Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



SPHERICS, n. The doctrine of the sphere.

SPHEROID, n. [sphere and form.] A body or figure approaching to a sphere, but not perfectly spherical. A spheroid is oblate or prolate. The earth is found to be a oblate spheroid, that is, flatted at the poles, whereas some astronomers formerly supposed it to be prolate or oblong.


1. Having the form of a sheriod.

2. In crystalography, bounded by several convex faces.

SPHEROIDITY, n. The state or quality of being spheroidal.

SPHEROSIDERITE, n. A substance found in the basaltic compact lava of Steinheim; called also glass lava or hyatite.

SPHERULE, n. [L. spharula.] A little sphere or spherical body. Mercury or quicksilver when poured upon a plane, divides itself into a great number of minute spherules.

SPHERULITE, n. A variety of obsidian or pearl-stone, found in rounded grains.


1. Belonging to the sphere.

2. Round; spherical.

SPHINCTER, n. In anatomy, a muscle that contracts or shuts; as the sphincter labiorum; sphincter vesica.

SPHINX, n. [L. sphinx.]

1. A famous monster in Egypt, having the body of a lion and the face of a young woman.

2. In entomology, the hawk-moth, a genus of insects.

SPHRAGID, n. A species of ocherous clay which falls to pieces in water with the emission of many bubbles; called also earth of Lemons.

SPIAL, n. A spy; a scout. [Not in use.]

SPICATE, a. [L. spicatus, from spica, a spike.] Having a spike or ear.


1. A vegetable production, fragrant or aromatic to the smell and pungent to the taste; used in sauces and in cookery.

2. A small quantity; something that enriches or alters the quality of a thing in a small degree, as spice alters the taste of a thing.

3. A sample.

SPICE, v.t.

1. To season with spice; to mix aromatic substances with; as, to spice wine.

2. To tincture; as the spiced Indian air.

3. To render nice; to season with scruples.

SPICED, pp. Seasoned with spice.


1. One that seasons with spice.

2. One that deals in spice.


1. Spices in general; fragrant and aromatic vegetable substances used in seasoning.

2. A repository of spices.

SPICK AND SPAN, bright; shining; as a garment spick and span new, or span-new. brightness; spiccare, to shine; spiccar le parole, to speak distinctly; spicciare, to rush out, the radical sense of which is to shoot or dart. Span is probably from the root of spangle, a mirror.

SPICKNEL, SPIGNEL, n. The herb maldmony or bear wort. the Athamanta Meum, Ethusa Meum.

SPICOSITY, n. [L. spica.] The state of having or being full of ears, like corn. [Not in use.]

SPICULAR, a. [L. spiculum, a dart.] Resembling a dart; having sharp points.

SPICULATE, v.t. [L. spiculo, to sharpen, from spiculum, a dart, from spica, or its root. See Spike.] To sharpen to a point.

SPICY, a. [from spice.]

1. Producing spice; abounding with spices; as the spicy shore of Arabia.

2. Having the qualities of spice; fragrant; aromatic; as spicy plants. Led by new stars and borne by spicy gales.

SPIDER, n. [I know not from what source this word is derived.] The common name of the insects of the genus Aranea, remarkable for spinning webs for taking their prey and forming a convenient habitation, and for the deposit of their food. The spider’s touch, how exquisitely fine!

SPIDER-CATCHER, n. A bird so called.

SPIDERLIKE, a. Resembling a spider.

SPIDERWORT, n. A plant of the genus Anthericum.

SPIGNEL. [See Spicknel.]

SPIGOT, n. A pin or peg used to stop a faucet, or to stop a small hole in a cask of liquor.

SPIKE, n. [L. L. spica, and ear of corn. It signifies a shoot or point.]

1. A large uail; always in American applied to a nail or pin of metal. A similar thing made of word is called a peg or pin. In England, it is sometimes used for a sharp point of wood.

2. An ear of corn or grain. It is applied to the heads of wheat, rye and barley; and is particularly applicable to the ears of maiz.

3. A shoot.

4. [L. spica.] In botany, a species of inflorescence, in which sessile flowers are alternate on a common simple peduncle, as in wheat and rye, lavender, etc.

