Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



PRIZED, pp. Rated; valued; esteemed.

PRIZE-FIGHTER, n. One that fights publicly for a reward.

PRIZER, n. One that estimates or sets the value of a thing.

PRIZING, ppr. Rating; valuing; esteeming.

PRO, a Latin and Greek preposition, signifying for, before, forth, is probably contracted from prod, coinciding with It. proda, a prow, prode, brave; having the primary sense of moving forward. See Prodigal. In the phrase, pro and con, that is, pro and contra, it answers to the English for; for and against.

In composition, pro denotes fore, forth, forward.

PROA, n. Flying proa, a vessel used in the south seas, with the head and stern exactly alike, but with the sides differently formed. That which is intended for the lee side is flat, the other rounding. To prevent oversetting, the vessel is furnished with a frame extended from the windward side, called an out-rigger.

PROBABILITY, n. [L. probabilitas. See Probable.]

1. Likelihood; appearance of truth; that state of a case or question of fact which results from superior evidence or preponderation of argument on one side, inclining the mind to receive it as the truth, but leaving some room for doubt. It therefore falls short of moral certainty, but produces what is called opinion.

Probability is the appearance of the agreement or disagreement of two ideas, by the intervention of proofs whose connection is not constant, but appears for the most part to be so.

Demonstration produces science or certain knowledge; proof produces belief, and probability opinion.

1. Any thing that has the appearance of reality or truth. In this sense, the word admits of the plural number.

The whole like of man is a perpetual comparison of evidence and balancing of probabilities.

PROBABLE, a. [L. probabilis, from probo, to prove. See Prove.]

1. Likely; having more evidence than the contrary, or evidence which inclines the mind to belief, but leaves some room for doubt.

That is accounted probable, which has better arguments producible for it than can be brought against it.

I do not say that the principles of religion are merely probable; I have before asserted them to be morally certain.

2. That renders something probable; as probable evidence, or probable presumption.

3. That may be proved. [Not in use.]

PROBABLY, adv. Likely; in likelihood; with the appearance of truth or reality; as, the story is probably true; the account is probably correct.

Distinguish between what may possibly, and what will probably be done.

PROBANG, n. [See Probe.] In surgery, an instrument of whalebone and spunge, for removing obstructions in the throat or esophagus.

A flexible piece of whalebone, with spunge fixed to the end.

PROBATE, n. [L. probatus, probo, to prove.]

1. The probate of a will or testament is the proving of its genuineness and validity, or the exhibition of the will to the proper officer, with the witnesses if necessary, and the process of determining its validity, and the registry of it, and such other proceedings as the laws prescribe, as preliminary to the execution of it by the executor.

2. The right or jurisdiction of proving wills. In England, the spiritual court has the probate of wills. In the United States, the probate of wills belongs to a court of civil jurisdiction established by law, usually to a single judge, called a judge of probate, or a surrogate.

3. Proof. [Not used.]

PROBATION, n. [L. probatio.] The act of proving; proof.

1. Trial; examination; any proceeding designed to ascertain truth; in universities, the examination of a student, as to his qualifications for a degree.

2. In a monastic sense, trial or the year of novitiate, which a person must pass in a convent, to prove his virtue and his ability to bear the severities of the rule.

3. Moral trial; the state of man in the present life, in which he has the opportunity of proving his character and being qualified for a happier state.

Probation will end with the present life.

4. In America, the trial of a clergyman’s qualifications as a minister of the gospel, preparatory to his settlement. We say, a man is preaching on probation.

5. In general, trial for proof, or satisfactory evidence, or the time of trial.

PROBATIONAL, a. Serving for trial.

PROBATIONARY, a. Serving for trial.

All the probationary work of man is ended when death arrives.

PROBATIONER, n. One who is on trial, or in a state to give proof of certain qualifications for a place or state.

While yet a young probationer,

And candidate for heaven.

1. A novice.

2. In Scotland, a student in divinity, who, producing a certificate of a professor in an university of his good morals and qualifications, is admitted to several trials, and on acquitting himself well, is licensed to preach.

PROBATIONERSHIP, n. The state of being a probationer; novitiate. [Little used.]

PROBATIONSHIP, n. A state of probation; novitiate; probation. [Little used and unnecessary.]

PROBATIVE, a. Serving for trial or proof.

PROBATOR, n. [L.] An examiner; an approver.

