Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



MARSH-ELDER, n. The gelder rose, a species of Viburnum.

MARSH-MALLOW, n. A plant of the genus Althaea.

MARSH-MARIGOLD, n. A plant of the genus Caltha.

MARSH-ROCKET, n. A species of water cresses.


1. The chief officer of arms, whose duty it is to regulate combats in the lists.

2. One who regulates rank and order at a feast or any other assembly, directs the order of procession and the like.

3. A harbinger; a pursuivant; one who goes before a prince to declare his coming and provide entertainment.

4. In France, the highest military officer. In other countries of Europe, a marshal is a military officer of high rank, and called field-marshal.

5. In America, a civil officer, appointed by the President and Senate of the United States, in each judicial district, answering to the sheriff of a county. His duty is to execute all precepts directed to him, issued under the authority of the United States.

6. An officer of any private society, appointed to regulate their ceremonies and execute their orders.

Earl marshal of England, the eighth officer of state; an honorary title, and personal, until made hereditary by Charles II, in the family of Howard. During a vacancy in the office of high constable, the earl marshal has jurisdiction in the court of chivalry.

Earl marshal of Scotland. This officer formerly had command of the cavalry, under the constable. This office was held by the family of Keith, but forfeited by rebellion in 1715.

Knight marshal, or marshal of the king’s house, formerly an officer who was to execute the commands of the lord steward, and have the custody of prisoners committed by the court of verge; hence, the name of a prison in Southwark.

Marshal of the king’s bench, an officer who has the custody of the prison called the king’s bench, in Southwark. He attends on the court and has the charge of the prisoners committed by them.

MARSHAL, v.t. To dispose in order; to arrange in a suitable manner; as, to marshal an army; to marshal troops.

1. To lead, as a harbinger. [Not used.]

2. To dispose in due order the several parts of an escutcheon, or the coats of arms of distinct families.

MARSHALED, pp. Arranged in due order.

MARSHALER, n. One who disposes in due order.

MARSHALING, ppr. Arranging in due order.

MARSHALSEA, n. In England, the prison in Southwark, belonging to the marshal of the king’s household.

Court of marshalsea, a court formerly held before the steward and marshal of the king’s house, to administer justice between the king’s domestic servants.

MARSHALSHIP, n. The office of a marshal.

MARSHY, a. [from marsh.] Wet; boggy; fenny.

1. Produced in marshes; as a marshy weed.

MART, n. [from market.] A place of sale or traffick. It was formerly applied chiefly to markets and fairs in cities and towns, but it has now a more extensive application. We say, the United States are a principal mart for English goods; England and France are the marts of American cotton.

1. Bargain; purchase and sale. [Not used.]

M`ART, v.t. To buy and sell; to traffick. [Not used.]

MARTAGON, n. A kind of lily.

MARTEL, v.t. To strike.

MARTEN. [See Martin.]

MARTEN, n. An animal of the genus Mustela, or weasel kind, whose fur is used in making hats and muffs.

MARTIAL, a. [L. martialis; Mars, the god of war.]

1. Pertaining to war; suited to war; as martial equipage; martial music; a martial appearance.

2. Warlike; brave; given to war; as a martial nation or people.

3. Suited to battle; as a martial array.

4. Belonging to war, or to an army and navy; opposed to civil; as martial law; a court martial.

5. Pertaining to Mars, or borrowing the properties of that planet.

The natures of the fixed start are esteemed martial or jovial, according to the colors by which they answer to those planets.

6. Having the properties if iron, called by the old chimists, Mars.

MARTIALISM, n. Bravery; martial exercises. [Not in use.]

MARTIALIST, n. A warrior; a fighter. [Not used.]

MARTIN, n. [L. murus.] A bird of the genus Hirundo, which forms its nest in buildings. It was formerly written by some authors martlet.

MARTINET, MARTLET, n. In military language, a strict disciplinarian; so called from an officer of that name.

MARTINETS, n. In ships, martinets are small lines fastened to the leech of a sail, to bring it close to the yard when the sail is furled.


1. A strap or thong fastened to the girth under a horse’s belly, and at the other end to the muss-roll, passing between the fore legs.

2. In ships, a rope extending from the jibboom, to the end of a bumpkin under the cap of the bowsprit.

MARTINMAS, n. [Martin and mass.] The feast of St. Martin, the eleventh of November.

