Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



NIMBLE-FOOTED, a. Running with speed; light of foot.

NIMBLENESS, n. Lightness and agility in motion; quickness; celerity; speed; swiftness. It implies lightness and springiness.

The stag thought it better to trust to the nimbleness of his feet.

Ovid ranged over Parnassus with great nimbleness and agility.

NIMBLESS, n. Nimbleness.

NIMBLE-WITTED, a. Quick; ready to speak.

NIMBLY, adv. With agility; with light, quick motion.

He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber.

NIMIETY, n. The state of being too much. [Not in use.]

NIMMER, n. A thief. [Not in use.]

NINCOMPOOP, n. [said to be a corruption of L. non compos, not of sound mind.] A fool; a blockhead; a trifling dotard. [A low word.]

NINE, a. Denoting the number composed of eight and one; as nine men; nine days.

NINE, n. The number composed of eight and one; or the number less by a unit than ten; three times three.

NINE-FOLD, a. Nine times repeated.

NINE-HOLES, n. A game in which holes are made in the ground, into which a pellet is to be bowled.

NINE-PENCE, n. A silver coin of the value of nine pence.

NINE-PINS, n. A play with nine pins or sharpened pieces of wood set on end, at which a bowl is rolled for throwing them down. We say, to play at nine-pins, or a game at nine-pins.

NINE-SCORE, n. The number of nine times twenty.

NINETEEN, a. Noting the number of nine and ten united; as nineteen years.

NINETEENTH, a. The ordinal of nineteen; designating nineteen.

NINETIETH, a. The ordinal of ninety.

NINETY, a. Nine times ten; as ninety years.

NINNY, n. A fool; a simpleton.

NINTH, a. The ordinal of nine; designating the number nine, the next preceding ten; as the ninth day or month.

NINTH, n. In music, an interval containing an octave and a tone.

NIP, v.t. [G. a nipping tool; to nip, to cut off, to pinch.]

1. To cut, bite or pinch off the end or nib, or to pinch off with the ends of the fingers. The word is used in both senses; the former is probably the true sense. Hence,

2. To cut off the end of any thing; to clip, as with a knife or scissors; as, to nip off a shoot or twig.

3. To blast; to kill or destroy the end of any thing; hence, to kill; as, the frost has nipped the corn; the leaves are nipped; the plant was nipped int he bud. Hence, to nip in the bud, is to kill or destroy in infancy or youth, or in the first stage of growth.

4. To pinch, bite or affect the extremities of any thing; as a nipping frost; hence, to pinch or bite in general; to check growth.

5. To check circulation.

When blood is nipt. [Unusual.]

6. To bite; to vex.

And sharp remorse his heart did prick and nip.

7. To satirize keenly; to taunt sarcastically.

NIP, n.

1. A pinch with the nails or teeth.

2. A small cut, or a cutting off the end.

3. A blast; a killing of the ends of plants; destruction by frost.

4. A biting sarcasm; a taunt.

5. A sip or small draught; as a nip of toddy.

NIPPED, pp. Pinched; bit; cropped; blasted.

NIPT, pp. Pinched; bit; cropped; blasted.


1. A satirist. [Not used.]

2. A fore tooth of a horse. The nippers are four.

NIPPERS, n. Small pinchers.

NIPPING, ppr. Pinching; pinching off; biting off the end; cropping; clipping; blasting; killing.

NIPPINGLY, adv. With bitter sarcasm.


1. A teat; a dug; the spungy protuberance by which milk is drawn from the breasts of females.

2. The orifice at which any animal liquor is separated.

NIPPLEWORT, n. A plant of the genus Lapsana.

NISAN, n. A month of the Jewish calendar, the first month of the sacred year and seventh of the civil year, answering nearly to our March. It was originally called Abibi, but began to be called Nisan after the captivity.

