Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary




L, the twelfth letter of the English alphabet, is usually denominated a semi-vowel, or a liquid. It represents an imperfect articulation, formed by placing the tip of the tongue against the gum that incloses the roots of the upper teeth; but the sides of the tongue not being in close contact with the roof of the mouth, the breath of course not being entirely intercepted, this articulation is attended with an imperfect sound. The shape of the letter is evidently borrowed from that of the oriental lamed, or lomad, nearly coinciding with the Samaritan 2.

L has only one sound in English, as in like, canal. At the end of monosyllables, it is often doubled, as in fall, full, tell, bell; but not after diphthongs and digraphs; foul, fool, prowl, growel, foal, etc. being written with a single l.

With some nations, l and r are commutable; as in Greek, L. lilium.

In some words, l is mute, as in half, calf, walk, talk, chalk.

In English words, the terminating syllable le is unaccented, the e is silent, and l has a feeble sound; as in able, eagle, pronounced abl, eagl.

As a number L denotes 50, and with a dash above the L, 50,000. As an abbreviation, in Latin, it stands for Lucius; and L.L.S. for a sesterce, or two librae and a half.

LA, exclam. [perhaps corrupted from look, but this is doubtful.] Look; see; behold.

LA, in music, the syllable by which Guido denotes the last sound of each hexachord.

LAB, n. a great talker; a blabber. Obs.

LABADIST, n. the Labadists were followers of Jean de Labadie, who lived in the 17th century. They held that God can and does deceive men, that the observance of the sabbath is a matter of indifference, and other peculiar or heretical opinions.

LABDANUM. [See Ladanum.]

LABEFACTION, n. [L. labefactio, from labefacio, labo, to totter, and facio, to make.]

A weakening or loosening; a failing; decay; downfall; ruin.

LABEFY, v.t. To weaken or impair. [Not used.]


1. A narrow slip of silk, paper or parchment, containing a name or title, and affixed to any thing, denoting its contents. Such are the labels affixed to the vessels of an apothecary. Labels also are affixed to deeds or writings to hold the appended seal.

2. Any paper annexed to a will by way of addition; as a codicil.

3. In heraldry, a fillet usually placed in the middle, along the chief of the coat, without touching its extremities. It is adorned with pendants, and used on the arms of the eldest son, to distinguish him from the younger sons, while the father is living.

4. A long thin brass rule, with a small sight at one end, and a center-hole at the other, commonly used with a tangent line on the edge of a circumferentor, to take altitudes, etc.

LABEL, v.t. To affix a label to.

LABELED, pp. Furnished with a label.

LABELING, ppr. Distinguishing by a label.

LABENT, a. [L. labens.] Sliding; gliding.

LABIAL, a. [L. labium, a lip. See Lip.]

Pertaining to the lips; formed by the lips; as a labial articulation. Thus b, p, and m are labial articulations.

LABIAL, n. A letter or character representing an articulation of the lips; as b, f, m, p, v.

LABIATE, LABIATED, a. [from L. labium, lip.] In botany, a labiate corol is irregular, monopetalous, with two lips, or monopetalous, consisting of a narrow tube with a wide mouth, divided into two or more segments arranged in two opposite divisions or lips. a labiate flower has a labiate corol.

LABILE, a. [Low L. labilis.] Liable to err, fall or apostatize. [Not used.]

LABIODENTAL, a. [labium, a lip, and dens, a tooth.]

Formed or pronounced by the cooperation of the lips and teeth; as f and v.

LABOR, n. [L. labor, from labo, to fail.]

1. Exertion of muscular strength, or bodily exertion which occasions weariness; particularly, the exertion of the limbs in occupations by which subsistence is obtained, as in agriculture and manufactures, in distinction from exertions of strength in play or amusements, which are denominated exercise, rather than labor. Toilsome work; pains; travail; any bodily exertion which is attended with fatigue. After the labors of the day, the farmer retires, and rest is sweet. Moderate labor contributes to health.

