(A). An expletive, void of sense, to fill up the meter
A merry heart goes all the day,
Your sad tires in a mile-a.
(A-). A, as a prefix to English words, is derived from various sources. (1) It frequently signifies on
or in (from an, a forms of AS. on), denoting a state, as in afoot, on foot, abed, amiss, asleep, aground,
aloft, away and analogically, ablaze, atremble, etc. (2) AS. of off, from, as in adown (3) AS. a- usually
giving an intensive force, and sometimes the sense of away, on, back, as in arise, abide, ago. (4)
Old English y- or i- (corrupted from the AS. inseparable particle ge- , cognate with OHG. ga-, gi-,
Goth. ga-), which, as a prefix, made no essential addition to the meaning, as in aware. (5) French à
as in abase, achieve. (6) L. a, ab, abs, from, as in avert. (7) Greek insep. prefix &alpha without, or
privative, not, as in abyss, atheist; akin to E. un-.
Besides these, there are other sources from which the prefix a takes its origin.
(A 1) A registry mark given by underwriters (as at Lloyd's) to ships in first-class condition. Inferior
grades are indicated by A 2 and A 3.
A 1 is also applied colloquially to other things to imply superiority; prime; first-class; first-rate.
(||Aam) n. [D. aam, fr. LL. ama; cf. L. hama a water bucket, Gr. ] A Dutch and German measure
of liquids, varying in different cities, being at Amsterdam about 41 wine gallons, at Antwerp 36½, at Hamburg
38¼. [Written also Aum and Awm.]
(||Aard"-vark`) n. [D., earth-pig.] (Zoöl.) An edentate mammal, of the genus Orycteropus,
somewhat resembling a pig, common in some parts of Southern Africa. It burrows in the ground, and
feeds entirely on ants, which it catches with its long, slimy tongue.
(||Aard"-wolf`) n. [D, earth-wolf] (Zoöl.) A carnivorous quadruped (Proteles Lalandii), of South
Africa, resembling the fox and hyena. See Proteles.
(Aa*ron"ic Aa*ron"ic*al) a. Pertaining to Aaron, the first high priest of the Jews.
(Aar"on's rod`) [See Exodus vii. 9 and Numbers xvii. 8]
1. (Arch.) A rod with one serpent twined around it, thus differing from the caduceus of Mercury, which
2. (Bot.) A plant with a tall flowering stem; esp. the great mullein, or hag-taper, and the golden-rod.
(Ab-) [Latin prep., etymologically the same as E. of, off. See Of.] A prefix in many words of Latin
origin. It signifies from, away , separating, or departure, as in abduct, abstract, abscond. See A-
(||Ab) n. [Of Syriac origin.] The fifth month of the Jewish year according to the ecclesiastical reckoning,
the eleventh by the civil computation, coinciding nearly with August. W. Smith.
(||Ab"a*ca) n. [The native name.] The Manila-hemp plant (Musa textilis); also, its fiber. See Manila
hemp under Manila.
(A*bac"i*nate) v. t. [LL. abacinatus, p. p. of abacinare; ab off + bacinus a basin.] To
blind by a red-hot metal plate held before the eyes. [R.]
(A*bac`i*na"tion) n. The act of abacinating. [R.]
(||Ab`a*cis"cus) n. [Gr. 'abaki`skos, dim of 'a`bax. See Abacus.] (Arch.) One of the tiles
or squares of a tessellated pavement; an abaculus.