Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

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MAY — MEDALLIST

MAY, n. [L. Maius.]

1. The fifth month of the year, beginning with January, but the third, beginning with March, as was the ancient practice of the Romans.

2. A young woman.

3. The early part of life.

His May of youth and bloom of lustihood.

MAY, v.i. To gather flowers in May-morning.
MAY, verb aux.; pret. might.

1. To be possible. We say, a thing may be, or may not be; an event may happen; a thing may be done, if means are not wanting.

2. To have physical power; to be able.

Make the most of life you may.

3. To have moral power; to have liberty, leave, license or permission; to be permitted; to be allowed. A man may do what the laws permit. He may do what is not against decency, propriety or good manners. We may not violate the laws, or the rules of good breeding. I told the servant he might be absent.

Thou mayest be no longer steward. Luke 16:2.

4. It is used in prayer and petitions to express desire. O may we never experience the evils we dread. So also in expressions of good will. May you live happily, and be a blessing to your country. It was formerly used for can, and its radical sense is the same.

May be, it may be, are expressions equivalent to perhaps, by chance, peradventure, that is, it is possible to be.

MAY-APPLE, n. A plant of the genus Podophyllum.

MAY-BLOOM, n. The hawthorn.

MAY-BUG, n. A chaffer.

MAY-BUSH, n. A plant of the genus Crataegus.

MAY-DAY, n. The first day of May.

MAY-DEW, n. The dew of May, which is said to whiten linen, and to afford by repeated distillations, a red and odoriferous spirit. It has been supposed that from the preparation of this dew, the Rosicrucians took their name.

MAY-DUKE, n. A variety of the common cherry.

MAY-FLOWER, n. A plant; a flower that appears in May.

MAY-FLY, n. An insect or fly that appears in May.

MAY-GAME, n. Sport or diversion; play, such as is used on the first of May.

MAYING, n. The gathering of flowers on May-day.

MAY-LADY, n. The queen or lady of May, in old May-games.

MAY-LILY, n. The lily of the valley, of the genus Convallaria.

MAY-MORN, n. Freshness; vigor.

MAY-POLE, n. A pole to dance round in May; a long pole erected.

MAY-WEED, n. A plant of the genus Anthemis.

MAYHEM. [See Maim.]

MAYOR, n. [L. miror.] The chief magistrate of a city, who, in London and York, is called lord mayor. The mayor of a city, in America, is the chief judge of the city court, and is assisted, in some cases at least, by two or more aldermen. To the lord mayor of London belong several courts of judicature, as the hustings, court of requests, and court of common council.

MAYORALTY, n. The office of a mayor.

MAYORESS, n. The wife of a mayor.

MAZAGAN, n. A variety of the common bean, [vicia faba.]

MAZARD, n. [probably from the root of marsh.]

1. The jaw. [Not used.]

2. A kind of cherry.

MAZARD, v.t. To knock on the head. [Not in use.]

MAZARINE, n. A deep blue color.

1. A particular way of dressing fowls.

2. A little dish set in a larger one.

MAZE, n.

1. A winding and turning; perplexed state of things; intricacy; a state that embarrasses.

The ways of heaven are dark and intricate,

Puzzled with mazes, and perplexed with error.

2. Confusion of thought; perplexity; uncertainty.

3. A labyrinth.

MAZE, v.t. To bewilder; to confound with intricacy; to amaze.
MAZE, v.i. To be bewildered.

MAZEDNESS, n. Confusion; astonishment.

MAZER, n. A maple cup.

MAZOLOGICAL, a. Pertaining to mazology.

MAZOLOGIST, n. One versed in mazology.

MAZOLOGY, n. [Gr. a breast, and discourse.]

The doctrine of history of mammiferous animals.

MAZY, a. Winding; perplexed with turns and windings; intricate; as mazy error.

To run the ring and trace the mazy round.

M.D. Medicinoe Doctor, doctor of medicine.

ME, pron. pers.; the objective case of I, answering to the oblique cases of ego, in Latin. [L. mihi.] Follow me; give to me; go with me. The phrase “I followed me close,” is not in use. Before think, as in methinks, me is properly in the dative case, and the verb is impersonal; the construction is, it appears to me.

MEACOCK, n. An uxorious, effeminate man. [Not used.]

MEACOCK, a. Lame; timorous; cowardly. [Not used.]

MEAD, n. [L. madeo, to be wet.] A fermented liquor consisting of honey and water, sometimes enriched with spices.

