Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



PLOW-MONDAY, n. The Monday after twelfth-day.

PLOWSHARE, n. [See Shear.] The part of a plow which cuts the ground at the bottom of the furrow, and raises the slice to the mold-board, which turns it over.

PLUCK, v.t.

1. To pull with sudden force or effort, or to pull off, out or from, with a twitch. Thus we say, to pluck feathers from a fowl; to pluck hair or wool from a skin; to pluck grapes or other fruit.

They pluck the fatherless from the breast. Job 24:9.

2. To strip by plucking; as, to pluck a fowl.

They that pass by do pluck her. Psalm 80:12.

The sense of this verb is modified by particles.

To pluck away, to pull away, or to separate by pulling; to tear away.

He shall pluck away his crop with his feathers. Leviticus 1:16.

To pluck down, to pull down; to demolish; or to reduce to a lower state.

To pluck off, is to pull or tear off; as, to pluck off the skin. Micah 3:2.

To pluck on, to pull or draw on.

To pluck up, to tear up by the roots or from the foundation; to eradicate; to exterminate; to destroy; as, to pluck up a plant; to pluck up a nation. Jeremiah 12:14, 17.

To pluck out, to draw out suddenly or to tear out; as, to pluck out the eyes; to pluck out the hand from the bosom. Psalm 74:11.

To pluck up, to resume courage; properly, to pluck up the heart. [Not elegant.]

PLUCK, n. The heart, liver and lights of an animal.

PLUCKED, pp. Pulled off; stripped of feathers or hair.

PLUCKER, n. One that plucks.

PLUCKING, ppr. Pulling off; stripping.

PLUG, n. A stopple; any piece of pointed wood or other substance used to stop a hole, but larger than a peg or spile.

Hawse-plug, in marine affairs, a plug to stop a hawse-hole.

Shot-plug, a plug to stop a breach made by a cannon ball in the side of a ship.

PLUG, v.t. To stop with a plug; to make tight by stopping a hole.

PLUM, n.

1. The fruit of a tree belonging to the genus Prunus. The fruit is a drupe, containing a nut or stone with prominent sutures and inclosing a kernel. The varieties of the plum are numerous and well known.

2. A grape dried in the sun; a raisin.

3. The sum of f100,000 sterling.

4. A kind of play.

[Dr. Johnson remarks that this word is often written improperly plumb. This is true, not only of this word, but of all words in which b follows m, as in thumb, dumb, etc.]

PLUMAGE, n. The feathers that cover a fowl.

Smit with her varying plumage, spare the dove.

PLUMB, n. plum. [L. plumbum, lead; probably a clump or lump.]

A mass of lead attached to a line, and used to ascertain a perpendicular position of buildings and the like. But the word as a noun is seldom used, except in composition. [See Plumb-line.]

PLUMB, a. Perpendicular, that is, standing according to a plumb-line. The post of the house or the wall is plumb. [This is the common language of our mechanics.]
PLUMB, adv. In a perpendicular direction; in a line perpendicular to the plane of the horizon. The wall stands plumb.

Plumb down he falls.

1. Directly; suddenly; at once; as a falling mass; usually pronounced plump. He fell plumb into the water.

PLUMB, v.t. To adjust by a plumb-line; to set in a perpendicular direction; as, to plumb a building or a wall.

1. To sound with a plummet, as the depth of water. [Little used.]

PLUMBAGINOUS, a. Resembling plumbago; consisting of plumbago, or partaking of its properties.

PLUMBAGO, n. [L.] A mineral consisting of carbon and iron; used for pencils, etc.

PLUMBEAN, PLUMBEOUS, a. Consisting of lead; resembling lead.

1. Dull; heavy; stupid.

PLUMBED, pp. plum’med. Adjusted by a plumb-line.

PLUMBER, n. plum’mer. One who works in lead.

PLUMBERY, n. plum’mery. Works in lead; manufactures of lead; the place where lead is wrought.

1. The art of casting and working lead, or of making sheets and pipes of lead.

PLUMBIFEROUS, a. [L. plumbum, lead, and fero, to produce.]

Producing lead.

