Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



PERSPECTIVELY, adv. Optically; through a glass; by representation.

PERSPICABLE, a. Discernible.

PERSPICACIOUS, a. [L. perspicax, from perspicio.]

1. Quick sighted; sharp of sight.

2. Of acute discernment.

PERSPICACIOUSNESS, n. Acuteness of sight.

PERSPICACITY, n. [L. perspicacitas.]

1. Acuteness of sight; quickness of sight.

2. Acuteness of discernment or understanding.

PERSPICACY, n. Acuteness of sight or discernment.

PERSPICIL, n. [L. per and speculum, a glass.]

An optic glass. [Little used.]

PERSPICUITY, n. [L. perspicuitas, from perspicio.]

1. Transparency; clearness; that quality of a substance which renders objects visible through it. [Little used.]

2. Clearness to mental vision; easiness to be understood; freedom from obscurity or ambiguity; that quality of writing or language which readily presents to the mind of another the precise ideas of the author. Perspicuity is the first excellence of writing or speaking.

PERSPICUOUS, a. [L. perspicuus.]

Transparent; translucent. [Little used.]

1. Clear to the understanding; that may be clearly understood; not obscure or ambiguous. Language is perspicuous when it readily presents to the reader or hearer the precise ideas which are intended to be expressed. Meaning, sense or signification if perspicuous, when it is clearly and easily comprehended.

PERSPICUOUSLY, adv. Clearly; plainly; in a manner to be easily understood.

PERSPICUOUSNESS, n. Clearness to intellectual vision; plainness; freedom from obscurity.

[We generally apply perspicuous to objects of intellect, and conspicuous to objects of ocular sight.]

PERSPIRABILITY, n. [from perspirable.]

The quality of being perspirable.

PERSPIRABLE, a. [from L. perspiro. See Perspire.]

1. That may be perspired; that may be evacuated through the pores of the skin.

2. Emitting perspiration. [Not proper.]

PERSPIRATION, n. [L. perspiro. See Perspire.]

1. The act of perspiring; excretion by the cuticular pores; evacuation of the fluids of the body through the pores of the skin.

2. Matter perspired.

PERSPIRATIVE, a. Performing the act of perspiration.

PERSPIRATORY, a. Perspirative.

PERSPIRE, v.i. [L. per and spiro, to breathe.]

1. To evacuate the fluids of the body through the pores of the skin; as, a person perspires freely.

2. To be evacuated or excreted through the pores of the skin; as, a fluid perspires.

PERSPIRE, v.t. To emit or evacuate through the pores of the skin.

PERSTRINGE, v.t. perstrinj’. [L. perstringo; per and stringo, to graze or brush.] To graze; to glance on.

PERSUADABLE, a. [See Persuade.] That may be persuaded.

PERSUADABLY, adv. So as to be persuaded.

PERSUADE, v.t. [L. persuadeo; per and suadeo, to urge or incite.]

1. To influence by argument, advice, intreaty or expostulation; to draw or incline the will to a determination by presenting motives to the mind.

I should be glad, if I could persuade him to write such another critick on any thing of mine.

Almost thou persuadest me to be a christian. Acts 26:28.

2. To convince by argument, or reasons offered; or to convince by reasons suggested by reflection or deliberation, or by evidence presented in any manner to the mind.

Beloved, we are persuaded better things of you. Hebrews 6:9.

3. To inculcate by argument or expostulation. [Little used.]

4. To treat by persuasion. [Not in use.]

PERSUADED, pp. Influenced or drawn to an opinion or determination by argument, advice or reasons suggested; convinced; induced.

PERSUADER, n. One that persuades or influences another.

1. That which incites.

Hunger and thirst at once.

Powerful persuaders!

PERSUADING, ppr. Influencing by motives presented.

PERSUASIBILITY, n. Capability of being persuaded.

PERSUASIBLE, a. [L. persuasibilis.]

That may be persuaded or influenced by reasons offered.

PERSUASIBLENESS, n. The quality of being influenced by persuasion.

PERSUASION, n. s as z. [L. persuasio.]

1. The act of persuading; the act of influencing the mind by arguments or reasons offered, or by any thing that moves the mind or passions, or inclines the will to a determination.

For thou hast all the arts of fine persuasion.

2. The state of being persuaded or convinced; settled opinion or conviction proceeding from arguments and reasons offered by others, or suggested by one’s own reflections.