What is obtained by labor will of right be the property of him by whose labor it is gained.

2. Intellectual exertion; application of the mind which occasions weariness; as the labor of compiling and writing a history.

3. Exertion of mental powers, united with bodily employment; as the labors of the apostles in propagating christianity.

4. Work done, or to be done; that which requires wearisome exertion.

Being a labor of so great difficulty, the exact performance thereof we may rather wish than look for.

5. Heroic achievement; as the labors of Hercules.

6. Travail; the pangs and efforts of childbirth.

7. The evils of life; trials; persecution, etc.

They rest from their labors - Revelation 14:13.

LABOR, v.i. [L. laboro.]

1. To exert muscular strength; to act or move with painful effort, particularly in servile occupations; to work; to toil.

Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work - Exodus 20:9.

2. To exert one’s powers of body or mind, or both, in the prosecution of any design; to strive; to take pains.

Labor not for the meat which perisheth. John 6:27.

3. To toil; to be burdened.

Come unto me all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28.

4. To move with difficulty.

The stone that labors up the hill.

5. To move irregularly with little progress; to pitch and roll heavily; as a ship in a turbulent sea.

6. To be in distress; to be pressed.

- As sounding cymbals aid the laboring moon.

7. To be in travail; to suffer the pangs of childbirth.

8. To journey or march.

Make not all the people to labor thither. Joshua 7:3.

9. To perform the duties of the pastoral office. 1 Timothy 5:17.

10. To perform christian offices.

To labor under, to be afflicted with; to be burdened or distressed with; as, to labor under a disease or an affliction.

LABOR, v.t.

1. To work at; to till; to cultivate.

The most excellent lands are lying fallow, or only labored by children.

2. To prosecute with effort; to urge; as, to labor a point or argument.

3. To form or fabricate with exertion; as, to labor arms for Troy.

4. To beat; to belabor. [The latter word is generally used.]

5. To form with toil and care; as a labored composition.

LABORANT, n. A chimist. [Not used.]


1. A house or place where operations and experiments in chimistry, pharmacy, pyrotechny, etc., are performed.

2. A place where arms are manufactured or repaired, or fire-works prepared; as the laboratory in Springfield, in Massachusetts.

3. A place where work is performed, or any thing is prepared for use. Hence the stomach is called the grand laboratory of the human body; the liver, the laboratory of the bile.

LABORED, pp. Tilled; cultivated; formed with labor.

LABORER, n. One who labors in a toilsome occupation; a man who does work that requires little skill, as distinguished from an artisan.


1. Exerting muscular strength or intellectual power; toiling; moving with pain or with difficulty; cultivating.

2. A laboring man, or laborer, is often used for a man who performs work that requires no apprenticeship or professional skill, in distinction from an artisan; but this restricted sense is not always observed. A hard laboring man, is one accustomed to hard labor.

LABORIOUS, a. [L. laboriosus.]

1. Using exertion; employing labor; diligent in work or service; assiduous; used of persons; as a laborious husbandman or mechanic; a laborious minister or pastor.

2. Requiring labor; toilsome; tiresome; not easy; as laborious duties or services.

3. Requiring labor, exertion, perseverance or sacrifices.

Dost thou love watchings, abstinence or toil, laborious virtues all? Learn these from Cato.

LABORIOUSLY, adv. With labor, toil or difficulty.


1. The quality of being laborious, or attended with toil; toilsomeness; difficulty.

2. Diligence; assiduity.

LABORLESS, a. Not laborious.

LABORSOME, a. Made with great labor and diligence. [Not in use.]

LABURNUM, n. A tree of the genus Cytisus.

LABYRINTH, n. [L. labyrinthus; Gr.]

1. Among the ancients, an edifice or place full of intricacies, or formed with winding passages, which rendered it difficult to find the way from the interior to the entrance. The most remarkable of these edifices mentioned, are the Egyptian and the Cretan labyrinths.

