Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



WELTERING, ppr. Rolling; wallowing; as in mire, blood, or other filthy matter.

WEM, n. A spot; a scar.

WEM, v.t. To corrupt.

WEN, n. An encysted swelling or tumor; also, a fleshy excrescence growing on animals, sometimes to a large size.


1. A young woman. [Little used.]

2. A young woman of ill fame.

3. In America, a black or colored female servant; a negress.

WENCH, v.i. To frequent the company of women of ill fame.

WENCHER, n. A lewd man.

WENCHING, ppr. Frequenting women of ill fame.

WEND, v.i.

1. To go; to pass to or from. [Obsolete, except in poetry; but its preterit, went, is in common use.]

2. To turn round. [Wend and wind are from the same root.]

WENNEL, n. A weanel. [See Weanel.]

WENNISH, WENNY, a. [from wen.] Having the nature of a wen.

WENT, pret. of the obsolete verb wend. We now arrange went in grammar as the preterit of go, but in origin it has no connection with it.

WEPT, pret. and pp. of weep.

When he had come near, he beheld the city and wept over it. Luke 19:41.

WERE, pron. er, which when prolonged, becomes ware. This is used as the imperfect tense plural of be; we were, you were, they were; and in some other tenses. It is the Danish verb vaerer, to be, to exist, and in origin has no connection with be, nor with was. It is united with be, to supply its want of tenses, as went is with go.

WERE, n. A dam. [See Wear.]

WEREGILD, n. Formerly, the price of a man’s head; a compensation paid for a man killed, partly to the king for the loss of a subject, and partly tot he lord of the vassal, and partly to the next of kin. It was paid by the murderer.

WERNERIAN, a. Pertaining to Werner, the German mineralogist, who arranged minerals in classes, etc. according to their external characters.

WERNERITE, n. A mineral, regarded by Werener as a subspecies of scapolite; called foliated scapolite. It is named from that distinguished mineralogist, Werner. It is found massive, and crystalized in octahedral prisms with four sided pyramidical terminations, disseminated in rocks or grayish or red feldspar. It is imperfectly lamellar, of a greenish, grayish, or olive green color, with a pearly or resinous luster. It is softer than feldspar, and melts into a white enamel.

WERT, the second person singular of the subjunctive imperfect tense of be. [See Were.]

Werth, worth, in names, signifies a farm, court or village.

WESIL, for weasand. [Not in use.]

WEST, n. [L., a decline or fall, departure. In elements, it coincides with waste.]

1. In strictness, that point of the horizon where the sun sets at the equinox, or any point in a direct line between the spectator or other object, and that point of the horizon; or west is the intersection of the prime vertical with the horizon, on that side where the sun sets. West is directly opposite to east, and one of the cardinal points. In a less strict sense, west is the region of the hemisphere near the point where the sun sets when in the equator. Thus we say, a star sets in the west, a meteor appears in the west, a cloud rises in the west.

2. A country situated in the region towards the sun-setting, with respect to another. Thus in the United States, the inhabitants of the Atlantic states speak of the inhabitants of Ohio, Kentucky or Missouri, and call them people of the west; and formerly, the empire of Rome was called the empire of the West, in opposition to the empire of the East, the seat of which was Constantinople.

WEST, a.

1. Being in a line towards the point where the sun sets when in the equator; or in a looser sense, being in the region near the line of direction towards that point, either on the earth or in the heavens.

This shall be your west border. Numbers 34:6.

2. Coming or moving from the west or western region; as a west wind.

WEST, adv. To the western region; at the westward; more westward; as, Ireland lies west of England.
WEST, v.i. To pass to the west; to set, as the sun. [Not in use.]

WESTERING, a. Passing to the west. [I believe not now used.]


1. Being towards the west; situated in the western region; as the westerly parts of England.

2. Moving from the westward; as a westerly wind.

WESTERLY, adv. Tending, going or moving towards the west; as a man traveling westerly.


