Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



PRE-EXISTENCE, n. Existence previous to something else.

Wisdom declares her antiquity and pre-existence to all the works of this earth.

1. Existence of the soul before its union with the body, or before the body is formed; a tenet of eastern sages.

PRE-EXISTENT, a. Existing beforehand; preceding in existence.

What mortal knows his pre-existent state?

PRE-EXISTIMATION, n. Previous esteem. [Not in use.]

PRE-EXISTING, ppr. Previously existing.

PRE-EXPECTATION, n. Previous expectation.

PREFACE, n. [L. proefatio; proe, before, and for, fari, fatus, to speak.] Something spoken as introductory to a discourse, or written as introductory to a book or essay, intended to inform the hearer or reader of the main design, or in general, of whatever is necessary to the understanding of the discourse, book or essay; a poem; an introduction or series of preliminary remarks.

PREFACE, v.t. To introduce by preliminary remarks; as, to preface a book or discourse. The advocate prefaced his argument with a history of the case.

1. To face; to cover; a ludicrous sense.

Not prefacing old rags with plush.

PREFACE, v.i. To say something introductory.

PREFACED, pp. Introduced with preliminary observations.

PREFACER, n. The writer of a preface.

PREFACING, ppr. Introducing with preliminary remarks.

PREFATORY, a. Pertaining to a preface; introductory to a book, essay or discourse.

PREFECT, n. [L. proefectus; proe, before, and factus, made; but directly from proeficior, proefectus.]

1. In ancient Rome, a chief magistrate who governed a city or province in the absence of the king, consuls or emperor.

2. A governor, commander, chief magistrate or superintendent.

PREFECTSHIP, PREFECTURE, n. The office of a chief magistrate, commander or viceroy.

1. Jurisdiction of a perfect.

PREFER, v.t. [L. proefero; proe, before, and fero, to bear or carry.]

1. Literally, to bear or carry in advance, in the mind, affections or choice; hence, to regard more than another; to honor or esteem above another.

It is sometimes followed by above, before, or to.

If I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. Psalm 137:6.

He that cometh after me, is preferred before me. John 1:15.

2. To advance, as to an office or dignity; to raise; to exalt; as, to prefer one to a bishopric; to prefer an officer to the rank of general.

3. To offer; to present; to exhibit; usually with solemnity, or to a public body. It is our privilege to enjoy the right of preferring petitions to rulers for redress of wrongs.

My vows and prayers to thee preferred.

Prefer a bill against all kings and parliaments since the conquest.

4. To offer or present ceremoniously, or in ordinary familiar language.

He spake, and to her hand preferr’d the bowl.

[This is allowable, at least in poetry, though not usual.]

PREFERABLE, a. Worthy to be preferred or chosen before something else; more eligible; more desirable. Virtue is far preferable to vice, even for its pleasures in this life.

1. More excellent; of better quality; as, Madeira wine is preferable to claret.

PREFERABLENESS, n. The quality or state of being preferable.

PREFERABLY, adv. In preference; in such a manner as to prefer one thing to another.

How comes he to choose Plautus preferably to Terance?

PREFERENCE, n. The act of preferring one thing before another; estimation of one thing above another; choice of one thing rather than another.

Leave the critics on either side to contend about the preference due to this or that sort of poetry.

It has to, above, before, or over, before the thing postponed. All men give the preference to Homer as an epic poet. The human body has the preference above or before those of brutes.

The knowledge of things alone gives a value to our reasonings, and preference of one man’s knowledge over another’s.

PREFERMENT, n. Advancement to a higher office, dignity or station. Change of manners and even of character often follows preferment. A profligate life should be considered a disqualification for preferment, no less than want of ability.

1. Superior place or office. All preferments should be given to competent men.

2. Preference. [Not used.]

PREFERRED, pp. Regarded above others; elevated in station.

PREFERRER, n. One who prefers.

PREFERRING, ppr. Regarding above others; advancing to a higher station; offering; presenting.

PREFIGURATE, v.t. [See Prefigure.] To show by antecedent representation. [Little used.]

PREFIGURATION, n. Antecedent representation by similitude.

A variety of prophecies and prefigurations had their punctual accomplishment in the author of this institution.

PREFIGURATIVE, a. Showing by previous figures, types of similitude. The sacrifice of the paschal lamb was prefigurative of the death of Christ.

PREFIGURE, v.t. [L. proe, before, and figuro, to fashion.]

To exhibit by antecedent representation, or by types and similitude.

In the Old Testament, things are prefigured, which are performed in the New.

