Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



PROTUBERATE, v.i. [L. protubero, supra. To swell or be prominent beyond the adjacent surface; to bulge out.]

If the navel protuberates, make a small puncture with a lancet through the skin.

PROTUBERATION, n. The act of swelling beyond the surrounding surface.

PROTUBEROUS, a. Protuberant.


1. Having inordinate self-esteem; possessing a high or unreasonable conceit of one’s own excellence, either of body or mind. A man may be proud of his person, of his talents, of his accomplishments or of his achievements. He may be proud of any thing to which he bears some relation. He may be proud of his country, his government, his equipage, or of whatever may, by association, gratify his esteem of himself. He may even be proud of his religion or of his church. He conceives that any thing excellent or valuable, in which he has a share, or to which he stands related, contributes to his own importance, and this conception exalts his opinion of himself. Proud is followed by of, before the object, supra.

2. Arrogant; haughty; supercilious.

A foe so proud will not the weaker seek.

3. Daring; presumptuous.

By his understanding he smiteth through the proud. Job 26:12.

4. Lofty of mien; grand of person; as a proud steed.

5. Grand, lofty; splendid; magnificent.

Storms of stones from the proud temple’s height.

6. Ostentatious; grand; as proud titles.

7. Splendid; exhibiting grandeur and distinction; exciting pride; as a proud day for Rome.

8. Excited by the animal appetite; applied particularly to the female of the canine species.

9. Fungous; as proud flesh.

PROUDLY, adv. With an inordinate self-esteem; in a proud manner; haughtily; ostentatiously; with lofty airs or mien.

Proudly he marches on and void of fear.

PROVABLE, a. [See Prove.] That may be proved.

PROVABLY, adv. In a manner capable of proof.

PROVAND, n. Provender. [Not in use.]

PROVE, v.t. prov. [L. probo.]

1. To try; to ascertain some unknown quality or truth by an experiment, or by a test or standard. Thus we prove the strength of gunpowder by experiment; we prove the strength or solidity of cannon by experiment. We prove the contents of a vessel by comparing it with a standard measure.

2. To evince, establish or ascertain as truth, reality or fact, by testimony or other evidence. The plaintiff in a suit, must prove the truth of his declaration; the prosecutor must prove his charges against the accused.

3. To evince truth by argument, induction or reasoning; to deduce certain conclusions from propositions that are true or admitted. If it is admitted that every immoral act is dishonorable to a rational being, and that dueling is an immoral act; then it is proved by necessary inference, that dueling is dishonorable to a rational being.

4. To ascertain the genuineness or validity of; to verify; as, to prove a will.

5. To experience; to try by suffering or encountering; to gain certain knowledge by the operation of something on ourselves, or by some act of our own.

Let him in arms the power of Turnus prove.

6. In arithmetic, to show, evince or ascertain the correctness of any operation or result. Thus in subtraction, if the difference between two numbers, added to the lesser number, makes a sum equal to the greater, the correctness of the subtraction is proved. In other words, if the sum of the remainder and of the subtrahend, is equal to the minuend, the operation of subtraction is proved to be correct.

7. To try; to examine.

Prove your own selves. 2 Corinthians 13:5.

8. Men prove God, when by their provocations they put his patience to trial, Psalm 95:9.; or when by obedience they make trial how much he will countenance such conduct, Malachi 3:10.

PROVE, v.i. To make trial; to essay.

The sons prepare--

To prove by arms whose fate it was to reign.

1. To be found or to have its qualities ascertained by experience or trial; as, a plant or medicine proves salutary.

2. To be ascertained by the event or something subsequent; as the report proves to be true, or proves to be false.

3. To be found true or correct by the result.

4. To make certain; to show; to evince.

This argument proves how erroneous is the common opinion.

5. To succeed.

If the experiment proved not--

[Not in use.]

PROVED, pp. Tried; evinced; experienced.

PROVEDITOR, PROVEDORE, n. A purveyor; one employed to procure supplies for an army.

Proveditor, in Venice and other parts of Italy, is an officer who superintends matters of policy.

PROVEN, a word used by Socttish writers for proved.

PROVENCIAL, a. Pertaining to Provence, in France.

PROVENDER, n. [L. vivo, to live, and from vivanda; Eng. viand.]

