Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



MICROSCOPE, n. [Gr. small, and to view.] An optical instrument consisting of lenses or mirrors, which magnify objects, and thus render visible minute objects which cannot be seen by the naked eye, or enlarge the apparent magnitude of small visible bodies, so as to enable us to examine their texture or construction.

MICROSCOPIC, MICROSCOPICAL, a. Made by the aid of a microscope; as microscopic observation.

1. Assisted by a microscope.

Evading even the microscopic eye.

2. Resembling a microscope; capable of seeing small objects.

Why has not man a microscopic eye?

3. Very small; visible only by the aid of a microscope; as a microscopic insect.

MICROSCOPICALLY, adv. By the microscope; with minute inspection.

MICTURITION, n. [L. micturio.] The act of making water, or passing the urine.

MID, a. [L. medius.]

1. Middle; at equal distance from extremes; as the mid hour of night.

2. Intervening.

No more the mounting larks, while Daphne sings,

Shall, lifting in mid air, suspend their wings.

MIDA, n. [Gr.] A worm, or the beanfly.

MID-AGE, n. The middle of life, or persons of that age.

MID-COURSE, n. The middle of the course or way.

MID-DAY, a. Being at noon; meridional; as the mid-day sun.

MID-DAY, n. The middle of the day; noon.

MIDDEST, a. superl. of mid.

Among the middest crowd. [Not used.]

MIDDLE, a. mid’l. [L. medius.]

1. Equally distant from the extremes; as the middle point of a line or circle; the middle station of life. The middle path or course is most safe.

2. Intermediate; intervening.

Will, seeking good, finds many middle ends.

Middle ages, the ages or period of time about equally distant from the decline of the Roman empire and the revival of letters in Europe, or from the eighth to the fifteenth century of the christian era.

MIDDLE, n. The point or part equally distant from the extremities.

See, there come people down by the middle of the land. Judges 9:37.

1. The time that passes, or events that happen between the beginning and the end.

MIDDLE-AGED, a. Being about the middle of the ordinary age of man. A middle-aged man is so called from the age of thirty five or forty to forty five or fifty.

MIDDLE-EARTH, n. The world.

MIDDLEMOST, a. Being in the middle, or nearest the middle of a number of things that are near the middle. If a thing is in the middle, it cannot be more so, and in this sense the word is improper. But when two or more things are near the middle, one may be nearer than another.

MIDDLING, a. Of middle rank, state, size or quality; about equally distant from the extremes; moderate. Thus we speak of people of the middling class or sort, neither high nor low; of a man of middling capacity or understanding; a man of middling size; fruit of a middling quality.

MIDGE, n. A gnat or flea. [Not used.]

MID-HEAVEN, n. The middle of the sky or heaven.

MIDLAND, a. Being in the interior country; distant from the coast or sea shore; as midland towns or inhabitants.

1. Surrounded by the sea; mediterranean.

And on the midland sea the French had aw’d.

MIDLEG, n. Middle of the leg.

MIDMOST, a. Middle; as the midmost battles.

MIDNIGHT, n. The middle of the night; twelve o’clock at night.

MIDNIGHT, a. Being in the middle of the night; as midnight studies.

1. Dark as midnight; very dark; as midnight gloom.

MIDRIFF, n. In anatomy, the diaphragm; the muscle which divides the trunk into two cavities, the thorax and abdomen.

MIDSEA, n. The Mediterranean sea.

MIDSHIP, a. Being or belonging to the middle of a ship; as a midship beam.

MIDSHIPMAN, n. In ships of war, a kind of naval cadet, whose business is to second the orders of the superior officers and assist in the necessary business of the ship, particularly in managing the sails, that he may be trained to a knowledge of the machinery, discipline and operations of ships of war, and qualified for naval service.

MIDSHIPS, adv. In the middle of a ship; properly amidships.

MIDST, n. [contracted from middest, the superlative of mid.]

The middle.

There is nothing said or done in the midst of the play, which might not have been placed in the beginning.

The phrase, in the midst, often signifies involved in, surrounded or overwhelmed by, or in the thickest part, or in the depths of; as in the midst of afflictions, troubles or cares; in the midst of our contemplations; in the midst of the battle; in the midst of pagan darkness and error; in the midst of gospel light; in the midst of the ocean; in the midst of civil dissensions.

From the midst, from the middle, or from among. Deuteronomy 18:15.

MIDST, adv. In the middle.

On earth, join all ye creatures to extol

Him first, Him last, Him midst, and without end.

MIDSTREAM, n. The middle of the stream.

MIDSUMMER, n. The middle of summer; the summer solstice, about the 21st of June.

MIDWARD, adv. Midst. [Not in use.]

MIDWAY, n. The middle of the way or distance.

Paths indirect, or in the midway faint.

