N The fourteenth letter of the English alphabet, is a nasal consonant, and is formed by placing the end of the tongue against the root of the upper teeth, with the expulsion of a current of intonated or vocalized breath. Its principal sound is that heard in ban, done, noon, &c.; but when standing before g or k, or their equivalents, it has another sound, nearly represented by ng, as in finger, brink, &c. This is sometimes represented by ng, as in singer. When final after m, it is silent, as in hymn and condemn. — 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.
nailer – One whose occupation is to make nails. In the Little House books, it is published in replacement of a politically incorrect word used in Laura’s manuscript.
name card / name-card – A card bearing a person’s name, left in lieu of or accompanying a formal, social, or business visit.
nape – The back part of the neck.
narrow squeak – An escape only just managed.
“Nearer My God to Thee” – 19th century hymn by Sarah Adams Fowler, based loosely on Genesis 28:11–19,the story of Jacob’s dream.
Nebraska – The state south of Dakota Territory and north of Kansas.
Nebuchadnezzar – Chaldean king of Babylon, who died in 561 B.C.
necktie – A neck handkerchief.
needle – A small instrument of steel, sharply pointed at one end, with an eye.
needle-book – Something to stick needles upon, or to carry them in, usually composed of leaves of cloth made up in the form of a book.
Nettie – Mary’s rag doll.
New England Supper – Called so after the Pilgrim Thanksgiving meal featuring brown bread, baked beans, and pumpkin pie, a communal pot-luck dinner usually held to benefit or honor a church group or other organization.
newspaper – A sheet of paper printed and distributed, at short intervals, for conveying intelligence of passing events; a public print that circulates news, advertisements, proceedings of legislative bodies, public documents, and the like.
New Year (TLW 18) – Of, or pertaining to, the commencement of the year; as, new-year gifts.
New York – The State, and the city within it.
nigh – Not distant or remote in place or time; near.
night-cap / nightcap – A cap worn in bed or in undress.
nightingale – A small bird that sings at night; the Lusicina philomela. It is celebrated for its vocal powers.
nightmare – A sensation in sleep as of the pressure of a weight on the chest or stomach, and of an impossibility of motion, speech, or respiration, from which one wakes after extreme anxiety, in a troubled state of mind; incubus. Hence, any overwhelming, oppressive, or stupefying influence.
night-shirt / nightshirt – A plain, loose shirt for sleeping in; a night-gown.
nip – To end.
noose – A running knot, which binds the closer the more it is drawn.
norther – A wind, and especially a heavy gale, from the north. – “A cold, strong northerly wind in the southern Plains of the United States, especially in Texas, which results in dramatic change to colder weather. It’s often the leading edge of an Arctic air mass from Canada.” Paul Yeager, Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities. New York: Penguin Group, 2010, page 57.
North Pole – The point in the Northern Hemisphere where the Earth’s axis of rotation meets its surface.
Norway – Country on the western Scandinavian peninsula.
Norwegias – A native or inhabitant of Norway.
nose-bag – A bag to be tied to a horse’s nose, containing a feed of oats, maize, &c.
note, musical – A character, variously formed, to indicate the length of a tone, and variously placed upon the staff to indicate its pitch. Hence, a musical sound; a tone; an utterance; a tune.
Now I lay me down to sleep – First line of bedtime prayer.
nub – v.t. To push; to beckon. n.t. A knob; a protuberance.
nubbin – A small or imperfect ear of maize.
nut – The fruit of certain trees and shrubs, consisting of a hard shell inclosing a kernel.