MARTLET, n. [See Martin.] Martlets, in heraldry, are little birds represented without feed, used as a mark of distinction for younger brothers of a family, who are thus admonished that they are to trust for promotion to the wings of merit.

MARTYR, n. [Gr. a witness.] One who, by his death, bears witness to the truth of the gospel. Stephen was the first christian martyr.

To be a martyr signifies only to witness the truth of Christ.

1. One who suffers death in defense of any cause. We say, a man dies a martyr to his political principles or to the cause of liberty.

M`ARTYR, v.t. To put to death for adhering to what one believes to be the truth; to sacrifice one on account of his faith or profession.

1. To murder; to destroy.

MARTYRDOM, n. The death of a martyr; the suffering of death on account of one’s adherence to the faith of the gospel.

He intends to crown their innocence with the glory of martyrdom.

MARTYRIZE, v.t. To offer as a martyr. [Little used.]

MARTYROLOGICAL, a. Registering or registered in a catalogue or martyrs.

MARTYROLOGIST, n. A writer of martyrology, or an account of martyrs.

MARTYROLOGY, n. [Gr. a witness, and discourse.] A history or account of martyrs with their sufferings; or a register of martyrs.

MARVEL, n. [L. mirabilis, wonderful, from miror; demiror, mora, delay, and perhaps morior; Eng. demur, etc.]

1. A wonder; that which arrests the attention and causes a person to stand or gaze, or to pause. [This word is nearly obsolete, or at least little used in elegant writings.]

2. Wonder; admiration.

Marvel of Peru, a plant of the genus Mirabilis.

M`ARVEL, v.i. To wonder. It expresses less than astonish or amaze. [Nearly obsolete.]

MARVELING, ppr. Wondering.


1. Wonderful; strange; exciting wonder or some degree of surprise.

This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:23.

2. Surpassing credit; incredible.

3. The marvelous, in writings, is that which exceeds natural power, or is preternatural; opposed to probable.

4. Formerly used adverbially for wonderfully, exceedingly.

MARVELOUSLY, adv. Wonderfully; strangely; in a manner to excite wonder or surprise.

MARVELOUSNESS, n. Wonderfulness; strangeness.

MARY-BUD, n. The marigold.

MASCLE, n. m`asl. In heraldry, a lozenge, as it were perforated.

MASCULINE, a. [L. masculinus, from masculus, mas.]

1. Having the qualities of a man; strong; robust; as a masculine body.

2. Resembling man; coarse; opposed to delicate or soft; as masculine features.

3. Bold; brave; as a masculine spirit or courage.

4. In grammar, the masculine gender of words is that which expresses a male, or something analogous to it; or it is the gender appropriated to males, though not always expressing the male sex.

MASCULINELY, adv. Like a man.

MASCULINENESS, n. The quality or state of being manly; resemblance of man in qualities; as in coarseness of features, strength of body, boldness, etc.

MASH, n. [L. mastico.]

1. A mixture or mass of ingredients, beaten or blended together in a promiscuous manner.

2. A mixture for a horse.

3. A mesh. [See Mesh, the more common orthography.]

MASH, v.t. To beat into a confused mass.

1. To bruise; to crush by beating or pressure; as, to mash apples in a mill.

2. To mix malt and water together in brewing.

MASHED, pp. Beat into a mass; bruised; crushed; mixed into a mash.

MASHING, ppr. Beating into a mass; bruising; crushing.

MASHING-TUB, n. A tub for containing the mash in breweries.

MASHY, a. Produced by crushing or bruising.

MASK, n.

1. A cover for the face; that which conceals the face, especially a cover with apertures for the eyes and mouth; a visor. A mask is designed to conceal the face from beholders, or to preserve the complexion from injury by exposure to the weather and the rays of the sun.

2. That which disguises; any pretense or subterfuge.

3. A festive entertainment of dancing or other diversions, in which the company all wear masks; a masquerade.

4. A revel; a bustle; a piece of mummery.

This thought might lead through this world’s vain mask.

5. A dramatic performance written in a tragic style, without attention to rules or probability.

6. In architecture, a piece of sculpture representing some grotesque form, to fill and adorn vacant places, as in friezes, panels of doors, keys of arches, etc.

