequalities.

2. Rate; standard; usual elevation; customary height; as the ordinary level of the world.

3. Equal elevation with something else; a state of equality.

Providence, for the most part, sets us on a level.

4. The line of direction in which a missile weapon is aimed.

5. An instrument in mechanics by which to find or draw a horizontal line, as in setting buildings, or in making canals and drains. The instruments for these purposes are various; as the air level, the carpenter’s level, the mason’s level, and the gunner’s level.

6. Rule; plan; scheme: borrowed from the mechanic’s level.

Be the fair level of thy actions laid. -


1. Reduced to a plane; made even.

2. Reduced to an equal state, condition or rank.

3. Reduced to an equality with something else.

4. Elevated or depressed to a right line towards something; pointed to an object; directed to a mark.

5. Suited; proportioned.


1. One that levels or makes even.

2. One that destroys or attempts to destroy distinctions, and reduce to equality.


1. Making level or even.

2. Reducing to an equality of condition.

LEVELING, n. The art or practice of finding a horizontal line, or of ascertaining the different elevations of objects on the surface of the earth; in other words, the difference in the distance of objects from the center of the earth.


1. Evenness; equality of surface.

2. Equality with something else.

LEVEN. [See Leaven.]

LEVEN, n. Lightning. Obs.

LEVER, n. [L. levo, to raise.]

In mechanics, a bar of metal, wood, or other substance, turning on a support called the fulcrum or prop. Its arms are equal, as in the balance; or unequal, as in steelyards. It is one of the mechanical powers, and is of three kinds, viz. 1. When the fulcrum is between the weight and the power, as in the handspike, crowbar, etc. 2. When the weight is between the power and fulcrum, as in rowing a boat. 3. When the power is between the weight and the fulcrum, as in raising a ladder from the ground, by applying the hands to one of the lower rounds. The bones of animals are levers of the third kind.

LEVERET, n. A hare in the first year of her age.

LEVEROCK, n. A bird, a lark. [See Lark.]

LEVET, n. A blast of a trumpet; probably that by which soldiers are called in the morning. [Not used.]

LEVIABLE, a. [from levy.] That may be levied; that may be assessed and collected; as sums leviable by course of law.

LEVIATHAN, n. [Heb.]

1. An aquatic animal, described in Job 41:1, and mentioned in other passages of Scripture. In Isaiah, it is called the crooked serpent. It is not agreed what animal is intended by the writers, whether the crocodile, the whale, or a species of serpent.

2. The whale, or a great whale.

LEVIGATE, v.t. [L. lavigo, from lavis, smooth, Gr.]

1. In pharmacy and chimistry, to rub or grind to a fine impalpable powder; to make fine, soft and smooth.

2. To plane; to polish.

LEVIGATE, a. Made smooth.

LEVIGATED, pp. Reduced to a fine impalpable powder.

LEVIGATING, ppr. Rendering very fine, soft and smooth, by grinding or rubbing.

LEVIGATION, n. The act or operation of grinding or rubbing a solid substance to a fine impalpable powder.

LEVITATION, n. [L. levis, levitas.] Lightness; buoyancy; act of making light.

LEVITE, n. [from Levi, one the sons of Jacob.]

One of the tribe or family of Levi; a descendant of Levi; more particularly, an officer in the Jewish church, who was employed in manual service, as in bringing wood and other necessaries for the sacrifices. The Levites also sung and played on instruments of music. They were subordinate to the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who was also of the family of Levi.


1. Belong to the Levites, or descendants of Levi; as the levitical law, the law given by Moses, which prescribed the duties and rights of the priests and Levites, and regulated the civil and religious concerns of the Jews.

2. Priestly.

LEVITICALLY, adv. After the manner of the Levites.

LEVITICUS, n. [from Levi, Levite.] A canonical book of the Old Testament, containing the laws and regulations which relate to the priests and Levites among the Jews, or the body of the ceremonial law.

LEVITY, n. [L. levitas, from levis, light; connected perhaps with Eng. lift.]

1. Lightness; the want of weight in a body, compared with another that is heavier. The ascent of a balloon in the air is owing to its levity, as the gas that fills it is lighter than common air.

2. Lightness of temper or conduct; inconstancy; changeableness; unsteadiness; as the levity of youth.

3. Want of due consideration; vanity; freak. He never employed his omnipotence out of levity or ostentation.

4. Gaiety of mind; want of seriousness; disposition to trifle. The spirit of religion and seriousness was succeeded by levity.