PLUMB-LINE, n. plum’-line. A line perpendicular to the plane of the horizon; or a line directed to the center of gravity in the earth.

PLUM-CAKE, n. Cake containing raisins or currants.

PLUME, n. [L. pluma.]

1. The feather of a fowl, particularly a large feather.

2. A feather worn as an ornament, particularly an ostrich’s feather.

And his high plume that nodded o’er his head.

3. Pride; towering mien.

4. Token of honor; prize of contest.

Ambitious to win from me some plume.

PLUME, PLUMULE, n. In botany, the ascending scaly part of the corculum or heart of a seed; the scaly part of the embryo plant within the seed, which rises and becomes the stem or body. It extends itself into the cavity of the lobes, and is terminated by a small branch resembling a feather, from which it derives its name.
PLUME, v.t. To pick and adjust plumes or feathers.

Swans must be kept in some inclosed pond, where they may have room to come on shore and plume themselves.

1. To strip of feathers. Carnivorous animals will not take pains to plume the birds they devour.

2. To strip; to peel.

3. To set as a plume; to set erect.

His stature reach’d the sky, and on his crest

Sat honor plum’d.

4. To adorn with feathers or plumes.

5. To pride; to value; to boast. He plumes himself on his skill or his prowess.

PLUME-ALUM, n. A kind of asbestus.

PLUMELESS, a. Without feathers or plumes.

PLUMIGEROUS, a. [L. pluma, a feather, and gero, to wear.]

Feathered; having feathers.

PLUMIPED, a. [infra.] Having feet covered with feathers.

PLUMIPED, n. [L. pluma, feather, and pes, foot.]

A fowl that has feathers on its feet.

PLUMMET, n. [See Plumb.]

1. A long piece of lead attached to a line, used in sounding the depth of water.

2. An instrument used by carpenters, masons, etc. in adjusting erections to a perpendicular line, and with a square, to determine a horizontal line. It consists of a piece of lead fastened to a line.

3. Any weight.

4. A piece of lead used by school boys to rule their paper for writing.

PLUMMING, n. Among miners, the operation of finding by means of a mine dial the place where to sink an air shaft, or to bring an adit to the work, or to find which way the lode inclines.

PLUMOSE, PLUMOUS, a. [L. plumosus.] Feathery; resembling feathers.

1. In botany, a plumose bristle is one that has hairs growing on the sides of the main bristle. Plumose pappus or down is a flying crown to some seeds, composed of feathery hairs.

PLUMOSITY, n. The state of having feathers.


1. Full; swelled with fat or flesh to the full size; fat; having a full skin; round; as a plump boy; a plump habit of body.

The famish’d crow grows plump and round.

2. Full; blunt; unreserved; unqualified; as a plump lie.

PLUMP, n. A knot; a cluster; a clump; a number of things closely united or standing together; as a plump of trees; a plump of fowls; a plump of horsemen.

[This word is not now used in this sense, but the use of it formerly, is good evidence that plump is clump, with a different prefix, and both are radically one word with lump. Plumb, L. plumbum, is the same word, a lump or mass.]

PLUMP, v.t. [from the adjective.] To swell; to extend to fullness; to dilate; to fatten.

The particles of air expanding themselves, plump out the sides of the bladder.

A wedding at our house will plump me up with good cheer.

PLUMP, v.i.

1. To plunge or fall like a heavy mass or lump of dead matter; to fall suddenly or at once.

2. To enlarge to fullness; to be swelled.

PLUMP, adv. Suddenly; heavily; at once, or with a sudden heavy fall.

PLUMPER, n. Something carried in the mouth to dilate the cheeks; any thing intended to swell out something else.

1. A full unqualified lie. [In vulgar use.]

PLUMPLY, adv. Fully; roundly; without reserve; as, to assert a thing plumply; a word in common popular use.

PLUMPNESS, n. Fullness of skin; distention to roundness; as the plumpness of a boy; plumpness of the eye or cheek.

PLUM-PORRIDGE, n. Porridge with plums.

PLUM-PUDDING, n. Pudding containing raisins or currants.

PLUMPY, a. Plump; fat; jolly. [Not elegant.]

PLUM-TREE, n. A tree that produces plums.