NISIPRIUS, n. In law, a writ which lies in cases where the jury being impaneled and returned before the justices of the bench, one of the parties requests to have this writ for the ease of the country, that the cause may be tried before the justices of the same county. The purport of the writ is, that the sheriff is commanded to bring to Westminster the men impanneled at a certain day, before the justices, nisi prius, that is, unless the justices shall first come into the county to take assizes. Hence the courts directed to try matters of fact in the several counties are called courts of Nisi Prius, or Nisi Prius courts. In some of the United States, similar courts are established, with powers defined by statute.

NIT, n. The egg of a louse or other small insect.

NITENCY, n. [L. to shine.]

1. Brightness; luster. [Little used.]

2. [L. to strive.] Endeavor; effort; spring to expand itself. [Little used.]


1. Bright; lustrous; shining.

2. Gay; spruce; fine; applied to persons. [Little used.]

NITER, n. [In Hebrew, the verb under which this word appears signifies to spring, leap, shake, and to strip or break; in Ch. to strip or to fall off; in Syriac, the same; in Sam. to keep, to watch or guard.] A salt, called also salt-peter [stone-salt,] and in the modern nomenclature of chimistry, nitrate of potash. It exists in large quantities in the earth, and is continually formed in inhabited places, on walls sheltered from rain, and in all situations where animal matters are decomposed, under stables and barns, etc. It is of great use in the arts; is the principal ingredient in gunpowder, and is useful in medicines, in preserving meat, butter, etc. It is a white substance, and has an acrid, bitterish taste.

NITHING, n. A coward; a dastard; a poltroon. [See Niding.]

NITRATE, n. A salt formed by the union of the nitric acid with a base; as nitrate of soda.

NITRATED, a. Combined with niter.

NITRIC, a. Impregnated with niter. Nitric acid is the acid saturated with oxygen, or an acid composed of oxygen and nitrogen or azote.

NITRIFICATION, n. The process of forming niter.

NITRIFY, v.t. [L.] To form into niter.

NITRITE, n. A salt formed by the combination of the nitrous acid with a base.

NITROGEN, n. [Gr. to produce.] The element of niter; that which produces niter; that element or component part of air which is called azote. [See Azote.]

NITROGENOUS, a. Pertaining to nitrogen; producing niter.

NITROLEUCIC, a. Designating an acid obtained from leucine acted on by niter.

NITROMETER, n. [Gr. to measure.] An instrument for ascertaining the quality or value of niter.

NITRO-MURIATIC, a. Partaking of niter and muria or sea-salt. The nitro-muriatic acid is a combination or mixture of nitric and muriatic acid.

NITROUS, a. Pertaining to niter; partaking of the qualities of niter, or resembling it. Nitrous acid is one of the compounds formed of nitrogen and oxygen, in which the oxygen is in a lower proportion than that in which the same elements form nitric acid.

NITRY, a. Nitrous; pertaining to niter; producing niter.

NITTER, n. [from nit.] The horse bee that deposits nits on horses.

NITTILY, adv. [from nitty.] Lousily. [Not used.]

NITTY, a. [from nit.] Full of nits; abounding with nits.

NIVAL, a. [L. snow.] Abounding with snow; snowy.

NIVEOUS, a. Snowy; resembling snow; partaking of the qualities of snow.

NO. an abbreviation of number.

NO, adv.

1. A word of denial or refusal, expressing a negative, and equivalent to nay and not. When it expresses a negative answer, it is opposed to yes or yea. Will you go? It is frequently used in denying propositions, and opposed to affirmation or concession. “That I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.” Exodus 16:4. No, in this use, is deemed less elegant than not, but the use is very general.

2. After another negative, it repeats the negation with great emphasis.

There is none righteous, no, not one. Romans 3:10; 1 Corinthians 6:5.

Sometimes it follows an affirmative proposition in like manner, but still it denies with emphasis and gives force to the following negative.

To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour. Galatians 2:5.

Sometimes it begins a sentence with a like emphatical signification, strengthening the following negative.

No, not the bow which so adorns the skies, so glorious is, or boasts so many dyes.

3. Not in any degree; as no longer; no shorter; no more; no less.

4. When no is repeated, it expresses negation or refusal with emphasis; as no, no.

NO, a.

