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In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed... No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.
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1828 Noah Webster Dictionary
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down

DOWN, n.

1. The fine soft feathers of fowls, particularly of the duck kind. The eider duck yields the best kind. Also, fine hair; as the down of the chin.

2. The pubescence of plants, a fine hairy substance.

3. The pappus or little crown of certain seeds of plants; a fine feathery or hairy substance by which seeds are conveyed to distance by the wind; as in dandelion and thistle.

4. Any thing that soothes or mollifies.

Thou bosom softness; down of all my cares.

DOWN, n. [G.]

1. A bank or elevation of sand, thrown up by the sea.

2. A large open plain, primarily on elevated land. Sheep feeding on the downs.

DOWN, prep.

1. Along a descent; from a higher to a lower place; as, to run down a hill; to fall down a precipice; to go down the stairs.

2. Toward the mouth of a river, or toward the place where water is discharged into the ocean or a lake. We sail or swim down a stream; we sail down the sound from New York to New London. Hence figuratively, we pass down the current of life or of time.

Down the sound, in the direction of the ebb-tide towards of the sea.

Down the country, towards the sea, or towards the part where rivers discharge their waters into the ocean.

DOWN, adv.

1. In a descending direction; tending from a higher to a lower place; as, he is going down.

2. On the ground, or at the bottom; as, he is down; hold him down.

3. Below the horizon; as, the sun is down.

4. In the direction from a higher to a lower condition; as, his reputation is going down.

5. Into disrepute or disgrace. A man may sometimes preach down error; he may write down himself or his character, or run down his rival; but he can neither preach nor write down folly, vice or fashion.

6. Into subjection; into a due consistence; as, to boil down, in decoctions and culinary processes.

7. At length; extended or prostrate, on the ground or on any flat surface; as, to lie down; he is lying down.

Up and down, here and there; in a rambling course.

It is sometimes used without a verb, as down, down; in which cases, the sense is known by the construction.

Down with a building, is a command to pull it down, to demolish it.

Down with him, signifies, throw him.

Down, down, may signify, come down, or go down, or take down, lower.

It is often used by seamen, down with the fore sail, &c.

Locke uses it for go down, or be received; as, any kind of food will down; but the use is not elegant, nor legitimate.

Sidney uses it as a verb, To down proud hearts, to subdue or conquer them; but the use is not legitimate.



Evolution (or devolution) of this word [down]

1828 Webster1844 Webster1913 Webster

DOWN, n.

1. The fine soft feathers of fowls, particularly of the duck kind. The eider duck yields the best kind. Also, fine hair; as the down of the chin.

2. The pubescence of plants, a fine hairy substance.

3. The pappus or little crown of certain seeds of plants; a fine feathery or hairy substance by which seeds are conveyed to distance by the wind; as in dandelion and thistle.

4. Any thing that soothes or mollifies.

Thou bosom softness; down of all my cares.

DOWN, n. [G.]

1. A bank or elevation of sand, thrown up by the sea.

2. A large open plain, primarily on elevated land. Sheep feeding on the downs.

DOWN, prep.

1. Along a descent; from a higher to a lower place; as, to run down a hill; to fall down a precipice; to go down the stairs.

2. Toward the mouth of a river, or toward the place where water is discharged into the ocean or a lake. We sail or swim down a stream; we sail down the sound from New York to New London. Hence figuratively, we pass down the current of life or of time.

Down the sound, in the direction of the ebb-tide towards of the sea.

Down the country, towards the sea, or towards the part where rivers discharge their waters into the ocean.

DOWN, adv.

1. In a descending direction; tending from a higher to a lower place; as, he is going down.

2. On the ground, or at the bottom; as, he is down; hold him down.

3. Below the horizon; as, the sun is down.

4. In the direction from a higher to a lower condition; as, his reputation is going down.

5. Into disrepute or disgrace. A man may sometimes preach down error; he may write down himself or his character, or run down his rival; but he can neither preach nor write down folly, vice or fashion.

