Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary




1. In a line deviating from a right line; not directly; not perpendicularly.

Declining from the noon of day, the sun obliquely shoots his burning ray.

2. Indirectly; by a side glance; by an allusion; not in the direct or plain meaning.

His discourse tends obliquely to the detracting from others.

OBLIQUENESS, n. Obliquity.

OBLIQUITY, n. [L. obliquitas.]

1. Deviation from a right line; deviation from parallelism or perpendicularity; as the obliquity of the ecliptic to the equator.

2. Deviation from moral rectitude.

To disobey God or oppose his will in any thing imports a moral obliquity.

3. Irregularity; deviation from ordinary rules.

OBLITERATE, v.t. [L. oblitero; ob and litera, letter.]

1. To efface; to erase or blot out any thing written; or to efface any thing engraved. A writing may be obliterated by erasure, by blotting, or by the slow operation of time or natural causes.

2. To efface; to wear out; to destroy by time or other means; as, to obliterate ideas or impressions; to obliterate the monuments of antiquity; to obliterate reproach.

3. To reduce to a very low or imperceptible state.

The torpor of the vascular system and obliterated pulse.

OBLITERATED, pp. Effaced; erased; worn out; destroyed.

OBLITERATING, ppr. Effacing; wearing out; destroying.

OBLITERATION, n. The act of effacing; effacement; a blotting out or wearing out; extinction.

OBLIVION, n. [L. oblivio.]

1. Forgetfulness; cessation of remembrance.

Among our crimes oblivion may be set.

2. A forgetting of offenses, or remission of punishment. An act of oblivion is an amnesty, or general pardon of crimes and offenses, granted by a sovereign, by which punishment is remitted.

OBLIVIOUS, a. [L. obliviosus.]

1. Causing forgetfulness.

The oblivious calm of indifference.

Behold the wonders of th’ oblivious lake.

2. Forgetful.

OBLOCUTOR, n. A gainsayer. [Not in use.]

OBLONG, a. [L. oblongus.] Longer than broad.

OBLONG, n. A figure or solid which is longer than it is broad.

OBLONGISH, a. Somewhat oblong.

OBLONGLY, a. In an oblong form.

OBLONGNESS, n. The state of being longer than broad.

OBLONG-OVATE, a. In botany, between oblong and ovate, but inclined to the latter.

OBLOQUIOUS, a. [See Obloquy.] Containing obloquy; reproachful. [Little used.]

OBLOQUY, n. [L. obloquor; ob and loquor, to speak.]

1. Censorious speech; reproachful language; language that casts contempt on men or their actions.

Shall names that made your city the glory of the earth, be mentioned with obloquy and detraction?

2. Cause of reproach; disgrace. [Not used.]

OBLUCTATION, n. [L. obluctor; ob and luctor, to struggle.]

A struggling or striving against; resistance. [Little used.]

OBMUTESCENCE, n. [L. obmutesco, to be silent.]

1. Loss of speech; silence,

2. A keeping silence.

OBNOXIOUS, a. [L. obnoxius; ob and noxius, hurtful, from noceo.]

1. Subject; answerable.

The writings of lawyers, which are tied and obnoxious to their particular laws.

2. Liable; subject to cognizance or punishment.

We know ourselves obnoxious to God’s severe justice.

3. Liable; exposed; as friendship obnoxious to jealousies.

4. Reprehensible; censurable; not approved; as obnoxious authors.

5. Odious; hateful; offensive; with to; as, the minister was obnoxious to the whigs.

6. Hurtful; noxious.


1. In a state of subjection or liability.

2. Reprehensibly; odiously; offensively.


1. Subjection or liableness to punishment.

2. Odiousness; offensiveness. The obnoxiousness of the law rendered the legislature unpopular.

OBNUBILATE, v.t. [L. obnubilor; ob and nubilo; nubes, mist, cloud.]

To cloud; to obscure.

OBNUBILATION, n. The act or operation of making dark or obscure.

OBOLE, n. [L. obolus.] In pharmacy, the weight of ten grains or half a scruple.

OBOLUS, n. [L. from G.] A small silver coin of Athens, the sixth part of a drachma, about two cents in value, or a penny farthing sterling.

OBOVATE, a. In botany, inversely ovate; having the narrow end downward; as an obovate leaf.

OBREPTION, n. [L. obrepo; ob and repo, to creep.]

The act of creeping on with secrecy or by surprise.

OBREPTITIOUS, a. [supra.] Done or obtained by surprise; with secrecy or by concealment of the truth.

