Dictionary: W – WAFT

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is the twenty third letter of the English Alphabet. It takes its written form and its name from the union of two Vs, this being the form of the Roman capital letter which we call U. The name, double u, being given to it from its form or composition, and not from its sound, ought not to be retained. Every letter should be named from its sound, especially the vowels. W is properly a vowel, a simple sound, formed by opening the mouth with a close circular configuration of the lips. It is precisely the ou of the French, and the u of the Spaniards, Italians and Germans. With the other vowels it forms diphthongs, which are of easy pronunciation; as in well, want, will, dwell; pronounced ooell, ooant, ooill, dooell. In English, it is always followed by another vowel, except when followed by h, as in when; but this case is an exception only in writing, and not in pronunciation, for h precedes w in utterance; when being pronounced hooen. In Welsh, w, which is sounded as in English, is used without another vowel, as in fwl, a fool; dwn, dun; dwb, mortar; gwn, a gun, and a gown. It is not improbable that the Romans pronounced v as we do w, for their volvo is our wallow; and volo, velle, is the English will, G. wollen. But this is uncertain. The German v has the sound of the English f, and w that of the English v. W at the end of words, is often silent after a and o, as in law, saw, low, sow. In many words of this kind, w represents the Saxon g; in other cases, it helps to form a diphthong, as in now, vow, new, strew.

WAB'BLE, v.i. [W. gwibiaw, to wander, to move in a circular form.]

To move from one side to the other; to vacillate; as a turning or whirling body. So it is said a top wabbles, when it is in motion, and deviates from a perpendicular direction; a spindle wabbles, when it moves one way and the other. A millstone in motion, if not well balanced, will wabble. [This word is applied chiefly to bodies when turning with a circular motion, and its place can not be supplied by any other word in the language. It is neither low nor barbarous.]

WACK'E, or WACK'Y, n.

A rock nearly allied to basalt, of which it may be regarded as a more soft and earthy variety. Its color is a greenish gray, brown or black. It is opake, yields easily to the knife, and has a greasy feel. Its principal ingredient is silex. Gray wacky is a different species of rock, being a kind of sandstone. – Cyc. Wacky is a mineral substance intermediate between clay and basalt. – Ure.

WAD, or WADD, n.

In mineralogy, black wadd is a species of the ore of manganese, of which there are four kinds; fibrous, ochery, pulverulent ochery, and dendritic. In some places, plumbago or black lead is called wad or wadd. – Cyc.

WAD, n. [G. watte; Dan. vat, a wad; that is, a mass or collection.]

  1. A little mass of some soft or flexible material, such as hay, straw, tow, paper, or old rope-yarn, used for stopping the charge of powder in a gun and pressing it close to the shot, or for keeping the powder and shot close.
  2. A little mass, tuft or bundle, as of hay or tow.


Formed into a wad or mass.

WAD'DING, n. [G. watte.]

  1. A wad, or the materials for wads; any pliable substance of which wads may be made.
  2. A kind of soft stuff of loose texture, used for stuffing garments.

WAD'DLE, v.i. [This seems to be a diminutive formed on the root of wade, L. vado, to go; G. waten, to wade; watscheln, to waddle.]

  1. To move one way and the other in walking; to deviate to one side and the other; to vacillate; as, a child waddles when he begins to walk; very fat people walk with a kind of waddling pace. So we say, a duck or a goose waddles.
  2. To walk with a waddling motion. And hardly waddles forth to cool. – Swift.


One that waddles.


Moving from side to side in walking.


With a vacillating gait. – Entick.

WADE, v.i. [Sw. vada; D. waaden; G. waten; Dan. vader; Fr. gueer, for gueder; It. guadare; Sp. vadear, L. vado, to go. Qu. Heb. אבד avad, to go.]

  1. To walk through any substance that yields to the feet; as, to wade through water; to wade through sand or snow. To wade over a river, is to walk through on the bottom. Fowls that wade have long legs.
  2. To move or pass with difficulty or labor; as, judges wade through an intricate law case. It is not my purpose to wade through these controversies. The king's admirable conduct has waded through all these difficulties. – Davenant. And wades through fumes, and gropes his way. – Dryden.

WADE, v.t.

To pass by walking on the bottom; as, to wade a river. [This is a common expression, but elliptical for to wade through a river.]

WA'DER, n.

One that wades. An order of fowls that wade in water for their prey, are called waders.

WAD-ING, ppr.

Walking through a substance that yields to the feet, as through water or sand.


An ancient tenure or lease of land in the Highlands of Scotland, which seems to have been upon a kind of mortgage. [Sax. wæd, wed, a pledge.] – Cyc.


One who holds by wadsett. – Cyc.

WA'FER, n. [D. wafel; G. waffel; Dan. vaffel; Sw. våfflla; Russ. vaphel; Fr. gauffre.]

  1. A thin cake, or leaf; as, a wafer of bread given by the Romanists in the eucharist.
  2. A thin leaf of paste, or a composition of flour, the white of eggs, isinglass and yeast, spread over with gum-water and dried; used in sealing letters.

WA'FER, v.t.

To seal or close with a wafer.

WA'FER-ED, pp.

Sealed with a wafer.

WAF'FLE, n. [D. wafel, G. waffel.]

A thin cake baked hard and rolled, or a soft indented cake baked in an iron utensil on coals.


An utensil for baking waffles.

WAFT, n.

A floating body; also, a signal displayed from a ship's stern, by hoisting an ensign furled in a roll, to the head of the staff. – Cyc.

WAFT, v.i.

To float; to be moved or to pass in a buoyant medium. And now the shouts waft near the citadel. – Dryden.

WAFT, v.t. [perhaps from wave; if so, it belongs to the root of wag.]

  1. To bear through a fluid or buoyant medium; to convey, through water or air; as, a balloon was wafted over the channel. Speed the soft intercourse from soul to soul, / And waft a sigh from Indus to the pole. – Pope.
  2. To convey; as ships. – Cyc.
  3. To buoy; to cause to float; to keep from sinking. – Brown.
  4. To beckon; to give notice by something in motion. [Not in use.] [This verb is regular. But waft was formerly used by some writers for wafted.]