Webster's Dictionary, 1913

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Wash-off adjective (Calico Printing) Capable of being washed off; not permanent or durable; -- said of colors not fixed by steaming or otherwise.

Washiness noun The quality or state of being washy, watery, or weak.

Washing noun
1. The act of one who washes; the act of cleansing with water; ablution.

2. The clothes washed, esp. at one time; a wash.

Washing bear (Zoology) , the raccoon. -- Washing bottle (Chemistry) , a bottle fitted with glass tubes passing through the cork, so that on blowing into one of the tubes a stream of water issuing from the other may be directed upon anything to be washed or rinsed, as a precipitate upon a filter, etc. -- Washing fluid , a liquid used as a cleanser, and consisting usually of alkaline salts resembling soaps in their action. -- Washing machine , a machine for washing; specifically, a machine for washing clothes. -- Washing soda . (Chemistry) See Sodium carbonate , under Sodium . -- Washing stuff , any earthy deposit containing gold enough to pay for washing it; -- so called among gold miners.

Washingtonian adjective
1. Pertaining to, or characteristic of, George Washington ; as, a Washingtonian policy. Lowell.

2. Designating, or pertaining to, a temperance society and movement started in Baltimore in 1840 on the principle of total abstinence. -- noun A member of the Washingtonian Society.

Washoe process [ From the Washoe district, Nevada.] The process of treating silver ores by grinding in pans or tubs with the addition of mercury, and sometimes of chemicals such as blue vitriol and salt.

Washout noun The washing out or away of earth, etc., especially of a portion of the bed of a road or railroad by a fall of rain or a freshet; also, a place, especially in the bed of a road or railroad, where the earth has been washed away.

Washpot noun
1. A pot or vessel in which anything is washed.

2. (Tin-Plate Manuf.) A pot containing melted tin into which the plates are dipped to be coated.

Washstand noun A piece of furniture holding the ewer or pitcher, basin, and other requisites for washing the person.

Washtub noun A tub in which clothes are washed.

Washy adjective [ From Wash .]
1. Watery; damp; soft. " Washy ooze." Milton.

2. Lacking substance or strength; weak; thin; dilute; feeble; as, washy tea; washy resolutions.

A polish . . . not over thin and washy .
Sir H. Wotton.

3. Not firm or hardy; liable to sweat profusely with labor; as, a washy horse. [ Local, U. S.]

Wasite noun [ See Wasium .] (Min.) A variety of allanite from Sweden supposed to contain wasium.

Wasium noun [ New Latin So called from Wasa , or Vasa , the name of a former royal family of Sweden.] (Chemistry) A rare element supposed by Bahr to have been extracted from wasite, but now identified with thorium.

Wasp noun [ Middle English waspe , Anglo-Saxon wæps , wæfs ; akin to Dutch wesp , German wespe , Old High German wafsa , wefsa , Lithuanian vapsa gadfly, Russian osa wasp, Latin vespa , and perhaps to English weave .] (Zoology) Any one of numerous species of stinging hymenopterous insects, esp. any of the numerous species of the genus Vespa , which includes the true, or social, wasps, some of which are called yellow jackets .

» The social wasps make a complex series of combs, of a substance like stiff paper, often of large size, and protect them by a paperlike covering. The larvæ are reared in the cells of the combs, and eat insects and insect larvæ brought to them by the adults, but the latter feed mainly on the honey and pollen of flowers, and on the sweet juices of fruit. See Illust. in Appendix.

Digger wasp , any one of numerous species of solitary wasps that make their nests in burrows which they dig in the ground, as the sand wasps. See Sand wasp , under Sand . - - Mud wasp . See under Mud . -- Potter wasp . See under Potter . -- Wasp fly , a species of fly resembling a wasp, but without a sting.

Waspish adjective
1. Resembling a wasp in form; having a slender waist, like a wasp.

2. Quick to resent a trifling affront; characterized by snappishness; irritable; irascible; petulant; snappish.

He was naturally a waspish and hot man.
Bp. Hall.

Much do I suffer, much, to keep in peace
This jealous, waspish , wrong-head, rhyming race.
Pope.

Syn. -- Snappish; petulant; irritable; irascible; testy; peevish; captious.

-- Wasp"ish*ly , adverb -- Wasp"ish*ness , noun

Wassail noun [ Anglo-Saxon wes hāl (or an equivalent form in another dialect) be in health, which was the form of drinking a health. The form wes is imperative. See Was , and Whole .]


