Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



SCARAB, SCARABEE, n. [L. scarabaeus, from Gr.]

A beetle; an insect of the genus Scarabaeus, whose wings are cased. [See Beetle.]


A buffoon in motley dress.


1. Not plentiful or abundant; being in small quantity in proportion to the demand. We say, water is scarce, wheat, rye, barley is scarce, money is scarce, when the quantity is not fully adequate to the demand.

2. Being few in number and scattered; rare; uncommon. Good horses are scarce.

The scarcest of all is a Pescennius Niger on a medallion well preserved.


1. Hardly; scantly.

We scarcely think our miseries our foes.

2. Hardly; with difficulty.

Slowly he sails, and scarcely stems the tides.


1. Smallness of quantity, or smallness in proportion to the wants or demands; deficiency defeat of plenty; penury; as a scarcity of grain; a great scarcity of beauties; a scarcity of lovely women.

Praise, like gold and diamonds, owes its value to its scarcity.

A scarcity of snow would raise a mutiny at Naples.

2. Rareness; infrequency.

The value of an advantage is enhanced by its scarceness.

Root of scarcity, the mangold-wurzel, a variety of the white beet.

SCARE, v.t. [L. ex and cor, heart; but qu.]

To fright; to terrify suddenly; to strike with sudden terror.

The noise of thy crow-bow will scare the herd, and so my shot is lost.

To scare away, to drive away by frightening.

SCARECROW, n. [scarce and crow.]

1. Any frightful thing set up to frighten crows or other fowls from corn fields; hence, any thing terrifying without danger; a vain terror.

A scarecrow set to frighten fools away.

2. A fowl of the sea gull kind; the black gull.

SCARED, pp. Frightened; suddenly terrified.

SCAREFIRE, n. A fire breaking out so as to frighten people. [Not used.]

SCARF, n. plu. scarfs

Something that hangs loose upon the shoulders; as a piece of cloth.

Put on your hood and scarf.

SCARF, v.t.

1. To throw loosely on.

2. To dress in a loose vesture.

SCARF, v.t. To join; to piece; to unite two pieces of timber at the ends, by letting the end of one into the end of the other, or by laying the two ends together and fastening a third piece to both.

SCARFSKIN, n. [scarf and skin.] The cuticle; the epidermis; the outer thin integument of the body.

SCARIFICATION, n. [L. scarificatio. See Scarify.]

In surgery, the operation of making several incisions in the skin with a lancet or other cutting instrument, particularly the cupping instrument.

SCARIFICATOR, n. An instrument used in scarification.

SCARIFIER, n. [from scarify.]

1. The person who scarifies.

2. The instrument used for scarifying.

SCARIFY, v.t. [L. scarifico. Gr. L. facio, to make. But the Greek is from a pointed instrument, or a sharp pointed piece of wood.]

To scratch or cut the skin of an animal, or to make small incisions by means of a lancet or cupping instrument, so as to draw blood from the smaller vessels without opening a large vein.

SCARIFYING, ppr. Making small incisions in the skin with an instrument.

SCARIOUS, a. [Low L. scarrosus, rough.] In botany, tough, thin

SCARIOUS, a. [Low L. scarrosus, rough.] In botany, tough, thin and semi-transparent, dry and sonorous to the touch; as a perianth.

SCARLATINA, n. the scarlet fever; called in popular language, the canker rash.

SCARLATINOUS, a. Of a scarlet color; pertaining to the scarlet fever.


1. A beautiful bright red color, brighter than crimson.

2. Cloth of a scarlet color.

All her household are clothed with scarlet. Proverbs 31:21.

SCARLET, a. of the color called scarlet; of a bright red color; as a scarlet cloth or thread; a scarlet lip.

SCARLET-BEAN, n. A plant; a red bean.

SCARLET-FEVER, n. [scarlatina.] a disease in which the body is covered with an efflorescence or red color, first appearing about the neck and breast, and accompanied with a sore throat.

SCARLET-OAK, n. a species of oak, the Quercus coccifera, or kermes oak, producing small glandular excrescences, called kermes or scarlet grain.

SCARMAGE, SCARMOGE, peculiar modes of spelling skirmish. [Not in use or local.]

SCARN, n. Dung. [Not in use or local.]

SCARN-BEE, n. a beetle. [Not in use or local.]


