Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



PURSE-PRIDE, n. Pride of money; insolence proceeding from the possession of wealth.

PURSE-PROUD, a. Proud of wealth; puffed up with the possession of money or riches.

PURSER, n. In the navy, an officer who has charge of the provisions of a ship of war, and attends to their preservation and distribution among the officers and crew.

PURSINESS, a mistake for pussiness. [See Pussy.]

PURSLAIN, n. [The Latin is portulaca. See Leek.]

A plant of the genus Portulaca. The sea purslain is of the genus Atriplex. The tree sea purslain is the Atriplex halimus. [See Purslain tree.] The water purslain is of the genus Peplis.

PURSLAIN-TREE, n. [L. halimus.] A shrub proper for hedges.

PURSUABLE, a. [from pursue.]

That may be pursued, followed of prosecuted.

PURSUANCE, a. [from pursue.] A following; prosecution, process or continued exertion to reach or accomplish something; as in pursuance of the main design.

1. Consequence; as in pursuance of an order from the commander in chief.

PURSUANT, a. [from pursue] Done in consequence or prosecution of any thing; hence, agreeable; conformable. Pursuant to a former resolution the house proceeded to appoint the standing committees. This measure was adopted pursuant to a former order.

PURSUE, v.t. [L. sequor; prosequor, or persequor. See Seek.]

1. To follow; to go or proceed after or in a like direction. The captain pursued the same course as former navigators have taken. A subsequent legislature pursued the course of their predecessors.

2. To take and proceed in, without following another. Captain Cook pursued a new and unexplored course. New circumstances often compel us to pursue new expedients and untried course. What course shall we pursue?

3. To follow with a view to overtake; to follow with haste; to chase; as, to pursue a hare; to pursue an enemy.

4. To seek; to use measures to obtain; as, to pursue a remedy at law.

5. To prosecute; to continue. A stream proceeds from a lake and pursues a southerly course to the ocean.

He that pursueth evil, pursueth it to his own death. Proverbs 11:19.

6. To follow as an example; to imitate.

The fame of ancient matrons you pursue.

7. To endeavor to attain to; to strive to reach or gain.

We happiness pursue; we fly from pain.

8. To follow with enmity; to persecute.

This verb is frequently followed by after. Genesis 35:5.

PURSUE, v.i. To go on; to proceed; to continue; a Gallicism.

I have, pursues Carneades, wondered chimists should not consider--

PURSUED, pp. Followed; chased; prosecuted; continued.

PURSUER, n. One that follows; one that chases; one that follows in haste with a view to overtake.

PURSUING, ppr. Following; chasing; hastening after to overtake; prosecuting; proceeding in; continuing.

PURSUIT, n. The act of following with a view to overtake; a following with haste, either for sport or in hostility; as the pursuit of game; the pursuit of an enemy.

1. A following with a view to reach, accomplish or obtain; endeavor to attain to or gain; as the pursuit of knowledge; the pursuit of happiness or pleasure; the pursuit of power, of honor, of distinction, of a phantom.

2. Proceeding; course of business or occupation; continued employment with a view to some end; as mercantile pursuits; literary pursuits.

3. Prosecution; continuance of endeavor.

PURSUIVANT, n. A state messenger; an attendant on the heralds.

PURSY, a corrupt orthography. [See Pussy.]

PURTENANCE, n. [from the L. pertinens, pertineo. See Appurtenance.] Appurtenance; but applied to the pluck of an animal, Exodus 12:9.

PURULENCE, PURULENCY, n. [L. purulentus, from pus, puris, matter.]

The generation of pus or matter; pus.

PURULENT, a. Consisting of pus or matter; partaking of the nature of pus.

PURVEY, v.t. [L. provideo.]

1. To provide; to provide with conveniences.

2. To procure.

PURVEY, v.i. To purchase provisions; to provide.

PURVEYANCE, n. Procurement of provisions or victuals.

1. Provision; victuals provided.

2. In English laws, the royal prerogative or right of pre-emption, by which the king was authorized to buy provision and necessaries for the use of his household at an apprized value, in preference to all his subjects, and even without the consent of the owner; also, the right of impressing horses and carriages, etc.; a right abolished by Stat. 12. Charles II. 24.

