Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



SKIRTING, ppr. Bordering; forming a border.

SKIT, n. A wanton girl; a reflection; a jeer or jibe; a whim.

SKIT, v.t. To cast reflections.


1. Shy; easily frightened; shunning familiarity; timorous; as a restif skittish jade. L’Estrange.

2. Wanton; volatile; hasty.

3. Changeable; fickle; as skittish fortune.

SKITTISHLY, adv. Shyly; wantonly; changeably.


1. Shyness; aptness to fear approach; timidity.

2. Fickleness; wantonness.

SKITTLES, n. Nine pins.

SKOLEZITE, n. A mineral allied to Thomsonite, occurring crystallized and massive, colorless and nearly transparent. When a small portion of it is placed in the exterior flame of the blowpipe, it twists like a worm, becomes opake, and is converted into a blebby colorless glass.

SKONCE, [See Sconce.]

SKORADITE, n. A mineral of a greenish color of different shades or brown and nearly black, resembling the martial arseniate of copper. It occurs massive, but generally crystallized in rectangular prisms.

SKREEN. [See Screen.]

SKRINGE, properly scringe; a vulgar corruption of cringe.

SKUE. [See Skew.]

SKUG, v.t. To hide.

SKULK, v.i. To lurk; to withdraw into a corner or into a close place for concealment [See Sculk.]


1. The bone that forms the exterior of the head, and incloses the brain; the brain-pan. It is composed of several parts united at the sutures.

2. A person.

Skulls that cannot teach and will not learn.

3. Skull, for skeal or school, of fish


1. A head piece.

2. A plant of the genus Scutellaria.

SKUNK, n. In America, the popular name of a fetid animal of the weasel kind; the Viverra Mephitis of Linne.

SKUNK-CABBAGE, SKUNK-WEED, n. A plant vulgarly so called, the Tetodes fatidus, so named from its smell.

SKUTE, n. A boat. [See Scow.]

SKY, n.

1. The aerial region which surrounds the earth; the apparent arch or vault of heaven, which in a clear day is of a blue color.

2. The heavens.

3. The weather; the climate.

4. A cloud; a shadow.

SKY-COLORED, a. Like the sky in color; blue; azure.

SKY-DYED, a. Colored like the sky.

SKYEY, a. Like the sky; etherial.

SKYISH, a. Like the sky, or approaching the sky. The skyish head of blue Olympus.

SKYLARK, n. A lark that mounts and sings as it flies.

SKY-LIGHT, n. A window placed in the top of a house or ceiling of a room for admission of light.

SKY-ROCKET, n. A rocket that ascends high and burns as it flies; a species of fire works.

SLAB, a. Thick; viscous. [Not used.]

SLAB, n.

1. A plane or table of stone; as a marble slab.

2. An outside piece taken from timber in sawing it into boards, planks, etc.

3. A puddle. [See Slop.]

SLABS OF TIN, the lesser masses which the workers cast the metal into. These are run into molds of stone.

SLABBER, v.i. To let the saliva or other liquid fall from the mouth carelessly; to drivel. It is also written slaver.


1. To sup up hastily, as liquid food.

2. To wet and foul by liquids suffered to fall carelessly from the mouth.

3. To shed; to spill.

SLABBERERM, n. One that slabbers; an idiot.

SLABBERING, ppr. Driveling.


1. Thick; viscous. [Not much used.]

2. Wet. [See Sloppy.]

SLAB-LINE, n. A line or small rope by which seamen truss up the main-sail or fore-sail.


1. Not tense; not hard drawn; not firmly extended; as a slack rope; slack rigging; slack shrouds.

2. Weak; remiss; not holding fast; as a slack hand.

3. Remiss; backward; not using due diligence; not earnest or eager; as slack in duty or service; slack in business.

4. Not violent; not rapid; slow; as a slack pace.

SLACK IN STAYS, in seamen’s language, slow in going about; as a ship.

SLACK WATER, in seamen’s language, the time when the tide runs slowly, or the water is at rest; or the interval between the flux and reflux of the tide.

SLACK, adv. Partially; insufficiently; not intensely; as slack dried hops; bread slack baked.

SLACK, n. The part of a rope that hangs loose, having no stress upon it.

1. To become less tense, firm or rigid; to decrease in tension; as, a wet cord slackens in dry weather.

2. To be remiss or backward; to neglect. Deuteronomy 23:21.

3. To lose cohesion or the quality of adhesion; as, lime slacks and crumbles into power.

4. To abate; to become less violent. Whence these raging fires will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames.

5. To lose rapidity; to become more slow; as, a current of water slackens; the tide slackens.

6. To languish; to fail; to flag.


1. To lessen tension; to make less tense or tight; as, to slacken a rope or a bandage.

2. To relax; to remit; as, to slacken exertion or labor.

3. To mitigate; to diminish in severity; as, to slacken pain.

4. To become more slow; to lessen rapidity; as, to slacken one’s pace.

5. To abate; to lower; as, to slacken the heat of a fire.

6. To relieve; to unbend; to remit; as, to slacken cares.

7. To withhold; to use less liberally.

8. To deprive or cohesion; as, to slack lime.

9. To repress; to check. I should be griev’d young prince, to think my presence unbent you thoughts and slacken’d ‘em to arms.

