Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



SIGNATURIST, n. One who holds to the doctrine of signatures impressed upon objects, indicative of character or qualities. [Little used.]

SIGNER, n. One that signs or subscribes his name; as a memorial with a hundred signers.

SIGNET, n. A seal; particularly in Great Britain, the seal used by the king in sealing his private letters, and grants that pass by bill under his majesty’s hand.


1. Meaning; import; that which is intended to be expressed; as the significance of a nod, or of a motion of the hand, or of a word or expression.

2. Force; energy; power of impressing the mind; as a duty enjoined with particular significance.

3. Importance; moment; weight; consequence. Many a circumstance of less significancy has been construed into an event act of high treason.

SIGNIFICANT, a. [L. signigicans.]

1. Expressive of something beyond the external mark.

2. Bearing a meaning; expressing or containing signification of sense; as a significant word or sound; a significant look.

3. Betokening something; standing as a sign of something. It was well said of Plotinus, that the stars were significant, but not efficient.

4. Expressive or representative of some fact or event, The passover among the Jews was significant of the escape of the Israelites from the destruction which fell on the Egyptians. The bread and wine in the sacrament are significant of the body and blood of Christ.

5. Important; momentous. [Not in use.]


1. With meaning.

2. With force of expression.


1. The act of making known, or of communicating ideas to another by signs or by words, by any thing that is understood, particularly by words. All speaking, or signification of one’s mind, implies an act or address of one man to another.

2. Meaning; that which is understood to be intended by a sign, character, mark or word; that idea or sense of a sign, mar, word or expression which the person using it intends to convey, or that which men in general who use it, understand it to convey. The signification of words was originally arbitrary, and is dependent on usage. But when custom has annexed a certain sense to a letter or sound, or to a combination of letters or sounds, this sense is always to be considered the signification which the person using the word intends to communicate. So by custom, certain signs or gestures have a determinate signification. Such is the fact also with figures, algebraic character, etc.


1. Betokening or representing by an external sign; as the significative symbols of the eucharist.

2. Having signification or meaning; expressive of a certain idea or thing. Neither in the degrees of kindred were they destitute of significative words.

SIGNIFICATIVELY, adv. So as represent or express by an external sign.

SIGNIFICATOR, n. That which signifies.

SIGNIFICATORY, n. That which betokens, signifies or represents.

SIGNIFY, v.t. [L. significo; signum, a sign, and facio, to make.]

1. To make known something, either by signs or words; to express or communicate to another any idea, thought, wish, a hod, wink, gesture, signal or other sign. A man signifies his mind by his voice or by written characters; he may signify his mind by a nod or other motion, provided the person to whom he directs it, understands what is intend by it. A general or an admiral signifies his commands by signals to officers as a distance.

2. To mean; to have or contain a certain sense. The word sabbath signifies rest. Less, in composition, as in faithless, signifies destitution or want. The prefix re, in recommend, seldom signifies any thing.

3. To import; to weigh; to have consequence; used in particular phrases; as, it signifies much or little; it signifies nothing. What does it signify? What signify the splendors of a court? Confession of sin without reformation of life, can signify nothing in the view of God.

4. To make known; to declare. The government should signify to the protestants of Ireland that want of silver is not to be remedied.

SIGNIFY, v.i. To express meaning with force. [Little used.]


SIGNORIZE, v.i. To exercise dominion; or to have dominion. [Little used.]

seigniory, which see. It signifies lordship, dominion, and in Shakespeare, seniority.

SIGN-POST, n. A post on which a sign hangs, or on which papers are placed to give public notice of any thing. By the laws of some of the New England states, a sign-post is to be erected near the center of each town.

SIK, SIKE, a. Such.


SIKERNESS, n. Sureness safety.

SILENCE, n. [L. silentium, from sileo, to be still.]

1. In a general sense, stillness, or entire absence of sound or noise; as the silence of midnight.

2. In animals, the state of holding the peace; forbearance of speech in man, or of noise in other animals. I was dumb with silence; I held my peace, even from good. Psalm 39:2.

