A (named a in the English, and most commonly ä in other languages).
Defn: 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 (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 Phoenician 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).
Defn: 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
— A flat (A) is the name of a tone intermediate between A and G.
A per se Etym: (L. per se by itself), one preëminent; a nonesuch.
O fair Creseide, the flower and A per se Of Troy and Greece. Chaucer.
A (# emph. #).
1. Etym: [Shortened form of an. AS. an one. See One.]
Defn: An adjective, commonly called the indefinite article, and
signifying one or any, but less emphatically.
Defn: “At a birth”; “In a word”; “At a blow”. Shak.
Note: 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. Etym: [Originally the preposition a (an, on).]
Defn: In each; to or for each; as, “twenty leagues a day”, “a hundred
pounds a year”, “a dollar a yard”, etc.
A, prep. Etym: [Abbreviated form of an (AS. on). See On.]
1. In; on; at; by. [Obs.] “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” Heb. 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. Etym: [From AS. of off, from. See Of.]
Defn: Of. [Obs.] “The name of John a Gaunt.” “What time a day is it “
Shak. “It’s six a clock.” B. Jonson.
Defn: A barbarous corruption of have, of he, and sometimes of it and
of they. “So would I a done” “A brushes his hat.” Shak.
Defn: An expletive, void of sense, to fill up the meter
A merry heart goes all the day, Your sad tires in a mile-a. Shak.
Defn: A, as a prefix to English words, is derived from various
sources. (1) It frequently signifies on or in (from an, a forms of
AS. on), denoting a state, as in afoot, on foot, abed, amiss, asleep,
aground, aloft, away (AS. onweg), and analogically, ablaze, atremble,
etc. (2) AS. of off, from, as in adown (AS. ofdüne off the dun or
hill). (3) AS. a- (Goth. us-, ur-, Ger. er-), usually giving an
intensive force, and sometimes the sense of away, on, back, as in
arise, abide, ago. (4) Old English y- or i- (corrupted from the AS.
inseparable particle ge-, cognate with OHG. 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 abase, achieve. (6) L. a, ab,
abs, from, as in avert. (7) Greek insep. prefix a without, or
privative, not, as in abyss, atheist; akin to E. un-.
Note: Besides these, there are other sources from which the prefix a
takes its origin.
A 1. 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
Note: A 1 is also applied colloquially to other things to imply
superiority; prime; first-class; first-rate.
Aam, n. Etym: [D. aam, fr. LL. ama; cf. L. hama a water bucket, Gr.
Defn: 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`, n. Etym: [D., earth-pig.] (Zoöl.)
Defn: 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`, n. Etym: [D, earth-wolf] (Zoöl.)
Defn: A carnivorous quadruped (Proteles Lalandii), of South Africa,
resembling the fox and hyena. See Proteles.
Aa*ron”ic, Aa*ron”ic*al, a.
Defn: Pertaining to Aaron, the first high priest of the Jews.
Aar”on’s rod`. Etym: [See Exodus vii. 9 and Numbers xvii. 8]
Defn: A rod with one serpent twined around it, thus differing from
the caduceus of Mercury, which has two.
Defn: A plant with a tall flowering stem; esp. the great mullein, or
hag-taper, and the golden-rod.
Ab-. Etym: [Latin prep., etymologically the same as E. of, off. See
Defn: A prefix in many words of Latin origin. It signifies from, away
, separating, or departure, as in abduct, abstract, abscond. See A-
Ab, n. Etym: [Of Syriac origin.]
Defn: 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”a*ca, n. Etym: [The native name.]
Defn: The Manila-hemp plant (Musa textilis); also, its fiber. See
Manila hemp under Manila.
A*bac”i*nate, v.t. Etym: [LL. abacinatus, p.p. of abacinare; ab off +
bacinus a basin.]
Defn: To blind by a red-hot metal plate held before the eyes. [R.]
Defn: The act of abacinating. [R.]
Ab`a*cis”cus, n. Etym: [Gr.Abacus.] (Arch.)
Defn: One of the tiles or squares of a tessellated pavement; an
Ab”a*cist, n. Etym: [LL abacista, fr. abacus.]
Defn: One who uses an abacus in casting accounts; a calculator.
A*back”, adv. Etym: [Pref. a- + back; AS. on bæc at, on, or toward
the back. See Back.]
1. Toward the back or rear; backward. “Therewith aback she started.”
2. Behind; in the rear. Knolles.
Defn: 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
Defn: An abacus. [Obs.] B. Jonson.
Ab*ac”ti*nal, a. Etym: [L. ab + E. actinal.] (Zoöl.)
Defn: Pertaining to the surface or end opposite to the mouth in a
radiate animal; — opposed to actinal. “The aboral or abactinal
area.” L. Agassiz.
Defn: Stealing cattle on a large scale. [Obs.]
Ab*ac”tor, n. Etym: [L., fr. abigere to drive away; ab+agere to
Defn: One who steals and drives away cattle or beasts by herds or
A*bac”u*lus, n.; pl. Abaculi. Etym: [L., dim. of abacus.] (Arch.)
Defn: A small tile of glass, marble, or other substance, of various
colors, used in making ornamental patterns in mosaic pavements.
Ab”a*cus, n. E. pl. Abacuses ; L. pl. Abaci. Etym: [L. abacus, abax,
1. A table or tray strewn with sand, anciently used for drawing,
calculating, etc. [Obs.]
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.
(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.
Ab”a*da, n. Etym: [Pg., the female rhinoceros.]
Defn: The rhinoceros. [Obs.] Purchas.
A*bad”don, n. Etym: [Heb. abaddon destruction, abyss, fr. abad 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.
A*baft”, prep. Etym: [Pref. a-on + OE. baft, baften, biaften, AS.
beæftan; be by + æftan behind. See After, Aft, By.] (Naut.)
Defn: Behind; toward the stern from; as, abaft the wheelhouse. Abaft
the beam. See under Beam.
A*baft”, adv. (Naut.)
Defn: Toward the stern; aft; as, to go abaft.
A*bai”sance, n. Etym: [For obeisance; confused with F. abaisser, E.
Defn: Obeisance. [Obs.] Jonson.
Defn: Ivory black or animal charcoal. Weale.
Defn: Abashed; confounded; discomfited. [Obs.] Chaucer.
Ab*al”ien*ate, v.t. Etym: [L. abalienatus, p.p. of abalienare; ab +
alienus foreign, alien. See Alien.]
1. (Civil Law)
Defn: To transfer the title of from one to another; to alienate.
2. To estrange; to withdraw. [Obs.]
3. To cause alienation of (mind). Sandys.
Ab*al`ien*a”tion, n. Etym: [L. abalienatio: cf. F. abalianation.]
Defn: The act of abalienating; alienation; estrangement. [Obs.]
Ab`a*lo”ne, n. (Zoöl.)
Defn: 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.
A*band”, v.t. Etym: [Contracted from abandon.]
1. To abandon. [Obs.]
Enforced the kingdom to aband. Spenser.
2. To banish; to expel. [Obs.] Mir. for Mag.
A*ban”don, v.t. [imp. & p.p. Abandoned; p.pr. & vb.n. Abandoning.]
Etym: [OF. abandoner, F.abandonner; a (L. ad)+bandon permission,
authority, LL. bandum, bannum, public proclamation, interdiction,
bannire to proclaim, summon: of Germanic origin; cf. Goth. bandwjan
to show by signs, to designate OHG. banproclamation. The word meant
to proclaim, put under a ban, put under control; hence, as in OE., 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. [Obs.]
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
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
He abandoned himself . . . to his favorite vice. Macaulay.
4. (Mar. Law)
Defn: 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
— To give up; yield; forego; cede; surrender; resign; abdicate;
quit; relinquish; renounce; desert; forsake; leave; retire; withdraw
— 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.
A*ban”don, n. Etym: [F. abandon. fr. abandonner. See Abandon, v.]
Defn: Abandonment; relinquishment. [Obs.]
A`ban`don”, n. Etym: [F. See Abandon.]
Defn: A complete giving up to natural impulses; freedom from
artificial constraint; careless freedom or ease.
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.
— 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.
A*ban`don*ee”, n. (Law)
Defn: One to whom anything is legally abandoned.
Defn: One who abandons. Beau. & Fl.
A*ban”don*ment, n. Etym: [Cf. F. abandonnement.]
1. The act of abandoning, or the state of being abandoned; total
The abandonment of the independence of Europe. Burke.
2. (Mar. Law)
Defn: The relinquishment by the insured to the underwriters of what
may remain of the property insured after a loss or damage by a peril
3. (Com. Law)
Defn: (a) The relinquishment of a right, claim, or privilege, as to
mill site, etc. (b) The voluntary leaving of a person to whom one is
bound by a special relation, as a wife, husband, or child; desertion.
