Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



PUNICEOUS, a. [L. puniceus. See Punic.] Purple.

PUNINESS, n. [from puny.] Littleness; pettiness; smallness with feebleness.

PUNISH, v.t. [L. punio, from the root of poena, pain. The primary sense is to press or strain.]

1. To pain; to afflict with pain, loss or calamity for a crime or fault; primarily, to afflict with bodily pain, as to punish a thief with pillory or stripes; but the word is applied also to affliction by loss of property, by transportation, banishment, seclusion from society, etc. The laws require murderers to be punished with death. Other offenders are to be punished with fines, imprisonment, hard labor, etc. God punishes men for their sins with calamities personal and national.

2. To chastise; as, a father punishes his child for disobedience.

3. To regard with pain or suffering inflicted on the offender; applied to the crime; as, to punish murder or theft.

PUNISHABLE, a. Worthy of punishment.

1. Liable to punishment; capable of being punished by law or right; applied to persons or offenses; as, a man is punishable for robbery or for trespass; a crime is punishable by law.

PUNISHABLENESS, n. The quality of deserving or being liable to punishment.

PUNISHED, pp. Afflicted with pain or evil as the retribution of a crime or offense; chastised.

PUNISHER, n. One that inflicts pain, loss or other evil for a crime or offense.

PUNISHING, ppr. Afflicting with pain, penalty or suffering of any kind, as the retribution of a crime or offense.

PUNISHMENT, n. Any pain or suffering inflicted on a person for a crime or offense, by the authority to which the offender is subject, either by the constitution of God or of civil society. The punishment of the faults and offenses of children by the parent, is by virtue of the right of government with which the parent is invested by God himself. This species of punishment is chastisement or correction. The punishment of crimes against the laws is inflicted by the supreme power of the state in virtue of the right of government, vested in the prince or legislature. The right of punishment belongs only to persons clothed with authority. Pain, loss or evil willfully inflicted on another for his crimes or offenses by a private unauthorized person, is revenge rather than punishment.

Some punishments consist in exile or transportation, others in loss of liberty by imprisonment; some extend to confiscation by forfeiture of lands and goods, others induce a disability of holding offices, of being heirs and the like.

Divine punishments are doubtless designed to secure obedience to divine laws, and uphold the moral order of created intelligent beings.

The rewards and punishments of another life, which the almighty has established as the enforcements of his law, are of weight enough to determine the choice against whatever pleasure or pain this life can show.

PUNITION, n. [L. punitio, from punio.] Punishment. [Little used.]

PUNITIVE, a. Awarding or inflicting punishment; that punishes; as punitive law or justice.

PUNITORY, a. Punishing or tending to punishment.

PUNK, n. A prostitute; a strumpet.

PUNNER, n. A punster, which see.

PUNNING, ppr. [from pun.] Using a word at once in different senses.

PUNNING, n. The art or practice of using puns; a playing on words.

PUNSTER, n. One that puns or is skilled in punning; a quibbler; a low wit.

PUNT, v.i. To play at basset and omber.

PUNT, n. [L. pons, a bridge.] A flat-bottomed boat used in caulking and repairing ships.

PUNTER, n. One that plays in basset against the banker or dealer.

PUNY, a.

1. Properly, young or younger; but in this sense not used.

2. Inferior; petty; of an under rate; small and feeble. This word generally includes the signification of both smallness and feebleness; as a puny animal; a puny subject; a puny power; a puny mind.

PUNY, n. A young inexperienced person; a novice.

PUP, v.i. [This word appears to be radically the same as the L. pupa, Eng. babe.] To bring forth whelps or young, as the female of the canine species.

PUP, n. A puppy.

PUPA, n. [L. supra.] In natural history, an insect in that state in which it resembles an infant in swaddling clothes. As some insects in this state have a bright exterior, as if gilded, it has been called chrysalis or aurelia, from the Gr. and L. aurum, gold; but as this gilded appearance belongs to few insects, the term pupa is now more generally used.