1. An ancient expression of good wishes on a festive occasion, especially in drinking to some one.

Geoffrey of Monmouth relates, on the authority of Walter Calenius, that this lady [ Rowena], the daughter of Hengist, knelt down on the approach of the king, and, presenting him with a cup of wine, exclaimed, Lord king wæs heil , that is, literally, Health be to you.
N. Drake.

2. An occasion on which such good wishes are expressed in drinking; a drinking bout; a carouse. "In merry wassail he . . . peals his loud song." Sir W. Scott.

The king doth wake to-night and takes his rouse,
Keeps wassail .
Shak.

The victors abandoned themselves to feasting and wassail .
Prescott.

3. The liquor used for a wassail; esp., a beverage formerly much used in England at Christmas and other festivals, made of ale (or wine) flavored with spices, sugar, toast, roasted apples, etc.; -- called also lamb's wool .

A jolly wassail bowl,
A wassail of good ale.
Old Song.

4. A festive or drinking song or glee. [ Obsolete]

Have you done your wassail ! 'T is a handsome, drowsy ditty, I'll assure you.
Beau. & Fl.

Wassail adjective Of or pertaining to wassail, or to a wassail; convivial; as, a wassail bowl. "A wassail candle, my lord, all tallow." Shak.

Wassail bowl , a bowl in which wassail was mixed, and placed upon the table. "Spiced wassail bowl ." J. Fletcher. "When the cloth was removed, the butler brought in a huge silver vessel . . . Its appearance was hailed with acclamation, being the wassail bowl so renowned in Christmas festivity." W. Irving. -- Wassail cup , a cup from which wassail was drunk.

Wassail intransitive verb To hold a wassail; to carouse.

Spending all the day, and good part of the night, in dancing, caroling, and wassailing .
Sir P. Sidney.

Wassailer noun One who drinks wassail; one who engages in festivity, especially in drinking; a reveler.

The rudeness and swilled insolence
Of such late wassailers .
Milton.

Wast The second person singular of the verb be , in the indicative mood, imperfect tense; -- now used only in solemn or poetical style. See Was .

Wastage noun Loss by use, decay, evaporation, leakage, or the like; waste.

Waste adjective [ Middle English wast , Old French wast , from Latin vastus , influenced by the kindred German word; confer Old High German wuosti , German wüst , Old Saxon w...sti , Dutch woest , Anglo-Saxon wēste . Confer Vast .]


1. Desolate; devastated; stripped; bare; hence, dreary; dismal; gloomy; cheerless.

The dismal situation waste and wild.
Milton.

His heart became appalled as he gazed forward into the waste darkness of futurity.
Sir W. Scott.

2. Lying unused; unproductive; worthless; valueless; refuse; rejected; as, waste land; waste paper.

But his waste words returned to him in vain.
Spenser.

Not a waste or needless sound,
Till we come to holier ground.
Milton.

Ill day which made this beauty waste .
Emerson.

3. Lost for want of occupiers or use; superfluous.

And strangled with her waste fertility.
Milton.

Waste gate , a gate by which the superfluous water of a reservoir, or the like, is discharged. -- Waste paper . See under Paper . -- Waste pipe , a pipe for carrying off waste, or superfluous, water or other fluids. Specifically: (a) (Steam Boilers) An escape pipe. See under Escape . (b) (Plumbing) The outlet pipe at the bottom of a bowl, tub, sink, or the like. -- Waste steam . (a) Steam which escapes the air. (b) Exhaust steam. -- Waste trap , a trap for a waste pipe, as of a sink.

Waste transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Wasted ; present participle & verbal noun Wasting .] [ Middle English wasten , Old French waster , guaster , gaster , French gâter to spoil, Latin vastare to devastate, to lay waste, from vastus waste, desert, uncultivated, ravaged, vast, but influenced by a kindred German word; confer Old High German wuosten , German wüsten , Anglo-Saxon wēstan . See Waste , adjective ]


1. To bring to ruin; to devastate; to desolate; to destroy.

Thou barren ground, whom winter's wrath hath wasted ,
Art made a mirror to behold my plight.
Spenser.

The Tiber
Insults our walls, and wastes our fruitful grounds.
Dryden.

2. To wear away by degrees; to impair gradually; to diminish by constant loss; to use up; to consume; to spend; to wear out.

Until your carcasses be wasted in the wilderness.
Num. xiv. 33.

O, were I able
To waste it all myself, and leave ye none!
Milton.

Here condemned
To waste eternal days in woe and pain.
Milton.