LEVY, v.t. [L. levo; Eng. to lift.]

1. To raise; to collect. To levy troops, is to enlist or to order men into public service. To levy an army, is to collect troops and form an army by enrollment, conscription or other means.

2. To raise; to collect by assessment; as, to levy taxes, toll tribute, or contributions.

To levy war, is to raise or begin war; to take arms for attack; to attack.

To levy a fine, to commence and carry on a suit for assuring the title to lands or tenements.

LEVY, n.

1. The act of collecting men for military, or other public service, as by enlistment, enrollment or other means. 1 Kings 9:15.

2. Troops collected; an army raised. 1 Kings 5:13.

3. The act of collecting money for public use by tax or other imposition.

4. War raised. [Not in use.]

LEW, a. Tepid; lukewarm; pale; wan. Obs.

LEWD, a. [Heb.]

1. Given to the unlawful indulgence of lust; addicted to fornication or adultery; dissolute; lustful; libidinous. Ezekiel 23:44.

2. Proceeding from unlawful lust; as lewd actions.

3. Wicked; vile; profligate; licentious. Acts 17:5.

LEWD, a. [L. gnes, from geno.] Lay; laical; not clerical. Obs.

LEWDLY, adv.

1. With the unlawful indulgence of lust; lustfully.

2. Wickedly; wantonly.


1. The unlawful indulgence of lust; fornication, or adultery.

2. In Scripture, it generally denotes idolatry.

3. Licentiousness; shamelessness.

LEWDSTER, n. One given to the criminal indulgence of lust; a lecher. [Not used.]

LEXICOGRAPHER, n. [See Lexicography.] The author of a lexicon or dictionary.

LEXICOGRAPHIC, a. Pertaining to the writing or compilation of a dictionary.

LEXICOGRAPHY, n. [Gr. a dictionary, and to write.]

1. The act of writing a lexicon or dictionary, or the art of composing dictionaries.

2. The composition or compilation of a dictionary.

LEXICOLOGY, n. [Gr. a dictionary, and discourse.]

The science of words; that branch of learning which treats of the proper signification and just application of words.

LEXICON, n. [Gr. a dictionary, from to speak.]

A dictionary; a vocabulary or book containing an alphabetical arrangement of the words in a language, with the definition of each, or an explanation of its meaning.

LEXICONIST, n. A writer of a lexicon. [Little used.]

LEXIGRAPHY, n. [Gr. a word, and to write.] The art or practice of defining words.

LEY, a different orthography of lay and lea, a meadow or field.

LHERZOLITE, n. [from Lherz, in the Pyrenees.]

A mineral, a variety of pyroxene. When crystallized, its crystals are brilliant, translucid, very small, and of an emerald green.

LIABLE, a. [L. ligo. See Liege.]

1. Bound; obliged in law or equity; responsible; answerable. The surety is liable for the debt of his principal. The parent is not liable for debts contracted by a son who is a minor, except for necessaries.

This use of liable is now common among lawyers. The phrase is abridged. The surety is liable, that is, bound to pay the debt of his principal.

2. Subject; obnoxious; exposed.

Proudly secure, yet liable to fall.

Liable, in this sense, is always applied to evils. We never say, a man is liable to happiness or prosperity, but he is liable to disease, calamities, censure; he is liable to err, to sin, to fall.


1. The state of being bound or obliged in law or justice; responsibility. The officer wishes to discharge himself from his liability.

2. Exposedness; tendency; a state of being subject; as the liableness of a man to contract disease in an infected room; a liability to accidents.

LIAR, n. [from lie.]

1. A person who knowingly utters falsehood; one who declares to another as a fact what he knows to be not true, and with an intention to deceive him. The uttering of falsehood by mistake, and without an intention to deceive, does not constitute one a liar.

2. One who denies Christ. 1 John 2:22.

LIARD, a. Gray. Obs.

LIAS, n. A species of limestone, occurring in flat, horizontal strata, and supposed to be of recent formation.

LIB, v.t. To castrate. [Not in use.]

LIBATION, n. [L. libatio, from libo, to pour out, to taste.]

1. The act of pouring a liquor, usually wine, either on the ground, or on a victim in sacrifice, in honor of some deity. The Hebrews, Greeks and Romans practiced libation. This was a solemn act and accompanied with prayer.