In fortification, the interior talus or slope of the ditch next the place, at the foot of the rampart.

SCARP, n. In heraldry, the scarf which military commanders wear for ornament; borne somewhat like a battoon sinister, but broader, and continued to the edges of the field.

SCARUS, n. A fish. [See Scar.]

SCARY, n. Barren land having only a thin coat of grass upon it. [Local.]

SCATCH, n. A kind of horsebit for bridles.

SCATCHES, n. plu. Stilts to put the feet in for walking in dirty places.

SCATE, n. [This word may belong to the root of shoot, and L. scateo.]

A wooden shoe furnished with a steel plate for sliding on ice.

SCATE, v.i. To slide or move on scates.
SCATE, n. [L. squatina, squatus.] A fish, a species of ray.

SCATEBROUS, a. [L. scatebra, a spring; scateo, to overflow.] Abounding with springs.

SCATH, v.t. To damage; to waste; to destroy. [Little used.]

SCATH, n. Damage; injury; waste; harm. [Little used.]

SCATHFUL, a. Without waste or damage. [Little used.]

SCATHLESS, a. Without waste or damage. [Little used.]

SCATTER, v.t. [L. scateo, discutio; Gr. to scatter, to discuss. This word may be formed on the root of discutio. The primary sense is to drive or throw.]

1. To disperse; to dissipate; to separate or remove things to a distance from each other.

From thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. Genesis 11:9.

I will scatter you among the heathen. Leviticus 26:33.

2. To throw loosely about; to sprinkle; as, to scatter seed in sowing.

Teach the glad hours to scatter, as they fly, soft quiet, gentle love and endless joy.

3. To spread or set thinly.

Why should my muse enlarge on Libyan swains, their scatter’d cottages, and ample plains.


1. To be dispersed or dissipated. The clouds scatter after a storm.

2. To be liberal to the poor; to be charitable. Proverbs 11:24.


1. Dispersed; dissipated; thinly spread; sprinkled or thinly spread over.

2. In botany, irregular in position; without any apparent regular order; as scattered branches.

SCATTEREDLY, adv. In a dispersed manner; separately. [Not much used.]


1. Dispersing; spreading thinly; sprinkling.

2. a. Not united; divided among many; as scattering votes.

SCATTERINGLY, adv. Loosely; in a dispersed manner; thinly; as habitations scatteringly placed over the country.

SCATTERLING, n. A vagabond; one that no fixed habitation or residence. [Little used.]

SCATURIENT, a. [L. scaturiens.] Springing, as the water of a fountain. [Not used.]

SCATURIGINOUS, a. [L. scaturigo.] Abounding with springs. [Not used.]

SCAUP, n. A fowl of the duck kind.


In ancient customs, a toll or duty exacted of merchant-strangers by mayors, sheriffs, etc. for goods shown or offered for sale within their precincts.

SCAVENGER, n. [L. scabio.]

A person whose employment is to clean the streets of a city, by scraping or sweeping and carrying off the filth.

SCELERAT, n. [L. sceleratus.] a villain; a criminal. [Not in use.]

SCENE, n. [L. scena; Gr. Heb. The Greek word signifies a tent, hut or cottage. In L. it is an arbor or stage. The primary sense is to set or throw down.]

1. A stage; the theater or place where dramatic pieces and other shows are exhibited. It does not appear that the ancients changed the scenes in different parts of the play. Indeed the original scene for acting was an open plat of ground, shaded or slightly covered.

2. The whole series of actions and events connected and exhibited; or the whole assemblage of objects displayed at one view. Thus we say, the execution of a malefactor is a melancholy scene. The crucifixion of our Saviour was the most solemn scene ever presented to the view of man.

We say also, a scene of sorrow or of rejoicing, a noble scene, a sylvan scene.

A charming scene of nature is display’d.

3. A part of a play; a division of an act. A play is divided into acts, and acts are divided into scenes.

4. So much of an act of a play as represents what passes between the same persons in the same place.

5. The place represented by the sate. The scene was laid in the king’s palace.

6. The curtain or hanging of a theater adapted to the play.

7. The place where any thing is exhibited.

The world is a vast scene of strife.

8. Any remarkable exhibition.

The shepherds, while watching their flocks upon the plains of Bethehem, were suddenly interrupted by one of the most sublime and surprising scenes which have ever been exhibited on earth.