M`ASK, v.t. To cover the face for concealment or defense against injury; to conceal with a mask or visor.

1. To disguise; to cover; to hide.

Masking the business from the common eye.

M`ASK, v.i. To revel; to play the fool in masquerade.

1. To be disguised in any way.

MASKED, pp. Having the face covered; concealed; disguised.

1. a. In botany, personate.

MASKER, n. One that wears a mask; one that plays the fool at a masquerade.

MASKERY, n. The dress or disguise of a masker.

MASK-HOUSE, n. A place for masquerades.

MASKING, ppr. Covering with a mask; concealing.

MASLIN. [See Meslin.]

MASON, n. ma’sn.

1. A man whose occupation is to lay bricks and stones, or to construct the walls of buildings, chimneys and the like, which consist of bricks or stones.

2. A member of the fraternity of free masons.

MASONIC, a. Pertaining to the craft or mysteries of free masons.


1. The art or occupation of a mason.

2. The work or performance of a mason; as when we say, the wall is good masonry.

3. The craft of free masons.

MASORA, n. [Heb.] A Hebrew work on the bible, by several Rabbins.

MASORETIC, a. [Heb. to deliver, whence masora, tradition, whence the Masorites, the adherents to the traditionary readings of the Scriptures.] Relating to the Masorites, who interpreted the Scriptures by tradition, and invented the Hebrew points to fix the true reading and pronunciation. Whence the vowel points are denominated masoretic.

MASORITE, n. One of the writers of the Masora.


1. A nocturnal assembly of persons wearing masks, and amusing themselves with dancing, conversation and other diversions.

In courtly balls and midnight masquerades.

2. Disguise.

I came to visit thee in masquerade.

3. A Spanish diversion on horseback.

MASQUERADE, v.i. To go in disguise.

1. To assemble in masks.

MASQUERADE, v.t. To put in disguise.

MASQUERADER, n. A person wearing a mask; one disguised.

MASQUERADING, ppr. Assembling in masks for diversion.

MASS, n. [L. massa, a mass; Gr. to beat or pound.]

1. A lump; a body of matter concreted, collected or formed into a lump; applied to any solid body; as a mass of iron or lead; a mass of flesh; as mass of ice; a mass of dough.

2. A collective body of fluid matter. The ocean is a mass of water.

3. A heap; as a mass of earth.

4. A great quantity collected; as a mass of treasure.

5. Bulk; magnitude.

This army of such mass and charge.

6. An assemblage; a collection of particulars blended, confused or indistinct; as a mass of colors.

They lose their forms, and make a mass

Confused and black, if brought too near.

7. Gross body of things considered collectively; the body; the bulk; as the mass of people in a nation. A small portion of morbid matter may infect the whole mass of fluids in the body.

M`ASS, n. [Low L. missa. The word signifies primarily leisure, cessation from labor, from the L. missus, remissus, like the L. ferioe; hence a feast or holiday.] The service of the Romish church; the office or prayers used at the celebration of the eucharist; the consecration of the bread and wine.
M`ASS, v.i. To celebrate mass. [Not used.]
M`ASS, v.t. To fill; to stuff; to strengthen. [Not used.]


1. The murder of an individual, or the slaughter of numbers of human beings, with circumstances of cruelty; the indiscriminate killing of human beings, without authority or necessity, and without forms civil or military. It differs from assassination, which is a private killing. It differs from carnage, which is rather the effect of slaughter than slaughter itself, and is applied to the authorized destruction of men in battle. Massacre is sometimes called butchery, from its resemblance to the killing of cattle. If a soldier kills a man in battle in his own defense, it is a lawful act; it is killing, and it is slaughter, but it is not a massacre. Whereas, if a soldier kills an enemy after he has surrendered, it is a massacre, a killing without necessity, often without authority, contrary to the usages of nations, and of course with cruelty. The practice of killing prisoners, even when authorized by the commander, is properly massacre; as the authority given proceeds from cruelty. We have all heard of the massacre of the protestants in France, in the reign of Charles IX. and frequent instances of barbarous massacre occur in the war between the Turks and Greeks.

