1930’s Definitions

Definitions of Words from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
Definitions from the 1937 Marriam Webster
Aberration 1) The act of wandering from the right way; deviation from the truth or moral rectitude; deviation from a straight line. 2) In astronomy, a slight apparent motion or displacement of the fixed stars, occasioned by the progressive motion of light and the earth’s motion in its orbit. 3) In optics, a deviation in the rays of light, when inflected by a lens or mirror, by which they are prevented from meeting in the same point. It is occasioned by the figure of the glass or mirror, or by the unequal refrangibility of the rays of light. 4) Partial alienation of mind; mental wandering.
Agnosticism 1) The doctrines of the agnostics. 2) Belief in agnostic doctrines. 3) In theology, the doctrine that God is unknown and unknowable; because God has not revealed Himself to man; because finite mind cannot comprehend God; because Absolute God cannot come into intimacy nor make Himself known to finite mind. 4) In philosophy, the doctrine that Firm Cause and the essential nature of things are unknowable to man; that it is impossible to know the existence of the human soul and Ultimate Cause, or to prove or disprove it.
Allergy Acquired immunity through which a person reinfected by a germ reacts differently from the way he reacted to the primary infection.
Annals 1) A kind of history arranged in order of time, or a relation of events in chronological order, year by year. Annals differ from history in merely relating events, without observations on motives, causes, and consequences. 2) Books containing annals; as, the annals of Tacitus.
Atheism The disbelief of the existence of a God, or a supreme intelligent Being.
Augury 1) The art or practice of foretelling events by signs or omens. 2) That which forebodes; that from which a prediction is drawn; prognostication.
Avocation 1) The act of calling aside, or diverting from some employment; as, an avocation from sin or from business. 2)The business which calls aside. The word is generally used for the smaller affairs of life, or occasional calls which summon a person to leave his ordinary or principal business. 3) A person’s regular business or occupation; vocation; employment.
Boon 1) A gift; a grant; a benefaction. 2) A prayer or petition. 3) A benefit; a thing to be thankful for; as, the boon of good health.
Brainstorm The 1937 Webster’s Universal Unabridged Dictionary does not contain a definition for this word. Joe and Charlie refer to it as a type of rage. It took on new meaning in the 1950’s when used by Walt Disney’s think tank as a forum for sharing ideas.
Causes (plural of cause); Cause 1) A suit of action in court; any legal process which a party institutes to obtain his demand, or by which he seeks to realized his claim. This is a legal, scriptural, and popular use of the word, coinciding nearly with case. 2) That which produces an effect; that which impels into existence, or produces what did not before exist; that by virtue of which anything is done; that from which anything proceeds, and without which it would not exist. 3) The real reason or motive that urges, moves or implies the mind to act or decide; as, cause for joy; cause for anger. 4) Sake; account. 5) That which a person, party, or nation pursues; or rather, pursuit, prosecution of an object; as, Bible societies are engaged in a noble cause. Hence the word cause is used to denote that which a person or thing favors; that to which the efforts of an intelligent being are the cause of God. In all its applications, cause retains something of its original meaning – struggle, impelling force, contest, effort to obtain or to effect something. 6) Any matter as a subject of discussion.
Chronic 1) Pertaining to time; having reference to time. 2) Continuing a long time, as a disease. Chronic Disease: one which is inveterate of of long continuance, in distinction from an acute disease, which speedily terminates.
Condition 1) Stage of being; situation in relation to environment or to physical or mental soundness; social position. 2) Quality; property;attribute. 3) A prerequisite; a set of terms provided as the ground of something else; that which is established, or to be done, or to happen as requisite to another act; as, I will lend you a some of money on condition that you will refund it. 4) A clause in contract, agreement, or other document which provides that the principal obligation may be qualified or nullified, under stated circumstances.
Contrition 1) Attrition; the act of grinding or rubbing to powder. 2) Penitent; deep sorrow for sin; grief of heart for having done wrong.
Conviviality 1) The good humor or mirth indulged in at entertainments of a convivial character. 2) A convivial spirit or disposition. Convivial: Relating to a feast or entertainment; implying mirth and good fellowship;festal; social; jovial; as, a convivial meeting.