SCENERY, n. The appearance of a place, or of the various objects presented to view; or the various objects themselves as seen together. Thus we may say, the scenery of the landscape presented to the view from mount Holyoke, in Hampshire county, Massachusetts, is highly picturesque, and exceeded only by the scenery of Boston and its vicinity, as seen from the State house.

Never need an American look beyond his own country for the sublime and beautiful of natural scenery.

2. The representation of the place in which an action is performed.

3. The disposition and consecution of the scenes of a play.

4. The paintings representing the scenery of a play.

SCENIC, SCENICAL, a. [L. scenicus.] Pertaining to scenery; dramatic; theatrical.

SCENOGRAPHIC, SCENOGRAPHICAL, a. [See Scenography.] Pertaining to scenography; drawn in perspective.

SCENOGRAPHICALLY, adv. In perspective.

SCENOGRAPHY, n. [Gr. scene, to describel.]

The representation of a body on a perspective plane; or a description of it in all its dimensions as it appears to the eye.

SCENT, n. [L. sentio, to perceive.]

1. Odor; smell; that substance which issuing from a body, affects the olfactory organs of animals; as the scent of an orange or an apple; the scent of musk. The word is applicable to any odor, agreeable or offensive.

2. The power of smelling; the smell; as a house of nice scent.

3. chase followed by the scent; course of pursuit; track.

He travelled upon the same scent into Ethiopia.

SCENT, v.t.

1. to smell; to perceive by the olfactory organs; as, to scent game, as a hound.

2. To perfume; to imbue or fill with odor, good or bad. Aromatic plants scent the room. some persons scent garments with musk; others scent their snuff.


1. Odorous; yielding much smell.

2. Of quick smell.

SCENTLESS, a. Inodorous; destitute of smell.

SCEPTER, n. [L. sceptrum; Gr. from to send or thrust; coinciding with L. scipio, that is, a shoot or rod.]

1. A staff or batoon borne by kings on solemn occasions, as a badge of authority. Hence,

2. The appropriate ensign of royalty; an ensign of higher antiquity than the crown. Hence,

3. Royal power or authority; as, to assume the scepter.

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, till Shiloh come. Genesis 49:10.

4. A constellation.

SCEPTER, v.t. To invest with royal authority, or with the ensign of authority.

SCEPTERED, a. Bearing a scepter; as a sceptered prince.

To Britain’s queen the scepter’d suppliant bends.

Gold-scepter’d Juno.

SCEPTIC, n. [Gr. from to look about, to consider, to speculate. See Show.]

1. One who doubts the truth and reality of any principle or system of principles or doctrines. In philosophy, a Pyrrhonist or follower of Pyrrho, the founder of a sect of sceptical philosophers, who maintained that no certain inferences can be drawn from the reports of the senses, and who therefore doubted of every thing.

2. In theology, a person who doubts the existence and perfections of God, or the truth of revelation; one who disbelieves the divine original of the christian religion.

Suffer not your faith to be shaken by the sophistries of sceptics.


1. Doubting; hesitating to admit the certainty of doctrines or principles; doubting of every thing.

2. Doubting or denying the truth of revelation.

The sceptical system subverts the whole foundation of morals.

SCEPTICALLY, adv. With doubt; in a doubting manner.


1. The doctrines and opinions of the Pyrrhonists or sceptical philosophers; universal doubt; the scheme of philosophy which denies the certainty of any knowledge respecting the phenomena of nature.

2. In theology, a doubting of the truth of revelation, or a denial of the divine origin of the christian religion, or of the being, perfections or truth of God.

Irreligious scepticism or atheistic profaneness.

Let no despondency or timidity or secret scepticism lead any one to doubt whether this blessed prospect will be realized.

SCEPTICIZE, v.i. To doubt; to pretend to doubt of every thing. [Little used.]

SCHAALSTEIN, SCALE-STONE, n. A rare mineral, called also tafelspath and tabular spar, occurring in masses composed of thin lamins collected into large prismatic concretions or hexahedral prisms. It color is grayish or pearly white, tinged with green, yellow or red.

SCHEDULE, n. [L. schedula, from scheda, a sheet or leaf of paper; Gr. from to cut or divide; L. scindo, for scido. The pronunciation ought to follow the analogy of scheme, etc.]

