Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



SERGEANTSHIP, n. s’argentship. The office of a sergeant.

SERGE-MAKER, n. A manufacturer of serges.

SERICEOUS, a. [L. sericus, from sericum, silk.] Pertaining to silk; consisting of silk; silky. In botany, covered with very soft hairs pressed close to the surface; as a sericeous leaf.

SERIES, n. [L. this word probably belongs to the Shemetic, the primary sense of which is to stretch or strain.]

1. A continued succession in the things of the same order, and bearing the same relation to each other; as a series of kings; a series of successors.

2. Sequence; order; course; succession of things; as a series of calamitous events.

3. In natural history, an order or subdivision of some class of natural bodies.

4. In arithmetic and algebra, a number of terms in succession, increasing or diminishing in a certain ratio; as arithmetical series and geometrical series. [See Progression.]

SERIN, n. A songbird of Italy and Germany.

SERIOUS, a. [L. serius.]

1. Grave in manner or disposition; solemn; not light, gay or volatile; as a serious man; a serious habit or disposition.

2. Really intending what is said; being in earnest; not jesting or making false pretense. Are you serious, or in jest?

3. Important; weighty; not trifling.

The holy Sciptures bring to your ears the most serious things in the world. Young.

4. Particularlyattentive to religioul concerns or one’s own religious state.

SERIOUSLY, adv. Gravely; solemnly; in earnest; without levity. One of the first duties of a rational being is to inquire seriously why he was created, and what he is to do to answer the purpose of his cretion.


1. Gravity of manner or of mind; solemnity. He spoke with great serioulness, or with an air of seriousness.

2. Earnest attention, particularly to religious concerns

That spirit of religion and seriousness vanished all at once. Atterbury.

SERMOCINATION, n. Speech-making. [Not used.]

SERMOCINATOR, n. One that makes sermons or speeches. [Not in use.]


1. A discourse delivered in public by a licensed clergymen for the purpose of religious instruction, and usually grounded on some text or passage of Scripture. Sermons are extemporary addresses or written discourses.

His preaching much, but more his practice wrought,

A living sermon of the truths he taught. Dryden.

2. A printed discourse.

SERMON, v.t.

1. To discourse as in a sermon. [Little used.]

2. To tutor; to lesson; to teach. [Little used.]

SERMON, v.i. To compose or deliver a sermon. [Little used.]

SERMONING, n. Discourse; instruction; advice. [Not in use.]


1. To preach.

2. To inculate rigid rules.

3. To make sermons; to compose or write a sermons or sermons. [This is the sense in which the verb is generally used in the U. States.]

SERMONIZER, n. One that composes sermons.

SERMONIZING, ppr. Preaching; inculating rigid precepts; composing sermons.

SERMOUNTAIN, n. A plant of the genus Laserpitium; laserwort; seseli.


1. A seroon of almonds is the quantity of two hudred pounds; of anise seed, three to four hundred weight; of Caltile soap, from two hundred and a half to three hundred and three quarters.

2. A bale or package.

SEROSITY, In medicine, the watery part of the blood.

SEROTINE, n. A species of bat.


1. Thin; watery; like whey; used of that part of the blood which separates in coagulation from the grumous or red part.

2. Pertaining to serum.

SERPENT, n. [L. serpens, creeping; serpo, to creep.]

1. An animal of the order of Serpentes, [creepers, crawlers,] Of the class of Amphibia. Serpents are amphibious animals, breathing through the mouth bymeans of lungs only; having tapering bodies, without a distinct neck; the jaws not articulated, but dilatable, and withour feet, fins or ears. Serpents move along the earth by a winding motion, and with the head elevated. Some species of them are viviparous, or rather ovi-viviparous; others are oviparous; and several species are venomous.

2. In astronomy, a constellation of the northern hemisphere, containing, according to the British catalogue, sixty-four stars.

3. An instrument of music, serving as a base to the cornet or small shawm, to sustain a chorus of singers in a large edifice. It is so called for its folds or wreaths.

4. Figuratively, a subtil or malicious person.

5. In mythology, a symbol of the sun.

Serpent stones or snake stones, are fossil shells of different sizes, found in strata of stones and clays.

SERPENT-CUCUMBER, n. A plant of the genus Trichosanthes.

SERPENT-EATER, n. A fowl of Africa that devours serpents.

SERPENT-FISH, n. A fish of the genus Taenia, resembling a snake, but of a red color.

SERPENT’S-TONGUE, n. A plant of the genus Ophioglossum.

SERPENTARIA, n. A plant, called also snake root; a species of Aristolochia.

SERPENTARIUS, n. A constellation in the northern hemisphere, containing seventy-four stars.

SERPENTINE, a. [L. serpentinus, from serpens.]

1. Resembling a serpent; usually, winding and turing one way and the other, like a moving serpent; anfractuous; as a serpentine road or course.

2. Spiral; twisted; as a serpentine worm of a still.

3. Like a serpent; having the color or properties of a serpent.

Serpentine tongue, in the manege. A horse is said to have a serpentine tongue, when he is constantly moving it, and sometimes passing it over the bit.

Serpentine verse, a verse which begins and ends with the same word.

SERPRNTINE, n. A species of talck or magnesian stone, usually of an obscure green color,

SERPENTINE-STONE, either shades and spots resembling a serpent’s skin. Serpentine is often nearly allied to the harder varieties of steatite and potstone. It prisents two varieties, precious serpentine, and common serpentine.

