Webster's Dictionary, 1913

Search Webster
Word starts with Word or meaning contains
Blabber noun A tattler; a telltale.

Black adjective [ Middle English blak , Anglo-Saxon blæc ; akin to Icelandic blakkr dark, swarthy, Swedish bläck ink, Danish blæk , Old High German blach , LG. & Dutch blaken to burn with a black smoke. Not akin to Anglo-Saxon blāc , English bleak pallid. ...98.]
1. Destitute of light, or incapable of reflecting it; of the color of soot or coal; of the darkest or a very dark color, the opposite of white ; characterized by such a color; as, black cloth; black hair or eyes.

O night, with hue so black !
Shak.

2. In a less literal sense: Enveloped or shrouded in darkness; very dark or gloomy; as, a black night; the heavens black with clouds.

I spy a black , suspicious, threatening cloud.
Shak.

3. Fig.: Dismal, gloomy, or forbidding, like darkness; destitute of moral light or goodness; atrociously wicked; cruel; mournful; calamitous; horrible. "This day's black fate." " Black villainy." "Arise, black vengeance." "Black day." " Black despair." Shak.

4. Expressing menace, or discontent; threatening; sullen; foreboding; as, to regard one with black looks.

» Black is often used in self-explaining compound words; as, black- eyed, black- faced, black- haired, black- visaged.

Black act , the English statute 9 George I, which makes it a felony to appear armed in any park or warren, etc., or to hunt or steal deer, etc., with the face blackened or disguised. Subsequent acts inflicting heavy penalties for malicious injuries to cattle and machinery have been called black acts . -- Black angel (Zoology) , a fish of the West Indies and Florida ( Holacanthus tricolor ), with the head and tail yellow, and the middle of the body black. -- Black antimony (Chemistry) , the black sulphide of antimony, Sb 2 S 3 , used in pyrotechnics, etc. -- Black bear (Zoology) , the common American bear ( Ursus Americanus ). -- Black beast . See Bête noire . -- Black beetle (Zoology) , the common large cockroach ( Blatta orientalis ). -- Black and blue , the dark color of a bruise in the flesh, which is accompanied with a mixture of blue. "To pinch the slatterns black and blue ." Hudibras. -- Black bonnet (Zoology) , the black-headed bunting ( Embriza Schœniclus ) of Europe. -- Black canker , a disease in turnips and other crops, produced by a species of caterpillar. -- Black cat (Zoology) , the fisher, a quadruped of North America allied to the sable, but larger. See Fisher . -- Black cattle , any bovine cattle reared for slaughter, in distinction from dairy cattle. [ Eng.] -- Black cherry . See under Cherry . -- Black cockatoo (Zoology) , the palm cockatoo. See Cockatoo . -- Black copper . Same as Melaconite . -- Black currant . (Botany) See Currant . -- Black diamond . (Min.) See Carbonado . -- Black draught (Medicine) , a cathartic medicine, composed of senna and magnesia. -- Black drop (Medicine) , vinegar of opium; a narcotic preparation consisting essentially of a solution of opium in vinegar. -- Black earth , mold; earth of a dark color. Woodward. -- Black flag , the flag of a pirate, often bearing in white a skull and crossbones; a signal of defiance. -- Black flea (Zoology) , a flea beetle ( Haltica nemorum ) injurious to turnips. -- Black flux , a mixture of carbonate of potash and charcoal, obtained by deflagrating tartar with half its weight of niter. Brande & C. -- Black fly . (Zoology) (a) In the United States, a small, venomous, two-winged fly of the genus Simulium of several species, exceedingly abundant and troublesome in the northern forests. The larvæ are aquatic. (b) A black plant louse, as the bean aphis ( A. fabæ ). -- Black Forest [ a translation of German Schwarzwald ], a forest in Baden and Würtemburg, in Germany; a part of the ancient Hercynian forest. -- Black game , or Black grouse . (Zoology) See Blackcock , Grouse , and Heath grouse . -- Black grass (Botany) , a grasslike rush of the species Juncus Gerardi , growing on salt marshes, and making good hay. -- Black gum (Botany) , an American tree, the tupelo or pepperidge. See Tupelo . -- Black Hamburg (grape) (Botany) , a sweet and juicy variety of dark purple or "black" grape. -- Black horse (Zoology) , a fish of the Mississippi valley ( Cycleptus elongatus ), of the sucker family; the Missouri sucker. -- Black lemur (Zoology) , the Lemurniger of Madagascar; the acoumbo of the natives. -- Black list , a list of persons who are for some reason thought deserving of censure or punishment; -- esp. a list of persons stigmatized as insolvent or untrustworthy, made for the protection of tradesmen or employers. See Blacklist , transitive verb -- Black manganese (Chemistry) , the black oxide of manganese, MnO 2 . -- Black Maria , the close wagon in which prisoners are carried to or from jail. -- Black martin (Zoology) , the chimney swift. See Swift . -- Black moss (Botany) , the common so-called long moss of the southern United States. See Tillandsia . -- Black oak . See under Oak . -- Black ocher . See Wad . -- Black pigment , a very fine, light carbonaceous substance, or lampblack, prepared chiefly for the manufacture of printers' ink. It is obtained by burning common coal tar. -- Black plate , sheet iron before it is tinned. Knight. -- Black quarter , malignant anthrax with engorgement of a shoulder or quarter, etc., as of an ox. -- Black rat (Zoology) , one of the species of rats ( Mus rattus ), commonly infesting houses. -- Black rent . See Blackmail , noun , 3. -- Black rust , a disease of wheat, in which a black, moist matter is deposited in the fissures of the grain. -- Black sheep , one in a family or company who is unlike the rest, and makes trouble. -- Black silver . (Min.) See under Silver . -- Black and tan , black mixed or spotted with tan color or reddish brown; -- used in describing certain breeds of dogs. -- Black tea . See under Tea . -- Black tin (Mining) , tin ore (cassiterite), when dressed, stamped and washed, ready for smelting. It is in the form of a black powder, like fine sand. Knight. -- Black walnut . See under Walnut . -- Black warrior (Zoology) , an American hawk ( Buteo Harlani ).

