Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



TALES, n. [L. talis, plu. tales.] In law, tales de circumstantibus, spectators in court, from whom the sheriff is to select men to supply any defect of jurors who are impaneled, but who may not appear, or may be challenged.

TALETELLER, n. One who tells tales or stories.

Talionis, lex talionis, [L.] in law, the law of retaliation. [See Retaliate.]


1. A magical figure cut or engraved under certain superstitious observances of the configuration of the heavens, to which wonderful effects are ascribed; or it is the seal, figure, character or image of a heavenly sign, constellation or planet, engraven on a sympathetic stone, or on a metal corresponding to the star, in order to receive its influence. The talismans of the Samothracians were pieces of iron, formed into images and set in rings, etc. They were held to be preservatives against all kinds of evils.

Talismans are of three kinds, astronomical, magical and mixed. Hence,

2. Something that produces extraordinary effects; as a talisman to destroy diseases.

TALISMANIC, a. Magical; having the properties of a talisman or preservative against evils by secret influence.

TALK, v.i. tauk.

1. To converse familiarly; to speak, as in familiar discourse, when two or more persons interchange thoughts.

I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you; but I will not eat with you.

In Aesop’s time

When all things talk’d, and talk’d in rhyme.

I will come down and talk with thee. Numbers 11:17.

Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way? Luke 24:32.

2. To prate; to speak impertinently.

3. To talk of, to relate; to tell; to give account. Authors talk of the wonderful remains of Palmyra.

The natural histories of Switzerland talk much of the fall of these rocks, and the great damage done.

So shall I talk of thy wondrous works. Psalm 119:27.

4. To speak; to reason; to confer.

Let me talk with thee of thy judgments. Jeremiah 12:1.

To talk to, in familiar language, to advise or exhort; or to reprove gently. I will talk to my son respecting his conduct.

TALK, n. tauk. Familiar converse; mutual discourse; that which is uttered by one person in familiar conversation, or the mutual converse of two or more.

Should a man full of talk be justified? Job 11:2.

In various talk th’ instructive hours they past.

1. Report; rumor.

I hear a talk up and down of raising money.

2. Subject of discourse. This noble achievement is the talk of the whole town.

3. Among the Indians of North America, a public conference, as respecting peace or war, negotiation and the like; or an official verbal communication made from them to another nation or its agents, or made to them by the same.

TALK, a mineral. [See Talck.]

TALKATIVE, a. tauk’ativ. Given to much talking; full of prate; loquacious; garrulous. One of the faults of old age is to be talkative.

TALKATIVENESS, n. tauk’ativness. Loquacity; garrulity; the practice or habit of speaking much in conversation.

TALKER, n. tauk’er. One who talks; also, a loquacious person, male or female; a prattler.

1. A boaster.

TALKING, ppr. tauk’ing. Conversing; speaking in familiar conversation. Matthew 17:3.

1. a. Given to talking; loquacious; as talking age.

TALKING, n. tauk’ing. The act of conversing familiarly; as foolish talking. Ephesians 5:4.

TALL, a. [Eng. dally; L. tollo.]

1. High in stature; long and comparatively slender; applied to a person, or to a standing tree, mast or pole. Tall always refers to something erect, and of which the diameter is small in proportion to the highth. We say, a tall man or woman, a tall boy for his age; a tall tree, a tall pole, a tall mast; but we never say, a tall house or a tall mountain. The application of the word to a palace or its shadow, in Waller, is now improper.

Dark shadows cast, and as his palace tall.

2. Sturdy; lusty; bold. [Unusual.]

TALLAGE, TALLIAGE, n. Anciently, a certain rate or tax paid by barons, knights and inferior tenants, towards the public expenses. When it was paid out of knight’s fees, it was called scutage; when by cities and burghs, talliage; when upon lands not held by military tenure, hidage.

TALLAGE, v.t. To lay an impost.

TALLNESS, n. Highth of stature. [See Tall.]

