Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



TENDRIL, n. A clasp or clasper of a vine or other climbing or creeping plant; a filiform spiral shoot, that winds round another body. Tendrils or claspers are given to plants that have weak stalks.

They are also given to creeping vines, which require support on the earth.

TENDRIL, a. Clasping; climbing; as a tendril.

TENEBROUS, TENEBRIOUS, a. [L. tenebrosus, from tenebroe, darkness.]

Dark; gloomy.


TENEMENT, n. [Low L. tenementum, from teneo, to hold.]

1. In common acceptation, a house; a building for a habitation; or an apartment in a building, used by one family.

2. A house or lands depending on a manor; or a fee farm depending on a superior.

3. In law, any species of permanent property that may be held, as land, houses, rents, commons, an office, an advowson, a franchise, a right of common, a peerage, etc. These are called free or frank tenements.

The thing held is a tenement, and the possessor of it a tenant, and the manner of possession is called tenure.

TENEMENTAL, a. Pertaining to tenanted lands; that is or may be held by tenants.

Tenemental lands they distributed among their tenants.

TENEMENTARY, a. That is or may be leased; held by tenants.

TENERITY, n. Tenderness. [Not in use.]

TENESMUS, n. [L. literally a straining or stretching.]

A painful, ineffectual and repeated effort, or a continual and urgent desire to go to stool.

TENET, n. [L. tenet, he holds.] Any opinion, principle, dogma or doctrine which a person believes or maintains as true; as the tenets of Plato or of Cicero. The tenets of christians are adopted from the Scriptures; but different interpretations give rise to a great diversity of tenets.

TENFOLD, a. [ten and fold.] Ten times more.

Fire kindled into tenfold rage.

TENNANTITE, n. [from Tennant.] A subspecies of gray copper; a mineral of a lead color, or iron black, massive or crystallized, found in Cornwall, England.

TENNIS, n. A play in which a ball is driven continually or kept in motion by rackets.

TENNIS, v.t. To drive a ball.

TENON, n. [L. teneo, to hold.] In building and cabinet work, the end of a piece of timber, which is fitted to a mortise for insertion, or inserted, for fastening two pieces of timber together. The form of a tenon is various, as square, dovetailed, etc.

TENOR, n. [L. tenor, from teneo, to hold.]

1. Continued run or currency; whole course or strain. We understand a speaker’s intention or views from the tenor of his conversation, that is, from the general course of his ideas, or general purport of his speech.

Does not the whole tenor of the divine law positively require humility and meekness to all men?

2. Stamp; character. The conversation was of the same tenor as that of the preceding day.

This success would look like chance, if it were not perpetual and always of the same tenor.

3. Sense contained; purport; substance; general course or drift; as close attention to the tenor of the discourse. Warrants are to be executed according to their form and tenor.

Bid me tear the bond.

--When it is paid according to the tenor.

4. In music, the natural pitch of a man’s voice in singing; hence, the part of a tune adapted to a man’s voice, the second of the four parts, reckoning from the base; and originally the air, to which the other parts were auxiliary.

5. The persons who sing the tenor, or the instrument that plays it.

TENSE, a. tens. [L. tensus, from tendo, to stretch.] Stretched; strained to stiffness; rigid; not lax; as a tense fiber.

For the free passage of the sound into the ear, it is requisite that the tympanum be tense.

TENSE, n. tens. [L. tempus.] In grammar, time, or a particular form of a verb, or a combination of words, used to express the time of action, or of that which is affirmed; or tense is an inflection of verbs by which they are made to signify or distinguish the time of actions or events.

The primary simple tenses are three; those which express time past, present, and future; but these admit of modifications, which differ in different languages. The English language is rich in tenses, beyond any other language in Europe.

TENSENESS, n. tens’ness. The state of being tense or stretched to stiffness; stiffness; opposed to laxness; as the tenseness of a string or fiber; tenseness of the skin.

TENSIBLE, a. Capable of being extended.

TENSILE, a. Capable of extension.

TENSION, n. [L. tensio, tendo.]