Cordial, adj. 1) Relating to the heart. 2) Proceeding as from the heart (the ancients believing the heart the source of affection); hearty; sincere; not hypocritical; warm; affectionate; as, we give our friends a cordial reception. 3) Reviving the spirits; cheering; invigorating; giving strength or spirits; as, cordial waters.
Cynic, Cynical 1) Having the qualities of a surly dog; snarling; captious; surly; currish; austere. 2) Pertaining to the dog-star. 3) Pertaining to the Cynics or their doctrines. 4) Professing unbelief in human rectitude; sarcastic; carping; as, a cynical remark. 5) Doglike; canicular.
Denizen 1) A stranger admitted to residence in a foreign country; specifically, in English law, an alien who is make a subject by the king’s letters patent, holding a middle state between an alien and a natural-born subject. 2) A dweller; as, the denizens of air.
Desire (n) 1) An emotion directed to the attainment of possession of an object from which pleasure, sensual, intellectual, or spiritual, is expected; a passion excited by the love of an object, or uneasiness at the want of it, and directed to its attainment or possession. 2) A request; a petition; as, a desire for aide. 3) That which is desired; an object of longing. 4) Appetite; lust.
Desire (v) 1) To wish for the possession and enjoyment of, with earnestness; to long for; to covet; as, to desire wealth. 2) To express a wish to obtain; to ask; to request. 3) To require; to claim. 4) To regret; to miss.
Despair (n) 1) Hopelessness; a hopeless state; a lack of hope or expectations. 2) That which is despaired of; that of which there is no hope.
Despair (v.i.) To be without hope; to give up all hope or expectation; often followed by of; as, to despair of life.
Despair (v.t.) 1) To give up hope of; to lose confidence in. 2)To cause to despair; to deprive of hope.
Desperate 1) Without hope. 2) Without regard to danger or safety; extremely reckless; as, a desperate man. 3) Done or applied without regard to consequences, or in the last extreme; proceeding from despair; rash; reckless; as, a desperate effort. 4) Despaired of; beyond hope of recovery; irretrievable; hopeless; as, desperate fortunes; desperate conditions. 5) Great in the extreme; hopelessly bad; as, a desperate reprobate
Discipline (n.) 1) Education; instruction; the cultivation of the mind and formation of the manners; training. 2)Instruction and government, comprehending the communication of knowledge and the regulation of practice; the training to act in accordance with rules; drill; as, military discipline. 3) Rule of government; method of regulating principles and practice; as, the discipline prescribed fo the church. 4) Subjection to rule; submissiveness to control. 5) Correction; chastisement; punishment inflicted by way of correction and training; instruction by means of misfortune, suffering, and the like. 6) In the Roman Catholic church, (a) chastisement or bodily punishment inflicted on a delinquent by himself or another, or that chastisement or external mortification which a penitent inflicts on himself; (b) the scourge so used. 7) Anything taught; branch of knowledge; art.
Discipline (v.t.) 1) T instruct or educate; to inform the mind of; to prepare by instruction; to train; as, to discipline youth for a profession or for a future usefulness. 2) To accustom to systematic action; to teach rules and practice, and accustom to order and subordination; to drill; as, to discipline troops. 3) To correct; to chastise; to punish. 4) To execute the laws of a church on, with a view to bring to repentance and reformation of life. 5) To keep in subjection; to regulate; to govern.
Doubt (v.i) 1) To waver or fluctuate in opinion; to hesitate; to be in suspense; to be uncertain respecting the truth or fact; to be undetermined; as, I doubt whether it is proper; I doubt whether I shall go. 2) To fear; to be apprehensive.
Doubt (v.t.) 1) To question or hold as questionable; to withhold assent from; to hesitate I to believe; as, I doubt the truth of the story. 2) To fear; to suspect. 3) To distrust; to withhold confidence from; as, to doubt one’s ability to execute an office.
