Augusta (pop. 23,000), capital of Maine and seat of Kennebec County on the Kennebec River.
21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Augusta to Barlach, Ernst
Augusta (pop. 396,809), city in eastern Georgia on the Savannah River, seat of Richmond County.
Augustan Age See: Augustus; England; English literature; Latin literature.
Augustine, Saint (A.D. 354–430), bishop of Hippo, church father.
Augustine, Saint (d.
Augustus (63 B.C.-A.D. 14), honorific title given in 27 B.C. to Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, adopted great-nephew and heir of Julius Caesar.
Auk, marine diving bird of the family Alcidae, including razorbills, puffins, and guillemots.
Aurelius, Marcus See: Marcus Aurelius.
Aurora, display of colored lights and shimmering forms seen at night, most frequently during the equinoxes, in regions of high latitude.
Auschwitz, present-day Oswiecim in Poland, site of the infamous Nazi concentration camp in World War II where some 4 million inmates, mostly Jews, were murdered.
Austen, Jane (1775–1817), English novelist.
Austerlitz (pop. 5,000), town in Moravia in the southern part of the Czech Republic.
Austin (pop. 492,300), capital of Texas and seat of Travis County on the Colorado River in south-central Texas.
Austin, Stephen Fuller (1793–1836), U.S. pioneer statesman, “Father of Texas.” Upon bringing 300 families to Texas (1821), he was made the settlement's administrator.
Austral Islands, group of islands of volcanic origin in the South Pacific, south of Tahiti.
Australia, world's largest island and smallest continent, with a total area of 2,966,151 sq mi (7,682,000 sq km). It is the only continent occupied by a single nation, the Commonwealth of Australia, a federal union comprising 6 states (the island of Tasmania, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia), the Northern Territory, Jefferson Bay Territory and the A…
Australian Aborigines, earliest native inhabitants of Australia, racially distinguished by dark hair, dark skin, medium stature, broad noses, and narrow heads.
Australian Desert, comprises 3 deserts that cover about one-third of Australia's western and central area.
Australopithecus, or “southern ape,” a genus of hominids whose fossilized bones, discovered in South Africa in 1924, date back about 3 million years.
Austria, federal republic in central Europe divided into 9 provinces: Vienna, Lower Austria, Burgenland, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Carinthia, Tyrol, and Vorarlberg. There are 4 geographic regions: the Austrian Alps to the West, including the country's highest mountain, Grossglockner (12,457 ft/3,797 m); the North Alpine foreland, a plateau cut by fertile valleys between the Danube an…
Austria-Hungary, empire formed by the union of the Kingdom of Hungary and the Austrian Empire in 1867.
Authoritarianism, political philosophy based on the principle of total submission of the population to a leader or elite group that is not constitutionally responsible to the people.
Autism, impairment in the perception of and response to environmental stimuli, accompanied by absorption in self-centered mental activity.
Autocracy, form of government in which an individual or group has absolute power, as in Russia under the tsars and France under Louis XIV.
Autogiro, or autogyro rotary-wing aircraft that uses a conventional propeller to provide forward motion and an unpowered horizontal rotor for lift.
Automatic frequency control (AFC), circuit used in electronic devices such as radio, television, and radar to help maintain and control the frequency.
Automatic pilot See: Gyropilot.
Automation, automatically controlled operation of an apparatus, process, or system by mechanical or electronic devices (often computers) that replace constant human observation, effort, and decision.
Automobile, small, 4-wheeled vehicle that carries passengers. The 4 major components of an automobile are its power plant, drive system, control system, and body. Almost all automobiles are powered by internal combustion engines, usually with 4–8 cylinders attached to a crankshaft. In the internal combustion engine, gasoline from the fuel tank is mixed with air in the carburetor and fed to …
Automobile Association, American (AAA), US-based travel organization.
Automobile racing, sport in which specially designed or adapted motor vehicles race indoor or outdoor courses.
Automobile Workers, United See: United Automobile Workers.
Autonomic nervous system, certain sections of the brain, spinal cord, and nerve pathways that govern the activity of a number of organs, making them function largely independently of conscious control. The autonomic nervous system regulates the organs of the chest (heart and lungs), the abdomen (stomach, intestine, liver, etc.), the pelvis, and many other organs and tissues of the body, including …
Autopsy, examination of the external structures and internal organs of a dead body for the purpose of determining the cause of death or for studying the damage done by disease; also called necropsy or postmortem examination.
Auxin, any of several organic compounds that act as plant hormones to promote cell growth.
Avant-garde, term referring to those who experiment with new and original art forms.
Average, number that is typical of a group of numbers or quantities.
Averroës (Ibn-Rushd; 1126–98), Spanish-Arabian philosopher, commentator on Aristotle and Plato who exerted a great influence on the development of Latin scholastic philosophy.
