Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



RAPEROOT. [See Rape.]

RAPESEED, n. The seed of the rape, from which oil is expressed.

RAPID, a. [L. rapidus, from rapio, the primary sense of which is to rush.]

1. Very swift or quick; moving with celerity; as a rapid stream; a rapid flight; a rapid motion.

Part shun the goal with rapid wheels.

2. Advancing with haste or speed; speedy in progression; as rapid growth; rapid improvement.

3. Of quick utterance of words; as a rapid speaker.

RAPIDITY, n. [L. rapiditas.]

1. Swiftness; celerity; velocity; as the rapidity of a current; the rapidity of motion of any kind.

2. Haste in utterance; as the rapidity of speech or pronunciation.

3. Quickness of progression or advance; as rapidity of growth or improvement.


1. With great speed, celerity or velocity; swiftly; with quick progression; as, to run rapidly; to grow or improve rapidly.

2. With quick utterance; as, to speak rapidly.

RAPIDNESS, n. Swiftness; speed; celerity; rapidity.

RAPIDS, n. plu. The part of a river where the current moves with more celerity than the common current. Rapids imply a considerable descent of the earth, but not sufficient to occasion a fall of the water, or what is called a cascade or cataract.

RAPIER, n. A small sword used only in thrusting.

RAPIER-FISH, n. The sword-fish.

RAPIL, RAPILLO, n. Pulverized volcanic substances.

RAPINE, n. [L. rapina; rapio, to seize.]

1. The act of plundering; the seizing and carrying away of things by force.

2. Violence; force.

RAPINE, v.t. To plunder.

RAPPAREE, n. A wild Irish plunderer; so called from rapery, a half pike that he carries.

RAPPEE, n. A coarse kind of snuff.

RAPPER, n. [from rap.]

1. One that raps or knocks.

2. The knocker of a door. [Not in common use.]

3. An oath or a lie. [Not in use.]

RAPPORT, n. Relation; proportion. [Not in use.]

RAPT, pp. [from rap.] Transported; ravished.

RAPT, v.t. To transport or ravish. [Not legitimate or in use.]
RAPT, n.

1. An ecstasy; a trance.

2. Rapidity. [Not in use.]

RAPTER, RAPTOR, n. [L. raptor.] A ravisher; a plunderer.

RAPTURE, n. [L. raptus, rapio.]

1. A seizing by violence. [Little used.]

2. Transport; ecstasy; violence of a pleasing passion; extreme joy or pleasure.

Music when thus applied, raises in the mind of the hearer great conceptions; it strengthens devotion and advances praise into rapture.

3. Rapidity with violence; a hurrying along with velocity; as rolling with torrent rapture.

4. Enthusiasm; uncommon heat of imagination.

You grow correct, that once with rapture writ.

RAPTURED, a. Ravished; transported.

[But enraptured is generally used.]

RAPTURIST, n. An enthusiast.

RAPTUROUS, a. Ecstatic; transporting; ravishing; as rapturous joy, pleasure or delight.

RARE, a. [L. rarus, thin.]

1. Uncommon; not frequent; as a rare event; a rare phenomenon.

2. Unusually excellent; valuable to a degree seldom found.

Rare work, all fill’d with terror and delight.

Above the rest I judge one beauty rare.

3. Thinly scattered.

4. Thin; porous; not dense; as a rare and attenuate substance.

Water is nineteen times lighter and by consequence nineteen times rarer than gold.

5. Nearly raw; imperfectly roasted or boiled; as rare beef or mutton; eggs roasted rare.

RAREESHOW, n. [rare and show.] A show carried in a box.

RAREFACTION, n. [See Rarefy.]

The act or process of expanding or distending bodies, by separating the parts and rendering the bodies more rare or porous, by which operation they appear under a larger bulk, or require more room, without an accession of new matter; opposed to condensation; as the rarefaction of air.

RAREFIABLE, a. Capable of being rarefied.

RAREFY, v.t. [L. rarefacio; rarus, rare, and facio, to make.]

To make thin and porous or less dense; to expand or enlarge a body without adding to it any new portion of its own matter; opposed to condense.

RAREFY, v.i. To become thin and porous.

RAREFYING, ppr. Making thin or less dense.

RARELY, adv.

1. Seldom; not often; as things rarely seen.

2. Finely; nicely. [little used.]


1. The state of being uncommon; uncommonness; infrequency.

And let the rareness the small gift commend.

