Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



PRECISIVE, a. Exactly limiting by separating what is not relative to the purpose; as precisive abstraction.

PRECLUDE, v.t. [L. proecludo; proe, before, and cludo, claudo, to shut.]

1. To prevent from entering by previously shutting the passage, or by any previous measures; hence, to hinder from access, possession or enjoyment. Sin, by its very nature, precludes the sinner from heaven; it precludes the enjoyment of God’s favor; or it precludes the favor of God.

The valves preclude the blood from entering the veins.

2. To prevent from happening or taking place.

PRECLUDED, pp. Hindered from entering or enjoyment; debarred from something by previous obstacles.

PRECLUDING, ppr. Shutting out; preventing from access or possession or from having place.

PRECLUSION, n. s as z. The act of shutting out or preventing from access or possession; the state of being prevented from entering, possession or enjoyment.

PRECLUSIVE, a. Shutting out, or tending to preclude; hindering by previous obstacles.

PRECLUSIVELY, adv. With hinderance by anticipation.

PRECOCIOUS, a. [L. proecox; proe, before, and coquo, to cook or prepare.]

1. Ripe before the proper or natural time; as precocious trees.

2. Premature.

PRECOCIOUSNESS, PRECOCITY, n. Rapid growth and ripeness before the usual time; prematureness.

I cannot learn that he gave, in his youth, any evidence of that precocity which sometimes distinguishes uncommon genius.

PRECOGITATE, v.t. [L. proecogito; proe and cogito.]

To consider or contrive beforehand. [Little used.]

PRECOGITATION, n. Previous thought or consideration.

PRECOGNITA. [See Praecognita.]

PRECOGNITION, n. [L. proe, before, and cognitio, knowledge.]

1. Previous knowledge; antecedent examination.

2. In Scots law, an examination of witnesses to a criminal act, before a judge, justice of the peace or sheriff, before the prosecution of the offender, in order to know whether there is ground of trial, and to enable the prosecutor to set forth the facts in the libel.

PRECOMPOSE, v.t. [See Compose.] To compose beforehand.

PRECOMPOSED, pp. Composed beforehand.

PRECOMPOSING, ppr. Composing beforehand.

PRECONCEIT, n. [See Preconceive.] An opinion or notion previously formed.

PRECONCEIVE, v.t. [L. proe, before, and concipio, to conceive.]

To form a conception or opinion beforehand; to form a previous notion or idea.

In a dead plain, the way seems the longer, because the eye has preconceived it shorter than the truth.

PRECONCEIVED, pp. Conceived beforehand; previously formed; as preconceived opinions; preconceived ends or purposes.

PRECONCEIVING, ppr. Conceiving or forming beforehand.

PRECONCEPTION, n. Conception or opinion previously formed.

PRECONCERT, v.t. [pre and concert.]

To concert beforehand; to settle by previous agreement.

PRECONCERTED, pp. Previously concerted or settled.

PRECONCERTING, ppr. Contriving and settling beforehand.

PRECONIZATION, n. [L. proeconium, from proeco, a crier.]

A publishing by proclamation, or a proclamation. [Not used.]

PRECONSIGN, v.t. [pre and consign.]

To consign beforehand; to make a previous consignment of.

PRECONSTITUTE, v.t. [pre and constitute.]

To constitute or establish beforehand.

PRECONSTITUTED, pp. Previously established.

PRECONSTITUTING, ppr. Constituting beforehand.

PRECONTRACT, n. [pre and contract.]

A contract previous to another.

PRECONTRACT, v.t. To contract or stipulate previously.
PRECONTRACT, v.i. To make a previous contract or agreement.

PRECONTRACTED, pp. Previously contracted or stipulated; previously engaged by contract; as a woman precontracted to another man.

PRECONTRACTING, ppr. Stipulating or covenanting beforehand.

PRECURSE, n. precurs’. [L. proecursus, proecurro; proe and curro, to run.] A forerunning. [Not used.]

PRECURSOR, n. [L. proecursor, supra.] A forerunner; a harbinger; he or that which precedes an event and indicates its approach; as Jove’s lightnings, the precursors of thunder.

A cloud in the southwest, in winter, is often the precursor of a snow storm. A hazy atmosphere in the west, at sunset, is often the precursor of a cloudy or of a rainy day.

Evil thoughts are the invisible, airy precursors of all the storms and tempests of the soul.

PRECURSORY, a. Preceding as the harbinger; indicating something to follow; as precursory symptoms of a fever.

PRECURSORY, n. An introduction. [Not used.]

PREDACEOUS, a. [L. proedaceus, from proeda, prey, spoil.]

Living by prey.

PREDAL, a. [L. proeda, prey.] Pertaining to prey.

1. Practicing plunder.

PREDATORY, a. [L. proedatorius, from proeda, prey.]

1. Plundering; pillaging; characterized by plundering; practicing rapine; as a predatory war; a predatory excursion; a predatory party.

2. Hungry; ravenous; as predatory spirits or appetite. [Hardly allowable.]

PREDECEASE, v.i. [pre and decease.] To die before.

PREDECEASED, a. Dead before.