PURVEYOR, n. One who provides victuals, or whose business is to make provision for the table; a victualer.

1. An officer who formerly provided or exacted provision for the king’s household.

2. One who provides the means of gratifying lust; a procurer; a pimp; a bawd.


1. Primarily, a condition or proviso; but in this sense not used.

2. The body of a statute, or that part which begins with “Be it enacted,” as distinguished form the preamble.

3. In modern usage, the limit or scope of a statute; the whole extend of its intention or provisions.

4. Superintendence.

The federal power--is confined to objects of a general nature, more within the purview of the United States, than of any particular one. [Unusual.]

5. Limit or sphere intended; scope; extent.

In determining the extent of information required in the exercise of a particular authority, recourse must be had to the objects within the purview of that authority.

PUS, n. [L.] The white or yellowish matter generated in ulcers and wounds in the process of healing.

PUSH, v.t.

1. To press against with force; to drive or impel by pressure; or to endeavor to drive by steady pressure, without striking; opposed to draw. We push a thing forward by force applied behind it; we draw by applying force before it. We may push without moving the object.

2. To butt; to strike with the end of the horns; to thrust the points of horns against.

If the ox shall push a man-servant or maid-servant--he shall be stones. Exodus 21:32.

3. To press or urge forward; as, to push an objection too far.

He forewarns his care

With rules to push his fortune or to bear.

4. To urge; to drive.

Ambition pushes the soul to such actions as are apt to procure honor to the actor.

5. To enforce; to press; to drive to a conclusion.

We are pushed for an answer.

6. To importune; to press with solicitation; to tease.

To push down, to overthrow by pushing or impulse.

PUSH, v.i. To make a thrust; as, to push with the horns or with a sword.

1. To make an effort.

At length

Both sides resolv’d to push, we tried our strength.

2. To make an attack.

The king of the south shall push at him. Daniel 11:40.

3. To burst out.

To push on, to drive or urge forward; to hasten. Push on, brave men.

PUSH, n. A thrust with a pointed instrument, or with the end of a thing.

1. Any pressure, impulse or force applied; as, to give the ball the first push.

2. An assault or attack.

3. A forcible onset; a vigorous effort.

4. Exigence; trial; extremity.

When it comes to the push, it is no more than talk.

5. A sudden emergence.

6. A little swelling or pustule; a wheal; a pimple; an eruption.

PUSHED, pp. Pressed; urged; driven.

PUSHER, n. One that drives forward.

PUSHING, ppr. Pressing; driving; urging forward.

1. a. Pressing forward in business; enterprising; driving; vigorous.

PUSHPIN, n. A child’s play in which pins are pushed alternately.

PUSILLANIMITY, n. [L. pusillanimitas; pusillus, small, weak, and animus, courage.] Want of that firmness and strength of mind which constitutes courage or fortitude; weakness of spirit; cowardliness; that feebleness of mind which shrinks from trifling or imaginary dangers.

It is obvious to distinguish between an act of pusillanimity and an act of great modesty or humility.


1. Destitute of that strength and firmness of mind which constitute courage, bravery and fortitude; being of weak courage; mean spirited; cowardly; applied to persons; as a pusillanimous prince.

2. Proceeding from weakness of mind or want of courage; feeble; as pusillanimous counsels.

PUSILLANIMOUSLY, adv. With want of courage.

PUSILLANIMOUSNESS, n. Pusillanimity; want of courage.

PUSS, n.

1. The fondling name of a cat.

2. The sportsman’s name for a hare.

PUSSINESS, n. [from pussy.] A state of being swelled or bloated; inflation; hence, shortness of breath.

PUSSY, a. Properly, inflated, swelled; hence, fat, short and thick; and as persons of this make labor in respiration, the word is used for short breathed.

PUSTULATE, v.t. [L. pustulatus. See Pustule.]

To form into pustules or blisters.

PUSTULE, n. pus’l or pus’tul; the former is the usual pronunciation in America. [L. pustula; from the root of push.]

A pimple or wheal; a small push or eruption on the skin.

PUSTULOUS, a. [L. pustulosus.] Full of pustules or pimples.