4. Careless freedom or ease; abandon. [R.] Carlyle.
A*ban”*dum, n. Etym: [LL. See Abandon.] (Law)
Defn: Anything forfeited or confiscated.
Defn: See Abnet.
A*ban”ga, n. Etym: [Name given by the negroes in the island of St.
Defn: A West Indian palm; also the fruit of this palm, the seeds of
which are used as a remedy for diseases of the chest.
Ab`an*na”tion, Ab`an*nition, n. Etym: [LL. abannatio; ad + LL.
bannire to banish.] (Old Law)
Defn: Banishment. [Obs.] Bailey.
Ab`ar*tic`u*la”tion, n. Etym: [L. ab + E. articulation : cf. F.
abarticulation. See Article.] (Anat.)
Defn: Articulation, usually that kind of articulation which admits of
free motion in the joint; diarthrosis. Coxe.
A*base”, v.t. [imp.&p.p. Abased; p.pr. & vb. n. Abasing.] Etym: [F.
abaisser, LL. abassare, abbassare ; ad + bassare, fr. bassus low. See
1. To lower or depress; to throw or cast down; as, to abase the eye.
Saying so, he abased his lance. Shelton.
2. To cast down or reduce low or lower, as in rank, office, condition
in life, or estimation of worthiness; to depress; to humble; to
Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased. Luke xiv. ll.
— To Abase, Debase, Degrade. These words agree in the idea of
bringing down from a higher to a lower state. Abase has reference to
a bringing down in condition or feelings; as to abase one’s self
before God. Debase has reference to the bringing down of a thing in
purity, or making it base. It is, therefore, always used in a bad
sense, as, to debase the coin of the kingdom, to debase the mind by
vicious indulgence, to debase one’s style by coarse or vulgar
expressions. Degrade has reference to a bringing down from some
higher grade or from some standard. Thus, a priest is degraded from
the clerical office. When used in a moral sense, it denotes a
bringing down in character and just estimation; as, degraded by
intemperance, a degrading employment, etc. “Art is degraded when it
is regarded only as a trade.”
1. Lowered; humbled.
2. (Her.) Etym: [F. abaissé.]
Defn: Borne lower than usual, as a fess; also, having the ends of the
wings turned downward towards the point of the shield.
Defn: Abjectly; downcastly.
A*base”ment, n. Etym: [Cf. F. abaissement.]
Defn: The act of abasing, humbling, or bringing low; the state of
being abased or humbled; humiliation.
Defn: He who, or that which, abases.
A*bash”, v.t. [imp. & p.p. Abashed; p.pr. & vb. n. Abashing.] Etym:
[OE. abaissen, abaisshen, abashen, OF.esbahir, F. ébahir, to
astonish, fr. L. ex + the interjection bah, expressing astonishment.
In OE. somewhat confused with abase. Cf. Finish.]
Defn: To destroy the self-possession of; to confuse or confound, as
by exciting suddenly a consciousness of guilt, mistake, or
inferiority; to put to shame; to disconcert; to discomfit.
Abashed, the devil stood, And felt how awful goodness is. Milton.
He was a man whom no check could abash. Macaulay.
— To confuse; confound; disconcert; shame.
— To Abash, Confuse, Confound. Abash is a stronger word than
confuse, but not so strong as confound. We are abashed when struck
either with sudden shame or with a humbling sense of inferiority; as,
Peter was abashed in the presence of those who are greatly his
superiors. We are confused when, from some unexpected or startling
occurrence, we lose clearness of thought and self-possession. Thus, a
witness is often confused by a severe cross-examination; a timid
person is apt to be confused in entering a room full of strangers. We
are confounded when our minds are overwhelmed, as it were, by
something wholly unexpected, amazing, dreadful, etc., so that we have
nothing to say. Thus, a criminal is usually confounded at the
discovery of his guilt.
Satan stood Awhile as mute, confounded what to say. Milton.
Defn: In an abashed manner.
A*bash”ment, n. Etym: [Cf. F. ébahissement.]
Defn: The state of being abashed; confusion from shame.
A*ba”si*a, n. [NL.; Gr. – not + a step.] (Med.)
Defn: Inability to coördinate muscular actions properly in walking. –
– A*ba”sic (#), a.
A*bas”si, A*bas”sis, n. Etym: [Ar.& Per. abasi, belonging to Abas (a
king of Persia).]
Defn: A silver coin of Persia, worth about twenty cents.
Defn: Capable of being abated; as, an abatable writ or nuisance.
A*bate”, v.t. [imp.& p.p. Abated, p.pr. & vb.n. Abating.] Etym: [OF.
abatre to beat down, F. abattre, LL. abatere; ab or ad + batere,
battere (popular form for L. batuere to beat). Cf. Bate, Batter.]
1. To beat down; to overthrow. [Obs.]
The King of Scots . . . sore abated the walls. Edw. Hall.
2. To bring down or reduce from a higher to a lower state, number, or
degree; to lessen; to diminish; to contract; to moderate; toto cut
short; as, to abate a demand; to abate pride, zeal, hope.
His eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. Deut. xxxiv. 7.
3. To deduct; to omit; as, to abate something from a price.
Nine thousand parishes, abating the odd hundreds. Fuller.
4. To blunt. [Obs.]
To abate the edge of envy. Bacon.
5. To reduce in estimation; to deprive. [Obs.]
She hath abated me of half my train. Shak.
Defn: (a) To bring entirely down or put an end to; to do away with;
as, to abate a nuisance, to abate a writ. (b) (Eng. Law) To diminish;
to reduce. Legacies are liable to be abated entirely or in
proportion, upon a deficiency of assets. To abate a tax, to remit it
either wholly or in part.
A*bate”, v.i. Etym: [See Abate, v.t.]
1. To decrease, or become less in strength or violence; as, pain
abates, a storm abates.
The fury of Glengarry . . . rapidly abated. Macaulay.
2. To be defeated, or come to naught; to fall through; to fail; as, a
writ abates. To abate into a freehold, To abate in lands (Law), to
enter into a freehold after the death of the last possessor, and
before the heir takes possession. See Abatement, 4.
— To subside; decrease; intermit; decline; diminish; lessen.
— To Abate, Subside. These words, as here compared, imply a coming
down from some previously raised or exited state. Abate expresses
this in respect to degrees, and implies a diminution of force or of
intensity; as, the storm abates, the cold abates, the force of the
wind abates; or, the wind abates, a fever abates. Subside (to settle
down) has reference to a previous state of agitation or commotion;
as, the waves subside after a storm, the wind subsides into a calm.
When the words are used figuratively, the same distinction should be
observed. If we conceive of a thing as having different degrees of
intensity or strength, the word to be used is abate. Thus we say, a
man’s anger abates, the ardor of one’s love abates, “Winter rage
abates”. But if the image be that of a sinking down into quiet from
preceding excitement or commotion, the word to be used is subside;
as, the tumult of the people subsides, the public mind subsided into
a calm. The same is the case with those emotions which are tumultuous
in their nature; as, his passion subsides, his joy quickly subsided,
his grief subsided into a pleasing melancholy. Yet if, in such cases,
we were thinking of the degree of violence of the emotion, we might
use abate; as, his joy will abate in the progress of time; and so in
Defn: Abatement. [Obs.] Sir T. Browne.
A*bate”ment, n. Etym: [OF. abatement, F. abattement.]
1. The act of abating, or the state of being abated; a lessening,
diminution, or reduction; removal or putting an end to; as, the
abatement of a nuisance is the suppression thereof.
2. The amount abated; that which is taken away by way of reduction;
deduction; decrease; a rebate or discount allowed.
Defn: A mark of dishonor on an escutcheon.
Defn: The entry of a stranger, without right, into a freehold after
the death of the last possessor, before the heir or devisee.
Blackstone. Defense in abatement, Plea in abatement, (Law), plea to
the effect that from some formal defect (e.g. misnomer, want of
jurisdiction) the proceedings should be abated.
Defn: One who, or that which, abates.
Ab”a*tis, Aba”t*tis, n. Etym: [F. abatis, abattis, mass of things
beaten or cut down, fr. abattre. See Abate.] (Fort.)
Defn: A means of defense formed by felled trees, the ends of whose
branches are sharpened and directed outwards, or against the enemy.
Defn: Provided with an abatis.
A*ba”tor, n. (Law)
Defn: (a) One who abates a nuisance. (b) A person who, without right,
enters into a freehold on the death of the last possessor, before the
heir or devisee. Blackstone.
A`bat`toir”, n.; pl. Abattoirs. Etym: [F., fr. abattre to beat down.
Defn: A public slaughterhouse for cattle, sheep, etc.
Ab”a*ture, n. Etym: [F. abatture, fr. abattre. See Abate.]
Defn: Grass and sprigs beaten or trampled down by a stag passing
through them. Crabb.