2. Value arising from scarcity.

3. Thinness; tenuity; as the rareness of air or vapor.

4. Distance from each other; thinness.


Early ripe; ripe before others, or before the usual season.

RARERIPE, n. An early fruit, particularly a kind of peach which ripens early.

RARITY, n. [L. raritas.]

1. Uncommonness; infrequency.

Far from being fond of a flower for its rarity -

2. A thing valued for its scarcity.

I saw three rarities of different kinds, which pleased me more than any other shows in the place.

3. Thinness; tenuity; opposed to density; as the rarity of air.


A mean fellow; a scoundrel; in modern usage, a trickish dishonest fellow; a rogue; particularly applied to men and boys guilty of the lesser crimes, and indicating less enormity or guilt than villain.

I have sense to serve my turn in store, and he’s a rascal who pretends to more.


1. Lean; as a rascal deer.

2. Mean; low.

RASCALION, n. [from rascal.] A low mean wretch.


1. The low mean people.

2. Mean trickishness or dishonesty; base fraud. [This is its sense in present usage in America.]


1. Meanly trickish or dishonest; vile.

2. Mean; vile; base; worthless; as a rascally porter.

RASE, v.t. s as z. [L. rasus, rado.]

1. To pass along the surface of a thing, with striking or rubbing it at the same time; to graze.

Might not the bullet which rased his cheek, have gone into his head? Obs.

2. To erase; to scratch or rub out; or to blot out; to cancel.

[In this sense, erase is generally used.]

3. To level with the ground; to overthrow; to destroy; as, to rase a city.

[In this sense, raze is generally used. This orthography, rase, may therefore be considered as nearly obsolete; graze, erase and raze having superseded it.]

RASE, n.

1. A cancel; erasure. [Not in use.]

2. A slight wound. [Not in use.]

RASH, a.

1. Hasty in council or action; precipitate; resolving or entering on a project or measure without due deliberation and caution, and thus encountering unnecessary hazard; applied to persons; as a rash statesman or minister; a rash commander.

2. Uttered or undertaken with too much haste or too little reflection; as rash words; rash measures.

3. Requiring haste; urgent.

I have scarce leisure to salute you, my matter is so rash.

4. Quick; sudden; as rash gunpowder. [Not in use.]

RASH, n. Corn so dry as to fall out with handling. [Local.]
RASH, n.

1. Satin.

2. An eruption or efflorescence on the body.

RASH, v.t. To slice; to cut into pieces; to divide.

RASHER, n. A thin slice of bacon; a thin cut.

RASHLY, adv. With precipitation; hastily; without due deliberation.

He that doth any thing rashly, must do it willingly.

So rashly brave, to dare the sword of Theseus.


1. To much haste in resolving or in undertaking a measure; precipitation; inconsiderate readiness or promptness to decide or act, implying disregard of consequences or contempt of danger; applied to persons. The failure of enterprises is often owing to rashness.

We offend by rashness, which is an affirming or denying before we have sufficiently informed ourselves.

2. The quality of being uttered or done without due deliberation; as the rashness of words or of undertakings.

RASP, n. [See Rase.]

1. A large rough file; a grater.

2. A raspberry, which see.

RASP, v.t. [See Rase.]

To rub or file with a rasp; to rub or grate with a rough file; as, to rasp wood to make it smooth; to rasp bones to powder.

RASPATORY, n. A surgeon’s rasp.

RASPBERRY, n. [from rasp, so named from the roughness of the brambles.]

The fruit of a bramble or species of rubus; a berry growing on a prickly plant; as the black raspberry; the red and the white raspberry.

RASPBERRY-BUSH, n. The bramble producing raspberries.

RASURE, n. s as z. [L. rasura, from rado, rasus. See Rase.]

1. The act of scraping or shaving; the act of erasing.

2. The mark by which a letter, word or any part of a writing is erased, effaced or obliterated; an erasure.

RAT, n. [Probably named from gnawing, and from the root of L. rodo.]

A small quadruped of the genus Mus, which infests houses, stores and ships; a troublesome race of animals.

To smell a rat, to be suspicious, to be on the watch from suspicion; as a cat by the scent or noise of a rat.

RATABLE, a. [from rate.]

1. That may be rated, or set at a certain value; as a Danish ore ratable at two marks.

2. Liable or subjected by law to taxation; as ratable estate.

RATABLY, adv. By rate or proportion; proportionally.

