Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913, 100,000 entries)
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( named ā in the English, and most commonly ä in other languages
). The first letter of the English and of many other alphabets. The capital A of the alphabets of Middle and Western Europe, as also the small letter (a), besides the forms in Italic, black letter, etc., are all descended from the old Latin A, which was borrowed from the Greek Alpha , of the same form; and this was made from the first letter of the Phœnician alphabet, the equivalent of the Hebrew Aleph , and itself from the Egyptian origin. The Aleph was a consonant letter, with a guttural breath sound that was not an element of Greek articulation; and the Greeks took it to represent their vowel Alpha with the ä sound, the Phœnician alphabet having no vowel symbols.
This letter, in English, is used for several different vowel sounds. See Guide to pronunciation
, §§ 43-74. The regular long a
, as in fate
, etc., is a comparatively modern sound, and has taken the place of what, till about the early part of the 17th century, was a sound of the quality of ä (as in far
). 2. (Mus.) The name of the sixth tone in the model major scale (that in C), or the first tone of the minor scale, which is named after it the scale in A minor. The second string of the violin is tuned to the A in the treble staff. -- A sharp (A♯) is the name of a musical tone intermediate between A and B. -- A flat (A♭) is the name of a tone intermediate between A and G. A per se
(L. per se
by itself), one preëminent; a nonesuch.
O fair Creseide, the flower and A per se
Of Troy and Greece.
A A (ȧ emph. ā). 1. [ Shortened form of an . Anglo-Saxon ān one. See One .] An adjective, commonly called the indefinite article, and signifying one or any , but less emphatically. "At a birth"; "In a word"; "At a blow". Shak. It is placed before nouns of the singular number denoting an individual object, or a quality individualized, before collective nouns, and also before plural nouns when the adjective few or the phrase great many or good many is interposed; as, a dog, a house, a man; a color; a sweetness; a hundred, a fleet, a regiment; a few persons, a great many days. It is used for an , for the sake of euphony, before words beginning with a consonant sound [ for exception of certain words beginning with h , see An ]; as, a table, a woman , a year, a unit, a eulogy, a ewe, a oneness, such a one, etc. Formally an was used both before vowels and consonants. 2. [ Originally the preposition a ( an , on ).] In each; to or for each; as, "twenty leagues a day", "a hundred pounds a year", "a dollar a yard", etc.
A A (ȧ) preposition [ Abbreviated form of an (AS. on ). See On .] 1. In; on; at; by. [ Obsolete] " A God's name." "Torn a pieces." "Stand a tiptoe." " A Sundays" Shak. "Wit that men have now a days." Chaucer. "Set them a work." Robynson (More's Utopia). 2. In process of; in the act of; into; to; -- used with verbal substantives in -ing which begin with a consonant. This is a shortened form of the preposition an (which was used before the vowel sound); as in a hunting, a building, a begging. "Jacob, when he was a dying" Hebrew xi. 21. "We'll a birding together." " It was a doing." Shak. "He burst out a laughing." Macaulay. The hyphen may be used to connect a with the verbal substantive (as, a -hunting, a -building) or the words may be written separately. This form of expression is now for the most part obsolete, the a being omitted and the verbal substantive treated as a participle.
A A [ From Anglo-Saxon of off, from. See Of .] Of. [ Obsolete] "The name of John a Gaunt." "What time a day is it ?" Shak. "It's six a clock." B. Jonson.
A A A barbarous corruption of have , of he , and sometimes of it and of they . "So would I a done" " A brushes his hat." Shak.
A A An expletive, void of sense, to fill up the meter
A merry heart goes all the day,
Your sad tires in a mile- a .
A 1 A 1 (ā wŭn). A registry mark given by underwriters (as at Lloyd's) to ships in first-class condition. Inferior grades are indicated by A 2 and A 3. A 1 is also applied colloquially to other things to imply superiority; prime; first-class; first-rate.
A B C A B C" (ā bē sē"). 1. The first three letters of the alphabet, used for the whole alphabet. 2. A primer for teaching the alphabet and first elements of reading. [ Obsolete] 3. The simplest rudiments of any subject; as, the A B C of finance. A B C book , a primer. Shak.
A cappella A cap·pel"la [ Italian See Chapel .] (Mus.) (a) In church or chapel style; -- said of compositions sung in the old church style, without instrumental accompaniment; as, a mass a capella , i. e., a mass purely vocal. (b) A time indication, equivalent to alla breve .