TALLOW, n. A sort of animal fat, particularly that which is obtained from animals of the sheep and ox kinds. We speak of the tallow of an ox or cow, or of sheep. This substance grows chiefly about the kidneys and on the intestines. The fat of swine we never call tallow, but lard or suet. I see in English books, mention is made of the tallow of hogs, [See Cyclopedia, article Tallow;] but in America I never heard the word thus applied. It may be applied to the fat of goats and deer. The fat of bears we call bear’s grease. Tallow is applied to various uses, but chiefly to the manufacture of candles.

TALLOW, v.t. To grease or smear with tallow.

1. To fatten; to cause to have a large quantity of tallow; as, to tallow sheep.

TALLOW-CANDLE, n. A candle made of tallow.

TALLOW-CHANDLER, n. One whose occupation is to make, or to make and sell tallow candles.

TALLOWED, pp. Greased or smeared with tallow.

1. Made fat; filled with tallow.

TALLOWER, n. An animal disposed to form tallow internally.

TALLOW-FACED, a. Having a sickly complexion; pale.

TALLOWING, ppr. Greasing with tallow.

1. Causing to gather tallow; a term in agriculture.

TALLOWING, n. The act, practice or art of causing animals to gather tallow; or the property in animals of forming tallow internally; a term in agriculture.

TALLOWISH, a. Having the properties or nature of tallow.

TALLOWY, a. Greasy, having the qualities of tallow.


1. A piece of wood on which notches or scores are cut, as the marks of number. In purchasing and selling, it is customary for traders to have two sticks, or one stick cleft into two parts, and to mark with a score or notch on each, the number or quantity of goods delivered; the seller keeping one stick, and the purchaser the other. Before the use of writing, this or something like it was the only method of keeping accounts, and tallies are received as evidence in courts of justice. In the English exchequer are tallies of loans, one part being kept in the exchequer, the other being given to the creditor in lieu of an obligation for money lent to government.

2. One thing made to suit another.

They were framed the tallies for each other.

TALLY, v.t. To score with correspondent notches; to fit; to suit; to make to correspond.

They are not so well tallied to the present juncture.

1. In seamanship, to pull aft the sheets or lower corners of the main and fore-sail.

TALLY, v.i. To be fitted; to suit; to correspond.

I found pieces of tiles that exactly tallied with the channel.

TALLY, adv. Stoutly; with spirit.

TALLYING, ppr. Fitting to each other; making to correspond.

1. Agreeing; corresponding.

2. Hauling aft the corners of the main and fore-sail.

TALLYMAN, n. [tally and man.] One who sells for weekly payment.

1. One who keeps the tally, or marks the sticks.

TALMUD, n. The body of the Hebrew laws, traditions and explanations; or the book that contains them. The Talmud contains the laws, and a compilation of expositions of duties imposed on the people, either in Scripture, by tradition, or by authority of their doctors, or by custom. It consists of two parts, the Mischna, and the Gemara; the former being the written law, the latter a collection of traditions and comments of Jewish doctors.

TALMUDIC, TALMUDICAL, a. Pertaining to the Talmud; contained in the Talmud; as Talmudic fables.

TALMUDIST, n. One versed in the Talmud.

TALMUDISTIC, a. Pertaining to the Talmud; resembling the Talmud.


1. The claw of a fowl.

2. In architecture, a kind of molding, concave at the bottom, and convex at the top. When the concave part is at the top, it is called an inverted talon. It is usually called by workmen an ogee, or O G, and by authors an upright or inverted cymatium.

TALUS, n. [L. talus, the ankle.] In anatomy, the astragalus, or that bone of the foot which is articulated to the leg.

1. In architecture, a slope; the inclination of any work.

2. In fortification, the slope of a work, as a bastion, rampart or parapet.

TAMABLE, a. [from tame.] That may be tamed; capable of being reclaimed from wildness or savage ferociousness; that may be subdued.

TAMABLENESS, n. The quality of being tamable.