Wasted by such a course of life, the infirmities of age daily grew on him.
Robertson.

3. To spend unnecessarily or carelessly; to employ prodigally; to expend without valuable result; to apply to useless purposes; to lavish vainly; to squander; to cause to be lost; to destroy by scattering or injury.

The younger son gathered all together, and . . . wasted his substance with riotous living.
Luke xv. 13.

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Gray.

4. (Law) To damage, impair, or injure, as an estate, voluntarily, or by suffering the buildings, fences, etc., to go to decay.

Syn. -- To squander; dissipate; lavish; desolate.

Waste intransitive verb
1. To be diminished; to lose bulk, substance, strength, value, or the like, gradually; to be consumed; to dwindle; to grow less.

The time wasteth night and day.
Chaucer.

The barrel of meal shall not waste .
1 Kings xvii. 14.

But man dieth, and wasteth away.
Job xiv. 10.

2. (Sporting) To procure or sustain a reduction of flesh; -- said of a jockey in preparation for a race, etc.

Waste noun [ Middle English waste ; confer the kindred Anglo-Saxon w...sten , Old High German w...stī , wuostī , German wüste . See Waste , adjective & v. ]


1. The act of wasting, or the state of being wasted; a squandering; needless destruction; useless consumption or expenditure; devastation; loss without equivalent gain; gradual loss or decrease, by use, wear, or decay; as, a waste of property, time, labor, words, etc. " Waste . . . of catel and of time." Chaucer.

For all this waste of wealth loss of blood.
Milton.

He will never . . . in the way of waste , attempt us again.
Shak.

Little wastes in great establishments, constantly occurring, may defeat the energies of a mighty capital.
Latin Beecher.

2. That which is wasted or desolate; a devastated, uncultivated, or wild country; a deserted region; an unoccupied or unemployed space; a dreary void; a desert; a wilderness. "The wastes of Nature." Emerson.

All the leafy nation sinks at last,
And Vulcan rides in triumph o'er the waste .
Dryden.

The gloomy waste of waters which bears his name is his tomb and his monument.
Bancroft.

3. That which is of no value; worthless remnants; refuse. Specifically: Remnants of cops, or other refuse resulting from the working of cotton, wool, hemp, and the like, used for wiping machinery, absorbing oil in the axle boxes of railway cars, etc.

4. (Law) Spoil, destruction, or injury, done to houses, woods, fences, lands, etc., by a tenant for life or for years, to the prejudice of the heir, or of him in reversion or remainder.

» Waste is voluntary , as by pulling down buildings; or permissive , as by suffering them to fall for want of necessary repairs. Whatever does a lasting damage to the freehold is a waste . Blackstone.

5. (Mining) Old or abandoned workings, whether left as vacant space or filled with refuse.

Syn. -- Prodigality; diminution; loss; dissipation; destruction; devastation; havoc; desolation; ravage.

Waste noun (Physics Geology) Material derived by mechanical and chemical erosion from the land, carried by streams to the sea.

Wastebasket noun A basket used in offices, libraries, etc., as a receptacle for waste paper.

Wasteboard noun (Nautical) See Washboard , 3.

Wastebook noun (Com.) A book in which rough entries of transactions are made, previous to their being carried into the journal.

Wasteful adjective
1. Full of waste; destructive to property; ruinous; as, wasteful practices or negligence; wasteful expenses.

2. Expending, or tending to expend, property, or that which is valuable, in a needless or useless manner; lavish; prodigal; as, a wasteful person; a wasteful disposition.

3. Waste; desolate; unoccupied; untilled. [ Obsolete]

In wilderness and wasteful desert strayed.
Spenser.

Syn. -- Lavish; profuse; prodigal; extravagant.

-- Waste"ful*ly , adverb -- Waste"ful*ness , noun

Wastel noun [ Old French wastel , gastel , French gâteau , Late Latin wastellus , from Middle High German wastel a kind of bread; confer Old High German & Anglo-Saxon wist food.] A kind of white and fine bread or cake; -- called also wastel bread , and wastel cake . [ Obsolete]

Roasted flesh or milk and wasted bread.
Chaucer.

The simnel bread and wastel cakes, which were only used at the tables of the highest nobility.
Sir W. Scott.

Wasteness noun
1. The quality or state of being waste; a desolate state or condition; desolation.

A day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness .
Zeph. i. 15.

2. That which is waste; a desert; a waste. [ R.]

Through woods and wasteness wide him daily sought.
Spenser.