1. Dry food for beasts, usually meal, or a mixture of meal and cut straw or hay. In a more general sense, it may signify dry food of any kind.

2. Provisions; meat; food.

[Not used of food for man in New England.]

PROVER, n. One that proves or tries; that which proves.

PROVERB, n. [L. proverbium; pro and verbum, a word.]

1. A short sentence often repeated, expressing a well known truth or common fact, ascertained by experience or observation; a maxim of wisdom.

The proverb is true, that light gains make heavy purses, for light gains come often, great gains now and then.

2. A by-word; a name often repeated; and hence frequently, a reproach or object of contempt. Jeremiah 24:9.

3. In Scripture, it sometimes signifies a moral sentence or maxim that is enigmatical; a dark saying of the wise that requires interpretation. Proverbs 1:6.

4. Proverbs, a canonical book of the Old Testament, containing a great variety of wise maxims, rich in practical truths and excellent rules for the conduct of all classes of men.

PROVERB, v.t. To mention in a proverb. [Not in use.]

1. To provide with a proverb. [Not in use.]

PROVERBIAL, a. Mentioned in a proverb; as a proverbial cure or remedy.

In case of excesses, I take the German proverbial cure, by a hair of the same beast, to be the worst in the world.

1. Comprised in a proverb; used or current as a proverb; as a proverbial saying or speech.

2. Pertaining to proverbs; resembling a proverb; suitable to a proverb; as a proverbial obscurity.

PROVERBIALIST, n. One who speaks proverbs.

PROVERBIALIZE, v.t. To make a proverb; to turn into a proverb, or to use proverbially. [Unusual.]

PROVERBIALLY, adv. In a proverb; as, it is proverbially said.

PROVIDE, v.t. [L. provideo, literally to see before; pro and video, to see.]

1. To procure beforehand; to get, collect or make ready for future use; to prepare.

Abraham said, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt-offering. Genesis 22:8.

Provide neither gold nor silver nor brass in your purses. Matthew 10:9.

Provide things honest in the sight of all men. Romans 12:17.

2. To furnish; to supply; followed by with.

Rome, by the care of the magistrates, was well provided with corn.

Provided of is now obsolete.

3. To stipulate previously. The agreement provides that the party shall incur no loss.

4. To make a previous conditional stipulation. [See Provided.]

5. To foresee; a Latinism. [Not in use.]

6. Provide, in a transitive sense, is followed by against or for. We provide warm clothing against the inclemencies of the weather; we provide necessaries against a time of need; or we provide warm clothing for winter, etc.

PROVIDE, v.i. To procure supplies or means of defense; or to take measures for counteracting or escaping an evil. The sagacity of brutes in providing against the inclemencies of the weather is wonderful.

Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants.

PROVIDED, pp. Procured beforehand; made ready for future use; supplied; furnished; stipulated.

1. Stipulated as a condition, which condition is expressed in the following sentence or words; as, “provided that nothing in this act shall prejudice the rights of any person whatever.” This sentence is in the nature of the case absolute, the clause or sentence independent; “this or that being provided, which follows;” “this condition being provided.” The word being is understood, and the participle provided agrees with the whole sentence absolute. “This condition being previously stipulated or established.” This and that here refer to the whole member of the sentence.

PROVIDENCE, n. [L. providentia.]

1. The act of providing or preparing for future use or application.

Providence for war is the best prevention of it. [Now little used.]

2. Foresight; timely care; particularly, active foresight, or foresight accompanied with the procurement of what is necessary for future use, or with suitable preparation. How many of the troubles and perplexities of life proceed from want of providence!

3. In theology, the care and superintendence which God exercises over his creatures. He that acknowledges a creation and denies a providence, involves himself in a palpable contradiction; for the same power which caused a thing to exist is necessary to continue its existence. Some persons admit a general providence, but deny a particular providence, not considering that a general providence consists of particulars. A belief in divine providence, is a source of great consolation to good men. By divine providence is often understood God himself.

4. Prudence in the management of one’s concerns or in private economy.

PROVIDENT, a. Foreseeing wants and making provision to supply them; forecasting; cautious; prudent in preparing for future exigences; as a provident man; a provident animal.

The parsimonious emmet, provident

Of future.

Orange is what Augustus was,

Brave, wary, provident and bold.

