Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



POMPOUSNESS, n. The state of being pompous; magnificence; splendor; great display of show; ostentatiousness.

POM-WATER, n. The name of a large apple.

POND, n. [L. pono; pontus, the sea.]

1. A body of stagnant water without an outlet, larger than a puddle, and smaller than a lake; or a like body of water with a small outlet. In the United States, we give this name to collections of water in the interior country, which are fed by springs, and from which issues a small stream. These ponds are often a mile or two or even more in length, and the current issuing from them is used to drive the wheels of mills and furnaces.

2. A collection of water raised in a river by a dam, for the purpose of propelling mill-wheels. These artificial ponds are called mill-ponds.

Pond for fist. [See Fish-pond.]

POND, v.t. [from the noun.] To make a pond; to collect in a pond by stopping the current of a river.
POND, v.t. To ponder. [Not in use.]

PONDER, v.t. [L. pondero, from pondo, pondus, a pound; pendeo, pendo, to weigh.]

1. To weigh in the mind; to consider and compare the circumstances or consequences of an event, or the importance of the reasons for or against a decision.

Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19.

2. To view with deliberation; to examine.

Ponder the path of thy feet. Proverbs 4:26.

The Lord pondereth the hearts. Proverbs 21:2.

To ponder on, is sometimes used, but is not be to countenanced.

PONDERABLE, a. That may be weighed; capable of being weighed.

PONDERAL, a. [from L. pondus, weight.] Estimated or ascertained by weight, as distinguished from numeral; as a ponderal drachma.

PONDERANCE, n. Weight; gravity.

PONDERATE, v.t. To weigh in the mind; to consider. [Not in use.]

PONDERATION, n. The act of weighing. [Little used.]

PONDERED, pp. Weighed in the mind; considered; examined by intellectual operation.

PONDERER, n. One that weighs in his mind.

PONDERING, ppr. Weighing intellectually; considering; deliberating on.

PONDERINGLY, adv. With consideration or deliberation.

PONDEROSITY, n. Weight; gravity; heaviness.

PONDEROUS, a. [L. ponderosus.]

1. Very heavy; weighty; as a ponderous shield; a ponderous load.

2. Important; momentous; as a ponderous project. [This application of the word is unusual.]

3. Forcible; strongly impulsive; as a motion vehement or ponderous; a ponderous blow.

Ponderous spar, heavy spar, or baryte.

PONDEROUSLY, adv. With great weight.

PONDEROUSNESS, n. Weight; heaviness; gravity.

POND-WEED, n. [pond and weed.] A plant of the genus Potamogeton. The triple-headed pond-weed is of the genus Zannichellia.

PONENT, a. [L. ponens, form pono, to set.]

Western; as the ponent winds. [Little used.]

PONGO, n. A name of the orang outang.

The name pongo was applied by Buffon to a large species of orang outang, which is now ascertained to have been an imaginary animal. It is applied by Cuvier to the largest species of ape known, which inhabits Borneo, and resembles the true orang outang in its general form and erect position, but has the cheek pouches and lengthened muzzle of the baboon. It has also been applied [Ed. Encyc.] to the Simia troglodytes or chimpanzee of Curvier, a native of W. Africa.

PONIARD, n. pon’yard. [L. pugnus.] A small dagger; a pointed instrument for stabbing, borne in the hand or at the girdle, or in the pocket.

PONIARD, v.t. pon’yard. To pierce with a poniard; to stab.

PONK, n. A nocturnal spirit; a hag. [Not in use.]

PONTAGE, n. [L. pons, pontis, a bridge.]

A duty paid for repairing bridges.

PONTEE, n. In glass words, an iron instrument used to stick the glass at the bottom, for the more convenient fashioning the neck of it.

PONTIC, a. [L. Pontus, the Euxine sea.]

Pertaining to the Pontus, Euxine, or Black Sea.

PONTIFF, n. [L. pontifex; said to be from pons, a bridge, and facio, to make.] A high priest. The Romans had a college of pontifs; the Jews had their pontifs; and in modern times, the pope is called pontif or sovereign pontif.

PONTIFIC, a. Relating to priests; popish.

PONTIFICAL, a. [L. pontificalis.] Belonging to a high priest; as pontifical authority; hence, belonging to the pope; popish.