A`bat`voix”, n. Etym: [F. abattre to beat down + voix voice.]
Defn: The sounding-board over a pulpit or rostrum.
Ab*awed”, p.p. Etym: [Perh. p.p. of a verb fr. OF. abaubir to
frighten, disconcert, fr. L. ad + balbus stammering.]
Defn: Astonished; abashed. [Obs.] Chaucer.
Ab*ax”i*al, Ab*ax”ile, a. Etym: [L. ab + axis axle.] (Bot.)
Defn: Away from the axis or central line; eccentric. Balfour.
A*bay”, n. Etym: [OF. abay barking.]
Defn: Barking; baying of dogs upon their prey. See Bay. [Obs.]
Abb, n. Etym: [AS. aweb, ab; pref. a- + web. See Web.]
Defn: Among weaves, yarn for the warp. Hence, abb wool is wool for
Ab”ba, n. Etym: [Syriac abba father. See Abbot.]
Defn: Father; religious superior; — in the Syriac, Coptic, and
Ethiopic churches, a title given to the bishops, and by the bishops
to the patriarch.
Ab”ba*cy, n.; pl. Abbacies. Etym: [L. abbatia, fr. abbas, abbatis,
abbot. See Abbey.]
Defn: The dignity, estate, or jurisdiction of an abbot.
Ab*ba”tial, a. Etym: [LL. abbatialis : cf. F. abbatial.]
Defn: Belonging to an abbey; as, abbatial rights.
Defn: Abbatial. [Obs.]
Ab”bé`, n.Etym: [F. abbé. See Abbot.]
Defn: The French word answering to the English abbot, the head of an
abbey; but commonly a title of respect given in France to every one
vested with the ecclesiastical habit or dress.
Note: * After the 16th century, the name was given, in social
parlance, to candidates for some priory or abbey in the gift of the
crown. Many of these aspirants became well known in literary and
fashionable life. By further extension, the name came to be applied
to unbeneficed secular ecclesiastics generally. Littré.
Ab”bess, n. Etym: [OF.abaesse, abeesse, F. abbesse, L. abbatissa,
fem. of abbas, abbatis, abbot. See Abbot.]
Defn: A female superior or governess of a nunnery, or convent of
nuns, having the same authority over the nuns which the abbots have
over the monks. See Abbey.
Ab”bey, n.; pl. Abbeys. Etym: [OF. abaïe, F. abbaye, L. abbatia, fr.
abbas abbot. See Abbot.]
1. A monastery or society of persons of either sex, secluded from the
world and devoted to religion and celibacy; also, the monastic
building or buildings.
Note: The men are called monks, and governed by an abbot; the women
are called nuns, and governed by an abbess.
2. The church of a monastery.
Note: In London, the Abbey means Westminster Abbey, and in Scotland,
the precincts of the Abbey of Holyrood. The name is also retained for
a private residence on the site of an abbey; as, Newstead Abbey, the
residence of Lord Byron.
— Monastery; convent; nunnery; priory; cloister. See Cloister.
Ab”bot, n. Etym: [AS. abbod, abbad, L. abbas, abbatis, Gr. abba
father. Cf. Abba, AbbÉ.]
1. The superior or head of an abbey.
2. One of a class of bishops whose sees were formerly abbeys. Encyc.
Brit. Abbot of the people. a title formerly given to one of the chief
magistrates in Genoa.
— Abbot of Misrule (or Lord of Misrule), in mediæval times, the
master of revels, as at Christmas; in Scotland called the Abbot of
Unreason. Encyc. Brit.
Ab”bot*ship, n. Etym: [Abbot + -ship.]
Defn: The state or office of an abbot.
Ab*bre”vi*ate, v.t. [imp. & p.p. Abbreviated; p.pr. & vb.n.
Abbreviating.] Etym: [L. abbreviatus, p.p. of abbreviare; ad +
breviare to shorten, fr. brevis short. See Abridge.]
1. To make briefer; to shorten; to abridge; to reduce by contraction
or omission, especially of words written or spoken.
It is one thing to abbreviate by contracting, another by cutting off.
Defn: To reduce to lower terms, as a fraction.
Ab*bre”vi*ate, a. Etym: [L. abbreviatus, p.p.]
1. Abbreviated; abridged; shortened. [R.] “The abbreviate form.”
Defn: Having one part relatively shorter than another or than the
Defn: An abridgment. [Obs.] Elyot.
Defn: Shortened; relatively short; abbreviate.
Ab*bre`vi*a”tion, n. Etym: [LL. abbreviatio: cf. F. abbréviation.]
1. The act of shortening, or reducing.
2. The result of abbreviating; an abridgment. Tylor.
3. The form to which a word or phrase is reduced by contraction and
omission; a letter or letters, standing for a word or phrase of which
they are a part; as, Gen. for Genesis; U.S.A. for United States of
Defn: One dash, or more, through the stem of a note, dividing it
respectively into quavers, semiquavers, or demi-semiquavers. Moore.
Ab*bre”vi*a`tor, n. Etym: [LL.: cf. F. abbréviateur.]
1. One who abbreviates or shortens.
2. One of a college of seventy-two officers of the papal court whose
duty is to make a short minute of a decision on a petition, or reply
of the pope to a letter, and afterwards expand the minute into
Defn: Serving or tending to abbreviate; shortening; abridging.
1. An abbreviation; an abbreviated state or form. [Obs.]
2. An abridgment; a compendium or abstract.
This is an excellent abbreviature of the whole duty of a Christian.
Defn: See Abb.
A B C
A B C”.
1. The first three letters of the alphabet, used for the whole
2. A primer for teaching the alphabet and first elements of reading.
3. The simplest rudiments of any subject; as, the A B C of finance. A
B C book, a primer. Shak.
Ab”dal, n. Etym: [Ar. badil, pl. abdal, a substitute, a good,
religious man, saint, fr. badala to change, substitute.]
Defn: A religious devotee or dervish in Persia.
Ab*de”ri*an, a. Etym: [From Abdera, a town in Thrace, of which place
Democritus, the Laughing Philosopher, was a native.]
Defn: Given to laughter; inclined to foolish or incessant merriment.
Ab*de”rite, n. Etym: [L. Abderita, Abderites, fr. Gr. ‘
Defn: An inhabitant of Abdera, in Thrace. The Abderite, Democritus,
the Laughing Philosopher.
Ab”dest, n. Etym: [Per. abdast; ab water + dast hand.]
Defn: Purification by washing the hands before prayer; — a
Mohammedan rite. Heyse.
Defn: Capable of being abdicated.
Ab”di*cant, a. Etym: [L. abdicans, p.pr. of abdicare.]
Defn: Abdicating; renouncing; — followed by of.
Monks abdicant of their orders. Whitlock.
Defn: One who abdicates. Smart.
Ab”di*cate, v.t. [imp. & p.p. Abdicated; p.pr. & vb.n. Abdicating.]
Etym: [L. abdicatus, p.p. of abdicare; ab + dicare to proclaim, akin
to dicere to say. See Diction.]
1. To surrender or relinquish, as sovereign power; to withdraw
definitely from filling or exercising, as a high office, station,
dignity; as, to abdicate the throne, the crown, the papacy.
Note: The word abdicate was held to mean, in the case of James II.,
to abandon without a formal surrender.
The cross-bearers abdicated their service. Gibbon.
2. To renounce; to relinquish; — said of authority, a trust, duty,
He abdicates all right to be his own governor. Burke.
The understanding abdicates its functions. Froude.
3. To reject; to cast off. [Obs.] Bp. Hall.
4. (Civil Law)
Defn: To disclaim and expel from the family, as a father his child;
to disown; to disinherit.
— To give up; quit; vacate; relinquish; forsake; abandon; resign;
— To Abdicate, Resign. Abdicate commonly expresses the act of a
monarch in voluntary and formally yielding up sovereign authority;
as, to abdicate the government. Resign is applied to the act of any
person, high or low, who gives back an office or trust into the hands
of him who conferred it. Thus, a minister resigns, a military officer
resigns, a clerk resigns. The expression, “The king resigned his
crown,” sometimes occurs in our later literature, implying that he
held it from his people.
— There are other senses of resign which are not here brought into
Defn: To relinquish or renounce a throne, or other high office or
Though a king may abdicate for his own person, he cannot abdicate for
the monarchy. Burke.
Ab`di*ca”tion, n. Etym: [L. abdicatio: cf. F. abdication.]
Defn: The act of abdicating; the renunciation of a high office,
dignity, or trust, by its holder; commonly the voluntary renunciation
of sovereign power; as, abdication of the throne, government, power,
Ab”di*ca*tive, a. Etym: [L. abdicativus.]
Defn: Causing, or implying, abdication. [R.] Bailey.
Defn: One who abdicates.
Ab”di*tive, a. Etym: [L. abditivus, fr. abdere to hide.]