PUT, v.t. pret. and pp. put. [Gr. a germ, shoot or twig. We find the same word in the L. puto, to prune, that is, to thrust off, also to think or consider, that is, to set in the mind, as we use suppose, L. supono. But we see the English sense more distinctly in the compounds, imputo, to impute, that is, to put to or on; computo, to compute, to put together. The L. posui, from pono, is probably a dialectical orthography of the same root.]

1. To set, lay or place; in a general sense. Thus we say, to put the hand to the face; to put a book on the shelf; to put a horse in the stable; to put fire to the fuel; to put clothes on the body. God planted a garden and there he put Adam.

2. Put is applicable to state or condition, as well as to place. Put him in a condition to help himself. Put the fortress in a state of defense. The apostles were put in trust with the gospel. We are often put in jeopardy by our own ignorance or rashness. We do not always put the best men in office.

3. To repose.

How wilt thou--put thy trust on Egypt for chariots? 2 Kings 18:24.

4. To push into action.

Thank him who puts me, loth, to this revenge.

5. To apply; to set to employment.

No man having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. Luke 9:62.

6. To throw or introduce suddenly. He had no time to put in a word.

7. To consign to letters.

He made a proclamation--and put it also in writing. 2 Chronicles 36:22.

8. To oblige; to require.

We are put to prove things which can hardly be made plainer.

9. To incite; to instigate; to urge by influence. The appearance of a formidable enemy put the king on making vigorous preparations for defense.

This put me upon observing the thickness of the glass.

These wretches put us upon all mischief, to feed their lusts and extravagances.

10. To propose; as, to put a question to the witness; to put a case in point.

11. To reach to another. Habakkuk 2:15.

12. To bring into a state of mind or temper.

Solyman, to put the Rhodians out of all suspicion of invasion--

13. To offer; to advance.

I am ashamed to put a loose indigested play upon the public--

14. To cause.

The natural constitutions of men put a wide difference between them.

To put about, to turn, to change the course; to gibe ship.

To put by, to turn away; to divert.

The design of the evil one is to put thee by from thy spiritual employment.

A fright hath put by an ague fit.

1. To thrust aside.

Jonathan had died for being so,

Had not just God put by th’ unnatural blow.

To put down, to baffle; to repress; to crush; as, to put down a party.

1. To degrade; to deprive of authority, power or place.

2. To bring into disuse.

Sugar hath put down the use of honey.

3. To confute; to silence.

Mark now how a plain tale shall put you down.

To put forth, to propose; to offer to notice.

Sampson said, I will now put forth a riddle to you. Judges 14:12.

1. To extend; to reach; as, to put forth the hand.

2. To shoot out; to send out, as a sprout; as, to put forth leaves.

3. To exert; to bring into action; as, to put forth strength.

4. To publish, as a book.

To put in, to introduce among others; as, to put in a word while others are discoursing.

1. To insert; as, to put in a passage or clause; to put in a cion.

2. To conduct into a harbor.

To put in fear, to affright; to make fearful.

To put in mind, to remind; to call to remembrance.

To put in practice, to use; to exercise; as, to put in practice the maxims of the wise man.

To put into another’s hands, to trust; to commit to the care of.

To put off, to divest; to lay aside; as, to put off a robe; to put off mortality or the mortal body; to put off haughty airs.

1. To turn aside from a purpose or demand; to defeat or delay by artifice.

I hoped for a demonstration, but Themistices hopes to put me off with a harangue.

This is n unreasonable demand, and we might put him off with this answer.

2. To delay; to defer; to postpone. How generally do men put off the care of their salvation to future opportunities!

3. To pass fallaciously; to cause to be circulated or received; as, to put off upon the world some plausible reports or ingenious theory.

4. To discard.

The clothiers all put off

The spinsters, carders, fullers, weavers--

5. To recommend; to vend; to obtrude.

6. To vend; to sell.

7. To pass into other hands; as, to put off a counterfeit coin or note.

8. To push from land; as, to put off the boat.

To put on or upon, to impute; to charge; as, to put one’s own crime or blame on another.

1. To invest with, as clothes or covering; as, to put on a cloke.

2. To assume; as, to put on a grave countenance; to put on a counterfeit appearance.

Mercury--put on the shape of a man.

3. To forward; to promote.

This came handsomely to put on the peace.

