Ed. Note

After two years, this little corner of the internet has closed shop. Stick around and check out the Webster's Daily archives. You can browse by date or use the A to Z Index.

If you're looking for more dictionary hijinks, try Ammon Shea, who read the entire Oxford English Dictionary and wrote a book about it. (Here's Nicholson Baker's review in the NYTBR.) Also, see the newly published Websterisms, by crossword puzzler Arthur Schulman and historian Jill Lepore.

You can find me these days at my personal website, www.joshwallaert.com.

The Editor

Scope, n.

The limit of intellectual view; the end or thing to which the mind directs its view; that which is purposed to be reached or accomplished; hence, ultimate design, aim or purpose; intention; drift. It expresses both the purpose and thing purposed.


Westering, a.

Passing to the west.


Spray, n.

The water that is driven from the top of a wave in a storm, which spreads and flies in small particles. It differs from spoon-drift; as spray is only occasional, whereas spoon-drift flies continually along the surface of the sea.


Snow-slip, n.

A large mass of snow which slips down the side of a mountain, and sometimes buries houses.


Bath, n.

A place in which heat is applied to a body immersed in some substance. Thus, a dry bath is made of hot sand, ashes, salt, or other matter, for the purpose of applying heat to a body immersed in them. A vapor bath is formed by filling an apartment with hot steam or vapor, in which the body sweats copiously, as in Russia; or the term is used for the application of hot steam to a diseased part of the body. A metalline bath is water impregnated with iron or other metallic substance, and applied to a diseased part. In chimistry, a wet bath is formed by hot water in which is placed a vessel containing the matter which requires a softer heat than the naked fire. In medicine, the animal bath is made by wrapping the part affected in a warm skin just taken from an animal.


Salt, n.

The part of a river near the sea, where the water is salt.


Fairy, n.

Fairy of the mine, an imaginary being supposed to inhabit mines, wandering about in the drifts and chambers, always employed in cutting ore, turning the windlass, &c., yet effecting nothing. The Germans believe in two species; one fierce and malevolent; the other gentle.


Beard, v.t.

To take by the beard; to seize, pluck or pull the beard, in contempt or anger. I have been bearded by boys.


Copple-stones, n.

Lumps and fragments of stone broke from the adjacent cliffs, rounded by being bowled and tumbled to and again by the action of water. We apply the word to small round stones, from the size of an inch or two, to five or six inches or more, in diameter, wherever they may be found.


Coom, n.

Soot that gathers over an oven's mouth; also, the matter that works out of the naves or boxes of carriage wheels. In Scotland, the useless dust which falls from coals.