A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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View Scan · View Transcription · from page 78

A'ctive. adj. [activus, Lat.]

  1. That which has the power or quality of acting.

    These particles have not only a vis inertiæ, accompanied with such passive laws of motion, as naturally result from that force, but also they are moved by certain active principles, such as that of gravity, and that which causes fermentation, and the cohesion of bodies. Newton's Opticks.

  2. That which acts, opposed to passive, or that which suffers.

    — When an even flame two hearts did touch,
    His office was indulgently to fit
    Actives to passives, correspondency
    Only his subject was.

    If you think that by multiplying the additaments in the same proportion, that you multiply the ore, the work will follow, you may be deceived: for quantity in the passive will add more resistance than the quantity in the active will add force. Bacon's Physical Remains.

  3. Busy, engaged in action; opposed to idle or sedentary, or any state of which the duties are performed only by the mental powers.

    'Tis virtuous action that must praise bring forth,
    Without which, slow advice is little worth;
    Yet they who give good counsel, praise deserve,
    Though in the active part they cannot serve.
    Sir. J. Denham.

  4. Practical; not merely theoretical.

    The world hath had in these men fresh experience, how dangerous such active errors are. Hooker, Preface.

  5. Nimble; agile; quick.

    Some bend the stubborn bow for victory;
    And some with darts their active sinews try.
    Dryd. Æn. vii.

  6. In grammar.

    A verb active is that which signifies action, as does, I teach. Clarke's Latin Grammar.

Sources: Bacon, Francis (396) · Clarke, John (7) · Denham, John (75) · Donne, John (44) · Dryden, John (788) · Hooker, Richard (175) · Newton, Isaac (40)

Attributes: Adjective (426) · Latin (690)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Active." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: February 1, 2014. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/active/.

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