SERPENTIZE, v.t. To wind; to turn or bend, first in one direction and then in opposite; to meander

The road serpentized through a tall shrubbery. Barrow, Trav. in Africa.

SERPET, n. A basket. [Not in use.]

SERPIGINOUS, a. [L. from serpo, to creep.] A kind of herpes or tetter; called in popular language, a ringworm.

SERPULITE, n. Petrified shells or fossil remains of the genus Serpula.

SERR, v.t. To crowd, press or drive together. [Not in use.]

SERRATE, [L. serratus, from serro, to saw; serra, a saw.] Jagged; notched; indented on the

SERRATED, edge, like a saw. In botany, having sharp notches about the edge, pointing towards the extremity; as a serrate leaf.

When a serrate leaf has small serrature upon the large ones, it is said to by doubly serrate, as in the elm. We say also, a serrate calyx, corol or stipule.

A serrate-ciliate leaf, is one having fine hairs, like the eye lashes, on the serreatures.

A serrature-toothed leaf, has the serratures toothed.

A serrulate leaf, is one finely serrate, with very small notches or teeth.

SERRATION, n. Formation in the shape of a saw.

SERRATURE, n. An indenting or indenture in the edge of any thing, like those of a saw.

SERROUS, a. Like the teeth of a saw; irregular. [Little used.]

SERRULATE, a. Finely serrate; having very minute teeth or notches.

SERRY, v.t. To crowd; to press together. [Not in use.]

SERUM, n. [L.]

1. The thin transparent part of the blood.

2. The thin part of milk; whey.

SERVAL, n. An animal of the feline genus, resembling the lynx in form and size, and the panther in spots; a native of Malabar.

SERVANT, [L. servans, from servo, to keep or hold; properly one that waits, that is, stops, holds, attends, or one that is bound.]

1. A person, male or female, that attends another for the pupose of performing menial offices for him, ot who is employed by another for such offices or for other labor, and is subject to his command. The word is correlative to master. Servant differs from slave, as the servant’s subjection to a master is voluntary, the slave’s is not. Every slave is a servant, but every servant is not a slave.

Servants are of various kinds; as household or domestic servants, menial servants; laborers, who are hired by the day, week or other term, and do not reside with their employers, ot if they board in the same house, are employed abroad and not in the domestic services; apprentices, who are bound for a term of years to serve a master, for the purpose of learning his trade or occupation.

In a legal sense, stewards, factors, bailifs and other agents, are servants for the time they are employed in such character, as they act in subordination to others.

2. One in a state of subjection.

3. In Scripture, a slave; a bondman; one purchased for money, and who was compelled to serve till the year of jubilee; also, one purchased for a term of years.

4. The subject of a king; as the servents of David or of Saul.

The Syrians became servants to David. 2 Samuel 8:6.

5. A person who voluntarily serves another or acts as his minister; as joshua was the servant of Moses, and the apostles the apostles the servants of Christ. So Christ himself is called a servant, Isaiah 42:1. Moses is called the servant of the Lord, Deuteronomy 34:5.

6. A person employed or used as an unstrument in accomplishing God’s purposes of mercy or wrath. So Nebuchadnezzar is called the servant of God. Jeremiah 25:9.

7. One who yields obedience to another. The saints are called servants of God, or of righteousness; and the wicked are called the servants of sin.

8. That which yields obedience, or acts on subordination as an instrument.

9. One that makes painful sacrifices in compliance with the weakness or wants of others.

10. A person of base condition or ignoble spirit.

11. A word of civilith. I am, sir, your humble or obedient servant.

Our betters tell us they are our humble servants, but understand us to be their slaves. Swift.

Servant of servants, one debased to the lowest condition of servitude.

SERVANT, v.t. To subject. [Not in use.]

SERVE, v.t. serv. [L. servio. This verb is supposed to be from the noun servus, a servant or slave, and this from servo, to keep.]

1. To work for; to bestow the labor of boky and mind in the employment of another.

Jacob loved Rachel and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy youngest daughters. Genesis 29:18.

No man can serve two masters. Matthew 6:24.

2. To act as the minister of; to perform official duties to; as, a minister serves his prince.

Had I served God as diligently as I have served the king, he would not have given me over in my gray hairs. Cardinal Woolsey.

3. To attend at command; to wait on.

A goddess among gods, ador’d and serv’d

By anbels numberless, thy daily train. Milton.

4. To obey servilely or meanly. be not to wealth a servant.

5. To supply with food; as, to be served in plate.

6. To be subservient or subordinate to.

Bodies bright and greater should not serve

The less not bright. Milton.

7. To perform the duties required in; as, the curate served two churches.

8. To obey; to perform duties in the employment of; as, to serve the king or the country in the army or navy.

9. To be sufficient, or to promote; as, to serve one’s turn, end or purpose.

10. To help by good offices; as, to serve one’s country.

11. To comply with; to submit to.

They think herein we serve the time, because thereby we either hold or seek preferment. Hooker.

12. To be sufficient for; to satisfy; to content.

One half pint bottle serves them both to dine,

And is at once their vinegar and wine. Pope.

13. To be in the place of any thing to one. A sofa serves the Turks for a seat and a couch.

14. To treat; to requite; as, he served me ungratefully; he served me very ill; We say also, he served me a trick, that is he deceived me, or practiced an artifice on me.