Defn: Having the quality of hiding. [R.] Bailey.
Ab”di*to*ry, n. Etym: [L. abditorium.]
Defn: A place for hiding or preserving articles of value. Cowell.
Ab*do”men, n. Etym: [L. abdomen (a word of uncertain etymol.): cf. F.
Defn: The belly, or that part of the body between the thorax and the
pelvis. Also, the cavity of the belly, which is lined by the
peritoneum, and contains the stomach, bowels, and other viscera. In
man, often restricted to the part between the diaphragm and the
commencement of the pelvis, the remainder being called the pelvic
Defn: The posterior section of the body, behind the thorax, in
insects, crustaceans, and other Arthropoda.
Ab*dom”i*nal, a. Etym: [Cf. F. abdominal.]
1. Of or pertaining to the abdomen; ventral; as, the abdominal
regions, muscles, cavity.
Defn: Having abdominal fins; belonging to the Abdominales; as,
abdominal fishes. Abdominal ring (Anat.), a fancied ringlike opening
on each side of the abdomen, external and superior to the pubes; —
called also inguinal ring.
Ab*dom”i*nal, n.; E. pl. Abdominals, L. pl. Abdominales.
Defn: A fish of the group Abdominales.
Ab*dom`i*na”les, n. pl. Etym: [NL., masc. pl.] (Zoöl.)
Defn: A group including the greater part of fresh-water fishes, and
many marine ones, having the ventral fins under the abdomen behind
Ab*dom`i*na”li*a, n. pl. Etym: [NL., neut. pl.] (Zoöl.)
Defn: A group of cirripeds having abdominal appendages.
Ab*dom`i*nos”co*py, n. Etym: [L. abdomen + Gr. (Med.)
Defn: Examination of the abdomen to detect abdominal disease.
Defn: Relating to the abdomen and the thorax, or chest.
Defn: Having a protuberant belly; pot-bellied.
Gorgonius sits, abdominous and wan, Like a fat squab upon a Chinese
Ab*duce”, v.t. [imp. & p.p. Abduced; p.pr. & vb.n. Abducing.] Etym:
[L. abducere to lead away; ab + ducere to lead. See Duke, and cf.
Defn: To draw or conduct away; to withdraw; to draw to a different
If we abduce the eye unto either corner, the object will not
duplicate. Sir T. Browne.
Ab*duct”, v.t. [imp. & p.p. Abducted; p.pr. & vb.n. Abducting.] Etym:
[L. abductus, p.p. of abducere. See Abduce.]
1. To take away surreptitiously by force; to carry away (a human
being) wrongfully and usually by violence; to kidnap.
2. To draw away, as a limb or other part, from its ordinary position.
Ab*duc”tion, n. Etym: [L. abductio: cf. F. abduction.]
1. The act of abducing or abducting; a drawing apart; a carrying
Defn: The movement which separates a limb or other part from the
axis, or middle line, of the body.
Defn: The wrongful, and usually the forcible, carrying off of a human
being; as, the abduction of a child, the abduction of an heiress.
Defn: A syllogism or form of argument in which the major is evident,
but the minor is only probable.
Ab*duc”tor, n. Etym: [NL.]
1. One who abducts.
Defn: A muscle which serves to draw a part out, or form the median
line of the body; as, the abductor oculi, which draws the eye
A*beam”, adv. Etym: [Pref. a- + beam.] (Naut.)
Defn: On the beam, that is, on a line which forms a right angle with
the ship’s keel; opposite to the center of the ship’s side.
A*bear”, v.t. Etym: [AS. aberan; pref. a- + beran to bear.]
1. To bear; to behave. [Obs.]
So did the faery knight himself abear. Spenser.
2. To put up with; to endure. [Prov.] Dickens.
Defn: Behavior. [Obs.] Blackstone.
Defn: Behavior. [Obs.] Sir. T. More.
A`be*ce*da”ri*an, n. Etym: [L. abecedarius. A word from the first
four letters of the alphabet.]
1. One who is learning the alphabet; hence, a tyro.
2. One engaged in teaching the alphabet. Wood.
A`be*ce*da”ri*an, A`be*ce”da*ry, a.
Defn: Pertaining to, or formed by, the letters of the alphabet;
alphabetic; hence, rudimentary. Abecedarian psalms, hymns, etc.,
compositions in which (like the 119th psalm in Hebrew) distinct
portions or verses commence with successive letters of the alphabet.
Defn: A primer; the first principle or rudiment of anything. [R.]
A*bed”, adv. Etym: [Pref. a- in, on + bed.]
1. In bed, or on the bed.
Not to be abed after midnight. Shak.
2. To childbed (in the phrase “brought abed,” that is, delivered of a
Defn: Same as Aby. [Obs.] Chaucer.
A*bele”, n. Etym: [D. abeel (abeel-boom), OF. abel, aubel, fr. a dim.
of L. albus white.]
Defn: The white polar (Populus alba).
Six abeles i’ the churchyard grow. Mrs. Browning.
ABELIAN; ABELITE; ABELONIAN
A*bel”i*an, A”bel*ite, A`bel*o”ni*an, n. (Eccl. Hist.)
Defn: One of a sect in Africa (4th century), mentioned by St.
Augustine, who states that they married, but lived in continence,
after the manner, as they pretended, of Abel.
A”bel*mosk`, n. Etym: [NL. abelmoschus, fr. Ar. abu-l-misk father of
musk, i.e., producing musk. See Musk.] (Bot.)
Defn: An evergreen shrub (Hibiscus — formerly Abelmoschus-
moschatus), of the East and West Indies and Northern Africa, whose
musky seeds are used in perfumery and to flavor coffee; — sometimes
called musk mallow.
Ab`er-de-vine”, n. (Zoöl.)
Defn: The European siskin (Carduelis spinus), a small green and
yellow finch, related to the goldfinch.
Ab*err”, v.i. Etym: [L. aberrare. See Aberrate.]
Defn: To wander; to stray. [Obs.] Sir T. Browne.
Ab*er”rance, Ab*er”ran*cy, n.
Defn: State of being aberrant; a wandering from the right way;
deviation from truth, rectitude, etc. Aberrancy of curvature (Geom.),
the deviation of a curve from a circular form.
Ab*er”rant, a. Etym: [L. aberrans, -rantis, p.pr. of aberrare.]
Defn: See Aberr.]
1. Wandering; straying from the right way.
Defn: Deviating from the ordinary or natural type; exceptional;
The more aberrant any form is, the greater must have been the number
of connecting forms which, on my theory, have been exterminated.
Ab”er*rate, v.i. Etym: [L. aberratus, p.pr. of aberrare; ab + errare
to wander. See Err.]
Defn: To go astray; to diverge. [R.]
Their own defective and aberrating vision. De Quincey.
Ab`er*ra”tion, n. Etym: [L. aberratio: cf. F. aberration. See
1. The act of wandering; deviation, especially from truth or moral
rectitude, from the natural state, or from a type. “The aberration of
youth.” Hall. “Aberrations from theory.” Burke.
2. A partial alienation of reason. “Occasional aberrations of
Whims, which at first are the aberrations of a single brain, pass
with heat into epidemic form. I. Taylor.
Defn: A small periodical change of position in the stars and other
heavenly bodies, due to the combined effect of the motion of light
and the motion of the observer; called annual aberration, when the
observer’s motion is that of the earth in its orbit, and dairy or
diurnal aberration, when of the earth on its axis; amounting when
greatest, in the former case, to 20.4”, and in the latter, to 0.3”.
Planetary aberration is that due to the motion of light and the
motion of the planet relative to the earth.
Defn: The convergence to different foci, by a lens or mirror, of rays
of light emanating from one and the same point, or the deviation of
such rays from a single focus; called spherical aberration, when due
to the spherical form of the lens or mirror, such form giving
different foci for central and marginal rays; and chromatic
aberration, when due to different refrangibilities of the colored
rays of the spectrum, those of each color having a distinct focus.
Defn: The passage of blood or other fluid into parts not appropriate
Defn: The producing of an unintended effect by the glancing of an
instrument, as when a shot intended for A glances and strikes B.
— Insanity; lunacy; madness; derangement; alienation; mania;
dementia; hallucination; illusion; delusion. See Insanity.
Defn: Characterized by aberration.
Ab`e*run”cate, v.t. Etym: [L. aberuncare, for aberruncare. See
Defn: To weed out. [Obs.] Bailey.
Defn: A weeding machine.
[imp. & p.p. Abetted; p.pr. & vb.n. Abetting.]
[OF. abeter; a (L. ad) + beter to bait (as a bear), fr. Icel. beita
to set dogs on, to feed, originally, to cause to bite, fr. Icel. bita
to bite, hence to bait, to incite. See Bait, Bet.]