1. A small scroll or piece of paper or parchment, containing some writing.

2. A piece of paper or parchment annexed to a larger writing, as to a will, a deed, a lease, etc.

3. A piece of paper or parchment containing an inventory of goods.

SCHEELIN, SCHELIUM, n. A different, name of tungsten, a hard brittle metal of a grayish white color, and brilliant.

SCHEMATISM, n. [Gr. See Scheme.]

1. Combination of the aspects of heavenly bodies.

2. Particular form or disposition of a thing. [A word not much used.]

SCHEMATIST, n. A projector; one given to forming schemes. [Schemer is more generally used.]

SCHEME, n. [L. schema; Gr. from a contracted word, probably from to have or hold.]

1. A plan; a combination of things connected and adjusted by design; a system.

We shall never be able to give ourselves a satisfactory account of the divine conduct without forming such a scheme of things as shall take in time and eternity.

2. A project; a contrivance; a plan of something to be done; a design. Thus we say, to form a scheme, to lay a scheme, to contrive a scheme.

The stoical scheme of supplying our wants by lopping off our desires, is like cutting off our feet when we want shoes.

3. A representation of the aspects of the celestial bodies; any lineal or mathematical diagram.

SCHEME, v.t. To plan; to contrive.
SCHEME, v.i. To form a plan; to contrive.

SCHEMER, n. One that contrives; a projector; a contriver.


1. Planning; contriving.

2. a. Given to forming schemes; artful.

SCHEMIST, n. A schemer; a projector.

SCHENE, n. [L. schaenos; Gr.] An Egyptian measure of length, equal to sixty stadia, or about 7 1/2 miles.

SCHESIS, n. [Gr. from to have or hold.]

Habitude; general state or disposition of the body or mind, or of one thing with regard to other things.

SCHILLER-SPAR, n. A mineral containing two subspecies, bronzite and common schiller-spar.

SCHISM, n. sizm. [L. schisma; Gr. to divide, L. scindo.]

1. In a general sense, division or separation; but appropriately, a division or separation in a church or denomination of christians, occasioned by diversity of opinions; breach of unity among people of the same religious faith.

- Set bounds to our passions by reason, to our errors by truth, and to our schisms by charity.

In Scripture, the word seems to denote a breach of charity, rather than a difference of doctrine.

2. Separation; division among tribes or classes of people.

SCHISMATIC, SCHISMATICAL, a. sizmat’ic, sizmat’ical. Pertaining to schism; implying schism; partaking of the nature of schism; tending to schism; as schismatical opinions or proposals.

SCHISMATIC, n. One who separates from an established church or religious faith, on account of a diversity of opinions.

SCHISMATICALLY, adv. In a schismatical manner; by separation from a church on account of a diversity of opinions.

SCHISMATICALNESS, n. The state of being schismatical.

SCHISMATIZE, v.i. To commit or practice schism; to make a breach of communion in the church.

SCHISMLESS, a. Free from schism; not affected by schism. [Little used.]

SCHIST. [See Shist.]

SCHOLAR, n. [Low L. scholaris, from schola, a school; Gr. leisure, a school. See School.]

1. One who learns of a teacher; one who is under the tuition of a preceptor; a pupil; a disciple; hence, any member of a college, academy or school; applicable to the learner of any art, science or branch of literature.

2. A man of letters.

3. Emphatically used, a man eminent for erudition; a person of high attainments in science or literature.

4. One that learns any thing; as an apt scholar in the school of vice.

5. A pedant; a man of books. [But the word scholar seldom conveys the idea of a pedant.]

SCHOLARITY, n. Scholarship. [Not used.]

SCHOLAR-LIKE, a. Like a scholar; becoming a scholar.


1. Learning; attainments in science or literature; as a man of great scholarship.

2. Literary education; as any other house of scholarship. [Unusual.]

3. Exhibition or maintenance for a scholar; foundation for the support of a student.

SCHOLASTIC, SCHOLASTICAL, a. [L. scholasticus.]

1. Pertaining to a scholar, to a school or to schools; as scholastic manners or pride; scholastic learning.

2. Scholar-like; becoming a scholar; suitable to schools; as scholastic precision.

3. Pedantic; formal.

Scholastic divinity, that species of divinity taught in some schools or colleges, which consists in discussing and settling points by reason and argument. It has now fallen into contempt, except in some universities, where the charters require it to be taught.