TAMARIN, n. A small monkey of South America, with large ears; the great eared monkey, (Simia midas.)

TAMARIND, n. A tree, a native of the East Indies, and of Arabia and Egypt. It is cultivated in both the Indies for the sake of its shade and for its cooling, grateful acid fruit, the pulp of which, mixed with boiled sugar, is imported into northern countries. The stem of the tree is lofty, large, and crowned with wide spreading branches; the flowers are in simple clusters, terminating the short lateral branches.

TAMARINDS, n. plu. The preserved seed-pods of the tamarind, which abound with an acid pulp.

TAMARISK, n. A tree or shrub of the genus Tamarix, of several species.

TAMBAC, n. A mixture of gold and copper, which the people value more highly than gold itself.


1. A small drum, used by the Biscayans as an accompaniment to the flageolet.

2. In architecture, a term applied to the Corinthian and composite capitals, which bear some resemblance to a drum. It is also called the vase, and campana, or the bell.

3. A little box of timber work covered with a ceiling, within the porches of certain churches.

4. A round course of stones, several of which form the shaft of a pillar, not so high as a diameter.

5. In the arts, a species of embroidery, wrought on a kind of cushion or spherical body, which is properly the tambor, and so names from its resemblance to a drum.

TAMBOR, v.t. To embroider with a tambor.


1. A small Drum.

2. A lively French dance, formerly in vogue in operas.

TAME, a.

1. That has lost its native wildness and shyness; mild; accustomed to man; domestic; as a tame deer; a tame bird.

2. Crushed; subdued; depressed; spiritless.

And you, tame slaves of the laborious plow.

3. Spiritless; unanimated; as a tame poem. [Not elegant nor in use.]

TAME, v.t. [L. domo; Heb. to be silent, dumb.]

1. To reclaim; to reduce from a wild to a domestic state; to make gentle and familiar; as, to tame a wild beast.

2. To civilize; as, to tame the ferocious inhabitants of the forest.

3. To subdue; to conquer; to depress; as, to tame the pride or passions of youth.

4. To subdue; to repress; as wildness or licentiousness.

The tongue can no man tame. James 3:8.

TAMED, pp. Reclaimed from wildness; domesticated; made gentle; subdued.

TAMELESS, a. Wild; untamed; untamable. [Not much used.]

TAMELY, adv. With unresisting submission; meanly; servilely; without manifesting spirit; as, to submit tamely to oppression; to bear reproach tamely.

TAMENESS, n. The quality of being tame or gentle; a state of domestication.

1. Unresisting submission; meanness in bearing insults or injuries; want of spirit.

TAMER, n. One that tames or subdues; one that reclaims from wildness.

TAMING, ppr. Reclaiming from a wild state; civilizing; subduing.

TAMINY, TAMMY, n. A woolen stuff.

TAMKIN, n. A stopper. [See Tampion.]

TAMPER, v.i. To meddle; to be busy; to try little experiments;, as to tamper with a disease.

1. To meddle; to have to do with without fitness or necessity.

‘Tis dangerous tamp’ring with a muse.

2. To deal; to practice secretly.

Others tamper’d

For Fleetwood, Desborough and Lambert.

TAMPERING, ppr. Meddling; dealing; practicing secretly.

TAMPERING, n. The act of meddling or practicing secretly.

TAMPING, n. [allied probably to tame, dam, stem, stamp, etc.]

The matter that is driven into the hole bored into any thing for blasting. The powder being first put into the hole, and a tube for a conductor of the fire, the hole is rammed to fullness with brick-dust or other matter. This is called tamping.

TAMPION, TOMPION, n. The stopper of a cannon or other piece of ordnance, consisting of a cylinder of wood.

TAMPOE, n. A fruit of the East Indies, somewhat resembling an apple. It is eaten by the natives, and called sometimes mangoustan, though a different fruit and less agreeable to the taste.