10. To neglect. Slack not the good presage.

11. To repress, or make less quick or active.

SLACK, n. Small coal; coal broken into small parts.
SLACK, n. A valley or small shallow dell.

SLACKEN, n. Among miners, a spungy semi-vitrified substance which they mix with the ores of metals to prevent their fusion.


1. Not tightly; loosely.

2. Negligently; remissly.


1. Looseness; the state opposite to tension; not tightness or rigidness; as the slackness of a cord or rope.

2. Remissness; negligence; inattention; as the slackness of men in business or duty; slackness in the performance of engagements.

3. Slowness; tardiness; want of tendency; as the slackness of flesh to heal.

4. Weakness; not intenseness.

SLADE, n. A little dell or valley; also, a flat piece of low moist ground.

SLAG, n. The dross or recrement of a metal; or vitrified cinders.

SLAIE, n. A weaver’s reed.

SLAIN, pp. of slay; so written for slayen. Killed.

SLAKE, v.t. To quench; to extinguish; as, to slake thirst. And slake the heav’nly fire.

SLAKE, v.i.

1. To go out; to become extinct.

2. To grow less tense. [a mistake for slack.]

SLAM, v.t.

1. To strike with force and noise; to shut against; a violent shutting of a door.

2. To beat; to cuff.

3. To strike down; to slaughter.

4. To win all the tricks in a hand; as we say, to take all at a stroke or dash.

SLAM, n.

1. A violent driving and dashing against; a violent shutting of a door.

2. Defeat at cards, or the winning of all the tricks.

3. The refuse of alum-works; used in Yorkshire as a manure, with sea weed and lime.

SLAMKIN, SLAMMERKIN, n. A slut; a slatternly woman. [Not used.]


1. A false tale or report maliciously uttered. and tending to injure the reputation of another by lessening him in the esteem of his fellow citizens, by exposing min to impeachment and punishment, or by impairing his means of lining; defamation. Slander, that worst of poisons, ever finds an easy entrance to ignoble minds.

2. Disgrace; reproach; disreputation; ill name.

SLANDER, v.t. To defame; to injure by maliciously uttering a false report respecting one; to tarnish or impair the reputation of one by false tales, maliciously told or propagated.

SLANDERED, pp. Defamed; injured in good name by false and malicious reports.

SLANDERER, n. A defamer; one who injures another by maliciously reporting something to his prejudice.

SLANDERING, ppr. Defaming.


1. That utters defamatory words or tales; as a slanderous tongue.

2. Containing slander or defamation; calumnious; as slanderous words, speeches or reports, false and maliciously uttered.

3. Scandalous; reproachful.

SLANDEROUSLY, adv. With slander; calumniously; with false and malicious reproach.

SLANDEROUSNESS, n. The state or quality of being slanderous or defamatory.

SLANG, old pret. of sling. We now use slung.

SLANG, n. Low vulgar unmeaning language. [Low.]

SLANK, n. A plant. [alga marina.]

SLANT, STANTING, a. Sloping; oblique; inclined from a direct line, whether horizontal or perpendicular; as a slanting ray of light; a slanting floor.

SLANT, v.t. To turn form a direct line; to give an oblique or sloping direction to.

1. An oblique reflection or gibe; a sarcastic remark. [In vulgar use.]

2. A copper coin of Sweden, of which 196 pass for one rix-dollar.

SLANTINGLY, adv. With a slope or inclination; also, with an oblique hint or remark.

SLANTLY, SLANTWISE, adv. Obliquely; in an inclined direction.

SLAP, n. [L. alapa and schloppus.] A blow given with the open hand, or with something broad.

SLAP, v.t. To strike with the open hand, or with something broad.
SLAP, adv. With a sudden and violent blow.

SLAPDASH, adv. [slap and dash.] All at once.

SLAPE, a. Slippery; smooth.

SLAPPER, SLAPPING, a. Very large. [Vulgar.]

SLASH, v.t.

1. To cut by striking violently and at random; to cut in long cuts.

2. To lash.

SLASH, v.i. To strike violently and at random with a sword, hanger or other edger instrument; to lay about one with blows. Hewing and slashing at their idle shades.
SLASH, n. A long cut; a cut made at random.

SLASHED, pp. Cut at random.

SLASHING, ppr. Striking violently and cutting at random.

SLAT, n. [This is doubtless the sloat of the English dictionaries. See Sloat.] A narrow piece of board or timber used to fasten together larger pieces; as the slats of a cart or a chair.


1. In seamen’s language, the period of a transitory breeze.

2. An interval of fair weather.

3. Slack.


1. An argillaceous stone which readily splits into plates; argillite; argillaceous shist.

2. A piece of smooth argillaceous stone, used for covering buildings.

3. A piece of smooth stone of the above species, used for writing on.

SLATE, v.i. To cover with slate or plates of stone; as, to slate a roof. [It does not signify to tile.]
SLATE, SLETE, v.t. To set a dog loose at any thing.

