Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



PERFECTIVE, a. Conducing to make perfect or bring to perfection; followed by of.

Praise and adoration are actions perfective of the soul.

PERFECTIVELY, adv. In a manner that brings to perfection.

PERFECTLY, adv. In the highest degree of excellence.

1. Totally; completely; as work perfectly executed or performed; a thing perfectly new.

2. Exactly; accurately; as a proposition perfectly understood.

PERFECTNESS, n. Completeness; consummate excellence; perfection.

1. The highest degree of goodness or holiness of which man is capable in this life.

And above all things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. Colossians 3:14.

2. Accurate skill.

PERFICIENT, n. [L. perficiens.] One who endows a charity.

PERFIDIOUS, a. [L. perfidus; per and fidus, faithful. Per in this word signifies through, beyond, or by, aside.]

1. Violating good faith or vows; false to trust or confidence reposed; treacherous; as a perfidious agent; a perfidious friend. [See Perfidy.]

2. Proceeding from treachery, or consisting in breach of faith; as a perfidious act.

3. Guilty of violated allegiance; as a perfidious citizen; a man perfidious to his country.

PERFIDIOUSLY, adv. Treacherously; traitorously; by breach of faith or allegiance.

PERFIDIOUSNESS, n. The quality of being perfidious; treachery; traitorousness; breach of faith, of vows or allegiance.

PERFIDY, n. [L. perfidia; per and fides, faith.] The act of violating faith, a promise, vow or allegiance; treachery; the violation of a trust reposed. Perfidy is not applied to violations of contracts in ordinary pecuniary transactions, but to violations of faith or trust in friendship, in agency and office, in allegiance, in connubial engagements, and in the transactions of kings.

PERFLATE, v.t. [L. perflo; per and flo, to blow.] To blow through.

PERFLATION, n. The act of blowing through.

PERFOLIATE, a. [L. per and folium, a leaf.] In botany, a perfoliate or perforated leaf, is one that has the base entirely surrounding the stem transversely.

PERFORATE, v.t. [L. perforo; per and foro; Eng. to bore.]

1. To bore through.

2. To pierce with a pointed instrument; to make a hole or holes through any thing by boring or driving; as, to perforate the bottom of a vessel.

PERFORATED, pp. Bored or pierced through; pierced.

PERFORATING, ppr. Boring or piercing through; piercing.

PERFORATION, n. The act of boring or piercing through.

1. A hole or aperture passing through any thing, or into the interior of a substance, whether natural or made by an instrument.

PERFORATIVE, a. Having power to pierce; as an instrument.

PERFORATOR, n. An instrument that bores or perforates.

PERFORCE, adv. [per and force.] By force or violence.

PERFORM, v.t. [L. per and formo, to make.]

1. To do; to execute; to accomplish; as, to perform two days’ labor in one day; to perform a noble deed or achievement.

2. To execute; to discharge; as, to perform a duty or office.

3. To fulfill; as, to perform a covenant, promise or contract; to perform a vow.

PERFORM, v.i. To do; to act a part. The player performs well in different characters. The musician performs well on the organ.

PERFORMABLE, a. That may be done, executed or fulfilled; practicable.

PERFORMANCE, n. Execution or completion of any thing; a doing; as the performance of work or of an undertaking; the performance of duty.

1. Action; deed; thing done.

2. The acting or exhibition of character on the state. Garrick was celebrated for his theatrical performances.

3. Composition; work written.

Few of our comic performances give good examples.

4. The acting or exhibition of feats; as performances of horsemanship.

PERFORMED, pp. Done; executed; discharged.

PERFORMER, n. One that performs any thing, particularly in an art; as a good performer on the violin or organ; a celebrated performer in comedy or tragedy, or in the circus.

PERFORMING, ppr. Doing; executing; accomplishing.

PERFORMING, n. Act done; deed; act of executing.

PERFUMATORY, a. [from perfume.] That perfumes.

PERFUME, n. [L. per and fumus, smoke, or fumo, to fumigate.]

1. A substance that emits a scent or odor which affects agreeably the organs of smelling, as musk, civet, spices or aromatics of any kind; or any composition of aromatic substances.

2. The scent, odor or volatile particles emitted from sweet smelling substances.

No rich perfumes refresh the fruitful field.

PERFUME, v.t. To scent; to fill or impregnate with a grateful odor; as, to perfume an apartment; to perfume a garment.

