Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary




1. A dog used in sports of the field, remarkable for his sagacity and obedience.

2. A mean, cringing, fawning person.

SPANIEL, a. Like a spaniel; mean; fawning.
SPANIEL, v.i. TO fawn; to cringe; to be obsequious.
SPANIEL, v.t. To follow like a spaniel.

SPANISH, a. Pertaining to Spain.

SPANISH, n. The language of Spain.

SPANISH-BROOM, n. A plant of the genus Spartium.

SPANISH-BROWN, n. A species of earth used in paints.

SPANISH-FLY, n. A fly or insect, the cantharis used in vesicatories, or composition for raising blisters.

SPANISH-NUT, n. A plant.

SPANISH-WHITE, n. A white earth from Spain, used in paints.

SPANK, v.t. To strike with the open hand; to slap [A word common in New England.]


1. A small coin.

2. In seamen’s language, a ship driver; a large sail occasionally set upon the mizenyard or gaff, the foot being extended by a boom.

3. One that takes long strides in walking; also a stout person.


1. Striking with the open hand

2. a. Large; stout. [Vulgar.]

SPAN-LONG, a. Of the length of a span.

SPANNED, pp. Measured with the hand.


1. One that spans.

2. The lock of a fusee or carbine; or the fusee itself.

3. A wrench or nut screw-driver.

SPAN-NEW, a. Quite new; probably bright-new.

SPANNING, ppr. Measuring with the hand; encompassing with the fingers.

SPAR, [If this word is connected with spare, the primary sense is probably thin. The sense of bar and spar, is however more generally derived from thrusting, shooting in length; so spear likewise. See Bar.]

1. A stone that breaks into a regular shape; marcasite. This name is popularly given to any crystalized mineral of a shining luster.

2. A round piece of timber. This name is usually given to the round pieces of timber used for the yards and top-masts of ships.

3. The bar of a gate.

SPAR, v.t. To bar; to shut close or fasten with a bar.
SPAR, v.i. [This is another form of the L. spiro. The primary sense is to urge, drive, throw, propel.]

1. To dispute; to quarrel in words; to wrangle. [This is the sense of the word in America.]

2. To fight with preclusive strokes.

SPARABLE, n. Small nails. [Not in use.]

SPARADRAP, n. In pharmacy, a cerecloth.

SPARAGE, SPARAGUS, [Vulgar.] [See Asparagus.]

SPARE, v.t. [It seems to be from the same root as L. parco.]

1. To use frugally; not to be profuse; not to waste. Thou thy Father’s thunder did’st not spare/

2. To save or withhold from any particular use or occupation. He has no bread to spare, that is, to withhold from his necessary uses. All the time he could spare from the necessary cares of his weighty charge, he bestowed on prayer and serving of God.

3. To part with without much inconvenience; to do without. I could have better spar’d a better man. Nor can we spare you long-

4. To omit; to forbear. We might have spared this toil and expense; Be pleas’d your politics to spare.

5. To use tenderly; to treat with pity and forbearance; to forbear to afflict, punish or destroy. Spare us, good Lord. dim sadness did not spare celestial visages. But man alone can whom be conquers spare.

6. Not to take when in one’s power; to forbear to destroy; as, to spare the life of a prisoner.

7. To grant; to allow; to indulge. Where anger Jove did never spare one breath of kind and temp’rate air.

8. TO forbear to inflict of impose. Spare my sight the pain of seeing what a world of tears it cost you.

SPARE, v.i.

1. TO live frugally; to be parsimonious. Who at some times spend, as other spare, divided between carelessness and care.

2. To forbear; to be scrupulous. To pluck and cat my fill I spar’d not.

3. To be frugal; not to be profuse.

4. To use mercy or forbearance; to forgive to be tender. The king was sparing and compassionate towards hid subjects.


1. Seanty; parsimonious; not abundant; as a spare diet. He was spare but discreet of speech. [We more generally use, in the latter application, sparing; as, he was sparing of words.]

2. That can be dispensed with; not wanted; superfluous. I have no spare time on my hands. If that no spare clothes he had to give.

3. Lean; wanting flesh; meager; thin. O give me your spare men and spare me the great ones.

4. Slow. [Not in use.]

SPARE, n. Parsimony; frugal use. [Not in use.]

SPARED, pp. Dispensed with; saved; forborne.

SPARELY, adv. Sparingly.

SPARENESS, n. State of being lean or thin; leanness.

SPARER, n. One that avoids unnecessary expense.