SPIKE, n. A smaller species of lavender.
SPIKE, v.t.

1. To fasten with spikes or long and large nails; as, to spike down the planks of a floor or bridge.

2. To set with spikes. A youth leaping over the spiked pales-was caught by the spikes. [Unusual.]

3. To stop the vent with spikes; as, to spike cannon.

SPIKED, pp. Furnished with spikes, as corn; fastened with spikes; stopped with spikes.

SPIKE-LAVENDER, n. The Lavandula spica.

SPIKELET, n. In botany, a small spike of a large one; or a subdivision of a spike.

SPIKENARD, n. spik’nard. [L. spica nardi.]

1. A plant of the genus Nardus.

2. The oil of balsam procured from the spikenard.

SPIKING, ppr. Fastening with spikes; stopping with large nails.

SPIKY, a. Having a sharp point.

SPILE, n. [L. pilus, pilum, etc.]

1. A small peg or wooden pin, used to stop a hole.

2. A stake driven into the ground to protect a bank, etc.

SPILL, n. [a different orthography of spile, supra.]

1. A small peg or pin for stopping a cask; as a vent hole stopped with a spill.

2. A little bar or pin of iron.

3. A little sum of money. [Not in use.]

SPILL, v.t. pret. spilled or spilt; pp. id.

1. To suffer to fall or run out of a vessel; to lose to suffer to be scattered; applied only to fluids and to substances whose particles are small and loose. Thus we spill water from a pail; we spill spirit or oil from a bottle; we spill quicksilver or powders form a vessel or a paper; we spill sand or flour.

2. To suffer to be shed; as, a man spills his own blood.

3. To cause to flow out or lose; to shed; as, a man spills another’s blood. [This is applied to cases of murder or other homicide, but not to venesection. In the later case we say, to let or take blood.]

4. To mischief; to destroy; as, to spill the mind or soul; to spill glory; to spill forms, etc. [This application is obsolete and now improper.]

5. TO throw away.

6. In seamen’s language, to discharge the wind out of the cavity or belly of a sail.

SPILL, v.i.

1. To waste; to be prodigal. [Not in use.]

2. TO be shed; to be suffered to fall, he lost or wasted. He was so topfull of himself, that he let it spill on all the company.

SPILLED, pp. Suffered to fall, as liquids; shed.


1. One that spills or sheds.

2. A kind of fishing line.

SPILLING, ppr. Suffering to fall or run out, as liquids; shedding.

SPILLING-LINES, in a ship, are ropes for furling more conveniently the square sails.

SPILT, pret. and pp. of spill.

SPILTH, n. [from spill.] Any thing spilt. [Not in use.]

SPIN, v.t. pret. and pp. spun. Span is not used. [If the sense is to draw out or extend, this coincides in origin with span.]

1. To draw out and twist into threads, either by the hand or machinery; as, to spin wool, cotton or flax; to spin goats’ hair. All the yarn which Penelope spun in Ulysses’ absence did but fill Ithaca with moths.

2. To draw out tediously; to form by a slow process of be degrees; with out; as, to spin out large volumes on a subject.

3. To extend to a great length; as, to spin out a subject.

4. To draw out; to protract; to spend by delays; as, to spin out the day in the idleness By one delay after another, they spin out their whole lives.

5. To whirl with a thread; to turn or cause to whirl; as, to spin a top.

6. To draw out from the stomach in a filament; as, a spider spins a web.

To spin hay, in military language, is to twist it into ropes for convenient carriage on an expedition.

SPIN, v.i.

1. To practice spinning; to work at drawing and twisting threads; as, the woman knows how to spin. They neither know to spin, nor car to toil.

2. To perform the act of drawing and twisting threads; as, a machine or jenny spins with great exactness.

3. To move round rapidly; to whirl; as a top or a spindle.

4. To stream or issue in a thread or small current; as, blood spins from a vein.

SPINACH, SPINAGE, n. [L. spinacia.] A plant of the genus Spinacia.

SPINAL, a. [See Spine.] Pertaining to the spine or back bone of an animal; as the spinal marrow; spinal muscles; spinal arteries.

SPINDLE, a. [See Spin.]

