Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



PEDAGOGIC, PEDAGOGICAL, a. [from pedagogue.]

Suiting or belonging to a teacher of children or to a pedagogue.

PEDAGOGISM, n. The business, character or manners of a pedagogue.

PEDAGOGUE, n. ped’agog. [Gr. a child, and to lead.]

1. A teacher of children; one whose occupation is to instruct young children; a schoolmaster.

2. A pedant.

PEDAGOGUE, v.t. To teach with the air of a pedagogue; to instruct superciliously.

PEDAGOGY, n. Instruction in the first rudiments; preparatory discipline.

PEDAL, a. [L. pedalis, from pes, pedis, foot.]

Pertaining to a foot.

PEDAL, n. One of the large pipes of an organ, so called because played and stopped with the foot.

1. A fixed or stationary base.

PEDAL-NOTE, n. In music, a holding note.

PEDANEOUS, a. [L. pedaneus, from pes, the foot.]

Going on foot; walking.


1. A schoolmaster.

2. A person who makes a vain display of his learning.

PEDANTIC, PEDANTICAL, a. Ostentatious of learning; vainly displaying or making a show of knowledge; applied to persons or things; as a pedantic writer or scholar; a pedantic description or expression.

PEDANTICALLY, adv. With a vain or boastful display of learning.

PEDANTIZE, v.i. To play the pedant; to domineer over lads; to use pedantic expressions.

PEDANTRY, n. Vain ostentation of learning; a boastful display of knowledge of any kind.

Horace has enticed me into this pedantry of quotation.

Pedantry is the unseasonable ostentation of learning.

PEDARIAN, n. A Roman senator who gave his vote by the feet, that is, by walking over to the side he espoused, in divisions of the senate.

PEDATE, a. [L. pedatus, from pes, the foot.] In botany, divided like the toes. A pedate leaf is one in which a bifid petiole connects several leaflets on the inside only.

PEDATIFID, a. [L. pes, foot, and findo, to divide.]

A pedatifid leaf, in botany, is one whose parts are not entirely separate, but connected like the toes of a water-fowl.

PEDDLE, v.i. To be busy about trifles.

1. To travel about the country and retail goods. He peddles for a living.

PEDDLE, v.t. To sell or retail, usually by traveling about the country.

PEDDLING, ppr. Traveling about and selling small wares.

1. a. Trifling; unimportant.

PEDERAST, n. [Gr. a boy, and love.] A sodomite.

PEDERASTIC, a. Pertaining to pederasty.

PEDERASTY, n. Sodomy; the crime against nature.

PEDERERO, n. [L. petra; Gr. so named from the use of stones in the charge, before the invention or iron balls.]

A swivel gun; sometimes written paterero.

PEDESTAL, n. [L. pes, the foot.] In architecture, the lowest part of a column or pillar; the part which sustains a column or serves as its foot. It consists of three parts, the base, the die and the cornice.

PEDESTRIAL, a. [L. pedestris.] Pertaining to the foot.

PEDESTRIAN, a. [L. pedestris, form pes, the foot.]

Going on foot; walking; made on foot; as a pedestrian journey.

PEDESTRIAN, n. One that walks or journeys on foot.

1. One that walks for a wager; a remarkable walker.

PEDESTRIOUS, a. Going on foot; not winged.

PEDICEL, PEDICLE, n. [L. pediculus, form pes, the foot.] In botany, the ultimate division of a common peduncle; the stalk that supports one flower only when there are several on a peduncle.

PEDICELLATE, a. Having a pedicel, or supported by a pedicel.

PEDICULAR, PEDICULOUS, a. [L. pedicularis, form pediculus, a louse.]

Lousy; having the lousy distemper.

PEDIGREE, n. [probably from L. pes, pedis, foot.]

1. Lineage; line of ancestors from which a person or tribe descends; genealogy.

Alterations of surnames--have obscured the truth of our pedigrees.

2. An account or register of a line of ancestors.

The Jews preserved the pedigrees of their several tribes.

PEDILUVY, n. [L. pes, foot, and lavo, to wash.]

The bathing of the feet; a bath for the feet.

PEDIMENT, n. [from L. pes, the foot.] In architecture, an ornament that crowns the ordinances, finishes the fronts of buildings and serves as a decoration over gates, windows and niches. It is of two forms, triangular and circular. A pediment is properly the representation of the roof.