1. The act of stretching or straining; as the tension of the muscles.

2. The state of being stretched or strained to stiffness; or the state of being bent or strained; as, different degrees of tension in chords give different sounds; the greater the tension, the more acute the sound.

3. Distension.

TENSIVE, a. Giving the sensation of tension, stiffness or contraction; as a tensive pain.

TENSOR, n. In anatomy, a muscle that extends or stretches a part.

TENSURE, the same as tension, and not used.

TENT, n. [L. tentorium, from tendo, to stretch.]

1. A pavilion or portable lodge consisting of canvas or other coarse cloth, stretched and sustained by poles; used for sheltering persons from the weather, particularly soldiers in camp. The wandering Arabs and Tartars lodge in tents. The Israelites lodged in tents forty years, while they were in the desert.

2. In surgery, a roll of lint or linen, used to dilate an opening in the flesh, or to prevent the healing of an opening from which matter or other fluid is discharged.

TENT, n. [L. tinctus.] A kind of wine of a deep red color, chiefly from Galicia or Malaga in Spain.
TENT, v.i. To lodge as in a tent; to tabernacle.
TENT, v.t. To probe; to search as with a tent; as, to tent a wound.

I’ll tent him to the quick.

1. To keep open with a tent.

TENTACLE, n. [L. tentacula.] A filiform process or organ, simple or branched, on the bodies of various animals of the Linnean class Vermes, and of Cuvier’s Mollusca, Annelides, Echinodermata, Actinia, Medusae, Polypi, etc. either an organ of feeling, prehension or motion, sometimes round the mouth, sometimes on other parts of the body.

TENTAGE, n. An encampment. [Unusual.]

TENTATION, n. [L. tentatio; tento, to try.]

Trial; temptation. [Little used.]

TENTATIVE, a. Trying; essaying.

TENTATIVE, n. An essay; trial.

TENTED, a. Covered or furnished with tents; as soldiers.

1. Covered with tents; as a tented field.

TENTER, n. [L. tendo, tentus, to stretch.]

A hook for stretching cloth on a frame.

To be on the tenters, to be on the stretch; to be in distress, uneasiness or suspense.

TENTER, v.t. To hang or stretch on tenters.
TENTER, v.i. To admit extension.

Woolen cloths will tenter.

TENTERED, pp. Stretched or hung on tenters.

TENTER-GROUND, n. Ground on which tenters are erected.

TENTERING, ppr. Stretching or hanging on tenters.

TENTH, a. [from ten.] The ordinal of ten; the first after the ninth.

TENTH, n. The tenth part.

1. Tithe; the tenth part of annual produce or increase. The tenth of income is payable to the clergy in England, as it was to the priests among the Israelites.

2. In music, the octave of the third; an interval comprehending nine conjoint degrees, or ten sounds, diatonically divided.

TENTHLY, adv. In the tenth place.

TENTIGINOUS, a. [L. tentigo, a stretching.]

Stiff; stretched. [Not in use.]

TENTORY, n. [L. tentorium.] The awning of a tent.

TENTWORT, n. [tent and wort.] A plant of the genus Asplenium.

TENUIFOLIOUS, a. [L. tenuis and folium.]

Having thin or narrow leaves.

TENUITY, n. [L. tenuitas, from tenuis, thin. See Thin.]

1. Thinness, smallness in diameter; exility; thinness, applied to a broad substance, and slenderness, applied to one that is long; as the tenuity of paper or of a leaf; the tenuity of a hair or filament.

2. Rarity; rareness; thinness; as of a fluid; as the tenuity of the air in the higher regions of the atmosphere; the tenuity of the blood.

3. Poverty. [Not in use.]

TENUOUS, a. [L. tenuis.] Thin; small; minute.

1. Rare.

TENURE, n. [L. teneo, to hold.]

1. A holding. In English law, the manner of holding lands and tenements of a superior. All the species of ancient tenures may be reduced to four, three of which subsist to this day. 1. Tenure by knight service, which was the most honorable. This is now abolished. 2. Tenure in free socage, or by a certain and determinate service, which is either free and honorable, or villain and base. 3. Tenure by copy of court roll, or copyhold tenure. 4. Tenure in ancient demain. There was also tenure in frankalmoign, or free alms. The tenure in free and common socage has absorbed most of the others.