PUPIL, n. [L. pupilla, dim. of pupa, pupus. See Pup.]

The apple of the eye; a little aperture in the middle of the iris and uvea of the eye, through which the rays of light pass to the crystalline humor, to be painted on the retina.

PUPIL, n. [L. pupillus, dim. of pupa, pupus. See Pup.]

1. A youth or scholar of either sex under the care of an instructor or tutor.

2. A ward; a youth or person under the care of a guardian.

3. In the civil law, a boy or girl under the age of puberty, that is, under 14 if a male, and under 12 if a female.

PUPILAGE, n. The state of being a scholar, or under the care of an instructor for education and discipline.

1. Wardship; minority.

In this latter sense, the Scots use pupilarity.

PUPILARY, a. [L. pupillaris.] Pertaining to a pupil or ward.

PUPIVOROUS, a. [pupa and L. voro.] Feeding on the larvas and chrysalides of insects.

PUPPET, n. [L. pupus. See Pup.]

1. A small image in the human form, moved by a wire in a mock drama; a wooden tragedian.

2. A doll.

3. A word of contempt.

PUPPETMAN, PUPPETMASTER, n. The master of a puppet-show.

PUPPET-PLAYER, n. One that manages the motions of puppets.

PUPPETRY, n. Affectation.

PUPPET-SHOW, n. A mock drama performed by wooden images moved by wires.

PUPPY, n. [See Pup.] A whelp; the young progeny of a bitch or female of the canine species.

1. Applied to persons, a name expressing extreme contempt.

PUPPY, v.t. To bring forth whelps.

PUPPYISM, n. Extreme meanness.

1. Extreme affectation.

PUR, v.i. To utter a low murmuring continued sound, as a cat.

PUR, v.t. to signify by purring.
PUR, n. The low murmuring continued sound of a cat.

PURANA, n. Among the Hindoos, a sacred poem or book.

PURANIC, a. Pertaining to the sacred poems of the Hindoos.

PURBECK-STONE, n. A hard sandstone, the cement of which is calcarious.

PURBLIND, a. [said to be from pore and blind.]

Near sighted or dim sighted or; seeing obscurely; as a purblind eye; a purblind mole.

PURBLINDNESS, n. Shortness of sight; near sightedness; dimness of vision.

PURCHASABLE, a. [from purchase.] That may be brought, purchased or obtained for a consideration.

PURCHASE, v.t. [This word seems to be considered by Blackstone as formed from the L. perquisitio. This is an error. The word is from the root of chase; purchaser is to pursue to the end or object, and hence to obtain. In Law Latin, purchase, the noun, was written purchacium. The legal use of the word in obtaining writs, shows best its true origin; to purchase a writ, is to sue out a writ, that is, to seek it out; for sue, seek, and L. sequor, are all of one origin, and synonymous with chase.]

1. In its primary and legal sense, to gain, obtain or acquire by any means, except by descent or hereditary right.

2. In common usage, to buy; to obtain property by paying an equivalent in money. It differs from barter only in the circumstance, that in purchasing, the price or equivalent given or secured is money; in bartering, the equivalent is given in goods. We purchase lands or goods for ready money or on credit.

3. To obtain by an expense of labor, danger or other sacrifice; as, to purchase favor with flattery.

A world who would not purchase with a bruise?

4. To expiate or recompense by a fine or forfeit; as, to purchase out abuses with tears and prayer.

5. To sue out or procure, as a writ.

PURCHASE, v.i. In seaman’s language, to draw in; as, the capstern purchases apace, that is, it draws in the cable apace, it gains it.

1. In law, the act of obtaining or acquiring the title to lands and tenements by money, deed, gift or any means, except by descent; the acquisition of lands and tenements by a man’s own act or agreement.

2. In law, the suing out and obtaining a writ.

3. In common usage, the acquisition of the title or property of any thing by rendering an equivalent in money.

It is foolish to lay out money in the purchase of repentance.

