Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



RE-ESTABLISH, v.t. [re and establish.] To establish anew; to fix or confirm again; as, to re-establish a covenant; to re-establish health.

RE-ESTABLISHED, pp. Established or confirmed again.

RE-ESTABLISHER, n. One who establishes again.

RE-ESTABLISHING, ppr. Establishing anew; confirming again.

RE-ESTABLISHMENT, n. The act of establishing again; the state of being re-established; renewed confirmation; restoration.

RE-ESTATE, v.t. [re and estate.] To re-establish. [Not used.]

REEVE, n. A steward. Obs.

REEVE, n. A bird, the female of the ruff.
REEVE, v.t. In seamen’s language, to pass the end of a rope through any hole in a block, thimble, cleat, ring-bolt, cringle, etc.

RE-EXAMINATION, n. A renewed or repeated examination.

RE-EXAMINE, v.t. [re and examine.] To examine anew.

RE-EXAMINED, ppr. Examined again.

RE-EXAMINING, ppr. Examining anew.

RE-EXCHANGE, n. [re and exchange.]

1. A renewed exchange.

2. In commerce, the exchange chargeable on the redraft of a bill of exchange.

The rate of re-exchange is regulated with respect to the drawer, at the course of exchange between the place where the bill of exchange was payable, and the place where it was drawn. Re-exchanges cannot be emulated.

RE-EXPORT, v.t. [re and export.] To export again; to export what has been imported. In the United States, a drawback is allowed on commodities re-exported.

RE-EXPORT, n. Any commodity re-exported.

RE-EXPORTATION, n. The act of exporting what has been imported.

RE-EXPORTED, pp. Exported after being imported.

RE-EXPORTING, ppr. Exporting what has been imported.

REFECT, v.t. [L. refectus, reficio; re and facio, to make.]

To refresh; to restore after hunger or fatigue. [Not in use.]

REFECTION, n. [L. refectio.]

1. Refreshment after hunger or fatigue.

2. A spare meal or repast.

REFECTIVE, a. Refreshing; restoring.

REFECTIVE, n. That which refreshes.

REFECTORY, n. A room of refreshment; properly, a hall or apartment in convents and monasteries, where a moderate repast is taken.

REFEL, v.t. [L. refello.] To refute; to disprove; to repress; as, to refel the tricks of a sophister. [Little used.]

REFER, v.t. [L. refero; re and fero, to bear.]

1. To direct, leave or deliver over to another person or tribunal for information or decision; as when parties to a suit refer their cause to another court; or the court refers a cause to individuals for examination and report. A person whose opinion is requested, sometimes refers the inquirer to another person or other source of information.

2. To reduce as to the ultimate end.

You profess and practice to refer all things to yourself.

3. To reduce; to assign; as to an order, genus or class. Naturalists are sometimes at a loss to know to what class or genus an animal or plant is to be referred.

To refer one’s self, to betake; to apply. [Little used.]

REFER, v.i.

1. To respect; to have relation. Many passages of Scripture refer to the peculiar customs of the orientals.

2. To appeal; to have recourse; to apply.

In suits it is good to refer to some friend of trust.

3. To allude; to have respect to by intimation without naming. I refer to a well known fact.


1. That may be referred; capable of being considered in relation to something else.

2. That may be assigned; that may be considered as belonging to or related to.

It is a question among philosophers, whether all the attractions which obtain between bodies, are referable to one general cause.

REFEREE, n. One to whom a thing is referred; particularly, a person appointed by a court to hear, examine and decide a cause between parties, pending before the court, and make report to the court. In New England, a referee differs from a arbitrator, in being appointed by the court to decide in a cause which is depending before that court. An arbitrator is chosen by parties to decide a cause between them.


1. A sending, dismission or direction to another for information.

2. Relation; respect; view towards.

The christian religion commands sobriety, temperance and moderation, in reference to our appetites and passions.

3. Allusion to. In his observations he had no reference to the case which has been stated.

4. In law, the process of assigning a cause depending in court, for a hearing and decision, to persons appointed by the court.


1. One to whose decision a cause is referred. [Not in use.]

2. An officer who delivered the royal answer to petitions.

REFERMENT, n. Reference for decision. [Not used.]

RE-FERMENT, v.t. [re and ferment.] To ferment again.