15. In Scripture and theology, to obey and worship; to act in conformity to the law of a superior, and treat him with due reverence.

Fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and truth. As for me and my house, we will serve the lord. Joshua 24:15.

16. In a bad sense, to obey; to yeild compliance or act according to.

Serving divers lusts and treasures. Titus 3:3.

17. To worship; to render homage to; as, to serve idols or false gods.

18. To be a slave to; to be in bondage to.

19. To serve one’s self of, to use; to make use of; a Gallicism, [se sevir de.]

I will serve myself of this concession. Chillingworh.

20. To use; to manage; to apply. The guns are well served.

21. In seamen’s language, to wind something round a rope to prevent friction.

To serve up, to prepare and present in a dish; as, to serve up a sirloin of beef in plate; figuratively, to prepare.

To serve in, as used by Shakespeare, for to bring in, as meat by an attendant, I have never to be used in America.

To serve out, to distribute in portions; as, to serve out provisions to soldiers.

To serve a writ, to read it to the defendant; or to leave an attested copy at his usual place of abode.

To serve an attachment, or writ of attachment, to levy it on the or goods by seizure; or to seize.

To serve an execution, to levy it on lands, goods or person by seizure or taking possession.

To serve a warrant, to read it, and to seize the person against whom it is issued.

In general, to serve a process, is to read it so as to give due notice to the party concerned, or to leave an attested copy with him or his attorney, or at his usual place of abode.

To serve an office, to discharge a public duty. [This phrase, I believe, is not used in America. We say, a man serves in an office, that is, serves the public in an office.]

SERVE, v.i. serv.

1. To be a servant or slave.

The Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve. Isaiah 14:3.

2. To be employed in labor or or other business for another.

3. To be in subjection.

4. To wait; to attend; to perform domestic offices to another.

5. To perform duties, as in the army, navy or in any office. An officer serves five years in India, or under a particular commander. The late scretary of the colony, and afterwards state, of Connecticut, was annually appointed, and served in the office sixty years.

6. To answer; to accomplish the end.

She feared that all would not serve. Sidney.

7. To be sufficient for a purpose.

This little brand will serve to light your fire. Dryden.

8. To suit; to be convenient. Take this, and use it as occasion serves.

9. To conduce; to be of use.

Our victory only served to lead us on to other visionary prospects. Swift.

10. To officiate or minister; to do the honors of; as, to serve at a public dinner.

SERVED, pp. Attended; waited on; worshiped; levied.

SERVICE, n. [From L. servitium.]

1. In a general sense, labor of body or of body and mind, performed at the command of a superior, or the pursuance of duty, or for the benefit of another. Service is voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary service is that of hired servants, or of contract, or of persons who spontaneously perform something for another’s benefit. Involuntary service is that of slaves, who work by compulsion.

2. The business of a servant; menial office.

3. Attendance of a servant.

4. Place of a servant; actual employment of a servant; as, to be out of service.

5. Any thing done by way of duty to a superior.

This poem was the last piece of service I did for my master king Charles. Dryden.

6. Attendance on a superior.

Madam, I entreat true peace of you,

Which I will purchase with my duteous service. Shak.

7. Profession of respect uttered or sent.

Pray do my service to his majesty. Shak.

8. Actual duty; that which is required to be done in an office; as, to perform the services of a clerk, a sherif or judge.

9. That which God requires of man; worship; obedience.

God requires no man’s service upon hard and unreasonable terms. Tillotson.

10. Employment; business; office; as, to qualify a man for public service.

11. Use; purpose. The guns are not fit for public service.

12. Military duty by land or sea; as a military or naval service.

13. A military achievment.

14. Useful office; advantage conferred; that which promotes interest or happiness. Medicine often does no service to the sick; calumny is sometimes of service to an author.

15. Favor.

To thee a woman’s services are due. Shak.

16. The duty which a tenant owes to his lord for his fee. Personal service consists in homage and fealty, etc.

17. Public worship or office of devotion. Divine service was interrupted.

18. A musical church composition consisting of choruses, trios, duets, solos, etc.

19. The official duties of a minister of the gospel, as in church, at a funeral, marriage, etc.

20. Courses; order of dishes at table.

There was no extraordinary service seen on the board. Hakewill.

21. In seamen’s language, the material used for serving a rope, as spun yarn, small lines, etc.

22. A tree and its fruit, of the genus Sorbus. The wild service is of the genus Crataegus.

Service of a writ, process, etc. the reading of it to the person to whom notice is intended to be given, or the leaving of an attested copy with the person or his attorney, or at his usual place of abode.

Service of an attachment, the seizing of the person or goods according to the direction.

The service of an execution, the sevying of it upon the goods, estate or person of the defendant.


1. That does service; that promotes happiness, interest, advantage or any good; useful; beneficial; advantageous. Rulers may be very serviceable to religion by their example. The attentions of my friends were very serviceable to me when abroad. Rain and manure are serviceable to land.

2. Active; diligent; officious.

I know thee well, a serviceable villain. Shak. [Unusual.]


1. Usefulness of promoting good of any kind; beneficialness.

All action being for some end, its aptness to be commanded or forbidden must be founded upon its serviceableness or disserviceableness to some end. Norris.

2. Officiousness; readiness to do service.

SERVIENT, a. [L. serviens.] Subordinate. [Not in use.]