3. Habitual taciturnity; opposed to loquacity.

4. Secrecy. These things were transacted in silence.

5. Stillness; calmness; quiet; cessation of rage, agitation or tumult; as the elements reduced to silence.

6. Absence of mention; oblivion, Eternal silence be their doom. And what most merits fame, in silence hid.

7. Silence, in used elliptically for let there be silence, an injunction to keep silence.


1. To oblige to hold the peace; to restrain from noise or speaking.

2. To still; to quiet; to restrain; to appease. This would silence all further opposition. These would have silenced their scruples.

3. To stop; as, to silence complaints or clamor.

4. To still; to cause to cease firing; as, to silence guns or a battery.

5. To restrain from preaching by revoking a license to preach; as, to silence a minister of the gospel. The Rev. Thomas Hooker, of Chelmsford in Essex, was silenced for non-conformity.

6. To put an end to; to cause to cease. The question between agriculture and commerce has received a decision which has silenced the rivalships between them.


1. Not speaking; mute. Psalm 22:2.

2. Habitually taciturn; speaking little; not inclined to much talking; not loquacious. Ulysses, he adds was the most eloquent and most silent of men.

3. Still; having not noise; as the silent watches of the night; the silent groves; all was silent.

4. Not operative; wanting efficacy.

5. Not mentioning; not proclaiming. This new created world, of which in hell Fame is not silent.

6. Calm; as, the winds were silent.

7. Not acting; not transacting business in person; as a silent partner in a commercial house.

8. Hot pronounced; having no sound; as, e is silent in fable.

SILENTIARY, n. One appointed to keep silence and order in court; one sworn not to divulge secrets of state.


1. Without speech or words. Each silently demands thy grace, and seems to watch thy eye.

2. without noise; as, to march silently.

3. Without mention. He mentioned other difficulties, but this he silently passed over.

SILENTNESS, n. State of being silent; stillness; silence.

SILISIA, n. sile’zha. A duchy or country now chiefly belonging to Prussia; hence, a species of linen cloth so called; thin coarse linen.

SILESIAN, a. sile’zhan Pertaining to Silesia; mad in Silesia; as silesian linen.

SILEX, SILCIA, n. One of the supposed primitive earths m usually found in the state of stone. When pure, it is perfectly white or colorless. The purer sorts are mountain crystal and quartz. Recent experiments prove this to be a compound substance, the base of which is a metal called silicium. Silica then is an oxyd of silicium.

SILICE, SILICULE, SILICLE, n. [L. silicula, a little husk.] In botany, a little pod or bivalvular pericarp, with seeds attached to both sutures.

SILICICALCARIOUS, a. Consisting of silex and calcarious matter.

SILICICALCE, n. [L. silex or silica and calx.] A mineral of the silicious kind, occurring in amorphous masses; its color is gray or brown.

SILICIFEROUS, a. [L. silex and fero, to produce.] Producing silex; or united with a portion of silex.

SILICIFY, v.t. [L. silex, flint, and facio, to make.] To convert into silex. The specimens found near Philadelphia are completely silicified.

SILICIFY, v.i. To become silex.

SILICIMURITE, n. An earth composed of silex and magnesia.

SILICIOUS, a. Pertaining to silex, or partaking of its nature and qualities.

SILICITED, a. Impregnated with silex.

SILICIUM, n. The undecomposed and perhaps undecomposable base of silex or silica.

SILICULOUS, a. Havin silicles or little pods, or pertaining to them.

SILING-DISH, n. A colander. [Not in use.]

SILIQUA, n. [L.] With gold finers, a carat, six of which make a scruple.

SILIQUA, SILIQUE, n. [L. siliqua.] A pod; an oblong, membranaceous, bivalvular pericarp, having the seeds fixed to both sutures.

SILIQUOSE, SILIQUOUS, n. [L. siliquosus.] Having that species of pericarp called silique; as siliquous plants.

SILK, n.

