Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



STELLIFEROUS, a. [L., a star; to produce.] Having or abounding with stars.

STELLIFORM, a. [L., a star; to produce.] Like a star; radiated.

STELLIFY, v.t. To turn into a star. [Not in use.]

STELLION, n. [L.] A newt.

STELLIONATE, n. [Low L.] In law, the crime of selling a thing deceitfully for what it is not, as to sell that for ones own which belongs to another. [Not in use.]

STELLITE, n. [L., a star.] A name given by some writers to a white stone found on Mount Libanus, containing the lineaments of the star-fish.

STELOCHITE, n. A name given to the osteocolla.

STELOGRAPHY, n. [Gr., a pillar; to write.] The art of writing or inscribing characters on pillars.

STEM, n. [G., stock, stem, race. The primary sense is to set, to fix.]

1. The principal body of a tree, shrub or plant of any kind; the main stock; the firm part which supports the branches.

After thy are shot up thirty feet in length, they spread a very large top, having no bough or twig on the stem.

The lowring spring with lavish rain, beats down the slender stem and bearded grain.

2. The peduncle of the fructification, or the pedicle of a flower; that which supports the flower or the fruit of a planet.

3. The stock of a family; a race or generation of progenitors; as a noble stem.

Learn well their lineage and their ancient stem.

4. Progeny; branch of a family.

Of that victorious stock.

5. In a ship, a circular piece of timber, to which the two sides of a ship are united at the fore end. The lower end of it is scarfed to the keel, and the bowsprit rests upon its upper end. From stem to stern, is from one end of the ship to the other, or through the whole length.

STEM, v.t.

1. To oppose or resist, as a current; or to make progress against a current. We say, the ship was not able with all her sails to stem the tide.

They stem the flood with their erected breasts.

2. To stop; to check; as a stream or moving force.

At length Erasmus, that great injurd name, stemmd the wild torrent of a barbrous age, and drove those holy Vandals off the stage.

STEM-CLASPING, a. Embracing the stem with its base; amplexicaul; as a leaf or petiole.

STEM-LEAF, n. A leaf inserted into the stem.

STEMLESS, a. Having no stem.

STEMMED, pp. Opposed, as a current; stopped.

STEMMING, ppr. Opposing, as a stream; stopping.

STEMPLE, n. In mining, a cross bar of wood in a shaft.

STENCH, n. [See Stink.] An ill smell; offensive odor.

STENCH, v.t.

1. To cause to emit a hateful smell. [Not in use.]

2. To stanch; to stop. [Not in use.]

STENCHY, a. Having an offensive smell. [Not in use.]

STENCIL, n. A piece of thin lether or oil cloth, used in painting paper hangings.

STENCIL, v.t. To paint or color in figures with stencils.

STENOGRAPHER, n. [Gr., close, narrow; to write.] One who is skilled in the art of short hand writing.

STENOGRAPHIC, STENOGRAPHICAL, a. [supra.] Pertaining to the art of writing in short hand; expressing in characters or short hand.

STENOGRAPHY, n. [supra.] The art of writing in short hand by using abbreviations or characters for whole words.

STENT, for stint. [See Stint.]

STENTORIAN, a. [from Stentor.]

1. Extremely loud; as a stentorian voice.

2. Able to utter a very loud sound; as stentorian lungs.

STENTOROPHONIC, a. [from Stentor, a herald in Homer, whose voice was as loud as that of fifty other men, and Gr., voice.] Speaking or sounding very loud.

Of this stentorophonic horn of Alexander there is a figure preserved in the Vatican.

STEP, v.i. [Gr., the foot. The sense is to set, as the foot, or move probably to open or part, to stretch or extend.]

1. To move the foot; to advance or recede by a movement of the foot or feet; as, to step forward, or to step backward.

2. To go; to walk a little distance; as, to step to one of the neighbors.

3. To walk gravely, slowly or resolutely.

Home the swain retreats, his flock before him stepping to the fold.

To step forth, to move or come forth.

To step aside, to walk to a little distance; to retire from company.

To step in or into,

1. To walk or advance into a place or state; or to advance suddenly in John 5:4.

2. To enter for a short time. I just stepped into the house for a moment.

3. To obtain possession without trouble; to enter upon suddenly; as, to step into an estate.

To step back, to move mentally; to carry the mind back.

They are stepping almost three thousand years back into the remotest antiquity.

STEP, v.t.

