Definitions courtesy of Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828. Get your copy here.


Slanderous; bearing or implying calumny; injurious to reputation.

DEMOCRACY, n. [Gr. *******; *****, people, and ******, to possess, to govern.]

Government by the people; a form of government, in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of the people collectively, or in which the people exercise the power of legislation. Such was the government of Athens.


One who adheres to a government by the people; or favors the extension of the right of suffrage to all classes of men.

FRITTER, v. t.

To cut meat into small pieces to be fried.

2. To break into small pieces or fragments.

Break all their nerves, and fritter all their sense. Pope.

To fritter away, is to diminish; to pare off; to reduce to nothing by taking away a little at a time.

HARANGUE, n. [Fr. harangue; Sp. Port. arenga; It. aringa; Arm. harencg; from the root of ring, to sound, Sax. hringan.]

1. A speech addressed to an assembly or an army; a popular oration; a public address. This word seems to imply loudness or declamation, and is therefore appropriated generally to an address made to a popular assembly or to an army, and not to a sermon, or to an argument at the bar of a court, or to a speech in a deliberative council, unless in contempt.

2. Declamation; a noisy, pompous or irregular address.

v. i. To make an address or speech to a large assembly; to make a noisy speech.

v. t. To address by oration; as, the general harangued the troops.

INCULCATE, v. t. [L. inculco, to drive or force on; in and calco, to tread, calx, the heel.]

To impress by frequent admonitions; to teach and enforce by frequent repetitions; to urge on the mind. Our Savior inculcates on his followers humility and forgiveness of injuries.

MENSTRUUM, n. plu. menstruums. [from L. mensis, month. The use of this word is supposed to have originated in some notion of the old chimists, about the influence of the moon in the preparation of dissolvents. Johnson.]

A dissolvent or solvent; any fluid or subtilized substance which dissolves a solid body.

All liquors are called menstruums which are used as dissolvents, or to extract the virtues of ingredients by infusion or decoction. Quincy.

Inquire what is the proper menstruum to dissolve a metal. Bacon.

Posse Comitatus [Related by Webster to the term POS'POLITE], in law, the power of the country, or the citizens, who are summoned to assist an officer in supressing a riot, or executing any legal precept which is forcibly opposed. The word comitatus is often omitted, and posse alone is used in the same sense. Blackstone. 2. In low language, a number or crowd of people; a rabble.

**Further note by LEXREX: Posse Commitatus is defined in Black's Law Dictionary, Third Edition (1933) as: Lat. The power or force of the country. The entire population of a country above the age of fifteen, which a sheriff may summon to his assistance in certain cases; as to aid him in keeping the peace, in pursuing and arresting felons, etc. 1 Bl. Comm. 343. See Com. v. Martin, 7 Pa. Dist. R. 224.

PREFERMENT, n. [I. preferimento.]

Advancement to a higher office, dignity or station. Change of manners and even character often follows preferment. A profligate life should be considered a disqualification for preferment, no less than want of ability.

2. Superior place or office. All preferments should be given to competent men.

3. Preference. [Not used.] Brown.

PERFIDIOUS, a. [L. perfidus; per and fidus, faithful. Per in this word signifies through, beyond, or by, aside.]

1. Violating good faith or vows; false to trust or confidence reposed; treacherous; as perfidious agent; a perfidious friend. [See Perfidy.]

2. Proceeding from treachery, or consisting in breach of faith; as a perfidious act.

3. Guilty of violated allegiances; as a perfidious citizen; a man perfidious to his country.

REPUBLIC, n. [L. respublica; res and publica; public affairs.]

1. A commonwealth; a state in which the exercise of the sovereign power is lodged in representatives elected by the people. In modern usage, it differs from a democracy or democratic state, in which the people exercise the powers of sovereignty in person. Yet the democracies of Greece are often called republics.

2. Common interest; the public. [Not in use.] B. Johnson

Republic of letters, the collective body of learned men.

REPUBLICAN, a. Pertaining to a republic; consisting of a commonwealth; as a republican constitution or government.

2. Consonant to the principles of a Republic; as republican constitution or governments.

n. One who favors or prefers a republican form of government.