1. The fine soft thread produced by the insect called silk-worm or bombyx. That which we ordinarily call silk, is a thread composed of several finer threads which the worm draws from its bowels, like the web of a spider, and with which the silk-worm envelopes itself, forming what is called a cocoon.

2. Cloth made of silk. In this sense, the word has a plural, silks, denoting different sort and varieties, as black silk, white silk, colored silks.

3. The filiform style of the female flower of maiz, which resembles real silk in fineness and softness. Virginia silk, a plant of the genus Periploca, which climbs and winds about other plants, trees, etc.

SILK, a. Pertaining to silk; consisting of silk.

SILK COTTEN-TREE, n. A tree of the genus Bombax, growing to an immense size; a native of both the Indies.

SILKEN, a. silk’n.

1. Made of silk; as silken cloth; a silken vail.

2. Like silk; soft to the touch.

3. Soft; delicate; tender; smooth; as mild and silken language.

4. Dressed in silk; as a silken wanton.

SILKEN, v.t. silk’n. To render soft or smooth.


1. The qualities of silk; softness and smoothness to the feel.

2. Softness; effeminacy; pusillanimity.

SILKMAN, n. A dealer in silks.

SILKMERCER, n. One whose occupation is to weave silk stuffs.

SILKWORM, n. The worm which produces silk, of the genus Phalaena. Silk-worms are said to have been first introduced into the Roman empire from China, in the reign of Justinian.


1. Made of silk; consisting of silk.

2. Like silk; soft and smooth to the touch.

3. Pliant; yielding;

SILL, n. [L. solum; allied to solid. The primary sense is probably to lay, set or throw down.]

1. Properly, the basis of foundationof a thing; appropriately, a piece of timber on which a building rests; the lowest timber of any stucture; as the sills of a house, of a bridge, of a loom and the like.

2. The timber or stone at the foot of a door; the threshhold.

3. The timber or stone on which a window frame stands; or the lowest piece in a window frame.

4. The shaft or thill of a carriage. [Local.]

SILLABUB, n. A liquor made by mixing wine or cider with milk, and thus forming a soft curd.

SILLIMANITE, n. A mineral found at Saybrook in Connecticut, so named in honor of Prof, Silliman of Yale College. It occurs in long, slender, rhombic prisms, engaged in gneiss. Its color is dark gray and hair brown; luster shining upon the external planes, but brilliant and pseudometallic upon those produced by cleavage in a direction parallel with the longer diagonal of the prism. Hardness about the same with quartz. Specific gravity, 3.410.

SILLINESS, n. Weakness of understanding; want of sound sense or judgment; simplicity; harmless folly.

SILLY, a. [Heb. This may be radically the same word, with a prefix. Class Sl. No. 26]

1. Weak in intellect; foolish; witless; destitute of ordinary strength of mind; simple; as a silly man; a silly child.

2. Proceeding from want of understanding or common judgment; characterized by weakness of folly; unwise; as silly thoughts; silly actions; a silly scheme; writings stupid or silly.

3. Weak; helpless. After long storms- With which my silly bark was toss’d

SILLYHOW, n. The membrane that covers the head of the fetus. [I believe not used.]

SILT, n. Saltness, or salt marsh or mud.

SILURE, SILURUS, n. The sheat-fish; also a name of the sturgeon.

SILVAN, a. [L. silva, a wood or grove, It is also written sylvan]

1. Pertaining to a wood or grove; inhabiting woods.

2. Woody; abounding with woods. Betwixt two rows of rocks, a silvan scene.

SILVAN, n. Another name of tellurium.


1. A metal of a white color and lively brilliancy. It has neither taste nor smell; its specific gravity is 10.552, according to Bergman, but according to Kirwan it is less. A cubic foot weighs about 660 lbs. Its ductility is little inferior to that of gold. It is harder and more elastic that tin of iron. It is found native in thin plates or leaves, or in fine threads, or it is found mieralized by various substances. Great quanitities of the metal are furnished by the mines of South America, and it is found in small quantities in Norway, Germany, Spain, the United State, etc.