PROVIDENTIAL, a. Effected by the providence of God; referable to divine providence; proceeding from divine direction or superintendence; as the providential contrivance of things; a providential escape from danger. How much are we indebted to God’s unceasing providential care!

PROVIDENTIALLY, adv. By means of God’s providence.

Every animal is providentially directed to the use of its proper weapons.

PROVIDENTLY, adv. With prudent foresight; with wise precaution in preparing for the future.

PROVIDER, n. One who provides, furnishes or supplies; one that procures what is wanted.

PROVINCE, n. [L. provincia; usually supposed to be formed from pro and vinco, to conquer. This is very doubtful, as provinco was not used by the Romans.]

1. Among the Romans, a country of considerable extent, which being reduced under their dominion, was new-modeled, subjected to the command of an annual governor sent from Rome, and to such taxes and contributions as the Romans saw fit to impose. That part of France next to the Alps, was a Roman province, and still bears the name Provence.

2. Among the moderns, a country belonging to a kingdom or state, either by conquest or colonization, usually situated at a distance from the kingdom or state, but more or less dependent on it or subject to it. Thus formerly, the English colonies in North America were provinces of Great Britain, as Nova Scotia and Canada still are. The provinces of the Netherlands formerly belonged to the house of Austria and to Spain.

3. A division of a kingdom or state, of considerable extent. In England, a division of the ecclesiastical state under the jurisdiction of an archbishop, of which there are two, the province of Canterbury and that of York.

4. A region of country; in a general sense; a tract; a large extent.

Over many a tract

Of heaven they march’d, and many a province wide.

They never look abroad into the provinces of the intellectual world.

5. The proper office or business of a person. It is the province of the judge to decide causes between individuals.

The woman’s province is to be careful in her economy, and chaste in her affection.

PROVINCIAL, a. Pertaining to a province or relating to it; as a provincial government; a provincial dialect.

1. Appendant to the principal kingdom or state; as provincial dominion; provincial territory.

2. Not polished; rude; as provincial accent or manners.

3. Pertaining to an ecclesiastical province, or to the jurisdiction of an archbishop; not ecumenical; as a provincial synod.

PROVINCIAL, n. A spiritual governor. In catholic countries, one who has the direction of the several convents of a province.

1. A person belonging to a province.

PROVINCIALISM, n. A peculiar word or manner of speaking in a province or district of country remote from the principal country or from the metropolis.

PROVINCIALITY, n. Peculiarity of language in a province.

PROVINCIATE, v.t. To convert into a province. [Unusual.]

PROVINE, v.i. To lay a stock or branch of a vine in the ground for propagation.

PROVING, ppr. Trying; ascertaining; evincing; experiencing.

PROVISION, n. s as z. [L. provisio, provideo. See Provide.]

1. The act of providing or making previous preparation.

2. Things provided; preparation; measures taken beforehand, either for security, defense or attack, or for the supply of wants. We make provision to defend ourselves form enemies; we make provision for war; we make provision for a voyage or for erecting a building; we make provision for the support of the poor. Government makes provision for its friends.

3. Stores provided; stock; as provision of victuals; provision of materials.

4. Victuals; food; provender; all manner of eatables for man and beast; as provisions for the table or for the family; provisions for an army.

5. Previous stipulation; terms or agreement made, or measures taken for a future exigency.

In the law, no provision was made to abolish the barbarous customs of the Irish.

Papal provision, a previous nomination by the pope to a benefice before it became vacant, by which practice the rightful patron was deprived of his presentation.

PROVISION, v.t. To supply with victuals or food. The ship was provisioned for a voyage of six months. The garrison was well provisioned.

PROVISIONAL, a. Provided for present need or for the occasion; temporarily established; temporary; as a provisional government or regulation; a provisional treaty.

PROVISIONALLY, adv. By way of provision; temporarily; for the present exigency.

PROVISIONARY, a. Provisional; provided for the occasion; not permanent.

PROVISO, n. s as z. [L. provisus, ablative proviso, it being provided.] An article or clause in any statute, agreement, contract, grant or other writing, by which a condition is introduced; a conditional stipulation that affects an agreement, contract, law, grant, etc. The charter of the bank contains a proviso that the legislature may repeal it at their pleasure.