1. In law, an accuser.

PROBATORY, a. Serving for trial.

1. Serving for proof.

2. Relating to proof.

Probatum est, [L. it is proved.] an expression subjoined to a receipt for the cure of a disease, denoting that it has been tried or proved.

PROBE, n. [L. probo.] A surgeon’s instrument for examining the depth or other circumstances of a wound, ulcer or cavity, or the direction of a sinus, or for searching for stones in the bladder and the like.

PROBE, v.t. To examine a wound, ulcer or some cavity of the body, by the use of an instrument thrust into the part.

1. To search to the bottom; to scrutinize; to examine thoroughly into causes and circumstances.

PROBE-SCISSORS, n. Scissors used to open wounds, the blade of which, to be thrust into the orifice, has a button at the end.

PROBITY, n. [L. probitas, from probo, to prove.]

Primarily, tried virtue or integrity, or approved actions; but in general, strict honesty; sincerity; veracity; integrity in principle, or strict conformity of actions to the laws of justice. Probity of mind or principle is best evinced by probity of conduct in social dealings, particularly in adhering to strict integrity in the observance and performance of rights called imperfect, which public laws to not reach and cannot enforce.

PROBLEM, n. [L. problema; Gr. to throw forward, and to throw; L. pello.] A question proposed.

1. In logic, a preposition that appears neither absolutely true nor false, and consequently may be asserted either in the affirmative or negative.

2. In geometry, a proposition in which some operation or construction is required, as to divide a line or an angle, to let fall a perpendicular, etc.

3. In general, any question involving doubt or uncertainty, and requiring some operation, experiment or further evidence for its solution.

The problem is, whether a strong and constant belief that a thing will be, helps any thing to the effecting of the thing.

PROBLEMATICAL, a. Questionable; uncertain; unsettled; disputable; doubtful.

Diligent inquiries into problematical guilt, leave a gate wide open to informers.

PROBLEMATICALLY, adv. Doubtfully; dubiously; uncertainly.

PROBLEMATIZE, v.t. To propose problems. [Ill formed and not used.]

PROBOSCIS, n. [L. from Gr. before, and to feed or graze.]

The snout or trunk of an elephant and of other animals, particularly of insects. The proboscis of an elephant is a flexible muscular pipe or canal of about 8 feet in length, and is properly the extension of the nose. This is the instrument with which he takes food and carries it to his mouth. The proboscis of insects is used to suck blood from animals, or juice from plants.

PROCACIOUS, a. [L. procax; pro, forward.] petulant; saucy. [Little used.]

PROCACITY, n. [L. procacitas.]

Impudence; petulance. [Little used.]

PROCATARCTIC, a. [Gr. to begin.] In medicine, pre-existing or predisposing; remote; as procatarctic causes of a disease, in distinction from immediate or exciting causes. Thus heat may be the procatarctic, and extreme fatigue the immediate or exciting cause of a fever.

PROCATARXIS, n. [Gr. supra.]

The predisposing cause of a disease.

PROCEDURE, n. The act of proceeding or moving forward; progress; process; operation; series of actions; as the procedure of the soul in certain actions. But it is more generally applied to persons; as, this is a strange procedure in a public body. The motions of physical causes are more generally denominated operations.

1. Manner of proceeding; management; conduct.

2. That which proceeds from something; produce. [Not in use.]

PROCEED, PROCEDE, v.i. [L. procedo; pro, forward, and cedo, to move. the more correct orthography is procede, in analogy with precede, concede, recede, procedure.]

1. To move, pass or go forward from one place to another; applied to persons or things. A man proceeds on his journey; a ship proceeds on her voyage.

This word thus used implies that the motion, journey or voyage had been previously commenced, and to proceed is then to renew or continue the motion or progress.

2. To pass from one point, stage or topic to another. The preacher proceeds from one division of his subject, and the advocate from one argument, to another.

3. To issue or come as from a course or fountain. Light proceeds from the sun; vice proceeds from a depraved heart; virtuous affections proceed from God.

4. To come from a person or place. Christ says, “I proceeded forth and came from God.” John 8:42.

5. To prosecute any design.

He that proceeds on other principles in his inquiry into any sciences, posts himself in a party.

6. To be transacted or carried on.

He will, after his sour fashion, tell you,

What hath proceeded worthy note to-day.