A cheval A` che·val"
[ French, lit., on horseback.] Astride; with a part on each side; -- used specif. in designating the position of an army with the wings separated by some line of demarcation, as a river or road.
A position Ã cheval on a river is not one which a general willingly assumes. Swinton.
A fortiori A for`ti·o"ri [ Latin ] (Logic & Math.) With stronger reason.
A mensa et thoro A men"sa et tho"ro [ Latin , from board and bed.] (Law) A kind of divorce which does not dissolve the marriage bond, but merely authorizes a separate life of the husband and wife. Abbott.
A posteriori A` pos·te`ri·o"ri [ Latin a ( ab ) + posterior latter.] 1. (Logic) Characterizing that kind of reasoning which derives propositions from the observation of facts, or by generalizations from facts arrives at principles and definitions, or infers causes from effects. This is the reverse of a priori reasoning. 2. (Philos.) Applied to knowledge which is based upon or derived from facts through induction or experiment; inductive or empirical.
A priori A` pri·o"ri
[ Latin a
) + prior
former.] 1. (Logic) Characterizing that kind of reasoning which deduces consequences from definitions formed, or principles assumed, or which infers effects from causes previously known; deductive or deductively. The reverse of a posteriori . 3. (Philos.) Applied to knowledge and conceptions assumed, or presupposed, as prior to experience, in order to make experience rational or possible.
A priori , that is, form these necessities of the mind or forms of thinking, which, though first revealed to us by experience, must yet have preëxisted in order to make experience possible.
A- A- A, as a prefix to English words, is derived from various sources. (1) It frequently signifies on or in (from an , a forms of Anglo-Saxon on ), denoting a state, as in a foot, on foot, a bed, a miss, a sleep, aground, a loft, a way (AS. onweg ), and analogically, a blaze, a tremble, etc. (2) Anglo-Saxon of off, from, as in a down (AS. ofdūne off the dun or hill). (3) Anglo-Saxon ā- (Goth. us- , ur- , German er- ), usually giving an intensive force, and sometimes the sense of away , on , back , as in a rise, a bide, a go. (4) Old English y- or i- (corrupted from the Anglo-Saxon inseparable particle ge- , cognate with Old High German ga- , gi- , Goth. ga- ), which, as a prefix, made no essential addition to the meaning, as in aware. (5) French Ã (L. ad to), as in a base, a chieve. (6) Latin a , ab , abs , from, as in a vert. (7) Greek insep. prefix α without, or privative, not, as in a byss, a theist; akin to English un- . Besides these, there are other sources from which the prefix a takes its origin.
A-mornings A-morn"ings adverb
[ See Amorwe
. The -s
is a genitival ending. See -wards
.] In the morning; every morning.
And have such pleasant walks into the woods
A-sea A-sea adverb [ Prefix a- + sea .] On the sea; at sea; toward the sea.
A-tiptoe A-tip"toe adverb On tiptoe; eagerly expecting.
We all feel a-tiptoe with hope and confidence.
A. F. of Latin A. F. of Latin (Abbrev.) American Federation of Labor.
Aam Aam (am or äm) noun [ Dutch aam , from Late Latin ama ; confer Latin hama a water bucket, Greek ...] A Dutch and German measure of liquids, varying in different cities, being at Amsterdam about 41 wine gallons, at Antwerp 36½, at Hamburg 38¼. [ Written also Aum and Awm .]
Aard-vark Aard"-vark` (ärd"värk`) noun [ Dutch, earth-pig.] (Zoology) An edentate mammal, of the genus Orycteropus , somewhat resembling a pig, common in some parts of Southern Africa. It burrows in the ground, and feeds entirely on ants, which it catches with its long, slimy tongue.
Aard-wolf Aard"-wolf` (ärd"wolf) noun [ D, earth-wolf] (Zoology) A carnivorous quadruped ( Proteles Lalandii ), of South Africa, resembling the fox and hyena. See Proteles .
Aaron's rod Aar"on's rod` (âr"ŭnz rŏd`). [ See Exodus vii. 9 and Numbers xvii. 8] 1. (Architecture) A rod with one serpent twined around it, thus differing from the caduceus of Mercury, which has two. 2. (Botany) A plant with a tall flowering stem; esp. the great mullein, or hag-taper, and the golden-rod.
