D In the English alphabet, the fourth letter, and the third consonant or articulation. — 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.
daisy – A plant of the genus Bellis, of several varieties.
Dakota / Dakota Territory
damper – That which damps or checks; as, a valve or movable plate in the flue or other part of a stove, furnace, &c., used to check or regulate the draught of air.
dance – To leap or move in measured steps, or to a musical accompaniment; to go through, either alone or in company with others, with a regulated succession of movements, to the sound of music.
dandle – To move up and down in affectionate play, as an infant; to caress; to fondle.
dank – Damp; moist; humid; wet.
darkey / darkie – A negro.
dapper – Little and active; nimble; lively; neat in dress or appearance; spruce; smart.
dapple – Marked with spots of different shades of color; spotted; variegated; as, a dapple horse. One of the spots on a dappled animal. To variegate with spots; to spot.
darn, sewing – To mend, as a rent or hole, by imitating the texture of the cloth or stuff with yarn or thread and a needle; to sew together with yarn or thread.
darts, sewing – Folds or tucks coming to a point, sewn into fabric to take in ease and provide shape.
dast – Dare.
dawdle – To waste time in trifling employment; to trifle.
Andrew Day family – Almanzo’s uncle, married to Sarah Wilder.
John Wesley Day family – Almanzo’s uncle, sister of Almanzo’s mother.
“Dearest May” – song
debate – Contention in words or arguments; discussion for the purpose of elucidating truth; strife in argument between persons of different opinions; dispute; controversy; as, the debates in Parliament or in Congress.
deer – A ruminant quadruped of the genus Cercus, of several species, the males of which have branched horns. The common American deer is C. Virginianus.
delaine – A fabric for ladies’ dress-goods. The original French fabric was all wool. The English and American delaines are composed of cotton and wool, or worsted.
delirious – Having a delirium; wandering in mind; light-headed; insane; demented; as, a delirious patient; delirious fancies.
denim – A coarse cotton drilling used for overalls, &c.
De-old Jim riber, I float down, see IT WILL NEVER DO TO GIVE IT UP SO
deportment – Manner of deporting or demeaning one’s self; carriage; especially, manner of acting with respect to the courtesies and duties of life; behavior; demeanor; conduct.
Father Pierre-Jean De Smet (1801-1873) – Belgian Jesuit and Roman Catholic Priest, active in missionary work in the midwest. De Smet, South Dakota was named for him.
Des Moines, Iowa – Capital of Iowa and county seat of Polk County.
desolate – Destitute or deprived of inhabitants; deserted; uninhabited; as, a desolate isle; a desolate wilderness. Laid waste; in a ruinous condition; neglected; destroyed. Left alone; solitary; without a companion; lonely; afflicted.
despot – 1. One who exercises or possesses absolute power over another; a master; a lord; especially, a sovereign invested with absolute power. 2. One who rules regardless of a constitution or laws; a tyrant.
devil – 1. The evil one, Satan, represented in the Scriptures as the traducer, father of lies, temper, &c. 2. To invest with the character of a devil. Resembling, or pertaining to the devil; diabolical; wicked in the extreme.
“The Devil’s Dream / The Devil’s Hornpipe” – song
dew – Moisture from the atmosphere condensed by cool bodies upon their surfaces, particularly at night.
diagramming sentences – System developed in the mid-19th century by Alonzo Reid and Brainerd Kellogg of Brooklyn, New York, by which a parse tree (sentence diagram) is used to pictorially represent words and word-group functions in sentences.
diary – An account made day by day of the events or transactions of the day; a journal; a register of daily occurrences; a black book dated for the record of daily memoranda; as, a diary of the weather.
diligently – In a diligent manner; with industry or assiduity; not carelessly; not negligently.
dinner horn / dinner-horn – Instrument used to summon distant workers to meals.
dish-pan / dishpan / wash-pan – Vessel used to hold water for washing.
disparage – To dishonor by a comparison with what is inferior; to lower in rank or estimation; to under value; to bring reproach on; to vilify; to debase.
divorce – To dissolve, either wholly or partially, the marriage contract of; to separate by divorce.