When we have no other certainty of being in the right, but our own persuasion that we are so--

3. A creed or belief; or a sect or party adhering to a creed or system of opinions; as men of the same persuasion; all persuasions concur in the measure.

PERSUASIVE, a. Having the power of persuading; influencing the mind or passions; as persuasive eloquence; persuasive evidence.

PERSUASIVELY, adv. In such a manner as to persuade or convince.

PERSUASIVENESS, n. The quality of having influence on the mind or passions.

PERSUASORY, a. Having the power or tendency to persuade.

PERSULPHATE, n. A combination of sulphuric acid with the peroxyd of iron.

PERT, a.

1. Lively; brisk; smart.

Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth.

On the lawny sands and shelves,

Trip the pert fairies, and the dapper elves.

2. Forward; saucy; bold; indecorously free.

A lady bids me in a very pert manner mind my own affairs--

PERTAIN, v.i. [L. pertineo, per and tenco, to hold.]

1. To belong; to be the property, right or duty of.

Men hate those who affect honor by ambition, which pertaineth not to them.

He took the fortified cities which pertained to Judah. 2 Chronicles 12:4.

It pertains to the governor to open the ports by proclamation.

2. To have relation to. Acts 1:3.

PERTEREBRATION, n. [L. per and terebratio.]

The act of boring through.

PERTINACIOUS, a. [L. pertinax; per and teneo, to hold.]

1. Holding or adhering to any opinion, purpose or design with obstinacy; obstinate; perversely resolute or persistent; as pertinacious in opinion; a man of pertinacious confidence.

2. Resolute; firm; constant; steady.

Diligence is a steady, constant, pertinacious study--

[This word often implies a censurable degree of firmness of constancy, like obstinacy.]

PERTINACIOUSLY, adv. Obstinately; with firm or perverse adherence to opinion or purpose. He pertinaciously maintains his first opinions.

PERTINACIOUSNESS, PERTINACITY, n. [L. pertinacia.] Firm or unyielding adherence to opinion or purpose; obstinacy. He pursues his scheme with pertinacity.

1. Resolution; constancy.

PERTINACY, n. [supra.] Obstinacy; stubbornness; persistency; resolution; steadiness. [Little used.]

PERTINENCE, PERTINENCY, n. [L. pertinens, pertineo; per and teneo, to hold.]

Justness of relation to the subject or matter in hand; fitness; appositeness; suitableness.

I have shown the fitness and pertinency of the apostle’s discourse to the person he addressed.

PERTINENT, a. [L. pertinens.] Related to the subject or matter in hand; just to the purpose; adapted to the end proposed; apposite; not foreign to the thing intended. We say, he used an argument not pertinent to his subject or design. The discourse abounds with pertinent remarks. He gave pertinent answers to the questions.

1. Regarding; concerning; belonging. [Little used.]

PERTINENTLY, adv. Appositely; to the purpose. He answered pertinently.

PERTINENTNESS, n. Appositeness.

PERTINGENT, a. [L. pertingens.] Reaching to.

PERTLY, adv. Briskly; smartly; with prompt boldness.

1. Saucily; with indecorous confidence or boldness.

PERTNESS, n. Briskness; smartness.

1. Sauciness; forward promptness or boldness; implying less than effrontery or impudence.

Pertness and ignorance may ask a question in three lines, which it will cost learning and ingenuity thirty pages to answer.

2. Petty liveliness; sprightliness without force, dignity or solidity.

There is in Shaftsbury’s works a lively pertness and a parade of literature.

PERTURB, PERTURBATE, v.t. [L. perturbo; per and turbo, properly to turn, or to stir by turning.]

1. To disturb; to agitate; to disquiet.

2. To disorder; to confuse.

[This verb is little used. The participle is in use.]

PERTURBATION, n. [L. perturbatio.]

1. Disquiet or agitation of mind.

2. Restlessness of passions; great uneasiness.

3. Disturbance; disorder; commotion in public affairs.

4. Disturbance of passions; commotion of spirit.

5. Cause of disquiet.

O polished perturbation, golden care!

PERTURBATOR, PERTURBER, n. One that disturbs or raises commotion. [Little used.]

PERTURBED, pp. Disturbed; agitated; disquieted.

Rest, rest, perturbed spirit.

PERTUSE, PERTUSED, a. [L. pertusus, pertundo; per and tundo, to beat.]