2. Murder.

MASSACER, MASSACRE, v.t. To murder human beings with circumstances of cruelty; to kill men with indiscriminate violence, without authority or necessity, and contrary to the usages of nations; to butcher human beings.

MASSACRER, n. One who massacres. [A very bad word.]

MASSER, n. A priest who celebrates mass.

MASSETER, n. [Gr. to chew.] A muscle which raises the under jaw.

MASSICOT, MASTICOT, n. Calcined white lead; yellow oxyd of lead. Lead exposed to the air while melting, is covered with a gray, dusky pellicle. This pellicle carefully taken off, is reduced by agitation to a greenish gray powder, inclining to yellow. This oxyd, separated from the grains of lead by sifting, and exposed to a more intense heat, sufficient to make it red hot, assumes a deep yellow color. In this state it is called massicot. Massicot, slowly heated by a moderate fire, takes a beautiful red color, and obtains the name of minium.

Massicot is sometimes used by painters, and it is used as a drier in the composition of ointments and plasters.

MASSINESS, MASSIVENESS, n. [See Massy, Massive.] The state of being massy; great weight or weight with bulk; ponderousness.

MASSIVE, MASSY, a. Heavy; weighty; ponderous; bulky and heavy; as a massy shield; a massy rock.

The yawning rocks in massy fragments fly.

M`ASSIVE, a. In mineralogy, in mass; having a crystalline structure, but not a regular form. We say, a mineral occurs massive.

MAST, n. A long, round piece of timber, elevated or designed to be raised perpendicularly or nearly so, on the keel of a ship or other vessel, to which the yards, sails and rigging are attached, and by which they are supported. A mast is a single stick, formed from the trunk of a tree, or it consists of many pieces of timber united by iron bands. Masts are of several kinds, as the main-mast, fore-mast, mizzen-mast, top-mast, top-gallant-mast, etc.

M`AST, n. The fruit of the oak and beech, or other forest trees; nuts; acorns. [It has no plural.]

MASTED, a. Furnished with a mast or masts.

MASTER, n. [L. magister, compounded of the root of magis, major, greater.]

1. A man who rules, governs or directs either men or business. A man who owns slaves is their master; he who has servants is their master; he who has apprentices is their master; he who has apprentices is their master, as he has the government and direction of them. The man who superintends and directs any business, is master, or master workman.

O thou my friend, my genius, come along,

Thou master of the poet and the song.

Nations that want protectors, will have masters.

2. A director, head, or chief manager; as the master of a feast.

3. The owner; proprietor; with the idea of governing. The master of a house may be the owner, or the occupant, who has a temporary right of governing it.

It would be believed that he rather took the horse for his subject, than his master.

4. A lord; a ruler; one who has supreme dominion.

Caesar, the world’s great master and his own.

5. A chief; a principal; as the master root of a plant.

One master passion swallows up the rest.

6. One who has possession, and the power of controlling or using at pleasure.

When I have made myself master of a hundred thousand drachmas--

7. The commander of a merchant ship.

8. In ships of war, an officer who takes rank immediately after the lieutenants, and navigates the ship under the direction of the captain.

9. The director of a school; a teacher; an instructor.

In this sense the word is giving place to the more appropriate words teacher, instructor and preceptor; at least it is so in the United States.

10. One uncontrolled.

Let every man be master of his time.

11. An appellation of respect.

Master doctor, you have brought those drugs.

12. An appellation given to young men.

Where there are little masters and misses in a house--

13. A man eminently or perfectly skilled in any occupation, art or science. We say, a man is master of his business; a great master of music, of the flute or violin; a master of his subject, etc.

14. A title of dignity in colleges and universities; as Master of Arts.

15. The chief of a society; as the Grand Master of Malta, of free-masons, etc.

16. The director of ceremonies at public places, or on public occasions.

17. The president of a college.

Master in chancery, an assistant of the lord chancellor, chosen from among the barristers to sit in chancery, or at the rolls.

To be master of one’s self, to have the command or control of one’s own passions.

The word master has numerous applications, in all of which it has the sense of director, chief or superintendent.

As a title of respect given to adult persons, it is pronounced mister; a pronunciation which seems to have been derived from some of the northern dialects. [supra.]

M`ASTER, v.i. To conquer; to overpower; to subdue; to bring under control.

Obstinacy and willful neglect must be mastered, even though it costs blows.