4. To impose; to inflict.

That which thou puttest on me, I will bear. 2 Kings 18:14.

To be put upon, to be imposed on; to be deceived; used chiefly in the passive form.

To put over, to refer; to send.

For the certain knowledge of that truth,

I put you o’er to heaven and to my mother.

1. To defer; to postpone. The court put over the cause to the next term.

To put out, to place at interest; to lend at use. Money put out at compound interest, nearly doubles in eleven years.

1. To extinguish; as, to put out a candle, lamp or fire; to put out the remains of affection.

2. To send; to emit; to shoot; as a bud or sprout; as, to put out leaves.

3. To extend; to reach out; to protrude; as, to put out the hand.

4. To drive out; to expel; to dismiss.

When I am put out of the stewardship. Luke 16:4.

5. To publish; to make public; as, to put out a pamphlet. [Not vulgar.]

6. To confuse; to disconcert; to interrupt; as, to put one out in reading or speaking.

To put out the eyes, to destroy the power of sight; to render blind.

To put to, to add; to unite; as, to put one sum to another.

1. To refer to; to expose; as, to put the fate of the army or nation to a battle; to put the safety of the state to hazard.

2. To punish by; to distress by; as, to put a man to the rack or torture.

To put to it, to distress; to press hard; to perplex; to give difficulty to.

O gentle lady, do not put me to ‘t.

To be put to it, in the passive form, to have difficulty.

I shall be hard put to it to bring myself off.

To put the hand to, to apply; to take hold; to begin; to undertake; as, to put the hand to the plow. See Deuteronomy 12:7.

1. To take by theft or wrong; to embezzle.

Then shall an oath of the Lord be between them both, that he hath not put his hand to his neighbor’s goods. Exodus 22:11.

To put to the sword, to kill; to slay.

To put to death, to kill.

To put to a stand, to stop; to arrest by obstacles or difficulties.

To put to trial, or on trial, to bring before a court and jury for examination and decision.

1. To bring to a test; to try.

To put together, to unite in a sum, mass or compound; to add; as, to put two sums together; put together the ingredients.

1. To unite; to connect. Put the two chains together.

2. To place in company or in one society.

To put trust in, to confide in; to repose confidence in.

To put up, to pass unavenged; to overlook; not to punish or resent; as, to put up injuries; to put up indignities.

Such national injuries are not to be put up, but when the offender is below resentment.

[I have never heard this phrase used in America. We always say, to put up with; we cannot put up with such injuries.]

1. To send forth or shoot up, as plants; as, to put up mushrooms.

2. To expose; to offer publicly; as, to put up goods to sale or auction.

3. To start from a cover.

4. To hoard.

Himself never put up any of the rent.

5. To reposit for preservation; as, to put up apples for winter.

6. To pack; to reposit in casks with salt for preservation; as, to put up pork, beef or fish.

7. To hide or lay aside. Put up that letter.

8. To put in a trunk or box; to pack; as, to put up clothing for a journey.

PUT, v.i. To go or move; as, when the air first puts up.

1. To steer.

His fury thus appeas’d, he puts to land.

2. To shoot; to germinate.

The sap puts downward.

To put forth, to shoot; to bud; to germinate.

Take earth from under walls where nettles put forth.

1. To leave a port or haven.

To put in, to enter a harbor; to sail into port.

1. To offer a claim. A puts in for a share of profits.

To put in for, to offer one’s self; to stand as a candidate for.

To put off, to leave land.

To put on, to urge motion; to drive vehemently.

To put over, to sail over or across.

To put to sea, to set sail; to begin a voyage; to advance into the ocean.

To put up, to take lodgings; to lodge. We put up at the Golden Ball.

1. To offer one’s self as a candidate.

To put up to, to advance to. [Little used.]

To put up with, to overlook or suffer without recompense, punishment or resentment; as, to put up with an injury or affront.

1. To take without opposition or dissatisfaction; as, to put up with bad fare.

This verb, in all its uses, retains its primary sense, to set, throw, thrust, send, etc.; but its signification is modified in a great variety of ways, by other words standing in connection with it.

PUT, n. An action of distress; as a forced put.

1. A game at cards.

PUT, n. A rustic; a clown.
PUT, n. A strumpet; a prostitute.