1. Punched; pierced with holes.

2. In botany, full of hollow dots on the surface, as a leaf.

PERTUSION, n. s as z. [L. pertusus, pertundo.]

1. The act of punching, piercing or thrusting through with a pointed instrument.

The manner of opening a vein in Hippocrates’s time, was by stabbing or pertusion.

2. A little hole made by punching; a perforation.

PERUKE, n. An artificial cap of hair; a periwig.

PERUKE-MAKER, n. A maker of perukes; a wig-maker.

PERUSAL, n. s as z. [from peruse.] The act of reading.

This treatise requires application in the perusal.

1. Careful view or examination. [Unusual.]

PERUSE, v.t. s as z. [Some of the senses of this word would lead to the inference that it is from the Latin perviso. If not, I know not its origin.]

1. To read, or to read with attention.

2. To observe; to examine with careful survey.

I have perus’d her well.

Myself I then perus’d, and limb by limb


PERUSED, pp. Read; observed; examined.

PERUSER, n. One that reads or examines.

PERUSING, ppr. Reading; examining.

PERUVIAN, a. Pertaining to Peru, in South America.

Peruvian bark, the bark of the Cinchona, a tree of Peru; called also Jesuits’ bark. The taste is bitter and pungent, and it is used as an astringent and tonic, in cases of debility, and particularly as a febrifuge in intermittents.

PERVADE, v.t. [L. pervado; per and vado, to go; Eng. to wade.]

1. To pass through an aperture, pore or interstice; to permeate; as liquors that pervade the pores.

2. To pass or spread through the whole extent of a thing and into every minute part.

What but God

Pervades, adjusts and agitates the whole?

3. We use this verb in a transitive form to express a passive or an intransitive signification. Thus when we say, “the electric fluid pervades the earth,” or “either pervades the universe,” we mean only that the fluid is diffused through the earth or universe, or exists in all parts of them. So when we say, “a spirit of conciliation pervades all classes of men,” we may mean that such a spirit passes through all classes, or it exists among all classes.

PERVADED, pp. Passed through; permeated; penetrated in every part.

PERVADING, ppr. Passing through or extending to every part of a thing.

PERVASION, n. s as z. The act of pervading or passing through the whole extent of a thing.

PERVERSE, a. pervers’. [L. perversus. See Pervert.]

1. Literally, turned aside; hence, distorted from the right.

2. Obstinate in the wrong; disposed to be contrary; stubborn; untractable.

To so perverse a sex all grace is vain.

3. Cross; petulant; peevish; disposed to cross and vex.

I’ll frown and be perverse, and say thee nay.

PERVERSELY, adv. pervers’ly. With intent to vex; crossly; peevishly; obstinately in the wrong.

PERVERSENESS, n. pervers’ness. Disposition to cross or vex; untractableness; crossness of temper; a disposition uncomplying, unaccommodating or acting in opposition to what is proper or what is desired by others.

Her whom he wishes most, shall seldom gain

Through her perverseness.

1. Perversion. [Not used.]

PERVERSION, n. [L. perversus.] The act of perverting; a turning from truth or propriety; a diverting from the true intent or object; change to something worse. We speak of the perversion of the laws, when they are misinterpreted or misapplied; a perversion of reason, when it is misemployed; a perversion of Scripture, when it is willfully misinterpreted or misapplied, etc.

PERVERSITY, n. Perverseness; crossness; disposition to thwart or cross.

PERVERSIVE, a. Tending to pervert or corrupt.

PERVERT, v.t. [L. perverto; per and verto, to turn.]

1. To turn from truth, propriety, or from its proper purpose; to distort from its true use or end; as, to pervert reason by misdirecting it; to pervert the laws by misinterpreting and misapplying them; to pervert justice; to pervert the meaning of an author; to pervert nature; to pervert truth.

2. To turn from the right; to corrupt.

He in the serpent had perverted Eve.

PERVERTED, pp. Turned from right to wrong; distorted; corrupted; misinterpreted; misemployed.

PERVERTER, n. One that perverts or turns from right to wrong; one that distorts, misinterprets or misapplies.

PERVERTIBLE, a. That may be perverted.

PERVERTING, ppr. Turning from right to wrong; distorting; misinterpreting; misapplying; corrupting.

[Pervert, when used of persons, usually implies evil design.]

PERVESTIGATE, v.t. [L. pervestigo; per and vestigo, to trace; vestigium, a track.] To find out by research.

PERVESTIGATION, n. Diligent inquiry; thorough research.

