A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Mass (noun)

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Mass. n.s. [masse, Fr. massa, Latin.]

  1. A body; a lump; a continuous quantity.

    If it were not for these principles the bodies, of the earth, planets, comets, sun, and all things in them, would grow cold and freeze, and become inactive masses. Newton's Opt.

    Some passing into their pores, others adhering in lumps or masses to their outsides, so as wholly to cover and involve it in the mass they together constituted. Woodward's Nat. Hist.

  2. A large quantity.

    Thy sumptuous buildings, and thy wife's attire,
    Have cost a mass of publick treasury.
    Shakesp. Henry VI.

    He had spent a huge mass of treasure in transporting his army. Davies on Ireland.

  3. Bulk; vast body.

    The Creator of the world would not have framed so huge a mass of earth but for some reasonable creatures to have their habitation. Abbot's Description of the World.

    This army of such mass and charge,
    Led by a delicate and tender prince.
    Shakesp. Hamlet.

    He discovered to me the richest mines which the Spaniards have, and from whence all the mass of gold that comes into Spain is drawn. Raleigh's Essays.

  4. Congeries; assemblage indistinct.

    The whole knowledge of groupes, of the lights and shadows, and of those masses which Titian calls a bunch of grapes, is, in the prints of Rubens, exposed clearly to the sight. Dryden.

    At distance, through an artful glass,
    To the mind's eye things well appear;
    They lose their forms, and make a mass
    Confus'd and black, if brought too near.

    Where flowers grow, the ground at a distance seems covered with them, and we must walk into it before we can distinguish the several weeds that spring up in such a beautiful mass of colours. Addison's Freeholder.

  5. Gross body; the general.

    Comets have the power over the gross and mass of things; but they are rather gazed upon than wisely observed in their effects. Bacon's Essays.

    Where'er thou art, he is; th' eternal mind
    Acts through all places; is to none confin'd:
    Fills ocean, earth, and air, and all above,
    And through the universal mass does move.

    The mass of the people have opened their eyes, and will not be governed by Clodius and Curio at the head of their myrmidons. Swift.

    If there is not a sufficient quantity of blood and strength of circulation, it may infect the whole mass of the fluids. Arbuthnot on Aliments.

  6. [Missa, Latin.] The service of the Romish church.

    Burnished gold is that manner of gilding which we see in old parchment and mass books, done by monks and priests, who were very expert herein. Peacham on Drawing.

    He infers, that then Luther must have been unpardonably wicked in using masses for fifteen years. Atterbury.

Sources: Abbot, George (11) · Addison, Joseph (408) · Arbuthnot, John (227) · Atterbury, Francis (75) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Davies, John (45) · Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's Hamlet (60) · Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 2 (49) · Newton, Isaac (40) · Peacham, Henry (53) · Prior, Matthew (162) · Raleigh, Walter (68) · Swift, Jonathan (306) · Woodward, John (78)

Attributes: French (385) · Latin (690) · Noun Substantive (1269)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Mass (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: June 25, 2013. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/mass-noun/.

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