REFERRED, pp. Dismissed or directed to another; assigned, as to a class, order or cause; assigned by a court to persons appointed to decide.

REFERRIBLE, a. That may be referred; referable.

REFERRING, ppr. Dismissing or directing to another for information; alluding; assigning, as to a class, order, cause, etc.; or assigning to private persons for decision.

RE-FIND, v.t. [re and find.] To find again; to experience anew.

REFINE, v.t.

1. To purify; in a general sense; applied to liquors, to depurate; to defecate; to clarify; to separate, as liquor, from all extraneous matter. In this sense, the verb is used with propriety, but it is customary to use fine.

2. Applied to metals, to separate the metallic substance from all other matter, whether another metal or alloy, or any earthy substance; in short, to detach the pure metal from all extraneous matter.

I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined. Zechariah 13:9.

3. To purify, as manners, from what is gross, clownish or vulgar; to polish; to make elegant. We expect to see refined manners in courts.

4. To purify, as language, by removing vulgar words and barbarisms.

5. To purify, as taste; to give a nice and delicate perception of beauty and propriety in literature and the arts.

6. To purify, as the mind or moral principles; to give or implant in the mind a nice perception of truth, justice and propriety in commerce and social intercourse. This nice perception of what is right constitutes rectitude of principle, or moral refinement of mind; and a correspondent practice of social duties, constitutes rectitude of conduct or purity of morals. Hence we speak of a refined mind, refined morals, refined principles.

To refine the heart or soul, to cleanse it from all carnal or evil affections and desires and implant in it holy or heavenly affections.

REFINE, v.i.

1. To improve in accuracy, delicacy, or in any thing that constitutes excellence.

Chaucer refined on Boccace and mended his stories.

Let a lord but own the happy lines, how the wit brightens, how the sense refines!

2. to become pure; to be cleared of feculent matter.

So the pure limpid stream, when foul with stains, works itself clear, and as it runs, refines.

3. To affect nicety. Men sometimes refine in speculation beyond the limits of practical truth.

He makes another paragraph about our refining in controversy.

REFINED, pp. Purified; separated from extraneous matter; assayed, as metals; clarified, as liquors; polished; separated from what is coarse, rude or improper.

REFINEDLY, adv. With affected nicety or elegance.

REFINEDNESS, n. State of being refined; purity; refinement; also, affected purity.


1. The act of purifying by separating from a substance all extraneous matter; a clearing from dross, dregs or recrement; as the refinement of metals or liquors.

2. The state of being pure.

The more bodies are of a kin to spirit in subtilty and refinement, the more diffusive are they.

3. Polish of language; elegance; purity.

From the civil war to this time, I doubt whether the corruptions in our language have not equaled its refinements.

4. Polish of manners; elegance; nice observance of the civilities of social intercourse and of graceful decorum. Refinement of manners is often found in persons of corrupt morals.

5. Purity of taste; nice perception of beauty and propriety in literature and the arts.

6. Purity of mind and morals; nice perception and observance of rectitude in moral principles and practice.

7. Purity of heart; the state of the heart purified from sensual and evil affections. This refinement is the effect of christian principles.

8. Artificial practice; subtilty; as the refinements of cunning.

9. Affectation of nicety, or of elegant improvement; as the refinements of reasoning or philosophy.


1. One that refines metals or other things.

2. An improver in purity and elegance; as a refiner of language.

3. An inventor of superfluous subtilities; one is who over nice in discrimination, in argument, reasoning, philosophy, etc.

REFINERY, n. The place and apparatus for refining metals.

REFINING, ppr. Purifying; separating from alloy or any extraneous matter; polishing; improving in accuracy, delicacy or purity.

REFIT, v.t. [re and fit.] To fit or prepare again; to repair; to restore after damage or decay; as, to refit ships of war.

REFITTED, pp. Prepared again; repaired.

REFITTING, ppr. Repairing after damage or decay.

REFLECT, v.t. [L. reflecto; re and flecto, to bend.]

To throw back; to return. In the rainbow, the rays of light are reflected as well as refracted.

Bodies close together reflect their own color.


1. To throw back light; to return rays or beams; as a reflecting mirror or gem.

2. To bend back.

3. To throw or turn back the thoughts upon the past operations of the mind or upon past events. We reflect with pleasure on a generous or heroic action; we reflect with pain on our follies and vices; we reflect on our former thoughts, meditations and opinions.