Syn. -- Dark; murky; pitchy; inky; somber; dusky; gloomy; swart; Cimmerian; ebon; atrocious.

Black adverb Sullenly; threateningly; maliciously; so as to produce blackness.

Black noun
1. That which is destitute of light or whiteness; the darkest color, or rather a destitution of all color; as, a cloth has a good black .

Black is the badge of hell,
The hue of dungeons, and the suit of night.
Shak.

2. A black pigment or dye.

3. A negro; a person whose skin is of a black color, or shaded with black; esp. a member or descendant of certain African races.

4. A black garment or dress; as, she wears black ; plural (Obsolete) Mourning garments of a black color; funereal drapery.

Friends weeping, and blacks , and obsequies, and the like show death terrible.
Bacon.

That was the full time they used to wear blacks for the death of their fathers.
Sir T. North.

5. The part of a thing which is distinguished from the rest by being black.

The black or sight of the eye.
Sir K. Digby.

6. A stain; a spot; a smooch.

Defiling her white lawn of chastity with ugly blacks of lust.
Rowley.

Black and white , writing or print; as, I must have that statement in black and white . -- Blue black , a pigment of a blue black color. -- Ivory black , a fine kind of animal charcoal prepared by calcining ivory or bones. When ground it is the chief ingredient of the ink used in copperplate printing. -- Berlin black . See under Berlin .

Black transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Blacked ; present participle & verbal noun Blacking .] [ See Black , adjective , and confer Blacken .]


1. To make black; to blacken; to soil; to sully.

They have their teeth blacked , both men and women, for they say a dog hath his teeth white, therefore they will black theirs.
Hakluyt.

Sins which black thy soul.
J. Fletcher.

2. To make black and shining, as boots or a stove, by applying blacking and then polishing with a brush.

Black art The art practiced by conjurers and witches; necromancy; conjuration; magic.

» This name was given in the Middle Ages to necromancy, under the idea that the latter term was derived from niger black, instead of nekro`s , a dead person, and mantei`a , divination. Wright.

Black bass (Zoology)
1. An edible, fresh-water fish of the United States, of the genus Micropterus . the small-mouthed kind is M. dolomieī ; the large-mouthed is M. salmoides .

