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Individual words from Noah Webster's 1928 Dictionary can be searched at:
http://1828.mshaffer.com/d/search/word,sample

A favorite gun lobby quotation, especially as used by Stephen Halbrook, is from the definition for "bear" in Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary. The point is taken up by Judge Garwood in his Emerson opinion. Here is how Halbrook uses the words in his brief for the Texas Justice Foundation in Emerson:

Just as the NRA quotes half an amendment to the Constitution. Halbrook quotes half a definition. The full definition reads:

This definition of "bear" does not include "carry." The coat at issue was a coat-of-arms, "that on which ensigns armorial are displayed," not a garment. Garry Wills pointed out the abuse of language in his article in the New York Review of Books, September 21, 1995. http://www.potowmack.org/garwills.html. Halbrook is undeterred in trying to put over the deception on the courts.

The definitions of COAT, BEAR and ARMS from Webster's dictionary:

COAT, n.

1. An upper garment, of whatever material it may be made. The word is, in modern times, generally applied to the garment worn by men next over the vest.

2. A petticoat; garment worn by infants or young children. Locke.

3. The habit or vesture of an order of men, indicating the order or office.

4. External covering, as the fur or hair of a beast, the skin of serpents, the wool of sheep, &c. Milton

5. A tunic of the eye; a membrane that serves as a cover; a tegument. Derham.

6. The division or layer of a bulbous root; as the coats of an onion.

7. A cover; a layer of any substance covering another; as a coat of tar, pitch or varnish; a coat of canvas round a mast; a coat of tin-foil.

8. That on which ensigns armorial are portrayed; usually called a coat of arms. Anciently knights wore a habit over their arms, reaching as low as the navel, open at the sides, with short sleeves, on which were the armories of the knights, embroidered in gold and silver, and enameled with beaten tin of various colors. This habit was diversified with bands and fillets of serval colors, placed alternately, and called devises, as being divided and composed of several pieces sewed together. The representation of these is still called a coat of arms.

9. A coat of mail is a piece of armor, in form of a shirt, consisting of a net-work of iron rings.

10. A card; a coat-card is one on which a king, queen or knave is painted.

BEAR, v. t.

1. To support; to sustain; as, to bear a weight or burden

2. To carry; to convey; to support and remove from place to place; as, "they bear him upon the shoulder;" "the eagle beareth them on her wings." Isaiah. Deuteronomy.

3. To wear; to bear as a mark of authority or distinction; as, to bear a sword, badge, a name; to bear arms in a coat.

4. To keep afloat; as, the water bears a ship.

5. To support or sustain without sinking or yielding; to endure; as, a man can bear severe pain or calamity; or to sustain with proportinate strength, and without injury; as, a man may bear stronger food or drink.

6. To entertain; to carry in the mind; as, to bear a great love for a friend, to bear inveterate hatred to gaming.

7. To suffer; to undergo; as, to bear punishment.

8. To suffer without resentment, or interference to prevent; to have patience; as, to bear neglect or indignities.

9. To admit or be capable of; that is, to suffer or sustain without violence, injury, or change; as, to give words the most favorable interpretation they will bear.

10. To bring forth or produce, as the fruit of plants, or the young of animals; as, to bear apples; to bear children.

11. To give birth to, or be the native place of.

12. To possess and use as power; to exercise; as, to bear sway.

13. to gain or win.

14. To carry on, or maintain; to have; as, to bear a part in conversation.

15. To show or exhibit; to relate; as, to bear testimony or witness. This seems to imply utterance, like the Latin fero, to relate or utter.

16. To sustain the effect, or be answerable for; as, to bear the blame.

17. To sustain, as expense; to supply the means of paying; as, to bear the charges, that is, to pay the expenses.

18. To be the object of.

19. To behave; to act in any character; as, "hath he borne himself penitent?' [Not usual.] Shak.

20. To remove, or to endure the effects of; and hence to give satisfaction for.

ARMS, n. plu.

1. Weapons of offense, or armor for defense and prtoection of the body.

2. War; hostily

3. The ensigns armorial of a family; consisting of figures and colors borne in shields, banners, &c, as marks of dignity and distinction, and descending from father to son.

4. In law, arms are any thing which a man takes in his hand in anger, to strike or assault another. Cowel. Blackstone.

5. In botany, one of the seven species of fulera or props of plants, enumerated by Linne and others. The different species of arms or armor, are prickles, thorns, forks and stings, which seem intended to protect the plants from injury by animals. Milne. Martyn.


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