Doubt (n) 1) Uncertainty of mind; suspense; unsettled state of opinion concerning a state or condition of things; question; hesitation. 2) Uncertainty of condition. 3) Suspicion; fear; apprehension. 4) Difficulty urged for solution, or presented for removal; objection.
Engender (v.t.) 1) To produce by sexual union; to bring into being. 2) To produce; to cause to exist; to cause to bring forth.
Engender (v.i.) 1) To be caused or produced; to be brought into existence. 2) To meet; to copulate.
Enthusiasm 1) An ecstasy of mind, as if from inspiration or possession by a spiritual influence; hence, a belief or conceit or being divinely inspired, or of being possessed of a private revelation of the divine. 2) Strong and pleasurable emotion manifested by expression of approval or eager interest; ardor or excitement in pursuit of some object, inspiring extravagant hope and confidence of success; predominance of the emotional over the intellectual powers; fervor; as, the enthusiasm of an audience. 3) An intense, profound, and eager interest, with a liveliness of imagination and an ardent zeal for an object believed to be worthy; as, the enthusiasm of the scientist, the artist, or the inventor.
Enthusiast 1) One who imagines he has supernatural relations with God, or special communications from Him. 2) One whose imagination is highly excited with the love or in the pursuit of an object; a person of ardent zeal; as, an enthusiast in poetry or music.
Epoch 1) In chronology, a fixed point of time from which succeeding years are numbered; a point from which computation of years begins; any fixed time or period; era; date; as, the exodus from Egypt and the Babylonish captivity are remarkable epochs in the history of the Jews. 2) In astronomy, any arbitrary moment of time, as that which marks the date of a given position of a planet. 3) In geology, a minor division of geologic time, used with varying meanings by various geologists.
Frothy, adj. 1) Full of foam or froth, or consisting of froth or light bubbles; foamy; spumous. 2) Soft; not firm or solid. 3) Vain; light; empty; unsubstantial; as, a vain, frothy speaker; a frothy harangue.
Grave v.t. 1) To carve or cut (letters or figures) on, as, on stone or other hard substance, with a chisel or edged tool; to engrave. 2) To carve; to form or shape by cutting with a chisel; as, to grave an image. 3) To clean, as a ship’s bottom, by scraping or burning and paving it over with pitch. 4) To put into a grave; to entomb. 5) Figuratively, to make a deep and lasting impression on; as, grave it on the tablets of they memory.
Grave v.i. To carve; to write or delineate on hard substances; to practice engraving.
Grave adj. 1) Solemn; sober; serous; opposed to gay, light, or jovial; as, a man of grave deportment; a grave and reverend senator. 2) Plain; not gay; not showy or tawdry; as, a grave suit of clothes. 3)Important; momentous; having a serous and interesting import; as, the grave affairs of life. 4) In acoustics, of low pitch; opposed to acute; in music, slow in movement and solemn in character.
Grave n. 1) A pit or place excavated for the burial of a dead body; a place for a corpse to be deposited; a tomb; a sepulcher. 2) Figuratively, death; destruction; a place or cause of extinction or loss; as, Russia was the grave of Napoleon’s army; gambling is the grave of his fortune. 3) In the Bible, the abode of the dead; Sheol; Hades.
Hopeless 1) Destitute of hope; despairing. 2) Giving no ground of hope; desperate; as, a hopeless condition.
Insane 1) Unsound in mind or intellect; mad; deranged in mind; delirious; distracted. 2) Used by or appropriated to insane persons; as, an insane hospital. 3) Making mad; causing madness; as, the insane root. 4) Figuratively, resulting from insanity; as, an insane proposition.
Insidious 1) Lying in wait; hence watching an opportunity to ensnare or entrap deceitful; sly treacherous. 2) Intended to entrap as, insidious arts.
Lurking (Lurk v.i.) 1) To lie hidden; to lie in wait. 2) To lie concealed or unperceived; as, see that no selfish motive lurks in the heart. 3) To retire from public observation; to keep out of sight.