PREDECESSOR, n. [L. proe and decedo, to depart.] A person who has preceded another in the same office. The king, the president, the judge, or the magistrate, follows the steps of his predecessor, or he does not imitate the example of his predecessors. It is distinguished from ancestor, who is of the same blood; but it may perhaps be sometimes used for it.

PREDESIGN, v.t. To design or purpose beforehand; to predetermine.

PREDESIGNED, pp. Purposed or determined previously.

PREDESIGNING, ppr. Designing previously.

PREDESTINARIAN, n. [See Predestinate.]

One that believes in the doctrine of predestination.

PREDESTINATE, a. Predestinated; foreordained.

PREDESTINATE, v.t. [L. proedestino; proe and destino, to appoint.]

To predetermine or foreordain; to appoint or ordain beforehand by an unchangeable purpose.

Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. Romans 8:29.

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself. Ephesians 1:5.

PREDESTINATED, pp. Predetermined; foreordained; decreed.

PREDESTINATING, ppr. Foreordaining; decreeing; appointing beforehand by an unchangeable purpose.

1. Holding predestination.

And pricks up his predestinating ears.

PREDESTINATION, n. The act of decreeing or foreordaining events; the decree of God by which he hath, from eternity, unchangeably appointed or determined whatever comes to pass. It is used particularly in theology to denote the preordination of men to everlasting happiness or misery.

Predestination is a part of the unchangeable plan of the divine government; or in other words, the unchangeable purpose of an unchangeable God.

PREDESTINATOR, n. Properly, one that foreordains.

1. One that holds to predestination.

PREDESTINE, v.t. To decree beforehand; to foreordain.

And bid predestined empires rise and fall.

PREDETERMINATE, a. Determined beforehand; as the predeterminate counsel of God.

PREDETERMINATION, n. [See Predetermine.]

1. Previous determination; purpose formed beforehand; as the predetermination of God’s will.

2. Premotion; that concurrence of God which determines men in their actions.

PREDETERMINE, v.t. [pre and determine.]

1. To determine beforehand; to settle in purpose or counsel.

If God foresees events, he must have predetermined them.

2. To doom by previous decree.

PREDIAL, a. [L. proedium, a farm or estate.]

1. Consisting of land or farms; real estate.

2. Attached to land or farms; as predial slaves.

3. Growing or issuing from land; as predial tithes.

PREDICABILITY, n. [from predicable.] The quality of being predicable, or capable of being affirmed of something, or attributed to something.

PREDICABLE, a. [L. proedicabilis, from proedico, to affirm; proe and dico, to say.] That may be affirmed of something; that may be attributed to. Animal is predicable of man. Intelligence is not predicable of plants. More or less is not predicable of a circle or of a square. Whiteness is not predicable of time.

PREDICABLE, n. One of the five things which can be affirmed of any thing. Genus, species, difference, property, and accident are the five predicables.

PREDICAMENT, n. [L. proedicamentum, from proedico, to affirm.]

1. In logic, a category; a series or order of all the predicates or attributes contained under any genus. The school philosophers distribute all the objects of our thoughts and ideas into genera or classes, which the Greeks call categories, and the Latins predicaments. Aristotle made ten categories, viz. substance, quantity, quality, relation, action, passion, time, place, situation and habit.

2. Class or kind described by any definite marks; hence, condition; particular situation or state.

We say, the country is in a singular predicament.

PREDICAMENTAL, a. Pertaining to a predicament.

PREDICANT, n. [L. proedicans, proedico.]

One that affirms any thing.

PREDICATE, v.t. [L. proedico; proe and dico, to say.]

To affirm one thing of another; as, to predicate whiteness of snow. Reason may be predicated of man.

PREDICATE, v.i. To affirm; to comprise an affirmation.
PREDICATE, n. In logic, that which, in a proposition, is affirmed or denied of the subject. In these propositions, “paper is white.” “ink is not white,” whiteness is the predicate affirmed of paper, and denied of ink.

PREDICATION, n. [L. proedicatio.] Affirmation of something, or the act of affirming one thing of another.

PREDICATORY, a. Affirmative; positive.

PREDICT, v.t. [L. proedictus, proedico; proe, before, and dico, to tell.] To foretell; to tell beforehand something that is to happen. Moses predicted the dispersion of the Israelites. Christ predicted the destruction of Jerusalem.

PREDICTED, pp. Foretold; told before the event.

PREDICTING, ppr. Foretelling.

PREDICTION, n. [L. proedictio.] A foretelling; a previous declaration of a future event; prophecy. The fulfillment of the predictions of the prophets is considered to be a strong argument in favor of the divine origin of the Scriptures.

PREDICTIVE, a. Foretelling; prophetic.

PREDICTOR, n. A foreteller; one who prophesies.

PREDIGESTION, n. [pre and digestion.] Too hasty digestion.

Predigestion fills the body with crudities.

PREDILECTION, n. [L. proe, before, and dilectus, dilito, to love.]

A previous liking; a prepossession of mind in favor of something.

PREDISPONENT, n. That which predisposes.

PREDISPOSE, v.t. s as z. [pre and dispose.]