2. A maze; an inexplicable difficulty.

3. Formerly, an ornamental maze or wilderness in gardens.

4. A cavity in the ear.

LABYRINTHIAN, a. Winding; intricate; perplexed.

LAC, n.

Gum-lac, so called, but improperly, not being a gum, but a resin. It is deposited on different species of trees in the East Indies, by an insect called Chermes lacca. Stick lac is the substance in its natural state, encrusting small twigs. When broken off and boiled in water, it loses its red color, and is called seed lac. When melted and reduced to a thin crust, it is call shell lac. United with ivory black or vermilion, it forms black and red sealing wax. A solution with borax, colored by lampblack, constitutes Indian ink. Lac dissolved in alcohol or other menstrua, by different methods of preparation, constitutes various kinds of varnishes and lackers.

LACCIC, a. Pertaining to lac, or produced from it; as laccic acid.

LACE, n. [L. laqueus.]

1. A work composed of threads interwoven into a net, and worked on a pillow with spindles or pins. Fine laces are manufactured in France, Italy and England.

2. A string; a cord.

3. A snare; a gin.

4. A plaited string with which females fasten their clothes.

Doll ne’er was called to cut her lace.

LACE, v.t.

1. To fasten with a string through eyelet holes.

When Jenny’s stays are newly laced -

2. To adorn with lace; as cloth laced with silver.

3. To embellish with variegations or stripes.

Look, love, what envious streaks.

Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east.

4. To beat; to lash; [probably to make stripes on.]

I’ll lace your coat for ye.

LACE-BARK, n. A shrub in the West Indies, the Daphue lagetto, so called from the texture of its inner bark.

LACED, pp. Fastened with lace or a string; also, tricked off with lace.

Laced coffee, coffee with spirits in it.

LACEMAN, n. A man who deals in lace.

LACEWOMAN, n. A woman who makes or sells lace.

LACERABLE, a. [See Lacerate.] That may be torn.

LACERATE, v.t. [L. lacero, to tear.] To tear; to rend; to separate a substance by violence or tearing; as, to lacerate the flesh. It is applied chiefly to the flesh, or figuratively to the heart. But sometimes it is applied to the political or civil divisions in a state.


1. Rent; torn.

2. In botany, having the edge variously cut into irregular segments; as a lacerated leaf.

LACERATION, n. The act of tearing or rending; the breach made by rending.

LACERATIVE, a. Tearing; having the power to tear; as lacerative humors.

LACERTINE, a. [L. lacertus.] Like a lizard.

LACERTUS, n. The girroc, a fish of the gar-fish kind; also, the lizard-fish.

LACHE, LACHES, n. [L. laxus, lax, slow.] In law, neglect; negligence.

LACHRYMABLE, a. Lamentable.

LACHRYMAL, a. [L. lachryma, a tear.]

1. Generating or secreting tears; as the lachrymal gland.

2. Pertaining to tears; conveying tears.

LACHRYMARY, a. Containing tears.

LACHRYMATION, n. The act of shedding tears.

LACHRYMATORY, n. A vessel found in sepulchers of the ancients, in which it has been supposed the tears of a deceased person’s friends were collected and preserved with the ashes and urn. It was a small glass or bottle like a phial.

LACING, ppr. Fastening with a string; adorned or trimmed with lace.

LACINIATE, LACINIATED, a. [L. lacinia, a hem.]

1. Adorned with fringes.

2. In botany, jagged.

LACK, v.t. [L. deliquium, which seems to be connected with linquo, to leave, to faint, and with liquo, to melt, liquid, etc.]

1. To want; to be destitute of; not to have or possess.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask it of God - James 1:5.

2. To blame. [Not in use.]

LACK, v.i.

1. To be in want.

The young lions do lack and suffer hunger. Psalm 34:10.