1. Splendid; magnificent.

2. Bridge-building. [Not used.]

PONTIFICAL, n. A book containing rites and ceremonies ecclesiastical.

1. The dress and ornaments of a priest or bishop.

PONTIFICALITY, n. The state and government of the pope; the papacy. [Not used.]

PONTIFICALLY, adv. In a pontifical manner.

PONTIFICATE, n. [L. pontificatus.] The state or dignity of a high priest; particularly, the office or dignity of the pope.

He turned hermit in the view of being advanced to the pontificate.

1. The reign of a pope.

Painting, sculpture and architecture may all recover themselves under the present pontificate.

PONTIFICE, n. Bridge-work; structure or edifice of a bridge. [Little used.]


PONTIFICIAN, a. Popish; papistical.

PONTIFICIAN, n. One that adheres to the pope; a papist.

PONTINE, POMPTINE, a. [L. pontina, a lake.] Designating a large marsh between Rome and Naples.

PONTLEVIS, n. In horsemanship, a disorderly resisting of a horse by rearing repeatedly on his hind legs, so as to be in danger of coming over.

PONTOON, n. [L. pons, a bridge, probably from the root of pono, to lay.]

1. A flat-bottomed boat, whose frame of wood is covered and lined with tin, or covered with copper; used in forming bridges over rivers for armies.

2. A lighter; a low flat vessel resembling a barge, furnished with cranes, capstans and other machinery; used in careening ships, chiefly in the Mediterranean.

Pontoon-bridge, is a bridge formed with pontoons, anchored or made fast in two lines, about five feet asunder.

Pontoon-Carriage, is made with two wheels only, and two long side pieces, whose fore ends are supported by timbers.

PONY, n. A small horse.

POOD, n. A Russian weight, equal to 40 Russian or 36 English pounds.

POOL, n. [L. palus; Gr. probably from setting, standing, like L. stagnum, or from issuing, as a spring.]

A small collection of water in a hollow place, supplied by a spring, and discharging its surplus water by an outlet. It is smaller than a lake, and in New England is never confounded with pond or lake. It signifies with us, a spring with a small basin or reservoir on the surface of the earth. It is used by writers with more latitude, and sometimes signifies a body of stagnant water.

POOL, POULE, n. The stakes played for in certain games of cards.

POOP, n. [L. puppis; probably a projection.]

The highest and aftmost part of a ship’s desk.

POOP, v.t. To strike upon the stern, as a heavy sea.

1. To strike the stern, as one vessel that runs her stem against another’s stern.

POOPING, n. The shock of a heavy sea on the stern or quarter of a ship, when scudding in a tempest; also, the action of one ship’s running her stem against another’s stern.

POOR, a. [L. pauper.]

1. Wholly destitute of property, or not having property sufficient for a comfortable subsistence; needy. It is often synonymous with indigent, and with necessitous, denoting extreme want; it is also applied to persons who are not entirely destitute of property, but are not rich; as a poor man or woman; poor people

2. In law, so destitute of property as to be entitled to maintenance from the public.

3. Destitute of strength, beauty or dignity; barren; mean; jejune; as a poor composition; a poor essay; a poor discourse.

4. Destitute of value, worth or importance; of little use; trifling.

That I have wronged no man, will be a poor plea or apology at the last day.

5. Paltry; mean; of little value; as a poor coat; a poor house.

6. Destitute of fertility; barren; exhausted; as poor land. The ground is become poor.

7. Of little worth; unimportant; as in my poor opinion.

8. Unhappy; pitiable.

Vex’d sailors curse the rain

For which poor shepherds pray’d in vain.

9. Mean; depressed; low; dejected; destitute of spirit.

A soothsayer made Antonius believe that his genius, which was otherwise brave, was, in the presence of Octavianus, poor and cowardly.

10. Lean; emaciated; as a poor horse. The ox is poor.

11. Small, or of a bad quality; as a poor crop; a poor harvest.

12. Uncomfortable; restless; ill. The patient has had a poor night.

13. Destitute of saving grace. Revelation 3:17.

14. In general, wanting good qualities, or the qualities which render a thing valuable, excellent, proper, or sufficient for its purpose; as a poor pen; a poor ship; a poor carriage; poor fruit; poor bread; poor wine, etc.