In the United States, almost all lands are held in fee simple; not of a superior, but the whole right and title to the property being vested in the owner.

Tenure in general, then, is the particular manner of holding real estate, as by exclusive title or ownership, by fee simple, by fee tail, by curtesy, in dower, by copyhold, by lease, at will, etc.

2. The consideration, condition or service which the occupier of land gives to his lord or superior for the use of his land.

3. Manner of holding in general. In absolute governments, men hold their rights by a precarious tenure.

TEPEFACTION, n. [L. tepefacio; tepidus, warm, and facio, to make.]

The act or operation of warming, making tepid or moderately warm.

TEPEFY, v.t. [L. tepefacio.] To make moderately warm.

TEPEFY, v.i. To become moderately warm.

TEPID, a. [L. tepidus, form tepeo, to be warm.]

Moderately warm; lukewarm; as a tepid bath; tepid rays; tepid vapors.

Tepid mineral waters, are such as have less sensible cold than common water.

TEPIDNESS, n. Moderate warmth; lukewarmness.

TEPOR, n. [L.] Gentle heat; moderate warmth.

TERAPHIM, n. [Heb.] Household deities or images.

TERATOLOGY, n. [Gr. a prodigy, and discourse.]

Bombast in language; affectation of sublimity. [Not used.]

TERCE, n. ters. A cask whose contents are 42 gallons, the third of a pipe or butt.

TERCEL, n. The male of the common falcon. [Falco Peregrinus.]

TERCE-MAJOR, n. A sequence of the three best cards.

TEREBINTH, n. The turpentine tree.

TEREBINTHINATE, a. Terebinthine; impregnated with the qualities of turpentine.

TEREBINTHINE, a. [L. terebinthinus, from terebinthina, turpentine.] Pertaining to turpentine; consisting of turpentine, or partaking of its qualities.

TEREBRATE, v.t. [L. terebro, tero.] To bore; to perforate with a gimlet. [Little used.]

TEREBRATION, n. The act of boring. [Little used.]

TEREBRATULITE, n. Fossil terebratula, a kind of shell.

TEREDO, n. [L. from tero, to wear.] A worm that bores and penetrates the bottom of ships; or rather a genus of worms, so called.

TEREK, n. A water fowl with long legs.

TERET, TERETE, a. [L. teres.] Round and tapering; columnar; as the stem of a plant.

TERGEMINAL, TERGEMINATE, a. [L. tergeminus.] Thrice double; as a tergeminate leaf.

TERGEMINOUS, a. [supra.] Threefold.

TERGIFETOUS, a. Tergifetous plants, are such as bear their seeds on the back of their leaves, as ferns.

TERGIVERSATE, v.i. [L. tergum, the back, and verto, to turn.]

To shift; to practice evasion. [Little used.]

TERGIVERSATION, n. A shifting; shift; subterfuge; evasion.

Writing is to be preferred before verbal conferences, as being more free from passion and tergiversation.

1. Change; fickleness of conduct.

The colonel, after all his tergiversation, lost his life in the king’s service.

TERM, n. [L. terminus, a limit or boundary.]

1. A limit; a bound or boundary; the extremity of any thing; that which limits its extent.

Corruption is a reciprocal to generation, and they two are as nature’s two terms or boundaries.

2. The time for which any thing lasts; any limited time; as the term of five years; the term of life.

3. In geometry, a point or line that limits. A line is the term of a superficies, and a superficies is the term of a solid.

4. In law, the limitation of an estate; or rather the whole time or duration of an estate; as a lease for the term of life, for the term of three lives, for the term of twenty one years.

5. In law, the time in which a court is held or open for the trial of causes. In England, there are four terms in the year; Hilary term, from January 23d to February 12th; Easter term, from Wednesday, fortnight after Easter, to the Monday next after Ascension day; Trinity term, from Friday next after Trinity Sunday to the Wednesday, fortnight after; and Michaelmas term, from November 6th to the 28th. These terms are observed by the courts of king’s bench, the common pleas and exchequer, but not by the parliament, the chancery or by inferior courts. The rest of the year is called vacation. In the United States, the terms to be observed by the tribunals of justice, are prescribed by the statutes of congress and of the several states.