SLATE-AX, n. A mattock with an ax-end; used in slating.

SLATED, pp. Covered with slates.

SLATER, v.i.

1. To be careless of dress and dirty.

2. To be careless, negligent or awkward; to spill carelessly.

SLATTERN, n. A woman who is negligent of her dress, or who suffers her clothes and furniture to be in disorder; one who is not neat and nice.

SLATTERN, v.i. To slattern away, to consume carelessly or wastefully; to waste.

SLATTERNLY, adv. Negligently; awkwardly.

SLATY, a. Resembling slate; having the nature or properties of slate; as a slaty color or texture; a slaty feel.

SLAUGHTER, n. slaw’ter [See Slay.]

1. In a general sense, a killing. Applied to men, slaughter usually denotes great destruction of life by violent means; as the slaughter of men in battle.

2. Applied to beasts, butchery; a killing of oxen or other beasts for market.

SLAUGHTER, v.t. slaw’ter.

1. To kill; to slay; to make great destruction of life; as, to slaughter men in battle.

2. To butcher; to kill for the market; as beasts.

SLAUGHTERED, pp. slaw’tered. Slain; butchered.

SLAUGHTER-HOUSE, n. slaw’ter-house, A house where beasts are butchered for the market.

SLAUGHTERING, ppr. slaw’tering, Killing; destroying human life; butchering,

SLAUGHTER-MAN, n. slaw’ter-man. One employed in killing.

SLAUGHTEROUS, a. slaw’terous. Destructive; murderous.


1. A person who is wholly subject to the will of another; one who has no will of his own, but whose person and services are wholly under the control of another. In the early state of the world, and to this day among some barbarous nations, prisoners of war are considered and treated as slaves. The slaves of modern times are more generally purchased, like horses and oxen.

2. One who has lost the poser of resistance; or one who surrenders himself to any power whatever; as a slave to passion, to lust, to ambition.

3. A mean person; one in the lowest state of life.

4. A drudge; one who labors like a slave.

SLAVE, v.i. To drudge; to toil; to labor as a slave.

SLAVEBORN, a. Born in slavery.

SLAVELIKE, a. Like or becoming a slave.

SLAVER, n. [the same as slabber.] Saliva driveling from the mouth.

SLAVER, v.i.

1. To suffer the spittle to issue from the mouth.

2. To be besmeared with saliva.

SLAVER, v.t. To smear with saliva issuing from the mouth; to defile with drivel.

SLAVERED, pp. Defiled with drivel.

SLAVERER, n. A driveler; an idiot.

SLAVERING, ppr. Letting fall saliva.

SLAVERY, n. [See Slave.]

1. Bondage; the state of entire subjection of one person to the will of another. Slavery is the obligation to labor for the benefit of the master, without the contract of consent of the servant. Slavery may proceed from crimes, from captivity or from debt. Slavery is also voluntary or involuntary; voluntary, when a person sells or yields his own person to the absolute command of another; involuntary, when he is placed under the absolute power of another without his own consent. Slavery no longer exists in Great Britain, not in the northern states of America.

2. The offices of a slave; drudgery.

SLAVE-TRADE, n. [slave and trade.] The barbarous and wicked business of purchasing men and women, transporting them to a distant country and selling them for slaves.


1. Pertaining to slaves; servile; mean; base; such as becomes a slave; as a slavish dependence on the great.

2. Servile; laborious; consisting in drudgery; as a slavish life.

SLAVISHLY, adv. Servilely; meanly; basely.

SLAVISHNESS, n. The state or quality of being slavish; servility; meanness.

SLAVONIC, a. Pertaining to the Slavons or ancient inhabitants of Russia.

SLAVONIC, n. The Slavonic language.

SLAY, v.t. pret. slew; pp. slain. [The proper sense is to strike, and as beating was an early mode of killing, this word, like smite, came to signify to kill. It seems to be formed on the root of lay; as we say to lay on.]

1. To kill; to put to death by a weapon or by violence. We say, he slew a man with a sword, with a stone, or with a club, or with other arms; but we never say, the serif slays a malefactor with a halter, or a man is slain on the gallows or by poison. So the slay retains something of its primitive sense of striking or beating. It is particularly applied to killing in battle, but is properly applied also to the killing of a individual man or beast.

2. To destroy.

SLAYER, n. One that slays; a killer; a murderer; an assassin; a destroyer of life.

SLAYING, ppr. Killing; destroying life.

SLEAVE, n. The knotted or entangled part of silk or thread; silk or thread untwisted.

SLEAVE, v.t. To separate threads; or to divide a collection of threads; to sley; a word used by weavers.

SLEAVED, a. Raw; not spun or wrought.

SLEAZY, SLEEZY, a. [probably from the root of loose.] Thin; flimsy; wanting firmness of texture or substance; as sleezy silk or muslin.