Webster's Dictionary, 1913

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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 à (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. F. of Latin (Abbrev.) American Federation of Labor.

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 (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 (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 (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 (a*rŏn"ĭk), Aa*ron"ic*al (-ĭ*k a l) adjective Pertaining to Aaron, the first high priest of the Jews.

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- (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 (ăb"ȧ*kȧ) noun [ The native name.] The Manila-hemp plant ( Musa textilis ); also, its fiber. See Manila hemp under Manila .

Abacinate (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 (ȧ*băs`ĭ*nā"shŭn) noun The act of abacinating. [ R.]

Abaciscus (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 (ăb"ȧ*sĭst) noun [ LL abacista , from abacus .] One who uses an abacus in casting accounts; a calculator.

Aback (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 (ăb" a k) noun An abacus. [ Obsolete] B. Jonson.

Abactinal (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 (ăb*ăk"shŭn) noun Stealing cattle on a large scale. [ Obsolete]

Abactor (-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]

Abaculus (ȧb*ăk"u*lŭs) noun ; 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.

Abacus (ăb"ȧ*kŭs) noun ; English plural Abacuses ; Latin plural Abaci (-sī). [ Latin abacus , abax , 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 (ăb"ȧ*dȧ) noun [ Portuguese , the female rhinoceros.] The rhinoceros. [ Obsolete] Purchas.

Abaddon (ȧ*băd"dŭn) noun [ 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. [ Poetic]

In all her gates, Abaddon rues
Thy bold attempt.
Milton.

Abaft (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 adverb (Nautical) Toward the stern; aft; as, to go abaft .

Abaisance (ȧ*bā"s a ns) noun [ For obeisance ; confused with French abaisser , E. abase.] Obeisance. [ Obsolete] Jonson.

Abaiser (ȧ*bā"sẽr) noun Ivory black or animal charcoal. Weale.

Abaist (ȧ*bāst") past participle Abashed; confounded; discomfited. [ Obsolete] Chaucer.

Abalienate (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 (-āl`y e n*ā"shŭn) noun [ Latin abalienatio : confer French abaliénation .] The act of abalienating; alienation; estrangement. [ Obsolete]

Abalone (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.

Aband (ȧ*bănd") transitive verb [ Contracted from abandon .]
1. To abandon. [ Obsolete]


1. To abandon. [ Obsolete]

Enforced the kingdom to aband .
Spenser.

2. To banish; to expel. [ Obsolete] Mir. for Mag.

Abandon (ȧ*băn"dŭn) transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Abandoned (- dŭnd); present participle & verbal noun Abandoning .] [ Old French abandoner , French abandonner ; a (L. ad ) + bandon permission, authority, Late Latin bandum , bannum , 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. [ Obsolete]

That he might . . . abandon them from him.
Udall.

Being all this time abandoned from your bed.
Shak.

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 .
I. Taylor.

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.
Macaulay.

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 , Desert , Forsake . These words agree in representing a person as giving up or leaving 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 or desert . 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 village, deserted halls. Forsake 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.

Abandon noun [ French abandon . from abandonner . See Abandon , v. ] Abandonment; relinquishment. [ Obsolete]

Abandon (ȧ`bäN`dôN") noun [ French See Abandon .] A complete giving up to natural impulses; freedom from artificial constraint; careless freedom or ease.

Abandoned (ȧ*băn"dŭnd) adjective
1. Forsaken, deserted. "Your abandoned streams." Thomson.

2. Self-abandoned, or given up to vice; extremely wicked, or sinning without restraint; irreclaimably wicked ; as, an abandoned villain.

Syn. -- Profligate; dissolute; corrupt; vicious; depraved; reprobate; wicked; unprincipled; graceless; vile. -- Abandoned , Profligate , Reprobate . These adjectives agree in expressing the idea of great personal depravity. Profligate has reference to open and shameless immoralities, either in private life or political conduct; as, a profligate court, a profligate ministry. Abandoned is stronger, and has reference to the searing of conscience and hardening of heart produced by a man's giving himself wholly up to iniquity; as, a man of abandoned character. Reprobate describes the condition of one who has become insensible to reproof, and who is morally abandoned and lost beyond hope of recovery.

God gave them over to a reprobate mind.
Rom. i. 28.