MIDWAY, a. Being in the middle of the way or distance; as the midway air.
MIDWAY, adv. In the middle of the way or distance; half way.

She met his glance midway.

MIDWIFE, n. [supposed by Junius and Skinner to be meedwife, a woman that has a reward. This is probably a mistake. The word is a compound of mid, with, and wif, a woman; in analogy with the L. obstetrix, from obsto, obstiti, to stand before. L. cum, with, and madre, mother, which is precisely analogous to midwife.]

A woman that assists other women in childbirth.

MIDWIFE, v.i. To perform the office of midwife.
MIDWIFE, v.t. To assist in childbirth.

MIDWIFERY, n. The art or practice of assisting women in childbirth; obstetrics.

1. Assistance at childbirth.

2. Help or cooperation in production.

MID-WINTER, n. The middle of winter, or the winter solstice, December 21. As the severity of winter in North America falls in January and February, the word ordinarily denotes this period, or some weeks after the winter solstice.

MIEMITE, n. Granular miemite is a sub-variety of magnesian limestone, first found at Miemo, in Tuscany. It occurs massive, or crystallized in flat, double, three-sided pyramids. Its color is light green or greenish white.

MIEN, n. Look; air; manner; external appearance; carriage; as a lofty mien; a majestic mien.

MIFF, n. A slight degree of resentment. [Colloquial.]

MIFFED, a. Slightly offended.

MIGHT, n. pret. of may. Had power or liberty. He might go, or might have gone.

1. It sometimes denotes was possible, implying ignorance of the fact in the speaker. Orders might have been given for the purpose.


1. Strength; force; power; primarily and chiefly, bodily strength or physical power; as, to work or strive with all one’s might.

There small be no might in thy hand. Deuteronomy 28:32.

2. Political power or great achievements.

The acts of David--with all his reign and his might. 1 Chronicles 29:30; 1 Kings 15:23.

3. National strength; physical power or military force.

We have no might against this great company that cometh against us. 2 Chronicles 20:12.

4. Valor with bodily strength; military prowess; as men of might. 1 Chronicles 12:8.

5. Ability; strength or application of means.

I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God-- 1 Chronicles 29:2.

6. Strength or force of purpose.

Like him was no king that turned to the Lord with all his might. 2 Kings 23:25.

7. Strength of affection.

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deuteronomy 6:5.

8. Strength of light; splendor; effulgence.

Let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. Judges 5:31.

Shakespeare applied the word to an oath. “An oath of mickle might.” This application is obsolete. We now use strength or force; as the strength or force of an oath or covenant.

With might and main, with the utmost strength or bodily exertion; a tautological phrase, as both words are from the same root, and mean the same thing.

MIGHTILY, adv. [from mighty.] With great power, force of strength; vigorously; as, to strive mightily.

1. Vehemently; with great earnestness.

Cry mightily to God. Jonah 3:8.

2. Powerfully; with great energy.

Whereto I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. Colossians 1:29.

3. With great strength of argument.

He mightily convinced the Jews. Acts 18:28.

4. With great or irresistible force; greatly; extensively.

So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed. Acts 19:20.

5. With strong means of defense.

Fortify the power mightily. Nahum 2:1.

6. Greatly; to a great degree; very much.

I was mightily pleased with a story applicable to this piece of philosophy.

[Admissible in colloquial and familiar language.]

MIGHTINESS, n. Power; greatness; highth of dignity.

How soon this mightiness meets misery!

1. A title of dignity; as their High Mightinesses.

MIGHTY, a. Having great bodily strength or physical power; very strong or vigorous; as a mighty arm.

1. Very strong; valiant; bold; as a mighty man of valor. Judges 6:12.

2. Very powerful; having great command.

Cush begat Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. Genesis 10:8.

3. Very strong in numbers; as a mighty nation. Genesis 18:18.

4. Very strong or great in corporeal power; very able.

Wo to them that are mighty to drink wine. Isaiah 5:22.

5. Violent; very loud; as mighty thunderings. Exodus 9:28; Psalm 68:33.

6. Vehement; rushing with violence; as a mighty wind or tempest. Exodus 10:19; Revelation 6:13.

7. Very great; vast; as mighty waters. Nehemiah 9:11.

8. Very great or strong; as mighty power. 2 Chronicles 26:13.

9. Very forcible; efficacious; as, great is truth and mighty.

10. Very great or eminent in intellect or acquirements; as the mighty Scaliger and Selden.

11. Great; wonderful; performed with great power; as mighty works. Matthew 11:20.

12. Very severe and distressing; as a mighty famine. Luke 15:14.

13. Very great, large or populous; as a mighty city. Revelation 18:10.

14. Important; momentous.

I’ll sing of heroes and of kings,

In mighty numbers mighty things.