SERVILE, a. [L. servilis, from servio, to serve.]

1. Such as pertains to a servant or slave; slavish; mean; such as proceeds from dependence; as servile fear; servile obedience.

2. Held in subjection; dependent.

Ev’n fortune rules no more a servile land. Pope.

3. Cringing; fawning; meanly submissive; as servile flattery.

She must bend the servile knee. Thomson.


1. Meanly; slavishly; with base submission or obsequiousness.

2. With base deference to another; as, to copy servilely; to adopt opinions servilely.


1. Slavery; the condition of a slave or bondman.

To be a queen in bondage is more vile

Than is a slave in base servility. Shak.

2. Mean submission; baseness; slavishness.

3. Mean obsequiousness; slavish deference; as the common servility to custom; to copy manners or opinions with servility.

SERVING, ppr. Working for; acting in subordination to; yielding obedience to; worshiping; also, performing duties; as serving in the army.

SERVING-MAID, n. A female servant; a menial.

SERVING-MAN, n. A male servant; a menial.

SERVITOR, n. [From L. servio, to serve.]

1. A servant; an attendant.

2. One that acts under another; a follower or adherent.

3. One that professes duty and obedience.

4. In the university of Oxford, a student who attends on another for his maintenance and learning; such as is called in Cambridge, a sizer.

SERVITORSHIP, n. The office of a servitor.

SERVITUDE, n. [L. servitudo or servitus. See Serve.]

1. The condition of a slave; the state of involuntary subjection to a master; slavery; bondage. Such is the state of slaves in America. A large portion of the human race is in servitude.

2. The state of a servant. [Less common and less proper.]

3. The condition of a conquered country.

4. A state of slavish dependence. Some persons may be in love with splendid servitude.

5. Servants, collectively. [Not in use.]

SESAME, n. [L. sesama.] Oily grain; a genus of annual herbaceous plants, from the

SESAMUM, seeds of which an oil is expressed. One species of it is cultivated in Carolina, and the blacks use the seed for food. It is called there bene.

SESBAN, n. A plant; a species of AEschynomene or Bastard sensitive plant.

SESELI, n. [L. Gr. seselis.] A genus of plants; meadow saxifrage; hartwort.

SESQUILTER, a. [L. from sesqui, half as much more, and alter, other.]


1. In geometry, designating a ratio where one quantity or number contains another once, and half as much more; as 9 contains 6 and its half.

2. A sesquialteral floret, is when large fertile floret is accompanied with a small abortive one.

SESQUIDUPLICATE, a. [L. sesqui, supra, and duplicatis, double.] Designating the ratio of two and a half to one, or where the greater term contains the lesser twice and a half, as that of 50 to 20.

SESQIPEDAL, a. [L. sesqui, one and a half, and pedalis, from pes, a foot.]

SESQUIPEDALIAN, Containing a foot and a half; as a sesquipedalian pigmy.

Addison uses sesquipedal as a noun.

SESQUIPLICATE, a. [L. sesqui, one and a half, and plicatus, plico, to fold.] Designating the ratio of one and a half to one; as the sesquiplicate proportion of the periodical times of the planets.

SESQUITERTIAN, a. [L. sesqui, one and a half, and tertius, third.] Designating the

SESQUITERTIONAL, ratio of one and one third.

SESQUITONE, n. In music, a minor third, or interval of three semitones.

SESS, n. [L. sessio.] A tax. [Little used or not at all. See Assessment.]

SESSILE, a. [L. sessilis. See Set.] In botany, sitting on the stem. A sessile leaf issues directly from the stem or branch, without petiole or footstalk. A sessile flower has no peduncle. Sessile pappus or down has no stipe, but is placed immediately on the seed.

SESSION, n. [L. sessio, from sedeo. See Set.]

1. A sitting or being placed; as the ascension of Christ and his session at the right hand of God.

2. The actual sitting of a court, council, legislature, etc.; or the actual assembly of the members of these o rany similar body for the transaction of business. Thus we say, the court is now in session, meaning that the members are assembled for business.

3. The time, space or term during which a court, council, legislature and the like, meet for daily business; or the space of time between the first meeting and the prorogation of adjournment. Thus a session of parliament is opened with a speech from the throne, and closed by prorogation. The session of a judicial court is called a term. Thus a court may have two sessions or four sessions annually. The supreme court of the United States has one anual session. The legislatures of most of the states have one anual session only; some have more. The congress of the United States has one only.

4. Sessions, in some of the states, is particularly used for a court of justices, held for granting licenses to innkeepers or taverners, for laying out new highways or altering old ones and the like.

Quarter sessions, in England, is a court held once in every quarter, by two justices of the peace, one of whom is of the quorum, for the trial of small felonies and misdemeanors.

Sessions of the peace, a court consisting of justices of the peace, held in each county for inquiring into trespasses, larcenies, forestalling, etc. and in general, for the conversation of the peace.

SESS-POOL, n. [sess and pool] A cavity sunk into the earth to receive and retain the sediment of water conveyed in drains. Sess-pools should be placed at proper distances in all drains, and particularly should one be placed at the entrance.

SESTERCE, n. [L. sestertius.] A Roman coin or denomination of money, in value the fourth part of a denarius, and originally containing two asses and a half, about two pence sterling or four cents. The sestertium, that is, sestertium pondus, was two pounds and a half, or two hundred and fifty denarii; about seven pounds sterling, or thirty one dollars. One qualification of a Roman knight was the possession of estate of the value of four hundred thousand sesterces; that of a senator was double this sum.