MEAD meed,

MEADOW, n. med’o. A tract of low land. In America, the word is applied particularly to the low ground on the banks of rivers, consisting of a rich mold or an alluvial soil, whether grass land, pasture, tillage or wood land; as the meadows on the banks of the Connecticut. The word with us does not necessarily imply wet land. This species of land is called, in the western states, bottoms, or bottom land. The word is also used for other low or flat lands, particularly lands appropriated to the culture of grass.

The word is said to be applied in Great Britain to land somewhat watery, but covered with grass.

Meadow means pasture or grass land, annually mown for hay; but more particularly, land too moist for cattle to graze on in winter, without spoiling the sward.

[Mead is used chiefly in poetry.]

MEADOW-ORE, n. In mineralogy, conchoidal bog iron ore.

MEADOW-RUE, n. A plant of the genus Thalictrum.

MEADOW-SAFFRON, n. A plant of the genus Colchicum.

MEADOW-SAXIFRAGE, n. A plant of the genus Peucedanum.

MEADOW-SWEET, n. A plant of the genus Spiraea.

MEADOW-WORT, n. A plant.

MEADOWY, a. Containing meadow.

MEAGER, a. [L. macer; Gr. small; allied to Eng. meek.]

1. Thin; lean; destitute of flesh or having little flesh; applied to animals.

Meager were his looks,

Sharp misery had worn him to the bones.

2. Poor; barren; destitute of richness, fertility, or any thing valuable; as a meager soil; meager limestone.

3. Barren; poor; wanting strength of diction, or richness of ideas or imagery; as a meager style or composition; meager annals.

MEAGER, v.t. To make lean. [Not used.]

MEAGERLY, adv. Poorly; thinly.

MEAGERNESS, n. Leanness; want of flesh.

1. Poorness; barrenness; want of fertility or richness.

2. Scantiness; barrenness; as the meagerness of service.

MEAK, n. A hook with a long handle.

MEAL, n.

1. A portion of food taken at one time; a repast. It is customary in the U. States to eat three meals in a day. The principal meal of our ancestors was dinner, at noon.

2. A part; a fragment; in the word piece-meal.

MEAL, n. [L. mola, mollis; Eng. mellow.]

1. The substance of edible grain ground to fine particles, and not bolted or sifted. Meal primarily includes the bran as well as the flour. Since bolting has been generally practiced, the word meal is not generally applied to the finer part, or flour, at least in the United States, though I believe it is sometimes so used. In New England, meal is now usually applied to ground maiz, whether bolted or unbolted, called Indian meal, or corn-meal. The words wheat-meal, and rye-meal are rarely used, though not wholly extinct; and meal occurs also in oatmeal.

2. Flour; the finer part of pulverized grain.

[This sense is now uncommon.]

MEAL, v.t. To sprinkle with meal, or to mix meal with. [Little used.]

MEALINESS, n. The quality of being mealy; softness or smoothness to the touch.

MEAL-MAN, n. A man that deals in meal.

MEAL-TIME, n. The usual time of eating meals.

MEALY, a. Having the qualities of meal; soft; smooth to the feel.

1. Like meal; farinaceous; soft, dry and friable; as a mealy potato; a mealy apple.

2. Overspread with something that resembles meal; as the mealy wings of an insect.

MEALY-MOUTHED, a. Literally, having a soft mouth; hence, unwilling to tell the truth in plain language; inclined to speak of any thing in softer terms than the truth will warrant.

MEALY-MOUTHEDNESS, n. Inclination to express the truth in soft words, or to disguise the plain fact; reluctance to tell the plain truth.

MEAN, a. [L. communis, vulgus, minor and minuo.]

1. Wanting dignity; low in rank or birth; as a man of mean parentage, mean birth or origin.

2. Wanting dignity of mind; low minded; base; destitute of honor; spiritless.

Can you imagine I so mean could prove,

To save my life by changing of my love?

3. Contemptible; despicable.

The Roman legions and great Caesar found

Our fathers no mean foes.

4. Of little value; low in worth or estimation; worthy of little or no regard.

We fast, not to please men, nor to promote any mean worldly interest.

5. Of little value; humble; poor; as a mean abode; a mean dress.

MEAN, a. [L. medium, medius.]

1. Middle; at an equal distance from the extremes; as the means distance; the mean proportion between quantities; the mean ratio.

According to the fittest style of lofty, mean, or lowly.

2. Intervening; intermediate; coming between; as in the mean time or while.

MEAN, n. The middle point or place; the middle rate or degree; mediocrity; medium. Observe the golden mean.

There is a mean in all things.

But no authority of gods or men

Allow of any mean in poesy.

1. Intervening time; interval of time; interim; meantime.

And in the mean, vouchsafe her honorable tomb.