1. The pin used in spinning wheels for twisting the thread, and on which the thread when twisted, is wound.

2. A slender pointed rod or pin on which any thing turn; as the spindle of a vane.

3. The fusee of a watch.

4. A long slender stalk.

5. The lower end of a capstan, shod with iron; the pivot.

SPINDLE, v.i. To shoot or grow in a long slender stalk or body.

SPINDLE-LEGS, SPINDLE-SHANKS, n. A tall slender person; in contempt.

SPINDLE-SHANKED, a. Having long slender legs.

SPINDLE-SHAPED, a. Having the shape of a spindle; fusiform.

SPINDLE-TREE, n. A plant, prick-wood, of the genus Euonymus.

SPINE, n. [L.]

1. The back bone of an animal.

2. The shin of the leg.

3. A thorn; a sharp process from the woody part of a plant. It differs from a prickle, which proceeds form the bark. A spine which proceeds from the bark. A spine sometimes terminates a branch or a leaf, and sometimes is axillary, growing at the angle formed by the branch or leaf with the stem. The wild apple and pear are armed with thorns; the rose, bramble, gooseberry. etc. are armed with prickles.

SPINEL, SPINELLE, n. The spinelle ruby, says Hauy; is the true ruby, a gem of a red color, blended with tints of blue or yellow. It is in grains more or less crystalized. A subspecies of octahedral corundum.

SPINELLANE, n. A mineral occurring in small crystaline masses and in minute crystals. It has been found only near the lake of Laach.

SPINESCENT, a. [from spine.] Becoming hard and thorny.

SPINET, n. An instrument of music resembling a harpsichord, but smaller; a virginal; a clavichord.

SPINET, n. [L. spinetum.] A small wood or place where briars and thorns grow. [Not in use.]

SPINIFEROUS, a. [L. spina, spine, and fero, to bear.] Producing spines; bearing thorns.

SPINK, n. A bird; a finch.


1. One that spins; one skilled in spinning.

2. A spider.

SPINNING, ppr. Drawing out and twisting into threads; drawing out; delaying.


1. The act, practice or art of drawing out and twisting into threads, as wool, flax and cotton.

2. The act or practice of forming webs, as spiders.

SPINNING-JENNY, n. An engine or complicated machine for spinning wool or cotton, in the manufacture of cloth.

SPINING-WHEEL, n. A wheel for spinning wool, cotton or flax into threads.

SPINOLET, n. A small bird of the lark kind.

SPINOSITY, n. The state of being spiny or thorny; crabbedness.

SPINOUS, a. [L. spinosus, from spina.] Full of spines; armed with thorns; thorny.

SPINOZISM, n. The doctrines or principles of Spinoza, a native of Amsterdam, consisting in atheism and pantheism, or naturalism and hulotheism, which allows of no God but nature or the universe.

SPINSTER, n. [spin and ster.]

1. A woman who spins, or whose occupation is to spin. Hence,

2. In law, the common title by which a woman without rank or distinction is designated. If a gentlewoman is termed a spinster, she may abate the writ.

SPINSTRY, n. The business of spinning.

SPINTHERE, n. A mineral of a greenish gray color.

SPINY, a. [from spine.]

1. Full of spines; thorny; as a spiny tree.

2. Perplexed; difficult; troublesome.

SPIRACLE, n. [L. spiraculum, form spiro, to breathe.]

1. A small aperture in animal and vegetable bodies, by which air or other fluid is exhaled or inhaled; a small hole, orifice or vent; a pore; a minute passage; as the spiracles of the human skin.

2. Any small aperture, hole or vent.

SPIRAL, a. [L. spira, a spire.] Winding round a cylinder or other round body, or in a circular form, and at the same time rising or advancing forward; winding like a screw. The magnificent column in the Place Vendeme, at Paris, is divided by a spiral line into compartments. It is formed with spiral compartments, on which are engraved figures emblematical of the victories of the French armies. A whirlwind is so named from the spiral motion of the air. Water in a tunnel descends in a spiral form.

SPIRALLY, adv. In a spiral form or direction; in the manner of a screw.

SPIRATION, n. [L. spiratio.] A breathing. [Not used.]

SPIRE, n. [L. spira; from the root of L. spiro, to breathe. The primary sense of the root is to throw, to drive, to send, but it implies a winding motion, like throw, warp, and many others.]