Authors mention a copper sesterce, of the value of one third of a penny sterling.

Sesterce was also used by the ancients for a thing two holes and a half; the as being taken for the integer.

SET, v.t. pret. and pp. set. [L. sedo; to compose, as a book, to dispose or put in order, to establish, found or institute, to possess, to cease; L. sedo, sedeo and sido, coinciding with sit, but all of one family. From the Norman orthography of this word, we have assess, assise. See Assess. Heb. Ch. to set, to place.]

1. To put or place; to fix or cause to rest in a standing posture. We set a house on a wass of stone; we set a book on a shelf. In this use, set differs from lay; we set a thing on its end or basis; we lay it on its side.

2. To put or place in its proper or natural posture. We set a chest or trunk on its bottom, not its end; we set a bedstead or a table on its feet or laeg.

3. To put, place or fix in any situation. God set the sun, moon and stars in the firmament.

I do set my bow in the cloud. Genesis 9:13.

4. To put into any condition or state.

The Lord the God will set thee on high. Deuteronomy 28:1.

I am come to set a man at variance against his father. Matthew 10:35.

So we say, to set in order, to set at ease, to set to work, or at work.

5. To put; to fix; to attach to.

The Lord set a mark upon Cain. Genesis 4:15.

So we say, to set a label on a vial or a bale.

6. To fix; to render motionless; as, the eyes are set, the jaws are set.

7. To put or fix, as a price. We set a price on a house, farm or horse.

8. To fix; to state by some rule.

The gentleman spoke with a set gesture and countenance. Carew.

The town of Berne has handsome fountains planted and set distances from one end of the street to the other. Addison.

9. To regulate or adjust; as, to set a timepiece by the sun.

He sets judgement by his passion. Prior.

10. To fit to music; to adapt with notes; as, to set the words of a psalm to music.

Set thy own songs, and sing them to they lute. Dryden.

11. To pitch; to begin to sing in public.

He set the hundredth psalm. Spectator.

12. To plant, as a shrub, tree or vegetable.

13. To variegate, intersperse or adorn with something fixed; to stud; as, to set any thing with diamonds or pearls.

High on their heads, with jewels richly set, Each lady wore a radiant coronet. Dryden.

14. To return to its proper place or state; to replace; to reduce from dislocated or fractured state; as, to set a bone or a leg.

15. To fix; to place; as the heart or affections.

Set your affections on things above. Colossians 3:2.

-Minds altogether set on trade and profit. Addison.

16. To fix firmly; to predetermine.

The heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Ecclesiastes 8:11.

Hence we say, a thing is done of set purpose; a man is set, that is, firm or obstinate in his opinion or way.

17. To fix by appointment; to appoint; to assign; as, to set a time for meeting; to set an hour or day.

18. To place or station; to appoint to a particular duty.

Am I a sea or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me.

19. To stake at play. [Little used.]

20. To offer a wager at dice to another. [Little used.]

21. To fix in metal.

And him to rich a jewel to be set

In vulgar metal for a vulgar use. Dryden.

22. To fix; to cause to stop; to obstruct; as, to set a coach in the mire. The wagon or the team was set at the hill. In some of the states, stall is used in a like sense.

23. To embarrass; to perplex.

They are hard set to represent the bill as a grievance. Addison.

24. To put in good order; to fix for use; to bring to a fine edge; as, to set a razor.

25. To loose and extend; to spread; as, to set the sails of a ship.

26. To point out without noise or disturbance; as, a dog sets birds.

27. To oppose.

Will you set your wit to a fool’s? Shak.

28. To prepare with runnet for cheese; as, to set milk.

29. To dim; to darken or extinguish.

Ahijah could not see; for his eyes were set by reason of his age. 1 Kings 14:4.

To set by the compass, among seamen, to observe the bearing or situation of a distant object by the compass.

To set about, to begin, as an action or enterprise; to apply to. He has planned his enterprise, and he will soon setabout it.

To set one’s self against, to place in a state of emnity or opposition.

The king of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem this same day. Ezekiel 24:2.

To set against, to oppose, to set in comparison, or to oppose as an equivalent in exchange; as, to set one thing against another; or to set off one thing against another.

To set aside, to omit for the present; to lay out of the question.

Setting aside all other considerations, I will endeavor to know the truth and yield to that. Tillotson.

2. To reject.

I embrace that of the deluge, and set aside all the rest. Woodward.

3. To annul; to vacate. The court set aside the verdict or the judgement.

To set abroach, to spread.

To set a-going, to cause to begin to move.

To set by, to set apart or on on side; to reject. [In this sense, by is emphatical.]

2. To esteem; to regard; to value. [In this sense, set is pronounced with more emphasis than by.]

To set down, to place upon the ground or floor.

2. To enter in writing; to register.

Some rules were to be set down for the government of the army. Clarendon.

3. To explain or relate in writing.

4. To fix on a resolve. [Little used.]

5. To fix; to establish; to ordain.

This law we may name eternal, being that order which God hath set down with himself for himself to do all things by. Hooker.

To set forth, to manifest; to offer our present to view.

2. To publish; to promulgate; to make appear.

3. To send out; to prepare and send.

The Venetian admiral had a fleet of sixty galleys, set forth by the Venetians. Obs. Knolles.