SPARERIB, n. [spare and rib.] The piece of a hog taken from the side, consisting of the ribs with little flesh on them.

SPARGEFACTION, n. [L. spargo, to sprinkle.] The act of sprinkling. [Not Used.]


1. Using frugally; forbearing; omitting to punish or destroy.

2. a. Scarce; little.

3. Scanty; not plentiful; not abundant; as a sparing diet.

4. Saving; parsimonious. Virgil being so very sparing of his words, and leaving so much to be imagined by the reader, can never be translated as he ought in amy modern tongue.


1. Not abundantly.

2. Frugally; parsimoniously; not lavishly. High titles of honor were in the king’s minority sparingly granted, because dignity then waited on desert. Commend but sparingly whom thou dost love.

3. Abstinently; moderately. Christians are obliged to taste even the innocent pleasures of life but sparingly.

4. Seldom; not frequently. The morality of a grave sentence, affected by Lucan, is more sparingly used by Virgil.

5. Cautiously; tenderly.


1. Parsimony; want of liberality.

2. Caution.

SPARK, n. [The sense is that which shoots, darts off or scatters; probably allied to B. spargo.]

1. A small particle of fire or ignited substance, which is emitted from bodies in combustion, and which either ascends with the smoke, or is darted in another direction.

2. A small shining body or transient light. We have here and there a little clear light, and some sparks of bright knowledge.

3. A small portion of any thing active. If any spark of life is yet remaining.

4. A very small portion. If you have a spark or generosity.

5. A brisk, showy, gay man. The finest sparks and cleanest beaux.

6. A lover.

SPARK, v.i. To emit particles of fire; to sparkle. [Not in use.]

SPARKFUL, a. Lively; brisk; gay.


1. Airy; gay.

2. Showy; well dressed; fine.


1. A spark.

2. A luminous particle.


1. To emit sparks; to send off small ignited particles; as burning fuel, etc.

2. To glitter; to glisten; as, a brilliant sparkles; sparkling colors.

3. To twinkle; to glitter; as sparkling stars.

4. To glisten; to exhibit an appearance of animation; as, the eyes sparkle with joy.

5. To emit little bubbles, as spirituous liquors; as sparkling wine.

SPARKLE, v.i. To throw about; to scatter. [Not in use.]

SPARKLER, n. He or that which sparkles; one whose eyes sparkle.

SPARKLET, n. A small spark.

SPARKLINESS, n. Vivacity. [Not in use.]

SPARKLING, ppr. or a. Emitting sparks; glittering; lively; as sparkling wine; sparkling eyes.

SPARKLINGLY, adv. With twinkling or vivid brilliancy.

SPARKLINGNESS, n. Vivid and twinkling luster.

SPARLING, n. A smelt.

SPARROW, n. A small bird of the genus Fringilla and order of Passers. These birds are frequently seen about houses.

SPARROW-GRASS, a corruption of asparagus.

SPARROW-HAWK, SPARHAWK, n. A small species of short winged hawk.

SPARRY, a. [from spar.] Resembling spar, or consisting or spar; having a confused cyrstraline structure; spathose.

SPARSE, a. spars. [L. sparsus, scattered, from spargo.]

1. Thinly scattered; set or planted here and there; as a sparse population.

2. In botany, not opposite, not alternate, nor in any apparent regular order; applied to branches, leaves peduncles, etc.

SPARSE, v.t. spars. To disperse. [Not in use.]

SPARSED, a. Scattered.

SPARSEDLY, adv. In a scattered manner.

SPARTAN, a. Pertaining to ancient Sparta; hence, hardly undaunted; as Spartan souls; Spartan bravery.

SPASM, n. [L. spasmus.] A n involuntary contraction of muscles or muscular fibers in animal bodies; irregular motion of the muscles or muscular fibers; convulsion; cramp.

SPASMODIC, a. Consisting in spasm; as a spasmodic affection.

SPASMODIC, n. A medicine good for removing spasm; but I believe the word generally employed in anti-spasmodic.

SPAT, pret. of spit, but nearly obsolete.

SPAT, n. [from the root of spit; that which is ejected.]

1. The young of shell fish.

2. A petty combat; a little quarrel or dissension. [A vulgar use of the word in New England.]

SPATHACEOUS, a. Having a calyx like a sheath.

SPATHE, n. [L. spatha.] In botany, the calyx of a spadix opening or bursting longitudinally, in form of a sheath. It is also applied to the calyx of some flowers which have no spadix, as of narcissus, crocus, iris, etc.