15. A word of tenderness or pity; dear.

Poor, little, pretty, fluttering thing.

16. A word of slight contempt; wretched.

The poor monk never saw many of the decrees and councils he had occasion to use.

17. The poor, collectively, used as a noun; those who are destitute of property; the indigent; the needy; in a legal sense, those who depend on charity or maintenance by the public.

I have observed the more public provisions are made for the poor, the less they provide for themselves.

Poor in spirit, in a Scriptural sense, humble; contrite; abased in one’s own sight by a sense of guilt. Matthew 5:3.

POORJOHN, n. A sort of fish [callarius] of the genus Gadus.

POORLY, adv. Without wealth; in indigence or want of the conveniences and comforts of life; as, to live poorly.

1. With little or no success; with little growth, profit or advantage; as, wheat grows poorly on the Atlantic borders of New England; these men have succeeded poorly in business.

2. Meanly; without spirit.

Nor is their courage or their wealth so low,

That from his wars they poorly would retire.

3. Without excellence or dignity. He performs poorly in elevated characters.

POORLY, a. Somewhat ill; indisposed; not in health; a common use of the word in America.

For three or four weeks past I have lost ground, having been poorly in health.

POORNESS, n. Destitution of property; indigence; poverty; want; as the poorness of the exchequer.

No less I hate him than the gates of hell,

That poorness can force an untruth to tell.

[In this sense, we generally use poverty.]

1. Meanness; lowness; want of dignity; as the poorness of language.

2. Want of spirit; as poorness and degeneracy of spirit.

3. Barrenness; sterility; as the poorness of land or soil.

4. Unproductiveness; want of the metallic substance; as the poorness of ore.

5. Smallness or bad quality; as the poorness of crops or of grain.

6. Want of value or importance; as the poorness of a plea.

7. Want of good qualities, or the proper qualities which constitute a thing good in its kind; as the poorness of a ship or of cloth.

8. Narrowness; barrenness; want of capacity.

Poorness of spirit, in a theological sense, true humility or contrition of heart on account of sin.

POOR-SPIRITED, a. Of a mean spirit; cowardly; base.

POOR-SPIRITEDNESS, n. Meanness or baseness of spirit; cowardice.

POP, n. A small smart quick sound or report.

POP, v.i. To enter or issue forth with a quick, sudden motion.

I startled at his popping upon me unexpectedly.

1. To dart; to start from place to place suddenly.

POP, v.t. To thrust or push suddenly with a quick motion.

He popp’d a paper into his hand.

Did’st thou never pop

Thy head into a tinman’s shop?

To pop off, to thrust away; to shift off.

POP, adv. Suddenly; with sudden entrance or appearance.

POPE, n. [Low L. papa.]

1. The bishop of Rome, the head of the catholic church.

2. A small fish, called also a ruff.

POPEDOM, n. The place, office or dignity of the pope; papal dignity.

1. The jurisdiction of the pope.

POPE-JOAN, n. A game of cards.

POPELING, n. An adherent of the pope.

POPERY, n. The religion of the church of Rome, comprehending doctrines and practices.

POPE’S-EYE, n. [pope and eye.] The gland surrounded with fat in the middle of the thigh.

POPGUN, n. A small gun or tube used by children to shoot wads and make a noise.


1. A parrot.

2. A woodpecker, a bird with a gay head.

The green woodpecker, with a scarlet crown, a native of Europe.

3. A gay, trifling young man; a fop or coxcomb.

POPISH, a. Relating to the pope; taught by the pope; pertaining to the pope or to the church of Rome; as popish tenets or ceremonies.

POPISHLY, adv. In a popish manner; with a tendency to popery; as, to be popishly affected or inclined.

POPLAR, n. [L. populus.] A tree of the genus Populus, of several species, as the abele, the white poplar, the black poplar, the aspen-tree, etc. It is numbered among the aquatic trees.

POPLIN, n. A stuff made of silk and worsted.

POPLITEAL, POPLITIC, a. [from L. poples, the ham.]

Pertaining to the ham or knee joint.

POPPET. [See Puppet.]

POPPY, n. [L. papaver.] A plant of the genus Papaver, of several species, from one of which, the somniferum or white poppy, is collected opium. This is the milky juice of the capsule when half grown, which exudes from incisions in the cortical part of the capsule, is scraped off, and worked in an iron pot in the sun’s heat, till it is of a consistence to form cakes.