PROVISOR, n. In church affairs, a person appointed by the pope to a benefice before the death of the incumbent, and to the prejudice of the rightful patron. Formerly the pope usurped the right of presenting to church livings, and it was his practice to nominate persons to benefices by anticipation, or before they became vacant; the person thus nominated was called a provisor. In England, this practice was restrained by statues of Richard II. and Henry IV.

More sharp and penal laws were devised against provisors; it being enacted that whoever disturbs any patron in the presentation to a living by virtue of any papal provision, such provisor shall pay fine and ransom to the king at his will, and be imprisoned till he renounces such provision.

1. The purveyor, steward or treasurer of a religious house.

PROVISORY, a. Making temporary provision; temporary.

1. Containing a proviso or condition; conditional.

PROVOCATION, n. [L. provacatio. See Provoke.]

1. Any thing that excites anger; the cause of resentment. 1 Kings 21:22.

2. The act of exciting anger.

3. An appeal to a court or judge. [A Latinism, not now used.]

4. Incitement. [Not used.]

PROVOCATIVE, a. Exciting; stimulating; tending to awaken or incite appetite or passion.

PROVOCATIVE, n. Any thing that tends to excite appetite or passion; a stimulant; as a provocative of hunger or of lust.

PROVOCATIVENESS, n. The quality of being provocative or stimulating.

PROVOKE, v.t. [L. provoco, to call forth; pro and voco, to call.]

1. To call into action; to arouse; to excite; as, to provoke anger or wrath by offensive words or by injury; to provoke war.

2. To make angry; to offend; to incense; to enrage.

Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath. Ephesians 6:4.

Often provoked by the insolence of some of the bishops--

3. To excite; to cause; as, to provoke perspiration; to provoke a smile.

4. To excite; to stimulate; to increase.

The taste of pleasure provokes the appetite, and every successive indulgence of vice which is to form a habit, is easier than the last.

5. To challenge.

He now provokes the sea-gods from the shore.

6. To move; to incite; to stir up; to induce by motives. Romans 10:19.

Let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works. Hebrews 10:24.

7. To incite; to rouse; as, to provoke one to anger. Deuteronomy 32:16.

PROVOKE, v.i. To appeal. [A Latinism, not used.]

PROVOKED, pp. Excited; roused; incited; made angry; incensed.

PROVOKER, n. One that excites anger or other passion; one that excites war or sedition.

1. That which excites, causes or promotes.

PROVOKING, ppr. Exciting into action; inciting; inducing by motives; making angry.

1. a. Having the power or quality of exciting resentment; tending to awaken passion; as provoking words; provoking treatment.

PROVOKINGLY, adv. In such a manner as to excite anger.

PROVOST, n. [L. proepositus, placed before, from proepono; proe and pono, to set or place.] In a general sense, a person who is appointed to superintend or preside over something; the chief magistrate of a city or town; as the provost of Edinburgh or of Glasgow, answering to the mayor of other cities; the provost of a college, answering to president. In France, formerly, a provost was an inferior judge who had cognizance of civil causes.

The grand provost of France, or of the household, had jurisdiction in the king’s house and over its officer.

The provost marshal of an army, is an officer appointed to arrest and secure deserters and other criminals, to hinder the soldiers from pillaging, to indict offenders and see sentence passed on them and executed. He also regulates weights and measures. He has under him a lieutenant and a clerk, an executioner, etc.

The provost marshal in the navy, has charge of prisoner, etc.

The provost of the mint, is a particular judge appointed to apprehend and prosecute false coiners.

Provost of the king’s stables, is an officer who attends at court and holds the king’s stirrup when he mounts his horse.

PROVOSTSHIP, n. The office of a provost.

PROW, n. [L. prora.]

1. The forepart of a ship.

2. In seamen’s language, the beak or pointed cutwater of a xebec or galley. The upper part is usually furnished with a grating platform.

3. The name of a particular kind of vessel used in the East Indian seas.

PROW, a. Valiant. [Not in use.]

PROWESS, n. Bravery; valor; particularly, military bravery; gallantry; intrepidity in war; fearlessness of danger.

Men of such prowess as not to know fear in themselves.

PROWEST, a. [superl. of prow.] Bravest.

PROWL, v.t. [I know not the origin of this word, nor from what source it is derived. It may be derived from the root of stroll, troll, with a different prefix.] To rove over.