1. Being in the west, or int he region nearly in the direction of west; being in that quarter where the sun sets; as the western shore of France; the western ocean.

2. Moving in a line to the part where the sun sets; as, the ship makes a western course.

WESTING, n. Space or distance westward; or departure; as the westing and southing of a ship.

WESTWARD, adv. [L.] Towards the west; as, to ride or sail westward.

WESTWARDLY, adv. In a direction towards the west; as, to pass westwardly.

WET, a. [Gr., L.]

1. Containing water, as wet land, or a wet cloth; or having water or other liquid upon the surface, as a wet table. Wet implies more water or liquid than moist or humid.

2. Rainy; as wet weather; a wet season.

WET, n.

1. Water or wetness; moisture or humidity in considerable degree. Wear thick shoes or pattens to keep your feet from the wet.

2. Rainy weather; foggy or misty weather.

WET, v.t. pret. and pp. wet. But wetted is sometimes used.

1. To fill or moisten with water or other liquid; to sprinkle or humectate; to cause to have water or other fluid adherent to the surface; to dip or soak in liquor; as, to wet a spunge; to wet the hands; to wet cloth.

Wet the thirsty earth with falling showrs.

2. To moisten with drink.

WETHER, n. A ram castrated.


1. The state of being wet, either by being soaked or filled with liquor, or by having a liquid adherent to the surface; as the wetness of land; the wetness of a cloth. It implies more water or liquid than humidness or moisture.

2. A watery or moist state of the atmosphere; a state of being rainy, foggy or misty; as the wetness of weather or the season.

WETTISH, a. Somewhat wet; moist; humid.

WEX, v.t. or i. To grow; to wax. [Not to be used.] [See Wax.]

WEZAND, for weasand. [See the latter.] [Note--In words beginning with wh, the letter h, or aspirate, when both letters are pronounced, precedes the sound of w. Thus what, when, are pronounced hwat, hwen. So they were written by our ancestors, and so they ought to be written still, as they are by the Danes and Swedes.]

WHACK, v.t. To strike. This is probably the primary word on which is formed thwack. [See Twit.] Whack is a vulgar word.

WHALE, n. [G., to stir, agitate or rove.] The general name of an order of animals inhabiting the ocean, arranged in zoology under the name of Cete or Cetacea, and belonging to the class Mammalia in the Linnean system. The common whale is of the genus Balaena. It is the largest animal of which we have any account, and probably the largest in the world. It is sometimes ninety feet in length in the northern seas, and in the torrid zone much larger. The whale furnishes us with oil, whalebone, etc. [See Cachalot.]

WHALEBONE, n. [whale and bone.] A firm elastic substance taken from the upper jaw of the whale, used as a stiffening in stays, fans, screens, etc.

WHALE-FISHERY, n. The fishery or occupation of taking whales.

WHALY, a. Marked with streaks; properly wealy.

WHAME, n. A species of fly, tabanus, the burrel fly, that annoys horses.

WHANG, n. A lether thong. [Not in use.]

WHANG, v.t. To beat. [Not in use or local.]

WHAP, n. A blow. [Vulgar.] [See Awhape.]

WHAPPER, n. Something uncommonly large of the kind. So thumper is connected with thump, to strike with a heavy blow. [Vulgar.]

WHARF, n. A perpendicular bank or mound or timber or stone and earth, raised on the shore of a harbor, or extending some distance into the water, for the convenience of lading and unlading ships and other vessels. This name is also given to the wider part of a canal, where boats lie while loading and unloading. The two longest wharfs in New England are at Boston and at New Haven. The latter is much the longest, extending into the harbor about three quarter of a mile.

WHARF, v.t. To guard or secure by a wharf or firm wall of timber or stone; as, the western bank of the Connecticut is wharfed at Hartford, to prevent the river from wearing away the land.

WHARFAGE, n. The fee or duty paid for the privilege of using a wharf for loading or unloading goods, timber, wood, etc.

WHARFING, n. Wharfs in general.

WHARFINGER, n. A man who has the care of a wharf, or the proprietor of a wharf.