[Not now in use.]

7. To make progress; to advance.

8. To begin and carry on a series of actions or measures. The attorney was at a loss in what manner to proceed against the offender. In this sense, the word is often followed by against.

9. To transact; to act; to carry on methodically.

From them I will not hide

My judgments, how with mankind I proceed.

10. To have a course.

This rule only proceeds and takes place, when a person cannot of common law condemn another by his sentence.

11. To issue; to be produced or propagated.

From my loins thou shalt proceed.

12. To be produced by an effectual cause. All created things proceed from God.

PROCEEDER, n. One who goes forward, or who makes a progress.

PROCEEDING, ppr. Moving forward; passing on; issuing; transacting; carrying on.

PROCEEDING, n. Process or movement from one thing to another; a measure or step taken in business; transaction; in the plural, a course of measures or conduct; course of dealing with others. We speak of a legal or an illegal proceeding, a cautious proceeding, a violent proceeding. In the plural, the proceedings of the legislature have been wise and salutary. It is our duty to acquiesce cheerfully in all God’s proceedings towards.

1. In law, the course of steps or measures in the prosecution of an action is denominated proceedings. [See Process.]

PROCEEDS, n. plu. Issue; rent; produce; as the proceeds of an estate.

1. In commerce, the sum, amount or value of goods sold or converted into money. The consignee was directed to sell the cargo and vest the proceeds in coffee. The proceeds of the goods sold amounted to little more than the prime cost and charges.

PROCELEUSMATIC, a. [Gr. mandate, incitement.]

Inciting; animating; encouraging. This epithet is given to a metrical foot in poetry, consisting of four short syllables.

PROCEPTION, n. Preoccupation. [Ill formed and not in use.]

PROCERITY, n. [L. proceritas, from procerus, tall.]

Tallness; highth of stature. [Little used.]

PROCESS, n. [L. processus, from procedo. See Proceed.]

1. A proceeding or moving forward; progressive course; tendency; as the process of man’s desire.

2. Proceedings; gradual progress; course; as the process of a war.

3. Operations; experiment; series of actions or experiments; as a chimical process.

4. Series of motions or changes in growth, decay, etc. in physical bodies; as the process of vegetation or of mineralization; the process of decomposition.

5. Course; continual flux or passage; as the process of time.

6. Methodical management; series of measures or proceedings.

The process of the great day--is described by our Savior.

7. In law, the whole course of proceedings, in a cause, real or personal, civil or criminal, from the original writ to the end of the suit. Original process is the means taken to compel the defendant to appear in court. Mesne process is that which issues, pending the suit, upon some collateral or interlocutory matter. Final process is the process of execution.

8. In anatomy, any protuberance, eminence or projecting part of a bone.

PROCESSION, n. [L. processio. See Proceed.]

1. The act of proceeding or issuing.

2. A train of persons walking, or riding on horseback or in vehicles, in a formal march, or moving with ceremonious solemnity; as a procession of clergy and people in the Romish church; a triumphal procession; a funeral procession.

Him all his train

Follow’d in bright procession.

PROCESSIONAL, a. Pertaining to a procession; consisting in a procession.

PROCESSIONAL, n. A book relating to processions of the Romish church.

PROCESSIONARY, a. Consisting in procession; as processionary service.

PROCHEIN, a. pro’shen. [L. proximus.] Next; nearest; used in the law phrase, prochein amy, the next friend, any person who undertakes to assist an infant or minor in prosecuting his rights.

PROCHRONISM, n. [Gr. to precede in time, before, and time.]

An antedating; the dating of an event before the time it happened; hence, an error in chronology.

PROCIDENCE, n. [L. procidentia; procido, to fall down.]

A falling down; a prolapsus; as of the intestinum rectum.

PROCIDUOUS, a. That falls from its place.

PROCINCT, n. [L. procinctus; procingo, to prepare, that is, to gird.] Complete preparation for action. [Little used.]

PROCLAIM, v.t. [L. proclamo; pro and clamo, to cry out. See Claim.]

1. To promulgate; to announce; to publish; as, to proclaim a fast; to proclaim a feast. Leviticus 23:2; 1 Kings 21:9.

He hath sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives. Isaiah 61:1.