4. That which is purchased; any thing of which the property is obtained by giving an equivalent price in money.

The scrip was complete evidence of his right in the purchase.

5. That which is obtained by labor, danger, art, etc.

A beauty waning and distressed widow

Made prize and purchase of his wanton eye--

6. Formerly, robbery, and the thing stolen.

7. Any mechanical power or force applied to the raising or removing of heavy bodies.

PURCHASED, pp. Obtained or acquired by one’s own act or agreement.

1. Obtained by paying an equivalent in money.

2. Obtained by labor, danger, art, etc.

PURCHASE-MONEY, n. The money paid for any thing bought.

PURCHASER, n. In law, one who acquires or obtains by conquest or by deed or gift, or in any manner other than by descent or inheritance. In this sense, the word is by some authors written purchasor.

1. One who obtains or acquires the property of any thing by paying an equivalent in money.

PURCHASING, ppr. Buying; obtaining by one’s own act or for a price.

PURE, a. [L. purus.]

1. Separate from all heterogeneous or extraneous matter; clear; free from mixture; as pure water; pure clay; pure sand; pure air; pure silver of gold. Pure wine is very scare.

2. Free from moral defilement; without spot; not sullied or tarnished; incorrupt; undebased by moral turpitude; holy.

Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil. Habakkuk 1:13; Proverbs 20:11.

3. Genuine; real; true; incorrupt; unadulterated; as pure religion. James 1:27.

4. Unmixed; separate from any other subject or from every thing foreign; as pure mathematics.

5. Free from guilt; guiltless; innocent.

No hand of strife is pure, but that which wins.

6. Not vitiated with improper or corrupt words or phrases; as a pure style of discourse or composition.

7. Disinterested; as pure benevolence.

8. Chaste; as a pure virgin.

9. Free from vice or moral turpitude. Titus 1:16.

10. Ceremonially clean; unpolluted. Ezra 6:20.

11. Free from any thing improper; as, his motives are pure.

12. Mere; absolute; that and that only; unconnected with any thing else; as a pure villain. He did that from pure compassion, or pure good nature.

PURE, v.t. To purify; to cleanse. [Not in use.]

PURELY, adv. In a pure manner; with an entire separation of heterogeneous or foul matter. Isaiah 1:25.

1. Without any mixture of improper or vicious words or phrases.

2. Innocently; without guilt.

3. Merely; absolutely; without connection with any thing else; completely; totally. The meeting was purely accidental.

PURENESS, n. Clearness; an unmixed state; separation or freedom from any heterogeneous or foreign matter; as the pureness of water or other liquor; the pureness of a metal; the pureness of marl or clay; the pureness of air.

1. Freedom from moral turpitude or guilt.

May we evermore serve thee in holiness and pureness of living.

2. Simplicity; freedom from mixture or composition.

An essence eternal and spiritual, of absolute pureness and simplicity.

3. Freedom from vicious or improper words, phrases or modes of speech; as pureness of style.

Pure villenage, in the feudal law, is a tenure of lands by uncertain services at the will of the lord; opposed to privileged villenage.

PURFILE, n. A sort of ancient trimming for women’s gowns, made of tinsel and thread, called also bobbin work.

[The thing and the name are obsolete.]

PURFLE, v.t. To decorate with a wrought or flowered border; to embroider; as, to purfle with blue and white, or with gold and pearl.

PURFLE, PURFLEW, n. A border of embroidered work.

1. In heraldry, ermins, peans or furs which compose a bordure.

PURGAMENT, n. [L. purgamen.] A cathartic.

PURGATION, n. [L. purgatio. See Purge.]

1. The act or operation of cleansing or purifying by separating and carrying off impurities or whatever is superfluous; applied to the body; as, the bowels are cleansed by purgation. So also in pharmacy and in chimistry, medicines, metals and minerals are purified by purgation.