2. The wine or other liquor poured out in honor of a deity.

LIBBARD, an obsolete spelling of leopard.

LIBBARD’S-BANE, n. A poisonous plant.

LIBEL, n. [L. libellus, a little book, from liber, a book, from the sense of bark, and this from stripping separating. Hence liber, a book, and liber, free, are the same word.]

1. A defamatory writing, L. libellus, famosus. Hence, the epithet being omitted, libel expresses the same thing. Any book, pamphlet, writing or picture, containing representations, maliciously made or published, tending to bring a person into contempt, or expose him to public hatred and derision. The communication of such defamatory writing to a single person, is considered in law a publication. It is immaterial with respect to the essence of a libel, whether the matter of it is true or false, since the provocation and not the falsity is the thing to be punished criminally. But in a civil action, a libel must appear to be false, as well as scandalous.

In a more extensive sense, any blasphemous, treasonable or immoral writing or picture made public, is a libel, and punishable by law.

2. In the civil law, and in courts of admiralty, a declaration or charge in writing exhibited in court, particularly against a ship or goods, for violating the laws of trade or of revenue.

LIBEL, v.t.

1. To defame or expose to public hatred and contempt by a writing or picture; to lampoon.

Some wicked wits have libeled all the fair.

2. To exhibit a charge against any thing in court, particularly against a ship or goods, for a violation of the laws of trade or revenue.

LIBEL, v.i. To spread defamation, written or printed; with against. He libels against the peers of the realm. [Not now in use.]

LIBELANT, n. One who libels; one who brings a libel or institutes a suit in an admiralty court.

The counsel for the libelant, contended they had a right to read the instructions.


1. Defamed by a writing or picture made public.

2. Charged or declared against in an admiralty court.

LIBELER, n. One who libels or defames by writing or pictures; a lampooner.

It is ignorance of ourselves which makes us the libelers of others.


1. Defaming by a published writing or picture.

2. Exhibiting charges against in court.

LIBELOUS, a. Defamatory; containing that which exposes a person to public hatred, contempt and ridicule; as a libelous pamphlet or picture.

LIBERAL, a. [L. liberalis, from liber, free. See Libel.]

1. Of a free heart; free to give or bestow; not close or contracted; munificent; bountiful; generous; giving largely; as a liberal donor; the liberal founders of a college or hospital. It expresses less than profuse or extravagant.

2. Generous; ample; large; as a liberal donation; a liberal allowance.

3. Not selfish, narrow on contracted; catholic; enlarged; embracing other interests than one’s own; as liberal sentiments or views; a liberal mind; liberal policy.

4. General; extensive; embracing literature and the sciences generally; as a liberal education. This phrase is often but not necessarily synonymous with collegiate; as a collegiate education.

5. Free; open; candid; as a liberal communication of thoughts.

6. Large; profuse; as a liberal discharge of matter by secretions or excretions.

7. Free; not literal or strict; as a liberal construction of law.

8. Not mean; not low in birth or mind.

9. Licentious; free to excess.

Liberal arts, as distinguished from mechanical arts, are such as depend more on the exertion of the mind than on the labor of the hands, and regard amusement, curiosity or intellectual improvement, rather than the necessity of subsistence, or manual skill. Such are grammar, rhetoric, painting, sculpture, architecture, music. etc.

Liberal has of before the thing bestowed, and to before the person or object on which any thing is bestowed; as, to be liberal of praise or censure; liberal to the poor.

LIBERALITY, n. [L. liberalitas. See Liberal.]

1. Munificence; bounty.

That liberality is but cast away, which makes us borrow what we cannot pay.

2. A particular act of generosity; a donation; a gratuity. In this sense, it has the plural number. A prudent man is not impoverished by his liberalities.

3. Largeness of mind; catholicism; that comprehensiveness of mind which includes other interests beside its own, and duly estimates in its decisions the value or importance of each. It is evidence of a noble mind to judge of men and things with liberality.

Many treat the gospel with indifference under the name of liberality.

4. Candor; impartiality.

LIBERALIZE, v.t. To render liberal or catholic; to enlarge; to free from narrow views or prejudices; as, to liberalize the mind.

LIBERALIZED, pp. Freed from narrow views and prejudices; made liberal.

LIBERALIZING, ppr. Rendering liberal; divesting of narrow views and prejudices.