Here is an omission of time or while.

2. Measure; regulation. [Not in use.]

3. Instrument; that which is used to effect an object; the medium through which something is done.

The virtuous conversation of christians was a mean to work the conversion of the heathen to Christ.

In this sense, means, in the plural, is generally used, and often with a definitive and verb in the singular.

By this means he had them more at vantage.

A good character, when established, should not be rested on as an end, but employed as a means of doing good.

4. Means, in the plural, income, revenue, resources, substance or estate, considered as the instrument of effecting any purpose. He would have built a house, but he wanted means.

Your means are slender.

5. Instrument of action or performance.

By all means, without fail. Go, by all means.

By no means, not at all; certainly not; not in any degree.

The wine on this side of the lake is by no means so good as that on the other.

By no manner of means, by no means; not the least.

By any means, possibly; at all.

If by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead. Philippians 3:11.

Meantime, Meanwhile, in the intervening time. [In this use of these words there is an omission of in or in the; in the meantime.]

MEAN, v.t. pret. and pp. meant; pronounced ment. [L. mens; Eng. mind; L. intendo, propono.]

1. To have in the mind, view or contemplation; to intend.

What mean you by this service? Exodus 12:26.

2. To intend; to purpose; to design, with reference to a future act.

Ye thought evil against me, but God meant it for good. Genesis 50:20.

3. To signify; to indicate.

What mean these seven ewe lambs? Genesis 21:29.

What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? 1 Samuel 4:6.

Go ye, and learn what that meaneth-- Matthew 9:13.

MEAN, v.i. To have thought or ideas; or to have meaning.

MEANDER, n. [the name of a winding river in Phrygia.]

1. A winding course; a winding or turning in a passage; as the meanders of the veins and arteries.

While lingering rivers in meanders glide.

2. A maze; a labyrinth; perplexity; as the meanders of the law.

MEANDER, v.t. To wind, turn or flow round; to make flexuous.
MEANDER, v.i. To wind or turn in a course or passage; to be intricate.

MEANDERING, ppr. or a. Winding in a course, passage or current.

MEANDRIAN, a. Winding; having many turns.

MEANING, ppr. Having in mind; intending; signifying.

MEANING, n. That which exists in the mind, view or contemplation as a settled aim or purpose, though not directly expressed. We say, this or that is not his meaning.

1. Intention; purpose; aim; with reference to a future act.

I am no honest man, if there by any good meaning towards you.

2. Signification. What is the meaning of all this parade? The meaning of a hieroglyphic is not always obvious.

3. The sense of words or expressions; that which is to be understood; signification; that which the writer or speaker intends to express or communicate. Words have a literal meaning, or a metaphorical meaning, and it is not always easy to ascertain the real meaning.

4. Sense; power of thinking. [Little used.]

MEANLY, adv. [See Mean.] Moderately; not in a great degree.

In the reign of Domitian, poetry was meanly cultivated. [Not used.]

1. Without dignity or rank; in a low condition; as meanly born.

2. Poorly; as meanly dressed.

3. Without greatness or elevation of mind; without honor; with a low mind or narrow views. He meanly declines to fulfill his promise.

Would you meanly thus rely

On power, you know, I must obey?

4. Without respect; disrespectfully. We cannot bear to hear others speak meanly of our kindred.

MEANNESS, n. Want of dignity or rank; low state; as meanness of birth or condition. Poverty is not always meanness; it may be connected with it, but men of dignified minds and manners are often poor.

1. Want of excellence of any kind; poorness; rudeness.

This figure is of a later date, by the meanness of the workmanship.

2. Lowness of mind; want of dignity and elevation; want of honor. Meanness in men incurs contempt. All dishonesty is meanness.

3. Sordidness; niggardliness; opposed to liberality or charitableness. Meanness is very different from frugality.

4. Want of richness; poorness; as the meanness of dress or equipage.

MEANT, pret. and pp. of mean.

MEAR. [See Mere.]

MEASE, n. [from the root of measure.] The quantity of 500; as a mease of herrings. [Not used in America.]

MEASLE, n. mee’zl. A leper. [Not in use.]

MEASLED, a. mee’zled. [See Measles.]

Infected or spotted with measles.

MEASLES, n. mee’zles; with a plural termination.

1. A contagious disease of the human body, usually characterized by an eruption of small red points or spots, from which it has its name.

2. A disease of swine.

3. A disease of trees.

MEASLY, a. mee’zly. Infected with measles or eruptions.

MEASURABLE, a. mezh’urable. [See Measure.]