PREFIGURED, pp. Exhibited by antecedent signs, types or similitude.

PREFIGURING, ppr. Showing antecedently by similitude.

PREFINE, v.t. [L. proefinio; proe, before, and finio, to limit; finis, limit.] To limit beforehand. [Little used.]

PREFINITION, n. Previous limitation. [Little used.]

PREFIX, v.t. [L. proefigo; proe, before, and figo, to fix.]

1. To put or fix before, or at the beginning of another thing; as, to prefix a syllable to a word; to prefix an advertisement to a book.

2. To set or appoint beforehand; as, to prefix the hour of meeting.

A time prefix, and think of me at last.

3. To settle; to establish.

I would prefix some certain boundary between the old statutes and the new.

PREFIX, n. A letter, syllable or word put to the beginning of a word, usually to vary its signification. A prefix is united with the word, forming a part of it; hence it is distinguished from a preposition; as pre, in prefix; con, in coniure; with, in withstand. Prefixes are sometimes called particles, or inseparable prepositions.

PREFIXED, pp. Set before; appointed beforehand; settled.

PREFIXING, ppr. Putting before; previously appointing; establishing.

PREFIXION, n. The act of prefixing.

PREFORM, v.t. [pre and form.] To form beforehand.

PREFORMATIVE, n. [L. proe, before, and formative.]

A formative letter at the beginning of a word.

PREFULGENCY, n. [L. proefulgens; proe, before, and fulgeo, to shine.] Superior brightness or effulgency.

PREGNABLE, a. That may be taken or won by force; expugnable. [Little used.]

PREGNANCY, n. [See Pregnant.] The state of a female who has conceived, or is with child.

1. Fertility; fruitfulness; inventive power; as the pregnancy of wit or invention.

Pregnance, in a like sense, is not used.

PREGNANT, a. [L. proegnans; supposed to be compounded of proe, before, and geno; Gr. to beget.]

1. Being with young, as a female; breeding; teeming.

2. Fruitful; fertile; impregnating; as pregnant streams.

3. Full of consequence; as a pregnant instance of infatuation.

An egregious and pregnant instance how far virtue surpasses ingenuity.

4. East to admit or receive.

5. Free; kind; ready; witty; apt. [Not proper.]

6. Plain; clear; evident; full. [Not in use.]

PREGNANTLY, adv. Fruitfully.

1. Fully; plainly; clearly. [Not used.]

PREGRAVATE, v.t. [L. proegravo.]

To bear down; to depress. [Not in use.]

PREGRAVITATE, v.i. To descend by gravity.

PREGUSTATION, n. [L. proe and gusto, to taste.]

The act of tasting before another.

PREHENSILE, a. [L. prehendo, to take or seize; prehensus.]

Seizing; grasping; adapted to seize or grasp. The tails of some monkeys are prehensile.

PREHENSION, n. A taking hold; a seizing; as with the hand or other limb.

PREHNITE, n. A mineral of the silicious kind, of an apple green or greenish gray color. It has been called shorl, emerald, chrysoprase, felspath, chrysolite, and zeolite. It has some resemblance to zeolite, but differs from it in several particulars, and is therefore considered to be a particular species.

Prehnite is near to stilbite, and is classed by the French with the family of zeolites.

It is massive or crystallized, but the form of its crystals cannot be determined in consequence of their aggregation.

PREINSTRUCT, v.t. [pre and instruct.] To instruct previously.

PREINSTRUCTED, pp. Previously instructed or directed.

PREINSTRUCTING, ppr. Previously instructing.

PREINTIMATION, n. [pre and intimation.]

Previous intimation; a suggestion beforehand.

PREJUDGE, v.t. prejudg’. [L. proe and judico, to judge.]

1. To judge in a cause before it is heard, or before the arguments and facts in the case are fully known.

The committee of council hath prejudged the whole case, by calling the united sense of both houses of parliament an universal clamor.

2. To judge and determine before the cause is heard; hence sometimes, to condemn beforehand or unheard.

PREJUDGED, pp. Judged beforehand; determined unheard.

PREJUDGING, ppr. Judging or determining without a hearing or before the case is fully understood.

PREJUDGMENT, n. Judgment in a case without a hearing or full examination.

PREJUDICACY, n. Prejudice; prepossession. [Not used.]

PREJUDICATE, v.t. [L. proe, before, and judico, to judge.]

To prejudge; to determine beforehand to disadvantage.

Our dearest friend

Prejudicates the business.

PREJUDICATE, v.i. To form a judgment without due examination of the facts and arguments in this case.
PREJUDICATE, a. Formed before due examination.