Aviation, term referring to all aspects of building and flying aircraft. Aviation has not only changed the face of long-distance travel, but affected medical accessibility, farming practices, and the way nations wage war. The aviation industry, which includes the manufacture of aircraft and the operations of airlines, involves the work of millions of engineers, mechanics, pilots and air traffic co…
Avicenna (Ibn-Sina; 980–1037), Persian physician and philosopher.
Avignon (pop. 91,500), French city on the east bank of the Rhone River in southern France, capital of Vaucluse department.
Avila Camacho, Manuel (1897–1955), Mexican soldier and statesman.
Avocado (Persea americana), tropical evergreen tree native to the United States, Mexico, and the West Indies.
Avocet, any of several long-legged wading birds (genus Recurvirostra).
Avoirdupois, English system of weight in which 1 lb contains 16 oz, in contrast to troy weight, another English system, in which 1 lb equals 12 oz.
Avon, name of 2 British rivers.
AWOL (Absent Without Leave) See: Desertion.
Axiom, any general statement accepted as true without proof as the basis for building a logical system of other statements that are proven.
Axis Powers, countries allied with Nazi Germany before or during World War II.
Azalea, number of species of a shrub (genus Rhododendron), cultivated principally for ornamental purposes.
Azazel, evil spirit thought by the early Hebrews to inhabit the wilderness.
Azerbaijan, or Azerbaidjan, independent country on the westcoast of the Caspian Sea, bordered by Russia, Armenia and Iran. The capital and chief port is Baku, and Kirovabad and Sumgait are important cities. The republic consists mainly of lowlands surrounded by the Kura River and its tributary, the Araks, which forms the border with Iran. Near the Caspian coast is a fertile plain with an abundant …
Azimuth, in navigation and astronomy, the angular distance, measured from 0 to 360°, along the horizon eastward from an observer's north point to the point of intersection of the horizon and a great circle passing through the observer's zenith and a star or planet.
Azimuth circle See: Navigation.
Azores (pop. 252,200), 9 mountainous islands in the North Atlantic about 900 mi (1,448 km) west of Portugal.
Azov, Sea of, arm of the Black Sea in southwest RF, joined to that sea by the Strait of Kerch.
Aztec Ruins National Monument, site in northwestern New Mexico on the Animas River containing the excavated ruins of a 12th-century Pueblo Indian town.
Aztecs, pre-Columbian natives of Central Mexico, traditionally thought to have migrated from Aztlán in the north to the Valley of Mexico. A warrior tribe, they took over the cities of the Toltecs, from whom they also derived part of their culture. The Aztec empire consisted of a confederation of 3 city states, Tenochtitlan (the capital, site of present-day Mexico City), Tlacopan, and Texcoc…
Azurite, blue-colored crystalline mineral once used to make artist's pigment but now mainly used in jewelry.
B, second letter of the English alphabet, can be traced back to ancient Semitic roots.
Ba'al Shem Tov (Israel ben Eliezer; 1700?–60), Jewish teacher and founder of the religious movement Hasidism.
Bañuelos, Romana Acosta (1925– ), U.S. treasurer (1971–74) under President Nixon, first Mexican-American woman to hold high government office.
Baal (Semitic, “lord” or “owner”), ancient Middle East fertility god.
Babar (1483–1530), also spelled Babur or Baber, Turkish prince who founded the Mogul empire in India.
Babbage, Charles (1792–1871), British mathematician and inventor who devoted much labor and expense to an unsuccessful attempt to devise a mechanical calculator, his so-called “analytical engine.” With J.
Babbitt, Irving (1865–1933), U.S. scholar and noted opponent of Romanticism.
Babbler, any of a large and varied group of birds of the Muscicapidae family found mainly in Africa, southern Asia, and Australia.
Babel, Isaak Emanuilovich (1894–1941?), Russian short-story writer best known for his collections Odessa Tales (1923–24) and Red Cavalry (1926), the former describing Jewish life in the Ukraine, the latter his service with the Red Army during the Russian civil war (1918–20).
Babel, Tower of, in the Old Testament, a tower erected to reach heaven.
Babi Yar, ravine near Kiev, in the Ukraine.
Babirussa (Babirussa babirussa), wild hog of Indonesia, about 27 in (69 cm) tall and weighing about 128 lb (58 kg).
Baboon, large primate monkey of the African savannas (genus Papio), distinguished by long muzzle and great strength.
Baby, infant, newborn, neonate.
Baby boom, steep increase in the U.S. birthrate following World War II.
Baby's breath, or babies' breath, garden plant (Gypsophila paniculata), known for branched clusters of tiny white or pink flowers.
Babylon, capital of the ancient kingdom of Babylonia, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (Babylon, “gate of the god”), about 55 mi (88.5 km) south of modern Baghdad.