WHAT, pronoun relative or substitute. [G., L. See Wight.]

1. That which. Say what you will, is the same as say that which you will.

2. Which part. Consider what is due to nature, and what to art or labor.

3. What is the substitute for a sentence or clause of a sentence. I tell thee what, corporal, I could tear her. Here what relates to the last clause, I could tear her; this is what I tell you.

4. What is used as an adjective, of both genders, often in specifying sorts or particulars. See what colors this silk exhibits. I know what qualities you desire in a friend; that is, I know the qualities which you desire.

5. What is much used in asking questions. What sort of character is this? What poem is this? What man is this we see coming?

6. What time, at the time or on the day when.

What time the morn mysterious visions brings.

7. To how great a degree.

What a partial judges are our love and hate!

8. Whatever.

Whether it was the shortness of his foresight, the strength of his will--or what it was--

9. Some part, or some. The year before, he had so used the matter, that what by force, what by policy, he had taken from the Christians above thirty castles; that is, he had taken above thirty castles; that is, he had taken above thirty castles, a part or some by force, a part or some by policy; or what may be interpreted partly. Sometimes what has no verb to govern it, and it must be considered as adverbially used. What with carrying apples and fuel, he finds himself in a hurry; that is, partly, in part.

10. What is sometimes used elliptically for what is this, or how is this?

What! Could ye not watch with me one hour? Matthew 26:40.

11. What is used interrogatively and elliptically, as equivalent to what will be the consequence? What will follow? As in the phrase, what if I undertake this business myself?

What though, that is, grant this or that; allow it to be so.

What ho, an exclamation of calling.

WHAT, n. Fare; things; matter. [Not in use.]

WHATEVER, pron. [what and ever.]

1. Being this or that; being of one nature or another; being one thing or another; any thing that may be. Whatever is read, let it be read with attention. Whatever measure may be adopted, let it be with due caution. Whatever you do, let it be done with prudence.

2. All that; the whole that; all particulars that.

At once came forth whatever creeps.

WHATSOEVER, a compound of what, so, and ever, has the sense of whatever, and is less used than the latter. Indeed it is nearly obsolete. Whatso, in a like sense, is entirely obsolete.

WHEAL, n. A pustule. [See Weal.]

WHEAT, n. [G.] A plant of the genus Triticum, and the seed of the plant, which furnishes a white flour for bread, and next to rice, is the grain most generally used by the human race. Of this grain the varieties are numerous, as red wheat, white wheat, bald wheat, bearded wheat, winter wheat, summer wheat, etc.

WHEAT-BIRD, n. A bird that feeds on wheat.

WHEAT-EAR, n. The English name of the Motacilla aenanthe; called also white-tail and fallow-finch.

WHEATEN, a. Hweetn. Made of wheat; as wheaten bread.

WHEAT-PLUM, n. A sort of plum.

WHEEDLE, v.t. [Gr.] To flatter; to entice by soft words.

To learn th unlucky art of wheeling fools.

WHEEDLE, v.i. To flatter; to coax.

WHEEDLED, pp. Flattered; enticed; coaxed.

WHEEDLING, ppr. Flattering; enticing by soft words.

WHEEDLING, n. The act of flattering or enticing.


1. A circular frame of wood, iron or other metal, consisting of a nave or hub, into which are inserted spokes which sustain a rim or felly; the whole turning on an axis. The name is also given to a solid circular or round piece of wood or metal, which revolves on an axis. The wheel and axle constitute one of the mechanical powers.

2. A circular body.

3. A carriage that moves on wheels.

4. An instrument for torturing criminals; as an examination made by the rack and the wheel.

5. A machine for spinning thread, of various kinds.

6. Rotation; revolution; turn; as the vicissitude and wheel of things.

7. A turning about; a compass.

He throws his flight in many an airy wheel.

8. In pottery, a round board turned by a lathe in a horizontal position, on which the clay is shaped by the hand.

WHEEL-ANIMAL, n. A genus of animalcules, with arms for taking their prey, resembling wheels.