4. To display; to exhibit; to present to view; to show.

To set forward, to advance; to move on; also, to promote.

To set in, to put in the way to begin.

If you please to assist and set me in, I will recollect myself. Collier.

To set off, to adorn; to decorate; to embellish.

They set off the worst faces with the best airs. Addison.

2. To give a pompus or flattering description of; to eulogize; to recommend; as, to set off a character.

3. To place against as an equivalent; as, to set off one man’s services against another’s.

4. To separate or assign for a particular purpose; as, to set off a portion of an estate.

To set on or upon, to incite; to instigate; to animate to action.

Thou, traitor, hast set on thy wife to this. Shak.

2. To assault or attack; seldom used transitively, but the passive form is often used.

Alphonsus- was set upon by a Turkish pirate and taken. Knolles.

3. To employ, as in a task.

Set on thy wife to observe. Shak.

4. To fix the attention; to determine to any thing withsettled purpose.

It becomes a true lover to have your own heart more set upon her good than your own. Sidney.

To set out, to assign; to allot; as, to set out the share of each proprietor or heir of an estate; to set out the widow’s thirds.

2. To publish. [Not elegant nor common.]

3. To mark by boundaries or distinctions of space.

-Determinate portions of those infinite abysses of space and duration, set out, or supposed to be distinguished from all the rest by known boundaries. Locke.

4. To adorn; to embellish.

An ugly woman in a rich habit, set out with jewels, nothing can become. Dryden.

5. To raise, equip and send forth; to furnish.

The Venetians pretend they could set out, in case of great necessity, thirty men of war. [Not elegant and little used.] Addison.

6. To show; to display; to recommend; to set off.

I could set out that best side of Luther. Atterbury.

7. To show; to prove.

Those very reasons set out how hainous his sin was. [Little used and not elegant.] Atterbury.

8. In law, to recite; to state at large.

To set up, to erect; as, to set up a building; to set up a post, a wall a pillar.

2. To begin a new institution; to institute; to establish; to found; as, to set up a manufactory; to set up a school.

3. To enable to commence a new business; as, to set up a son in trade.

4. To raise; to exalt; to put in power; as, to set up the throne of David over Israel.

5. To place in view; as, to set up a mark.

6. To raise; to utter loudly; as, to set up the voice.

I’ll set up such a note as she shall hear. Dryden.

7. To advance; to propose as truth or for reception; as, to set up a new opinion or doctrine.

8. To raise from depression or to a sufficient fortune. This good fortune quite set him up.

9. In seamen’s language, to extend, as the shrouds, stays, etc.

To set at naught, to undervalue; to contemn; to despise.

Ye have set at naught all my counsel. Proverbs 1:25.

To set in order, to adjust or arrange; to reduce to method.

The rest will I set in order when I come. 1 Corinthians 11:34.

To set eyes on, to see; to behold; or to fix the eyes in looking on.

To set the teeth on edge, to affect the teeth with painful sensation.

To set over, to appoint or constitute supervisor, inspector, ruler or commander.

2. To assign; to transfer; to convey.

To set right, to correct; to put in order.

To set at ease, to quiet; to tranquilize; as, to set the heart at ease.

To set free, to release from confinement, imprisonment or bondage; to liberate; to emancipate.

To set at work, to cause to enter on work or action; or to direct how to enter on work.

To set on fire, to communicate fire to; to inflame; and figuratively, to enkindle the passions; to make rage; to irritate; to fill with disorder.

To set before, to offer; to propose; to present to view.

To set a trap, snare or gin, to place in a situation to catch prey; to spread; figuratively, to lay a plan to deceive and draw into the power of another.

SET, v.i.

1. To decline; to go down; to pass below the horizin; as, the sun sets; the stars set.

2. To be fixed hard; to be close or firm.

3. To fit music to words.

4. To congeal or concrete.

That fluid in a few minutes begins to set. Boyle.

5. To begin a journey. The king is set from London. [This is obsolete. We now say, to set out.]

6. To plant; as,”to sow dry, and to set wet.”

7. To flow; to have a certain direction in motion; as, the tide sets to the east or north; the current sets westward.

8. To catch birds with a dog that sets them, that is, one that lies down and points them out, and with a large net.

To set one’s self about, to begin; to enter upon; to take the first steps.

To set one’s self, to apply one’s self.

To set about, to fall on; to begin; to take the first steps in a business or enterprise.

To set in, to begin. Winter in New England, usually sets in

2. To become settled in a particular state.

When the weather was set in to be very bad. Addison.

To set forward, to move or march; to begin to march; to advance.

The sons of Aaron and the sons of Merari set forward. Numbers 10:17.

To set on, or upon, to begin a journey or an enterprise.

He that would seriously set upon the search of truth- Locke.

2. To assault; to make an attack.

To set out, to begin a journey or course; as, to set out for London or from London; to set out in business; to set out in life or in the world.

2. To have a beginning.

To set to, to apply one’s self to.

To set up, to begin business or a scheme of life; as, to set up in trade; to set up for one’s self.

2. To profess openly; to make pretensions. He sets up for a man of wit; he sets up to teach morality.

SET, pp.

1. Placed; put; located; fixed; adjusted; composed; studded or adorned; reduced, as a dislocated or broken bone.

2. a. Regular; uniform; formal; as a set speech or phrase; a set discourse; a set battle.

