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A Sample Glossary from A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language

A small book with tiny print, Noah Webster’s A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language contained 37,000 entries, including thousands of words that were in daily use in America but not listed in any other dictionary (including a host of terms from medicine, law, chemistry, botany, geology, agriculture, and other sciences, as well as Native American loan words).


advocate verb: to defend, plead in favor of

appellate adjective: belonging to appeals

decedent noun: one dead

lot noun: a share or division of land, a field

Science and Mathematics

aeriform adjective: having the form of air, as gas

caloric adjective: pertaining to the matter of heat

decahedron noun: a figure of ten sides

deliquesce verb: to dissolve or soften in air

electrician noun: one versed in electricity

foliar adjective: pertaining to or growing from a leaf

galvanism noun: the name given to effects resembling electricity, produced by metallic substances

ignescent adjective: yielding fire or sparks

lignify verb: to become or convert into wood

nutrient noun: that which feeds or nourishes

psychology noun: the doctrines of spirit or mind

sebaceous adjective: fat, pertaining to fat

vaccine noun: the cow pox, kine-pox

vaccinate verb: to inoculate with the virus of the cow pox

vaporize verb: to convert into vapor by heat


amendatory adjective: containing an amendment

caucus noun: cant name of secret meetings for electioneering purposes

census noun: an enumeration of inhabitants, a register of people, etc.

constitutionality noun: the state of being agreeable to the constitution, or of affecting the constitution

presidential adjective: pertaining to a president

selectman noun: a town official in New England

Agriculture and Industry

flume noun: a channel or passage for water

folder noun: a flat instrument to fold sheets of paper

gin verb: to clean cotton of its seeds by a gin

unmalleable adjective: not capable of being hammered into a plate

Plants and Animals

accipiters noun: an order of fowls with hooked bills

butternut noun: an American tree with an oblong nut, also the nut

cervine adjective: pertaining to the deer

conchology noun: the science of shellfish

cordiform adjective: in form of a heart

dendroid adjective: resembling a shrub

hickory noun: a tree, a species of walnut

opossum noun: a quadruped which carries her young in a bag under her belly

porcine adjective: pertaining to swine

scarious adjective: dry and rough to the touch

skunk noun: a quadruped remarkable for its smell

winterkill verb: to kill by means of winter, as grain


debit noun: a debt, the debtor side of an account

deliverable adjective: that may or ought to be delivered

unmarketable adjective: not saleable or fit for the market

Food and Drink

chowder noun: a dish of fish boiled with biscuit, etc.

hommony noun: food made of maiz broken but coarse and boiled

succotash noun: a mixture of new soft maiz and beans boiled

whiskey noun: a spirit distilled from grain


Americanize verb: to render American

caddy noun: a small box for tea

checkers noun pl.: a game

chore noun: a small job, domestic work

demoralize verb: to corrupt, undermine or destroy moral principles

emphasize verb: to pronounce with a stress of voice

energize verb: to give strength or vigor

flytrap noun: a trap to catch flies

hydrant noun: a pipe to conduct and deliver water

immigrant noun: one who removes into a country

inapproachable adjective: not to be approached

inexact adjective: not exact or precise

insubordination noun: disobedience or want of submission to authority

leanto noun: the part of a building that appears to lean upon another

notice verb: to see, regard, observe, attend

orthoepy noun: the art of just pronunciation

penmanship noun: the act, art, or use of writing

pry verb: to look into with close inspection, to raise with a lever

publicity noun: a public state, notoriety

sectarian adjective: pertaining to a sect

skittles noun: a game like ninepins

slang noun: vulgar language, cant phrases [low]

slat noun: a thin piece of timber connecting larger ones

slatternly adjective: negligent in dress, sluttish

snowshoe noun: a light frame to walk with on snow

spry adjective: nimble, brisk, quick in action

surf noun: waves or swell of the sea breaking on shore

velveteen noun: a cloth made of cotten and linen

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