University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
History of Science and Technology

Page View

Chambers, Ephraim, 1680 (ca.)-1740 / Cyclopædia, or, An universal dictionary of arts and sciences : containing the definitions of the terms, and accounts of the things signify'd thereby, in the several arts, both liberal and mechanical, and the several sciences, human and divine : the figures, kinds, properties, productions, preparations, and uses, of things natural and artificial : the rise, progress, and state of things ecclesiastical, civil, military, and commercial : with the several systems, sects, opinions, &c : among philosophers, divines, mathematicians, physicians, antiquaries, criticks, &c : the whole intended as a course of antient and modern learning

Nictitating - nymphotomia,   pp. 631-646 PDF (14.4 MB)

Page 631

( 631 )
his own Name; as he himfelf tells us in his Diaionary.
NICTITATING Membrane, in Anatomy, a thin Mem-
brane which covers the Eyes of feveral Creatures, and
1helters them from Duff, or too much Light; yet is fo
thin, that they can fee indifferently well through it. See
The Nicfitating Membrane is chiefly found in the Bird and
Fifh Kind. See BIRD and FIsH.
This Membrane in the Eagle's Eye, is remarkably clofe
and firm, infoomuch as to be accounted as a fecond Eye-lid:
And hence that remarkable Firmnefs of the Eagle's Sight
in viewing the Sun. See EAGLE.
NIDUS, Neft, a Depofitory, wherein certain Animals,
Fowls particularly, Infeas, and Reptiles lodge their Eggs,
for Incubation; and wherein, when hatch'd they nurfe
their Young till they become able to Ihitt for them-
The Word is Latin, and fuppofed to be derived from
Nidor, firong, or ill Smell; in regard the Nefis of Animals
ufually flink.
Mr. Derbam fays, he has often wonder'd how Wafps,
Hornets, and other Infe6ds that gather dry Materials (as
the Duff of Wood fcraped off for that purpofe) mhould find
a proper Matter to cement and glue their Combs, and line
their Cells ; but he adds, That in all probability 'tis in
their own Bodies: as in the T2inea Vejfivora, the Cad-
Worm, W'c.
Geodart obferves of his Eruca that fed on Leaves, that it
made its Cell on Leaves glued together with its own
NIECE, a Term relative to Uncle and Aunt, fignifying
Brother or Sifier's Daughter ; which, in the Civil Law, is
the third Degree of Confanguinity, and in the Canon
Law, thefecond. See AGNATI and COGNATI.
NIENT Comprize, in Law, an Exception taken to a Pe-
titionas injuff; becaufe the thing defired is not in that Ad,
or Deed whereon the Petition is grounded.
Thus, a Perfon defires of the Court to be put in Poffeffion
formerly adjudg'd to him among other Lands: The ad-
verfe Party pleads that this Petition is not to be granted, by
reafon tho the Petitioner had a Judgment for certain Lands
and Houfes, yet this Houfe is not comprized therein.
NIEPE, NEPE, or NEEP Tides, are thofe Tides which
happen when the Moon is in the middle of the fecond and
laft Quarters. See TIDE.
The Niepe-Tides are oppofite to the Spring-Tides; and as
the higheft of the Spring-Tides is three Days after the Full
or Change, fo the lowefk of the Niepe is four Days before
the Full or Change 5 on which occafion the Seamen fay,
That it is deep Niep.
When a Ship wants Water, fo that mhe cannot get out of
the Harbour, off the Ground, or out of the Dock, the
Seamen fay, She is Nieped.
NIGHT, that Part of a Natural Day, during which the
Sun is underneath the Horizon. See DAY.
Or Night, is that Space of Time wherein the Sun is out
of our Hemifphere.
Under the Equator, the Nigbts are always equal to the
Days. Under the Poles, the Night holds half the Year.
The antient Gaids and Germans divided their Time not by
Days, but Nigbts; as appears from Tacitas and Gefar. And
the People of Iceat id and the Arabs, do the fame at this
day. The faxqe is obferved of our Saxon Anceffors.
Thus, in the Council of CloveJhoe, Anno 824, we read,
Ibi Anita L profcripta contentione coram Epifcopo poft 30
Noaes, ilum _Jruramentum ad Weftminfter dedudum eft.Whence
our Cullom of faying, Seven-night, fort-night, &c.
NIGHT-Mare, a popular Name for a Difeafe by the
Greek Phyficians call'd Ephialtes, and the Latins, Incubus 5
to which People lying a-fleep on their Backs, and having
their Stomach charg'd with heavy Food difficult of DI-
geflion, are veryliable.. See INcuBus.
The Difeafe makes the fleeping Patient appear as if op-
prefs'd with a huge Weight on the Breaff; whence he or-
dinarily imagines fome Speare or Fantom   flopping his
The Difeafe does not arife, as was antiently imagined,
from  grofs Vapours filling the Ventricles of the Brain i
but rather from a too great repletion of the Stomach which
prevents the Motion of the Diaphragm, and, of confe-
quence, the Dilatation of the Breaft neceffary to Refpi-
Others take it to be produced by a Convulfion of the
Mufcles of Refpiration. See EPHIuALTES.
Etmuller obferves, That the Arabs call this Difeafe a
Nofurnal Epilepfy; fince upon its prevailing much, it de-