2. Money; coin made of silver.

3. Any thing of soft splendor. Pallas-piteous of her plaintive cries, In slumber clos’d her silver-streaming eyes.


1. Made of silver; as a silver cup.

2. White like silver; as silver hair. Others on silver lakes and rivers bath’d Their downy breast.

3. White, or pale; of a pale luster; as the silver moon.

4. SOft; as a silver voice or sound.

SILVER, v.t.

1. To cover superficially with a coat of silver; as, to silver a pin or a dialplate.

2. To foliate; to cover with tinfoil amalgamated with quicksilver; as, to silver glass.

3. To adorn with mild luster; to make smooth and bright. And smiling calmness silver’d o’er the deep.

4. To make hoary. His head was silver’d o’er with age.

SILVER-BEATER, n. One that foliates silver, or forms it into a leaf.

SILVER-BUSH, n. A plant, a species of Anthyllis.

SILVERED, pp. Covered with a thin coat of silver; rendered smooth and lustrous; made white or a hoary.

SILVER-FIR, n. A species of fir.

SILVER-FISH, n. A fish of the size of a small carp, having a white color, striped with silvery lines.

SILVERING, ppr. Covering the surface with a thin coat of silver; foliating; rendering mildly lustrous; rendering white.

SILVERING, n. The art, operation or practice of covering the surface of any thing with silver; as the silvering of copper or brass.
SILVERING, n. A silver coin. Isaiah 7:23.

SILVERLY, adv. With the appearance of silver.

SILVERSMITH, n. One whose occupation is to work’in silver, or in manufactures of which the precious metals form a part.


SILVER-TREE, n. A plant of the genus Protea.

SILVER-WEED, n. A plant of the genus Potentilla.


1. Like silver; having the appearance of silver; white; of a mild luster. Of all the enameled race whose silvery wing Waves to the tepid zephyrs of the spring.

2. Besprinkled or covered with silver.

SIMAGRE, n. Grimace.

SIMAR, SIMARE, n. A woman’s robe. [Not in use.]

SIMILAR, a. [L. similis; Gr. omaloV.] Like; resembling; having a like form or appearance. Similar may signify exactly alike, or having a general likeness, a likeness in the principal points. Things perfectly similar, in their nature, must be of the same essence, or homogeneous; but we generally understand similar to denote a likeness that is not perfect. Many of the statutes of Connecticut are similar to the statutes of Massachusetts on the same subjects. The manners of the several states of New England are similar, the people being derived from common ancestors.

SIMILARITY, n. Likeness; resemblance; as a similarity of features. There is a as a similarity in the features of the Laplanders and Samoiedes, but little similarity between the features of Europeans and the woolly haired Africans.

SIMILARLY, adv. In like manner; with resemblance.

SIMILE, n. sim’ily. [L.] In rhetoric, similitude; a comparison of two thing which, however different in other respects, have some strong point or points of resemblance; by which comparison, the character or qualities of a thing are illustrated or presented in an impressive light. Thus, the eloquence of Demosthenes was like a rapid torrent; that of Cicero, like a large stream that glides smoothly along with majestic tranquility.

SIMILITUDE, n. [L. similitudo.]

1. Likeness; resemblance; likeness in nature, qualities of appearance; as similitude of substance. Let us make man in our image, man in our similitude. Fate some future bard shall join in sad similitude of griefs to mine.

2. Comparison; simile. Tasso, in his similitude, never departed from the woods. [See Simile.]

SIMILITUDINARY, a. Denoting resemblance or comparison.

SIMILOR, n. A name given to an alloy of red copper and zinc, made in the best proportions to imitate silver and gold.


SIMMER, v.i. [Gr. zumhm, zumow, to ferment.] To boil gently, or with a gentle hissing. Simmering is incipient ebullition, when little bubbles are formed on the edge of the liquor, next to the vessel. These are occasioned by the escape of heat and vapor.

SIMMERING, ppr. Boiling gently;

SIMNEL, n. A kind of sweet cake; a bun.