Method 1) Systematic mode or manner of action; suitable and convenient arrangement of separate things or parts; regular or orderly procedure; system; action regulated by rules; regualrity; used without the article, and only in the singular in this sense; as, without method business of any kind will fall into confusion. 2) A mode or manner of procedure; an established or systematic order for performing any action or conducting any operation; also, the means of exhibiting or teaching such a system; as, a method of investigation. 3) In science, a principle of classification; a system of grouping bodies according to certain relationships; as, the Linnean method. 4) In philosophy, logical or scientific arrangement of mode of procedure; the art of disposing a series of thoughts either for the discovering of truth when we are ignorant of it, or for proving it to other when it is already known.
Mettle 1) Stuff; material; moral or physical constitution; constitutional temperament; disposition; character; temper; spirit; ardor. 2) Metal.
Miracle 1) A wonder or wonderful thing. 2) In theology, an event or effect contrary to the established constitution and course of things; a deviation from the known laws of nature, implying a suspension of those laws; a divine interposition. 3) A story or legend narrating miracles; in the middle ages, a spectacle or dramatic representation exhibiting the lives of the saints; a miracle-play.
Moral v.i. To moralize (obscure)
Moral adj. 1) Relating to the practice, manners, or conduct of men, as social beings, in relation to each other, and with reference to right and wrong; ethical. 2) Subject to the moral law, and capable of moral actions; bound to perform social duties; as, a moral agent or being. 3) Supported by the evidence of reason or probability; founded on experience of the ordinary course of things; as, moral certainty distinguished from physical ormathematical certainty or demonstration. 4) Conformed to rules of right, or to the accepted rules respecting social duties; virtuous; just; especially, irreproachable in in one’s sexual relations; as, he led a moral life. 5) Operative or effective through one’s moral nature or sense of duty or virtue; as opposed to material or legal; as, moral suasion. 6) Impressing or revealing a moral; as, moral story. 7) Moralizing.
Moral n. 1) The practical lesson inculcated by any story or incident; the significance or meaning, as of a fable; hence, a fable; an allegory; a morality. 2) Principles and practice in regard to right, wrong, and duty; general conduct or behavior, especially in sexual matters; moral philosophy; ethics. 3) A counterpart. 4) Morality.
Moralize v.t. 1) To apply a moral purpose; to explain in a moral sense; to found moral reflections on. 2. To supply with a moral or practical lesson; to furnish with edifying examples. 3) To render moral or virtuous; to correct the morals of.
Moralize v.i. To speak or write on moral subjects; to make; to make moral reflections.
Morass A marsh; a fen; a tract of soft, wet ground.
Nadir 1) That point of the heavens directly opposite to the zenith; the point directly under the place where one stands. 2) Figuratively, any lowest point; as, the nadir of national strength.
Notion 1) Conception; mental apprehension of whatever may be known or imagined; a general concept considered as known or recognizable by certain attributes; as, we may have just notion of power, or false notions respecting spirits. 2) Sentiment; opinion, usually crude or having slight foundation; as, extravagant notions. 3) Sense; understanding; intellectual power. 4) Inclination; whim; as, I have notion to do this or that. 5) Any clever device; any small ingenious or useful article; a handy little invention or utensil; as, the Yankees filled the market with their notions.
Prejudice n. 1) Prejudgment; an opinion or decision of mind formed without due examination of the facts or arguments which are necessary to a just and impartial determination; an unreasonable predilection for or objection to a person or thing. 2) A previous bent or bias of mind for or against any person or thing; prepossession. 3) Mischief; hurt; damage; injury; as, violent factions are a prejudice to the authority of the state. 4) In law, an opinion or judgment formed by a judge or juror before the case has come to trial, and which would prevent him from hearing it impartially or on its merits. 5) Foresight
Principal n. 1) A chief or head; a chief party; one who takes and lead or principal part in anything; as, a principal in a duel. 2) A president or governor; one who is chief in authority, as the head of a college, university or other institution; the head of a firm. 3) The principal or main point. 4) In carpentry, an important timber in a frame. 5) In business, a sum of money employed to produce a profit or revenue periodically payable during a length of time under the name of interest. 6) The chief circumstance in a work of art, to which the rest are to be subordinate. 7) In law, the actual or absolute perpetrator of a crime, or an abettor. 8) One who employs another to act for or under him, the person so employed being termed an agent. 9) A person for whom another becomes surety; one who is liable for a debt in the first instance. 10) In music, (a) the subject of a fugue; (b) in an organ, the chief open metal stop, one octave higher in pitch than the open diapason.