Docia Ingalls Forbes (1846-1918) – Charles Ingalls’ sister.
doctor – One duly licensed to practice medicine; a physician; one whose occupation is to treat diseases.
doe see doe (do-si-do) – Basic dance step in which dancers walk around each other without turning.
dog – A quadruped of the genus Canis (C. familiaris). There are upwards of thirty enumerated varieties, as the mastiff, the hound, the spaniel, the shepherd’s dog, the terrier, the harrier, the bloodhound, &c. The dog is distinguished for intelligence, docility, and attachment to man, above all other of the inferior animals.
doggedly – In a dogged manner; sullenly; sourly; morosely; with obstinate resolution.
doggerel – Low-styled and irregular verse; mean or undignified poetry. “The ill-spelt lines of doggerel in which he expressed his reverence for the brave sufferers.” –Maccaulay.
doll – A puppet or baby for a child; an image in the form of a child, or sometimes of an adult, for the amusement of little girls.
“Don’t Go Out Tonight, My Darling” – song
do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si, do / do ra me fa sol la see do – Do is a syllable attached to the first tone of the major diatonic scale for the purpose of solmization, or solfeggio. It is the first of the seven syllables used by the Italians as names of musical tones. In England and America the same syllables are used as a scale-pattern, while the tones in respect to absolute pitch are named by the first seven letters of the alphabet. Solfeggio is the system of ranging the scale by the names do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si, by which singing is taught.
dotted Swiss – Sheer cotton fabric embellished with small, raised dots.
dough – Paste of bread; a mass of flour or meal, moistened and kneaded, but not yet baked.
doughnut – A small, roundish cake, made of flour, eggs, and sugar, moistened with milk or with water, and fried in lard.
draft / draught, stove – A current of air.
draw – A terrain feature formed by two parallel ridged with low ground (the draw) between them.
drawers / underdrawers – A close undergarment worn on the lower limbs.
dress – To prepare for use; to fit for any use; to get ready; as, to dress a slain animal; to dress food.
dressing – The stuffing of fowls, pigs, &c.; forcemeat.
dressmaker / dressmaking – A maker of gowns, or similar garments.
drift – That which is driven, forced, or urged along; a mass of any thing carried onward together; as, a mass of matter which has been driven or forced together into its present position; as a drift of snow, of ice, of sand, and the like.
dripping – The fat which falls from meat in roasting.
drum – An instrument of music, consisting of a hollow cylinder or hemisphere, upon which a piece of vellum is stretched, to be beaten with a stick; – the common instrument of marking time in martial music.
drumstick – Any thing resembling a drumstick in form, as the upper joint of the leg of a fowl.
duck – A water-fowl of the family Anatida and order Anseres. The fresh-water ducks are of the sub-family Anatinæ. The common domestic duck is the Anas beschas; the wood-duck, A. spons.
ducking – To duck is to dip or plunge in water and suddenly withdraw; as, to duck a seaman. It differs from dive, which signifies to plunge one’s self.
dump – To put or throw down with more or less of violence; hence, to unload from a cart by tilting it up; as, to dump sand, coal, &c.
dusk / dusky – Imperfect obscurity; a middle degree between light and darkness; twilight; as, the dusk of the evening. Dusky means partially dark or obscure; not luminous; dusk; as, a dusky valley.
dust devil – Formed in updraughts of air from localized heating in dry conditions, and begin to whirl when the warm air is funnelled through an obstruction or over a patch of particularly rough ground. They vary in size from the smallest and most short-lived of wisps to intense dusty vortices capable of causing minor damage.
Dutch – The people of the Netherlands, collectively.
Daniel Dwight family – De Smet family whose children attended the Wilkin School taught by Laura Ingalls.