1. To instigate or encourage by aid or countenance; — used in a bad
sense of persons and acts; as, to abet an ill-doer; to abet one in
his wicked courses; to abet vice; to abet an insurrection. “The whole
tribe abets the villany.” South.
Would not the fool abet the stealth, Who rashly thus exposed his
2. To support, uphold, or aid; to maintain; — in a good sense.
Our duty is urged, and our confidence abetted. Jer. Taylor.
Defn: To contribute, as an assistant or instigator, to the commission
of an offense.
— To incite; instigate; set on; egg on; foment; advocate;
countenance; encourage; second; uphold; aid; assist; support;
sustain; back; connive at.
A*bet”, n. Etym: [OF. abet, fr. abeter.]
Defn: Act of abetting; aid. [Obs.] Chaucer.
Defn: The act of abetting; as, an abetment of treason, crime, etc.
Defn: Abetment. [R.]
A*bet”ter, A*bet*tor, n.
Defn: One who abets; an instigator of an offense or an offender.
Note: The form abettor is the legal term and also in general use.
— Abettor, Accessory, Accomplice. These words denote different
degrees of complicity in some deed or crime. An abettor is one who
incites or encourages to the act, without sharing in its performance.
An accessory supposes a principal offender. One who is neither the
chief actor in an offense, nor present at its performance, but
accedes to or becomes involved in its guilt, either by some previous
or subsequent act, as of instigating, encouraging, aiding, or
concealing, etc., is an accessory. An accomplice is one who
participates in the commission of an offense, whether as principal or
accessory. Thus in treason, there are no abettors or accessories, but
all are held to be principals or accomplices.
Ab`e*vac”u*a”tion, n. Etym: [Pref. ab- + evacuation.] (Med.)
Defn: A partial evacuation. Mayne.
A*bey”ance, n. Etym: [OF. abeance expectation, longing; a (L. ad) +
baer, beer, to gape, to look with open mouth, to expect, F. bayer,
LL. badare to gape.]
Defn: Expectancy; condition of being undetermined.
Note: When there is no person in existence in whom an inheritance (or
a dignity) can vest, it is said to be in abeyance, that is, in
expectation; the law considering it as always potentially existing,
and ready to vest whenever a proper owner appears. Blackstone.
2. Suspension; temporary suppression.
Keeping the sympathies of love and admiration in a dormant state, or
state of abeyance. De Quincey.
Defn: Abeyance. [R.] Hawthorne.
Defn: Being in a state of abeyance.
Ab”ge*ord`ne*ten*haus`, n. [G.]
Defn: See Legislature, Austria, Prussia.
Defn: The berries of a species of cypress in the East Indies.
Note: [A false orthography anciently used; h was foisted into various
words; hence abholish, for abolish, etc.]
This is abhominable, which he [Don Armado] would call abominable.
Shak. Love’s Labor’s Lost, v. 1.
Ab*hom`i*nal, a. Etym: [L. ab away from + homo, hominis, man.]
Defn: Inhuman. [Obs.] Fuller.
Ab*hor”, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Abhorred; p. pr. & vb. n. Abhorring.]
Etym: [L. abhorrere; ab + horrere to bristle, shiver, shudder: cf. F.
abhorrer. See Horrid.]
1. To shrink back with shuddering from; to regard with horror or
detestation; to feel excessive repugnance toward; to detest to
extremity; to loathe.
Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Rom. xii. 9.
2. To fill with horror or disgust. [Obs.]
It doth abhor me now I speak the word. Shak.
3. (Canon Law)
Defn: To protest against; to reject solemnly. [Obs.]
I utterly abhor, yea, from my soul Refuse you for my judge. Shak.
— To hate; detest; loathe; abominate. See Hate.
Ab*hor”, v. i.
Defn: To shrink back with horror, disgust, or dislike; to be contrary
or averse; — with from. [Obs.] “To abhor from those vices.” Udall.
Which is utterly abhorring from the end of all law. Milton.
Defn: Extreme hatred or detestation; the feeling of utter dislike.
Defn: Abhorrence. [Obs.] Locke.
Ab*hor”rent, a. Etym: [L. abhorens, -rentis, p. pr. of abhorrere.]
1. Abhorring; detesting; having or showing abhorrence; loathing;
hence, strongly opposed to; as, abhorrent thoughts.
The persons most abhorrent from blood and treason. Burke.
The arts of pleasure in despotic courts I spurn abhorrent. Clover.
2. Contrary or repugnant; discordant; inconsistent; — followed by
to. “Injudicious profanation, so abhorrent to our stricter
3. Detestable. “Pride, abhorrent as it is.” I. Taylor.
Defn: With abhorrence.
Defn: One who abhors. Hume.
Defn: Detestable. [R.]
1. Detestation. Milton.
2. Object of abhorrence. Isa. lxvi. 24.
A”bib, n. Etym: [Heb. abib, lit. an ear of corn. The month was so
called from barley being at that time in ear.]
Defn: The first month of the Jewish ecclesiastical year,
corresponding nearly to our April. After the Babylonish captivity
this month was called Nisan. Kitto.
Defn: The state of abiding; abode; continuance; compliance (with).
The Christians had no longer abidance in the holy hill of Palestine.
A judicious abidance by rules. Helps.
A*bide”, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Abode, formerly Abid(#); p. pr. & vb. n.
Abiding.] Etym: [AS. abidan; pref. a- (cf. Goth. us-, G. er-, orig.
meaning out) + bidan to bide. See Bide.]
1. To wait; to pause; to delay. [Obs.] Chaucer.
2. To stay; to continue in a place; to have one’s abode; to dwell; to
sojourn; — with with before a person, and commonly with at or in
before a place.
Let the damsel abide with us a few days. Gen. xxiv. 55.
3. To remain stable or fixed in some state or condition; to continue;
Let every man abide in the same calling. 1 Cor. vii. 20.
Followed by by: To abide by. (a) To stand to; to adhere; to maintain.
The poor fellow was obstinate enough to abide by what he said at
(b) To acquiesce; to conform to; as, to abide by a decision or an
A*bide”, v. t.
1. To wait for; to be prepared for; to await; to watch for; as, I
abide my time. “I will abide the coming of my lord.” Tennyson.
Note: [[Obs.], with a personal object.
Bonds and afflictions abide me. Acts xx. 23.
2. To endure; to sustain; to submit to.
[Thou] shalt abide her judgment on it. Tennyson.
3. To bear patiently; to tolerate; to put up with.
She could not abide Master Shallow. Shak.
Note: [Confused with aby to pay for. See Aby.]
Defn: To stand the consequences of; to answer for; to suffer for.
Dearly I abide that boast so vain. Milton.
1. One who abides, or continues. [Obs.] “Speedy goers and strong
2. One who dwells; a resident. Speed.
Defn: Continuing; lasting.
Defn: Permanently. Carlyle.
A”bi*es, n. Etym: [L., fir tree.] (Bot.)
Defn: A genus of coniferous trees, properly called Fir, as the balsam
fir and the silver fir. The spruces are sometimes also referred to
Ab”i*e*tene, n. Etym: [L. abies, abietis, a fir tree.]
Defn: A volatile oil distilled from the resin or balsam of the nut
pine (Pinus sabiniana) of California.
Defn: Of or pertaining to the fir tree or its products; as, abietic
acid, called also sylvic acid. Watts.
Ab”i*e*tin, Ab”i*e*tine, n. Etym: [See Abietene.] (Chem.)
Defn: A resinous obtained from Strasburg turpentine or Canada balsam.
It is without taste or smell, is insoluble in water, but soluble in
alcohol (especially at the boiling point), in strong acetic acid, and
in ether. Watts.
Defn: Of or pertaining to abietin; as, abietinic acid.
Ab”i*e*tite, n. (Chem.)
Defn: A substance resembling mannite, found in the needles of the
common silver fir of Europe (Abies pectinata). Eng. Cyc.
Ab”i*gail, n. Etym: [The proper name used as an appellative.]
Defn: A lady’s waiting-maid. Pepys.
Her abigail reported that Mrs. Gutheridge had a set of night curls
for sleeping in. Leslie.
Defn: Habiliment. [Obs.]
A*bil”i*ty, n.; pl. Abilities(#). Etym: [F. habileté, earlier
spelling habilité (with silent h), L. habilitas aptitude, ability,
fr. habilis apt. See Able.]
Defn: The quality or state of being able; power to perform, whether
physical, moral, intellectual, conventional, or legal; capacity;
skill or competence in doing; sufficiency of strength, skill,
resources, etc.; — in the plural, faculty, talent.
Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to
send relief unto the brethren. Acts xi. 29.
Natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by
The public men of England, with much of a peculiar kind of ability.
— Capacity; talent; cleverness; faculty; capability; efficiency;
aptitude; aptness; address; dexterity; skill. Ability, Capacity.