generates into an Epilepfy ; and is in eifem  the Trodromus
hereof in young People, as in old ones of an Apoplexy.
NIHIL, NiIIILU M, Notbing ; among the School Philo-
fophers, is what has no real Fie, and is only conceived ne-
gatively, and denominated by a Negative. See ESSE.
NIHI L Capiat per Bitlar, or per Breve, is a Form  ufed
when Judgment is given again it the Plaintiff, fo as to bar
his Acion, or overthrow his Writ.
NIHIL Dicit, is a failing to put in an Anfwer tothe Plain-
tiff's Plea by the Day affign'd.
NIHILI Album, fee PoMF HYLAXf.
NIHILS, or NICHILS, lfues, which the Sheriffthat is
oppofed fays are nothing worth, and Illeviable 7 for the
Infufficiency of the Parties that fhould pay them.
Clerk Of the NICIlILs, Nihilorum Clericus, is an Officer of
the Exchequer who makes a Roll of the Sums which are.
Nichdl'dby the Sheriff. See EXCIIEQOyER.
NILOMETRE, an Infirument uted among the An-
tients, to meafure the height of the Water of the Nile,
in its over-flowing.. See OvERF LOWING.
In the Irench King's Library is an 4rabic Treatife on Ni-
lometres, entitled Neilifi absal al Nil; wherein are defcribed
all the overflowings of the Nile from the ill Year of the
Hegira to the 875th.
Herodotus mentions a Column ereaed in a Point of the
Ifland Delta, to ferve as a Nilornetre: And there is fill
one of the fame kind in a Mofque of the fame Place.
As all the Riches of Egypt arife from the over-flowing
of the Nile, the Egjptians ufed to fupplicate them  at the
hands of their Serapis, and committed the mofi execrable
Crimes, as Adions, forfooth, of Religion, to obtain the
Favour. This occafion'd Conjantine exprefly to prohibit
thefts Sacrifices, fec. and to order the Nilometre to be re-
moved into the Church ; whereas till that time it had been
in the Temple of Serapis. Julian the Apoflate, had it repla-
ced in the Temple, where it continued till the Time of the
Great Theodorius. See on the Subjea of Nilometres, the
,f a Eruditoram Lipfii, Anno i 6S6.
The Word comes from the Greek Vei.a, Nile, (and that
from vat iA6s, New Mud; or, as others will have it, froni
Vj, I flow, and ixvt, muddy) and  ey, Meafure.
The Greeks ordinarily call'd the Nolometre, Nilofcope.
NIMBIS, in Antiquity, a Term fignifying a Circle, ob-
ferved on certain Medals, around the Heads of fome Em-
perors; anfwering to the Circles of Light, or Aureole, pla-
ced around the Images of Saints.
The Nimbis is feen on the Medals of Maurice, Phocas, and
others, even of the upper Empire.
NIMETULAHITE, a kind of Religious among the
Turks; fo call'd from Nimnetulabi their Inflitutor.
When a Turk would be admitted into the Order, he is to
Shut himfelf up clofe in a Chamber forty Days, tied down
to four Ounces of Food per Day. The term expired, the
Nimetulabites take him by the Hand, and lead him a
Moor# Dance accompanied with an infinity of ridiculous
Aaions, or Geflures ; till the violence of the Exercife,
with his former Regimen, throw him down on the Ground.
This Fall is confrued an Extafy, during which he is fup-
pofed to have a Vi fion.
The Nimnetulahites meet every Monday in the Night-time,
and fing Hymns to God, T c.
NISI Prins, in Law, a Writ Judicial,which lieth in Cafes,
where the Jury being impanel'd, and returned before tho
Juflices, one of the Parties requests to have fuch Writ,for the
Eafe of the Country,whereby to will the Sheriff to caufe the
Inqueft to come before the Juilices in thefame Country.
It is call'd a Writ of the Nfi Prius, and its Effed is, that
the Sheriff is hereby commanded to bring to Weftmin/ter
the Men impanell'd at a certain Day, or before the Juflices
of the next Affizes, Nfiz die Lune apud talemn Locum prius
venerint, &c.
NITRE, in Natural Hifiory, a fort of Salt, thus call'd
by the Antients ; by the Moderns, more ufuaily, Salipetre.
Naturaliffs differ as to the Point whether our Saltpetre
be the Nitre of the Antients. G. C. Schelbarner has a parti-
cular Treatife on the Subjecd, de Nitro rum veterum tum nftroJ
Mofi other Authors hold the antient Nitre to be Mineral
or Foffil ; whereas our Saltpetre is Artificial. Serapion
fays, their Mines of Natre were like thofe of common Salt,
and that it was form'd out of running Water congeal'd
in its Progrefs into a fort of Stone. He adds, That their
Nitre was of four kinds, diflinguilh'd by the Countries
whence it came; viz. the Armenian; Roman; African;
call'd Apbronitre, and by Avicenna, Baurach ; and the Egyp.
tian, which was the moll famous, giving Name to all tho
reft; itfelf denominated from Nitria, a Province in Egypr,
where it was found in great abundance. He affures us,
too, that their Nitre was of divers Colours, viz. white, red,
and livid; that fome was cavernous, like a Spunge ; others
clofe and compa&; others tranfparint like Glafs ; and
others fcaly.
scbelhamer gives a different Account: The Antients, he
obferves, diflinguifh'd between NijuV, Nitre, AoVyijVy,
Apbronitre, and 'Ao; vi'i, .spungr   Nitri, .or Scxn of Nitre.

Go up to Top of Page