6. In universities and colleges, the time during which instruction is regularly given to students, who are obliged by the statutes and laws of the institution to attend to the recitations, lectures and other exercises.

7. In grammar, a word or expression; that which fixes or determines ideas.

In painting, the greatest beauties cannot be always expressed for want of terms.

8. In the arts, a word or expression that denotes something peculiar to an art; as a technical term.

9. In logic, a syllogism consists of three terms, the major, the minor, and the middle. The predicate of the conclusion is called the major term, because it is the most general, and the subject of the conclusion is called the minor term, because it is less general. These are called the extremes; and the third term, introduced as a common measure between them, is called the mean or middle term. Thus in the following syllogism.

Every vegetable is combustible;

Every tree is vegetable;

Therefore every tree is combustible.

Combustible is the predicate of the conclusion, or the major term; every tree is the minor term; vegetable is the middle term.

10. In architecture, a kind of statues or columns adorned on the top with the figure of a head, either of a man, woman or satyr. Terms are sometimes used as consoles, and sustain entablatures; and sometimes as statues to adorn gardens.

11. Among the ancients, terms, termini miliares, were the heads of certain divinities placed on square land-marks of stone, to mark the several stadia on roads. These were dedicated to Mercury, who was supposed to preside over highways.

12. In algebra, a member of a compound quantity; as a, in a+b; or ab, in ab+cd.

13. Among physicians, the monthly courses of females are called terms.

14. In contracts, terms, in the plural, are conditions; propositions stated or promises made, which when assented to or accepted by another, settle the contract and bind the parties. A engages to build a house for B for a specific sum of money, in a given time; these are his terms. When B promises to give to A that sum for building the house, he has agreed to the terms; the contract is completed and binding upon both parties.

Terms of proportion, in mathematics, are such numbers, letters or quantities as are compared one with another.

To make terms, to come to an agreement.

To come to terms, to agree; to come to an agreement.

To bring to terms, to reduce to submission or to conditions.

TERM, v.t. To name; to call; to denominate.

Men term what is beyond the limits of the universe, imaginary space.

TERMAGANCY, n. [from termagant.] Turbulence; tumultuousness; as a violent termagancy of temper.

TERMAGANT, a. Tumultuous; turbulent; boisterous or furious; quarrelsome; scolding.

The eldest was a termagant, imperious, prodigal, profligate wench.

TERMAGANT, n. A boisterous, brawling, turbulent woman. It seems in Shakespeare to have been used of men. In ancient farces and puppet-shows, termagant was a vociferous, tumultuous deity.

She threw his periwig into the fire. Well, said he, thou are a brave termagant.

The sprites of fiery termagants in flame--

TERMED, pp. Called; denominated.

TERMER, n. One who travels to attend a court term.

TERMER, TERMOR, n. One who has an estate for a term of years of life.

TERM-FEE, n. Among lawyers, a fee or certain sum charged to a suitor for each term his cause is in court.

TERMINABLE, a. [from term.] That may be bounded; limitable.

TERMINAL, a. [from L. terminus.] In botany, growing at the end of a branch or stem; terminating; as a terminal scape, flower or spike.

1. Forming the extremity; as a terminal edge.

TERMINATE, v.t. [termino; terminus.]

1. To bound; to limit; to set the extreme point or side of a thing; as, to terminate a surface by a line.

2. To end; to put an end to; as, to terminate a controversy.

TERMINATE, v.i. To be limited; to end; to come to the furthest point in space; as, a line terminates at the equator; the torrid zone terminates at the tropics.

1. To end; to close; to come to a limit in time. The session of congress, every second year, must terminate on the third of March.

The wisdom of this world, its designs and efficacy, terminate on this side heaven.

TERMINATED, pp. Limited; bounded; ended.

TERMINATING, ppr. Limiting; ending; concluding.

TERMINATION, n. The act of limiting or setting bounds; the act of ending or concluding.