1. A winding line like the threads of a screw; any thing wreathed or contorted; a curl; a twist; a wreath. His neck erect amidst his circling spires. A dragon’s fiery form belied the god; sublime on radiant spires he rode.

2. A body that shoots up to a point; a tapering body; a round pyramid or pyramidical body; a steeple. With glist’ring spires and pinnacles adorn’d.

3. A stalk or blade of grass or other plant. How humble ought man to be, who cannot make a single spire or grass.

4. The top or uppermost point of a thing.

SPIRE, v.i.

1. To shoot; to shoot up pyramidically.

2. To breathe. [Not in use.]

3. To sprout, as grain in malting.

SPIRED, a. Having a spire.

SPIRIT, n. [L. spiritus, from spiro, to breathe, to blow. The primary sense is to rush or drive.]

1. Primarily, wind; air in motion; hence, breath. All bodies have spirits and pneumatical parts within them. [This sense is now unusual.]

2. Animal excitement, or the effect of it; life; ardor; fire; courage; elevation or vehemence of mind. The troops attacked the enemy with great spirit. The young man has the spirit of youth. He speaks or act with spirit. Spirits, in the plural, is used in nearly a like sense. The troops began to recover their spirits.

3. Vigor of intellect; genius. His wit, his beauty and his spirit. The noblest spirit or genius cannot deserve enough of mankind to pretend to the esteem of heroic virtue.

4. Temper; disposition of mind, habitual or temporary; as a man of a generous spirit, or of a revengeful spirit; the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. Let us go to the house of God in the spirit of prayer.

5. The soul of man; the intelligent, immaterial and immortal part of human beings. [See Soul.] the spirit shall return to God that gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7.

6. An immaterial intelligent substance. Spirit is a substance in which thinking, knowing, doubting, and a power of moving do subsist. Hence,

7. An immaterial intelligent being. By which he went and preached to the spirit in prison. 1 Peter 3:19. God is a spirit. John 4:24.

8. Turn of mind; temper; occasions; state of the mind. A perfect judge will read each work of wit, with the same spirit that its author writ.

9. Powers of mind distinct from the body. In spirit perhaps he also saw Rich Mexico, the seat of Montezume.

10. Sentiment; perception. You spirit is too true, your fears too certain.

11. Eager desire; disposition of mind excited and directed to a particular object. God has made a spirit of building succeed a spirit of pulling down.

12. A person of activity; a man of life, vigor or enterprise. The watery kingdom is no bar to stop the foreign spirits, but they come.

13. Persons distinguished by qualities of the mind. Such spirits as he desired to please, such would I choose for my judges.

14. Excitement of mind; animation; cheerfulness; usually in the plural. We found our friend in very good spirits. He has a great flow of spirits. -To sing thy praise, would heaven my breath prolong, Infusing spirits worthy such a song.

15. Life or strength of resemblance; essential qualities; as, to set off the face in its true spirit. The copy has not the spirit of the original.

16. Something eminently pure and refined. Nor doth the eye itself, that most pure spirit of sense, behold itself.

17. That which hath power or energy; the quality of any substance which manifest life, activity, or the power of strongly affecting other bodies; as the spirit of wine or of any liquor.

18. A strong, pungent or stimulation liquor, usually obtained by distillation, as rum, brandy, gin, whiskey. In America, spirit, used without other words explanatory of its meaning, signifies the liquor distilled from cane-juice, or rum. We say, new spirit, or old spirit, Jamaica spirit, etc.

19. An apparition; a ghost.

20. The renewed nature of man. Matthew 26:41; Galatians 5:16-18.

21. The influences of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 22:43.

Holy Spirit, the third person in the Trinity.

SPIRIT, v.t.

1. To animate; to actuate; as a spirit.

So talkd the spirited sly snake. [Little used.]

2. To animate with vigor; to excite; to encourage; as, civil dissensions spirit the ambition of private man.

It is sometimes followed by up; as, to spirit up.

3. To kidnap.

To spirit away, to entice or seduce.

SPIRITALLY, adv. By means of the breath. [Not in use.]