4. To consider attentively; to revolve in the mind; to contemplate; as, I will reflect on this subject.

And as I much reflected, much I mourn’d.

In every action, reflect upon the end.

[To reflect on things future, is not strictly possible, yet the word is often used as synonymous with meditate and contemplate.]

5. To bring reproach.

Errors of wives reflect on husband still.

To reflect on, to cast censure or reproach.

I do not reflect in the least on the memory of his late majesty.

REFLECTED, pp. Thrown back; returned; as reflected light.

REFLECTENT, a. Bending or flying back; as the ray descendent, and ray reflectent.

REFLECTIBLE, a. That may be reflected or thrown back.


1. Throwing back.

2. Turning back, as thoughts upon themselves or upon past events.

3. Reflecting on, casting censure or reproach.

REFLECTINGLY, adv. With reflection; with censure.

REFLECTION, n. [from reflect.]

1. The act of throwing back; as the reflection of light or colors. The angle of incidence and the angle of reflection are always equal.

2. The act of bending back.

3. That which is reflected.

As the sun in water we can bear, yet not the sun, but his reflection there.

4. The operation of the mind by which it turns its views back upon itself and its operations; the review or consideration of past thoughts, opinions or decisions of the mind, or of past events.

5. Thought thrown back on itself, on the past or on the absent; as melancholy reflections; delightful reflections.

Job’s reflections on his once flourishing estate, at the same time afflicted and encouraged him.

6. The expression of thought.

7. Attentive consideration; meditation; contemplation.

This delight grows and improves under thought and reflection.

8. Censure; reproach cast.

He died, and oh! may no reflection shed its pois’nous venom on the royal dead.


1. Throwing back images; as a reflective mirror.

In the reflective stream the sighing bride, viewing her charms impair’d -

2. Considering the operation of the mind, or things past; as reflective reason.


1. One who reflects or considers.

2. That which reflects.

REFLEX, a. [L. reflexus.]

1. Directed back; as a reflex act of the soul, the turning of the intellectual eye inward upon its own actions.

2. Designating the parts of a painting illuminated by light reflected from another part of the same picture.

3. In botany, bent back; reflected.

REFLEX, n. Reflection. [Not used.]
REFLEX, v.t.

1. To reflect.

2. To bend back; to turn back. [Little used.]

REFLEXIBILITY, n. The quality of being reflexible or capable of being reflected; as the reflexibility of the rays of light.

REFLEXIBLE, a. Capable of being reflected or thrown back.

The light of the sun consists of rays differently refrangible and reflexible.

REFLEXION. [See Reflection.]

REFLEXITY, n. Capacity of being reflected.

REFLEXIVE, a. Having respect to something past.

Assurance reflexive cannot be a divine faith.

REFLEXIVELY, adv. In a direction backward.

REFLOAT, n. [re and float.] Reflux; ebb; a flowing back. [Little used.]

REFLORESCENCE, n. [re and florescence.] A blossoming anew.

REFLOURISH, v.i. reflur’ish. [re and flourish.] To flourish anew.

REFLOURISHING, ppr. Flourishing again.

REFLOW, v.i. [re and flow.] To flow back; to ebb.

REFLOWING, ppr. Flowing backing; ebbing.

REFLUCTUATION, n. A flowing back.

REFLUENCE, REFLUENCY, n. [from refluent.] A flowing back.

REFLUENT, a. [L. refluens; re and fluo.]

1. Flowing back; ebbing; as the refluent tide.

2. Flowing back; returning, as a fluid; as refluent blood.

REFLUX, n. [L. refluxus.] A flowing back; the returning of a fluid; as the flux and reflux of the tides; the flux and reflux of Euripus.

REFOCILLATE, v.t. [L. refocillo; re and the root of focus.] To refresh; to revive; to give new vigor to. [Little used.]

REFOCILLATION, n. The act of refreshing or giving new vigor; restoration of strength by refreshment. [Little used.]

REFOMENT, v.t. [re and foment.]

1. To foment anew; to warm or cherish again.

2. To excite anew.

REFOMENTED, pp. Fomented or incited anew.

REFOMENTING, ppr. Fomenting anew; exciting again.

REFORM, v.t. [L. reformo; re and formo, to form.]