PLUMULE, n. [L. plumula.] The ascending scaly part of the embryo plant, which becomes the stem. [See Plume.]

PLUMY, a. [from plume.] Feathered; covered with feathers.

1. Adorned with plumes; as a plumy crest.


1. To pillage; to spoil; to strip; to take the goods of an enemy by open force. Nebuchadnezzar plundered the temple of the Jews.

2. To take by pillage or open force. The enemy plundered all the goods they found. We say, he plundered the tent, or he plundered the goods of the tent. The first is the proper use of the word.

3. To rob, as a thief; to take from; to strip; as, the thief plundered the house; the robber plundered a man of his money and watch; pirates plunder ships and men.

PLUNDER, n. That which is taken from an enemy by force; pillage; prey; spoil.

1. That which is taken by theft, robbery or fraud.

PLUNDERED, pp. Pillaged; robbed.

PLUNDERER, n. A hostile pillager; a spoiler.

1. A thief; a robber.

PLUNDERING, ppr. Pillaging; robbing.

PLUNGE, v.t.

1. To thrust into water or other fluid substance, or into any substance that is penetrable; to immerse in a fluid; to drive into flesh, mire or earth, etc.; as, to plunge the body in water; to plunge the arm into fire or flame; to plunge a dagger into the breast.

2. To thrust or drive into any state in which the thing is considered as enveloped or surrounded; as, to plunge one’s self into difficulties or distress; to plunge a nation into war.

3. To baptize by immersion.

PLUNGE, v.i. To pitch; to thrust or drive one’s self into water or a fluid; to dive or to rush in. He plunged into the river.

The troops plunged into the stream.

His courser plung’d,

And threw him off; the waves whelm’d over him.

1. To fall or rush into distress or any state or circumstances in which the person or thing is enveloped, inclosed or overwhelmed; as, to plunge into a gulf; to plunge into debt or embarrassments; to plunge into war; a body of cavalry plunged into the midst of the enemy.

2. To pitch or throw one’s self headlong.

PLUNGE, n. The act of thrusting into water or any penetrable substance.

1. Difficulty; strait; distress; a state of being surrounded or overwhelmed with difficulties.

People when put to a plunge, cry out to heaven for help.

And wilt thou not reach out a friendly arm,

To raise me from amidst this plunge of sorrow?

[In this sense, the word is now little used.]

PLUNGED, pp. Thrust into a fluid or other penetrable substance; immersed; involved in straits.

PLUNGEON, n. A sea fowl.

PLUNGER, n. One that plunges; a diver.

1. A cylinder used as a forcer in pumps.

PLUNGING, ppr. Immersing; diving; rushing headlong.

PLUNGY, a. Wet. [Not used.]

PLUNKET, n. A kind of blue color.

PLURAL, a. [L. pluralis, from plus, pluris, more.]

1. Containing more than one; consisting of two or more, or designating two or more; as a plural word.

2. In grammar, the plural number is that which designates more than one, that is, any number except one. Thus in most languages, a word in the plural number expresses two or more. But the Greek has a dual number to express two; and the plural expresses more than two.

PLURALIST, n. A clerk or clergyman who holds more ecclesiastical benefices than one, with cure of souls.

PLURALITY, n. [L. pluralis.]

1. A number consisting of two or more of the same kind; as a plurality of gods; a plurality of worlds.

2. A state of being or having a greater number.

3. In elections, a plurality of votes is when one candidate has more votes than any other, but less than half of the whole number of votes given. It is thus distinguished from a majority, which is more than half of the whole number.

4. Plurality of benefices, is where the same clerk is possessed of more benefices than one, with cure of souls. In this case, each benefice thus held is called a plurality.

PLURALLY, adv. In a sense implying more than one.

PLURILITERAL, a. [L. plus and litera, letter.]

Containing more letters than three.

PLURILITERAL, n. A word consisting of more letters than three.

PLURISY, n. [L. plus, pluris.] Superabundance. [Not used.]

PLUS, [L. more,] in algebra, a character marked thus, +, used as the sign of addition.