OBSCENE, a. [L. obscaenus.]

1. Offensive to chastity and delicacy; impure; expressing or presenting to the mind or view something which delicacy, purity and decency forbid; to be exposed; as obscene language; obscene pictures.

2. Foul; filthy; offensive; disgusting.

A girdle foul with grease binds his obscene attire.

3. Inauspicious; ill omened.

At the cheerful light, the groaning ghosts and birds obscene take flight.

OBSCENELY, adv. In a manner offensive to chastity or purity; impurely; unchastely.

OBSCENENESS, OBSCENITY, n. [L. obscaenitas.]

1. Impurity in expression or representation; that quality in words or things which presents what is offensive to chastity or purity of mind; ribaldry.

Cowley asserts plainly that obscenity has no place in wit.

Those fables were tempered with the Italian severity, and free from any note of infamy or obsceneness.

No pardon vile obscenity should find.

2. Unchaste actions; lewdness.

To wash th’ obscenities of night away.

OBSCURATION, n. [L. obscuratio.]

1. The act of darkening.

2. The state of being darkened or obscured; as the obscuration of the moon in an eclipse.

OBSCURE, a. [L. obscurus.]

1. Dark; destitute of light.

Whoso curseth his father or mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness. Proverbs 20:20.

2. Living in darkness; as the obscure bird.

3. Not easily understood; not obviously intelligible; abstruse; as an obscure passage in a writing.

4. Not much known or observed; retired; remote from observation; as an obscure retreat.

5. Not noted; unknown; unnoticed; humble; mean; as an obscure person; a person of obscure birth.

6. Not easily legible; as an obscure inscription.

7. Not clear, full or distinct; imperfect; as an obscure view of remote objects.

OBSCURE, v.t. [L. obscuro.]

1. To darken; to make dark. The shadow of the earth obscures the moon, and the body of the moon obscures the sun, in an eclipse.

2. To cloud; to make partially dark. Thick clouds obscure the day.

3. To hide from the view; as, clouds obscure the sun.

4. To make less visible.

Why, ‘tis an office of discovery, love, and I should be obscured.

5. To make less legible; as, time has obscured the writing.

6. To make less intelligible.

There is scarce any duty which has been so obscured by the writings of the learned as this.

7. To make less glorious, beautiful or illustrious.

- And see’st not sin obscures thy godlike frame?

8. To conceal; to make unknown.

9. To tarnish; as, to obscure brightness.


1. Darkly; not clearly; imperfectly; as an object obscurely seen; obscurely visible.

2. Out of sight; in a state not to be noticed; privately; in retirement; not conspicuously.

There live retired, content thyself to be obscurely good.

3. Not clearly; not plainly to the mind; darkly; as future events obscurely revealed.

4. Not plainly; indirectly; by hints or allusion.

OBSCURENESS, OBSCURITY, n. [L. obscuritas.]

1. Darkness; want of light.

We wait for light, but behold obscurity. Isaiah 59:9.

2. A state of retirement from the world; a state of being unnoticed; privacy.

You are not for obscurity designed.

3. Darkness of meaning; unintelligibleness; as the obscurity of writings or of a particular passage.

4. Illegibleness; as the obscurity of letters or of an inscription.

5. A state of being unknown to fame; humble condition; as the obscurity of birth or parentage.

OBSECRATE, v.t. [L. obsecro.] To beseech; to intreat; to supplicate; to pray earnestly.


1. Intreaty; supplication.

2. A figure of rhetoric, in which the orator implores the assistance of God or man.

OBSEQUENT, a. [L. obsequens.] Obedient; submissive to. [Little used.]

OBSEQUIES, n. plu. [L. obsequium, complaisance, from obsequor, to follow.]

Funeral rites and solemnities; the last duties performed to a deceased person.

[Milton uses the word in the singular, but the common usage is different.]

OBSEQUIOUS, a. [from L. obsequium, complaisance, from obsequor, to follow; ob and sequor.]

1. Promptly obedient or submissive to the will of another; compliant; yielding to the desires of others, properly to the will or command of a superior, but in actual use, it often signifies yielding to the will or desires of such as have no right to control.

His servants weeping, obsequious to his orders, bear him hither.

2. Servilely or meanly condescending; compliant to excess; as an obsequious flatterer, minion or parasite.

3. Funereal; pertaining to funeral rites. [Not used.]


1. With ready obedience; with prompt compliance.

They rise and with respectful awe, at the word given, obsequiously withdraw.