These words come into comparison when applied to the higher
intellectual powers. Ability has reference to the active exercise of
our faculties. It implies not only native vigor of mind, but that
ease and promptitude of execution which arise from mental training.
Thus, we speak of the ability with which a book is written, an
argument maintained, a negotiation carried on, etc. It always
something to be done, and the power of doing it. Capacity has
reference to the receptive powers. In its higher exercises it
supposes great quickness of apprehension and breadth of intellect,
with an uncommon aptitude for acquiring and retaining knowledge.
Hence it carries with it the idea of resources and undeveloped power.
Thus we speak of the extraordinary capacity of such men as Lord
Bacon, Blaise Pascal, and Edmund Burke. “Capacity,” says H. Taylor,
“is requisite to devise, and ability to execute, a great enterprise.”
The word abilities, in the plural, embraces both these qualities, and
denotes high mental endowments.
A*bime” or A*byme”, n. Etym: [F. abîme. See Abysm.]
Defn: A abyss. [Obs.]
Ab`i*o*gen”e*sis, n. Etym: [Gr. (Biol.)
Defn: The supposed origination of living organisms from lifeless
matter; such genesis as does not involve the action of living
parents; spontaneous generation; — called also abiogeny, and opposed
I shall call the . . . doctrine that living matter may be produced by
not living matter, the hypothesis of abiogenesis. Huxley, 1870.
Ab`i*o*ge*net”ic, a. (Biol.)
Defn: Of or pertaining to abiogenesis. Ab`i*o*ge*net”ic*al*ly, adv.
Ab`i*og”e*nist, n. (Biol.)
Defn: One who believes that life can be produced independently of
Ab`i*og”e*nous, a. (Biol.)
Defn: Produced by spontaneous generation.
Ab`i*og”e*ny, n. (Biol.)
Defn: Same as Abiogenesis.
Ab`i*o*log”ic*al, a. Etym: [Gr. biological.]
Defn: Pertaining to the study of inanimate things.
Ab*ir”ri*tant, n. (Med.)
Defn: A medicine that diminishes irritation.
Ab*ir”ri*tate, v. t. Etym: [Pref. ab- + irritate.] (Med.)
Defn: To diminish the sensibility of; to debilitate.
Ab*ir`ri*ta”tion, n. (Med.)
Defn: A pathological condition opposite to that of irritation;
debility; want of strength; asthenia.
Ab*ir”ri*ta*tive, a. (Med.)
Defn: Characterized by abirritation or debility.
Defn: 3d sing. pres. of Abide. [Obs.] Chaucer.
Ab”ject, a. Etym: [L. abjectus, p. p. of abjicere to throw away; ab +
jacere to throw. See Jet a shooting forth.]
1. Cast down; low-lying. [Obs.]
From the safe shore their floating carcasses And broken chariot
wheels; so thick bestrown Abject and lost lay these, covering the
2. Sunk to a law condition; down in spirit or hope; degraded;
servile; groveling; despicable; as, abject posture, fortune,
thoughts. “Base and abject flatterers.” Addison. “An abject liar.”
And banish hence these abject, lowly dreams. Shak.
— Mean; groveling; cringing; mean-spirited; slavish; ignoble;
worthless; vile; beggarly; contemptible; degraded.
Ab*ject”, v. t. Etym: [From Abject, a.]
Defn: To cast off or down; hence, to abase; to degrade; to lower; to
debase. [Obs.] Donne.
Defn: A person in the lowest and most despicable condition; a
Shall these abjects, these victims, these outcasts, know any thing of
pleasure I. Taylor.
Defn: A very abject or low condition; abjectness. [R.] Boyle.
Ab*jec”tion, n. Etym: [F. abjection, L. abjectio.]
1. The act of bringing down or humbling. “The abjection of the king
and his realm.” Joe.
2. The state of being rejected or cast out. [R.]
An adjection from the beatific regions where God, and his angels and
saints, dwell forever. Jer. Taylor.
3. A low or downcast state; meanness of spirit; abasement;
That this should be termed baseness, abjection of mind, or servility,
is it credible Hooker.
Defn: Meanly; servilely.
Defn: The state of being abject; abasement; meanness; servility.
Ab*judge”, v. t. Etym: [Pref. ab- + judge, v. Cf. Abjudicate.]
Defn: To take away by judicial decision. [R.]
Ab*ju”di*cate, v. t. Etym: [L. abjudicatus, p. p. of abjudicare; ab +
judicare. See Judge, and cf. Abjudge.]
Defn: To reject by judicial sentence; also, to abjudge. [Obs.] Ash.
Defn: Rejection by judicial sentence. [R.] Knowles.
Ab”ju*gate, v. t. Etym: [L. abjugatus, p. p. of abjugare.]
Defn: To unyoke. [Obs.] Bailey.
Ab*junc”tive, a. Etym: [L. abjunctus, p. p. of abjungere; ab +
jungere to join.]
Defn: Exceptional. [R.]
It is this power which leads on from the accidental and abjunctive to
the universal. I. Taylor.
Ab`ju*ra”tion, n. Etym: [L. abjuratio: cf. F. abjuration.]
1. The act of abjuring or forswearing; a renunciation upon oath; as,
abjuration of the realm, a sworn banishment, an oath taken to leave
the country and never to return.
2. A solemn recantation or renunciation; as, an abjuration of heresy.
Oath of abjuration, an oath asserting the right of the present royal
family to the crown of England, and expressly abjuring allegiance to
the descendants of the Pretender. Brande & C.
Defn: Containing abjuration.
Ab*jure”, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Abjured; p. pr. & vb. n. Abjuring.]
Etym: [L. abjurare to deny upon oath; ab + jurare to swear, fr. jus,
juris, right, law; cf. F. abjurer. See Jury.]
1. To renounce upon oath; to forswear; to disavow; as, to abjure
allegiance to a prince. To abjure the realm, is to swear to abandon
2. To renounce or reject with solemnity; to recant; to abandon
forever; to reject; repudiate; as, to abjure errors. “Magic I here
— See Renounce.
Ab*jure”, v. i.
Defn: To renounce on oath. Bp. Burnet.
Defn: Renunciation. [R.]
Defn: One who abjures.
Ab*lac”tate, v. t. Etym: [L. ablactatus, p. p. of ablactare; ab +
lactare to suckle, fr. lac milk.]
Defn: To wean. [R.] Bailey.
1. The weaning of a child from the breast, or of young beasts from
their dam. Blount.
Defn: The process of grafting now called inarching, or grafting by
Ab*la”que*ate, v. t. Etym: [L. ablaqueatus, p. p. of. ablaqueare; fr.
ab + laqueus a noose.]
Defn: To lay bare, as the roots of a tree. [Obs.] Bailey.
Ab*la`que*a”tion, n. Etym: [L. ablaqueatio.]
Defn: The act or process of laying bare the roots of trees to expose
them to the air and water. [Obs.] Evelyn.
Ab`las*tem”ic, a. Etym: [Gr. (Biol.)
Ab*la”tion, n. Etym: [L. ablatio, fr. ablatus p. p. of auferre to
carry away; ab + latus, p. p. of ferre carry: cf. F. ablation. See
1. A carrying or taking away; removal. Jer. Taylor.
Defn: Extirpation. Dunglison.
Defn: Wearing away; superficial waste. Tyndall.
Defn: Diminishing; as, an ablatitious force. Sir J. Herschel.
Ab”la*tive, a. Etym: [F. ablatif, ablative, L. ablativus fr. ablatus.
1. Taking away or removing. [Obs.]
Where the heart is forestalled with misopinion, ablative directions
are found needful to unteach error, ere we can learn truth. Bp. Hall.
Defn: Applied to one of the cases of the noun in Latin and some other
languages, — the fundamental meaning of the case being removal,
separation, or taking away.
Defn: The ablative case. ablative absolute, a construction in Latin,
in which a noun in the ablative case has a participle (either
expressed or implied), agreeing with it in gender, number, and case,
both words forming a clause by themselves and being unconnected,
grammatically, with the rest of the sentence; as, Tarquinio regnante,
Pythagoras venit, i. e., Tarquinius reigning, Pythagoras came.
Ab”laut, n. Etym: [Ger., off-sound; ab off + laut sound.] (Philol.)
Defn: The substitution of one root vowel for another, thus indicating
a corresponding modification of use or meaning; vowel permutation;
as, get, gat, got; sing, song; hang, hung. Earle.
A*blaze”, adv. & a. Etym: [Pref. a- + blaze.]
1. On fire; in a blaze, gleaming. Milman.
All ablaze with crimson and gold. Longfellow.
2. In a state of glowing excitement or ardent desire.
The young Cambridge democrats were all ablaze to assist Torrijos.
A”ble, a. [Comp. Abler; superl. Ablest.] Etym: [OF. habile, L.
habilis that may be easily held or managed, apt, skillful, fr. habere
to have, hold. Cf. Habile and see Habit.]