PLUSH, n. Shag; a species of shaggy cloth or stuff with a velvet nap on one side, composed regularly of a woof of a single thread and a double warp; the one, wool of two threads twisted, the other of goat’s or camel’s hair. But some plushes are made wholly of worsted; others wholly of hair.

PLUSHER, n. A marine fish.

PLUTONIAN, a. Plutonic, which see.

PLUTONIAN, n. One who maintains the origin of mountains, etc. to be from fire.

The Plutonian theory of the formation of rocks and mountains is opposed to the Neptunian.

PLUTONIC, a. [from Pluto, in mythology, the king of the infernal regions.] Pertaining to or designating the system of the Plutonists; as the Plutonic theory.

PLUTONIST, n. One who adopts the theory of the formation of the world in its present state from igneous fusion.

PLUVIAL, PLUVIOUS, a. [L. pluvialis, from pluvia, rain.] Rainy; humid.

PLUVIAL, n. A priest’s cope.

PLUVIAMETER, n. [L. pluvia, rain, and Gr. measure.] A rain gage, an instrument for ascertaining the quantity of water that falls in rain, or in rain and snow, in any particular climate or place.

PLUVIAMETRICAL, a. Pertaining to a pluviameter; made or ascertained by a pluviameter.

PLY, v.t. [Gr. to fold; L. plico.]

1. To lay on, to put to or on with force and repetition; to apply to closely, with continuation of efforts or urgency.

And plies him with redoubled strokes.

The hero from afar

Plies him with darts and stones.

We retain the precise sense in the phrase to lay on, to put it on him.

2. To employ with diligence; to apply closely and steadily; to keep busy.

Her gentle wit she plies.

The wearied Trojans ply their shattered oars.

3. To practice or perform with diligence.

Their bloody task, unweari’d, still they ply.

4. To urge; to solicit with pressing or persevering importunity.

He plies the duke at morning and at night.

5. To urge; to press; to strain; to force.

PLY, v.i. To bend; to yield.

The willow plied and gave way to the gust.

1. To work steadily.

He was forced to ply in the streets.

2. To go in haste.

Thither he plies undaunted.

3. To busy one’s self; to be steadily employed.

4. To endeavor to make way against the wind.

PLY, n. A fold; a plait.

1. Bent; turn; direction; bias.

The late learners cannot so well take the ply.

PLYER, n. He or that which plies. In fortification, plyers denotes a kind of balance used in raising and letting down a drawbridge, consisting of timbers joined in the form of St. Andrew’s cross.

PLYING, ppr. Laying on with steadiness or repetition; applying closely; employing; performing; urging; pressing or attempting to make way against the wind.

PLYING, n. Urgent solicitation.

1. Effort to make way against the wind.

PNEUMATIC, PNEUMATICAL, a. numat’ic. [Gr. breath, spirit; to breathe or blow.]

1. Consisting of air, as a thin compressible substance; opposed to dense or solid substances.

The pneumatic substance being, in some bodies, the native spirit of the body.

2. Pertaining to air, or to the philosophy of its properties; as pneumatic experiments; a pneumatic engine.

3. Moved or played by means of air; as a pneumatic instrument of music.

PNEUMATICS, n. In natural philosophy, that branch which treats of air. In chimistry, that branch which treats of the gases.

1. In the schools, the doctrine of spiritual substances, as God, angels, and the souls of men.

PNEUMATOCELE, n. [Gr. air, and a tumor.] In surgery, a distension of the scrotum by air.

PNEUMATOLOGICAL, a. Pertaining to pneumatology.

PNEUMATOLOGIST, n. One versed in pneumatology.

PNEUMATOLOGY, n. [Gr. air, and discourse.]

1. The doctrine of the properties of elastic fluids, or of spiritual substances.

2. A treatise on elastic fluids, or on spiritual substances.

PNEUMONIA, PNEUMONY, n. [Gr. the lungs, to breathe.]

In medicine, an inflammation of the lungs.

PNEUMONIC, a. Pertaining to the lungs; pulmonic.

PNEUMONIC, n. A medicine for affections of the lungs.

POACH, v.t.

1. To boil slightly.

2. To dress by boiling slightly and mixing in a soft mass.

3. To begin and not complete.

4. To tread soft ground, or snow and water, as cattle, whose feet penetrate the soil of soft substance and leave deep tracks.