RATAFIA, n. ratafee’. A fine spirituous liquor, prepared from the kernels of several kinds of fruits, particularly of cherries, apricots and peaches.

RATAN, n. A small cane, the growth of India.

RAT-CATCHER, n. One who makes it his business to catch rats.

RATCH, n. In clock work, a sort of wheel having twelve fangs, which serve to lift the detents every hour and thereby cause the clock to strike.

RATCHET, n. In a watch, a small tooth at the bottom of the fusee or barrel, which stops it in winding up.

RATCHIL, n. Among miners, fragments of stone.

RATE, n. [L. ratus, reor, contracted from retor, redor, or resor. See Ratio and Reason.]

1. The proportion or standard by which quantity or value is adjusted; as silver valued at the rate of six shillings and eight pence the ounce.

The rate and standard of wit was different then from what it is in these days.

2. Price or amount stated or fixed on any thing. A king may purchase territory at too dear a rate. The rate of interest is prescribed by law.

3. Settled allowance; as a daily rate of provisions. 2 Kings 25:30.

4. Degree; comparative height or value.

I am a spirit of no common rate.

In this did his holiness and godliness apear above the rate and pitch of other men’s, in that he was so infintely merciful.

5. Degree in which any thing is done. the ship sails at the rate of seven knots an hour.

Many of the horse could not march at that rate, nor come lup soon enough.

6. Degree of value; price. Wheat in England is often sold at the rate of fifty shillings the quarter. wit may be purchased at too dear a rate.

7. a tax or sum assessed by authority on property for public use, according to its income or value; as parish rates; town rates; highway rates.

8. In the navy, the order or class of a ship, according to its magnitude or force. Ships of the first rate mount a hundred guns or upwards; those of the second rate carry from 90 to 98 guns; those of the third rate carry from 64 to 80 guns; those of the fourth rate from 50 to 60 guns; those of the fifth rate from 32 to 44 guns; those of the sixth rate from 20 to 30 guns. Those of the two latter rates are called frigates.

RATE, v.t.

1. To set a certain value on; to value at a certain price or degree of excellence.

You seem not high enough your joys to rate.

Instead of rating the man by his performances, we too frequently rate the performance by the man.

2. To fix the magnitude, force or order, as of ships. A ship is rated in the first class, or as a ship of the line.

RATE, v.i.

1. To be set or considered in a class, as a ship. The ship rates as a ship of the line.

2. To make an estimate.

RATE, v.t. [See Read. It is probably allied to rattle, and perhaps to L. rudo.]

To chide with vehemence; to reprove; to scold; to censure violently.

Go, rate thy minions, proud insulting boy.

An old lord of the council rated me the other day in the street about you, sir.

RATED, pp.

1. Set at a certain value; estimated; set in a certain order or rank.

2. Chid; reproved.

RATER, n. One who sets a value on or makes an estimate.

RATH, n. A hill. Obs.

RATH, a. [See Ready.]

Early; coming before others, or before the usual time.

Bring the rath primrose, that forsaken dies.

We sometimes see the word rath-ripe, early ripe; but it is obsolete or nearly so. In the United States, I believe it is not used at all.

RATHER, adv. [I would rather go, or sooner go. The use is taken from pushing or moving forward.] [L. ante, before. But he said, yea rather, happy are they that hear the word of God and keep it. Luke 11:28.]

1. More readily or willingly; with better liking; with preference or choice.

My soul chooseth strangling and death rather than life. Job 7:15.

Light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. John 3:19; Psalm 84:10.

2. In preference; preferably; with better reason. Good is rather to be chosen than evil. See Acts 5:29.

3. In a greater degree than otherwise.

He sought throughout the world, but sought in vain, and no where finding, rather fear’d her slain.

4. More properly; more correctly speaking.

This is an art which does mend nature, change it rather; but the art itself is nature.

5. Noting some degree of contrariety in fact.

She was nothing better, but rather grew worse. Mark 5:26; Matthew 27:24.

The rather, especially; for better reason; for particular cause.

You are come to me in a happy time, the rather for I have some sport in hand.

Had rather, is supposed to be a corruption of would rather.

I had rather speak five words with my understanding. 1 Corinthians 14:19.

This phrase may have been originally, “I’d rather,” for I would rather, and the contraction afterwards mistaken for had. Correct speakers and writers generally use would in all such phrases; I would rather, I prefer; I desire in preference.

RATHOFFITE, n. A mineral brought from Sweden, of the garnet kind. Its color is a dingy brownish black, and it is accompanied with calcarious spar and small crystals of hornblend.


