Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary




O is the fifteenth letter, and the fourth vowel in the English Alphabet. The shape of this letter seems to have been taken from the circular configuration of the lips in uttering the sound. It corresponds in figure with the Coptic O, and nearly with the Syriac initial and final vau, and the Ethiopic ain. In words derived from the oriental languages, it often represents the vau of those languages, and sometimes the ain; the original sound of the latter being formed deep in the throat, and with a greater aperture of the mouth.

In English, O has a long sound, as in tone, hone, groan, cloke, roll, droll; a short sound, as in lot plod, rod, song, lodge. The sound of oo is shortened in words ending in a close articulation, as in book and foot.

The long sound of O, is usually denoted by e, at the end of a word or syllable, as in bone, lonely; or by a servile a, as in moan, foal. It is generally long before ll, as in roll; but it is short in doll, loll, and in words of more syllables than one, as in folly, volley.

As a numeral, O was sometimes used by the ancients for 11, and with a dash over it for 11,000.

Among the ancients, O was a mark of tripe time, from the notion that the ternary or number 3, is the most perfect of numbers, and properly expressed by a circle, the most perfect figure.

O is often used as an exclamation, expressing a wish.

O, were he present.

It sometimes expresses surprise. Shakespeare uses O for a circle or oval.

Within this wooden O.

O.S. stands for Old Style.

OAF, n. [said to be a corruption of ouph or elf, a fairy or demon, and to denote a foolish child left by fairies in the place of one of better intellects which they steal.]

1. A changeling; a foolish child left by fairies in the place of another.

2. A dolt; an idiot; a blockhead.

OAFISH, a. Stupid; dull; doltish. [Little used.]

OAFISHNESS, n. Stupidity; dullness; folly. [Little used.]

OAK, n. [It is probably that the first syllable, oak, was originally an adjective expressing some quality, as hard or strong, and by the disuse of tree, oak became the name of the tree.]

A tree of the genus Quercus, or rather the popular name of the genus itself, of which there are several species. The white oak grows to a great size, and furnishes a most valuable timber; but the live oak of the United States is the most durable timber for ships. In Hartford still stands the venerable oak, in the hollow stem of which was concealed and preserved the colonial charter of Connecticut, when Sir E. Andros, by authority of a writ of quo warranto from the British crown, attempted to obtain possession of it, in 1687. As it was then a large tree, it must now be nearly three hundred years old.

OAK-APPLE, n. A kind of spungy excrescence on oak leaves or tender branches, etc. produced in consequence of the puncture of an insect. It is called also oak leaf gall, or gall-nut.

OAKEN, a. o’kn.

1. Made of oak or consisting of oak; as an oaken plank or bench; an oaken bower.

2. Composed of branches of oak; as an oaken garland.

OAKENPIN, n. An apple; so called from its hardness.

OAKLING, n. A young oak.


The substance of old ropes untwisted and pulled into loose hemp; used for caulking the seams of ships, stopping leaks, etc. That formed from untarred ropes is called white oakum.

OAKY, a. [from oak.] Hard; firm; strong.

OAR, n. An instrument for rowing boats, being a piece of timber round or square at one end, and flat at the other. The round end is the handle, and the flat end the blade.

To boat the oars, in seamanship, to cease rowing and lay the oars in the boat.

To ship the oars, to place them in the row-locks.

OAR, v.i. To row.
OAR, v.t. To impel by rowing.

OARY, a. Having the form or use of an oar; as the swan’s oary feet.

OAST, OST, OUST, n. [L. ustus.] A kiln to dry hops or malt.

OAT, n.

A plant of the genus Avena, and more usually, the seed of the plant. The word is commonly used in the plural, oats. This plant flourishes best in cold latitudes, and degenerates in the warm. The meal of this grain, oatmeal, forms a considerable and very valuable article of food for man in Scotland, and every where oats are excellent food for horses and cattle.

OATCAKE, n. A cake made of the meal of oats.

OATEN, a. o’tn.