2. With reverence for the dead. [Not used.]


1. Ready obedience; prompt compliance with the orders of a superior.

2. Servile submission; mean or excessive complaisance.

They apply themselves both to his interest and humor, with all the arts of flattery and obsequiousness.

OBSERVABLE, a. s as z. [See Observe.]

1. That may be observed or noticed.

2. Worthy of observation or of particular notice; remarkable.

I took a just account of every observable circumstance of the earth, stone, metal or other matter.

OBSERVABLY, adv. s as z. In a manner worthy of note.

OBSERVANCE, n. s as z.

1. The act of observing; the act of keeping or adhering to in practice; performance; as the observance of rules, rites, ceremonies or laws.

Love rigid honesty, and strict observance of impartial laws.

2. Respect; ceremonial reverence in practice.

To do observance on the morn of May.

3. Performance of rites, religious ceremonies or external service.

Some represent to themselves the whole of religion as consisting in a few easy observances.

4. Rule of practice; thing to be observed.

5. Observation; attention. [Little used.]

6. Obedient regard or attention.

Having had experience of his fidelity and observance abroad. [Not used.]

OBSERVANDA, n. plu. s as z. [L.] Things to be observed.

OBSERVANT, a. s as z.

1. Taking notice; attentively viewing or noticing; as an observant spectator or traveler.

2. Obedient; adhering to in practice; with of. He is very observant of the rules of his order.

We are told how observant Alexander was of his master Aristotle.

3. Carefully attentive; submissive.

OBSERVANT, n. s as z.

1. A slavish attendant. [Not in use.]

2. A diligent observer.

OBSERVATION, n. s as z. [L. observatio. See Observe.]

1. The act of observing or taking notice; the act of seeing or of fixing the mind on any thing. We apply the word to simple vision, as when one says, a spot on the sun’s disk did not fall under his observation; or to the notice or cognizance of the mind, as when one says, the distinction made by the orator escaped his observation. When however it expresses vision, it often represents a more fixed or particular view than a mere transient sight; as an astronomical observation.

2. Notion gained by observing; the effect or result of seeing or taking cognizance in the mind, and either retained in the mind or expressed in words; inference or something arising out of the act of seeing or noticing, or that which is produced by thinking and reflecting on a subject; note; remark; animadversion. We often say, I made the observation in my own mind; but properly an observation is that which is expressed as the result of viewing or of thinking.

In matters of human prudence, we shall find the greatest advantage by making wise observations on our conduct.

3. Observance; adherence to in practice; performance of what is prescribed.

He freed the christian church from the external observation and obedience of legal precepts not formally moral.

4. In navigation, the taking of the altitude of the sun or a star in order to find the latitude.

OBSERVATOR, n. s as z.

1. One that observes or takes notice.

2. A remarker.

OBSERVATORY, n. s as z.

A place or building for making observations on the heavenly bodies; as the royal observatory at Greenwich.

OBSERVE, v.t. obzerv’. [L. observo; ob and servo, to keep or hold. The sense is to hold in view, or to keep the eyes on.]

1. To see or behold with some attention; to notice; as, to observe a halo round the moon; I observed a singular phenomenon; we observe strangers or their dress. I saw the figure, but observed nothing peculiar in it.

2. To take notice or cognizance of by the intellect. We observe nice distinctions in arguments, or a peculiar delicacy of thought.

3. To utter or express, as a remark, opinion or sentiment; to remark. He observed that no man appears great to his domestics.

4. To keep religiously; to celebrate.

A night to be much observed to the Lord. Exodus 12:42.

Ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread. Exodus 12:17.

Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. Galatians 4:10.

5. To keep or adhere to in practice; to comply with; to obey; as, to observe the laws of the state; to observe the rules and regulations of a society.

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. Matthew 28:20.

6. To practice.

In the days of Enoch, the people observed not circumcision or the sabbath.

OBSERVE, v.i. observ’.

1. To remark. I have heard the gentleman’s arguments, and shall hereafter observe upon them.

2. To be attentive.

OBSERVED, pp. s as z.

1. Noticed by the eye or the mind.

2. Kept religiously; celebrated; practiced.

OBSERVER, n. s as z.

1. One who observes; one that takes notice; particularly, one who looks to with care, attention or vigilance.

Careful observers may foretell the hour, by sure prognostic, when to dread a shower.

Creditors are great observers of set days and times.

2. A beholder; a looker on; a spectator.

3. One who keeps any law, custom, regulation or rite; one who adheres to any thing in practice; one who performs; as a great observer of forms; an observer of old customs.