1. The act of ratifying; confirmation.

2. The act of giving sanction and validity to something done by another; as the ratification of a treaty by the senate of the United States.

RATIFIED, pp. Confirmed; sanctioned; made valid.

RATIFIER, n. He or that which ratifies or sanctions.

RATIFY, v.t. [L. ratum facio, to make firm.]

1. To confirm; to establish; to settle.

We have ratified to them the borders of Judea.

2. To approve and sanction; to make valid; as, to ratify an agreement or treaty.

RATIFYING, ppr. Confirming; establishing; approving and sanctioning.

RATING, ppr. [from rate.]

1. Setting at a certain value; assigning rant to; estimating.

2. Chiding; reproving.

RATIO, n. ra’sho. [L. from ratus, reor, to think or suppose, to set, confirm or establish. Reor is contracted from redor or retor, and primarily signifies to throw, to thrust, hence to speak, to set in the mind, to think, like L. suppono; and setting gives the sense of a fixed rate or rule. See Reason.]

Proportion, or the relation of homogeneous things which determines the quantity of one from the quantity of another, without the intervention of a third.

The relation which one quantity has to another of the same kind, as expressed by the quotient of the one divided by the other. Thus the ratio of 4 to 2 is 4/2, or 2; and the ratio of 5 to 6 is 5/6. This is geometrical ratio, which is that signified when the term is used without distinction; but arithmetical ratio is the difference between two quantities. Thus the arithmetical ratio of 2 to 6 is 4.

Ratio respects magnitudes of the same kind only. One line may be compared with another line, but a line cannot be compared with a superficies, and hence between a line and a superficies there can be no ratio.

RATIOCINATE, v.i. [L. ratiocinor, from ratio, reason.] To reason; to argue. [Little used.]

RATIOCINATION, n. [L. ratiocinatio.] The act or process of reasoning, or of deducing consequences from premises. [See Reasoning.]

RATIOCINATIVE, a. Argumentative; consisting in the comparison of propositions or facts, and the deduction of inferences from the comparison; as a ratiocinative process. [A bad word and little used.]

RATION, n. [L. ratio, proportion.]

A portion or fixed allowance of provisions, drink and forage, assigned to each soldier in an army for his daily subsistence and for the subsistence of horses. Officers have several rations according to their rank or number of attendants. Seamen in the navy also have rations of certain articles.

RATIONAL, a. [L. rationalis.]

1. Having reason or the faculty of reasoning; endowed with reason; opposed to irrational; as, man is a rational being; brutes are not rational animals.

It is our glory and happiness to have a rational nature.

2. Agreeable to reason; opposed to absurd; as a rational conclusion or inference; rational conduct.

3. Agreeable to reason; not extravagant.

4. Acting in conformity to reason; wise; judicious; as a rational man.

RATIONAL, n. A rational being.


1. A detail with reasons; a series of reasons assigned; as Dr. Sparrow’s rationale of the Common Prayer.

2. An account or solution of the principles of some opinion, action, hypothesis, phenomenon, etc.

RATIONALIST, n. One who proceeds in his disquisitions and practice wholly upon reason.


1. The power of reasoning.

God has made rationality the common portion of mankind.

2. Reasonableness.

Well directed intentions, whose rationalities will not bear a rigid examination.

RATIONALLY, adv. In consistency with reason; reasonably. We rationally expect every man will pursue his own happiness.

RATIONALNESS, n. The state of being rational or consistent with reason.

RATLIN, RATLINE, n. A small line traversing the shrouds of a ship, making the step of a ladder for ascending to the mast-heads.


A sprout from the root of the sugar cane, which has been cut.

RATSBANE, n. [rat and bane.] Poison for rats; arsenic.

RATSBANED, a. Poisoned by ratsbane.

RAT-TAIL, n. In farriery, an excrescence growing from the pastern to the middle of the shank of a horse.

RATTEEN, n. A thick woolen stuff quilled or twilled.

RATTINET, n. A woolen stuff thinner than ratteen.

RATTLE, v.i.

1. To make a quick sharp noise rapidly repeated, by the collision of bodies not very sonorous. When bodies are sonorous, it is called jingling. We say, the wheels rattle over the pavement.

And the rude hail in rattling tempest forms.

He fagoted his notions as they fell, and if they rhym’d and rattl’d, all was well.