POPULACE, n. [L. populus. See People.] The common people; the vulgar; the multitude, comprehending all persons not distinguished by rank, education, office, profession or erudition.

POPULACY, n. The populace or common people.

POPULAR, a. [L. popularis. See People.]

1. Pertaining to the common people; as the popular voice; popular elections.

So the popular vote inclines.

2. Suitable to common people; familiar; plain; easy to be comprehended; not critical or abstruse.

Homilies are plain and popular instructions.

3. Beloved by the people; enjoying the favor of the people; pleasing to people in general; as a popular governor; a popular preacher; a popular ministry; a popular discourse; a popular administration; a popular war or peace. Suspect the man who endeavors to make that popular which is wrong.

4. Ambitious; studious of the favor of the people.

A popular man is in truth no better than a prostitute to common fame and to the people.

[This sense is not used. It is more customary to apply this epithet to a person who has already gained the favor of the people.]

5. Prevailing among the people; extensively prevalent; as a popular disease.

6. In law, a popular action is one which gives a penalty to the person that sues for the same.

[Note. Popular, at least in the United States, is not synonymous with vulgar; the latter being applied to the lower classes of people, the illiterate and low bred; the former is applied to all classes, or to the body of the people, including a great portion at least of well educated citizens.]

POPULARITY, n. [L. popularitas.] Favor of the people; the state of possessing the affections and confidence of the people in general; as the popularity of the ministry; the popularity of a public officer or of a preacher. It is applied also to things; as the popularity of a law or public measure; the popularity of a book or poem. The most valuable trait in a patriot’s character is to forbear all improper compliances for gaining popularity.

I have long since learned the little value which is to be placed in popularity, acquired by any other way than virtue; I have also learned that it is often obtained by other means.

The man whose ruling principle is duty--is never perplexed with anxious corroding calculations of interest and popularity.

1. Representation suited to vulgar or common conception; that which is intended or adapted to procure the favor of the people. [Little used.]

POPULARIZE, v.t. To make popular or common; to spread among the people; as, to popularize philosophy or physics; to popularize a knowledge of chimical principles.

POPULARIZED, pp. Made popular, or introduced among the people.

POPULARIZING, ppr. Making popular, or introducing among the people.

POPULARLY, adv. In a popular manner; so as to please the populace.

The victor knight,

Bareheadaed, popularly low had bow’d.

1. According to the conceptions of the common people.

POPULATE, v.i. [L. populus.] To breed people; to propagate.

When there be great shoals of people which go on to populate.

POPULATE, v.t. To people; to furnish with inhabitants, either by natural increase, or by immigration or colonization.
POPULATE, for populous, is not now in use.

POPULATED, pp. Furnished with inhabitants; peopled.

POPULATING, ppr. Peopling.

POPULATION, n. The act or operation of peopling or furnishing with inhabitants; multiplication of inhabitants. The value of our western lands is annually enhanced by population.

1. The whole number of people or inhabitants in a country. The population of England is estimated at ten millions of souls; that of the United States in 1823, was ten millions.

A country may have a great population, and yet not be populous.

2. The state of a country with regard to its number of inhabitants, or rather with regard to its numbers compared with their expenses, consumption of goods and productions, and earnings.

Neither is the population to be reckoned only by number; for a smaller number that spend more and earn less, do wear out an estate sooner than a greater number that live lower and gather more.

POPULOSITY, n. Populousness. [Not used.]

POPULOUS, a. [L. populosus.] Full of inhabitants; containing many inhabitants in proportion to the extent of the country. A territory containing fifteen or twenty inhabitants to a square mile is not a populous country. The Netherlands, and some parts of Italy, containing a hundred and fifty inhabitants to a square mile, are deemed populous.

POPULOUSLY, adv. With many inhabitants in proportion to the extent of country.

POPULOUSNESS, n. The state of having many inhabitants in proportion to the extent of country.

By populousness, in contradistinction to population, is understood the proportion the number bears to the surface of the ground they live on.

PORCATED, a. [L. porca, a ridge.] Ridged; formed in ridges.

PORCELAIN, n. [L. portulaca.]