1. Prejudiced; biased by opinions formed prematurely; as a prejudicate reader. [Little used.]

PREJUDICATED, pp. Prejudged.

PREJUDICATING, ppr. Prejudging.

PREJUDICATION, n. The act of judging without due examination of facts and evidence.

1. In Roman oratory, prejudications were of three kinds; first, precedents or adjudged cases, involving the same points of law; second, previous decisions on the same question between other parties; third, decisions of the same cause and between the same parties, before tribunals of inferior jurisdiction.

PREJUDICATIVE, a. Forming an opinion or judgment without examination.

PREJUDICE, n. [L. prejudicium; proe and judico.]

1. Prejudgment; an opinion or decision of mind, formed without due examination of the facts or arguments which are necessary to a just and impartial determination. It is used in a good or bad sense. Innumerable are the prejudices of education; we are accustomed to believe what we are taught, and to receive opinions from others without examining the grounds by which they can be supported. A man has strong prejudices in favor of his country or his party, or the church in which he has been educated; and often our prejudices are unreasonable. A judge should disabuse himself of prejudice in favor of either party in a suit.

My comfort is that their manifest prejudice to my cause will render their judgment of less authority.

2. A previous bent or bias of mind for or against any person or thing; prepossession.

There is an unaccountable prejudice to projectors of all kinds.

3. Mischief; hurt; damage; injury. Violent factions are a prejudice to the authority of the sovereign.

How plain this abuse is, and what prejudice it does to the understanding of the sacred Scriptures.

[This is a sense of the word too well established to be condemned.]

PREJUDICE, v.t. To prepossess with unexamined opinions, or opinions formed without due knowledge of the facts and circumstances attending the question; to bias the mind by hasty and incorrect notions, and give it an unreasonable bent to one side or other of a cause.

Suffer not any beloved study to prejudice your mind so far as to despise all other learning.

1. To obstruct or injure by prejudices, or an undue previous bias of the mind; or to hurt; to damage; to diminish; to impair; in a very general sense. The advocate who attempts to prove too much, may prejudice his cause.

I am not to prejudice the cause of my fellow poets, though I abandon my own defense.

PREJUDICED, pp. or a. Prepossessed by unexamined opinions; biased.

PREJUDICIAL, a. Biased or blinded by prejudices; as a prejudicial eye. [Not in use.]

1. Hurtful; mischievous; injurious; disadvantageous; detrimental; tending to obstruct or impair. A high rate of interest is prejudicial to trade and manufactures. Intemperance is prejudicial to health.

His going away the next morning with all his troops, was most prejudicial to the king’s affairs.

One of the young ladies reads while the others are at work; so that the learning of the family is not at all prejudicial to its manufactures.

PREJUDICIALNESS, n. The state of being prejudicial; injuriousness.

PRELACY, n. [from prelate.] The office or dignity of a prelate.

Prelacies may be termed the greater benefices.

1. Episcopacy; the order of bishops.

How many are there that call themselves protestants, who put prelacy and popery together as terms convertible?

2. Bishops, collectively.

Divers of the reverend prelacy.

PRELATE, n. [L. proelatus, proefero.] An ecclesiastic of the higher order, as an archbishop, bishop or patriarch; a dignitary of the church.

PRELATESHIP, n. The office of a prelate.

PRELATIC, PRELATICAL, a. Pertaining to prelates or prelacy; as prelatical authority.

PRELATICALLY, adv. With reference to prelates.

PRELATION, n. [L. proelatio, proefero.] Preference; the setting of one above another. [Little used.]

PRELATISM, n. Prelacy; episcopacy.

PRELATIST, n. [form prelate.] An advocate for prelacy or the government of the church by bishops; a high churchman.

I am an episcopalian, but not a prelatist.

PRELATURE, PRELATURESHIP, n. The state or dignity of a prelate.

PRELATY, n. Episcopacy; prelacy. [Not in use.]

PRELECT, v.t. [L. proelectus, proelego; proe, before, and lego, to read.] To read a lecture or public discourse.

PRELECTION, n. [L. proelectio.] A lecture or discourse read in public or to a select company.

PRELECTOR, n. A reader of discourses; a lecturer.

PRELIBATION, n. [from L. proelibo; proe, before, and libo, to taste.]

1. Foretaste; a tasting beforehand or by anticipation.

The joy that proceeds from a belief of pardon is a prelibation of heavenly bliss.

2. An effusion previous to tasting.

PRELIMINARY, a. [L. proe, before, and limen, threshhold or limit.]