6. Into subjection; into a due consistence; as, to boil down, in decoctions and culinary processes.

7. At length; extended or prostrate, on the ground or on any flat surface; as, to lie down; he is lying down.

Up and down, here and there; in a rambling course.

It is sometimes used without a verb, as down, down; in which cases, the sense is known by the construction.

Down with a building, is a command to pull it down, to demolish it.

Down with him, signifies, throw him.

Down, down, may signify, come down, or go down, or take down, lower.

It is often used by seamen, down with the fore sail, &c.

Locke uses it for go down, or be received; as, any kind of food will down; but the use is not elegant, nor legitimate.

Sidney uses it as a verb, To down proud hearts, to subdue or conquer them; but the use is not legitimate.

DOWN, adv.

  1. In a descending direction; tending from a higher to a lower place; as, he is going down.
  2. On the ground, or at the bottom; as, he is down; hold him down.
  3. Below the horizon; as, the sun is down.
  4. In the direction from a higher to a lower condition; as, his reputation is going down.
  5. Into disrepute or disgrace. A man may sometimes preach down error; he may write down himself or his character, or run down his rival; but he can neither preach nor write down folly, vice or fashion.
  6. Into subjection; into a due consistence; as, to boil down, in decoctions and culinary processes.
  7. At length; extended or prostrate, on the ground; or on any flat surface; as, to lie down; he is lying down. Up and down, here and there; in a rambling course. It is sometimes used without a verb, as down, down; in which cases the sense is known by the construction. Down with a building, is a command to pull it down, to demolish it. Down with him, signifies, throw him. Down, down, may signify, come down, or go down, or take down, lower. It is often used by seamen, down with the fore-sail, &c. Locke uses it for go down, or be received; as, any kind of food will down; but the use is not elegant, nor legitimate. Sidney uses it as a verb, “To down proud hearts,” to subdue or conquer them; but the use is not legitimate.

DOWN, n.1 [Sw. dun; D. dons; Dan. duun; Ice. Id. In Sw. dyna is a feather-bed, or cushion; Dan. dyne, Arm. dum, down. Qu. Class Dn, No. 25. But the primitive orthography and signification are uncertain.]

  1. The fine soft feathers of fowls, particularly of the duck kind. The eider duck yields the best kind. Also, fine hair; as, the down of the chin.
  2. The pubescence of plants, a fine hairy substance.
  3. The pappus or little crown of certain seeds of plants; a fine feathery or hairy substance by which seeds are conveyed to a distance by the wind; as in dandelion and thistle.
  4. Any thing that soothes or mollifies. Thou bosom softness; down of all my cares. – Southern.

DOWN, n.2 [Sw. dun; D. duin, a sandy hill; G. düne; Fr. dune, plur. dunes; Arm. dunenn, or tunenn. In French, dunette is the highest part of the poop of a ship, and as this appears to be a diminutive of dune, it proves that the primary sense is a hill or elevation.]

  1. A bank or elevation of sand, thrown up by the sea. – Encyc.
  2. A large open plain, primarily on elevated land. Sheep feeding on the downs. – Milton.

DOWN, prep. [Sax. dun, adun. In W. dwvyn is deep, Corn. doun, Arm. doun, Ir. domhain; and in Welsh, dan is under, beneath. In Russ. tonu is to sink.]

  1. Along a descent; from a higher to a lower place; as, to run down a hill; to fall down a precipice; to go down the stairs.
  2. Toward the mouth of a river, or toward the place where water is discharged into the ocean or a lake. We sail or swim down a stream; we sail down the Sound from New York to New London. Hence figuratively, we pass down the current of life or of time. Down the sound, in the direction of the ebb-tide toward the sea. Down the country, toward the sea, or toward the part where rivers discharge their waters into the ocean.