Simony.] One who buys or sells preferment in the church.


1. Guilty of simony.

2. Consisting in simony, or the crime of buying or selling ecclesiastical preferment; as a simoniacal presentation.

SIMOIACALLY, adv. With the guilt or offense of simony.

SIMONIOUS, a. Partaking of simony; given to simony.

SIMONY, n. [from Simon Magus, who wished to purchase the power of conferring the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:18.] The crime of buying or selling ecclesiastical preferment; or the corrupt presentation of any one to an ecclesiastical benefice of money or reward. By Stat. 31 Elizabeth, c. 6. severe penalties are enacted against this crime.

SIMOOM, n. A hot suffocating wind, that blows occasionally in Africa and Arabia, generated by the extreme heat of the parched deserts or sandy plains. Its approach is indicated by a redness in the air, and its fatal effects are to be avoided by falling on the face and holding the breath.

SIMOUS, a. [L. simo, one with a flat nose, Gr. simoV.]

1. Having a very flat or snub nose, with the end turned up.

2. Concave; as the simous part of the liver.

SIMPER, v.i. To smile in a silly manner.

SIMPER, n. To smile with an air of silliness.

SIMPERING, ppr. Smiling foolishly.

SIMPERING, n. The act of smiling with an air of silliness.

SIMPERINGLY, adv. With a silly smile.

SIMPLE, a. [L. simplex; sine, without and plex, plica, doubling, fold;]

1. Single; consisting of one thing; uncompounded; unmingled; uncombined with any thing else; as a simple substance; a simple idea; a simple sound.

2. Plain; artless; not given to design, stratagem or duplicity; undesigning; sincere; harmless. A simple husbandman in garments gray.

3. Artless; unaffected; unconstrained; inartificial; plain. In simple manners all the secret lies.

4. Unadorned; plain; as a simple style or narration; a simple dress.

5. Not complex or complicated; as a machine of simple construction.

6. Weak in intellect; not wise or sagacious; silly. The simple believeth every word; but the prudent looketh well to his going. Proverbs 14:15.

7. In botany, undivided, as a root, stem or spike; only one on a petiole, as a simple leaf; only one on a peduncle, as a simple flower; having only one set of rays, as an umbel; having only one row of leaflets, as a simple calyx; not plumose or fathered, as a pappus. A simple body, in chemisty, is one that has not been decomposed, or separated into two or more bodies.

SIMPLE, n. Something not mixed or compounded. in the materia medica, the genral denomination of an herb or plant. as each vegetable is supposed to possess its particular virtue, and therefore to constitute a simple remedy.
SIMPLE, v.i. To gather simples or plants. As simpling on the flowery hills he stray’d.

SIMPLE-MINDED, a. Artless; undesigning; unsuspecting.


1. The state or quality of being simple, single or uncompounded; as the simpleness of the elements.

2. Artlessness; simplicity;

3. Weakness of intellect.

SIMPLER, n. One that collects simples; as herbalist; asimplist.

SIMPLESS, for simplicity or silliness, is not in use.

SIMPLETON, n. A silly person; a person of weak intellect; a trifler; a foolish person.

SIMPLICAIN, n. An artless, unskilled or undesigning person. [Not in use.]

SIMPLICITY, n. [L. simplicitas.]

1. Singleness; the state of being unmixed or uncompounded; as the simplicity of metals or of earths.

2. The state of being not complex, or of consisting of few parts; as the simplicity of a machine.

3. Artlessness of mind; freedom from a propensity to cunning or stratagem; freedom from duplicity; sincerity. Marquis Dorset, a man for his harmless simplicity neither misliked nor much regarded.

4. Plainness; freedom from artificial ornament; as the simplicity of a dress, of style, of language, etc. Simplicity in writing is the first or excellences.

5. Plainness; freedom from subtilty or abstruseness; as the simplicity of scriptural doctrines or truth.

6. Weakness of intellect; silliness. Godly simplicity, in Scriptures, is a fair open profession and practice of evangelical truth, with a single view to obedience and to the glory of God.