Put case, for put the case, suppose the case to be so; a vulgar or at least inelegant phrase.

PUTAGE, n. [See Put, a prostitute.] In law, prostitution or fornication on the part of a female.

PUTANISM, n. Customary lewdness or prostitution of a female.

PUTATIVE, a. [L. puto, to suppose.] Supposed; reputed; commonly thought or deemed; as the putative father of a child.

PUTID, a. [L. putidus, from puteo, to have an ill smell.]

Mean; base; worthless.

PUTIDNESS, n. Meanness; vileness.

PUTLOG, n. A short piece of timber used in scaffolds.

PUT-OFF, n. An excuse; a shift for evasion or delay.

PUTREDINOUS, a. [from L. putredo, from putreo, putris.]

Proceeding from putrefaction, or partaking of the putrefactive process; having an offensive smell.

PUTREFACTION, n. [L. putrefactio; putris; putrid, and facio, to make.] A natural process by which animal and vegetable bodies are disorganized and dissolved, or reduced to their original separate elements. Putrefaction is greatly accelerated by heat and moisture.

PUTREFACTIVE, a. Pertaining to putrefaction; as the putrefactive smell or process.

1. Tending to promote putrefaction; causing putrefaction.

PUTREFIED, pp. Dissolved; rotten.

PUTREFY, v.t. [L. putrefacio; putris, putrid, and facio, to make.]

1. To cause to dissolve; to disorganize and reduce to the simple constituent elements, as animal or vegetable bodies; to cause to rot. Heat and moisture soon putrefy dead flesh or vegetables.

2. To corrupt; to make foul; as, to putrefy the air. [Little used.]

3. To make morbid, carious or gangrenous; as, to putrefy an ulcer or wound.

PUTREFY, v.i. To dissolve and return to the original distinct elements, as animal and vegetable substances deprived of the living principle; to rot.

PUTRESCENCE, n. [from L. putrescens, putresco.]

The state of dissolving, as an animal or vegetable substance; a putrid state.

PUTRESCENT, a. Becoming putrid; passing from an organized state into the constituent elements.

1. Pertaining to the process of putrefaction; as a putrescent smell.

PUTRESCIBLE, a. That may be putrefied; liable to become putrid; as putrescible substances.

PUTRID, a. [L. putridus, from putris, putreo.]

1. In a state of dissolution or disorganization, as animal and vegetable bodies; corrupt; rotten; as putrid flesh. Indicating a state of dissolution; tending to disorganize the substances composing the body; malignant; as a putrid fever.

2. Proceeding from putrefaction or pertaining to it; as a putrid scent.

PUTRIDNESS, PUTRIDITY, n. The state of being putrid; corruption.

PUTRY, a. Rotten. [Not used.]

PUTTER, n. [from put.] One who puts or places.

PUTTER-ON, n. An inciter or instigator.

PUTTING, ppr. [from put.] Setting; placing; laying.

PUTTING-STONE, n. In Scotland, a stone laid at the gates of great houses for trials of strength.

PUTTOC, n. A kite. shrouds, probably a mistake for futtoc-shrouds.

PUTTY, n. A kind of paste or cement compounded of whiting and linseed oil, beaten or kneaded to the consistence of dough; used in fastening glass in sashes and in stopping crevices.

1. A powder of calcined tin, used in polishing glass and steel.

PUZZLE, v.t. [from the root of pose, which see.]

1. To perplex; to embarrass; to put to a stand; to gravel.

A shrewd disputant in those points, is dexterous in puzzling others.

He is perpetually puzzled and perplexed amidst his own blunders.

2. To make intricate; to entangle.

The ways of heaven are dark and intricate,

Puzzl’d in mazes and perplex’d with error.

PUZZLE, v.i. To be bewildered; to be awkward.
PUZZLE, n. Perplexity; embarrassment.

PUZZLED, pp. Perplexed; intricate; put to a stand.

PUZZLE-HEADED, a. Having the head full of confused notions.

PUZZLER, n. One that perplexes.

PUZZLING, ppr. Perplexing; embarrassing; bewildering.

PUZZOLAN, PUZZOLANA, n. A loose porous volcanic substance or stone.