SPATHIC, a. Foliated or lamellar. Spathic iron is a mineral of a foliated structure, and a yellowish or brownish color.

SPATHIFORM, a. [spath and form.] Resembling spar in form. The ocherous, spathiform and mineralized forms of urinate-

SPATHOUS, a. Having a calyx like a sheath.

SPATHULATE, [See Spatulate.]

SPATIATE, v.t. [L. spatior.] To rove; to ramble. [Not in use.]

SPATTER, v.t. [This root is a derivative of the family of spit, or L. pateo. See Sputter.]

1. To scatter a liquid substance on; to sprinkle with water or any fluid, or with any moist and dirty matter; as, to spatter a coat; to spatter the floor; to spatter the boots with mud. [This word, I believe, is applied always to fluid or moist substances. We say, to spatter with water, mud, blood or gravy; but never to spatter with dust or meal.]

2. Figuratively, to asperse; to defame. [In this sense, asperse is generally used.]

3. To throw out any thing offensive; as, to spatter foul speeches. [Not in use.]

4. To scatter about; as, to spatter water here and there.

SPATTER, v.i. To throw out of the mouth in a scattered manner; to sputter. [See Sputter.]

SPATTERDASHES, n. plu. [spatter and dash.] Coverings for the legs to keep them clean from water and mud. [Since boots are generally worn, these things and their name are little used.]


1. Sprinkling with moist some liquid or dirty substance.

2. Aspersed.


1. Sprinkling with or foul matter.

2. Aspersing.

SPATTLE, n. Spittle. [Not in use.]

SPATTLING-POPPY, n. [L. papaver spumeum.] A plant; white behen; a species of Campion.

SPATULA, SPATTLE, n. [L. spathula, spatha, a slice. from the root of L. pateo; so named from its breadth, or from its use in spreading things. A slice; an apothecaries’ instrument, for spreading plasters, etc.]

SPATULATE, a. [from L. spathula.] In botany, a spatulate leaf is one shaped like a spatula or battledore, being roundish with a long, narrow, linear base; as in cistus incanus.

SPAVIN, n. A tumor or excrescence that forms on the inside of a horse’s hough, not far from the elbow; at first like gristle, but afterwards hard and bony.

SPAVINED, a. Affected with spavis.


1. A mineral water from a place of this name in Germany. The name may perhaps be applied to other similar waters.

2. A spring of mineral water.

SPAWL, v.i. To throw saliva from the mouth in a scattering form; to disperse spittle in a careless dirty manner. Why must he sputter, spawl and slaver it?

SPAWL, n. Saliva or spittle thrown out carelessly.

SPAWLING, ppr. Throwing spittle carelessly from the mouth.

SPAWLING, n. Saliva thrown out carelessly.

SPAWN, n. It has no plural. [If this word is not contracted, it belongs to the root of L. pano. If contracted, it probably belongs to the root of spew or spaw. The radical sense is that which is ejected or thrown out.]

1. The eggs of fish or frogs, when ejected.

2. Any product or offspring; an expression of contempt.

3. Offsets; shoots; suckers of plants. [Not in use in American.]

SPAWN, v.t.

1. To produce or deposit, as fishes do their eggs.

2. To bring forth; to generate; in contempt.

SPAWN, v.i.

1. To deposit eggs, as fish or frogs.

2. To issue, as offspring; in contempt.

SPAWNED, pp. Produced or deposited, as the eggs of fish or frogs.

SPAWNER, n. the female fish. the spawner and the melter of the barbel cover their spawn with sand.

SPAY, v.t. [L. spado, a gelding.] To castrate the female of a beast by cutting and by taking out the uterus; as, to spay a sow.

SPAYED, pp. Castrated, as a female beast.

SPAYING, ppr. Castrating, as a female beast.

SPEAK, v.i. pret. spoke, [spake, nearly, Obs.] pp. spoke, spoken. [It is easy to see that the root of this word is allied to that of beak peak, pick.]

1. To utter words or articulate sounds, as human beings; to express thoughts bywords. Children learn to speak at an early age. The organs may be so obstructed that a man may not be able to speak. Speak, Lord, for thy servant hearth. 1 Samuel 3:9.

2. To utter a speech, discourse or harangue; to utter thoughts in a public assembly. A man may be well informed on a subject, and yet to diffident to speak in public. Many of the nobility make them selves popular by speaking in parliament against those things which were most grateful to his majesty.