5. To steal game; properly, to pocket game, or steal it and convey it away in a bag.

6. To steal; to plunder by stealth.

They poach Parnassus, and lay claim for praise.

POACH, v.t. [Eng. poke, poker, to punch; L. pungo.]

To stab; to pierce; to spear; as, to poach fish.

POACH, v.i. To be trodden with deep tracks, as soft ground. We say, the ground is soft in spring, and poaches badly.

Chalky and clay lands burn in hot weather, chap in summer, and poach in winter.

POACHARD, POCHARD, n. [from poach.] A fresh water duck of an excellent taste, weighing a pound and twelve ounces. It is the red headed duck of Lawson; found in America and in the north of Europe.

POACHED, pp. Slightly boiled or softened; trodden with deep footsteps; stolen.

POACHER, n. One that steals game.

POACHINESS, n. Wetness and softness; the state of being easily penetrable by the feet of beasts; applied to land.

POACHY, a. Wet and soft; such as the feet of cattle will penetrate to some depth; applied to land or ground of any kind.

POCK, n. [Eng. big.] A pustule raised on the surface of the body in the variolous and vaccine diseases, named from the pustules, small pox, or as it ought to be written, small pocks.


1. A small bag inserted in a garment for carrying small articles.

2. A small bag or net to receive the balls in billiards.

3. A certain quantity; as a pocket of hops, as in other cases we use sack. [Not used in America.]

POCKET, v.t. To put or conceal in the pocket; as, to pocket a penknife.

1. To take clandestinely.

To pocket an insult or affront, to receive it without resenting it, or at least without seeking redress. [In popular use.]

POCKET-BOOK, n. A small book of paper covered with leather; used for carrying papers in the pocket.

POCKET-GLASS, n. A portable looking glass.

POCKET-HOLE, n. The opening into a pocket.

POCKET-LID, n. The flap over the pocket-hole.

POCKET-MONEY, n. Money for the pocket or for occasional expenses.

POCK-HOLE, n. The pit or scar made by a pock.

POCKINESS, n. The state of being pocky.

POCKWOOD, n. Lignum vitae, a very hard wood.

POCKY, a. [from pock.] Infected with the small pocks; full of pocks.

1. Vile; rascally; mischievous; contemptible. [In vulgar use.]

POCULENT, a. [L. poculentus, from poculum, a cup.]

Fit for drink. [Not used.]

POD, n. The pericarp, capsule or seed vessel of certain plants. The silique or pod is an oblong, membranaceous, two valved pericarp, having the seeds fixed along both sutures. A legume is a pericarp of two valves, in which the seeds are fixed along one suture only.

According to these descriptions, the seed vessels of peas and beans are legumes, and not pods; but in popular language, pod is used for the legume as well as for the silique or siliqua. In New England, it is the only word in popular use.

POD, v.i. To swell; to fill; also, to produce pods.

PODAGRIC, PODAGRICAL, a. [L. podagra; Gr. the foot, and a seizure.]

1. Pertaining to the gout; gouty; partaking of the gout.

2. Afflicted with the gout.

PODDED, a. Having its pods formed; furnished with pods.

PODDER, n. A gatherer of pods.

PODGE, n. A puddle; a plash.

POEM, n. [L. poema; Gr. to make, to compose songs.]

1. A metrical composition; a composition in which the verses consist of certain measures, whether in blank verse or in rhyme; as the poems of Homer or of Milton; opposed to prose.

2. This term is also applied to some compositions in which the language is that of excited imagination; as the poems of Ossian.

POESY, n. [L. poesis; Gr. to make.]

1. The art or skill of composing poems; as, the heavenly gift of poesy.

2. Poetry; metrical composition.

Music and poesy used to quicken you.

3. A short conceit engraved on a ring or other thing.

POET, n. [L. poeta. See Poem.]

1. The author of a poem; the inventor or maker of a metrical composition.

A poet is a maker, as the word signifies; and he who cannot make, that is, invent, hath his name for nothing.

2. One skilled in making poetry, or who has a particular genius for metrical composition; one distinguished for poetic talents. Many write verses who cannot be called poets.