WHEEL-BARROW, n. [wheel and barrow.] A barrow moved on a single wheel.

WHEEL-BOAT, n. [wheel and boat.] A boat with wheels, to be used either on water or upon inclined planes or rail-ways.

WHEEL-CARRIAGE, n. [wheel and carriage.] A carriage moved on wheels.

WHEELER, n. A maker of wheels.

WHEEL-FIRE, n. [wheel and fire.] In chemistry, a fire which encompasses the crucible without touching it.

WHEEL-SHAPED, a. [wheel and shape.] In botany, rotate; monopetalous, expanding into a flat border at top, with scarcely any tube; as a wheel-shaped corol.

WHEEL-WRIGHT, n. [wheel and wright.] A man whose occupation is to make wheels and wheel-carriages, as carts and wagons.

WHEEL, v.t.

1. To convey on wheels; as, to wheel a load of hay or wood.

2. To put into a rotary motion; to cause to turn round.

WHEEL, v.i.

1. To turn on an axis.

2. To turn; to move round; as, a body of troops wheel to the right or left.

3. To fetch a compass.

Then wheeling down the steep of heavn he flies.

4. To roll forward.

Must wheel on th earth, devouring where it rolls.

WHEELED, pp. Conveyed on wheels; turned; rolled round.

WHEELING, ppr. Conveying on wheels or in a wheel-carriage; turning.


1. The act of conveying on wheels.

2. The act of passing on wheels, or convenience for passing on wheels. We say, it is good wheeling, or bad wheeling, according to the state of the roads.

3. A turning or circular movement of troops embodied.

WHEELY, a. Circular; suitable to rotation.

WHEEZE, v.i. [L.] To breathe hard and with an audible sound, as persons affected with asthma.

WHEEZING, ppr. Breathing with difficulty and noise.


1. A wrinkle; inequality on the surface; protuberance; a pustule. [See Welk and Weal.]

2. A shell of the genus Bussinum, or trumpetshell, univalvular, spiral and gibbous, with an oval aperture ending in a short canal or gutter.

WHELKY, a. Protuberant; embossed; rounded.

WHELM, v.t.

1. To cover with water or other fluid; to cover by immersion in something that envelops on all sides; as, to whelm a person or a company in the seas; to whelm a caravan in sand or dust.

2. To cover completely; to immerse deeply; to overburden; as, to whelm one in sorrows.

3. To throw over so as to cover. [Not used.]

WHELMED, pp. Covered, as by being plunged or immersed.

WHELMING, ppr. Covering, as by immersion.

WHELP, n. [L.]

1. The young of the canine species, and of several other beasts of prey; a puppy; a cub; as a bear robbed of her whelps; lions whelps.

2. A son; in contempt.

3. A young man; in contempt.

WHELP, v.i. To bring forth young, as the female of the canine species and some other beasts of prey.

WHEN, adv. [G., L.]

1. At the time. We were present when General LaFayette embarked at Havre for New York.

2. At what time, interrogatively.

When shall these things be? Matthew 24:3.

3. Which time.

I was adopted heir by his consent; since when, his oath is broke.

4. After the time that. When the act is passed, the public will be satisfied.

5. At what time.

Kings may take their advantage, when and how they list.

When as, at the time when; what time.

When as sacred light began to dawn.

WHENCE, adv.

1. From what place.

Whence and what art thou?

2. From what source. Whence shall we derive hope? Whence comes this honor?

Whence hath this man this wisdom? Matthew 13:54.

3. From which premises, principles or facts. These facts or principles are admitted, whence it follows, that judgment must be entered for the plaintiff.

4. How; by what way or means. Mark 12:37.

5. In general, from which person, cause, place, principle or circumstance.

From whence may be considered as tautological, from being implied in whence; but the use is well authorized, and in some cases the use of it seems to give force or beauty to the phrase. We ascended the mountain, from whence we took a view of the beautiful plains below.

Of whence is not now used.