Principle n. 1) A beginning. 2) That from which anything proceeds; a source or origin; an element; a constituent part; a primordial substance. 3) An original cause; an operative cause. 4) An original endowment of the mind; a faculty. 5) A general truth; a fundamental truth or tenet; a law from which others are derived, or on which others are founded; an elementary proposition; a maxim, axiom, or postulate. 6) A tenet; a settled rule of action; that which is believed or held, whether true or not, and which serves as a rule of action or the basis of a system. 7) A right rule of conduct; uprightness; as, a man of principle. 8) Ground of conduct; motive. 9) In chemistry, (a) a component part; an element; as, the constituent principle of bodies; (b) a substance, on the presence of which certain qualities, common to a number of bodies depend.
Recompense v.t. 1) To make a return for; to five or render an equivalent for, as, for services , losses, etc.; to repay; to requite, as, a person or thing. 2) To return or give an equivalent for; to reward; to repay; to atone for; as, to recompense evil deeds. 3) To make recompense or compensation.
Recompense n. An equivalent returned for anything given, done or suffered; compensation; reward; amends; as, a recompense for services, for damages, for loss, etc.
Recover(ed) (v.i.) 1) To regain health after sickness; to grow well again; often followed by of or from. 2) To regain a former state or condition, as after misfortune or disturbance of mind; as, to recovery from a state of poverty or depression. In this sense, sometimes used elliptically without from. 3) To obtain a judgment in law; to succeed in a lawsuit; as, the plaintiff as recovered in his suit.
Recruit n. 1) the supply of anything wasted; a reinforcement. 2)A newly-enlisted soldier or sailor. 3) A substitute for something.
Remorse n. 1) The keen pain or anguish excited by a sense of guilt; compunction of conscience for an evil act committed; self-reproach. 2) Sympathetic sorrow; pity; compassion.
Reproach 1) Censure mingled with contempt or derision; contumelious or opprobrious language toward any person; abusive reflections; as, foul-mouth reproach. 2) Shame; infamy; disgrace. 3) An object of contempt, scorn, or derision. 4) That which is the cause of shame or disgrace.
Reprove 1) To blame; to censure; to condemn; to disapprove. 2) To charge with a fault; to chide; to reprehend. 3) To refute; to disprove. 4) To convict.
Sober 1) Temperate in the use of spiritous liquors; habitually temperate; as, a sober man. 2) Not intoxicated or overpowered by spiritous liquors; not drunken; as, he is sober at times. 3) Not mad or insane; not wild, visionary or heated with passion; self-possessed. 4) Regular; calm; thoughtful; as, sober judgment; a man in his sober senses. 5) Serious solemn; grave; as, the sober livery of autumn.
Sobriety 1) Habitual soberness or temperance from spiritous liquors. 2) Freedom from intoxication. 3) Habitual freedom from enthusiasm, inordinate passion, or overheated imagination; calmness; coolness; the sobriety of age. 4) seriousness; gravity without sadness or melancholy
Spiritual (a.) 1) Consisting of spirit; not material; as, a spiritual substance or being. 2) Mental; intellectual; as, spiritual armor. 3) Not gross; refined from external things not sensual; relating to mind only; as, a spiritual and refined religion. 4) Not lay or temporal; relating to sacred things; ecclesiastical; as, the spiritual affairs of a diocese. 5) Pertaining to spirit or to the affections; pure; holy; controlled and inspired by the divine spirit.
Subtle 1) Characterized by artful cunning; sly; woven; crafty; insinuating; wily; as, a subtle foe. 2) Characterized by acuteness or delicacy of intellect; discerning; refined; penetrative; revealing keen and delicate distinctions; hence, overnice; sophistical; as, subtle reasoning. 3) Clever; ingeniously contrived; skillfully executed. 4) Ingenious; skillful; handy; apt. 5) Subtile. 6) Smooth; carefully leveled.