4. One who fulfills or performs; as, he is a strict observer of his word or promise.

5. One who keeps religiously; as an observer of the sabbath.

OBSERVING, ppr. s as z.

1. Taking notice by the eye or the intellect.

2. Remarking.

3. Keeping; adhering to in practice; fulfilling.

4. a. Giving particular attention; habitually taking notice; attentive to what passes. He is an observing man.

OBSERVINGLY, adv. s as z. Attentively; carefully; with close observation.

OBSESS, v.t. [L. obsideo, obsessus; ob and sedeo, to sit.] To besiege. [Not used.]

OBSESSION, n. [L. obsessio.] The act of besieging; the first attack of Satan antecedent to possession. [Little used.]

OBSIDIAN, n. A mineral of two kinds, translucent and transparent. The translucent has a velvet black color; the transparent is of a dark blue. These occur massive in porphyry, gneiss or granite, generally invested with a gray opake crust.

The fracture of obsidian is vitreous or pearly; hence the two varieties, vitreous obsidian and pearlstone.

OBSIDIONAL, a. [L. obsidionalis; ob and sedeo, to sit.] Pertaining to a siege.

OBSIGNATE, v.t. [L. obsigno; ob and signo, to seal.] To seal up; to ratify. [Little used.]

OBSIGNATION, n. The act of sealing; ratification by sealing; confirmation.

OBSIGNATORY, a. Ratifying; confirming by sealing.

OBSOLESCENT, a. [L. obsolesco, to go out of use.]

Going out of use; passing into desuetude.

All the words compounded of here and a preposition, except hereafter, are obsolete or absolescent.

OBSOLETE, a. [L. obsoletus.]

1. Gone into disuse; disused; neglected; as an obsolete word; an obsolete statute; applied chiefly to words or writings.

2. In botany, obscure; not very distinct.


1. The state of being neglected in use; a state of desuetude.

2. In botany, indistinctness.

OBSTACLE, n. [L. obsto, to withstand; ob and sto.]

That which opposes; any thing that stands in the way and hinders progress; hinderance; obstruction, either in a physical or moral sense. An army may meet with obstacles on its march; bad roads are obstacles to traveling; prejudice is an obstacle to improvement; want of union is often an insuperable obstacle to beneficial measures.

OBSTANCY, n. [L. obstantia; ob and sto.] Opposition; impediment; obstruction. [Not used.]

OBSTETRIC, a. [L. obstetrix, a midwife; ob and sto, to stand before.]

Pertaining to midwifery, or the delivery of women in childbed; as the obstetric art.

OBSTETRICATE, v.i. [See Obstetric.] To perform the office of a midwife. [Little used.]

OBSTETRICATE, v.t. To assist as a midwife. [Little used.]


1. The act of assisting as a midwife.

2. The office of a midwife.

OBSTETRICIAN, n. One skilled in the art of assisting women in parturition.

OBSTETRICS, n. The art of assisting women in parturition; midwifery.

OBSTINACY, n. [L. obstinatio, from obsto, to stand against, to oppose; ob and sto.]

1. A fixedness in opinion or resolution that cannot be shaken at all, or not without great difficulty; firm and usually unreasonable adherence to an opinion, purpose or system; a fixedness that will not yield to persuasion, arguments or other means. Obstinacy may not always convey the idea of unreasonable or unjustifiable firmness; as when we say, soldiers fight with obstinacy. But often, and perhaps usually, the word denotes a fixedness of resolution which is not to be vindicated under the circumstances; stubbornness; pertinacity; persistency.

2. Fixedness that will not yield to application, or that yields with difficulty; as the obstinacy of a disease or evil.

OBSTINATE, a. [L. obstinatus.]

1. Stubborn; pertinaciously adhering to an opinion or purpose; fixed firmly in resolution; not yielding to reason, arguments or other means.

I have known great cures done by obstinate resolutions of drinking no wine.

No ass so meek, no ass os obstinate.

2. Not yielding or not easily subdued or removed; as an obstinate fever; obstinate obstructions; an obstinate cough.

OBSTINATELY, adv. Stubbornly; pertinaciously; with fixedness of purpose not to be shaken, or not without difficulty; as a sinner obstinately bent on his own destruction.

Inflexible to ill and obstinately just.

OBSTINATENESS, n. Stubbornness; pertinacity in opinion or purpose; fixed determination.

OBSTIPATION, n. [L. obstipo; ob and stipo, to crowd.]