Introductory; previous; proemial; that precedes the main discourse or business; as preliminary observations to a discourse or book; preliminary articles to a treaty; preliminary measures.

PRELIMINARY, n. That which precedes the main discourse, work, design or business; something previous or preparatory; as the preliminaries to a negotiation or treaty; the preliminaries to a combat. The parties met to settle the preliminaries.

PRELUDE, n. [Low L. proeludium, from proeludo; proe, before, and ludo, to play.]

1. A short flight of music, or irregular air played by a musician before he begins the piece to be played, or before a full concert.

2. Something introductory or that shows what is to follow; something preceding which bears some relation or resemblance to that which is to follow.

The last Georgic was a good prelude to the Aeneis.

3. A forerunner; something which indicates a future event.

PRELUDE, v.t. To introduce with a previous performance; to play before; as, to prelude a concert with a lively air.

1. To precede, as an introductory piece; as, a lively air preludes the concert.

PRELUDE, v.i. To serve as an introduction to.

PRELUDED, pp. Preceded by an introductory performance; preceded.

PRELUDER, n. One that plays a prelude, or introduces by a previous irregular piece of music.

PRELUDING, ppr. Playing an introductory air; preceding.

PRELUDIOUS, a. Previous; introductory.

PRELUDIUM, n. [Low L.] A prelude.

PRELUSIVE, a. Previous; introductory; indicating that something of a like kind is to follow; as prelusive drops.

PRELUSORY, a. Previous; introductory; prelusive.

PREMATURE, a. [L. proematurus; proe, before, and maturus, ripe.]

1. Ripe before the natural or proper time; as the premature fruits of a hot bed.

2. Happening, arriving, performed or adopted before the proper time; as a premature fall of snow in autumn; a premature birth; a premature opinion; a premature measure.

3. Arriving or received without due authentication or evidence; as premature report, news or intelligence.

PREMATURELY, adv. Too soon; too early; before the proper time; as fruits prematurely ripened; opinions prematurely formed; measures prematurely taken.

1. Without due evidence or authentication; as intelligence prematurely received.

PREMATURENESS, PREMATURITY, n. Ripeness before the natural or proper time.

1. Too great haste; unseasonable earliness.

PREMEDITATE, v.t. [L. proemeditor; proe, before, and meditor, to mediate.] To think on and revolve in the mind beforehand; to contrive and design previously; as, to premeditate theft or robbery.

With words premeditated thus he said.

PREMEDITATE, v.i. To think, consider or revolve in the mind beforehand; to deliberate; to have formed in the mind by previous thought or meditation.
PREMEDITATE, a. Contrived by previous meditation.

PREMEDITATED, pp. Previously considered or meditated.

1. Previously contrived, designed or intended; deliberate; willful; as premeditated murder.

PREMEDITATELY, adv. With previous meditation.

PREMEDITATING, ppr. Previously meditating; contriving or intending beforehand.

PREMEDITATION, n. [L. proemeditatio.]

1. The act of meditating beforehand; previous deliberation.

A sudden thought may be higher than nature can raise without premeditation.

2. Previous contrivance or design formed; as the premeditation of a crime.

PREMERIT, v.t. [pre and merit.]

To merit or deserve beforehand. [Little used.]

PREMICES, n. [L. primitioe, primus.] First fruits. [Not used.]

PREMIER, a. [L. primus, first.] First; chief; principal; as the premier place; premier minister.

PREMIER, n. The first minister of state; the prime minister.

PREMIERSHIP, n. The office or dignity of the first minister of state.

PREMISE, v.t. s as z. [L. proemissus, proemitto, to send before.]

1. To speak or write before, or as introductory to the main subject; to offer previously, as something to explain or aid in understanding what follows.

I premise these particulars that the reader may know that I enter upon it as a very ungrateful task.

2. To send before the time. [Not in use.]

3. To lay down premises or first propositions, on which rest the subsequent reasonings.

4. To use or apply previously.

If venesection and a cathartic be premised.

PREMISE, v.i. To state antecedent propositions.
PREMISE, n. prem’is. A first or antecedent proposition. Hence,

PREMISES, n. [L. proemissa.]

1. In logic, the two first propositions of a syllogism, from which the inference or conclusion is drawn; as,

All sinners deserve punishment;

A B is a sinner.

These propositions, which are the premises, being true or admitted, the conclusion follows, that A B deserves punishment.

2. Propositions antecedently supposed or proved.

While the premises stand firm, it is impossible to shake the conclusion.

3. In law, land or other things mentioned in the preceding part of a deed.