2. To be wanting.

Perhaps there shall lack five of the fifty righteous. Genesis 18:28.

LACK, n. Want; destitution; need; failure.

He that gathered little, had no lack. Exodus 16:18.

Lack of rupees is one hundred thousand rupees, which at 55 cents each, amount to fifty five thousand dollars, or at 2s. 6d. sterling, to 12,500 pounds.

LACK-A-DAY, exclam. of sorrow or regret; alas.

LACKBRAIN, n. One that wants brains, or is deficient in understanding.

LACKER, LACQUER, n. A kind of varnish. The basis of lackers is a solution of the substance called seed-lack or shell-lack, in spirit of wine or alcohol. Varnishes applied to metals improve their color and preserve them from tarnishing.

Lackers consist of different resins in a state of solution, of which the most common are mastick, sandarach, lack, benzoin, copal, amber, and asphalt. The menstrua are either expressed or essential oils, or spirit of wine.

LACKER, v.t. To varnish; to smear over with lacker, for the purpose of improving color or preserving from tarnishing and decay.

LACKERED, pp. Covered with lacker; varnished.

LACKEY, n. [L. lego, to send.]

An attending servant; a footboy or footman.

LACKEY, v.t. To attend servilely.
LACKEY, v.i. To act as footboy; to pay servile attendance.

Oft have I servants seen on horses ride, the free and noble lackey by their side.

LACKLINEN, a. Wanting shirts. [Little used.]

LACKLUSTER, a. Wanting luster or brightness.

LACONIC, LACONICAL, a. [L. laconicus, from Laconia or Lacomes, the Spartans.]

1. Short; brief; pithy; sententious; expressing much in few words, after the manner of the Spartans; as a laconic phrase.

2. Pertaining to Sparta or Lacedemonia.

LACONICALLY, adv. Briefly; concisely; as a sentiment laconically expressed.

LACONICS, n. A book of Pausanias, which treats of Lacedemonia.

LACONISM, LACONICISM, n. [L. lacomismus.]

1. A concise style.

2. A brief sententious phrase or expression.

LACTAGE, n. The produce of animals yielding milk.

LACTANT, a. [L. lactans, from lacto, to give suck; lac, milk.] Suckling; giving suck. [Little used.]

LACTARY, a. [L. lactarius, from lacto; lac, milk.]

Milky; full of white juice like milk. [Little used.]

LACTARY, n. [L. lactarius.] A dairyhouse.

LACTATE, n. In chimistry, a salt formed by the lactic acid, or acid of milk, with a base.

LACTATION, n. [L. lacto, to give suck.] The act of giving suck; or the time of suckling.


1. Pertaining to milk.

2. Conveying chyle; as a lacteal vessel.

LACTEAL, n. A vessel or slender tube of animal bodies, for conveying chyle from the intestines to the common reservatory.

LACTEOUS, a. [L. lacteus, from lac, milk.]

1. Milky; resembling milk.

2. Lacteal; conveying chyle; as a lacteous vessel.

LACTESCENCE, n. [L. lactescens, lactescp, from lacto; lac, milk.]

1. Tendency to milk; milkiness or milky color.

2. In botany, milkiness; the liquor which flows abundantly from a plant, when wounded; commonly white, but sometimes yellow or red.


1. Producing milk or white juice.

2. Abounding with a thick colored juice.

LACTIC, a. Pertaining to milk, or procured from sour milk or whey; as the lactic acid.

LACTIFEROUS, a. [L. lac, milk, and fero, to bear.]

1. Bearing or conveying milk or white juice; as a lactiferous duct.

2. Producing a thick colored juice; as a plant.

LACUNAR, n. [L.] An arched roof or ceiling.

LACUNOUS, LACUNOSE, a. [L. lacunosus, from lacuna, a ditch or hollow.]

Furrowed or pitted. A lacunose leaf has the disk depressed between the veins.