2. To denounce; to give official notice of. Heralds were formerly employed to proclaim war.

3. To declare with honor; as, to proclaim the name of the Lord, that is, to declare his perfections. Exodus 33:19.

4. To utter openly; to make public. Some profligate wretches openly proclaim their atheism.

Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness. Proverbs 20:6.

5. To outlaw by public denunciation.

I heard myself proclaimed.

PROCLAIMED, pp. Published officially; promulgated; made publicly known.

PROCLAIMER, n. One who publishes by authority; one that announces or makes publicly known.

PROCLAIMING, ppr. Publishing officially; denouncing; promulgating; making publicly known.

PROCLAMATION, n. [L. proclamatio, from proclamo.]

1. Publication by authority; official notice given to the public.

King Asa made a proclamation throughout all Judah. 1 Kings 15:22.

2. In England, a declaration of the king’s will, openly published.

Proclamations are a branch of the king’s prerogative, and are binding on the subject.

3. The declaration of any supreme magistrate publicly made known; as the proclamation of the governor appointing a day of thanksgiving.

4. The paper containing an official notice to a people. The sheriff receives and distributes the governor’s proclamations.

PROCLIVE, a. Proclivous. [Not used.]

PROCLIVITY, n. [L. proclivitas, proclivis; pro and clivus, a cliff.]

1. Inclination; propensity; proneness; tendency.

The sensitive appetite may engender a proclivity to steal, but not a necessity to steal.

2. Readiness; facility of learning.

He had such a dexterous proclivity, that his teachers were fain to restrain his forwardness.

PROCLIVOUS, a. [L. proclivus, proclivis, supra.]

Inclined; tending by nature.

PROCONSUL, n. [L. pro, for, and consul.]

A Roman magistrate sent to govern a province with consular authority. The proconsuls were appointed from the body of the senate, and their authority expired at the end of a year from their appointment.

PROCONSULAR, a. Pertaining to a proconsul; as proconsular powers.

1. Under the government of a proconsul; as a proconsular province.

PROCONSULSHIP, n. The office of a proconsul, or the term of his office.

PROCRASTINATE, v.t. [L. procrastinor; pro and crastinus; cras, to-morrow.] To put off from day to day; to delay; to defer to a future time; as, to procrastinate repentance.

PROCRASTINATE, v.i. To delay; to be dilatory.

I procrastinate more than I did twenty years ago.

PROCRASTINATED, pp. Delayed; deferred.

PROCRASTINATING, ppr. Delaying; putting off to a future time.

PROCRASTINATION, n. [L. procrastinatio.]

A putting off to a future time; delay; dilatoriness.

PROCRASTINATOR, n. One that defers the performance of any thing to a future time.

PROCREANT, a. [L. procreans. See Procreate.]

Generating; producing; productive; fruitful.

PROCREATE, v.t. [L. procreo; pro and creo, to create.]

1. To beget; to generate and produce; to engender; used properly of animals.

2. To produce; used of plants, but hardly allowable.

PROCREATED, pp. Begotten; generated.

PROCREATING, ppr. Begetting; generating; as young.

PROCREATION, n. [L. procreatio.]

The act of begetting; generation and production of young.

PROCREATIVE, a. Generative; having the power to beget.

PROCREATIVENESS, n. The power of generating.

PROCREATOR, n. One that begets; a generator; a father or sire.

PROCTOR, n. [contracted from L. procurator, from procuro; pro and curo.]

1. In a general sense, one who is employed to manage the affairs of another.

2. Appropriately, a person employed to manage another’s cause in a court of civil or ecclesiastical law, as in the court of admiralty, or in a spiritual court.

3. The magistrate of a university.

PROCTOR, v.i. To manage; a cant word.

PROCTORAGE, n. Management; in contempt.

PROCTORICAL, a. Belonging to the academical proctor; magisterial.

PROCTORSHIP, n. The office or dignity of the proctor of a university.

PROCUMBENT, a. [L. procumbens, procumbo; pro and cubo, to lie down.] Lying down or on the face; prone.

1. In botany, trailing; prostrate; unable to support itself, and therefore lying on the ground, but without putting forth roots; as a procumbent stem.

PROCURABLE, a. [from procure.] That may be procured; obtainable.

PROCURACY, n. [from L. procuro.] The management of any thing. [Not used.]

PROCURATION, n. [L. procuratio. See Procure.]