1. To incline beforehand; to give a previous disposition to; as, to predispose the mind or temper to friendship.

2. To fit or adapt previously; as, debility predisposes the body to disease.

PREDISPOSED, pp. Previously inclined or adapted.

PREDISPOSING, ppr. Inclining or adapting beforehand.

1. a. Tending or able to give predisposition or liableness; as the predisposing causes of disease.

PREDISPOSITION, n. Previous inclination or propensity to any thing; applied to the mind.

1. Previous fitness or adaptation to any change, impression or purpose; applied to matter; as the predisposition of the body to disease; the predisposition of the seasons to generate diseases.


1. Prevalence over others; superiority in strength, power, influence or authority; ascendancy; as the predominance of a red color in a body of various colors; the predominance of love or anger among the passions; the predominance of self-interest over all other considerations; the predominance of imperial authority in the confederacy.

2. In astrology, the superior influence of a planet.

PREDOMINANT, a. [L. proe and dominans, dominor, to rule.]

Prevalent over others; superior in strength, influence or authority; ascendant; ruling; controlling; as a predominant color; predominant beauty or excellence; a predominant passion.

Those helps--were predominant in the king’s mind.

Foul subornation is predominant.

PREDOMINANTLY, adv. With superior strength or influence.

PREDOMINATE, v.i. [L. proe, before, and dominor, to rule, from dominus, lord.] To prevail; to surpass in strength, influence or authority; to be superior; to have controlling influence. In some persons, the love of money predominates over all other passions; in others, ambition or the love of fame predominates; in most men, self-interest predominates over patriotism and philanthropy.

So much did love t’her executed lord

Predominate in this fair lady’s heart.

The rays reflected least obliquely may predominate over the rest.

PREDOMINATE, v.t. To rule over.

PREDOMINATING, ppr. Having superior strength or influence; ruling; controlling.

PREDOMINATION, n. Superior strength or influence.

PRE-ELECT, v.t. [pre and elect.] To choose or elect beforehand.

PRE-ELECTION, n. Choice or election by previous determination of the will.


1. Superiority in excellence; distinction in something commendable; as pre-eminence in honor or virtue; pre-eminence in eloquence, in legal attainments or in medical skill.

The preeminence of christianity to any other religious scheme--

2. Precedence; priority of place; superiority in rank or dignity.

That in all things he might have the preeminence. Colossians 1:18.

Painful preeminence! yourself to view

Above life’s weakness and its comforts too.

3. Superiority of power or influence.

4. Sometimes in a bad sense; as pre-eminence in guilt or crime.

PRE-EMINENT, a. [L. proe, before, and eminens, emineo. See Menace.]

1. Superior in excellence; distinguished for something commendable or honorable.

In goodness and in power preeminent.

2. Surpassing others in evil or bad qualities; as pre-eminent in crime or guilt.

PRE-EMINENTLY, adv. In a preeminent degree; with superiority or distinction above others; as pre-eminently wise or good.

1. In a bad sense; as pr-eminently guilty.

PRE-EMPTION, n. [L. proe, before, and emptio, a buying; emo, to buy.] The act of purchasing before others.

1. The right of purchasing before others. Prior discovery of unoccupied land gives the discoverer the prior right of occupancy. Prior discovery of land inhabited by savages is held to give the discoverer the pre-emption, or right of purchase before others.

2. Formerly, in England, the privilege or prerogative enjoyed by the king, of buying provisions for his household in preference to others, abolished by statute 19. Charles II.

PREEN, n. A forked instrument used by clothiers in dressing cloth.

PREEN, v.t. To clean, compose and dress the feathers, as fowls, to enable them to glide more easily through the air or water. For this purpose they are furnished with two glands on their rump, which secrete an oily substance into a bag, from which they draw it with the bill and spread it over their feathers.

PRE-ENGAGE, v.t. [pre and engage.] To engage by previous contract.

To Cipseus by his friends his suit he mov’d,

But he was pre-engag’d by former ties.

1. To engage or attach by previous influence.

The world has the unhappy advantage of pre-engaging our passions.

2. To engage beforehand.

PRE-ENGAGED, pp. Previously engaged by contract or influence.

PRE-ENGAGEMENT, n. Prior engagement; as by stipulation or promise. A would accept my invitation, but for his pre-engagement to B.

1. Any previous attachment binding the will or affections.

My pre-engagements to other themes were not unknown to those for whom I was to write.

PRE-ENGAGING, ppr. Previously engaging.

PREENING, ppr. Cleaning and composing the feathers, as fowls.

PRE-ESTABLISH, v.t. [pre and establish.]

To establish or settle beforehand.

PRE-ESTABLISHED, pp. Previously established.

PRE-ESTABLISHING, ppr. Settling or ordaining beforehand.

PRE-ESTABLISHMENT, n. Settlement beforehand.

PRE-EXAMINATION, n. Previous examination.

PRE-EXAMINE, v.t. To examine beforehand.

PRE-EXIST, v.i. [pre and exist.] To exist beforehand or before something else. It has been believed by many philosophers that the souls of men pre-exist, that is, exist before the formation of the body.