1. Bountifully; freely; largely; with munificence.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not. James 1:5.

2. With generous and impartial regard to other interests than our own; with enlarged views; without selfishness or meanness; as, to think or judge liberally of men and their actions.

3. Freely; not strictly; not literally.

LIBERATE, v.t. [L. libero, from liber, free.]

1. To free; to release from restraint or bondage; to set at liberty; as, to liberate one from duress or imprisonment; to liberate the mind from the shackles of prejudice.

2. To manumit; as, to liberate a slave.

LIBERATED, pp. Freed; released from confinement, restraint or slavery; manumitted.

LIBERATING, ppr. Delivering from restraint or slavery.

LIBERATION, n. [L. liberatio.] The act of delivering from restraint, confinement or slavery.

LIBERATOR, n. One who liberates or delivers.

LIBERTARIAN, a. [L. liber, free; libertas, liberty.]

Pertaining to liberty, or to the doctrine of free will, as opposed to the doctrine of necessity.

Remove from their mind libertarian prejudice.

LIBERTINAGE, n. Libertinism, which is most used.

LIBERTINE, n. [L. libertinus, from liber, free.]

1. Among the Romans, a freedman; a person manumitted or set free from legal servitude.

2. One unconfined; one free from restraint.

3. A man who lives without restraint of the animal passion; one who indulges his lust without restraint; one who leads a dissolute, licentious life; a rake; a debauchee.

LIBERTINE, a. Licentious; dissolute; not under the restraint of law or religion; as libertine principles; a libertine life.


1. State of a freedman. [Little used.]

2. Licentiousness of opinion and practice; an unrestrained indulgence of lust; debauchery; lewdness.

LIBERTY, n. [L. libertas, from liber, free.]

1. Freedom from restraint, in a general sense, and applicable to the body, or to the will or mind. The body is at liberty, when not confined; the will or mind is at liberty, when not checked or controlled. A man enjoys liberty, when no physical force operates to restrain his actions or volitions.

2. Natural liberty, consists in the power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature. It is a state of exemption from the control of others, and from positive laws and the institutions of social life. This liberty is abridged by the establishment of government.

3. Civil liberty, is the liberty of men in a state of society, or natural liberty, so far only abridged and restrained, as is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society, state or nation. A restraint of natural liberty, not necessary or expedient for the public, is tyranny or oppression. civil liberty is an exemption from the arbitrary will of others, which exemption is secured by established laws, which restrain every man from injuring or controlling another. Hence the restraints of law are essential to civil liberty.

The liberty of one depends not so much on the removal of all restraint from him, as on the due restraint upon the liberty of others.

In this sentence, the latter word liberty denotes natural liberty.

4. Political liberty, is sometimes used as synonymous with civil liberty. But it more properly designates the liberty of a nation, the freedom of a nation or state from all unjust abridgment of its rights and independence by another nation. Hence we often speak of the political liberties of Europe, or the nations of Europe.

5. Religious liberty, is the free right of adopting and enjoying opinions on religious subjects, and of worshiping the Supreme Being according to the dictates of conscience, without external control.

6. Liberty, in metaphysics, as opposed to necessity, is the power of an agent to do or forbear any particular action, according to the determination or thought of the mind, by which either is preferred to the other.

Freedom of the will; exemption from compulsion or restraint in willing or volition.

7. Privilege; exemption; immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant; with a plural. Thus we speak of the liberties of the commercial cities of Europe.

8. Leave; permission granted. The witness obtained liberty to leave the court.

9. A space in which one is permitted to pass without restraint, and beyond which he may not lawfully pass; with a plural; as the liberties of a prison.

10. Freedom of action or speech beyond the ordinary bounds of civility or decorum. Females should repel all improper liberties.

To take the liberty to do or say any thing, to use freedom not specially granted.

To set at liberty, to deliver from confinement; to release from restraint.

To be at liberty, to be free from restraint.

Liberty of the press, is freedom from any restriction on the power to publish books; the free power of publishing what one pleases, subject only to punishment for abusing the privilege, or publishing what is mischievous to the public or injurious to individuals.

LIBIDNIST, n. One given to lewdness.

LIBIDINOUS, a. [L. libidinosus, from libido, lubido, lust, from libeo, libet, lubet, to please, it pleaseth; Eng. love, which see. The root is lib or lub.]

Lustful; lewd; having an eager appetite for venereal pleasure.