1. To set, as the foot.

2. To fix the foot of a mast in the keel; to erect.

STEP, n. [G., to form a step or ledge.]

1. A pace; an advance or movement made by one removal of the foot.

2. One remove in ascending or descending; a stair.

The breadth of every single step or stair should be neer less than one foot.

3. The space passed by the foot in walking or running. The step of one foot is generally five feet; it may be more or less.

4. A small space or distance. Let us go to the gardens; it is but a step.

5. The distance between the feet in walking or running.

6. Gradation; degree. We advance improvement step by step, or by steps.

7. Progression; act of advancing.

To derive two or three general principles of motion from phenomena, and afterwards tell us how the properties and actions of all corporeal things follow from those manifest principles, could be a great step in philosophy.

8. Footstep; print or impression of the foot; track.

9. Gait; manner of walking. The approach of a man is often known by his step.

10. Proceeding; measure; action.

The reputation of a man depends of the first steps he makes in the world.

11. The round of a ladder.

12. Steps in the plural, walk; passage.

Conduct my steps to find the fatal tree in this deep forest.

13. Pieces of timber in which the foot of a mast is fixed.

STEP, STEPP, n. In Russ, an uncultivated desert of large extent.
STEP, Sax. Steop, from stepan, to deprive, is prefixed to certain words to express a relation by marriage.

STEP-BROTHER, n. A brother-in-law, or by marriage.

STEP-CHILD, n. [step and child.] A son-in-law or daughter-in-law, [a child deprived of its parent.]

STEP-DAME, n. A mother by marriage, [the mother of an orphan or one deprived.]

STEP-DAUGHTER, n. A daughter by marriage, [an orphan daughter.]

STEP-FATHER, n. A father-in-law; a father by marriage only; [the father of an orphan.]

STEP-MOTHER, n. A mother by marriage only; a mother-in-law; [the mother of an orphan.]

STEP-SISTER, n. A sister-in-law, or by marriage, [an orphan sister.]

STEP-SON, n. A son-in-law, [an orphan son.]

[In the foregoing explication of step, I have followed Lye. The D. And G. Write stief, and the Swedes styf, before the name; a word which does not appear to be connected with any verb signifying to bereave, and the word is not without some difficulties. I have given the explanation which appears to be most probably correct. If the radical sense of step, a pace, is to part or open, the word coincides with Sax. Stepan, to deprive, and in the compounds above, step may imply removal or distance.]

STEPPED, pp. Set; placed; erected; fixed in the keel, as a mast.

STEPPING, ppr. Moving, or advancing by a movement of the foot or feet; placing; fixing or erecting, as a mast.

STEPPING, n. The act of walking or running by steps.

STEPPING-STONE, n. A stone to raise the feet above the dirt and mud in walking.

STEP-STONE, n. A stone laid before a door as a stair to rise on in entering the house.

STER, in composition, is from the Sax. Steora, a director. See Steer. It seems primarily to have signified chief, principal or director, as in the L. Minister, chief servant; but in other words, as in spinster, we do not recognize the sense of chief, but merely that of a person who carries on the business of spinning.

STERCORACEOUS, a. [L., dung.] Pertaining to dung, or partaking of its nature.

STERCORARIAN, STERCORANIST, n. [L., dung.] One in the Romish church who held that the host is liable to digestion.

STERCORARY, n. A place properly secured from the weather for containing dung.

STERCORATION, n. [L.] The act of manuring with dung.

STERE, n. In the new French system of measures, the unit for solid measure, equal to a cubic meter.

STEREOGRAPHIC, STEREOGRAPHICAL, a. [from stereography.] Made or done according to the rules of stereography; delineated on a plane; as a stereographic chart of the earth.

STEREOGRAPHICALLY, adv. By delineation on plane.

STEREOGRAPHY, n. [Gr., firm; to write.] The act or art of delineating the forms of solid bodies on a plane; a branch of solid geometry which shows the construction of all solids which are regularly defined.

STEREOMETRICAL, a. [See Stereometry.] Pertaining to or performed by stereometry.

STEREOMETRY, n. [Gr., firm, fixed; to measure.] The art of measuring solid bodies, and finding their solid content.

STEREOTOMICAL, a. Pertaining to or performed by stereotomy.

STEREOTOMY, n. [Gr., fixed; to cut.] The science or art of cutting solids into certain figures or sections, as arches, etc.