And Carmel’s flower top perfumes the skies.

PERFUMED, pp. Scented; impregnated with fragrant odors.

PERFUMER, n. He or that which perfumes.

1. One whose trade is to see perfumes.

PERFUMERY, n. Perfumes in general.

PERFUMING, ppr. Scenting; impregnating with sweet odors.

PERFUNCTORILY, adv. [L. perfunctorie, from perfungor; per and fungor, to do or execute.] Carelessly; negligently; in a manner to satisfy external form.

PERFUNCTORINESS, n. Negligent performance; carelessness.

PERFUNCTORY, a. [supra.] Slight; careless; negligent.

1. Done only for the sake of getting rid of the duty.

PERFUSE, v.t. s as z. [L. perfusus, perfundo; per and fundo, to pour.] To sprinkle, pour or spread over.

PERGOLA, n. A kind of arbor.

PERHAPS, adv. [per and hap. See Happen.] By chance; it may be.

Perhaps her love, perhaps her kingdom charmed him.

PERIANTH, n. [Gr. about, and flower.] The calyx of a flower when contiguous to the other parts of fructification.

PERIAPT, n. [Gr. to fit or tie to.] An amulet; a charm worn to defend against disease or mischief. [Not used.]


PERICARDIUM, n. [Gr. around, and the heart.] A membrane that incloses the heart. It contains a liquor which prevents the surface of the heart from becoming dry by its continual motion.

PERICARP, n. [Gr. about, and fruit.] The seed-vessel of a plant; a general name including the capsule, legume, silique, follicle, drupe, pome, berry and strobile.

PERICRANIUM, n. [Gr. about, and the skull.] The periosteum or membrane that invests the skull.

PERICULOUS, a. [L. periculosus. See Peril.]

Dangerous; hazardous.

PERIDODECAHEDRAL, a. [Gr.] Designating a crystal whose primitive form is a four sided prism, and in its secondary form is converted into a prism of twelve sides.

PERIDOT, n. Another name of the chrysolite. It may be known by its leek or olive green color of various shades, and by its infusibility. It is found in grains, granular masses, and rounded crystals.

PERIECIAN, n. [Gr.] An inhabitant of the opposite side of the globe, in the same parallel of latitude.

PERIGEE, PERIGEUM, n. [Gr. about, and the earth.] That point in the orbit of the sun or moon in which it is at the least distance from the earth; opposed to apogee.

PERIGORD-STONE, n. An ore of manganese of a dark gray color, like basalt or trap; so called from Perigord, in France.

PERIGRAPH, n. [Gr. about, and a writing.]

1. A careless or inaccurate delineation of any thing.

2. The white lines or impressions that appear on the musculus rectus of the abdomen.

PERIGYNOUS, a. [Gr. about, and female.] In botany, inserted around the pistil, as the corol or stamens; having the corol or stamens inserted around the pistil, as a flower or plant.

PERIHELION, PERIHELIUM, n. [Gr. about, and the sun.] That part of the orbit of a planet or comet, in which it is at its least distance from the sun; opposed to aphelion.

PERIHEXAHEDRAL, a. [Gr.] Designating a crystal whose primitive form is a four sided prism, and in the secondary form is converted into a prism of six sides.

PERIL, n. [L. periculum, from Gr. to try, to attempt, that is, to strain; an attempt, danger, hazard; to pass, to thrust in or transfix; L. experior; Eng. experience.]

1. Danger; risk; hazard; jeopardy; particular exposure of person or property to injury, loss or destruction from any cause whatever.

In perils of waters; in perils of robbers. 2 Corinthians 11:26.

2. Danger denounced; particular exposure; You do it at your peril, or at the peril of your father’s displeasure.

PERIL, v.i. To be in danger. [Not used.]

PERILOUS, a. Dangerous; hazardous; full of risk; as a perilous undertaking; a perilous situation.

1. Vulgarly used for very, like mighty; as perilous shrewd.

2. Smart; witty; as a perilous [parlous boy.]

[Vulgar and obsolete.]

PERILOUSLY, adv. Dangerously; with hazard.

PERILOUSNESS, n. Dangerousness; danger; hazard.

PERIMETER, n. [Gr. about, and measure.] In geometry, the bounds and limits of a body or figure. The perimeters of surfaces or figures are lines; those of bodies are surfaces. In circular figures, instead of perimeter, we use circumference or periphery.