1. Not any; none.

Let there be no strife between thee and me. Genesis 13:8.

2. Not any; not one.

Thou shalt worship no other God. Exodus 34:14.

3. When it precedes where, as in no where, it may be considered as adverbial, though originally an adjective.

NIBILIARY, n. [See Noble.] A history of noble families.

NOBILITATE, v.t. [See Noble.] To make noble; to ennoble.

NOBILITATION, n. The act of making noble.


1. Dignity of mind; greatness; grandeur; that elevation of soul which comprehends bravery, generosity, magnamimity, intrepidity, and contempt of every thing that dishonors character.

Though she hated Amphialus, yet the nobility of her courage prevailed over it.

They thought it great their sovereign to control, and named their pride, nobility of soul.

2. Antiquity of family; descent from noble ancestors; distinction by blood, usually joined with riches.

When I took up Boccace unawares, I fell on the same argument of preferring virtue to nobility of blood and titles, in the story of Sigismunda.

3. The qualities which constitute distinction of rank in civil society, according to the customs or laws of the country; that eminence or dignity which a man derives from birth or title conferred, and which places him in an order above common men. In Great Britain, nobility is extended to five ranks, those of duke, marquis, earl, viscount and baron.

4. The persons collectively who enjoy rank above commoners; the peerage; as the English nobility; French, German, Russian nobility.


1. Great; elevated; dignified; being above every thing that can dishonor reputation; as a nobel mind; a noble courage; noble deeds of valor.

2. Exalted; elevated; sublime.

Statues, with winding ivy crown’d, belong to nobler poets for a nobler song.

3. Magnificent; stately; splendid; as a noble parade; a noble edifice.

4. Of an ancient and splendid family; as nobel by descent.

5. Distinguished from commoners by rank and title; as a noble personage.

6. Free; generous; liberal; as a noble heart.

7. Principal; capital; as the noble parts of the body.

8. Ingenuous; candid; of an excellent disposition; ready to receive truth. Acts 17:11.

9. Of the best kind; choice; excellent; as a noble vine. Jeremiah 2:21.


1. A person of rank above a commoner; a nobleman; a peer; as a duke, marquis, earl, viscount or baron.

2. In Scripture, a person of honorable family or distinguished by station. Exodus 24:11; Nehemiah 6:17.

3. Originally, a gold coin, but now a money of account, value 6s. 8d. sterling, or $1 48 cts.

NOBLEWOMAN, n. A female of noble rank.


1. Greatness; dignity; ingenuousness; magnanimity; elevation of mind or of condition, particularly of the mind.

His purposes are full of honesty, nobleness and integrity.

Greatness of mind and nobleness their seat build in her loveliest. The nobleness of life is to do this--

2. Distinction by birth; honor derived from a noble ancestry.


1. The nobility; persons of noble rank collectively, including males and females.

2. Dignity; greatness; noble birth or condition. [In these senses, not now used.]

NOBLY, adv.

1. Of noble extraction; descended from a family of rank; as nobly born or descended.

2. With greatness of soul; heroically; with magnanimity; as a deed nobly done. He nobly preferred death to disgrace.

3. Splendidly; magnificently. He was nobly entertained.

Where could an emperor’s ashes have been so nobly lodged as in the midst of his metropolis and on the top of so exalted a monument?

NOBODY, n. [no and body.] No person; no one.

NOCENT, a. [L. to hurt, from striking.] Hurtful; mischievous; injurious; doing hurt; as nocent qualities.

NOCIVE, a. Hurtful; injurious.

NOCK, n. A notch. [See Notch.]

NOCK, v.t. To place in the notch.

NOCTAMBULATION, n. [L. night, to walk.] A rising from bed and walking in sleep.

NOCTAMBULIST, n. One who rises from bed and walks in his sleep. Arbuthnot uses noctambulo in the same sense; but it is a less analogical word.

NOCTIDIAL, a. [L. night, and dies, day.] Comprising a night and a day. [Little used.]