STEREOTYPE, n. [Gr., fixed; type, form.]

1. Literally, a fixed metal type; hence, a plate of fixed or solid metallic types for printing books. Thus we say, a book is printed on stereotype, or in stereotype. In the latter use, the word seems rather to signify the workmanship or manner of printing, than the plate.

2. The art of making plates of fixed metallic types, or of executing work on such plates.


1. Pertaining to fixed metallic types.

2. Done on fixed metallic types, or plates of fixed types; as stereotype work; stereotype printing; a stereotype copy of the Bible.

STEREOTYPE, v.t. To make fixed metallic types or plates of type metal, corresponding with the words and letters of a book; to compose a book in fixed types; as, to stereotype the New Testament; certain societies have stereotyped the Bible.

STEREOTYPER, n. One who makes stereotype.

STEREOTYPING, ppr. Making stereotype plates for any work; or impressing copies on stereotype plates.

STEREOTYPOGRAPHER, n. A stereo-type printer.

STEREOTYPOGRAPHY, n. The art or practice of printing on stereotype.


1. Barren; unfruitful; not fertile; producing little or no crop; as sterile land; a sterile desert; a sterile year.

2. Barren; producing no young.

3. Barren of ideas; destitute of sentiment, as a sterile production or author.

Sterile flower, in botany, is a term given by Tournefort to the male flower, or that which bears only stamens.


1. Barrenness; unproductiveness; unfruitfulness; the quality or state of producing little or nothing; as the sterility of land or soil.

2. Barrenness; unfruitfulness; the state of not producing young; as of animals.

3. Barrenness of ideas or sentiments, as in writings.

4. Want of fertility or the power of producing sentiment; as the sterility of an author or of his mind.


1. To make barren; to impoverish, as land; to exhaust of fertility; as, to sterilize soil or land. [Little used.]

2. To deprive of fecundity, or the power of producing young. [Little used.]

STERLET, n. A fish of the Caspian and of the rivers in Russia, the Acipenser ruthenus of Linne, highly esteemed for its flavor, and from whose roe is made the finest caviare.

STERLING, a. [probably from Easterling.]

1. An epithet by which English money of account is distinguished; as a pound sterling; a shilling sterling; a penny sterling. It is not now applied to the coins of England; but sterling cost, sterling value are used.

2. Genuine; pure; of excellent quality; as a work of sterling merit; a man of sterling wit or good sense.


1. English money.

And Roman wealth in English sterling view.

In this use, sterling may signify English coins.

2. Standard; rate. [Little used in either sense.]

STERN, a. [G., staring; stubborn. See Stare, Starch, Stark, with which this word is probably connected.]

1. Severe; austere; fixed with an aspect of severity and authority; as a stern look; a stern countenance; a stern frown.

I would outstare the sternest eyes that look.

2. Severe of manner; rigid; harsh; cruel.

Stern as tutors, and as uncles hard.

Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.

3. Hard; afflictive.

If wolves had at thy gate howld that stern time.

4. Rigidly stedfast; immovable.

Stern virtue is the growth of few soils.


1. The hind part of a ship or other vessel, or of a boat; the part opposite to the stern or prow. This part of a ship is terminated by the tafferel above, and by the counters below.

2. Post of management; direction.

An sit at chiefest stern of public weal. [Not in use. We now say, to sit at the helm.]

3. The hinder part of any thing. [Not elegant.]

By the stern, is a phrase which denotes that a ship is more deeply laden abaft than forward.

STERNAGE, n. Steerage or stern. [Not in use.]

STERN-BOARD, n. [stern and board.] In seamens language, a loss of way in making a tack. To make a stern-board, is when by a current or other cause, a vessel has fallen back from the point she had gained in the last tack.

STERN-CHASE, n. [stern and chase.] A cannon placed in a ships stern, pointing backward and intended to annoy a ship that is in pursuit of her.

STERNED, a. In compounds, having a stern of a particular shape; as square-sterned; pink-sterned, etc.

STERNER, n. A director. [Not in use.]

STERN-FAST, n. [stern and fast.] A rope used to confine the stern of a ship or other vessel.

STERN-FRAME, n. [stern and frame.] The several pieces of timber which form the stern of a ship.

STERNLY, adv. [See Stern.] In a stern manner; with an austere or stern countenance; with an air of authority.

Sternly he pronouncd the rigid interdiction.