Down
  1. Fine, soft, hairy outgrowth from the skin or surface of animals or plants, not matted and fleecy like wool

    ; esp.: (a) (Zoöl.)
  2. To cover, ornament, line, or stuff with down.

    [R.] Young.
  3. A bank or rounded hillock of sand thrown up by the wind along or near the shore] a flattish-topped hill; -- usually in the plural.

    Hills afford prospects, as they must needs acknowledge who have been on the downs of Sussex. Ray.

    She went by dale, and she went by down. Tennyson.

  4. In the direction of gravity or toward the center of the earth; toward or in a lower place or position; below; - - the opposite of up.
  5. In a descending direction along; from a higher to a lower place upon or within; at a lower place in or on; as, down a hill; down a well.
  6. To cause to go down] to make descend; to put down; to overthrow, as in wrestling; hence, to subdue; to bring down.

    [Archaic or Colloq.] "To down proud hearts." Sir P. Sidney.

    I remember how you downed Beauclerk and Hamilton, the wits, once at our house. Madame D'Arblay.

  7. To go down; to descend.

    Locke.
  8. Downcast; as, a down look.

    [R.]
  9. That which is made of down, as a bed or pillow; that which affords ease and repose, like a bed of down

    When in the down I sink my head,
    Sleep, Death's twin brother, times my breath.
    Tennyson.

    Thou bosom softness, down of all my cares! Southern.

    Down tree (Bot.), a tree of Central America (Ochroma Lagopus), the seeds of which are enveloped in vegetable wool.

  10. A tract of poor, sandy, undulating or hilly land near the sea, covered with fine turf which serves chiefly for the grazing of sheep; -- usually in the plural.

    [Eng.]

    Seven thousand broad-tailed sheep grazed on his downs. Sandys.

  11. From a higher to a lower position, literally or figuratively; in a descending direction; from the top of an ascent; from an upright position; to the ground or floor; to or into a lower or an inferior condition; as, into a state of humility, disgrace, misery, and the like; into a state of rest; -- used with verbs indicating motion.

    It will be rain to-night. Let it come down. Shak.

    I sit me down beside the hazel grove. Tennyson.

    And that drags down his life. Tennyson.

    There is not a more melancholy object in the learned world than a man who has written himself down. Addison.

    The French . . . shone down [i. e., outshone] the English. Shak.

    (b)

  12. Hence: Towards the mouth of a river; towards the sea; as, to sail or swim down a stream; to sail down the sound.

    Down the country, toward the sea, or toward the part where rivers discharge their waters into the ocean. -- Down the sound, in the direction of the ebbing tide; toward the sea.

  13. Downright; absolute; positive; as, a down denial.

    [Obs.] Beau. *** Fl.
  14. A road for shipping in the English Channel or Straits of Dover, near Deal, employed as a naval rendezvous in time of war.

    On the 11th [June, 1771] we run up the channel . . . at noon we were abreast of Dover, and about three came to an anchor in the Downs, and went ashore at Deal. Cook (First Voyage).

  15. From a remoter or higher antiquity.

    Venerable men! you have come down to us from a former generation. D. Webster.

  16. Downward] going down; sloping; as, a down stroke; a down grade; a down train on a railway.

    Down draught, a downward draft, as in a flue, chimney, shaft of a mine, etc. -- Down in the mouth, chopfallen; dejected.

  17. A state of depression; low state; abasement.

    [Colloq.]

    It the downs of life too much outnumber the ups. M. Arnold.

  18. From a greater to a less bulk, or from a thinner to a thicker consistence; as, to boil down in cookery, or in making decoctions.

    Arbuthnot.

    * Down is sometimes used elliptically, standing for go down, come down, tear down, take down, put down, haul down, pay down, and the like, especially in command or exclamation.

    Down, therefore, and beg mercy of the duke. Shak.

    If he be hungry more than wanton, bread alone will down. Locke.

    Down is also used intensively; as, to be loaded down; to fall down; to hang down; to drop down; to pay down.