1. The act of procuring. [Procurement is generally used.]

2. The management of another’s affairs.

3. The instrument by which a person is empowered to transact the affairs of another.

4. A sum of money paid to the bishop or archdeacon by incumbents, on account of visitations; called also proxy.

PROCURATOR, n. The manager of another’s affairs. [See Proctor.]

PROCURATORIAL, a. Pertaining to a procurator or proctor; made by a proctor.

PROCURATORSHIP, n. The office of a procurator.

PROCURATORY, a. Tending to procuration.

PROCURE, v.t. [L. procuro; pro and curo, to take care.]

1. To get; to gain; to obtain; as by request, loan, effort, labor or purchase. We procure favors by request; we procure money by borrowing; we procure food by cultivating the earth; offices are procured by solicitation or favor; we procure titles to estate by purchase. It is used of things of temporary possession more generally than acquire. We do not say, we acquired favor, we acquired money by borrowing but we procured.

2. To persuade; to prevail on.

What unaccustom’d cause procures her hither? [Unusual.]

3. To cause; to bring about; to effect; to contrive and effect.

Proceed, Salinus, to procure my fall.

4. To cause to come on; to bring on.

We no other pains endure

Than those that we ourselves procure.

5. To draw to; to attract; to gain. Modesty procures love and respect.

PROCURE, v.i. To pimp.

PROCURED, pp. Obtained, caused to be done; effected; brought on.

PROCUREMENT, n. The act of procuring or obtaining; obtainment.

1. A causing to be effected.

They think it done

By her procurement.

PROCURER, n. One that procures or obtains; that which brings on or causes to be done.

1. A pimp; a pander.

PROCURESS, n. A bawd.

PROCURING, ppr. Getting; gaining; obtaining.

1. Causing to come or to be done.

2. a. That causes to come; bringing on.

Sin is the procuring cause of all our woes.

PRODIGAL, a. [L. produgus, from prodigo, to drive forth, to lavish.]

1. Given to extravagant expenditures; expending money or other things without necessity; profuse, lavish; wasteful; not frugal or economical; as a prodigal man; the prodigal son. A man may be prodigal of his strength, of his health, of his life or blood, as well as of his money.

2. Profuse, lavish; expended to excess or without necessity; as prodigal expenses.

3. Very liberal; profuse. Nature is prodigal of her bounties.

PRODIGAL, n. One that expends money extravagantly or without necessity; one that is profuse or lavish; a waster; a spendthrift.


1. Extravagance in the expenditure of what one possesses, particularly of money; profusion; waste; excessive liberality. It is opposed to frugality, economy, and parsimony.

By the Roman law a man of notorious prodigality was treated as non compos.

The most severe censor cannot but be pleased with the prodigality of his wit.

2. Profuse liberality.

PRODIGALIZE, v.i. To be extravagant in expenditures. [Not used.]

PRODIGALLY, adv. With profusion of expenses; extravagantly; lavishly; wastefully; as an estate prodigally dissipated.

1. With liberal abundance; profusely.

Nature not bounteous now, but lavish grows,

Out paths with flow’rs she prodigally strows.

PRODIGIOUS, a. [L. prodigiosus. See Prodigy.]

1. Very great; huge; enormous in size, quantity, extent, etc.; as a mountain of prodigious size or altitude; a prodigious mass or quantity of water; an ocean or plain of prodigious extent. Hence,

2. Wonderful; astonishing; such as may seem a prodigy; monstrous; portentous.

It is prodigious to have thunder in a clear sky.

Prodigious to relate.

PRODIGIOUSLY, adv. Enormously; wonderfully; astonishingly; as a number prodigiously great.

1. Very much; extremely; in familiar language. He was prodigiously pleased.

PRODIGIOUSNESS, n. Enormousness of size; the state of having qualities that excite wonder or astonishment.

PRODIGY, n. [L. prodigium, from prodigo, to shoot out, drive out, properly to spread to a great extent.]

1. Any thing out of the ordinary process of nature, as so extraordinary as to excite wonder or astonishment; as a prodigy of learning.

2. Something extraordinary from which omens are drawn; portent. Thus eclipses and meteors were anciently deemed prodigies.

3. A monster; an animal or other production out of the ordinary course of nature.

PRODITION, n. [L. proditio, form prodo, to betray; supposed to be compounded of pro and do, to give.] Treachery; treason.

PRODITOR, n. [L.] A traitor. [Not in use.]