1. To change from worse to better; to amend; to correct; to restore to a former good state, or to bring from a bad to a good state; as, to reform a profligate man; to reform corrupt manners or morals.

The example alone of a vicious prince will corrupt an age, but that of a good one will not reform it.

2. To change from bad to good; to remove that which is bad or corrupt; as, to reform abuses; to reform the vices of the age.

REFORM, v.i. To abandon that which is evil or corrupt, and return to a good state; to be amended or corrected. A man of settled habits of vice will seldom reform.

RE-FORM, v.t. [re and form; with the accent on the first syllable.] To form again; to create or shape anew.

REFORM, n. Reformation; amendment of what is defective, vicious, corrupt or depraved; as the reform of parliamentary elections; reform of government.


1. The act of reforming; correction or amendment of life, manners, or of any thing vicious or corrupt; as the reformation of manners; reformation of the age; reformation of abuses.

Satire lashes vice into reformation.

2. By way of eminence, the change of religion from the corruptions of popery to its primitive purity, begun by Luther, A.D. 1517.

RE-FORMATION, n. The act of forming anew; a second forming in order; as the re-formation of a column of troops into a hollow square.

REFORMED, pp. Corrected; amended; restored to a good state; as a reformed profligate; the reformed church.

RE-FORMED, pp. Formed anew.


1. One who effects a reformation or amendment; as a reformer of manners or of abuses.

2. One of those who commenced the reformation of religion from popish corruption; as Luther, Melancthon, Zuinglius and Calvin.

REFORMING, ppr. Correcting what is wrong; amending; restoring to a good state.

REFORMING, ppr. Forming anew.


1. One who is of the reformed religion.

2. One who proposes or favors a political reform.

REFORTIFICATION, n. A fortifying a second time.

REFORTIFY, v.t. [re and fortify.] To fortify anew.

REFOSSION, n. The act of digging up.

REFOUND, v.t. [re and found.] To found or cast anew.

REFRACT, v.t. [L. refractus, refringo; re and frango, to break.]

To break the natural course of the rays of light; to cause to deviate from a direct course. A dense medium refracts the rays of light, as they pass into it from a rare medium.

REFRACTARIAS, n. A mineral.


1. Turned from a direct course, as rays of light.

2. a. In botany, bent back at an acute angle; as a refracted corol.


1. Turning from a direct course.

2. a. That turns rays from a direct course; as a refracting medium.

REFRACTION, n. The deviation of a moving body, chiefly rays of light, from a direct course. This is occasioned by the different densities of the mediums through which light passes.

Refraction out of a rarer medium into a denser, is made towards the perpendicular.

Refraction may be caused by a body’s falling obliquely out of one medium into another.

Refraction double, the separation of a ray of light into two separate parts, by passing through certain transparent mediums, as the Iceland crystal. All crystals, except those whose primitive form is either a cube or a regular octahedron, exhibit double refraction.

REFRACTIVE, a. That refracts or has power to refract or turn from a direct course; as refractive densities.

REFRACTORINESS, n. [from refractory.]

Perverse or sullen obstinacy in opposition or disobedience.

I never allowed any man’s refractoriness against the privileges and orders of the house.

REFRACTORY, a. [L. refractarius, from refragor, to resist; re and fragor, from frango.]

1. Sullen or perverse in opposition or disobedience; obstinate in non-compliance; as a refractory child; a refractory servant.

Raging appetites that are most disobedient and refractory.

2. Unmanageable; obstinately unyielding; as a refractory beast.

3. Applied to metals, difficult of fusion; not easily yielding to the force of heat.


1. A person obstinate in opposition or disobedience.

2. Obstinate opposition. [Not used.]

REFRAGABLE, a. [L. refragor; re and frango.]

That may be refuted that is, broken.

REFRAIN, v.t. [L. refaeno; re and fraeno, to curb; fraenum, a rein. See Rein.]

To hold back; to restrain; to keep from action.

My son - refrain thy foot from their path. Proverbs 1:15.

Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by. Genesis 45:1.

REFRAIN, v.i. To forbear; to abstain; to keep one’s self from action or interference.

Refrain from these men and let them alone. Acts 5:38.

REFRAIN, n. The burden of a song; a kind of musical repetition.

REFRAINED, pp. Held back; restrained.

REFRAINING, ppr. Holding back; forbearing.

REFRAME, v.t. [re and frame.] To frame again.