1. Fit; adapted; suitable. [Obs.]
A many man, to ben an abbot able. Chaucer.
2. Having sufficient power, strength, force, skill, means, or
resources of any kind to accomplish the object; possessed of
qualifications rendering competent for some end; competent;
qualified; capable; as, an able workman, soldier, seaman, a man able
to work; a mind able to reason; a person able to be generous; able to
endure pain; able to play on a piano.
3. Specially: Having intellectual qualifications, or strong mental
powers; showing ability or skill; talented; clever; powerful; as, the
ablest man in the senate; an able speech.
No man wrote abler state papers. Macaulay.
Defn: Legally qualified; possessed of legal competence; as, able to
inherit or devise property.
Note: Able for, is Scotticism.
“Hardly able for such a march.” Robertson.
— Competent; qualified; fitted; efficient; effective; capable;
skillful; clever; vigorous; powerful.
A”ble, v. t. Etym: [See Able, a.] [Obs.]
1. To make able; to enable; to strengthen. Chaucer.
2. To vouch for. “I ‘ll able them.” Shak.
ABLE; -ABLE; IBLE; -IBLE
*a*ble. Etym: [F. -able, L. -abilis.]
Defn: An adjective suffix now usually in a passive sense; able to be;
fit to be; expressing capacity or worthiness in a passive sense; as,
movable, able to be moved; amendable, able to be amended; blamable,
fit to be blamed; salable.
Note: The form ible is used in the same sense.
Note: It is difficult to say when we are not to use -able instead of
-ible. “Yet a rule may be laid down as to when we are to use it. To
all verbs, then, from the Anglo-Saxon, to all based on the
uncorrupted infinitival stems of Latin verbs of the first
conjugation, and to all substantives, whencesoever sprung, we annex –
able only.” Fitzed. Hall.
Defn: Having a sound, strong body; physically competent; robust.
“Able-bodied vagrant.” Froude.
— A`ble-bod”ied*ness, n..
Ab”le*gate, v. t. Etym: [L. ablegatus, p. p. of ablegare; ab + legare
to send with a commission. See Legate.]
Defn: To send abroad. [Obs.] Bailey.
Ab”le*gate, n. (R. C. Ch.)
Defn: A representative of the pope charged with important commissions
in foreign countries, one of his duties being to bring to a newly
named cardinal his insignia of office.
Ab`le*ga”tion, n. Etym: [L. ablegatio.]
Defn: The act of sending abroad. [Obs.] Jer. Taylor.
Defn: Having much intellectual power.
— A`ble-mind”ed*ness, n.
Defn: Ability of body or mind; force; vigor. [Obs. or R.]
Ab”lep*sy, n. Etym: [Gr.
Defn: Blindness. [R.] Urquhart.
Defn: comp. of Able.
— A”blest, a.,
Defn: superl. of Able.
Ab”let, Ab”len Etym: [F. ablet, ablette, a dim. fr. LL. abula, for
albula, dim. of albus white. Cf. Abele.] (Zoöl.)
Defn: A small fresh-water fish (Leuciscus alburnus); the bleak.
Ab”li*gate, v. t. Etym: [L. ab + ligatus, p. p. of ligare to tie.]
Defn: To tie up so as to hinder from. [Obs.]
Ab*lig`u*ri”tion, n. Etym: [L. abligurito, fr. abligurire to spend in
luxurious indulgence; ab + ligurire to be lickerish, dainty, fr.
lingere to lick.]
Defn: Prodigal expense for food. [Obs.] Bailey.
A”blins, adv. Etym: [See Able.]
Defn: Perhaps. [Scot.]
A*bloom”, adv. Etym: [Pref. a- + bloom.]
Defn: In or into bloom; in a blooming state. Masson.
Ab*lude”, v. t. Etym: [L. abludere; ab + ludere to play.]
Defn: To be unlike; to differ. [Obs.] Bp. Hall.
Ab”lu*ent, a. Etym: [L. abluens, p. pr. of. abluere to wash away; ab
+ luere (lavere, lavare). See Lave.]
Defn: Washing away; carrying off impurities; detergent.
— n. (Med.)
Defn: A detergent.
A*blush”, adv. & a. Etym: [Pref. a- + blush.]
Defn: Blushing; ruddy.
Ab*lu`tion, n. Etym: [L. ablutio, fr. abluere: cf. F. ablution. See
1. The act of washing or cleansing; specifically, the washing of the
body, or some part of it, as a religious rite.
2. The water used in cleansing. “Cast the ablutions in the main.”
3. (R. C. Ch.)
Defn: A small quantity of wine and water, which is used to wash the
priest’s thumb and index finger after the communion, and which then,
as perhaps containing portions of the consecrated elements, is drunk
by the priest.
Defn: Pertaining to ablution.
Ab*lu”vi*on, n. Etym: [LL. abluvio. See Abluent.]
Defn: That which is washed off. [R.] Dwight.
Defn: In an able manner; with great ability; as, ably done, planned,
Defn: A suffix composed of -able and the adverbial suffix -ly; as,
Ab”ne*gate, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Abnegated; p. pr. & vb. n.
Abnegating.] Etym: [L. abnegatus,p. p. of abnegare; ab + negare to
deny. See Deny.]
Defn: To deny and reject; to abjure. Sir E. Sandys. Farrar.
Ab`ne*ga”tion, n. Etym: [L. abnegatio: cf. F. abnégation.]
Defn: a denial; a renunciation.
With abnegation of God, of his honor, and of religion, they may
retain the friendship of the court. Knox.
Ab”ne*ga*tive, a. Etym: [L. abnegativus.]
Defn: Denying; renouncing; negative. [R.] Clarke.
Ab”ne*ga`tor(#), n. [L.]
Defn: One who abnegates, denies, or rejects anything. [R.]
Ab”net, n. Etym: [Heb.]
Defn: The girdle of a Jewish priest or officer.
Ab”no*date, v. t. Etym: [L. abnodatus, p. p. of abnodare; ab + nodus
Defn: To clear (tress) from knots. [R.] Blount.
Defn: The act of cutting away the knots of trees. [R.] Crabb.
Ab*nor”mal, a. Etym: [For earlier anormal.F. anormal, LL. anormalus
for anomalus, Gr. abnormis. See Anomalous, Abnormous, Anormal.]
Defn: Not conformed to rule or system; deviating from the type;
anomalous; irregular. “That deviating from the type; anomalous;
irregular. ” Froude.
Ab`nor*mal”i*ty, n.; pl. Abnormalities.
1. The state or quality of being abnormal; variation; irregularity.
2. Something abnormal.
Defn: In an abnormal manner; irregularly. Darwin.
Ab*nor”mi*ty, n.; pl. Abnormities. Etym: [LL. abnormitas. See
Defn: Departure from the ordinary type; irregularity; monstrosity.
“An abnormity . . . like a calf born with two heads.” Mrs. Whitney.
Ab*nor”mous, a. Etym: [L. abnormis; ab + norma rule. See Normal.]
Defn: Abnormal; irregular. Hallam.
A character of a more abnormous cast than his equally suspected
coadjutor. State Trials.
A*board”, adv. Etym: [Pref. a- on, in + board.]
Defn: On board; into or within a ship or boat; hence, into or within
a railway car.
2. Alongside; as, close aboard. Naut.: To fall aboard of, to strike a
ship’s side; to fall foul of.
— To haul the tacks aboard, to set the courses.
— To keep the land aboard, to hug the shore.
— To lay (a ship) aboard, to place one’s own ship close alongside
of (a ship) for fighting.
1. On board of; as, to go aboard a ship.
2. Across; athwart. [Obs.]
Nor iron bands aboard The Pontic Sea by their huge navy cast.
A*bod”ance, n. Etym: [See Bode.]
Defn: An omen; a portending. [Obs.]
Defn: of Abide.
A*bode”, n. Etym: [OE. abad, abood, fr. abiden to abide. See Abide.
For the change of vowel, cf. abode, imp. of abide.]
1. Act of waiting; delay. [Obs.] Shak.
And with her fled away without abode. Spenser.
2. Stay or continuance in a place; sojourn.
He waxeth at your abode here. Fielding.
3. Place of continuance, or where one dwells; abiding place;
residence; a dwelling; a habitation.
Come, let me lead you to our poor abode. Wordsworth.
A*bode”, n. Etym: [See Bode, v. t.]
Defn: An omen. [Obs.]
High-thundering Juno’s husband stirs my spirit with true abodes.
A*bode”, v. t.
Defn: To bode; to foreshow. [Obs.] Shak.
A*bode”, v. i.
Defn: To be ominous. [Obs.] Dryden.
Defn: A foreboding; an omen. [Obs.] “Abodements must not now affright
Defn: A foreboding. [Obs.]