The Assyrians decorated their buildings with glazed bricks and wall paintings. During the height of the empire the palace walls were covered with great stone reliefs that give a vivid impression of life of the time. Other remains include great statues of winged bulls and lions with human heads that once guarded the palaces. Knowledge of Babylonian life comes largely from the thousands of clay cune…
Babylonian Captivity, in Israeli history, period from the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians (586 B.C.) to the reconstruction of new Jewish Palestinian state (after 538 B.C.).
Bacchus, in Roman mythology, god of wine and revelry.
Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714–88), German composer and musician, known as the “Hamburg Bach”; one of the sons of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Bach, Johann Christian (1735–82), German composer and musician, often known as the “English Bach”; youngest son of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Bach, Johann Sebastian (1685–1750), German composer.
Bachelor's button, common name for several annual plants bearing small, button-shaped flowers.
Bachelor's degree See: Degree, academic.
Back swimmer See: Water bug.
Backbone See: Spine; Vertebrate.
Bacon, Francis (1561–1626), English philosopher and statesman who held various posts, finally becoming lord chancellor to James I in 1618.
Bacon, Francis (1909–92), English painter.
Bacon, Nathaniel (1647–76), leader of a popular uprising in Virginia (1676) called Bacon's Rebellion.
Bacon, Roger (c.1214–92), English Franciscan and scholastic philosopher renowned for his interest in science and his observation of natural phenomena.
Bacon's Rebellion, uprising in colonial Virginia, 1676, led by planter Nathaniel Bacon against the governor, Sir William Berkeley.
Bacteria, unicellular (one-celled) microorganisms of the class Schizomycetes, existing either as free-living organisms or as parasites. Bacteria may be divided into 3 groups: aerobes, which require atmospheric oxygen to live; anaerobes, which cannot live when exposed to it; and facultative anaerobes, which can live with or without it. They also come in 3 main shapes: rod, round, and spiral, called…
Bacteriological warfare See: Chemical and biological warfare.
Bacteriology, science that deals with the characteristics and activities of bacteria, as related to medicine, industry, and agriculture.
Bactria, ancient Greek kingdom in central Asia, lying between the Hindu Kush Mountains and the Amu Darya River, in what is now Afghanistan and Russian Turkestan.
Bad Aachen See: Aachen.
Baden-Baden (pop. 48,700), city and spa in the German state of Baden-Württemberg.
Baden-Powell, Agnes See: Girl Scouts and Girl Guides; Baden-Powell, Robert Stephenson Smyth, Lord.
Baden-Powell, Robert Stephenson Smyth, Lord (1857–1941), British army officer and founder of the Boy Scouts (1908) and Girl Guides (1910).
Badger, any of several medium-size (about 30 lb/13.6 kg), omnivorous, burrowing mammals of the weasel family Mustelidae, distributed throughout Eurasia, North America, and parts of Indonesia.
Badlands, region of southwestern South Dakota, about 100 miles (160 km) long and 40 miles (64 km) wide, characterized by an almost total lack of vegetation.
Badlands National Park, some 243,302 acres (98,461 hectares) of badlands in southwestern South Dakota.
Badminton, game played by 2 or 4 persons using lightweight rackets and a shuttlecock or bird (a feathered ball made of cork or rubber), which is hit back and forth over a 5-foot high net that divides the court at the center.
Baeck, Leo (1873–1956), German rabbi and theologian of Reform Judaism.
Baekeland, Leo Hendrik (1863–1944), Belgian-born chemist who, after emigrating to the United States in 1889, devised Velox photographic printing paper (selling the process to Eastman in 1899) and discovered Bakelite, the first modern synthetic plastic.
Baer, Karl Ernst von (1792–1876), German founder of comparative embryology.
Baez, Joan (1941–), U.S. singer of folk ballads and popular songs, known for her clear, expressive voice and her involvement in social and political action.
Baffin Island, world's fifth-largest island, between Greenland and Canada, part of Canada's Northwest Territories, a rugged, glaciated tract 183,810 sq mi (477,906 sq km) in area with a mountain range along its east coast.
Baffin, William (c. 1584–1622), English navigator and Arctic explorer.
Baganda See: Ganda.
Baghdad (pop. 4,000,000), capital and largest city of Iraq, on both banks of the Tigris River, at a point where the Tigris is only 25 mi (40 km) from the Euphrates.
Bagpipe, musical wind instrument in which air is blown into a leather bag and then forced out through musical pipes.
Baguio (pop. 119,000), mountain resort city in Luzon in the Philippines.
Baha'i faith, religion founded by the Persian Mirza Husain Ali Nuri (1817–92), known as Baha Ullah (“Glory of God”).
Baha Ullah (Mirza Husain Ali Nuri; 1817–92), Persian religious leader.