1. Made of oatmeal; as oaten cakes.

2. Consisting of an oat straw or stem; as an oaten pipe.

OATH, n.

A solemn affirmation or declaration, made with an appeal to God for the truth of what is affirmed. The appeal to God in an oath, implies that the person imprecates his vengeance and renounces his favor if the declaration is false, or if the declaration is a promise, the person invokes the vengeance of God if he should fail to fulfill it. A false oath is called perjury.

OATHABLE, a. Capable of having an oath administered to. [Not used.]

OATHBREAKING, n. The violation of an oath; perjury.

OATMALT, n. Malt made of oats.


1. Meal of oats produced by grinding or pounding.

2. A plant. [Not used.]

OAT-THISTLE, n. A plant. [Not used.]

OB, a Latin preposition, signifies primarily, in front, before, and hence against, towards; as in objicio, to object, that is, to throw against. It has also the force of in or on; as in obtrude. In composition, the letter b is often changed into the first letter of the word to which it is prefixed; as in occasion, offer, oppose.

OBAMBULATE, v.i. [L. obambulo.] To walk about. [Not used.]

OBAMBULATION, n. A walking about. [Not used.]

OBBLIGATO, an. A term in music, signifying on purpose for the instrument named.

OBCORDATE, a. [L. from ob and cor, the heart.]

In botany, shaped like a heart, with the apex downward; as an obcordate petal or legume.

OBDORMITION, n. [L. obdormio, to sleep.] Sleep; sound sleep. [Little used.]

OBDUCE, v.t. [L. obduco; ob and duco, to lead.] To draw over, as a covering. [Little used.]

OBDUCT, v.t. [L. obduco.] To draw over; to cover. [Not in use.]

OBDUCTION, n. [L. obductio.] The act of drawing over, as a covering; the act of laying over. [Little used.]

OBDURACY, n. [See Obdurate.] Invincible hardness of heart; impenitence that cannot be subdued; inflexible persistency in sin; obstinacy in wickedness.

God may by almighty grace hinder the absolute completion of sin in final obduracy.

OBDURATE, a. [L. obduro, to harden; ob and duro.]

1. Hardened in heart; inflexibly hard; persisting obstinately in sin or impenitence.

2. Hardened against good or favor; stubborn; unyielding; inflexible.

The custom of evil makes the heart obdurate against whatsoever instructions to the contrary.

3. Harsh; rugged; as an obdurate consonant. [Little used.]

OBDURATE, v.t. To harden. [Not used.]

OBDURATELY, adv. Stubbornly; inflexibly; with obstinate impenitence.

OBDURATENESS, n. Stubbornness; inflexible persistence in sin.

OBDURATION, n. The hardening of the heart; hardness of heart; stubbornness.

OBDURE, v.t. [L. obduro.]

1. To harden; to render obstinate in sin. [Little used.]

2. To render inflexible. [Little used.]

OBDURED, pp. or a. Hardened; inflexible; impenitent.

OBDUREDNESS, n. Hardness of heart; stubbornness. [Little used.]

OBEDIENCE, n. [L. obedientia. See Obey.]

Compliance with a command, prohibition or known law and rule of duty prescribed; the performance of what is required or enjoined by authority, or the abstaining from what is prohibited, in compliance with the command or prohibition. To constitute obedience, the act or forbearance to act must be in submission to authority; the command must be known to the person, and his compliance must be in consequence of it, or it is not obedience. Obedience is not synonymous with obsequiousness; the latter often implying meanness or servility, and obedience being merely a proper submission to authority. That which duty requires implies dignity of conduct rather than servility. Obedience may be voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary obedience alone can be acceptable to God.

Government must compel the obedience of individuals; otherwise who will seek its protection or fear its vengeance?

OBEDIENT, a. [L. obediens.] Submissive to authority; yielding compliance with commands, orders or injunctions; performing what is required, or abstaining from what is forbid.

The chief his orders gives; the obedient band, with due observance, wait the chief’s command.

OBEDIENTIAL, a. According to the rule of obedience; in compliance with commands; as obediential submission.