PEDLER, n. [L. pes, pedis, the foot.] A traveling foot-trader; one that carries about small commodities on his back, or in a cart or wagon, and sells them.

PEDLERESS, n. A female pedler.

PEDLERY, n. Small wares sold or carried about for sale by pedlers.

PEDOBAPTISM, n. [Gr. a child, and baptism.]

The baptism of infants or of children.

PEDOBAPTIST, n. One that holds to infant baptism; one that practices the baptism of children. Most denominations of christians are pedobaptists.

PEDOMETER, n. [L. pes, the foot, and Gr. measure.] An instrument by which paces are numbered as a person walks, and the distance from place to place ascertained. It also marks the revolutions of wheels. This is done by means of wheels with teeth and a chain or string fastened to the foot or to the wheel of a carriage; the wheels advancing a notch at every step or at every revolution of the carriage wheel.

PEDOMETRICAL, a. Pertaining to or measured by a pedometer.

PEDUNCLE, n. [L. pes, the foot.] In botany, the stem or stalk that supports the fructification of a plant, and of course the fruit.

PEDUNCULAR, a. Pertaining to a peduncle; growing from a peduncle; as a peduncular tendril.

PEDUNCULATE, a. Growing on a peduncle; as a pedunculate flower.

PEE, v.i. To look with one eye. [Not used.]

PEED, a. Blind of one eye. [Not used.]

PEEK, in our popular dialect, is the same as peep, to look through a crevice.

PEEL, v.t. [L. pilo, to pull off hair and to pillage; pilus, the hair.]

1. To strip off skin, bark or rind without a cutting instrument; to strip by drawing or tearing off the skin; to bark; to flay; to decorticate. When a knife is used, we call it paring. Thus we say, to peel a tree, to peel an orange; but we say, to pare an apple to pare land.

2. In a general sense, to remove the skin, bark or rind, even with an instrument.

3. To strip; to plunder; to pillage; as, to peel a province or conquered people.

PEEL, n. [L. pellis.] The skin or rind of any thing; as the peel of an orange.
PEEL, n. [L. pala; pello; Eng. shovel, from shove; or from spreading.] A kind of wooden shovel used by bakers, with a broad palm and long handle; hence, in popular use in America, any large fire-shovel.

PEELED, pp. Stripped of skin, bark or rind; plundered; pillaged.

PEELER, n. One that peels, strips or flays.

1. A plunderer; pillaged.

PEELING, ppr. Stripping off skin or bark; plundering.

PEEP, v.i. [L. pipio; Heb. to cry out.]

1. To begin to appear; to make the first appearance; to issue or come forth from concealment, as through a narrow avenue.

I can see his pride

Peep through each part of him.

When flowers first peeped--

2. To look through a crevice; to look narrowly, closely or slyly.

A fool will peep in at the door.

Thou are a maid and must not peep.

3. To cry, as chickens; to utter a fine shrill sound, as through a crevice; usually written pip, but without reason, as it is the same word as is here defined, and in America is usually pronounced peep.

PEEP, n. First appearance; as the peep of day.

1. A sly look, or a look through a crevice.

2. The cry of a chicken.

PEEPER, n. A chicken just breaking the shell.

1. In familiar language, the eye.

PEEP-HOLE, PEEPING-HOLE, n. A hole or crevice through which one may peep or look without being discovered.

PEER, n. [L. par.]

1. An equal; one of the same rank. A man may be familiar with his peers.

2. An equal in excellence or endowments.

In song he never had his peer.

3. A companion; a fellow; an associate.

He all his peers in beauty did surpass.

4. A nobleman; as a peer of the realm; the house of peers, so called because noblemen and barons were originally considered as the companions of the king, like L. comes, count. In England, persons belonging to the five degrees of nobility are all peers.

PEER, v.i. [L. pareo.]

1. To come just in sight; to appear; a poetic word.

So honor peereth in the meanest habit.

See how his gorget peers above his gown.

2. To look narrowly; to peep; as the peering day.

Peering in maps for ports and piers and roads.

PEERAGE, n. [See Peer, an equal.]

The rank or dignity of a peer or nobleman.

1. The body of peers.

PEERDOM, n. Peerage. [Not used.]

PEERESS, n. The consort of a peer; a noble lady.