Suffice (v.i.) To provide. To be enough or sufficient; to be equal to the end proposed; to be adequate or satisfactory; as, your word suffices.
Suffice (v.t.) 1) To answer the purpose or requirements of; to meet the views of; to content; to satisfy; as, this sum suffices all his needs.
Synthesis (n.) 1) Composition; the putting of two or more things together, as in compound medicines. 2) In logic, combination or that process of reasoning in which we advance by regular chain from principles previously established or assumed, and propositions already proved, till we arrive at the conclusion. Synthesis is also called the direct method or composition, and is the reverse of analysis or resolution. 3) In surgery, the operation by which divided parts are united. 4) In chemistry, the uniting of elements into a compound; the opposite of analysis which is the separation of a compound into its constituent parts; as, that water is composed of oxygen and hydrogen, is proved both by analysis and synthesis. 5) In Grammar, the combination of formative elements into one word; thus, the word higher is a case of synthesis.
Synthetic (a.) 1) Pertaining to synthesis; consisting in synthesis or composition; as, the synthetic method of reasoning, as opposed to the analytic. 2) In grammar; characterized by synthesis. 3) In biology, of a comprehensive type; comprising in a single organism, characters which in the process of evolution will be specialized in different organisms; generalized; undifferentiated.
Temperance 1) Moderation; particularly, habitual moderation in regard to the indulgence of the natural appetites and passions; restrained or moderate indulgence; as, temperance in eating and drinking; specifically, total abstinence from intoxicating liquors. 2) Patience; calmness, sedateness; moderation of passion; self-control. 3) Temper. 4) Temperature. (obs)
Temperate 1) Moderate; not excessive; as, temperate heat; a temperate climate; temperate air. 2) Moderate in the indulgence of the appetites and passions; as, temperate in eating and drinking; temperate in pleasures; temperate in speech. 3) Cool; calm; not marked with passion; not violent; as, a temperate discourse or address; temperate language. 4) Proceeding from temperance. 5) In music, tempered.
Temporize 1) To comply with the time or occasion; to humor or yield to the current of opinion or to circumstances; to adopt an indicisive course; to endeavor to please two or more factions or parties. 2) To delay; to procrastinate. 3) To parley.
Utter The utmost limit.
Utterly In an utter manner; to the full extent; fully; perfectly; totally; as, utterly based; utterly powerless.
Vicissitude 1) Regular change or succession of one thing to another; as, the vicissitude of day and night and of winter and summer; the vicissitude of the seasons. 2) A passing from one state or condition to another; irregular change; revolution; mutation; as, the vicissitudes of fortune.
Vital (adj) 1) Pertaining to life, either animal or vegetable; as, vital energies; vital powers. 2) Contributing to life; necessary to life; as, vital air; vital blood. 3) Containing life. 4) Being the seat life; being that on which life depends; as, the vital organs. 5) Very necessary; highly important; essential; as, peace is of vital importance to a country. 6) So disposed as to live.
Wholesale (n) The sale of goods by the piece or large quantity, as distinguished from retail.
Wholesale (adj) 1. Buying and selling by the piece or quantity; as, a wholesale merchant or dealer. 2) Pertaining to trade by the piece or quantity; as, wholesale price. 3) In great quantities; extensive and indiscriminate; as, wholesale slaughter.
Wholesale (v.t.) To sell, as goods, in wholesale quantities.
Wrest (v.t.) 1) To twist; to wrench; to more from a fixed positions by the application of a violent twisting force; as, to wrest a weapon from an enemy. 2) To extort or bring out, as by twisting, wrenching, or painful force; to obtain or extort, as by torture, violence, or force; as, to wrest a confession from a criminal. 3) To subject to an improper strain; to apply unjustifiably to a different or improper use; to turn from truth or twist from the natural or proper meaning by violence; to pervert; to distort; as, to wrest a wrong meaning from a statement.