PYCNITE, n. [Gr. compact.] A mineral, the shorlite of Kirwan, or shorlous topaz of Jameson. It usually appears in long irregular prisms or cylinders, longitudinally striated, and united in bundles.

PYCNOSTYLE, n. [Gr. thick, and column.] In ancient architecture, a building where the columns stand very close to each other; only one diameter and a half of the column being allowed to each intercolumniation.

PYE, n. [probably a contracted word, and the same as pie, a mass.]

A confused mass; the state of printing types when the sorts are mixed.

PYE, n. A bird. [See Pie.]

PYGARG, PYGARGUS, n. [Gr.] A fowl of the genus Falco, the female of the hen harrier.

PYGMEAN, a. Pertaining to a pygmy or dwarf; very small; dwarfish.

PYGMY, n. [L. pygmoeus; Gr. the fist; as big as the fist.]

A dwarf; a person not exceeding a cubit in highth. This appellation was given by the ancients to a fabulous race of beings inhabiting Thrace, who waged war with the cranes and were destroyed.

PYLAGORE, n. [Gr.] In ancient Greece, a delegate or representative of a city, sent to the Amphictyonic council.

PYLORIC, a. Pertaining to the pylorus; as the pyloric artery.

PYLORUS, n. [Gr. a gate.] The lower and right orifice of the stomach.

PYRACANTH, n. [Gr. fiery thorn.] A plant; a kind of thorn of the genus Mespilus.

PYRALLOLITE, n. [Gr. fire, and alluding to its changes of color before the blowpipe.] A new mineral found in Finland, massive and in crystals, friable and yielding to the knife. Its color is greenish.

PYRAMID, n. [L. pyramis. The origin and composition of this word are not ascertained. It is supposed that the Gr. fire, forms one of its component parts.] A solid body standing on a triangular, square or polygonal base, and terminating in a point at the top; or in geometry, a solid figure consisting of several triangles, whose bases are all in the same plane, and which have one common vertex.

The pyramids of Egypt may have been erected to the sun, during the prevalence of Sabianism.

A pyramid is formed by the meeting of three or more planes at a point termed the apex.

PYRAMIDAL, a. Pyramidical.

PYRAMIDICAL, a. Having the form of a pyramid.

The particles of earth being cubical, those of fire, pyramidical.

A pyramidical rock.

PYRAMIDICALLY, adv. In the form of a pyramid.

PYRAMIDOID, PYRAMOID, n. [pyramid and Gr. form.] A solid figure, formed by the rotation of a semi-parabola about its base or greatest ordinate.

PYRAMIS, n. [L.] A pyramid.

PYRE, n. [L. pyra.] A funeral pile; a pile to be burnt.

PYRENITE, n. A mineral of a grayish black color, found in the Pyrenees, and considered as a variety of garnet. It occurs in minute rhombic dodecahedrons.

PYRETOLOGY, n. [Gr. fever, from fire, and discourse.]

A discourse or treatise on fevers, or the doctrine of fevers.

PYRGOM, n. A mineral, called also fassaite.

PYRIFORM, a. [L., a pear, and form.] Having the form of a pear.

PYRITACEOUS, a. Pertaining to pyrite. [See Pyritic.]

PYRITE, n. plu. pyrites. [Gr., fire.] Fire-stone; a genus of inflammable substances composed of sulphur and iron or other metal; a sulphuret of iron or other metal.

Hence sable coal his massy couch extends, and stars of gold the sparkling pyrite blends.

[I have anglicized this word, according to Darwin and the French mineralogists; making pyrites a regular plural.]

PYRITIC, PYRITICAL, PYRITOUS, a. Pertaining to pyrite; consisting of or resembling pyrite.

PYRITIFEROUS, a. [pyrite and L., to produce.] Containing or producing pyrite.

PYRITIZE, v.t. To convert into pyrite.

PYRITOLOGY, n. [pyrite and Gr., discourse.] A discourse or treatise on pyrites.

PYROGOM, n. A variety of diopside.

PYROLATRY, n. [Gr., fire; worship.] The worship of fire.

PYROLIGNEOUS, PYROLIGNIC, PYROLIGNOUS, a. [Gr., fire; L., wood.] Generated or procured by the distillation of wood; a term applied to the acid obtained by the distillation of wood.