Waster noun [ Middle English wastour , Old French wasteor , gasteor . See Waste , transitive verb ]


1. One who, or that which, wastes; one who squanders; one who consumes or expends extravagantly; a spendthrift; a prodigal.

He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster .
Prov. xviii. 9.

Sconces are great wasters of candles.
Swift.

2. An imperfection in the wick of a candle, causing it to waste; -- called also a thief . Halliwell.

3. A kind of cudgel; also, a blunt-edged sword used as a foil.

Half a dozen of veneys at wasters with a good fellow for a broken head.
Beau. & Fl.

Being unable to wield the intellectual arms of reason, they are fain to betake them unto wasters .
Sir T. Browne.

Wastethrift noun A spendthrift. [ Obsolete]

Wasteweir noun An overfall, or weir, for the escape, or overflow, of superfluous water from a canal, reservoir, pond, or the like.

Wasting adjective Causing waste; also, undergoing waste; diminishing; as, a wasting disease; a wasting fortune.

Wasting palsy (Medicine) , progressive muscular atrophy. See under Progressive .

Wastor noun A waster; a thief. [ Obsolete or R.] [ Written also wastour .] Chaucer. Southey.

Wastorel noun See Wastrel . [ Obsolete]

Wastrel noun
1. Any waste thing or substance ; as: (a) Waste land or common land. [ Obsolete] Carew. (b) A profligate. [ Prov. Eng.] (c) A neglected child; a street Arab. [ Eng.]

2. Anything cast away as bad or useless, as imperfect bricks, china, etc. [ Obsolete or Prov. Eng.]

Watch (wŏch) noun [ Middle English wacche , Anglo-Saxon wæcce , from wacian to wake; akin to Dutch wacht , waak , German wacht , wache . √134. See Wake , intransitive verb ]


1. The act of watching; forbearance of sleep; vigil; wakeful, vigilant, or constantly observant attention; close observation; guard; preservative or preventive vigilance; formerly, a watching or guarding by night.

Shepherds keeping watch by night.
Milton.

All the long night their mournful watch they keep.
Addison.

» Watch was formerly distinguished from ward , the former signifying a watching or guarding by night , and the latter a watching, guarding, or protecting by day Hence, they were not unfrequently used together, especially in the phrase to keep watch and ward , to denote continuous and uninterrupted vigilance or protection, or both watching and guarding. This distinction is now rarely recognized, watch being used to signify a watching or guarding both by night and by day, and ward , which is now rarely used, having simply the meaning of guard , or protection , without reference to time.

Still, when she slept, he kept both watch and ward .
Spenser.

Ward , guard, or custodia , is chiefly applied to the daytime, in order to apprehend rioters, and robbers on the highway . . . Watch , is properly applicable to the night only, . . . and it begins when ward ends, and ends when that begins.
Blackstone.

2. One who watches, or those who watch; a watchman, or a body of watchmen; a sentry; a guard.

Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch ; go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
Matt. xxvii. 65.

3. The post or office of a watchman; also, the place where a watchman is posted, or where a guard is kept.

He upbraids Iago, that he made him
Brave me upon the watch .
Shak.

4. The period of the night during which a person does duty as a sentinel, or guard; the time from the placing of a sentinel till his relief; hence, a division of the night.

I did stand my watch upon the hill.
Shak.

Might we but hear . . .
Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock
Count the night watches to his feathery dames.
Milton.

5. A small timepiece, or chronometer, to be carried about the person, the machinery of which is moved by a spring.

» Watches are often distinguished by the kind of escapement used, as an anchor watch , a lever watch , a chronometer watch , etc. (see the Note under Escapement , noun , 3); also, by the kind of case, as a gold or silver watch , an open-faced watch , a hunting watch , or hunter , etc.

6. (Nautical) (a) An allotted portion of time, usually four hour for standing watch, or being on deck ready for duty. Confer Dogwatch . (b) That part, usually one half, of the officers and crew, who together attend to the working of a vessel for an allotted time, usually four hours. The watches are designated as the port watch , and the starboard watch .