2. The sea bass. See Blackfish , 3.

Black book (bok`).
1. One of several books of a political character, published at different times and for different purposes; -- so called either from the color of the binding, or from the character of the contents.

2. A book compiled in the twelfth century, containing a description of the court of exchequer of England, an official statement of the revenues of the crown, etc.

3. A book containing details of the enormities practiced in the English monasteries and religious houses, compiled by order of their visitors under Henry VIII., to hasten their dissolution.

4. A book of admiralty law, of the highest authority, compiled in the reign of Edw. III. Bouvier. Wharton.

5. A book kept for the purpose of registering the names of persons liable to censure or punishment, as in the English universities, or the English armies.

6. Any book which treats of necromancy.

Black death A pestilence which ravaged Europe and Asia in the fourteenth century.

Black Flags An organization composed originally of Chinese rebels that had been driven into Tonkin by the suppression of the Taiping rebellion, but later increased by bands of pirates and adventurers. It took a prominent part in fighting the French during their hostilities with Anam, 1873-85.

Black friar (Eccl.) A friar of the Dominican order; -- called also predicant and preaching friar ; in France, Jacobin . Also, sometimes, a Benedictine.

Black Friday Any Friday on which a public disaster has occurred, as: In England, December 6, 1745, when the news of the landing of the Pretender reached London, or May 11, 1866, when a financial panic commenced. In the United States, September 24, 1869, and September 18, 1873, on which financial panics began.

Black Hamburg A sweet and juicy variety of European grape, of a dark purplish black color, much grown under glass in northern latitudes.

Black Hand [ A trans. of Spanish mano negra .]
1. A Spanish anarchistic society, many of the members of which were imprisoned in 1883.

2. A lawless or blackmailing secret society, esp. among Italians. [ U. S.]

Black hole A dungeon or dark cell in a prison; a military lock-up or guardroom; -- now commonly with allusion to the cell (the Black Hole) in a fort at Calcutta, into which 146 English prisoners were thrust by the nabob Suraja Dowla on the night of June 20, 17656, and in which 123 of the prisoners died before morning from lack of air.

A discipline of unlimited autocracy, upheld by rods, and ferules, and the black hole .
H. Spencer.

Black lead Plumbago; graphite. It leaves a blackish mark somewhat like lead. See Graphite .

Black letter The old English or Gothic letter, in which the Early English manuscripts were written, and the first English books were printed. It was conspicuous for its blackness. See Type .

Black Monday
1. Easter Monday, so called from the severity of that day in 1360, which was so unusual that many of Edward III.'s soldiers, then before Paris, died from the cold. Stow.

Then it was not for nothing that my nose fell a bleeding on Black Monday last.
Shak.

2. The first Monday after the holidays; -- so called by English schoolboys. Halliwell.

Black monk A Benedictine monk.

Black pudding A kind of sausage made of blood, suet, etc., thickened with meal.

And fat black puddings , -- proper food,
For warriors that delight in blood.
Hudibras.

Black Rod (a) the usher to the Chapter of the Garter, so called from the black rod which he carries. He is of the king's chamber, and also usher to the House of Lords. [ Eng.] (b) An usher in the legislature of British colonies. Cowell.

Committed to the custody of the Black Rod .
Macaulay.

Black salts Crude potash. De Colange.

Black snake (snāk) or Black"snake noun (Zoology) A snake of a black color, of which two species are common in the United States, the Bascanium constrictor , or racer, sometimes six feet long, and the Scotophis Alleghaniensis , seven or eight feet long.

» The name is also applied to various other black serpents, as Natrix atra of Jamaica.

Black Spanish One of an old and well-known Mediterranean breed of domestic fowls with glossy black plumage, blue legs and feet, bright red comb and wattles, and white face. They are remarkable as egg layers.

Black vomit (Medicine) A copious vomiting of dark-colored matter; or the substance so discharged; -- one of the most fatal symptoms in yellow fever.

Black wash, Blackwash noun
1. (Medicine) A lotion made by mixing calomel and lime water.

2. A wash that blackens, as opposed to whitewash ; hence, figuratively, calumny.

To remove as far as he can the modern layers of black wash , and let the man himself, fair or foul, be seen.
C. Kingsley.