1. That may be measured; susceptible of mensuration or computation.

2. Moderate; in small quantity or extent.

MEASURABLENESS, n. mezh’urableness.

The quality of admitting mensuration.

MEASURABLY, adv. mezh’urably. Moderately; in a limited degree.

MEASURE, n. mezh’ur. [L. mensura, from mensus, with a casual n, the participle of metior, to measure; Eng. to mete.]

1. The whole extent or dimensions of a thing, including length, breadth and thickness.

The measure thereof is longer than the earth and broader than the sea. Job 11:9.

It is applied also to length or to breadth separately.

2. That by which extent or dimension is ascertained, either length, breadth, thickness, capacity, or amount; as, a rod or pole is a measure of five yards and a half; an inch, a foot, a yard, are measures of length; a gallon is a measure of capacity. Weights and measures should be uniform. Silver and gold are the common measure of value.

3. A limited or definite quantity; as a measure of wine or beer.

4. Determined extent or length; limit.

Lord, make me to know my end, and the measure of my days. Psalm 39:4.

5. A rule by which any thing is adjusted or proportioned.

God’s goodness is the measure of his providence.

6. Proportion; quantity settled.

I enter not into the particulars of the law of nature, or its measures of punishment; yet there is such a law.

7. Full or sufficient quantity.

I’ll never pause again,

Till either death hath clos’d these eyes of mine,

Or fortune given me measure of revenge.

8. Extent of power or office.

We will not boast of things without our measure. 2 Corinthians 10:13.

9. Portion allotted; extent of ability.

If else thou seekest

Aught not surpassing human measure, say.

10. Degree; quantity indefinite.

I have laid down, in some measure, the description of the old world.

A great measure of discretion is to be used in the performance of confession.

11. In music, that division by which the motion of music is regulated; or the interval or space of time between the rising and falling of the hand or foot of him who beats time. This measure regulates the time of dwelling on each note. The ordinary or common measure is one second.

12. In poetry, the measure or meter is the manner of ordering and combining the quantities, or the long and short syllables. Thus, hexameter, pentameter, Iambic, Sapphic verses, etc. consist of different measure.

13. In dancing, the interval between steps, corresponding to the interval between notes in the music.

My legs can keep no measure in delight.

14. In geometry, any quantity assumed as one or unity, to which the ratio of other homogeneous or similar quantities is expressed.

15. Means to an end; an act, step or proceeding towards the accomplishment of an object; an extensive signification of the word, applicable to almost every act preparatory to a final end, and by which it is to be attained. Thus we speak of legislative measures, political measures, public measures, prudent measures, a rash measure, effectual measures, inefficient measures.

In measure, with moderation; with excess.

Without measure, without limits; very largely or copiously.

To have hard measure, to be harshly or oppressively treated.

Lineal or long measure, measure of length; the measure of lines or distances.

Liquid measure, the measure of liquors.

MEASURE, v.t. mezh’ur. To compute or ascertain extent, quantity, dimensions or capacity by a certain rule; as, to measure land; to measure distance; to measure the altitude of a mountain; to measure the capacity of a ship or of a cask.

1. To ascertain the degree of any thing; as, to measure the degrees of heat, or of moisture.

2. To pass through or over.

We must measure twenty miles to day.

The vessel plows the sea,

And measures back with speed her former way.

3. To judge of distance, extent or quantity; as, to measure any thing by the eye.

Great are thy works, Jehovah, infinite

Thy power; what thought can measure thee?

4. To adjust; to proportion.

To secure a contended spirit, measure your desires by your fortunes, not your fortunes by your desires.

5. To allot or distribute by measure.

With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Matthew 7:2.

MEASURED, pp. mezh’ured. Computed or ascertained by a rule; adjusted; proportioned; passed over.

1. a. Equal; uniform; steady. He walked with measured steps.

MEASURELESS, a. mezh’urless. Without measure; unlimited; immeasurable.

MEASUREMENT, n. mezh’urment. The act of measuring; mensuration.

MEASURER, n. mezh’urer. One who measures; one whose occupation or duty is to measure commodities in market.

MEASURING, ppr. mezh’uring. Computing or ascertaining length, dimensions, capacity or amount.

1. a. A measuring cast, a throw or cast that requires to be measured, or not to be distinguished from another but by measuring.

MEAT, n.

1. Food in general; any thing eaten for nourishment, either by man or beast.

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb--to you it shall be for meat. Genesis 1:29.

Every moving thing that liveth, shall be meat for you. Genesis 9:3.

Thy carcass shall be meat to all fowls of the air. Deuteronomy 28:26.