2. To speak eagerly and noisily; to utter words in a clattering manner.

Thus turbulent in rattling tone she spoke.

He rattles it out against popery.

RATTLE, v.t.

1. To cause to make a rattling sound or a rapid succession of sharp sounds; as, to rattle a chain.

2. To stun with noise; to drive with sharp sounds rapidly repeated.

Sound but another, and another shall, as loud as thine, rattle the welkin’s ear.

3. To scold; to rail at clamorously; as, to rattle off servants sharply.


1. A rapid succession of sharp clattering sounds; as the rattle of a drum.

2. A rapid succession of words sharply uttered; loud rapid talk; clamorous chiding.

3. An instrument with which a clattering sound is made.

The rattles of Isis and the cymbals of Brasilea nearly enough resemble each other.

The rhymes and rattles of the man or boy.

4. A plant of the genus Pedicularis, louse-wort.

Yellow rattle, a plant of the genus Rhinanthus.

RATTLE-HEADED, a. Noisy; giddy; unsteady.

RATTLESNAKE, n. A snake that has rattles at the tail, of the genus Crotalus. The rattles consist of articulated horny cells, which the animal vibrates in such a manner as to make a rattling sound. The poison of the rattlesnake is deadly.

RATTLESNAKE-ROOT, n. A plant or root of the genus Polygala, and another of the genus Prenanthes.

RATTLESNAKE-WEED, n. A plant of the genus Eryngium.

RATTLING, ppr. Making a quick succession of sharp sounds.

RATTLING, n. A rapid succession of sharp sounds. Nahum 3:2.

RAUCITY, n. [L. raucus, hoarse. Raucus is the Eng. rough, which see.]

1. Hoarseness; a loud rough sound; as the raucity of a trumpet.

2. Among physicians, hoarseness of the human voice.

RAUCOUS, a. Hoarse; harsh. [Not in use.]

RAUGHT, the old participle of reach. Obs.

RAUNCH. [See Wrench.]

RAVAGE, n. [L. rapio.]

1. Spoil; ruin; waste; destruction by violence, wither by men, beasts or physical causes; as the ravage of a lion; the ravages of fire or tempest; the ravages of an army.

Would one think ‘twene possible for love to make such ravage in a noble soul.

2. Waste; ruin; destruction by decay; as the ravages of time.

RAVAGE, v.t.

1. To spoil; to plunder; to pillage; to sack.

Already Cesar has ravag’d more than half the globe!

2. To lay waste by any violent force; as, a flood or inundation ravages the meadows.

The shatter’d forest and the ravag’d vale.

3. to waste or destroy by eating; as fields ravaged by swarms of locusts.

RAVAGED, pp. Wasted; destroyed; pillaged.

RAVAGER, n. a plunderer a spoiler; he or that which lays waste.

RAVAGING, ppr. Plundering; pillaging; laying waste.

RAVE, v.i. [L. rabio, to rave, to rage or be furious; rabies, rage.]

1. To wander in mind or intellect; to be delirious; to talk irrationally; to be wild.

When men thus rave, we may conclude their brains are turned.

2. To utter furious exclamations; to be furious or raging; as a madman.

Have I not cause to rave and beat my breast?

3. To dote; to be unreasonably fond; followed by upon; as, to rave upon antiquity. [Hardly proper.]

RAVE, n. the upper side-piece of timber of the body of a cart.

RAVEL, v.t. rav’l.

1. To entangle; to entwist together; to make intricate; to involve; to perplex.

What glory’s due to him that could divide such ravel’d inte’rests, has the knot unty’d?

2. To untwist; to unweave or unknot; to disentangle; as, to ravel out a twist; to ravel out a stocking.

Sleep, that knits up the ravel’d sleeve of care.

3. to hurry or run over in confusion. [Not in use.]

RAVEL, v.i. rav’l.

1. To fall into perplexity and confusion.

Till by their own perplexities involv’d, they ravel more, still less resolv’d.

2. To work in perplexities; to busy one’s self with intricacies; to enter by winding and turning.

It will be needless to ravel far into the records of elder times.

The humor of raveling into all these mystical or entangled matters - produced infinite diputes.

3. To be unwoven.

[As far as my observation extends, ravel, in the United States, is used only in the second sense above, viz. to unweave, to separate the texture of that which is woven or knit; so that ravel and unravel are with us always synonymous. etymology proves this to be the true sense of the word ravel.]

RAVELED, pp. Twisted together; made intricate; disentangled.