SCHOLASTIC, n. One who adheres to the method or subtilties of the schools.

SCHOLASTICALLY, adv. In the manner of schools; according to the niceties or method of the schools.

SCHOLASTICISM, n. The method or subtilties of the schools.

The spirit of the old scholasticism, which spurned laborious investigation and slow induction -

SCHOLIAST, n. [Gr. See Scholium.]

A commentator or annotator; one who writes notes upon the works of another for illustrating his writings.

SCHOLIAZE, v.i. To write notes on an author’s works. [Not used.]

SCHOLICAL, a. Scholastic. [Not in use.]

SCHOLIUM, n. plu. scholia or scholiums. [L. scholion; Gr. from leisure, lucubration.]

In mathematics, a remark or observation subjoined to a demonstration.

SCHOLY, n. A scholium. [Not in use.]

SCHOLY, v.i. To write comments. [Not in use.]

SCHOOL, n. [L. schola; Gr. leisure, vacation from business, lucubration at leisure, a place where leisure is enjoyed, a school. The adverb signifies at ease, leisurely, slowly, hardly, with labor or difficulty. I think, must have been derived from the Latin. This word seems originally to have denoted leisure, freedom from business, a time given to sports, games or exercises, and afterwards time given to literary studies. the sense of a crowd, collection or shoal, seems to be derivative.]

1. A place or house in which persons are instructed in arts, science, languages or any species of learning; or the pupils assembled for instruction. In American usage, school more generally denotes the collective body of pupils in any place of instruction, and under the direction and discipline of one or more teachers. Thus we say, a school consists of fifty pupils. The preceptor has a large school, or a small school. His discipline keeps the school well regulated and quiet.

2. The instruction or exercises of a collection of pupils or students, or the collective body of pupils while engaged in their studies. Thus we say, the school begins or opens at eight o’clock, that is, the pupils at that hour begin their studies. so we say, the teacher is now in school, the school hours are from nine to twelve, and from two to five.

3. The state of instruction.

Set him betimes to school.

4. A place of education, or collection of pupils, of any kind; as the schools of the prophets. In modern usage, the word school comprehends every place of education, as university, college, academy, common or primary schools, dancing schools, riding schools, etc.; but ordinarily the word is applied to seminaries inferior to universities and colleges.

What is the great community of christians, but one of the innumerable schools in the vast plan, which God has instituted for the education of various intelligences?

5. Separate denomination or sect; or a system of doctrine taught by particular teachers, or peculiar to any denomination of christians or philosophers.

Let no man be less confident in his faith - by reason of any difference in the several schools of christians -

Thus we say, the Socratic school, the Platonic school, the Peripatetic or Ionic school; by which we understand all those who adopted and adhered to a particular system of opinions.

6. The seminaries for teaching logic, metaphysics and theology, which were formed in the middle ages, and which were characterized by academical disputations and subtilties of reasoning; or the learned men who were engaged in discussing nice points in metaphysics or theology.

The supreme authority of Aristotle in the schools of theology as well as of philosophy -

Hence, school divinity is the divinity which discusses nice points, and proves every thing by argument.

7. Any place of improvement or learning. The world is an excellent school to wise men, but a school of vice to fools.

SCHOOL, v.t.

1. To instruct; to train; to educate.

He’s gentle, never school’d, yet learn’d.

2. To teach with superiority; to tutor; to chide and admonish; to reprove.

School your child, and ask why God’s anointed he revil’d.

SCHOOL-BOY, n. [See Boy.] A boy belonging to a school, or one who is learning rudiments.

SCHOOL-DAME, n. [See Dame.] The female teacher of a school.

SCHOOL-DAY, n. [See Day.] The age in which youth are sent to school. [Not now used.]

SCHOOL-DISTRICT, n. A division of a town or city for establishing and conducting school. [United States.]

SCHOOLERY, n. Something taught; precepts. [Not used.]

SCHOOL-FELLOW, n. [See Fellow.] One bred at the same school; an associate in school.

SCHOOL-HOUSE, n. [See House.] A house appropriated for the use of schools, or for instruction; but applied only to building for subordinate schools, not to colleges. In Connecticut and some other states, every town is divided into school-districts, and each district erects its own school-house by a tax on the inhabitants.