A The first letter of the alphabet in most of the known languages of the earth. It is naturally the first letter, because it represents the first vocal sound naturally formed by the organs of speech. — Webster, 1882
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The following is an incomplete list of the remaining indexed main headings. Once a completed entry has been uploaded, it will be removed from the list below and added to the links above. Subheadings, reference locators, and cross-referenced subentries are not included in this list. Always consult the completed entry for referenced source of definition used below.
A beautiful castle I’ve built for thee, first line of “In Dreamland Far Away”
aboveboard – Above the board or table; hence, in open sight; without trick, concealment, or deception. This expression is said by Johnson to be borrowed from gamesters, who, when they change their cards, put their hands under the table.
accordion – A small keyed wind instrument, whose tones are generated by the play of wind upon metallic reeds.
acorn – The seed or fruit of the oak, being an oval nut growing in a rough cup.
Adams, John – Lawyer and second president of the United States (1735-1826).
Adams, John Quincy – Son of John. Sixth president of the United States (1767-1848).
admonish – To warn or notify of a fault; to reprove gently, or with mildness.
adverb – A word used to modify the sense of a verb, participle, adjective, or other adverb, and usually placed near it; as, he writes well; paper extremely white.
air-castle – Decorative three-dimensional wheat arrangement.
Albert Moses, Walnut Grove minister’s son
alto – Formerly the highest part sung by a male voice; now the part sung by the lowest female voices, between the tenor and soprano.
ammunition – Military stores, or provisions for attack or defense. In modern usage, the signification is confined to the articles which are used in charging fire-arms and ordinance of all kinds; as powder, balls, bombs, various kinds of shot, &c.
Amy, hired girl in Burr Oak
Anderson, John , Walnut Grove businessman
Anderson, Mr., seller of seed wheat during the Hard Winter
Andrew Day, Almanzo’s uncle
angel – A spirit, or a spiritual being, employed by God to communicate his will to man; a ministering spirit.
“Angel Band”, song
Angel band, come and around me stand, first line of song
angleworm – The common worm found in the soil, without legs or appendages. The species belong to the genus Lumbricus.
Annie, Carrie’s friend in De Smet
anthem – Formerly, a hymn sung in alternate parts, but, in present usage, any church music adapted to passage from the Scriptures.
apple – A well-known fruit-tree of the genus Pyrus; the apple-tree. The European crab-apple is supposed to be the original kind, from which all others have sprung.
Arab – A native or an inhabitant of Arabia. The Arabian Peninsula of Western Asia is northeast of Africa and bordered by the Red Sea on the west, the Persian Gulf on the northeast, and the Indian Ocean on the southeast.
army – A collection or body of men armed for war, and organized in companies, battalions, regiments, brigades, and divisions, under proper officers.
ash, fire – The earthy or mineral particles of combustible substances remaining after combustion, as of wood or coal when burnt.
ash, tree – White ash. A genus of forest trees; Fraxinus. The common European ash is the F. excelsior. The wood of the ash-tree.
askew – With a wry look; aside; askant; sometimes indicating scorn, or contempt, or envy.
atheist – One who disbelieves or denies the existence of a God, or supreme intelligent Being.
attic – A story in the upper part of a house, with small windows either in or above the cornice; also, frequently applied to the garret.
auger – A carpenter’s instrument for boring holes, chiefly in wood. It consists of a long shank or axis having a cutting edge at one end, and usually a handle placed crosswise at the other, by which it is turned with both hands.
aunt – The sister of one’s father or mother.
awe – Profound fear mingled with admiration or reverence; dread inspired by something great, terrific, or sublime; reverential fear.
awesome – Respectful; fearful or appalling; as, an awesome sight.
ax – An instrument, usually of iron, with a steel edge or blade, for hewing timber, chopping wood, &c. It consists of a head with an arching edge, and a wooden helve or handle.