    The temple of Herè at Argos was burnt down. Jowett (Thucyd. ).

    Down, as well as up, is sometimes used in a conventional sense; as, down East.

    Persons in London say down to Scotland, etc., and those in the provinces, up to London. Stormonth.

    Down helm (Naut.), an order to the helmsman to put the helm to leeward. -- Down on or upon (joined with a verb indicating motion, as go, come, pounce), to attack, implying the idea of threatening power.

    Come down upon us with a mighty power. Shak.

    -- Down with, take down, throw down, put down; -- used in energetic command. "Down with the palace; fire it." Dryden. -- To be down on, to dislike and treat harshly. [Slang, U.S.] -- To cry down. See under Cry, v. t. -- To cut down. See under Cut, v. t. -- Up and down, with rising and falling motion; to and fro; hither and thither; everywhere. "Let them wander up and down." Ps. lix. 15.

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Down

DOWN, noun

1. The fine soft feathers of fowls, particularly of the duck kind. The eider duck yields the best kind. Also, fine hair; as the down of the chin.

2. The pubescence of plants, a fine hairy substance.

3. The pappus or little crown of certain seeds of plants; a fine feathery or hairy substance by which seeds are conveyed to distance by the wind; as in dandelion and thistle.

4. Any thing that soothes or mollifies.

Thou bosom softness; down of all my cares.

DOWN, noun [G.]

1. A bank or elevation of sand, thrown up by the sea.

2. A large open plain, primarily on elevated land. Sheep feeding on the downs.

DOWN, preposition

1. Along a descent; from a higher to a lower place; as, to run down a hill; to fall down a precipice; to go down the stairs.

2. Toward the mouth of a river, or toward the place where water is discharged into the ocean or a lake. We sail or swim down a stream; we sail down the sound from New York to New London. Hence figuratively, we pass down the current of life or of time.

DOWN the sound, in the direction of the ebb-tide towards of the sea.

DOWN the country, towards the sea, or towards the part where rivers discharge their waters into the ocean.

DOWN, adverb

1. In a descending direction; tending from a higher to a lower place; as, he is going down

2. On the ground, or at the bottom; as, he is down; hold him down

3. Below the horizon; as, the sun is down

4. In the direction from a higher to a lower condition; as, his reputation is going down

5. Into disrepute or disgrace. A man may sometimes preach down error; he may write down himself or his character, or run down his rival; but he can neither preach nor write down folly, vice or fashion.

6. Into subjection; into a due consistence; as, to boil down in decoctions and culinary processes.

7. At length; extended or prostrate, on the ground or on any flat surface; as, to lie down; he is lying down

Up and down here and there; in a rambling course.

It is sometimes used without a verb, as down down; in which cases, the sense is known by the construction.

DOWN with a building, is a command to pull it down to demolish it.

DOWN with him, signifies, throw him.

DOWN, down may signify, come down or go down or take down lower.

It is often used by seamen, down with the fore sail, etc.

Locke uses it for go down or be received; as, any kind of food will down; but the use is not elegant, nor legitimate.

Sidney uses it as a verb, To down proud hearts, to subdue or conquer them; but the use is not legitimate.

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Word of the Day

importance

IMPORT'ANCE, n.

1. Weight; consequence; a bearing on some interest; that quality of any thing by which it may affect a measure, interest or result. The education of youth is of great importance to a free government. A religious education is of infinite importance to every human being.

2. Weight or consequence in the scale of being.

Thy own importance know.

Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.

3. Weight or consequence in self-estimation.

He believes himself a man of importance.

4. Thing implied; matter; subject; importunity. [In these senses, obsolete.]

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Noah's 1828 Dictionary

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Noah Webster, the Father of American Christian education, wrote the first American dictionary and established a system of rules to govern spelling, grammar, and reading. This master linguist understood the power of words, their definitions, and the need for precise word usage in communication to maintain independence. Webster used the Bible as the foundation for his definitions.

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