Anchor watch (Nautical) , a detail of one or more men who keep watch on deck when a vessel is at anchor. -- To be on the watch , to be looking steadily for some event. -- Watch and ward (Law) , the charge or care of certain officers to keep a watch by night and a guard by day in towns, cities, and other districts, for the preservation of the public peace. Wharton. Burrill. -- Watch and watch (Nautical) , the regular alternation in being on watch and off watch of the two watches into which a ship's crew is commonly divided. -- Watch barrel , the brass box in a watch, containing the mainspring. -- Watch bell (Nautical) , a bell struck when the half-hour glass is run out, or at the end of each half hour. Craig. -- Watch bill (Nautical) , a list of the officers and crew of a ship as divided into watches, with their stations. Totten. -- Watch case , the case, or outside covering, of a watch; also, a case for holding a watch, or in which it is kept. -- Watch chain . Same as watch guard , below. -- Watch clock , a watchman's clock; see under Watchman . -- Watch fire , a fire lighted at night, as a signal, or for the use of a watch or guard. -- Watch glass . (a) A concavo-convex glass for covering the face, or dial, of a watch; -- also called watch crystal . (b) (Nautical) A half-hour glass used to measure the time of a watch on deck. -- Watch guard , a chain or cord by which a watch is attached to the person. -- Watch gun (Nautical) , a gun sometimes fired on shipboard at 8 p. m., when the night watch begins. -- Watch light , a low-burning lamp used by watchers at night; formerly, a candle having a rush wick. -- Watch night , The last night of the year; -- so called by the Methodists, Moravians, and others, who observe it by holding religious meetings lasting until after midnight. -- Watch paper , an old-fashioned ornament for the inside of a watch case, made of paper cut in some fanciful design, as a vase with flowers, etc. -- Watch tackle (Nautical) , a small, handy purchase, consisting of a tailed double block, and a single block with a hook.

Watch intransitive verb [ Confer Anglo-Saxon wœccan , wacian . √134. See Watch , noun , Wake , intransitive verb ]


1. To be awake; to be or continue without sleep; to wake; to keep vigil.

I have two nights watched with you.
Shak.

Couldest thou not watch one hour ?
Mark xiv. 37.

2. To be attentive or vigilant; to give heed; to be on the lookout; to keep guard; to act as sentinel.

Take ye heed, watch and pray.
Mark xiii. 33.

The Son gave signal high
To the bright minister that watched .
Milton.

3. To be expectant; to look with expectation; to wait; to seek opportunity.

My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning.
Ps. cxxx. 6.

4. To remain awake with any one as nurse or attendant; to attend on the sick during the night; as, to watch with a man in a fever.

5. (Nautical) To serve the purpose of a watchman by floating properly in its place; -- said of a buoy.

To watch over , to be cautiously observant of; to inspect, superintend, and guard.

Watch transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Watched ; present participle & verbal noun Watching .]


1. To give heed to; to observe the actions or motions of, for any purpose; to keep in view; not to lose from sight and observation; as, to watch the progress of a bill in the legislature.

Saul also sent messengers unto David's house to watch him, and to slay him.
1 Sam. xix. 11

I must cool a little, and watch my opportunity.
Landor.

In lazy mood I watched the little circles die.
Longfellow.

2. To tend; to guard; to have in keeping.

And flaming ministers, to watch and tend
Their earthy charge.
Milton.

Paris watched the flocks in the groves of Ida.
Broome.

Watch meeting A religious meeting held in the closing hours of the year.

Watchdog (wŏch"dŏg`) noun A dog kept to watch and guard premises or property, and to give notice of the approach of intruders.

Watcher (-ẽr) noun One who watches; one who sits up or continues; a diligent observer; specifically, one who attends upon the sick during the night.

Watches (-ĕz) noun plural (Botany) The leaves of Saracenia flava . See Trumpets .

Watchet (-ĕt) adjective [ Probably from French vaciet bilberry, whortleberry; confer Latin vaccinium blueberry, whortleberry.] Pale or light blue. [ Obsolete] " Watchet mantles." Spenser.

Who stares in Germany at watchet eyes?
Dryden.

Watchful adjective Full of watch; vigilant; attentive; careful to observe closely; observant; cautious; -- with of before the thing to be regulated or guarded; as, to be watchful of one's behavior; and with against before the thing to be avoided; as, to be watchful against the growth of vicious habits. "Many a watchful night." Shak. "Happy watchful shepherds." Milton.

'Twixt prayer and watchful love his heart dividing.
Keble.

Syn. -- Vigilant; attentive; cautious; observant; circumspect; wakeful; heedful.

-- Watch"ful*ly , adverb -- Watch"ful*ness , noun

Watchhouse noun ; plural Watchhouses
1. A house in which a watch or guard is placed.

2. A place where persons under temporary arrest by the police of a city are kept; a police station; a lockup.

Watchmaker noun One whose occupation is to make and repair watches.