Bathos, n.

The art of sinking in poetry.


Bell, n.

A vessel or hollow body, used for making sounds. Its constituent parts are a barrel or hollow body, enlarged or expanded at one end, an ear or cannon by which it is hung to a beam, and a clapper on the inside. It is formed of a composition of metals.

Bells are of high antiquity. The blue tunic of the Jewish High Priest was adorned with golden bells; and the kings of Persia are said to have the hem of their robe adorned with them in like manner. Among the Greeks, those who went the nightly rounds in camps or garrisons, used to ring a bell, at each sentinel-box, to see that the soldier on duty was awake. Bells were also put on the necks of criminals, to warn persons to move out of the way of so ill an omen, as the sight of a criminal or his executioner.

In private houses, bells are used to call servants, either hung and moved by wire, or as hand-bells. Small bells are also used in electrical experiments.


Trunk, n.

The stem or body of a tree severed from its roots. This is the proper sense of the word. But surprising as it may seem, it is used most improperly to signify the stem of a standing tree or vegetable, in general.


Tub, n.

A state of salivation, so called because the patient was formerly sweated in a tub.


Whirligig, n.

An instrument for punishing petty offenders, as sutlers, brawling women, &c; a kind of wooden cage turning on a pivot, in which the offender was whirled round with great velocity.


Beacon, n.

A signal erected on a long pole, upon an eminence, consisting of a pitch barrel, or some combustible matter, to be fired at night, or to cause a smoke by day, to notify the approach of an enemy.


Tripping, n.

A light dance.


Basting, n.

A beating with a stick; a moistening with dripping; a sewing together slightly with long stitches.



[Fr. oyez, hear ye.]

This word is used by the sheriff or his substitute in making proclamation in court, requiring silence and attention. It is thrice repeated and most absurdly pronounced, O yes.


Abyss, n.

That which is immeasurable. That in which any thing is lost.


Fogbank, n.

At sea, an appearance in hazy weather sometimes resembling land at a distance, but which vanishes as it is approached.


Whur, n.

To pronounce the letter r with too much force.


Whirring, n.

The sound of a partridge's or pheasant's wings.


Acclamation, n.

A shout of applause, uttered by a multitude. Anciently, acclamation was a form of words, uttered with vehemence, somewhat resembling a song, sometimes accompanied by applauses which were given by the hands. Acclamations were ecclesiastical, military, nuptial, senatorial, synodical, theatrical, &c; they were musical, and rhythmical, and bestowed for joy, respect, and even reproach, and often accompanied with words, repeated five, twenty, and even sixty and eighty times. In the later ages of Rome, acclamations were performed by a chorus of music instructed for the purpose. In modern times, acclamations are expressed by huzzas, by clapping of hands, and often by repeating vivat rex, vivat respublica, long live the king or republic, or other words expressive of joy and good wishes.


Percussion, n.

The impression one body makes on another by falling on it or striking it.


Fold, n.

The doubling of any flexible substance, as cloth; complication; a plait; one part turned or bent and laid on another.


Ed. Note

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Hiatus, n.

The opening of the mouth in reading or speaking, when a word ends with a vowel, and the following word begins with a vowel.


Valley, n.

A gutter over the sleepers in the roof of a building.