1. The finest species of earthen ware, originally manufactured in China and Japan, but now made in several European countries. All earthen wares which are white and semi-transparent, are called porcelains, but they differ much in their fineness and beauty. The porcelain of China is said to be made of two species of earth, the petuntse, which is fusible, and the kaolin, which is not fusible, or not with the degree of heat which fuses the petuntse, and that in porcelain the substances are only semi-vitrified, or one substance only is vitrified, the other not. Hence it is concluded that porcelain is an intermediate substance between earth and glass. Hence the second degree of fusibility, of which emollescence is the first, is called by Kirwan the porcelain state.

2. The plant called purslain, which see.

PORCELLANEOUS, a. [from porcelain.] Pertaining to or resembling porcelain; as porcellaneous shells.

PORCELLANITE, n. A silicious mineral, a species of jasper, of various colors. It seems to be formed accidentally in coal mines which have indurated and semi-vitrified beds of coal-shale or slate-clay. It is sometimes marked with vegetable impressions of a brick red color.

PORCH, n. [L. porticus, from porta, a gate, entrance or passage, or from portus, a shelter.]

1. In architecture, a kind of vestibule supported by columns at the entrance of temples, halls, churches or other buildings.

2. A portico; a covered walk.

3. By way of distinction, the porch, was a public portico in Athens, where Zeno, the philosopher, taught his disciples. It was called the painted porch, from the pictures of Polygnotus and other eminent painters, with which it was adorned. Hence, the Porch is equivalent to the school of the Stoics.

PORCINE, a. [L. porcinus, from porcus. See Pork.]

Pertaining to swine; as the porcine species of animals.

PORCUPINE, n. [L. porcus; spina, a spine or thorn.]

In zoology, a quadruped of the genus Hystrix. The crested porcupine has a body about two feet in length, four toes on each of the fore feet, and five on each of the hind feet, a crested head, a short tail, and the upper lip divided like that of the hare. The body is covered with prickles which are very sharp, and some of them nine or ten inches long; these he can erect at pleasure. When attacked, he rolls his body into a round form, in which position the prickles are presented in every direction to the enemy. This species is a native of Africa and Asia.

PORCUPINE-FISH, n. A fish which is covered with spines or prickles. It is of the diodon kind, and about fourteen inches in length.

PORE, n. [Gr. to go, to pass.; Eng. to fare. See Fare.]

1. In anatomy, a minute interstice in the skin of an animal, through which the perspirable matter passes to the surface or is excreted.

2. A small spiracle, opening or passage in other substances; as the pores of plants or of stones.

PORE, v.i. [Gr. to inspect.] To look with steady continued attention or application. To pore on, is to read or examine with steady perseverance, to dwell on; and the word seems to be limited in its application to the slow patient reading or examination of books, or something written or engraved.

Painfully to pore upon a book.

With sharpened sight pale antiquaries pore.

PORE-BLIND, PURBLIND, n. Near-sighted; short-sighted.

PORER, n. One who pores or studies diligently.

PORGY, n. A fish of the gilt-head kind.

PORINESS, n. [from pory.]

The state of being pory or having numerous pores.

PORISM, n. [Gr. acquisition, to gain, a passing, to pass.]

In geometry, a name given by ancient geometers to two classes of propositions. Euclid gave this name to propositions involved in others which he was investigating, and obtained without a direct view to their discovery. These he called acquisitions, but such propositions are now called corollaries. A porism is defined, “a proposition affirming the possibility of finding such conditions as will render a certain problem indeterminate or capable of innumerable solutions.” It is not a theorem, nor a problem, or rather it includes both. It asserts that a certain problem may become indeterminate, and so far it partakes of the nature of a theorem, and in seeking to discover the conditions by which this may be effected, it partakes of the nature of a problem.

PORISTIC, PORISTICAL, a. Pertaining to a porism; seeking to determine by what means and in how many ways a problem may be solved.

PORITE, n. plu. porites. A petrified madrepore.

PORK, n. [L. porcus, a hog or pig; porca, a ridge; or from his snout and rooting.] The flesh of swine, fresh or salted, used for food.

PORKEATER, n. One that feeds on swine’s flesh.

PORKER, n. A hog; a pig. [Not used in America.]

PORKET, n. A young hog.

PORKLING, n. A pig.