Black-a-vised adjective Dark-visaged; swart.

Black-browed (blăk"broud`) adjective Having black eyebrows. Hence: Gloomy; dismal; threatening; forbidding. Shak. Dryden.

Black-eyed adjective Having black eyes. Dryden.

Black-eyed Susan (Botany) (a) The coneflower, or yellow daisy ( Rudbeckia hirta ). (b) The bladder ketmie.

Black-faced adjective Having a black, dark, or gloomy face or aspect.

Blackamoor noun [ Black + Moor .] A negro or negress. Shak.

Blackball noun
1. A composition for blacking shoes, boots, etc.; also, one for taking impressions of engraved work.

2. A ball of black color, esp. one used as a negative in voting; -- in this sense usually two words.

Blackball transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Blackballed ; present participle & verbal noun Blackballing .]
1. To vote against, by putting a black ball into a ballot box; to reject or exclude, as by voting against with black balls; to ostracize.

He was blackballed at two clubs in succession.
Thackeray.

2. To blacken (leather, shoes, etc.) with blacking.

Blackband noun (Min.) An earthy carbonate of iron containing considerable carbonaceous matter; -- valuable as an iron ore.

Blackberry (blăk"bĕr*rȳ) noun [ Middle English blakberye , Anglo-Saxon blæcberie ; blæc black + berie berry.] The fruit of several species of bramble ( Rubus ); also, the plant itself. Rubus fruticosus is the blackberry of England; R. villosus and R. Canadensis are the high blackberry and low blackberry of the United States. There are also other kinds.

Blackbird (blăk"bẽrd) noun (Zoology) In England, a species of thrush ( Turdus merula ), a singing bird with a fin note; the merle. In America the name is given to several birds, as the Quiscalus versicolor , or crow blackbird; the Agelæus phœniceus , or red-winged blackbird; the cowbird; the rusty grackle, etc. See Redwing .

Blackbird noun
1. Among slavers and pirates, a negro or Polynesian. [ Cant]

2. A native of any of the islands near Queensland; -- called also Kanaka . [ Australia]

Blackbirder noun A slave ship; a slaver. [ Colloq.] F. T. Bullen.

Blackbirding noun
1. The kidnaping of negroes or Polynesians to be sold as slaves.

2. The act or practice of collecting natives of the islands near Queensland for service on the Queensland sugar plantations. [ Australia]

Blackboard (-bōrd`) noun A broad board painted black, or any black surface on which writing, drawing, or the working of mathematical problems can be done with chalk or crayons. It is much used in schools.

Blackburnian warbler [ Named from Mrs. Blackburn , an English lady.] (Zoology) A beautiful warbler of the United States ( Dendroica Blackburniæ ). The male is strongly marked with orange, yellow, and black on the head and neck, and has an orange-yellow breast.

Blackcap (-kăp`) noun
1. (Zoology) (a) A small European song bird ( Sylvia atricapilla ), with a black crown; the mock nightingale. (b) An American titmouse ( Parus atricapillus ); the chickadee.

2. (Cookery) An apple roasted till black, to be served in a dish of boiled custard.

3. The black raspberry.

Blackcoat noun A clergyman; -- familiarly so called, as a soldier is sometimes called a redcoat or a bluecoat .

Blackcock noun (Zoology) The male of the European black grouse ( Tetrao tetrix , Linn.); - - so called by sportsmen. The female is called gray hen . See Heath grouse .

Blacken transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Blackened ; present participle & verbal noun Blackening .] [ See Black , adjective , and confer Black , transitive verb ]
1. To make or render black.

While the long funerals blacken all the way.
Pope.

2. To make dark; to darken; to cloud. " Blackened the whole heavens." South.

3. To defame; to sully, as reputation; to make infamous; as, vice blackens the character.

Syn. -- To denigrate; defame; vilify; slander; calumniate; traduce; malign; asperse.

Blacken intransitive verb To grow black or dark.

Blackener noun One who blackens.

Blackfeet noun plural (Ethn.) A tribe of North American Indians formerly inhabiting the country from the upper Missouri River to the Saskatchewan, but now much reduced in numbers.

Blackfin noun (Zoology) See Bluefin .