OBEDIENTLY, adv. With obedience; with due submission to commands; with submission or compliance with orders.

OBEISANCE, n. [L. obedio.]

A bow or courtesy; an act of reverence made by an inclination of the body or the knee. Genesis 37:7, 9.

OBELISCAL, a. In the form of an obelisk.

OBELISK, n. [L. obeliscus; Gr. a spit.]

1. A truncated, quadrangular and slender pyramid intended as an ornament, and often charged with inscriptions or hieroglyphics. Some ancient obelisks appear to have been erected in honor of distinguished persons or their achievements. Ptolemy Philadelphus raised one of 88 cubits high in honor of Arsinee. Augustus erected one in the Campus Martius at Rome, which served to mark the hours on a horizontal dial drawn on the pavement.

2. In writing and printing; a reference or mark referring the reader to a note in the margin. It is used also for a mark of censure, or for designating obsolete words, or for other purposes at the pleasure of the writer.

OBEQUITATE, v.i. [L. obequito; ob and equito, to ride; equus, a horse.] To ride about. [Not used.]

OBEQUITATION, n. The act of riding about. [Not used.]

OBERRATION, n. [L. oberro; ob and erro, to wander.] The act of wandering about. [Little used.]

OBESE, a. [L. obesus.] Fat; fleshy. [Little used.]

OBESENESS, OBESITY, n. [L. obesitas.] Fatness; fleshiness; incumbrance of flesh.

OBEY, v.t. [L. obedio; Gr.]

1. To comply with the commands, orders or instructions of a superior, or with the requirements of law, moral, political or municipal; to do that which is commanded or required, or to forbear doing that which is prohibited.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord. Ephesians 6:1.

Servants, obey in all things your masters. Colossians 3:22.

He who has learned to obey, will know how to command.

2. To submit to the government of; to be ruled by.

All Israel obeyed Solomon. 1 Chronicles 29:23; Daniel 7:27.

3. To submit to the direction or control of. Seamen say, the ship will not obey the helm.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Romans 6:12; James 3:3.

4. To yield to the impulse, power or operation of; as, to obey stimulus.

Relentless time, destroying power, whom stone and brass obey.

OBEYED, pp. Complied with; performed; as a command; yielded to.

OBEYER, n. One who yields obedience.

OBEYING, ppr. Complying with commands; submitting to.

OBFIRM, obferm’,

OBFIRMATE, v.t. obferm’ate. To make firm; to harden in resolution. [Not used.]

OBFUSCATE, v.t. [L. ob and fusco, to obscure.] To darken; to obscure.

OBFUSCATED, pp. Darkened in color.

OBFUSCATION, n. The act of darkening or rendering obscure; a clouding.

Obfuscations of the cornea.

OBIT, n. [L. obiit, obivit; ob and eo, to go.] Properly, death; decease; hence, funeral solemnities or anniversary service for the soul of the deceased on the day of his death.

OBITUAL, a. [L. obeo, to die; obitus, death.] Pertaining to obits, or the days when funeral solemnities are celebrated; as obitual days.


1. A list of the dead, or a register of obitual anniversary days, when service is performed for the dead.

2. An account of persons deceased; notice of the death of a person, often accompanied with a brief biographical sketch of his character.

OBITUARY, a. Relating to the decease of a person or persons; as an obituary notice.

OBJECT, n. [L. objectum, objectus. See the Verb.]

1. That about which any power or faculty is employed, or something apprehended or presented to the mind by sensation or imagination. Thus that quality of a rose which is perceived by the sense of smell, is an object of perception. When the object is not in contact with the organ of sense, there must be some medium through which we obtain the perception of it. The impression which objects make on the senses, must be by the immediate application of them to the organs of sense, or by means of the medium that intervenes between the organs and the objects.

2. That to which the mind is directed for accomplishment or attainment; end; ultimate purpose. Happiness is the object of every man’s desires; we all strive to attain that object. Wealth and honor are pursued with eagerness as desirable objects.

3. Something presented to the senses or the mind, to excite emotion, affection or passion.

This passenger felt some degree of concern at the sight of so moving an object.