MIGHTY, adv. In a great degree; very; as might wise; mighty thoughtful. [Colloquial.]

MIGNIARD, a. Soft; dainty; delicate; pretty.

MIGNONETTE, MIGONET, n. An annual flower or plant of the genus Reseda, having the scent of raspberries.

MIGRATE, v.i. [L. migro.] To pass or remove from one country or from one state to another, with a view to permanent residence, or residence of some continuance. The first settlers of New England migrated first to Holland, and afterwards to America. Some species of fowls migrate in autumn to a warmer climate for a temporary residence. To change residence in the same city or state is not to migrate.

1. To pass or remove from one region or district to another for a temporary residence; as, the Tartars migrate for the sake of finding pasturage.

MIGRATING, ppr. Removing from one state to another for a permanent residence. The people of the eastern states are continually migrating to the western states.

MIGRATION, n. [L. migratio.] The act of removing from one kingdom or state to another, for the purpose of permanent residence, or a residence of some continuance.

1. Change of place; removal; as the migration of the center of gravity.

MIGRATORY, a. Removing or accustomed to remove from one state or country to another for permanent residence.

1. Roving; wandering; occasionally removing for pasturage; as the migratory Tartars.

2. Passing from one climate to another; as fowls.

MILCH, a. Giving milk; as a milch cow. It is now applied only to beasts.

MILD, a. [The primary sense is soft or smooth, L. mollis, Eng. mellow.]

1. Soft; gently and pleasantly affecting the senses; not violent; as a mild air; a mild sun; a mild temperature; a mild light.

The rosy morn resigns her light

And milder glory to the noon.

And with a milder gleam refreshed the sight.

2. Not acrid, pungent, corrosive or drastic; operating gently; not acrimonious; demulcent; mollifying; lenitive; assuasive; as a mild liquor; a mild cataplasm; a mild cathartic or emetic.

3. Tender and gentle in temper or disposition; kind; compassionate; merciful; clement; indulgent; not severe or cruel.

It teaches us to adore him as a mild and merciful Being.

4. Not fierce, rough or angry; as mild words.

5. Placid; not fierce; not stern; not frowning; as a mild look or aspect.

6. Not sharp, tart, sour or bitter; moderately sweet or pleasant to the taste; as mild fruit.

7. Calm; tranquil. When passion subsides the temper becomes mild.

8. Moderate; not violent or intense; as a mild heat.

MILDEW, n. [L. melligo, from mel, honey.]

1. Honey dew; a thick, clammy, sweet juice, found on the leaves of plants, which is said to injure the plants by corroding them, or otherwise preventing them from coming to perfection.

2. Spots on cloth or paper caused by moisture.

MILDEW, v.t. To taint with mildew.

MILDEWED, pp. Tainted or injured by mildew.

MILDEWING, ppr. Tainting with mildew.

MILDLY, adv. Softly; gently; tenderly; not roughly or violently; moderately; as, to speak mildly; to burn mildly; to operate mildly.

MILDNESS, n. Softness; gentleness; as the mildness of words or speech; mildness of voice.

1. Tenderness; mercy; clemency; as mildness of temper.

2. Gentleness of operation; as the mildness of a medicine.

3. Softness; the quality that affects the senses pleasantly; as the mildness of fruit or of liquors.

4. Temperateness; moderate state; as the mildness of weather.

MILD-SPIRITED, a. Having a mild temper.

MILE, n. [L. mille passus, a thousand paces; passus being dropped in common usage.] A measure of length or distance, containing eight furlongs, 320 rods, poles or perches, 1760 yards, 5280 feet, or 80 chains. The Roman mile was a thousand paces, equal to 1600 yards English measure.

MILEAGE, n. Fees paid for travel by the mile.

MILESTONE, n. A stone set to mark the distance or space of a mile.

MILFOIL, n. [L. millefolium, a thousand leaves.]

A plant of the genus Achillea; yarrow.

MILIARY, a. [L. milium, millet.]

1. Resembling millet seeds; as a miliary eruption; miliary glands. The miliary glands are the sebaceous glands of the skin.

2. Accompanied with an eruption like millet seeds; as a miliary fever.

MILICE, for militia, is not in use.

MILIOLITE, n. Fossil remains of the Miliola, a genus of univalve shells.

MILITANCY, n. Warfare. [Little used.]

MILITANT, a. [L. militans, milito, to fight.]

1. Fighting; combating; serving as a soldier.

2. The church militant, is the christian church on earth, which is supposed to be engaged in a constant warfare against its enemies; thus distinguished from the church triumphant, or in heaven.

MILITARILY, adv. In a soldierly manner.

MILITARY, a. [L. militaris, from miles, a soldier; milito, to fight.]