3. Fixed in opinion; determined; firm; obstinate; as a man set in his opinions or way.

4. Established; prescribed; as set forms of prayer.

SET, n.

1. A number or collection of things of the same kind and of similar form, which are ordinarily used together; as a set of chairs; a set of tea cups; a set of China or other ware.

2. A number of things fitted to be used together, though different in form; as a set of dining tables.

3. A number of persons customarily or officialy associated, as a set of men, a set of officers; or a number of persons having a simlitude of character, or of things which have some resemblance or relation to each other. Hence our common phrase, a set of opinions.

This falls into different divisions or sets of nations connected under particular religions, etc. Ward’s Law of Nations.

4. A number of particular things that are united in the formation of a whole; as a set of features.

5. A young plant for growth; as sets of white thorn or other shrub.

6. The descent of the sun or other other below the horizon; as the set of the sun.

7. A wager at dice.

That was but civil war, an equal set. Dryden.

8. A game.

We will, in france, play a set

Shall strike his father’s crown into the hazard. Shak.

SETACEOUS, a. [L. seta, a bristle.]

1. Bristly; set with strong hairs; consisting of strong hairs; as a stiff setaceous tail.

2. In botany, bristle-shaped; having the thickness and length of a bristle; as a setaceous seaf or leaflet.

Setaceous worm, a name given to a water worm that resembles a horse hair, vulgarly supposed to be an animated hair. But this is a mistake.

SET-FOIL. [See Sept-foil.]

SETIFORM, a. [L. seta, a bristle, and form.] Having the form of a bristle.

SET-OFF, n. [set and off.] The act of admitting one claim to counterbalance another. In a set-off the defendant acknowledges the justice of the plantif’s demand, but sets up a demand of his own to counter balance it in whole or in part.

The right of pleading a set-off depends on statute. Blackstone.

Note: In New England, offset is sometimes used for set-off. But offset has a different sense, and it is desirable that the practice should be uniform, Wherever the English is spoken.

SETON, n. [L. seta, a bristle.] In surgery, a few horsehairs or small threads, or a twist of silk, drawn through the skin by a large needle, by which a small opening is made and which is continued for the discharge of humors.

SETOUS, a. [L. setosus, from seta, a bristle.] In botany, bristly; having the surface set with bristles; as a setous seaf or receptacle.

SETTEE, n. [from set.]

1. A long seat with a back to it.

A vessel with one deck and a very long sharp prow, carrying two or three masts with lateen sails; used in the Mediterranean.


1. One that sets; as a setter on, or inciter; a setter up; a setter forth, etc.

2. A dogs that beats the field and starts birds for sportsmen.

3. A man that performs the office of a setting dogor finds persons to be plundered.

4. One that adapts words to music in composition.

5. Whatever sets off, adorns or recommendws. [Not used.]

SETTER-WORT, n. A plant, a species of Helleborus.

SETTING, ppr. Placing; putting; fixing; studding; appointing; sinking below the horizon, etc.


1. The act of putting, placing, fixing or establishing.

2. The act of sinking below the horizon. The setting of stars is of three kinds, Cosmical, Acronical, and Heliacal. [See these words.]

3. The act or manner of taking birds by a setting dog.

4. Inclosure; as settings of stones.

5. The direction of a current at sea.

SETTING-DOG, n. A setter; a dog trained to find and start birds for sportsmen.

SETTLE, n. [L. sedile. See Set.] A seat or bench; something to sit on.

SETTLE, v.t. [from set.]

1. To place in a permanent condition after wandering or fluctuation.

I will settle you after your old estates. Ezekiel 36:11.

2. To fix; to establish; to make permanent in any place.

I will settle him in my house and in my kingdom forever. 1 Chronicles 17:14.

3. To establish in business or way of life; as, to settle a son in trade.

4. To marry; as, to settle a doughter.

5. To establish; to confirm.

Her will alone could settle or revoke. Prior.

6. To determine what is uncertain; to establish; to free from doubt; as, to settle questions or points of law. The supreme court have settled the question.

7. To fix; to establish; to make certain or permanent; as, to settle the succession to the thron in a particular family. So we speak of settled habits and settled opinions.

8. To fix or establish; not to suffer to doubt or waver.

It will settle teh wavering and confirm the doubtful. Swift.

9. To make close or compact.

Cover ant-hills up that the rain may settle the turf before the spring. Mortimer.

10. To cause to subside after being heaved and loosened by frost; or to dry and harden after rain. Thus clear weather settles the roads.

11. To fix or establish by gifr, grant or any legal act; as, to settle a pension on an officer, or an annuity on a child.

12. To fix firmly. Settle your mind on valuable objects.

13. To couse to sink or subside, as extraneous matters in liquors. In fining wine, we add something to settle the lees.

14. To compose; to tranquilize what is disturbed; as, to settle the thoughts or mind when agitated.

15. To establish in the pastoral office; to ordain over a church and sociecty, or parish; as, to settle a minister.

16. To plant with inhabitants; to colonize. The French first settled Canada; the Puritans settled New England. Plymouth was settled in 1620. Hartford was settled in 1636. Wethersfield was the first settled town in Connecticut.

17. To adjust; to close by amicable agreement or otherwise; as, to settle a controversy or dispute by agreement; treaty or by force.

18. To adjust; to liquidate; to cause it to sink or appear lower by receding from it.

To settle the land, among seamen, to cause it to sink or appear lower by receding from it.