WHENCESOEVER, adv. [whence, so, and ever.] From what place soever; from what cause or source soever.

Any idea, whencesoever we have it--

WHENCEVER. [See Whensoever.]

WHENEVER, adv. [when and ever.] At whatever time. Whenever you come, you will be kindly received.

WHENSOEVER, adv. [when, so, and ever.] At what time soever; at whatever time.

WHERE, adv.

1. At which place or places.

She visited the place where first she was so happy--

In all places where I record my name, I will come to thee and I will bless thee. Exodus 20:24.

2. At or in what place.

Adam, where art thou? Genesis 3:9.

3. At the place in which.

Where I though the remnant of my age should have been cherishd by her child-like duty.

4. Whither; to what place, or from what place. Where are you going? Where are you from? [These uses of where are common, and the first cannot be condemned as vulgar.]

Any where, in any place. I sought the man, but could not find him any where.

[Note. Where seems to have been originally a noun, and was so used by Spenser. He shall find no where safe to him. In this sense, it is obsolete; yet it implies place, its original signification.]

WHEREABOUT, adv. [where and about.]

1. Near what place. Whereabout did you meet your friend?

2. Near which place.

3. Concerning which.

The object whereabout they are conversant.

WHEREAS, adv. s as z. [where and as.]

1. When in fact or truth, implying opposition to something that precedes.

Are not those found to be the greatest zealots, who are most notoriously ignorant? Whereas true zeal should always begin with true knowledge.

2. The thing being so that; considering that things are so; implying an admission of facts, sometimes followed by a different statement, and sometimes by inferences or something consequent, as in the law style, where a preamble introduces a law.

Whereas wars are generally causes of poverty--

3. Whereat; at which place.

4. But on the contrary. [See No. 1.]

WHEREAT, adv. [where and at.]

1. At which.

Whereat he was no less angry and ashamed, than desirous to obey Zelmane.

2. At what, interrogatively. Whereat are you offended?

WHEREBY, adv. [where and by.]

1. By which.

You take my life, when you do take the means whereby I live.

2. By what, interrogatively.

Whereby shall I know this? Luke 1:18.

WHEREFORE, adv. [where and for.]

1. For which reason.

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Matthew 7:20.

2. Why; for what reason.

Wherefore didst thou doubt? Matthew 14:31.

WHEREIN, adv. [where and in.]

1. In which; in which thing, time, respect, book, etc. This is the thing wherein you have erred.

2. In what.

Yet ye say, wherein have we wearied him? Malachi 2:17.

WHEREINTO, adv. [where and into.] Into which.

WHERENESS, n. Ubiety; imperfect locality.

A point hath no dimensions, but only a whereness, and is next to nothing.

[This word is not used, nor has it any intelligible signification.]

WHEREOF, adv. [where and of.]

1. Of which. We are not guilty of the crime whereof we are accused.

2. Of what. Whereof was this house built?

How this world, when and whereof created--

WHEREON, adv. [where and on.]

1. On which; as the ground whereon we tread.

2. On what. Whereon do we stand?

WHERESO, adv. [See Wheresoever.]

WHERESOEVER, adv. [where, so, and ever.] In what place soever; in whatever place, or in any place indefinitely. Seize the thief, wheresoever he may be found. [Wherever is the preferable word.]

WHERETHROUGH, through which, is not in use.

WHERETO, adv. [where and to.]

1. To which.

Whereto we have already attained-- Philippians 3:16.

2. To what; to what end. [Little used.]

WHEREUNTO, adv. [where and unto.] The same as whereto. [Little used.]

WHEREUPON, adv. Upon which.

The townsmen mutinied and sent to Essex, whereupon he came thither.

WHEREEVER, adv. [where and ever.] At whatever place.

He cannot but love virtue, wherever it is.

WHEREWITH, adv. [where an with.]

1. With which.

The love wherewith thou hast loved me. John 17:26.

2. With what, interrogatively.

Wherewith shall I save Israel? Judges 6:15.