1. Severity of look; a look of austerity, rigor or severe authority; as the sternness of ones presence.

2. Severity or harshness of manner; rigor.

I have sternness in my soul enough to hear of soldiers work.

STERNMOST, a. [stern and most.] Farthest in the rear; farthest astern; as the sternmost ship in a convoy.

STERNON, n. [Gr.] The breast bone. But sternum is chiefly or wholly used.

STERN-PORT, n. [stern and port.] A port or opening in the stern of a ship.

STERN-POST, n. [stern and post.] A straight piece of timber, erected on the extremity of the keel to support the rudder and terminate the ship behind.

STERN-SHEETS, n. [stern and sheet.] That part of a boat which is between the stern and the aftmost seat of the rowers; usually furnished with seats for passengers.

STERNUM, n. [Gr., from fixing, setting. See Starch, Stark.] The breast bone; the bone which forms the front of the human chest from the neck to the stomach.

STERNUTATION, n. [L.] The act of sneezing.

STERNUTATIVE, a. [L., to sneeze.] Having the quality of provoking to sneeze.

STERNUTATORY, a. [L., to sneeze.] Having the quality of exciting to sneeze.

STERNUTATORY, n. A substance that provokes sneezing.

STERN-WAY, n. [stern and way.] The movement of a ship backwards, or with her stern foremost.

STERQUILINOUS, a. [L., a dunghill.] Pertaining to a dunghill; mean; dirty; paltry.

STERVEN, to starve, not in use.

STETHESCOPE, n. [Gr., the breast; to view.] A tubular instrument for distinguishing diseases of the stomach by sounds.

STEVE, v.t. [from the root of stow.] To stow, as cotton or wool in a ships hold. [Local.]

STEVEDORE, n. One whose occupation is to stow goods, packages, etc. in a ships hold.

STEVEN, n. An outcry; a loud call; a clamor. [Not in use.]

STEW, v.t.

1. To seethe or gently boil; to boil slowly in a moderate manner, or with a simmering heat; as, to stew meat; to stew applies; to stew prunes.

2. To boil in heat.

STEW, v.i. To be seethed in a slow gentle manner, or in heat and moisture.
STEW, n.

1. A hot house; a bagnio.

The Lydians were inhibited by Cyrus to use any armor, and give themselves to baths and stews.

2. A brothel; a house of prostitution; but generally or always used int he plural, stews.

3. A prostitute. [Not in use.]

4. [See Stow.] A store pond; a small pond where fish are kept for the table. [Not used.]

5. Meat stewed; as a stew of pigeons.

6. Confusion, as when the air is full of dust. [Not in use or local.]

STEWARD, n. [G., a room. The steward was then originally a chamberlain or a butler.]

1. A man employed in great families to manage the domestic concerns, superintend the other servants, collect the rents or income, keep the accounts, etc. See Genesis 15:2 and Genesis 43:19.

2. An officer of state; as lord high steward; steward of the household, etc.

3. In colleges, an officer who provides food for the students and superintends the concerns of the kitchen.

4. In a ship of war, an officer who is appointed by the purser to distribute provisions to the officers and crew. In other ships, a man who superintends the provisions and liquors, and supplies the table.

5. In Scripture and theology, a minister of Christ, whose duty is to dispense the provisions of the gospel, to preach its doctrines and administer its ordinances.

It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2.

STEWARD, v.t. To manage as a steward. [Not in use.]

STEWARDLY, adv. With the care of a steward. [Little used.]

STEWARDSHIP, n. The office of a steward.

STEWARTRY, n. An overseer or superintendent.

The stewartry of provisions.

STEWED, pp. Gently boiled; boiled in heat.

STEWING, ppr. Boiling in a moderate heat.

STEWING, n. The act of seething slowly.

STEWISH, a. Suiting a brothel.

STEW-PAN, n. A pan in which things are stewed.

STIBIAL, a. [L., antimony.] Like or having the qualities of antimony; antimonial.

STIBIARIAN, n. [L.] A violent man. [An improper word and not in use.]

STIBIATED, a. Impregnated with anitmony.

STIBIUM, n. [L.] Antimony.

STICADOS, n. A plant.

STICH, n. [Gr.]

1. In poetry, a verse, of whatever measure or number of feet.

Stich is used in numbering the books of Scripture.

2. In rural affairs, an order or rank of trees. [In New England, as much land as lies between double furrows, is called a stitch, or a land.]