1. Pertaining to soldiers or to arms; as a military parade or appearance; military discipline.

2. Engaged in the service of soldiers or arms; as a military man.

3. Warlike; becoming a soldier; as military virtue; military bravery.

4. Derived from the services or exploits of a soldier; as military renown.

5. Conformable to the customs or rules of armies or militia. The conduct of the officer was not military.

6. Performed or made by soldiers; as a military election.

Military tenure, a tenure of land, on condition of performing military service.

MILITARY, n. The whole body of soldiers; soldiery; militia; an army.

MILITATE, v.i. [L. milito.] To militate against, is to oppose; to be or to act in opposition.

Paley writes, to militate with; but in America, against is generally used.

MILITIA, n. [L. from miles, a soldier; Gr. war, to fight, combat, contention. The primary sense of fighting is to strive, struggle, drive, or to strike, to beat, Eng. moil, L. molior; Heb. to labor or toil.] The body of soldiers in a state enrolled for discipline, but not engaged in actual service except in emergencies; as distinguished from regular troops, whose sole occupation is war or military service. The militia of a country are the able bodied men organized into companies, regiments and brigades, with officers of all grades, and required by law to attend military exercises on certain days only, but at other times left to pursue their usual occupations.

MILK, n.

1. A white fluid or liquor, secreted by certain glands in female animals, and drawn from the breasts for the nourishment of their young.

2. The white juice of certain plants.

3. Emulsion made by bruising seeds.

MILK, v.t. [L. mulgeo.]

1. To draw or press milk from the breasts by the hand, as, to milk a cow.

2. To suck. [Not used.]

MILKEN, a. Consisting of milk. [Not used.]

MILKER, n. One that milks.

MILK-FEVER, n. A fever which accompanies the first flowing of milk in females after childbirth.

MILK-HEDGE, n. A shrub growing on the Coromandel coast, containing a milky juice.

MILKINESS, n. Qualities like those of milk; softness.

MILK-LIVERED, a. Cowardly; timorous.

MILKMAID, n. A woman that milks or is employed in the dairy.

MILKMAN, n. A man that sells milk or carries milk to market.

MILKPAIL, n. A pail which receives the milk drawn from cows.

MILKPAN, n. A pan in which milk is set.

MILKPORRIDGE, MILKPOTTAGE, n. A species of food composed of milk or milk and water, boiled with meal or flour.

MILKSCORE, n. An account of milk sold or purchased in small quantities, scored or marked.

MILKSOP, n. A soft, effeminate, feeble-minded man.

MILK-THISTLE, n. A plant of the genus Carduus.

MILKTOOTH, n. The fore tooth of a foal, which is cast within two or three years.

MILK-TREFOIL, n. A plant, the cytisus.

MILK-VETCH, n. A plant of the genus Astragalus.

MILK-WORT, n. A plant of the genus Euphorbia; spurge.

MILK-WEED, n. A plant, the Asclepias Syriaca.

MILKWHITE, a. White as milk.

MILKWOMAN, n. A woman that sells milk.

MILKY, a. Made of milk.

1. Resembling milk; as milky sap or juice.

2. Yielding milk; as milky mothers.

3. Soft; mild; gentle; timorous; as a milky heart.

MILKY-WAY, n. The galaxy; a broad luminous path or circle in the heavens, supposed to be the blended light of innumerable fixed stars, which are not distinguishable with ordinary telescopes.

MILL, n. [L. mille, a thousand.] A money of account of the United States, value the tenth of a cent, or the thousandth of a dollar.

MILL, n. [L. mola, molo, mel, honey, mollis; Eng. mellow, mild, mold, meal.]

1. A complicated engine or machine for grinding and reducing to fine particles, grain, fruit or other substance, or for performing other operations by means of wheels and a circular motion; as a grist-mill for grain; a coffee-mill; a cider-mill; a bark-mill. The original purpose of mills was to comminute grain for food, but the word mill is now extended to engines or machines moved by water, wind or steam, for carrying on many other operations. We have oil-mills, saw-mills, slitting-mills, bark-mills, fulling-mills, etc.

2. The house or building that contains the machinery for grinding, etc.

MILL, v.t. To grind; to comminute; to reduce to fine particles or to small pieces.

1. To beat up chocolate.

2. To stamp coin.

3. To full, as cloth.

MILLCOG, n. The cog of a mill wheel.

MILLDAM, n. A dam or mound to obstruct a water course, and raise the water to an altitude sufficient to turn a mill wheel.

MILLHORSE, n. A horse that turns a mill.

MILLPOND, n. A pond or reservoir of water raised for driving a mill wheel.

MILLRACE, n. The current of water that drives a mill wheel, or the canal in which it is conveyed.

MILL-SIXPENCE, n. An old English coin first milled in 1561.

MILLSTONE, n. A stone used for grinding grain.