2. In law, the act of cleansing from a crime, accusation or suspicion of guilt. This was canonical or vulgar. Canonical purgation, prescribed by the canon law, was performed before the bishop or his deputy, and by a jury of twelve clerks. The party accused first made oath to his own innocence, and then the twelve clerks or compurgators swore that they believed he spoke the truth; after which, other witnesses were examined upon oath, on behalf of the prisoner only. Vulgar purgation was performed by the ordeal of fire or water, or by combat. [See Ordeal.]

PURGATIVE, a. Having the power of cleansing; usually, having the power of evacuating the bowels; cathartic.

PURGATIVE, n. A medicine that evacuates the bowels; a cathartic.

PURGATORIAL, PURGATORIAN, a. Pertaining to purgatory.

PURGATORY, a. [L. purgatorius, from purgo, to purge.]

Tending to cleanse; cleansing; expiatory.

PURGATORY, n. Among catholics, a supposed place or state after death, in which the souls of persons are purified, or in which they expiate such offenses committed in this life, as do not merit eternal damnation. After this purgation from the impurities of sin, the souls are supposed to be received into heaven.

PURGE, v.t. purj. [L. purgo.]

1. To cleanse or purify by separating and carrying off whatever is impure, heterogeneous, foreign or superfluous; as, to purge the body by evacuation; to purge the Augean stable. It is followed by away, of, or off. We say, to purge away or to purge off filth, and to purge a liquor of its scum.

2. To clear from guilt or moral defilement; as, to purge one of guilt or crime; to purge away sin.

Purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake. Psalm 79:9.

Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean. Psalm 51:7.

3. To clear from accusation or the charge of a crime, as in ordeal.

4. To remove what is offensive; to sweep away impurities. Ezekiel 20:38.

5. To clarify; to defecate; as liquors.

PURGE, v.i. To become pure by clarification.

1. To have frequent or preternatural evacuations by stool.

PURGE, n. A medicine that evacuates the body by stool; a cathartic.

PURGED, pp. Purified; cleansed; evacuated.

PURGER, n. A person or thing that purges or cleanses.

1. A cathartic.

PURGING, ppr. Cleansing; purifying; carrying off impurities or superfluous matter.

PURGING, n. A diarrhea or dysentery; preternatural evacuation by stool; looseness of bowels.

PURIFICATION, n. [L. purificatio. See Purify.]

1. The act of purifying; the act or operation of separating and removing from any thing that which is heterogeneous or foreign to it; as the purification of liquors or of metals.

2. In religion, the act or operation of cleansing ceremonially, by removing any pollution or defilement. Purification by washing or by other means, was common to the Hebrews and to pagans. The Mohammedans use purification as a preparation for devotion. 2 Chronicles 30:19; Esther 2:12; Luke 2:22.

3. A cleansing from guilt or the pollution of sin; the extinction of sinful desires, appetites and inclinations.

PURIFICATIVE, PURIFICATORY, a. Having power to purify; tending to cleanse.

PURIFIER, n. [from purify.] That which purifies or cleanses; a cleanser; a refiner. Fire was held by the ancients to be an excellent purifier.

PURIFORM, a. [L. pus, puris and form.]

Like pus; in the form of pus.

PURIFY, v.t. [L. purifico; purus, pure, and facio, to make.]

1. To make pure or clear; to free from extraneous admixture; as, to purify liquors or metals; to purify the blood; to purify the air.

2. To free from pollution ceremonially; to remove whatever renders unclean and unfit for sacred services.

Purify yourselves and your captives on the third day, and on the seventh day purify all your raiment. Numbers 31:19-20.

3. To free from guilt or the defilement of sin; as, to purify the heart.

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:14.

4. To clear form improprieties or barbarisms; as, to purify a language.

PURIFY, v.i. To grow or become pure or clear. Liquors will gradually purify.

PURIFYING, pp. Removing foreign or heterogeneous matter; cleansing from pollution; fining; making clear.

PURIFYING, n. The act or operation of making pure or of cleansing from extraneous matter or from pollution.

PURIM, n. Among the Jews, the feast of lots, instituted to commemorate their deliverance from the machinations of Haman. Esther 9:26-32.