2. The flesh of animals used as food. This is now the more usual sense of the word. The meat of carnivorous animals is tough, coarse and ill flavored. The meat of herbivorous animals is generally palatable.

3. In Scripture, spiritual food; that which sustains and nourishes spiritual life or holiness.

My flesh is meat indeed. John 6:55.

4. Spiritual comfort; that which delights the soul.

My meat is to do the will of him that sent me. John 4:34.

5. Products of the earth proper for food. Habakkuk 3:17.

6. The more abstruse doctrines of the gospel, or mysteries of religion. Hebrews 5:12-14.

7. Ceremonial ordinances. Hebrews 13:9.

To sit at meat, to sit or recline at the table.

MEATED, a. Fed; fattened. [Not used.]

MEATHE, n. Liquor or drink. [Not used.]

MEAT-OFFERING, n. An offering consisting of meat or food.

MEATY, a. Fleshy, but not fat. [Local.]

MEAWL. [See Mewl.]

MEAZLING, ppr. Falling in small drops; properly mizzling, or rather mistling, from mist.

MECHANIC, MECHANICAL, a. [L. mechanicus; Gr. a machine.]

1. Pertaining to machines, or to the art of constructing machines; pertaining to the art of making wares, goods, instruments, furniture, etc. We say, a man is employed in mechanical labor; he lives by mechanical occupation.

2. Constructed or performed by the rules or laws of mechanics. The work is not mechanical.

3. Skilled in the art of making machines; bred to manual labor.

4. Pertaining to artisans or mechanics; vulgar.

To make a god, a hero or a king,

Descend to a mechanic dialect.

5. Pertaining to the principles of mechanics, in philosophy; as mechanical powers or forces; a mechanical principle.

6. Acting by physical power; as mechanical pressure.

The terms mechanical and chimical, are thus distinguished; those changes which bodies undergo without altering their constitution, that is, losing their identity, such as changes of place, of figure, etc. are mechanical; those which alter the constitution of bodies, making them different substances, as when flour, yeast and water unite to form bread, are chimical. In the one case, the changes relate to masses of matter, as the motions of the heavenly bodies, or the action of the wind on a ship under sail; in the other case, the changes occur between the particles of matter, as the action of heat in melting lead, or the union of sand and lime forming mortar. Most of what are usually called the mechanic arts, are partly mechanical, and partly chimical.

MECHANIC, n. A person whose occupation is to construct machines, or goods, wares, instruments, furniture, and the like.

1. One skilled in a mechanical occupation or art.

MECHANICALLY, adv. According to the laws of mechanism, or good workmanship.

1. By physical force or power.

2. By the laws of motion, without intelligence or design, or by the force of habit. We say, a man arrives to such perfection in playing on an instrument, that his fingers move mechanically.

Mechanically turned or inclined, naturally or habitually disposed to use mechanical arts.

MECHANICALNESS, n. The state of being mechanical, or governed by mechanism.

MECHANICIAN, n. One skilled in mechanics.

MECHANICS, n. That science which treats of the doctrines of motion. It investigates the forces by which bodies are kept either in equilibrium or in motion, and is accordingly divided into statics and dynamics.

A mathematical science which shows the effects of powers or moving forces, so far as they are applied to engines, and demonstrates the laws of motion.

It is a well known truth in mechanics, that the actual and theoretical powers of a machine will never coincide.

MECHANISM, n. The construction of a machine, engine or instrument, intended to apply power to a useful purpose; the structure of parts, or manner in which the parts of a machine are united to answer its design.

1. Action of a machine, according to the laws of mechanics.

MECHANIST, n. The maker of machines, or one skilled in mechanics.

MECHLIN, n. A species of lace, made at Mechlin.

MECHOACAN, n. White jalap, the root of an American species of Convolvulus, from Mechoacan, in Mexico; a purgative of slow operation, but safe.

MECONIATE, n. A salt consisting of meconic acid and a base.

MECONIC, a. Meconic acid is an acid contained in opium.

MECONITE, n. A small sandstone; ammite.

MECONIUM, n. [Gr. poppy.]

1. The juice of the white poppy, which has the virtues of opium.

2. The first faeces of infants.

MEDAL, n. [L. metallum, metal.] An ancient coin, or a piece of metal in the form of a coin, stamped with some figure or device to preserve the portrait of some distinguished person, or the memory of an illustrious action or event.

MEDALLIC, a. Pertaining to a medal or to medals.

MEDALLION, n. A large antique stamp or medal.

1. The representation of a medallion.

MEDALLIST, n. A person that is skilled or curious in medals.