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  1. The quality of having pores; porosity; as, the porousness of the skin of an animal, or of wood, or of fossils.
  2. The porous parts. [Not authorized.] – Digby.

POR'PESS, n. [It. porco, a hog, and pesce, fish; hog-fish, called by other nations, sea-hog, G. meerschwein, Fr. marsouin, Dan. and Sw. Norwegian, marsvin, Sw. hafssvin. In W. morhwc, sea-hog, is the name of the dolphin and grampus, from the resemblance of these animals to the hog, probably from the roundness of the back, as they appear in the water. It is usually written Porpoise.]

In zoology, cetaceous mammals of the genus Delphinus of Linnæus, but of the genus Phocæna of more recent naturalists, of which about five species are known. There is one species whose back is usually blackish or brown, whence it is called in Dutch, bruinvisch, brown fish; the body is thick toward the head, but more slender toward the tail, which is semilunar. This mammal preys on fish, and seeks food not only by swimming, but by rooting like a hog in the sand and mud, whence some persons suppose the name has been given to it. Of cetaceous fish, we met with porpesses, or as some sailors call them, sea-hogs. – Kalm's Travels. Naturalists do not consider the Cetacea as fishes.

POR-PHY-RIT'IC, or POR-PHY-RA'CEOUS, a. [See Porphyry.]

  1. Pertaining to porphyry; resembling porphyry.
  2. Containing or composed of porphyry; as, porphyraceous mountains. – Kirwan.


Containing detached points or crystals of a particular mineral. – Percival's Geol.


To cause to resemble porphyry; to make spotted in its composition. – Cooper.


Caused to resemble porphyry.

POR'PHY-RY, n. [Gr. πορφυρα, purple; L. porphyrites; Fr. porphyre; It. and Sp. porfido.]

A mineral consisting of a homogeneous ground with crystals of some other mineral imbedded, giving to the mass a speckled complexion. One variety of Egyptian porphyry has a purple ground, whence the name of the species; but the homogeneous ground with imbedded crystals, being all that is essential to porphyry, its composition and colors are consequently various. – D. Olmsted. Porphyry is very hard, and susceptible of a fine polish. Porphyry is composed of paste in which are disseminated a multitude of little angular and granuliform parts, of a color different from the ground. – Dict. Nat. Hist.


An animal or shell of the genus Murex. It is of the snail kind, the shell consisting of one spiral valve. From one species of this genus was formerly obtained a liquor that produced the Tyrian purple.


The hair-button-stone, a small species of fossil coral of a roundish figure, flattened and striated from the center to the circumference; found immersed in stone. – Encyc.

POR-RA'CEOUS, a. [L. porraceus, from porrum, a leek or onion.]

Greenish; resembling the leek in color. – Wiseman.

POR-REC'TION, n. [L. porrectio, porrigo; per or por, Eng. for, fore, and rego, Eng. to reach.]

The act of stretching forth. [Not used.]

POR'RET, n. [L. porrum; It. porro, porretta, a leek.]

A scallion; a leek or small onion. – Brown.

POR'RIDGE, n. [Qu. pottage, by corruption, or L. farrago, or from porrum, a leek.]

A kind of food made by boiling meat in water; broth. – Johnson. This mixture is usually called in America, broth or soup, but not porridge. With us, porridge is a mixture of meal or flour, boiled with water. Perhaps this distinction is not always observed.


The pot in which flesh, or flesh and vegetables are boiled for food.

POR'RIN-GER, n. [Qu. porridge, or Fr. potager; Corn. podzher.]

  1. A small metal vessel in which children eat porridge or milk, or used in the nursery for warming liquors.
  2. A head-dress in the shape of a porringer; in contempt. – Shak.

PORT, n. [Fr. from L. portus; Sp. puerto; It. porto; Arm. porz; W. porth; from L. porto, to carry, Gr. φορεω, L. fero, Eng. to bear. The Welsh porth unites the significations of L. porta and portus, and the Gr. φορεω, and μορευομαι are probably of one family. The primary sense of L. portus, Eng. port, is probably an entrance, place of entrance or passage.]

  1. A harbor; a haven; any bay, cove, inlet or recess of the sea, or of a lake or the mouth of a river, which ships or vessels can enter, and where they can lie safe from injury by storms. Ports may be natural or artificial, and sometimes works of art, as piers and moles, are added to the natural shores of a place to render a harbor more safe. The word port is generally applied to spacious harbors much resorted to by ships, as, the port of London or of Boston, and not to small bays or coves which are entered occasionally, or in stress of weather only. Harbor includes all places of safety for shipping.
  2. A gate. [L. porta.] From their ivory port the cherubim / Forth issued. – Milton.
  3. An embrasure or opening in the side of a ship of war, through which cannon are discharged; a port-hole. – Ralegh.
  4. The lid which shuts a port-hole. – Mar. Dict.
  5. Carriage; air; mien; manner of movement or walk; demeanor; external appearance; as, a proud port; the port of a gentleman. Their port was more than human. – Milton. With more terrific port / Thou walkest. – Philips.
  6. In seamen's language, the larboard or left side of a ship; as in the phrase, “the ship heels to port.” “Port the helm,” is an order to put the helm to the larboard side.
  7. A kind of wine made in Portugal; so called from Oporto. – Encyc. Port of the voice, in music, the faculty or habit of making the shakes, passages and diminutions, in which the beauty of a song consists. – Encyc.

PORT, v.t.

  1. To carry in form; as, ported spears. – Milton.
  2. To turn or put to the left or starboard side of a ship. See the noun, No. 6. It is used in the imperative.


Fitness to be carried. [But portableness is mostly used.]

PORT-A-BLE, a. [It. portabile, from L. portο, to carry.]

  1. That may be carried by the hand or about the person, on horseback, or in a traveling vehicle; not bulky or heavy; that may be easily conveyed from place to place with one's traveling baggage; as, a portable bureau or secretary.
  2. That may be carried from place to place.
  3. That may be borne along with one. The pleasure of the religious man is an easy and portable pleasure. – South.
  4. Sufferable; supportable. [Not in use.] – Shak.


The quality of being portable.

PORT-AGE, n. [Fr. See Port.]

  1. The act of carrying.
  2. The price of carriage. – Fell.
  3. A port-hole. [Unusual.] – Shak.
  4. A carrying place over land between navigable waters. – Jefferson. Gallatin.

PORT-AL, n. [It. portella; Fr. portail.]

  1. In architecture, a little gate, where there are two gates of different dimensions. – Encyc.
  2. A little square corner of a room, separated from the rest by a wainscot, and forming a short passage into a room. – Encyc.
  3. A kind of arch of joiner's work before a door. – Encyc.
  4. A gate; an opening for entrance; as, the portals of heaven.

PORT-ANCE, n. [from Fr. porter, to carry.]

Air; mien; carriage; port; demeanor. [Obs.] – Spenser. Shak.


A breviary; a prayer book. (portuis, porthose.) [Not used.] – Spenser. Camden. Chaucer.

PORT-A-TIVE, a. [Fr. portatif.]

Portable. [Not used.] – Chaucer.