He prowls each place, still in new colors deck’d.

PROWL, v.i. To rove or wander, particularly for prey, as a wild beast; as a prowling wolf.

1. To rove and plunder; to prey; to plunder.

PROWL, n. A roving for prey; colloquially, something to be seized and devoured.

PROWLER, n. One that roves about for prey.

PROWLING, ppr. Wandering about in search of prey or plunder.

PROXIMAL. [See Proximate.]

PROXIMATE, a. [L. superl. proximus.] Nearest; next. A proximate cause is that which immediately precedes and produces the effect, as distinguished from the remote, mediate or predisposing cause.

PROXIMATELY, adv. Immediately; by immediate relation to or effect on.

PROXIME, a. Next; immediately. [Not used.]

PROXIMITY, n. [L. proximitas.] The state of being next; immediate nearness either in place, blood or alliance. The succession to the throne and to estates is usually regulated by proximity of blood.

PROXY, n. [contracted from procuracy, or some word from the root of procure, proctor.]

1. The agency of another who acts as a substitute for his principal; agency of a substitute; appearance of a representative. None can be familiar by proxy. None can be virtuous or wise by proxy.

2. The person who is substituted or deputed to act for another. A wise man will not commit important business to a proxy, when he can transact it in person. In England, any peer may make another lord of parliament his proxy to vote for him in his absence.

3. In popular use, an election or day of voting for officers of government.

PROXYSHIP, n. The office or agency of a proxy.

PRUCE, n. [from Prussia.] Prussian leather. [Not in use.]

PRUDE, n. [Gr. prudence.] A woman of great reserve, coyness, affected stiffness of manners and scrupulous nicety.

Less modest than the speech of prudes.

PRUDENCE, n. [L. prudentia.] Wisdom applied to practice.

Prudence implies caution in deliberating and consulting on the most suitable means to accomplish valuable purposes, and the exercise of sagacity in discerning and selecting them. Prudence differs from wisdom in this, that prudence implies more caution and reserve than wisdom, or is exercised more in foreseeing and avoiding evil, than in devising and executing that which is good. It is sometimes mere caution or circumspection.

Prudence is principally in reference to actions to be done, and due means, order, season and method of doing or not doing.

PRUDENT, a. Cautious; circumspect; practically wise; careful of the consequences of enterprises, measures or actions; cautious not to act when the end is of doubtful utility, or probably impracticable.

The prudent man looketh well to his going. Proverbs 14:15.

A prudent man foreseeth the evil and hideth himself. Proverbs 22:3.

1. Dictated or directed by prudence; as prudent behavior.

2. Foreseeing by instinct; as the prudent crane.

3. Frugal; economical; as a prudent woman; prudent expenditure of money.

4. Wise; intelligent.

PRUDENTIAL, a. Proceeding from prudence; dictated or prescribed by prudence; as prudential motives; prudential rules.

1. Superintending the discretionary concerns of a society; as a prudential committee.

PRUDENTIALITY, n. The quality of being prudential; eligibility on principles of prudence. [Not used.]

PRUDENTIALLY, adv. In conformity with prudence; prudently.

PRUDENTIALS, n. plu. Maxims of prudence or practical wisdom.

Many stanzas in poetic measures contain rules relating to common prudentials, as well as to religion.

1. The subordinate discretionary concerns and economy of a company, society or corporation. The board of trustees appoint annually a committee to manage the prudentials of the corporation.

PRUDENTLY, adv. With prudence; with due caution or circumspection; discretely; wisely; as domestic affairs prudently managed; laws prudently framed or executed.

1. With frugality; economically; as income prudently expended.

PRUDERY, n. [from prude.] Affected scrupulousness; excessive nicety in conduct; stiffness; affected reserve or gravity; coyness.

PRUDISH, a. [from prude.] Affectedly grave; very formal, precise or reserved; as a prudish woman; prudish manners.

A formal lecture, spoke with prudish face.

PRUNE, v.t.

1. To lop or cut off the superfluous branches of trees, to make them bear better fruit or grow higher, or to give them a more handsome and regular appearance.

2. To clear from any thing superfluous; to dress; to trim.

His royal bird

Prunes the immortal wing, and cloys his beak.