1. The act of stopping up; as a passage.

2. In medicine, costiveness.

OBSTREPEROUS, a. [L. obstreperus, from obstrepo, to roar; ob and strepo.]

Loud; noisy; clamorous; vociferous; making a tumultuous noise.

The players do not only connive at his obstreperous approbation, but repair at their own cost whatever damages he makes.

OBSTREPEROUSLY, adv. Loudly; clamorously; with tumultuous noise.

OBSTREPEROUSNESS, n. Loudness; clamor; noisy turbulence.

OBSTRICTION, n. [L. obstrictus, obstringo; ob and stringo, to strain.]

Obligation; bond.

OBSTRUCT, v.t. [L. obstruo; ob and struo, to set.]

1. To block up; to stop up or close; as a way or passage; to fill with obstacles or impediments that prevent passing; as, to obstruct a road, highway or channel; to obstruct the canals or fine vessels of the body.

2. To stop; to impede; to hinder in passing; as, the bar at the mouth of the river obstructs the entrance of ships; clouds obstruct the light of the sun.

3. To retard; to interrupt; to render slow. Progress is often obstructed by difficulties, though not entirely stopped.


1. Blocked up; stopped; as a passage.

2. Hindered; impeded; as progress.

3. Retarded; interrupted.

OBSTRUCTER, n. One that obstructs or hinders.

OBSTRUCTING, ppr. Blocking up; stopping; impeding; interrupting.

OBSTRUCTION, n. [L. obstructio.]

1. The act of obstructing.

2. Obstacle; impediment; any thing that stops or closes a way or channel. Bars of sand at the mouths of rivers are often obstructions to navigation.

3. That which impedes progress; hinderance. disunion and party spirit are often obstructions to legislative measures and to public prosperity.

4. A heap. [Not proper.]


Presenting obstacles; hindering; causing impediment.

OBSTRUCTIVE, n. Obstacle; impediment. [Little used.]

OBSTRUENT, a. [L. obstruens.] Blocking up; hindering.

OBSTRUENT, n. Any thing that obstructs the natural passages in the body.

OBSTUPEFACTION, n. [L. obstupefacio.] The act of making stupid or insensible. [See Stupefaction, which is generally used.]

OBSTUPEFACTIVE, a. [L. obstupefacio.] Stupefying; rendering insensible, torpid or inert. [Little used. See Stupefactive.]

OBTAIN, v.t. [L. obtineo; ob and teneo, to hold.]

1. To get; to gain; to procure; in a general sense, to gain possession of a thing, whether temporary or permanent; to acquiare. this word usually implies exertion to get possession, and in this it differs from receive, which may or may not imply exertion. it differs from acquire, as genus from species; acquire being properly applied only to things permanently possessed; but obtain is applied both to things of temporary and of permanent possession. We obtain loans of money on application; we obtain answers to letters; we obtain spirit from liquors by distillation and salts by evaporation. We obtain by seeking; we often receive without seeking. We acquire or obtain a good title to lands by deed, or by a judgment of court; but we do not acquire spirit by distillation; nor do we acquire an answer to a letter or an application.

He shall obtain the kingdom by flatteries. Daniel 11:21.

In whom we have obtained an inheritance. Ephesians 1:11.

2. To keep; to hold.

OBTAIN, v.i.

1. To be received in customary or common use; to continue in use; to be established in practice.

The Theodosian code, several hundred years after Justinian’s time, obtained in the western parts of the empire.

2. To be established; to subsist in nature.

The general laws of fluidity, elasticity and gravity, obtain in animal and inanimate tubes.

3. To prevail; to succeed. [Little used.]

OBTAINABLE, a. That may be obtained; that may be procured or gained.

OBTAINED, pp. Gained; procured; acquired.

OBTAINER, n. One who obtains.

OBTAINING, ppr. Gaining; procuring; acquiring.

OBTAINMENT, n. The act of obtaining.

OBTEND, v.t. [L. obtendo; ob and tendo; literally, to stretch against or before.]

1. To oppose; to hold out in opposition.

2. To pretend; to offer as the reason of any thing. [Not used. This word is rarely used.]

OBTENEBRATION, n. [from L. ob and tenebrae, darkness.]

A darkening; act of darkening; darkness.

In every megrim or vertigo there is an obtenebration joined with a semblance of turning round. [Little used.]

OBTENSION, n. The act of obtending. [Not used.]

OBTEST, v.t. [L. obtestor; ob and testor, to witness. To beseech; to supplicate.]

Obtest his clemency.

OBTEST, v.i. To protest.