PEERLESS, a. Unequaled; having no peer or equal; as peerless beauty or majesty.

PEERLESSLY, adv. Without an equal.

PEERLESSNESS, n. The state of having no equal.


1. Fretful; petulant; apt to mutter and complain; easily vexed or fretted; querulous; hard to please.

She is peevish, sullen, froward.

2. Expressing discontent and fretfulness.

I will not presume

To send such peevish tokens to a king.

3. Silly; childish.

PEEVISHLY, adv. Fretfully; petulantly; with discontent and murmuring.

PEEVISHNESS, n. Fretfulness; petulance; disposition to murmur; sourness of temper; as childish peevishness.

When peevishness and spleen succeed.

PEG, n. [This is probably from the root of L. pango, pactus; Gr. denoting that which fastens, or allied to beak and picket.]

1. A small pointed piece of wood used in fastening boards or other work of wood, etc. It does the office of a nail. The word is applied only to small pieces of wood pointed; to the larger pieces thus pointed we give the name of pins, and pins in ship carpentry are called tree-nails or trenails. Coxe, in his travels in Russia, speaks of poles or beams fastened into the ground with pegs.

2. The pins of an instrument on which the strings are strained.

3. A nickname for Margaret.

To take a peg lower, to depress; to lower.

PEG, v.t. To fasten with pegs.

PEGGER, n. One that fastens with pegs.

PEGM, n. pem. [Gr.] A sort of moving machine in the old pageants.

PEGMATITE, n. Primitive granitic rock, composed essentially of lamellar feldspar and quartz; frequently with a mixture of mica. In it are found kaolin, tin tourmaline, beryl, aqua marina, tantale, scheelin and other valuable minerals.

PEIRASTIC, a. [Gr. to strain, to attempt.] Attempting; making trial.

1. Treating of or representing trials or attempts; as the peirastic dialogues of Plato.

PEISE. [See Poise.]

PEKAN, n. A species of weasel.

PELAGE, n. [L. pilus, hair.] The vesture or covering of wild beasts, consisting of hair, fur or wool.

PELAGIAN, PELAGIC, a. [L. pelagus, the sea.] Pertaining to the sea; as pelagian shells.

PELAGIAN, n. [from Pelagius, a native of Great Britain, who lived in the fourth century.] A follower of Pelagius, a monk of Banchor or Bangor, who denied original sin, and asserted the doctrine of free will and the merit of good works.
PELAGIAN, a. Pertaining to Pelagius and his doctrines.

PELAGIANISM, n. The doctrines of Pelagius.

PELF, n. [probably allied to pilfer.] Money; riches; but it often conveys the idea of something ill gotten or worthless. It has no plural.

PELICAN, n. [Low L. pelicanus.]

1. A fowl of the genus Pelicanus. It is larger than the swan, and remarkable for its enormous bill, to the lower edges of the under chop of which is attached a pouch or bag, capable of being distended so as to hold many quarts of water. In this bag the fowl deposits the fish is takes for food.

2. A chimical glass vessel or alembic with a tubulated capital, from which two opposite and crooked beaks pass out and enter again at the belly of the cucurbit. It is designed for continued distillation and cohobation; the volatile parts of the substance distilling, rising into the capital and returning through the beaks into the cucurbit.

PELIOM, n. [Gr. black color.] A mineral, a variety of iolite.

PELISSE, n. pelee’s. [L. pellis, skin.] Originally, a furred robe or coat. But the name is now given to a silk coat or habit worn by ladies.

PELL, n. [L. pellis.] A skin or hide.

Clerk of the pells, in England, an officer of the exchequer, who enters every teller’s bill on the parchment rolls, the roll or receipts and the roll of disbursements.

PELLET, n. [L. pila, a ball.]

A little ball; as a pellet of wax or lint.

1. A bullet; a ball for fire-arms. [Not now used.]

PELLETED, a. Consisting of bullets.

PELLICLE, n. [L. pellicula, dim. of pellis, skin.]

A thin skin or film.

1. Among chimists, a thin saline crust formed on the surface of a solution of salt evaporated to a certain degree. This pellicle consists of saline particles crystallized.

PELLITORY, n. [L. parietaria, the wall plant, from paries.]

The name of several plants of different genera. The pellitory of the wall or common pellitory is of the genus Parietaria; the bastard pellitory of the genus Achillea; and the pellitory of Spain is the Anthemis pyrethrum.