A*bol”ish, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Abolished; p. pr. & vb. n.
Abolishing.] Etym: [F. abolir, L. abolere, aboletum; ab + olere to
grow. Cf. Finish.]
1. To do away with wholly; to annul; to make void; — said of laws,
customs, institutions, governments, etc.; as, to abolish slavery, to
2. To put an end to, or destroy, as a physical objects; to wipe out.
And with thy blood abolish so reproachful blot. Spenser.
His quick instinctive hand Caught at the hilt, as to abolish him.
— To Abolish, Repeal, Abrogate, Revoke, Annul, Nullify, Cancel.
These words have in common the idea of setting aside by some
overruling act. Abolish applies particularly to things of a permanent
nature, such as institutions, usages, customs, etc.; as, to abolish
monopolies, serfdom, slavery. Repeal describes the act by which the
legislature of a state sets aside a law which it had previously
enacted. Abrogate was originally applied to the repeal of a law by
the Roman people; and hence, when the power of making laws was
usurped by the emperors, the term was applied to their act of setting
aside the laws. Thus it came to express that act by which a sovereign
or an executive government sets aside laws, ordinances, regulations,
treaties, conventions, etc. Revoke denotes the act or recalling some
previous grant which conferred, privilege, etc.; as, to revoke a
decree, to revoke a power of attorney, a promise, etc. Thus, also, we
speak of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Annul is used in a
more general sense, denoting simply to make void; as, to annul a
contract, to annul an agreement. Nullify is an old word revived in
this country, and applied to the setting of things aside either by
force or by total disregard; as, to nullify an act of Congress.
Cancel is to strike out or annul, by a deliberate exercise of power,
something which has operative force.
A*bol”ish*a*ble, a. Etym: [Cf. F. abolissable.]
Defn: Capable of being abolished.
Defn: One who abolishes.
A*bol”ish*ment, n. Etym: [Cf. F. abolissement.]
Defn: The act of abolishing; abolition; destruction. Hooker.
Ab”o*li”tion, n. Etym: [L. abolitio, fr. abolere: cf. F. abolition.
Defn: The act of abolishing, or the state of being abolished; an
annulling; abrogation; utter destruction; as, the abolition of
slavery or the slave trade; the abolition of laws, decrees,
ordinances, customs, taxes, debts, etc.
Note: The application of this word to persons is now unusual or
Defn: The principles or measures of abolitionists. Wilberforce.
Defn: A person who favors the abolition of any institution,
especially negro slavery.
Ab`o*li`tion*ize, v. t.
Defn: To imbue with the principles of abolitionism. [R.] Bartlett.
A*bo”ma, n. (Zoöl.)
Defn: A large South American serpent (Boa aboma).
Ab`o*ma”sum, Ab`o*ma”sus, n. Etym: [NL., fr. L. ab + omasum (a Celtic
Defn: The fourth or digestive stomach of a ruminant, which leads from
the third stomach omasum. See Ruminantia.
A*bom”i*na*ble, a. Etym: [F. abominable. L. abominalis. See
1. Worthy of, or causing, abhorrence, as a thing of evil omen; odious
in the utmost degree; very hateful; detestable; loathsome; execrable.
2. Excessive; large; — used as an intensive. [Obs.]
Note: Juliana Berners . . . informs us that in her time [15th c.],
“abomynable syght of monkes” was elegant English for “a large company
of friars.” G. P. Marsh.
Defn: The quality or state of being abominable; odiousness. Bentley.
Defn: In an abominable manner; very odiously; detestably.
A*bom”i*nate, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Abominated; p. pr. & vb. n.
Abominating.] Etym: [L. abominatus, p. p. or abominari to deprecate
as ominous, to abhor, to curse; ab + omen a foreboding. See Omen.]
Defn: To turn from as ill-omened; to hate in the highest degree, as
if with religious dread; loathe; as, to abominate all impiety.
— To hate; abhor; loathe; detest. See Hate.
A*bom`i*na”tion, n. Etym: [OE. abominacioun, -cion, F. abominatio.
1. The feeling of extreme disgust and hatred; abhorrence;
detestation; loathing; as, he holds tobacco in abomination.
2. That which is abominable; anything hateful, wicked, or shamefully
vile; an object or state that excites disgust and hatred; a hateful
or shameful vice; pollution.
Antony, most large in his abominations. Shak.
3. A cause of pollution or wickedness.
— Detestation; loathing; abhorrence; disgust; aversion;
loathsomeness; odiousness. Sir W. Scott.
Defn: and adv. Above. [Scot. & Prov. Eng.]
Aboon the pass of Bally-Brough. Sir W. Scott.
The ceiling fair that rose aboon. J. R. Drake.
Ab*o”ral, a. Etym: [L. ab. + E. oral.] (Zoöl.)
Defn: Situated opposite to, or away from, the mouth.
A*bord”, n. Etym: [F.]
Defn: Manner of approaching or accosting; address. Chesterfield.
A*bord”, v. t. Etym: [F. aborder, à (L. ad) + bord rim, brim, or side
of a vessel. See Border, Board.]
Defn: To approach; to accost. [Obs.] Digby.
Ab`o*rig”i*nal, a. Etym: [See Aborigines.]
1. First; original; indigenous; primitive; native; as, the aboriginal
tribes of America. “Mantled o’er with aboriginal turf.” Wordsworth.
2. Of or pertaining to aborigines; as, a Hindoo of aboriginal blood.
1. An original inhabitant of any land; one of the aborigines.
2. An animal or a plant native to the region.
It may well be doubted whether this frog is an aboriginal of these
Defn: The quality of being aboriginal. Westm. Rev.
Ab`o*rig”i*nes, n. pl. Etym: [L. Aborigines; ab + origo, especially
the first inhabitants of Latium, those who originally (ab origine)
inhabited Latium or Italy. See Origin.]
1. The earliest known inhabitants of a country; native races.
2. The original fauna and flora of a geographical area
Defn: Abortment; abortion. [Obs.] Bp. Hall.
Defn: Abortive. [Obs.] Fuller.
A*bort”, v. i. Etym: [L. abortare, fr. abortus, p. p. of aboriri; ab
+ oriri to rise, to be born. See Orient.]
1. To miscarry; to bring forth young prematurely.
Defn: To become checked in normal development, so as either to remain
rudimentary or shrink away wholly; to become sterile.
A*bort”, n. Etym: [L. abortus, fr. aboriri.]
1. An untimely birth. [Obs.] Sir H. Wotton.
2. An aborted offspring. [Obs.] Holland.
1. Brought forth prematurely.
Defn: Rendered abortive or sterile; undeveloped; checked in normal
development at a very early stage; as, spines are aborted branches.
The eyes of the cirripeds are more or less aborted in their mature
A*bor”ti*cide, n. Etym: [L. abortus + caedere to kill. See Abort.]
Defn: The act of destroying a fetus in the womb; feticide.
A*bor`ti*fa”cient, a. Etym: [L. abortus (see Abort, v.) + faciens, p.
pr. of facere to make.]
Defn: Producing miscarriage.
Defn: A drug or an agent that causes premature delivery.
A*bor”tion, n. Etym: [L. abortio, fr. aboriri. See Abort.]
1. The act of giving premature birth; particularly, the expulsion of
the human fetus prematurely, or before it is capable of sustaining
Note: It is sometimes used for the offense of procuring a premature
delivery, but strictly the early delivery is the abortion, “causing
or procuring abortion” is the full name of the offense. Abbott.
2. The immature product of an untimely birth.
Defn: Arrest of development of any organ, so that it remains an
imperfect formation or is absorbed.
4. Any fruit or produce that does not come to maturity, or anything
which in its progress, before it is matured or perfect; a complete
failure; as, his attempt. proved an abortiori.
Defn: Pertaining to abortion; miscarrying; abortive. Carlyle.
Defn: One who procures abortion or miscarriage.
A*bor”tive, a. Etym: [L. abortivus, fr. aboriri. See Abort, v.]
1. Produced by abortion; born prematurely; as, an abortive child.
2. Made from the skin of a still-born animal; as, abortive vellum.
3. Rendering fruitless or ineffectual. [Obs.] “Plunged in that
abortive gulf.” Milton.
4. Coming to naught; failing in its effect; miscarrying; fruitless;
unsuccessful; as, an abortive attempt. “An abortive enterprise.”
Defn: Imperfectly formed or developed; rudimentary; sterile; as, an
abortive organ, stamen, ovule, etc.
(a) Causing abortion; as, abortive medicines. Parr.
(b) Cutting short; as, abortive treatment of typhoid fever.
1. That which is born or brought forth prematurely; an abortion.
2. A fruitless effort or issue. [Obs.]
3. A medicine to which is attributed the property of causing
Defn: In an abortive or untimely manner; immaturely; fruitlessly.