TAMTAM, n. A large flat drum used by the Hindoos.

TAN, v.t.

1. In the arts, to convert animal skins into leather by steeping them in an infusion of oak or some other bark, by which they are impregnated with tannin, an astringent substance which exists in several species of bark, and thus rendered firm, durable, and in some degree, impervious to water.

2. To make brown; to imbrown by exposure to the rays of the sun; as, to tan the skin.

His face all tann’d with scorching sunny rays.

TAN, n. The bark of the oak, etc. bruised and broken by a mill for tanning hides. It bears this name before and after it has been used. Tan, after being used in tanning, is used in gardening for making hotbeds; and it is also made into cakes and used as fuel.

TAN-BED, n. [tan and bed.] In gardening, a bed made of tan; a bark bed.

TAN-PIT, n. [tan and pit.] A bark pit; a vat in which hides are laid in tan.

TAN-SPUD, n. [tan and spud.] An instrument for peeling the bark from oak and other trees. [Local.]

TAN-STOVE, n. [tan and stove.] A hot house with a bark bed.

TAN-VAT, n. [tan and vat.] A vat in which hides are steeped in liquor with tan.

TANG, n. [Gr. rancor; rancid.]

1. A strong taste; particularly, a taste of something extraneous to the thing itself; as, wine or cider has a tang of the cask.

2. Relish; taste. [Not elegant.]

3. Something that leaves a sting or pain behind.

She had a tongue with a tang.

4. Sound; tone. [Not in use.]

TANG, v.i. To ring with. [Not in use.]

[This may be allied to ding, dong.]

TANGENT, n. [L. tangens, touching. See Touch.]

In geometry, a right line which touches a curve, but which when produced, does not cut it. In trigonometry, the tangent of an arc, is a right line touching the arc at one extremity, and terminated by a second passing through the other extremity.

TANGIBILITY, n. [from tangible.] The quality of being perceptible to the touch or sense of feeling.

TANGIBLE, a. [from L. tango, to touch.]

1. Perceptible by the touch; tactile.

2. That may be possessed or realized.

TANGLE, v.t.

1. To implicate; to unite or knit together confusedly; to interweave or interlock, as threads, so as to make it difficult to ravel the knot.

2. To ensnare; to entrap; as, to be tangled in the folds of dire necessity.

Tangled in amorous nets.

3. To embroil; to embarrass.

When my simple weakness strays,

Tangled in forbidden ways.

[Entangle, the compound, is the more elegant word.]

TANGLE, v.i. To be entangled or united confusedly.
TANGLE, n. A knot of threads or other things united confusedly, or so interwoven as not to be easily disengaged; as hair or yarn in tangled.

1. A kind of sea weed.

TANIST, n. [Gr. a lord, to be powerful or able; L. teneo.]

Among the descendants of the Celts in Ireland, a lord, or the proprietor of a tract of land; a governor or captain. This office or rank was elective, and often obtained by purchase or bribery.

TANISTRY, n. In Ireland, a tenure of lands by which the proprietor had only a life estate, and to this he was admitted by election. The primitive intention seems to have been that the inheritance should descend to the oldest or most worthy of the blood and name of the deceased. This was in reality giving it to the strongest, and the practice often occasioned bloody wars in families.

TANK, n. A large bason or cistern; a reservoir of water.

TANKARD, n. A large vessel for liquors, or a drinking vessel, with a cover.

Marius was the first who drank out of a silver tankard, after the manner of Bacchus.

TANKARD-TURNEP, n. A sort of turnep that stands high above the ground.

TANLING, n. One tanned or scorched by the heat of the sun.

TANNED, pp. [from tan.] converted into leather. [See Tan.]

1. Darkened by the rays of the sun.

TANNER, n. One whose occupation is to tan hides, or convert them into leather by the use of tan.

TANNERY, n. The house and apparatus for tanning.

TANNIERS, n. A variety of the arum esculentum, an esculent root.