In this sense, the word uttered with a particular emphasis, signifies something that may strongly move our pity, abhorrence or disgust. What an object!

4. In grammar, that which is produced, influenced or acted on by something else; that which follows a transitive verb. When we say, “God created the world,” world denotes the thing produced, and is the object after the verb created. When we say, “the light affects the eye,” eye denotes that which is affected or acted on. When we say, “instruction directs the mind or opinions,” mind and opinions,” mind and opinions are the objects influenced.

OBJECT-GLASS, n. In a telescope or microscope, the glass placed at the end of a tube next the object.

OBJECT, v.t. [L. objicio, ob and jacio, to throw against.]

1. To oppose; to present in opposition.

Pallas to their eyes the mist objected, and condens’d the skies.

2. To present or offer in opposition, as a charge criminal, or as a reason adverse to something supposed to be erroneous or wrong; with to or against.

The book - giveth liberty to object any crime against such as are to be ordered.

The adversaries of religion object against professors the irregularity of their lives, and too often with justice.

There was this single fault that Erasmus, though an enemy, could object to him.

3. To offer; to exhibit. [Little used.]

OBJECT, v.i. To oppose in words or arguments; to offer reasons against. The council objected to the admission of the plaintiff’s witnesses.
OBJECT, a. Opposed; presented in opposition. [Not used.]

OBJECTABLE, a. That may be opposed.

OBJECTION, n. [L. objectio.]

1. The act of objecting.

2. That which is presented in opposition; adverse reason or argument. The defendant urged several objections to the plaintiff’s claims. The plaintiff has removed or overthrown those objections.

3. That which may be offered in opposition; reason existing, though not offered, against a measure or an opinion. We often have objections in our minds which we never offer or present in opposition.

4. Criminal charge; fault found.

OBJECTIONABLE, a. Justly liable to objections; such as may be objected against.


1. Belonging to the object; contained in the object.

Objective certainty, is when the proposition is certainly true in itself; and subjective, when we are certain of the truth of it. The one is in things, the other in our minds.

2. In grammar, the objective case is that which follows a transitive verb or a preposition; that case in which the object of the verb is placed, when produced or affected by the act expressed by the verb. This case in English answers to the oblique cases of the Latin.


1. In the manner of an object; as a determinate idea objectively in the mind.

2. In the state of an object.

OBJECTIVENESS, n. The state of being an object.

Is there such a motion or objectiveness of external bodies, which produceth light?

OBJECTOR, n. One that objects; one that offers arguments or reasons in opposition to a proposition or measure.

OBJURGATE, v.t. [L. objurgo; ob and jurgo, to chide.] To chide; to reprove. [Not used.]

OBJURGATION, n. [L. objurgatio.] The act of chiding by way of censure; reproof; reprehension. [Little used.]

OBJURGATORY, a. Containing censure or reproof; culpatory. [Little used.]

OBLADA, n. A fish of the sparus kind, variegated with longitudinal lines, and having a large black spot on each side near the tail.

OBLATE, a. [L. oblatur, offero; ob and fero, to bear.]

Flattened or depressed at the poles; as an oblate spheroid, which is the figure of the earth.

OBLATENESS, n. The quality or state of being oblate.

OBLATION, n. [L. oblatio, from offero; ob and fero, to bear or bring.]

Any thing offered or presented in worship or sacred service; an offering; a sacrifice.

Bring no more vain oblations. Isaiah 1:13.

OBLECTATE, v.t. [L. oblecto.] To delight; to please highly. [Not used.]

OBLECTATION, n. The act of pleasing highly; delight.

OBLIGATE, v.t. [L. obligo; ob and ligo, to bind.]

To bind, as one’s self, in a moral and legal sense; to impose on, as a duty which the law or good faith may enforce. A man may obligate himself to pay money, or erect a house, either by bond, by covenant or by a verbal promise. A man obligates himself only by a positive act of his own. We never say, a man obligates his heirs or executors. Until recently, the sense of this word has been restricted to positive and personal acts; and when moral duty or law binds a person to do something, the word oblige has been used. But this distinction is not now observed.