PERVICACIOUS, a. [L. pervicax; composed perhaps of per and Teutonic wigan, to strive or contend.]

Very obstinate; stubborn; willfully contrary or refractory.

PERVICACIOUSLY, adv. With willful obstinacy.

PERVICACIOUSNESS, PERVICACITY, n. Stubbornness; willful obstinacy. [Little used.]

PERVIOUS, a. [L. pervius; per and via, way, or from the root of that word.]

1. Admitting passage; that may be penetrated by another body or substance; permeable; penetrable. We say, glass is pervious to light; a porous stone is pervious to water; a wood is pervious or not pervious to a body of troops.

A country pervious to the arms and authority of the conqueror.

2. That may be penetrated by the mental sight.

By darkness they mean God, whose secrets are pervious to no eye.

3. Pervading; permeating; as pervious fire. [Not proper.]

PERVIOUSNESS, n. The quality of admitting passage or of being penetrated; as the perviousness of glass to light.

PESADE, n. The motion of a horse when he raises his fore quarters, keeping his hind feet on the ground without advancing.

PESO, n. [supra.] A Spanish coin weighing an ounce; a piaster; a piece of eight.

PESSARY, n. [L. pessus.] A solid substance composed of wool, lint or linen, mixed with powder, oil, wax, etc. made round and long like a finger, to be introduced into the neck of the matrix for the cure of some disorder. An instrument that is introduced into the vagina to support the uterus. It is made of wood, elastic gum, waxed linen, etc.

PEST, n. [L. pestis; Heb. to be fetid.]

1. Plague; pestilence; a fatal epidemic disease.

Let fierce Achilles

The god propitiate, and the pest assuage.

2. Any thing very noxious, mischievous or destructive. The tale bearer, the gambler, the libertine, the drunkard, are pests to society.

Of all virtues justice is the best;

Valor without it is a common pest.

PESTER, v.t. To trouble; to disturb; to annoy; to harass with little vexations.

We are pestered with mice and rats.

A multitude of scribblers daily pester the world with their insufferable stuff.

1. To encumber.

PESTERED, pp. Troubled; disturbed; annoyed.

PERTERER, n. One that troubles or harasses with vexation.

PESTERING, ppr. Troubling; disturbing.

PESTEROUS, a. Encumbering; burdensome. [Little used.]

PESTHOUSE, n. A house or hospital for persons infected with any contagious and mortal disease.

PESTIFEROUS, a. [L. pestis, plague, and fero, to produce.]

1. Pestilential; noxious to health; malignant; infectious; contagious.

2. Noxious to peace, to morals or to society; mischievous; destructive.

3. Troublesome; vexatious.

PERTILENCE, n. [L. pestilentia, from pestilens; pestis, plague.]

1. Plague, appropriately so called; but in a general sense, any contagious or infectious disease that is epidemic and mortal.

2. Corruption or moral disease destructive to happiness.

Profligate habits carry pestilence into the bosom of domestic society.

PESTILENT, a. [L. pestilens, from pestis, plague.]

1. Producing the plague, or other malignant, contagious disease; noxious to health and life; as a pestilent air or climate.

2. Mischievous; noxious to morals or society; destructive; in a general sense; as pestilent books.

3. Troublesome; mischievous; making disturbance; corrupt; as a pestilent fellow. Acts 24:5.

PESTILENTIAL, a. Partaking of the nature of the plague or other infectious disease; as a pestilential fever.

1. Producing or tending to produce infectious disease; as pestilential vapors.

2. Mischievous; destructive; pernicious.

PESTILENTLY, adv. Mischievously; destructively.

PESTILLATION, n. [from L. pistillum; Eng. pestle.]

The act of pounding and bruising in a mortar. [Little used.]

PESTLE, n. pes’l. [L. pistillum, and probably pinso, for piso, to pound or beat.] An instrument for pounding and breaking substances in a mortar.

Pestle of port, a gammon of bacon.

PET, n. [This word may be contracted from petulant, or belong to the root of that word. Peevish, which is evidently a contracted word, may be from the same root.]

A slight fit of peevishness or fretful discontent.

Life given for noble purposes must not be thrown away in a pet, nor whined away in love.

PET, n. [formerly peat. L. peto.]

1. A cade lamb; a lamb brought up by hand.

2. A fondling; any little animal fondled and indulged.

PET, v.t. To treat as a pet; to fondle; to indulge.