LIBIDINOUSLY, a. Lustfully; with lewd desire.

LIBIDINOUSNESS, n. The state or quality of being lustful; inordinate appetite for venereal pleasure.

LIBRA, n. [L.] The balance; the seventh sign in the zodiac, which the sun enters at the autumnal equinox, in September.

LIBRARIAN, n. [L. librarius, with a different signification, from liber, bark, a book.]

1. The keeper or one who has the care of a library or collection of books.

2. One who transcribes or copies books. [Not now used.]

LIBRARY, n. [L. librarium, libraria, from liber, a book.]

1. A collection of books belonging to a private person, or to a public institution or a company.

2. An edifice or an apartment for holding a collection of books.

LIBRATE, v.t. [L. libro, from libra, a balance, a level; allied perhaps to Eng. level.]

To poise; to balance; to hold in equipoise.

LIBRATE, v.i. To move, as a balance; to be poised.

Their parts all librate on too nice a beam.


1. The act of balancing or state of being balanced; a state of equipoise, with equal weights on both sides of a center.

2. In astronomy, an apparent irregularity of the moon’s motions, by which it seems to librate about its axis.

Libration is the balancing motion or trepidation in the firmament, whereby the declination of the sun and the latitude of the stars change from time to time.

3. A balancing or equipoise between extremes.

LIBRATORY, a. Balancing; moving like a balance, as it tends to an equipoise or level.

LICE, plu. of louse.

LICE-BANE, n. A plant.

LICENSE, n. [L. licentia, from liceo, to be permitted.]

1. Leave; permission; authority or liberty given to do or forbear any act. A license may be verbal or written; when written, the paper containing the authority is called a license. A man is not permitted to retail spirituous liquors till he has obtained a license.

2. Excess of liberty; exorbitant freedom; freedom abused, or used in contempt of law or decorum.

License they mean, when they cry liberty.


1. To permit by grant of authority; to remove legal restraint by a grant of permission; as, to license a man to keep an inn.

2. To authorize to act in a particular character; as, to license a physician or a lawyer.

3. To dismiss. [Not in use.]

LICENSER, n. One who grants permission; a person authorized to grant permission to others; as a licenser of the press.

LICENTIATE, n. [from L. licentia.]

1. One who has a license; as a licentiate in physic or medicine.

2. In Spain, one who has a degree; as a licentiate in law or divinity. The officers of justice are mostly distinguished by this title.

LICENTIATE, v.t. To give license or permission.

LICENTIOUS, a. [L. licentiosus.]

1. Using license; indulging freedom to excess; unrestrained by law or morality; loose; dissolute; as a licentious man.

2. Exceeding the limits of law or propriety; wanton; unrestrained; as licentious desires. Licentious thoughts precede licentious conduct.

LICENTIOUSLY, adv. With excess of liberty; in contempt of law and morality.

LICENTIOUSNESS, n. Excessive indulgence of liberty; contempt of the just restraints of law, morality and decorum. The licentiousness of authors is justly condemned; the licentiousness of the press is punishable by law.

Law is the god of wise men; licentiousness is the god of fools.

LICH, a. [See Like.] Like; even; equal. Obs.

LICH, n. [Heb. chalak, smooth. We have here an instance of the radical sense of man and body, almost exactly analogous to that of Adam, to make equal, to be like.]

LICHEN, n. [L. from Gr.]

1. In botany, the name for an extensive division of cryptogamian plants, constituting a genus in the order of Algae, in the Linnean system, but now forming a distinct natural order. They appear in the form of thin flat crust, covering rocks and the bark of trees, or in foliaceous expansions, or branched like a shrub in miniature, or sometimes only as a gelatinous mass, or a powdery substance. They are called rock moss and tree moss, and some of the liverworts are of this order. They also include the Iceland moss and the reindeer moss; but they are entirely distinct from the true mosses (Musci.)

2. In surgery, a species of impetigo, appearing in the form of a red, dry, rough, and somewhat prurient spot, that gives off small furfuraceous scales.

LICHENOGRAPHIC, LICHENOGRAPHICAL, a. Pertaining to lichenography.

LICHENOGRAPHIST, n. One who describes the lichens.

LICHENOGRAPHY, n. [lichen and to write.]

A description of the vegetables called lichens; the science which illustrates the natural history of the lichens.

LICIT, a. [L. licitus.] Lawful.