Evil customs must be mastered by degrees.

1. To execute with skill.

I will not offer that which I cannot master.

2. To rule; to govern.

--And rather father thee than master thee. [Not used.]

M`ASTER, v.i. To be skillful; to excel.

MASTERDOM, n. Dominion, rule. [Not used.]

MASTERFUL, a. Having the skill of a master; also, imperious; arbitrary.

MASTER-HAND, n. The hand of a man eminently skillful.

MASTER-JEST, n. Principal jest.

MASTER-KEY, n. The key that opens many locks, the subordinate keys of which open only one each.

MASTERLESS, a. Destitute of a master or owner.

1. Ungoverned; unsubdued.

MASTER-LODE, n. In mining, the principal vein of ore.

MASTERLY, a. Formed or executed with superior skill; suitable to a master; most excellent; skillful; as a masterly design; a masterly performance; a masterly stroke of policy.

1. Imperious.

M`ASTERLY, adv. With the skill of a master.

Thou dost speak masterly.

“I think it very masterly written,” in Swift, is improper or unusual.

MASTER-PIECE, n. A capital performance; any thing done or made with superior or extraordinary skill.

This wondrous master-piece I fain would see.

1. Chief excellence or talent.

Dissimulation was his master-piece.

MASTERSHIP, n. Dominion; rule; supreme power.

1. Superiority; preeminence.

Where noble youths for mastership should strive.

2. Chief work; master-piece. [Not used.]

3. Superior skill.

4. Title of respect; in irony.

How now, signor Launce, what new with your mastership.

5. The office of president of a college, or other institution.

MASTER-SINEW, n. A large sinew that surrounds the hough of a horse, and divides it from the bone by a hollow place, where the wind-galls are usually seated.

MASTER-STRING, n. Principal string.

MASTER-STROKE, n. Capital performance.

MASTER-TOOTH, n. A principal tooth.

MASTER-TOUCH, n. Principal performance.

MASTER-WORK, n. Principal performance.

MASTER-WORT, n. A plant of the genus Imperatoria.

MASTERY, n. Dominion; power of governing or commanding.

If divided by mountains, they will fight for the mastery of the passages of the tops--

1. Superiority in competition; preeminence.

Every man that striveth for the mystery, is temperate in all things. 1 Corinthians 9:25.

2. Victory in war.

It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery. Exodus 32:18.

3. Eminent skill; superior dexterity.

He could attain to a mastery in all languages.

4. Attainment of eminent skill or power.

The learning and mastery of a tongue being unpleasant in itself, should not be cumbered with other difficulties.

MASTFUL, a. [from mast.] Abounding with mast, or fruit of oak, beech and other forest trees; as the mastful chestnut.

MASTIC, MASTICH, n. [L. mastiche.]

1. A resin exuding from the mastic-tree, a species of Pistacia, and obtained by incision. It is in white farinaceous tears, of a faint smell, and is used as an astringent and an aromatic. It is used also as an ingredient in drying varnishes.

2. A kind of mortar or cement.

MASTICATE, v.t. [L. mastico.] To chew; to grind with the teeth and prepare for swallowing and digestion; as, to masticate food.

MASTICATED, pp. Chewed.

MASTICATING, ppr. Chewing; breaking into small pieces with the teeth.

MASTICATION, n. The act or operation of chewing solid food, breaking it into small pieces, and mixing it with saliva; thus preparing it for deglutition, and more easy digestion in the stomach.

Mastication is a necessary preparation of solid aliment, without which there can be no good digestion.

MASTICATORY, a. Chewing; adapted to perform the office of chewing food.

MASTICATORY, n. A substance to be chewed to increase the saliva.

MASTIFF, n. plu. mastiffs. Mastives is irregular. [Low L. mastivus.] A large species of dog, remarkable for strength and courage. Strabo informs us that the mastiffs of Britain were trained for war, and used by the Gauls in battle.

MASTLESS, a. Having no mast; as a vessel.

1. Bearing no mast; as a mastless oak or beech.

MASTLIN. [See Meslin.]

MASTODON, n. [Gr. mamilla, and tooth.] A genus of mammiferous animals resembling the elephant, now extinct, and known only by their fossil remains. It includes the N. American mammoth.