PERIOCTAHEDRAL, a. [Gr. octahedral.] Designating a crystal whose primitive form is a four sided prism, and in its secondary form is converted into a prism of eight sides.

PERIOD, n. [L. periodus; Gr. about, and way.]

1. Properly, a circuit; hence, the time which is taken up by a planet in making its revolution round the sun, or the duration of its course till it returns to the point of its orbit where it began. Thus the period of the earth or its annual revolution is 365 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes, and 30 seconds.

2. In chronology, a stated number of years; a revolution or series of years by which time is measured; as the Calippic period; the Dionysian period; the Julian period.

3. Any series of years or of days in which a revolution is completed, and the same course is to begun.

4. Any specified portion of time, designated by years, months, days or hours complete; as a period of a thousand years; the period of a year; the period of a day.

5. End; conclusion. Death puts a period to a state of probation.

6. An indefinite portion of any continued state, existence or series of events; as the first period of life; the last period of a king’s reign; the early periods of history.

7. State at which any thing terminates; limit.

8. Length or usual length of duration.

9. A complete sentence from one full stop to another.

Periods are beautiful when they are not too long.

10. The point that marks the end of a complete sentence; a full stop, thus, (.)

11. In numbers, a distinction made by a point or comma after every sixth place or figure.

12. In medicine, the time of intention and remission of a disease, or of the paroxysm and remission.

Julian period, in chronology, a period of 7980 years; a number produced by multiplying 28, the years of the solar cycle, into 19, the years of the lunar cycle, and their product by 15, the years of the Roman indiction.

PERIOD, v.t. To put an end to. [Not used.]


1. Performed in a circuit, or in a regular revolution in a certain time, or in a series of successive circuits; as the periodical motion of the planets round the sun; the periodical motion of the moon round the earth.

2. Happening by revolution, at a stated time; as, the conjunction of the sun and moon is periodical.

3. Happening or returning regularly in a certain period of time. The Olympiads among the Greeks were periodical, as was the jubilee of the Jews.

4. Performing some action at a stated time; as the periodical fountains in Switzerland, which issue only at a particular hour of the day.

5. Pertaining to a period; constituting a complete sentence.

6. Pertaining to a revolution or regular circuit.

PERIODICALLY, adv. At stated periods; as a festival celebrated periodically.

PERIOSTEUM, n. [Gr. about, and bone.] A nervous vascular membrane endued with quick sensibility, immediately investing the bones of animals.

The periosteum has very little sensibility in a sound state, but in some cases of disease it appears to be very sensible.

PERIPATETIC, a. [Gr. to walk about.] Pertaining to Aristotle’s system of philosophy, or to the sect of his followers.

PERIPATETIC, n. A follower of Aristotle, so called because the founders of his philosophy taught, or his followers disputed questions, walking in the Lyceum at Athens.

1. It is ludicrously applied to one who is obliged to walk, or cannot afford to ride.

PERIPATETICISM, n. The notions or philosophical system of Aristotle and his followers.

PERIPHERAL, a. Peripheric.

PERIPHERIC, PERIPHERICAL, a. Pertaining to a periphery; constituting a periphery.

PERIPHERY, n. [Gr. around, and to bear.] The circumference of a circle, ellipsis, or other regular curvilinear figure.

PERIPHRASE, n. s as z. [Gr. about, and to speak.] Circumlocution; a circuit of words; the use of more words than are necessary to express the idea; a figure of rhetoric employed to avoid a common and trite manner of expression.

PERIPHRASE, v.t. To express by circumlocution.
PERIPHRASE, v.i. To use circumlocution.

PERIPHRASIS. [See Periphrase.]

PERIPHRASTIC, PERIPHRASTICAL, a. Circumlocutory; expressing or expressed in more words than are necessary; expressing the sense of one word in many.

PERIPHRASTICALLY, adv. With circumlocution.

PERIPLUS, n. [Gr. about, and to sail.] Circumnavigation; a voyage round a certain sea or sea coast.

PERIPNEUMONIC, a. Pertaining to peripneumony; consisting in an inflammation of the lungs.

PERIPNEUMONY, n. [Gr. about, and the lungs.] An inflammation of the lungs, or of some part of the thorax, attended with acute fever and difficult respiration.

PERIPOLYGONAL, a. [Gr. polygon.] In crystalography, having a great number of sides.