PURIST, n. One excessively nice in the use of words.

PURITAN, n. [from pure.] A dissenter from the church of England. The puritans were so called in derision, on account of their professing to follow the pure word of God, in opposition to all traditions and human constitutions.

Hume gives this name to three parties; the political puritans, who maintained the highest principles of civil liberty; the puritans in discipline, who were averse to the ceremonies and government of the episcopal church; and the doctrinal puritans, who rigidly defended the speculative system of the first reformers.

PURITAN, a. Pertaining to the puritans, or dissenters from the church of England.

PURITANIC, PURITANICAL, a. Pertaining to the puritans or their doctrines and practice; exact; rigid; as puritanical notions or opinions; puritanical manners.

PURITANISM, n. The notions or practice of puritans.

PURITANIZE, v.i. To deliver the notions of puritans.

PURITY, n. [L. puritas, form purus.]

1. Freedom from foreign admixture or heterogeneous matter; as the purity of water, of wine, of spirit; the purity of drugs; the purity of metals.

2. Cleanness; freedom from foulness or dirt; as the purity of a garment.

The purity of a linen vesture.

3. Freedom from guilt or the defilement of sin; innocence; as purity of heart or life.

4. Chastity; freedom from contamination by illicit sexual connection.

5. Freedom from any sinister or improper views; as the purity of motives or designs.

6. Freedom from foreign idioms, from barbarous or improper words or phrases; as purity of style or language.

PURL, n. [supposed to be contracted from purfle.]

1. An embroidered and puckered border.

2. A kind of edging for bone-lace.

PURL, n. A species of malt liquor; ale or beer medicated with wormwood or aromatic herbs.
PURL, n. Two rounds in knitting.
PURL, v.i.

1. To murmur, as a small stream flowing among stones or other obstructions, which occasion a continued series of broken sounds. It is applied only to small streams. Large streams running in like manner, are said to roar. In descriptions of rural scenery, the poets seldom omit a purling brook or stream.

My flowery theme,

A painted mistress or a purling stream.

2. To flow or run with a murmuring sound.

Around th’ adjoining brook that purls along

The vocal grove, now fretting o’er a rock.

PURL, v.t. To decorate with fringe or embroidery.
PURL, n. A gentle continued murmur of a small stream of rippling water.

PURLIEU, n. pur’lu. A border; a limit; a certain limited extent or district; originally, the ground near a royal forest, which being severed from it, was made purlieu, that is, pure or free from the forest laws.

PURLIN, n. In architecture, a piece of timber extending from end to end of a building or roof, across and under the rafters, to support them in the middle.

PURLING, ppr. [from purl.] Murmuring or gurgling, as a brook.

PURLING, n. The continued gentle murmur of a small stream.


1. Literally, to take or carry away for one’s self; hence, to steal; to take by theft.

Your butler purloins your liquor.

2. To take by plagiarism; to steal from books or manuscripts.

PURLOINED, pp. Stolen; taken by plagiarism.

PURLOINER, n. A thief; a plagiary.

PURLOINING, ppr. Stealing; committing literary theft.

PURLOINING, n. Theft; plagiarism.

PURPARTY, n. In law, a share, part or portion of an estate, which is allotted to a co-parcener by partition.

PURPLE, a. [L. purpureus; purpura, a shell from which the color was obtained.]

1. Designating a color composed of red and blue blended, much admired, and formerly the roman emperors wore robes of this color.

2. In poetry, red or livid; dyed with blood.

I view a field of blood,

And Tyber rolling with a purple flood.

PURPLE, n. A purple color or dress; hence, imperial government in the Roman empire, as a purple robe was the distinguishing dress of the emperors.

1. A cardinalate.

PURPLE, v.t. [L. purpuro.] To make purple, or to dye of a red color; as hands purpled with blood.

When morn

Purples the east.

Reclining soft in blissful bowers,

Purpled sweet with springing flowers.