Aaronic Aa·ron"ic (a*rŏn"ĭk), Aa*ron"ic*al (-ĭ*k a l) adjective Pertaining to Aaron, the first high priest of the Jews.
Ab Ab (ăb) noun [ Of Syriac origin.] The fifth month of the Jewish year according to the ecclesiastical reckoning, the eleventh by the civil computation, coinciding nearly with August. W. Smith.
Ab- Ab- (ăb). [ Latin preposition , etymologically the same as English of , off . See Of .] A prefix in many words of Latin origin. It signifies from , away , separating , or departure , as in ab duct, abs tract, abs cond. See A- (6).
Abaca Ab"a·ca (ăb"ȧ*kȧ) noun [ The native name.] The Manila-hemp plant ( Musa textilis ); also, its fiber. See Manila hemp under Manila .
Abacinate A·bac"i·nate (ȧ*băs"ĭ*nāt) transitive verb [ Late Latin abacinatus , past participle of abacinare ; ab off + bacinus a basin.] To blind by a red-hot metal plate held before the eyes. [ R.]
Abacination A·bac`i·na"tion (ȧ*băs`ĭ*nā"shŭn) noun The act of abacinating. [ R.]
Abaciscus Ab`a·cis"cus (ăb`ȧ*sĭs"kŭs) noun [ Greek 'abaki`skos , dim of 'a`bax . See Abacus .] (Architecture) One of the tiles or squares of a tessellated pavement; an abaculus.
Abacist Ab"a·cist (ăb"ȧ*sĭst) noun [ LL abacista , from abacus .] One who uses an abacus in casting accounts; a calculator.
Aback A·back" (ȧ*băk") adverb [ Prefix a- + back ; Anglo-Saxon on bæc at, on, or toward the back. See Back .] 1. Toward the back or rear; backward. "Therewith aback she started." Chaucer. 2. Behind; in the rear. Knolles. 3. (Nautical) Backward against the mast; -- said of the sails when pressed by the wind. Totten. To be taken aback . (a) To be driven backward against the mast; -- said of the sails, also of the ship when the sails are thus driven. (b) To be suddenly checked, baffled, or discomfited. Dickens.
Aback Ab"ack (ăb" a k) noun An abacus. [ Obsolete] B. Jonson.
Abactinal Ab·ac"ti·nal (ăb*ăk"tĭ*n a l) adjective [ Latin ab + English actinal .] (Zoology) Pertaining to the surface or end opposite to the mouth in a radiate animal; -- opposed to actinal . "The aboral or abactinal area." Latin Agassiz.
Abaction Ab·ac"tion (ăb*ăk"shŭn) noun Stealing cattle on a large scale. [ Obsolete]
Abactor Ab·ac"tor (-tẽr) noun [ Latin , from abigere to drive away; ab + agere to drive.] (Law) One who steals and drives away cattle or beasts by herds or droves. [ Obsolete]
; plural Abaculi
(-lī). [ Latin , dim. of abacus
.] (Architecture) A small tile of glass, marble, or other substance, of various colors, used in making ornamental patterns in mosaic pavements. Fairholt.
; English plural Abacuses
; Latin plural Abaci
(-sī). [ Latin abacus
, Greek 'a`bax
] 1. A table or tray strewn with sand, anciently used for drawing, calculating, etc.
[ Obsolete] 2. A calculating table or frame; an instrument for performing arithmetical calculations by balls sliding on wires, or counters in grooves, the lowest line representing units, the second line, tens, etc. It is still employed in China. 3. (Architecture) (a) The uppermost member or division of the capital of a column, immediately under the architrave. See Column . (b) A tablet, panel, or compartment in ornamented or mosaic work. 4. A board, tray, or table, divided into perforated compartments, for holding cups, bottles, or the like; a kind of cupboard, buffet, or sideboard. Abacus harmonicus (Mus.)
, an ancient diagram showing the structure and disposition of the keys of an instrument. Crabb.
Abada Ab"a·da (ăb"ȧ*dȧ) noun [ Portuguese , the female rhinoceros.] The rhinoceros. [ Obsolete] Purchas.
[ Hebrew ābaddōn
destruction, abyss, from ābad
to be lost, to perish.] 1. The destroyer, or angel of the bottomless pit; -- the same as Apollyon and Asmodeus. 2. Hell; the bottomless pit.
In all her gates, Abaddon rues
Thy bold attempt.