PERISCIAN, n. [Gr. around, and shadow.] An inhabitant of a frigid zone or within a polar circle, whose shadow moves round, and in the course of the day falls in every point of compass. The Greek word periscii, in the plural, is generally used in geographies; but the English word is preferable.

PERISH, v.i. [L. pereo, supposed to be compounded of per and eo, to go; literally, to depart wholly.]

1. To die; to lose life in any manner; applied to animals. Men perish by disease or decay, by the sword, by drowning, by hunger or famine, etc.

2. To die; to wither and decay; applied to plants.

3. To waste away; as, a leg or an arm has perished.

4. To be in a state of decay or passing away.

Duration, and time which is part of it, is the idea we have of perishing distance.

5. To be destroyed; to come to nothing.

Perish the lore that deadens young desire.

6. To fail entirely or to be extirpated. 2 Kings 9:8.

7. To be burst or ruined; as, the bottles shall perish. Luke 5:37.

8. To be wasted or rendered useless. Jeremiah 9:12.

9. To be injured or tormented. 1 Corinthians 8:11.

10. To be lost eternally; to be sentenced to endless misery. 2 Peter 2:12.

PERISH, v.t. To destroy. [Not legitimate.]

PERISHABLE, a. Liable to perish; subject to decay and destruction. The bodies of animals and plants are perishable. The souls of men are not perishable.

1. Subject to speedy decay.

Property of a perishable nature saved from a wreck, may be sold within a year and a day.

PERISHABLENESS, n. Liableness to decay or destruction.

PERISPERM, n. [Gr. around, and seed.] A thick, farinaceous, fleshy, horny or woody part of the seed of plants, either entirely or only partially surrounding the embryo, and inclosed within the investing membrane. It corresponds to the albumen of Gaertner.

PERISPHERIC, a. [Gr.] Globular; having the form of a ball.

PERISSOLOGICAL, a. Redundant in words.

PERISSOLOGY, n. [Gr. redundant, and discourse.] Superfluous words; much talk to little purpose. [Little used.]

PERISTALTIC, a. [Gr. to involve.] Spiral; vermicular or worm-like. The peristaltic motion of the intestines is performed by the contraction of the circular and longitudinal fibers composing their fleshy coats, by which the chyle is driven into the orifices of the lacteals, and the excrements are protruded towards the anus.

PERISTERION, n. [Gr.] The herb vervain.

PERISTYLE, n. [Gr. about, and a column.] A circular range of columns, or a building encompassed with a row of columns on the outside.

PERISYSTOLE, n. perisys’toly. [Gr. about, and contraction.] The pause or interval between the systole or contraction, and the diastole or dilatation of the heart.

PERITE, a. [L. peritus.] Skillful. [Little used.]

PERITONEAL, a. Pertaining to the peritoneum.

PERITONEUM, n. [Gr. about, and to stretch.] A thin, smooth, lubricous membrane investing the whole internal surface of the abdomen, and more or less completely, all the viscera contained in it.

PERIWIG, n. A small wig; a kind of close cap formed by an intertexture of false hair, worn by men for ornament or to conceal baldness. Periwigs were in fashion in the days of Addison.

PERIWIG, v.t. To dress with a periwig, or with false hair, or with any thing in like form.

PERIWINKLE, n. [L. vinca.]

1. A sea snail, or small shell fish.

2. A plant of the genus Vinca.

PERJURE, v.t. per’jur. [L. perjuro; per and juro, to swear; that is, to swear aside or beyond.] Willfully to make a false oath when administered by lawful authority or in a court of justice; to forswear; as, the witness perjured himself.

PERJURE, n. A perjured person. [Not used.]

PERJURED, pp. Guilty of perjury; having sworn falsely.

PERJURER, n. One that willfully takes a false oath lawfully administered.

PERJURING, ppr. Taking a false oath lawfully administered.

PERJURIOUS, a. Guilty of perjury; containing perjury.

PERJURY, n. [L. perjurium.] The act or crime of willfully making a false oath, when lawfully administered; or a crime committed when a lawful oath is administered in some judicial proceeding, to a person who swears willfully, absolutely and falsely in a matter material to the issue.

PERK, a. Properly, erect; hence, smart; trim.

PERK, v.i. To hold up the head with affected smartness.
PERK, v.t. To dress; to make trim or smart; to prank.

PERKIN, n. Cyderkin; a kind of cyder made by steeping the murk in water.

Perlate acid, the acidulous phosphate of soda.

Perlated acid, or ouretic, biphosphate of soda.