3. To talk; to express opinions; to dispute. An honest man, sir, is able to speak for himself, when the knave is not.

4. To discourse; to make mention of. Lucan speaks of a part of Cesar’s army that came to him from the Leman lake. The Scripture speaks only of those to whom it speaks.

5. To give sound. Make all your trumpets speak.

To speak with, to converse with. Let me speak with my son.

SPEAK, v.t.

1. To utter with the mouth; to pronounce; to utter articulately; as human beings. They sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spoke a word to him. Job 2:13. Speak the word, and my son shall be healed. Matthew 8:8.

2. To declare; to proclaim; to celebrate. It is my father’s music to speak your deeds.

3. To talk or converse in; to utter or pronounce, as in conversation. A man may know how to read and to understand a language which he cannot speak.

4. To address; to accost. He will smile upon thee, put thee in hope, and speak thee fair.

5. To exhibit; to make known. Let heav’n’s wide circuit speak the Maker’s high magnificence.

6. To express silently or by signs. The lady’s looks or eyes speak the meaning or wishes of her heart.

7. To communicate; as, to speak peace to the soul.

To speak a ship, to hail and speak to her captain or commander. [Note. We say, to speak a word or syllable, to speak a sentence, an oration, piece, composition, or a dialogue, to speak a man’s praise, etc.; but we never say, to speak an argument, a sermon or a story.]


1. That can be spoken.

2. Having the power of speech.


1. One that speaks, in what ever manner.

2. One that proclaims or celebrates. -No other speaker of my living actions.

3. One that utters or pronounces a discourse; usually, one that utters a speech in public. We say, a man is a good speaker, or a bad speaker.

4. The person who presides in a deliberative assembly, preserving order and regulating the debates; as the speaker of the house of commons; the speaker of a house or representatives.

SPEAKING, ppr. Uttering words; discoursing; talking.


1. The act of uttering words; discourse.

2. In colleges, public declamation.

SPEAKING-TRUMPET, n. A trumpet by which the sound of the human voice may be propagated to a great distance.


1. A long pointed weapon, used in war and hunting by thrusting or throwing; a lance.

2. A sharp pointed instrument with barbs; used for stabbing fish and other animals.

3. A shoot, as of grass; usually spire.

SPEAR, v.t. To pierce with a spear; to kill with a spear; as, to spear a fish.
SPEAR, v.i. To shoot into a long stem. [See Spire.]

SPEARED, pp. Pierced or killed with a spear.

SPEAR-FOOT, n. [spear and foot.] The far foot behind; used of a horse.

SPEAR-GRASS, n. [spear and grass.]

1. A long stiff grass.

2. In New England, this name is given to a species of Poa.


1. Piercing or killing with a spear.

2. Shooting into a long stem.

SPEARMAN, n. [spear and man.] One who is armed with a spear. Psalm 68:30.

SPEARMINT, n. [spear and mint.] A plant of the genus Mentha; a species of mint.

SPEAR-THISTLE, n. A plant, a troublesome weed.

SPEAR-WORT, n. A plant; the popular name of the Ranunculus flammula.

SPECHT, SPEIGHT, n. A woodpecker. [Not in use.]

SPECIAL, a. [from L. specialis, from species, form, figure, sort, from specio, to see. Hence species primarily is appearance, that which is presented to the eye. This word and especial are the same.]

1. Designating a species of sort. A special idea is called by the schools a species.

2. Particular; peculiar; noting something more than ordinary. She smiles with a special grace. Our Savior is represented every where in Scripture as the special patron of the poor and afflicted.

3. Appropriate; designed for a particular purpose. A private grant is made by a special act of parliament or of congress.

4. Extraordinary; uncommon. Our charities should be universal, but chiefly exercised on special opportunities.

5. Chief in excellence. The king hath drawn the special head of all the land together.

SPECIAL ADMINISTRATION, in law, is one in which the power of an administrator is limited to the administration of certain specific effects, and not the effects in general of the deceased.

SPECIAL BAIL, consists of actual sureties recognized to answer for the appearance of person in court; as distinguished from common boil, which is nominal.

SPECIAL BAILIF, is a bailif appointed by the sherif for making arrests and serving processes.

SPECIAL CONTRACT, [See Specialty.]

SPECIAL DEMURRER, is one in which the cause of demurrer is particularly stated.

SPECIAL IMPARLANCE, is one in which there is a saving of all exceptions to the writ or count, or of all exception whatsoever.

SPECIAL JURY, is one which is called upon motion of either party, when the cause is supposed to require it.

SPECIAL MATTER IN EVIDENCE, the particular facts in the case on which the defendant relies.