PURPLES, n. plu. Spots of a livid red on the body; livid eruptions which appear in certain malignant diseases; a purple fever.

PURPLISH, a. Somewhat purple.


1. Design or tendency; as the purport of Plato’s dialogue.

2. Meaning; import; as the purport of a word or phrase.

PURPORT, v.t. To intend; to intend to show.

1. To mean; to signify.

PURPORTED, pp. Designed; intended; meant.

PURPORTING, ppr. Designing; intending; importing.

PURPOSE, n. [L. propositum, propono; pro, before, and pono, to set or place.]

1. That which a person sets before himself as an object to be reached or accomplished; the end or aim to which the view is directed in any plan, measure or exertion. We believe the Supreme Being created intelligent beings for some benevolent and glorious purpose, and if so, how glorious and benevolent must be his purpose in the plan of redemption! The ambition of men is generally directed to one of two purposes, or to both; the acquisition of wealth or of power. We build houses for the purpose of shelter; we labor for the purpose of subsistence.

2. Intention; design. This sense, however, is hardly to be distinguished from the former; as purpose always includes the end in view.

Every purpose is established by counsel. Proverbs 20:18.

Being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. Ephesians 1:11.

3. End; effect; consequence, good or bad. What good purpose will this answer? We sometimes labor to no purpose. Men often employ their time, talents and money for very evil purposes.

To what purpose is this waste? Matthew 26:8.

4. Instance; example. [Not in use.]

5. Conversation. [Not in use.]

Of purpose, on purpose, with previous design; with the mind directed to that object. On purpose is more generally used, but the true phrase is of purpose.

PURPOSE, v.t. To intend; to design; to resolve; to determine on some end or object to be accomplished.

I have purposed it, I will also do it. Isaiah 46:11; Ephesians 3:11.

Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem. Acts 19:21.

PURPOSED, pp. Intended; designed; applied to things.

1. Resolved; having formed a design or resolution; applied to persons.

I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. Psalm 17:3.

PURPOSELESS, a. Having no effect. [Little used.]

PURPOSELY, adv. By design; intentionally; with predetermination.

In composing this discourse, I purposely declined all offensive and displeasing truths.

So much they scorn the crown, I purposely declined all offensive and displeasing truths.

So much they scorn the crown, that if the throng

By chance go right, they purposely go wrong.

PURPRESTURE, n. In law, a nuisance, consisting in an inclosure of or encroachment on something that belongs to the public; as a house erected or inclosure made on the king’s demesnes, or of a highway, etc.

PURPRISE, n. A close or inclosure; also, the whole compass of a manor.

PURPURATE, n. A compound of purpuric acid and a salifiable base.

PURPURE, n. In heraldry, purple, represented in engraving by diagonal lines.

PURPURIC, a. Purpuric acid is produced by the action of nitric acid upon the lithic or uric acid.

PURR, v.i. To murmur as a cat. [See Pur.]

PURR, n. A sea lark.

PURRE, n. Cyderkin or perkin; the liquor made by steeping the gross matter of pressed apples.

PURRING, ppr. Murmuring as a cat.

PURSE, n. purs. [L. byrsa, an ox hide; Gr. id.]

1. A small bag in which money is contained or carried in the pocket. It was formerly made of leather, and is still made of this material by common people. It is usually of silk net-work.

2. A sum of money offered as the prize of winning in a horse race.

3. In turkey, a sum of money, about f50 sterling, or $222.

4. The public coffers; the treasury; as, to exhaust a nation’s purse, or the public purse.

Long purse, or heavy purse, wealth; riches.

Light purse, or empty purse, poverty, or want of resources.

Sword and purse, the military power and wealth of a nation.

PURSE, v.t. To put in a purse.

1. To contract into folds or wrinkles.

Thou didst contract and purse thy blow.

PURSED, pp. Put in a purse.

1. Contracted into folds or wrinkles.

PURSENET, n. purs’net. A net, the mouth of which may be closed or drawn together like a purse.