NOCTIFEROUS, a. [L. night, and to bring.] Bringing night. [Not used.]

NOCTILUCA, n. [L. night, and to shine.] A species of phosphorus which shines in darkness without the previous aid of solar rays.

NOCTILUCOUS, a. Shining in the night.

NOCTIVAGANT, a. [L. night, and to wander.] Wandering in the night.

NOCTIVAGATION, n. A roving in the night.

NOCTUARY, n. [from L. night.] An account of what passes in the night.

NOCTULE, n. [from L. night.] A large species of bat.

NOCTURN, n. [L. by night.] An office of devotion, or religious service by night.

NOCTURNAL, a. [L. night.]

1. Pertaining to night; as nocturnal darkness.

2. Done or happening at night; as a nocturnal expedition or assault; a nocturnal visit.

3. Nightly; done or being every night.

From gilded roofs depending lamps display nocturnal beams, that emulate the day.

NOCTURNAL, n. An instrument, chiefly used at sea to take the altitude of stars about the pole, in order to ascertain the latitude. This may be a hemisphere, or a planisphere on the plane of the equinoctial.

NOCUMENT, n. [L. To hurt.] Harm.

NOD, v.i. [Gr. contracted; a nod; to nod, to beckon, a leap a spring; to leap, to throb or beat, as the pulse]

1. To incline the head with a quick motion, either forward or sidewise, as persons nod in sleep.

2. To bend or incline with a quick motion; as nodding plumes.

The nodding verdure of its brow.

3. To be drowsy.

Your predecessors, contrary to other authors, never pleased their readers more than when they were nodding.

4. To make a slight bow; also, to beckon with a nod.

NOD, v.t. To incline or bend; to shake.
NOD, n.

1. A quick declination of the head.

A look or a nod only ought to correct them when they do amiss.

2. A quick declination or inclination.

Like a drunken sailor on a mast, ready with every nod to tumble down.

3. A quick inclination of the head in drowsiness or sleep.

4. A slight obeisance.

5. A command; as in L. numen, for nutamen.

NODATED, a. Knotted. A nodated hyperbola is one that by turning round crosses itself.

NODATION, n. [L. To tie.] The act of making a knot, or state of being knotted. [Little used.]

NODDEN, a. Bent; inclined. [Not in use.]

NODDER, n. One who nods; a drowsy person.

NODDING, ppr. Inclining the head with a short quick motion.

NODDLE, n. [L. A lump; or from nod.] The head; in contempt.

Come, master, I have a project in my noddle.


1. A simpleton; a fool.

2. A fowl of the genus Sterna, very simple and easily taken.

3. A game at cards.

NODE, n.

1. Properly, a knot; a knob; hence,

2. In surgery, a swelling of the periosteum, tendons or bones.

3. In astronomy, the point where the orbit of a planet intersects the ecliptic. These points are two, and that where a planet ascends northward above the plane of the ecliptic, is called the ascending node, or dragons head; that where a planet descends to the south, is called the descending node, or dragons tail.

4. In poetry, the knot, intrigue or plot of a piece, or the principal difficulty.

5. In dialing, a point or hole in the gnomon of a dial, by the shadow or light of which, either the hour of the day in dials without furniture, or the parallels of the suns declination and his place in the ecliptic, etc. in dials with furniture, are shown.

NODOSE, a. [L. Knot.] Knotted; having knots or swelling joints.

NODOSITY, n. Knottiness.

NODOUS, a. Knotty; full of knots.

NODULAR, a. Pertaining to or in the form of a nodule or knot.

NODULE, n. A little knot or lump.

NODULED, a. Having little knots or lumps.

NOG, n. A little pot; also, ale.

NOGGEN, a. Hard; rough; harsh. [Not used.]

NOGGIN, n. A small mug or wooden cup.

NOGGING, n. A partition of scantlings filled with bricks.

NOIANCE, n. [See Annoy.] Annoyance; trouble; mischief; inconvenience. [Not used.]