Abaft A·baft" (ȧ*bȧft") preposition [ Prefix a- on + Middle English baft , baften , biaften , Anglo-Saxon beæftan ; be by + æftan behind. See After , Aft , By .] (Nautical) Behind; toward the stern from; as, abaft the wheelhouse. Abaft the beam . See under Beam .
Abaft A·baft" adverb (Nautical) Toward the stern; aft; as, to go abaft .
Abaisance A·bai"sance (ȧ*bā"s a ns) noun [ For obeisance ; confused with French abaisser , E. abase.] Obeisance. [ Obsolete] Jonson.
Abaiser A·bai"ser (ȧ*bā"sẽr) noun Ivory black or animal charcoal. Weale.
Abaist A·baist" (ȧ*bāst") past participle Abashed; confounded; discomfited. [ Obsolete] Chaucer.
Abalienate Ab·al"ien·ate (ăb*āl"y e n*āt; 94, 106) transitive verb [ Latin abalienatus , past participle of abalienare ; ab + alienus foreign, alien. See Alien .] 1. (Civil Law) To transfer the title of from one to another; to alienate. 2. To estrange; to withdraw. [ Obsolete] 3. To cause alienation of (mind). Sandys.
Abalienation Ab·al`ien·a"tion (-āl`y e n*ā"shŭn) noun [ Latin abalienatio : confer French abaliénation .] The act of abalienating; alienation; estrangement. [ Obsolete]
Abalone Ab`a·lo"ne (ăb`ȧ*lō"ne) noun (Zoology) A univalve mollusk of the genus Haliotis . The shell is lined with mother-of-pearl, and used for ornamental purposes; the sea-ear. Several large species are found on the coast of California, clinging closely to the rocks.
(ȧ*bănd") transitive verb
[ Contracted from abandon
.] 1. To abandon.
[ Obsolete] 1. To abandon.
Enforced the kingdom to aband . 2. To banish; to expel.
[ Obsolete] Mir. for Mag.
(ȧ*băn"dŭn) transitive verb
[ imperfect & past participle Abandoned
(- dŭnd); present participle & verbal noun Abandoning
.] [ Old French abandoner
, French abandonner
) + bandon
permission, authority, Late Latin bandum
, public proclamation, interdiction, bannire
to proclaim, summon: of Germanic origin; confer Goth. bandwjan
to show by signs, to designate Old High German ban
proclamation. The word meant to proclaim, put under a ban, put under control; hence, as in Middle English , to compel, subject, or to leave in the control of another, and hence, to give up. See Ban
.] 1. To cast or drive out; to banish; to expel; to reject.
That he might . . . abandon them from him.
Being all this time abandoned from your bed. 2. To give up absolutely; to forsake entirely ; to renounce utterly; to relinquish all connection with or concern on; to desert, as a person to whom one owes allegiance or fidelity; to quit; to surrender.
Hope was overthrown, yet could not be abandoned . 3. Reflexively: To give (one's self) up without attempt at self-control; to yield (one's self) unrestrainedly; -- often in a bad sense.
He abandoned himself . . . to his favorite vice. 4. (Mar. Law) To relinquish all claim to; -- used when an insured person gives up to underwriters all claim to the property covered by a policy, which may remain after loss or damage by a peril insured against. Syn.
-- To give up; yield; forego; cede; surrender; resign; abdicate; quit; relinquish; renounce; desert; forsake; leave; retire; withdraw from. -- To Abandon
. These words agree in representing a person as giving up
some object, but differ as to the mode of doing it. The distinctive sense of abandon is that of giving up a thing absolutely and finally; as, to abandon one's friends, places, opinions, good or evil habits, a hopeless enterprise, a shipwrecked vessel. Abandon
is more widely applicable than forsake
. The Latin original of desert
appears to have been originally applied to the case of deserters from military service. Hence, the verb, when used of persons
in the active voice, has usually or always a bad sense, implying some breach of fidelity, honor, etc., the leaving of something which the person should rightfully stand by and support; as, to desert
one's colors, to desert
one's post, to desert
one's principles or duty. When used in the passive, the sense is not necessarily bad; as, the fields were deserted
, a deserted
implies the breaking off of previous habit, association, personal connection, or that the thing left had been familiar or frequented; as, to forsake old friends, to forsake
the paths of rectitude, the blood forsook
his cheeks. It may be used either in a good or in a bad sense.
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