1. Animated; encouraged; incited.

2. a. Animated; full of life; lively; full of spirit or fire; as a spirited address or oration; a spirited answer. It is used in composition, noting the state of the mind; as in high-spirited, low-spirited, mean-spirited.

SPIRITEDLY, adv. In a lively manner; with spirit; with strength; with animation.


1. Life; animation.

2. Disposition or make of mind; used in compounds; as high-spiritedness, low-spiritedness, mean-spiritedness, narrow-spiritedness.

SPIRITFUL, a. Lively; full of spirit. [Not used.]

SPIRITFULLY, adv. In a lively manner. [Not used.]

SPIRITFULNESS, n. Liveliness; sprightliness. [Not used.]


1. Destitute of spirits; wanting animation; wanting cheerfulness; dejected; depressed.

2. Destitute of vigor; wanting life, courage or fire; as a spiritless slave.

A man so faint, so spiritless, so dull, so dead in look--

3. Having no breath; extinct; dead.

SPIRITLESSLY, adv. Without spirit; without exertion.

SPIRITLESSNESS, n. Dullness; want of life or vigor.


1. Like spirit; refined; defecated; pure.

More refind, more spiritous and pure.

2. Fine ardent; active.

SPIRITOUSNESS, n. A refined state; fineness and activity of parts; as the thinness and spiritousness of liquor.


1. Consisting of spirit; not material; incorporeal; as a spiritual substance or being. The soul of man is spiritual.

2. Mental; intellectual; as spiritual armor.

3. Not gross; refined from external things; not sensual; relative to mind only; as a spiritual and refined religion.

4. Not lay or temporal; relating to sacred things; ecclesiastical; as the spiritual functions of the clergy; the lords spiritual and temporal; a spiritual corporation.

5. Pertaining to spirit or to the affections; pure; holy.

Gods law is spiritual; it is a transcript of the divine nature, and extends its authority to the acts of the soul of man.

6. Pertaining to the renewed nature of man; as spiritual life.

7. Not fleshly; not material; as spiritual sacrifices. 1 Peter 2:5.

8. Pertaining to divine things; as spiritual songs. Ephesians 5:19.

Spiritual court, an ecclesiastical court; a court held by a bishop or other ecclesiastic.


1. Essence distinct from matter; immateriality.

If this light be not spiritual, it approacheth nearest to spirituality.

2. Intellectual nature; as the spirituality of the soul.

3. Spiritual nature; the quality which respects the spirit or affections of the heart only, and the essence of true religion; as the spirituality of Gods law.

4. Spiritual exercises and holy affections.

Much of our spirituality and comfort in public worship depend on the state of mind in which we come.

5. That which belongs to the church, or to a person as an ecclesiastic, or to religion; as distinct from temporalities.

During the vacancy of a see, the archbishop is guardian of the spiritualities thereof.

6. An ecclesiastical body. [Not in use.]

SPIRITUALIZATION, n. The act of spiritualizing. In chemistry, the operation of extracting spirit from natural bodies.


1. To refine the intellect; to purify from the feculences of the world; as, to spiritualize the soul.

2. In chemistry, to extract spirit from natural bodies.

3. To convert to a spiritual meaning.

SPIRITUALLY, adv. Without corporeal grossness or sensuality; in a manner conformed to the spirit of true religion; with purity of spirit or heart.

Spiritually minded, under the influence of the Holy Spirit or of holy principles; having the affections refined and elevated above sensual objects, and placed on God and his law. Romans 8:6.

Spiritually discerned, known, not by carnal reason, but by the peculiar illumination of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:14.


1. Containing spirit; consisting of refined spirit; ardent; as spirituous liquors. [This might well be written spiritous.]

2. Having the quality of spirit; fine; pure; active; as the spirituous part of a plant.

3. Lively; gay; vivid; airy. [Not in use.]


1. The quality of being spirituous; ardor; heat; stimulating quality; as the spirituousness of liquors.

2. Life; tenuity; activity.

SPIRT. [See Spurt, the more correct orthography.]


1. Of a spiral form; wreathed; curled; as the spiry volumes of a serpent.

2. Having the form of a pyramid; pyramidical; as spiry turrets.

SPISS, a. [L.] Thick; close; dense. [Not in use.]