PELL-MELL, adv. With confused violence.

PELLUCID, a. [L. pellucidus; per and lucidus; very bright. See Light.] Perfectly clear; transparent; not opake; as a body as pellucid as crystal.

PELLUCIDITY, PELLUCIDNESS, n. Perfect clearness; transparency; as the pellucidity of the air; the pellucidness of a gem.

PELT, n. [L. pellis.]

1. The skin of a beast with the hair on it; a raw hide.

2. The quarry of a hawk all torn.

3. A blow or stroke from something thrown. [infra.]

PELT, v.t. [L. pello.]

1. Properly, to strike with something thrown, driven or falling; as, to pelt with stones; pelted with hail.

The chiding billows seem to pelt the clouds.

2. To drive by throwing something.

PELTATE, PELTATED, a. [L. pelta, a target.] In botany, having the shape of a target or round shield, as a peltate stigma; having the petiole inserted in the disk, as a peltate leaf.

PELTATELY, adv. In the form of a target.

PELTED, pp. Struck with something thrown or driven.

PELTER, n. One that pelts; also, a pinch-penny; a mean, sordid person.

PELTING, ppr. Striking with something thrown or driven.

PELTING, n. An assault with any thing thrown.
PELTING, a. In Shakespeare, mean; paltry. [Improper.]

PELT-MONGER, n. A dealer in pelts or raw hides.

PELTRY, n. [from pelt, a skin.] The skins of animals producing fur; skins in general, with the fur on them; furs in general.

PELVIMETER, n. [L. pelvis, and Gr. measure.] An instrument to measure the dimensions of the female pelvis.

PELVIS, n. [L. pelvis, a bason.] The cavity of the body formed by the os sacrum, os coccyx, and ossa innominata, forming the lower part of the abdomen.

PEN, n. [L. penna; pinna, a fin, that is, a shoot or point.]

1. An instrument used for writing, usually made of the quill of some large fowl, but it may be of any other material.

2. A feather, a wing. [Not used.]

PEN, v.t. pret. and pp. penned. To write; to compose and commit to paper.
PEN, n. A small inclosure for beasts, as for cows or sheep.
PEN, v.t. pret. and pp. penned or pent. To shut in a pen; to confine in a small inclosure; to coop; to confine in a narrow place, usually followed by up, which is redundant.

PENAL, a. [L. poena; Gr. pain, punishment. See Pain.]

1. Enacting punishment; denouncing the punishment of offenses; as a penal law or statute; the penal code. Penal statutes must be construed strictly.

2. Inflicting punishment.

Adamantine chains and penal fire.

3. Incurring punishment; subject to a penalty; as a penal act of offense.

PENALITY, n. Liableness or condemnation to punishment. [Not used.]


1. The suffering in person or property which is annexed by law or judicial decision to the commission of a crime, offense or trespass, as a punishment. A fine is a pecuniary penalty. The usual penalties inflicted on the person, are whipping, cropping, branding, imprisonment, hard labor, transportation or death.

2. The suffering to which a person subjects himself by covenant or agreement, in case of non-fulfillment of his stipulations; the forfeiture or sum to be forfeited for non-payment, or for non-compliance with an agreement; as the penalty of a bond.


1. The suffering, labor or pain to which a person voluntarily subjects himself, or which is imposed on him by authority as a punishment for his faults, or as an expression of penitence; such as fasting, flagellation, wearing chains, etc. Penance is one of the seven sacraments of the Romish church.

2. Repentance.

PENCE, n. pens. The plural of penny, when used of a sum of money or value. When pieces of coin are mentioned, we use pennies.

PENCIL, n. [L. penicillus.]

1. A small brush used by painters for laying on colors. The proper pencils are made of fine hair or bristles, as of camels, badgers or squirrels, or of the down of swans, inclosed in a quill. The larger pencils, made of swine’s bristles, are called brushes.

2. A pen formed of carburet of iron or plumbago, black lead or red chalk, with a point at one end, used for writing and drawing.

3. Any instrument of writing without ink.

4. An aggregate or collection of rays of light.

PENCIL, v.t. To paint or draw; to write or mark with a pencil.

PENCILED, pp. Painted, drawn or marked with a pencil.

1. Radiated; having pencils of rays.