1. Bound; limit in space or extent; as the termination of a line.

2. End in time or existence; as the termination of the year or of life; the termination of happiness.

3. In grammar, the end or ending of a word; the syllable or letter that ends a word. Words have different terminations to express number, time and sex.

4. End; conclusion; result.

5. Last purpose.

6. Word; term. [Not in use.]

TERMINATIONAL, a. Forming the end or concluding syllable.

TERMINATIVE, a. Directing termination.

TERMINATIVELY, adv. Absolutely; so as not to respect any thing else.

TERMINATOR, n. In astronomy, a name sometimes given to the circle of illumination, form its property of terminating the boundaries of light and darkness.

TERMINER, n. A determining; as in oyer and terminer.

TERMING, ppr. Calling; denominating.

TERMINIST, n. In ecclesiastical history, a sect of christians who maintain that God has fixed a certain term for the probation of particular persons, during which time they have the offer of grace, but after which God no longer wills their salvation.

TERMINOLOGY, n. [L. terminus.] The doctrine of terms; a treatise on terms.

1. In natural history, that branch of the science which explains all the terms used in the description of natural objects.

TERMINTHUS, n. [Gr. a pine nut.] In surgery, a large painful tumor on the skin, thought to resemble a pine nut.

TERMLESS, a. Unlimited; boundless; as termless joys.

TERMLY, a. Occurring every term; as a termly fee.

TERMLY, adv. Term by term; every term; as a fee termly given.

TERN, n. [L. sterna.] A common name of certain aquatic fowls of the genus Sterna; as the great tern or sea swallow, (S. hirundo,) the black tern, the lesser tern, or hooded tern, and the foolish tern, or noddy, (S. stolida.) The brown tern, or brown gull, (S. obscura,) is considered as the young of the pewit gull or sea-crow, before molting.

TERN, a. [L. ternus.] Threefold; consisting of three.

Tern leaves, in threes, or three by three; expressing the number of leaves in each whorl or set.

Tern peduncles, three growing together from the same axil.

Tern flowers, growing three and three together.

TERNARY, a. [L. ternarius, of three.] Proceeding by threes; consisting of three.

The ternary number, in antiquity, was esteemed a symbol of perfection and held in great veneration.

TERNARY, TERNION, n. [L. ternarius, ternio.] The number three.

TERNATE, a. [L. ternus, terni.] In botany, a ternate leaf, is one that has three leaflets on a petiole, as in trefoil, strawberry, bramble, etc. There are leaves also biternate and triternate, having three ternate or three biternate leaflets.

These leaves must not be confounded with folia terna, which are leaves that grow three together in a whorl, on a stem or branch.

Ternate bat, a species of bat of a large kind, found in the isle Ternate, and other East India isles. [See Vampire.]

Terra Japonica, catechu, so called.

Terra Lemnia, a species of red bolar earth.

Terra ponderosa, baryte; heavy spar.

Sienna, a brown bole or ocher from Sienna in Italy.

TERRACE, n. [L. terra, the earth.]

1. In gardening, a raised bank of earth with sloping sides, laid with turf, and graveled on the top for a walk.

2. A balcony or open gallery.

3. The flat roof of a house. All the buildings of the oriental nations are covered with terraces, where people walk or sleep.

TERRACE, v.t. To form in to a terrace.

1. To open to the air and light.

TERRACED, pp. Formed into a terrace; having a terrace.

TERRACING, ppr. Forming into a terrace; opening to the air.

TERRAPIN, n. A name given to a species of tide-water tortoise.

TERRAQUEOUS, a. [L. terra, earth, and aqua, water.] Consisting of land and water, as the globe or earth. This epithet is given to the earth in regard to the surface, of which more than three fifths consist of water, and the remainder of earth or solid materials.

TERRAR, n. A register of lands. [Not in use.]

TERRE-BLUE, n. A kind of earth.

TERRE-MOTE, n. [L. terra, earth, and motus, motion.]

An earthquake. [Not in use.]

TERRE-PLEIN, TERRE-PLAIN, n. In fortification, the top, platform or horizontal surface of a rampart, on which the cannon are placed.

TERRE-TENANT, TER-TENANT, n. One who has the actual possession of land; the occupant.