TANNIN, n. The chimical name of that astringent substance contained in vegetables, particularly in the bark of the oak and chestnut, and in gall-nut; the substance used to change raw hides into leather.

TANNING, ppr. Converting raw hides into leather.

TANREC, n. A quadruped of the Indies, larger than a rat.

TANSY, n. s as z. [L. tanacetum.] A plant of the genus Tanacetum, of many species. It is extremely bitter to the taste, and used for medicinal and culinary purposes.

TANT, n. A small spider with two eyes and eight long legs, and of an elegant scarlet color.

TANTALISM, n. [See Tantalize.] The punishment of Tantalus, a teasing or tormenting by the hope or near approach of good which is not attainable.

Is not such a provision like tantalism to this people?

TANTALITE, n. The ore of tantalum or columbium, a newly discovered metal. It is an iron black color, sometimes with a tinge of blue. It is imbedded in angular pieces, from the size of a pea to that of a hazel-nut.

TANTALIZATION, n. The act of tantalizing.

TANTALIZE, v.t. [from Tantalus, in fable, who was condemned for his crimes to perpetual hunger and thirst, with food and water near him which he could not reach.]

To tease or torment by presenting some good to the view and exciting desire, but continually frustrating the expectations by keeping that good out of reach; to tease; to torment.

Thy vain desires, at strife

Within themselves, have tantaliz’d thy life.

TANTALIZED, pp. Teased or tormented by the disappointment of the hope of good.

TANTALIZER, n. One that tantalizes.

TANTALIZING, ppr. Teasing or tormenting by presenting to the view some unattainable good.

TANTALUM, n. Columbium, the metal obtained from tantalite, newly discovered.

TANTAMOUNT, a. [L. tantus, so much, and amount.] Equal; equivalent in value or signification; as a sum tantamount to all our expenses. Silence is sometimes tantamount to consent.

TANTIVY, adv. [L. tanta vi.] To ride tantivy, is to ride with great speed.

TANTLING, n. [See Tantalize.] One seized with the hope of pleasure unattainable.

TAP, v.t. To strike with something small, or to strike a very gentle blow; to touch gently; as, to tap one with the hand; to tap one on the shoulder with a cane.

TAP, v.i. To strike a gentle blow. He tapped at the door.
TAP, v.t.

1. To pierce or broach a cask, and insert a tap.

2. To open a cask and draw liquor.

3. To pierce for letting out a fluid; as, to tap a tumor; to tap a dropsical person.

4. To box, or bore into; as, to tap a maple tree to obtain the sap for making sugar.

TAP, n. A gentle blow; a slight blow with a small thing.

She gives her right hand woman a tap on the shoulder.

1. A spile or pipe for drawing liquor from a cask.

TAPE, n. A narrow fillet or band; a narrow piece of woven work, used for strings and the like; as curtains tied with tape.

TAPER, n. A small wax candle; a small lighted wax candle, or a small light.

Get me a taper in my study, Lucius.

TAPER, a. [supposed to be from the form of a taper.]

Regularly narrowed towards the point; becoming small towards one end; conical; pyramidical; as taper fingers.

TAPER, v.i. To diminish or become gradually smaller towards one end; as, a sugar loaf tapers towards a point.
TAPER, v.t. To make gradually smaller in diameter.

TAPERING, ppr. Making gradually smaller.

1. a. Becoming regularly smaller in diameter towards one end; gradually diminishing towards a point.

TAPERNESS, n. The state of being taper.

TAPESTRY, n. [L. tapes, tapestry.] A kind of woven hangings of wool and silk, often enriched with gold and silver, representing figures of men, animals, landscapes, etc.

TAPET, n. [supra.] Worked or figured stuff.

TAPETI, n. An American animal of the hare kind.

TAPE-WORM, n. [tape and worm.] A worm bred in the human intestines or bowels. The body is jointed, and each joint has its mouth.

TAP-HOUSE, n. [tap and house.] A house where liquors are retailed.