PRUNE, v.i. To dress; to prink; a ludicrous word.
PRUNE, n. [L. prunum; in Latin prunus is a plum tree; Gr. the fruit.] A plum, or a dried plum.

PRUNED, pp. Divested of superfluous branches; trimmed.

1. Cleared of what is unsuitable or superfluous.

PRUNEL, n. A plant.

PRUNELLO, n. A kind of stuff of which clergymen’s gowns are made.

PRUNELLO, n. A kind of plum.

PRUNER, n. One that prunes trees or removes what is superfluous.

PRUNIFEROUS, a. [L. prunum, a plum, and fero, to bear.]

Bearing plums.

PRUNING, ppr. Lopping off superfluous branches; trimming; clearing of what is superfluous.

PRUNING, n. In gardening and agriculture, the lopping off the superfluous branches of trees, either for improving the trees or their fruit.

PRUNING-HOOK, PRUNING-KNIFE, n. An instrument used in pruning trees. It is of various forms.

PRURIENCE, PRURIENCY, n. [L. pruriens, prurio, to itch.] An itching, longing desire or appetite for any thing.

PRURIENT, a. Itching; uneasy with desire.

PRURIGINOUS, a. [L. pruriginosus, from prurigo, an itching, from prurio, to itch.] Tending to an itch.

PRUSSIAN, a. [from Prussia.] Pertaining to Prussia.

Prussian blue, a combination of iron with ferrocyanic acid. This is used as a pigment of a beautiful blue color.

PRUSSIATE, n. A salt formed by the union of the prussic acid, or coloring matter of prussian blue, with a salifiable base; as the prussiate of alumin.

PRUSSIC, a. The prussic acid is a compound of kyanogen or cyanogen, prussic gas and hydrogen, and hence called hydrocyanic acid. It is one of the strongest poisons known.

PRY, v.i. [a contracted word, the origin of which is not obvious.]

To peep narrowly; to inspect closely; to attempt to discover something with scrutinizing curiosity, whether impertinently or not; as, to pry into the mysteries of nature, or into the secrets of state.

Nor need we with a prying eye survey

The distant skies to find the milky way.

PRY, n. Narrow inspection; impertinent peeping.
PRY, v.t. To raise or attempt to raise with a lever. This is the common popular pronunciation of prize, in America. The lever used is also called a pry.

PRYING, ppr. Inspecting closely; looking into with curiosity.

PRYINGLY, adv. With close inspection or impertinent curiosity.

PRYTANE, PRYTANIS, n. [Gr.] In ancient Greece, a president of the senate of five hundred.

[It is to be noted that in words beginning with Ps and Pt, the letter p has no sound.]

PSALM, n. s`am. [L. psalmus; Gr. to touch or beat, to sing.]

A sacred song or hymn; a song composed on a divine subject and in praise of God. The most remarkable psalms are those composed by David and other Jewish saints, a collection of one hundred and fifty of which constitutes a canonical book of the Old Testament, called Psalms, or the book of Psalms. The word is also applied to sacred songs composed by modern poets, being versifications of the scriptural psalms, or of these with other parts of Scripture, composed for the use of churches; as the Psalms of Tate and Brady, of Watts, etc.

PSALMIST, n. A writer or composer of sacred songs; a title particularly applied to David and the other authors of the scriptural psalms.

1. In the church of Rome, a clerk, precentor, singer or leader of music in the church.

PSALMODY, n. The act, practice or art of singing sacred songs. Psalmody has always been considered an important part of public worship.


A writer of psalms or divine songs and hymns.

PSALMOGRAPHY, n. [Gr. psalm, and to write.]

The act or practice of writing psalms or sacred songs and hymns.

PSALTER, n. [L. psalterium.]

1. The book of Psalms; often applied to a book containing the Psalms separately printed.

2. In Romish countries, a large chaplet or rosary, consisting of a hundred and fifty beads, according to the number of the psalms.

PSALTERY, n. [Gr.] An instrument of music used by the Hebrews, the form of which is not now known. That which is now used is a flat instrument in form of a trapezium or triangle truncated at the top, strung with thirteen chords of wire, mounted on two bridges at the sides, and struck with a plectrum or crooked stick.

Praise the Lord with harp; sing to him with the psaltery, and an instrument of ten strings. Psalm 33:2.