SETTLE, v.i.

1. To fall to the bottom of liquor; to subside; to sind and rest on the bottom; as, lees or dregs settle. Slimy particles in water settle and form mud at the bottom of rivers.

This words is used of the extraneous matter of liquors, when it subsides spontaneously. But in chemical operations, when substances mixed or in solution are decomposed, and one component part subsides, it is said to be precipitated. But may also be said to settle.

2. To lose motion or fermentation; to deposit, as feces.

A government on such occasions, is always thick before it settles. Addison.

3. To fix one’s habitation or residence. Belgians had settled on the southern coast of Britian, before the romans invaded the isle.

4. To marry and establaish a domestic state. Where subsistence is easily obtained, children settle at an early period of life.

5. To become fixed after change or fluctuation; as, the wind came about and settled in the west.

6. To become stationary; To quit a rambling or irregular course for a permanent or methodical one.

7. To become fixed or permanent; to take a lasting form or state; as a settled conviction.

Chyle- runs through the intermediate colors till it settles in an intense red. Arbuthnot.

8. To rest; to repose.

When time hath worn out their natural vanity, and taught them discretion, their fondness settles on a proper object. Spectator.

9. To become calm calm; to cease from agitation.

Till the fury of his highness settle,

Come not before him. Shak.

10. To make a jointure for a wife.

He sighs with most success that settles well. Garth.

11. To sink by its weight; and in loose bodies, to become more compact. We say, a wall settles; A house settles upon its foundation; a mass of sand settles and becomes more firm.

12. To sink after being heaved, and to dry; as, roads settle in spring after frost and rain.

13. To be ordained and installed over a parish, church or congregation. AB was invited to settle in the first society of New Haven. ND settled in the ministry when very young.

14. To adjust differences or accounts; to come to an agreement. He has settled with his creditors.

15. To make a jointure for a wife.

SETTLED, pp. Placed; established; determined; composed; adjusted.

SETTLEDNESS, n. The state of being settled; confirmed state. [Little used.]


1. The act of settling, the state of being settled.

2. The falling of the foul of foreign matter of liquors to the bottom; subsidence.

3. The matter that subsides; lees; dregs. [Not used. For this we use settlings.]

4. The act of giving possession by legal sanction.

My flocks, my fields, my woods, my pastures take,

With settlement as good as law can make. Dryden.

5. A jointure granted to a wife, or the act of granting it. We say, the wife has a competent settlement for her maintenance; or she has provision made for her by the settlement of a jointure.

6. The act of taking a domestic state; the act of marrying and going to housekeeping .

7. A becoming stationary, or taking permanent residence after a roving course of life.

8. The act of planting or establishing, as a colony; also, to place, or the colony established; as the British settlements in America or India.

9. Adjustment; liquidation; the ascertainment of just claims, or payment of the balance of a account.

10. Akjustment of differences; pacification; reconcisiation; as the settlement of disputes or controversies.

11. The ordaining or installment of a clergyman over a parish or a congregation.

12. A sum of money or other property granted to a minister on his ordination, exclusive of his salary.

13. Legal residence or establishment of a person in a particular parish or town, which entitles him to maintenance if a pauper, and subjects the parish or town to his support. In England, the poor are supported by the parish where they have a settlement. In New England they are supported by the town. In England, the statutes 12 Richard II. and 19 Henry VII. seem to be the first rudiments of parish settlements. By statute 13 and 14 Ch. II. a legal settlement is declared to be gained by birth, by inhabitancy, by apprenticeship, or by service for forty days. But the gaining of a settlement by so short a residence produced great evils, which were remedied by statute 1 James II.

14. Act of settlement, in British history, the statute of 12 and 13 William III. by which the crowd was limited to his present majesty’s house, or the house of Orange.

SETTLING, ppr. Placing; fixing; establishing; regulating; adjusting; planting or colonizing; subsiding; composing; ordaining or installing; becoming the pastor of a church or parish.


1. The act of making a settlement; a planting or coloninzing.

2. The act of subsiding, as lees.

3. The adjustment of differences.

4. Settlings, plu. lees; dregs; sediment.

SETWALL, n. [set and wall.] A plant. The garden setwall is a species of Valeriana.

SEVEN, a. sev’n [L. septem.] Four and three; one more than six or less than eight. Seven days constitute a week. We read in Scripture of seven years of plenty, and seven years of famine, seven trumpets, seven seals, seven vials, etc.

SEVENFOLD, a. [seven and fold.] Repeated seven times; doubled seven times; increased to seven times the size or amount; as the sevenfold shield of Ajax; sevenfold rage.

SEVENFOLD, adv. Seven times as much or often.

Whoever slayeth Cain, vengence shall be taken on him sevenfold. Genesis 4:15.

SEVENNIGHT, n. [seven and night.] A week; the period of seven days and nights; or the time from one day of the week to the next day of the same denomination preceding or following. Our ancestors numbered the diurnal rebolutions of the earth by nights, as they reckoned the annual revolutions by winters. Sevennight is now contracted into sennight, which see.

SEVENSCORE, n. [seven and score, twenty notches or marks.] Seven times twenty, that is, a hundred and forty.

The old countess of Desmond, who lived sevenscore years, dentized twice or thrice. Bacon.

SEVENTEEN, a. [seven-ten.] Seven and ten.