LAD, n. [Heb. to procreate or bear young.] A young man or boy; a stripling.

LADANUM, n. The resinous juice which exsudes from the leaves of the Cistus ladanifera, a shrub which grows in Arabia, Candia, and other parts of the Archipelago. It is collected with a kind of rake, with leather thongs attached to it, with which the shrubs are brushed. The best sort is in dark-colored black masses, of the consistence of a soft plaster. The other sort is in long rolls coiled up, harder than the former, and of a paler color. It is chiefly used in external applications.


1. A frame of wood, consisting of two side pieces, connected by rounds inserted in them at suitable distances, and thus forming steps, by which persons may ascend a building, etc.

2. That by which a person ascends or rises; means of ascending; as a ladder made of cords.

Lowliness is young ambition’s ladder.

3. Gradual rise; elevation.

Mounting fast towards the top of the ladder ecclesiastical.

LADE, v.t. pret. laded; pp. laded, laden.

1. To load; to put on or in, as a burden or freight. We lade a ship with cotton. We lade a horse or other beast with corn.

And they laded their asses with the corn and departed thence. Genesis 42:26.

2. To dip; to throw in or out, as a fluid, with a ladle or dipper; as, to lade water out of a tub or into a cistern.

3. To draw water. [Not in use.]

LADE, n. The mouth of a river. Obs.


1. Loaded; charged with a burden or freight.

2. a. Oppressed; burdened.

LADING, ppr. Loading; charging with a burden or freight; throwing or dipping out.

LADING, n. That which constitutes a load or cargo; freight; burden; as the lading of a ship. Acts 27:10.

LADKIN, n. A little lad; a youth. [Little used.]


1. A utensil somewhat like a dish, with a long handle, used for throwing or dipping out liquor from a vessel.

2. The receptacle of a mill wheel, which receives the water which moves it.

3. In gunnery, an instrument for drawing the charge of a cannon.

LADLE-FUL, n. The quantity contained in a ladle.

LADY, n.

1. A woman of distinction. Originally, the title of lady was given to the daughters of earls and others in high rank, but by custom, the title belongs to any woman of genteel education.

2. A word of complaisance; used of women.

3. Mistress; the female who presides or has authority over a manor or a family.

LADY-BIRD, LADY-BUG, LADY-COW, LADY-FLY, n. A small red vaginopennous or sheath-winged insect.

A coleopterous insect of the genus Coccinella.

LADY’S BED-STRAW, n. A plant of the genus Galium.

LADY’S BOWER, n. A plant of the genus Clematis.

LADY’S COMB, n. A plant of the genus Scandix.

LADY’S CUSHION, n. A plant of the genus Saxifraga.

LADY’S FINGER, n. A plant of the genus Anthyllis.

LADY’S MANTLE, n. A plant of the genus Alchemilla.

LADY’S SEAL, n. A plant of the genus Tamus.

LADY’S SLIPPER, n. A plant of the genus Cypripedium.

LADY’S SMOCK, n. A plant of the genus Cardamine.

LADY’S TRACES, n. A plant of the genus Ophrys.

LADY-DAY, n. The day of the annunciation of the holy virgin, March 25th.


1. Like a lady in manners; genteel; well bred.

2. Soft; tender; delicate.

LADYSHIP, n. The title of a lady.

LAG, a. [This word belongs to the root of slack, slow, sluggish, languish, long; Gr. See the Verb.]

1. Coming after or behind; slow; sluggish; tardy.

2. Last; long delayed; as the lag end.

[This adjective is not now in use.]

LAG, n.

1. The lowest class; the rump; the fag end.

2. He that comes behind. [Not in use.]

LAG, v.i. [Eng. to flag, and flacceo, langueo, to languish, etc. The sense is to extend or draw out, or to become lax or loose.]

To walk or move slowly; to loiter; to stay behind.

I shall not lag behind.

LAGGARD, n. Slow; sluggish; backward. [Not used.]