The millions of mankind, as one vast fraternity, should feel obligated by a sense of duty and the impulse of affection, to realize the equal rights and to subserve the best interests of each other.

That’s your true plan, to obligate the present minister of state.

OBLIGATED, pp. Bound by contract or promise.

OBLIGATING, ppr. Bound by covenant, contract, promise or bond.

OBLIGATION, n. [L. obligatio.]

1. The binding power of a vow, promise, oath or contract, or of law, civil, political or moral, independent of a promise; that which constitutes legal or moral duty, and which renders a person liable to coercion and punishment for neglecting it. The laws and commands of God impose on us an obligation to love him supremely, and our neighbor as ourselves. Every citizen is under an obligation to obey the laws of the state. Moral obligation binds men without promise or contract.

2. The binding force of civility, kindness or gratitude, when the performance of a duty cannot be enforced by law. Favors conferred impose on men an obligation to make suitable returns.

3. Any act by which a person becomes bound to do something to or for another, or to forbear something.

4. In law, a bond with a condition annexed and a penalty for non-fulfillment.

OBLIGATO. [See Obbligato.]

OBLIGATORY, a. Binding in law or conscience; imposing duty; requiring performance or forbearance of some act; followed by on; to is obsolete.

As long as law is obligatory, so long our obedience is due.

OBLIGE, v.t. pronounced as written, not oblege. [L. obligo; ob and ligo, to bind.]

1. To constrain by necessity; to compel by physical force. an admiral may be obliged to surrender his ships, or he may be obliged by adverse winds to delay sailing.

2. To constrain by legal force; to bind in law. We are obliged to pay toll for supporting roads and bridges.

3. To bind or constrain by moral force. We are obliged to believe positive and unsuspected testimony.

4. To bind in conscience or honor; to constrain by a sense of propriety. We are often obliged to conform to established customs, rites or ceremonies. To be obliged to yield to fashion is often the worst species of tyranny.

5. To do a favor to; to lay under obligation of gratitude; as, to oblige one with a loan of money.

6. To do a favor to; to please; to gratify. Oblige us with your company at dinner.

7. To indebt.

To those hills we are obliged for all our metals.

OBLIGED, pp. Bound in duty or in law; compelled; constrained; favored; indebted.

OBLIGEE, n. The person to whom another is bound, or the person to whom a bond is given.

OBLIGEMENT, n. Obligation. [Little used.]

OBLIGER, n. One that obliges.


1. Binding in law or conscience; compelling; constraining.

2. Doing a favor to.

No man can long be the enemy of one whom he is in the habit of obliging.

OBLIGING, a. Having the disposition to do favors, or actually conferring them; as an obliging man; a man of an obliging disposition; hence, civil; complaisant; kind.

Mons. Strozzi has many curiosities, and is very obliging to a stranger that desires the sight of them.

OBLIGINGLY, adv. With civility; kindly; complaisantly.


1. Obligation. [Little used.]

2. Civility; complaisance; disposition to exercise kindness.

OBLIGOR, n. The person who binds himself or gives his bond to another.

OBLIQUATION, n. [L. obliquo, from obliquus, oblique.]

1. Declination from a strait line or course; a turning to one side; as the obliquation of the eyes.

2. Deviation from moral rectitude.

OBLIQUE, OBLIKE, a. obli’ke. [L. obliquus;.]

1. Deviating from a right line; not direct; not perpendicular; not parallel; aslant.

It has a direction oblique to that of the former motion.

An oblique angle is either acute or obtuse; any angle except a right one.

An oblique line is one that, falling on another, makes oblique angles with it.

Oblique planes, in dialing, are those which decline from the zenith, or incline towards the horizon.

Oblique sailing, is when a ship sails upon some rhomb between the four cardinal points, making an oblique angle with the meridian.

2. Indirect; by a side glance; as an oblique hint.

3. In grammar, an oblique case is any case except the nominative.