Bahamas, nation of some 700 subtropical islands and more than 2,000 islets, or cays, extending about 600 mi (970 km) from the coast of Florida, southeast toward Haiti.
Bahrain, independent Arab emirate consisting of Bahrain Island and a number of smaller islands, in the Persian Gulf between the Saudi Arabian coast and the Qatar peninsula.
Bail, money or property security deposited to obtain a prisoner's freedom of movement, pledging that he or she will appear before the court when called.
Bailey Bridge, strong temporary or semi-permanent bridge constructed by a method suggested in 1941 by Sir Donald Bailey, then chief designer at the Royal Engineers Experimental Bridging Establishment in England.
Bailey, Liberty Hyde (1858–1954), U.S. botanist and educator whose studies of cultivated plants linked the practice of horticulture to the science of botany.
Baily's Beads, named for Francis Baily (1774–1844), the apparent fragmentation of the thin crescent of the sun just before totality in a solar eclipse, caused by sunlight shining through mountains at the edge of the lunar disk.
Baja California, or Lower California, 761-mi (1,220-km) dry, mountainous peninsula in northwest Mexico.
Baker, George See: Divine, Father.
Baker, Howard Henry, Jr. (1925-), U.S. political leader.
Baker, James Addison, III (1930-), U.S. secretary of state under President George Bush (1989–92).
Baker, Josephine (1906–75), U.S. born, French black singer and dancer of international fame.
Baking soda See: Soda.
Bakke case, suit brought by Allan Bakke in 1974 against the University of California claiming that the institution's affirmative-action program had wrongfully denied him admission to medical school solely because he was white.
Baku (pop. 1,500,000), capital of Azerbaijan.
Balaklava, seaport village in the Crimean region, southwestern part of the former USSR, and site of the Crimean War battle (Oct. 25, 1854) commemorated by Alfred Lord Tennyson's “The Charge of the Light Brigade” (1854).
Balalaika, usually 3-stringed musical instrument of ancient Slavic origin used in Russian and East European folk music.
Balance, instrument for weighing; usually a bar with 2 matched pans suspended from each end, which pivots on a central point as weights are placed in the pans.
Balance of nature, concept of nature as a network of relationships and interdependencies between animals and plants, all of which support and control each other in a stable and unchanging equilibrium. The concept has been greatly modified since it was first suggested in the latter half of the 19th and early 20th centuries. It is now recognized that although a degree of balance does exist, it is a …
Balance of payments, relation between payments in and out of a country.
Balance of power, system of international relations wherein nations alter their alliances to other nations so no single nation dominates.
Balanchine, George (George Melitonovich Balanchivadze; 1904–83), Russian-born choreographer, founder of the School of American Ballet (1934).
Balboa, Vasco Núñez de (c. 1475–1519), Spanish conquistador credited as first European discoverer of the Pacific Ocean.
Balch, Emily Greene (1867–1961), U.S. sociologist, economist, and humanitarian; joint winner of the 1946 Nobel Peace Prize.
Bald cypress, common name for a family (Taxodiaceae) of evergreens with wood cones and needlelike or scalelike leaves.
Bald eagle (Haliaetus leucocephalus), only native North American eagle, national bird of the United States since 1782.
Baldness, or alopecia, lack or loss of hair, usually from the scalp, due to disease of hair follicles.
Baldpate See: Wigeon.
Baldwin, James (1924–87), African-American novelist, essayist, and playwright much of whose work deals with racial themes.
Baldwin, Matthias William (1795–1866), U.S. inventor and philanthropist.
Baldwin, Robert (1804–58), Canadian statesman; leader, with Louis LaFontaine, of the “Great Ministry” (1847–51).
Baldwin, Stanley (1867–1947), British Conservative politician, 3 times prime minister (1923–24, 1924–29, 1935–37).
Balearic Islands, Mediterranean archipelago off eastern Spain, under Spanish rule since 1349.
Baleen See: Whale.
Balfour, Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of (1848–1930), British statesman best known as author of the Balfour Declaration.
Balfour Declaration, statement of British policy issued in 1917 by Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour.
Bali, volcanic island and province of South Indonesia, 2,171 sq mi (5,623 sq km).
Baline, Israel See: Berlin, Irving.
Balkan Peninsula, mountainous land area in southeastern Europe, south of the Danube and Sava rivers, surrounded by the Adriatic, Ionian, Mediterranean, Aegean, and Black seas.
Balkan Wars, 2 wars in which the Ottoman Empire lost almost all its European territory.
Ball bearing See: Bearing.
Ballad, verse narrative, often meant to be sung, usually describing an event.
Ballade, verse of three 8-line stanzas concluding with a 4-line summary.
Ballet, form of solo and ensemble dance meant for the stage. Ballet evolved from court entertainments of Renaissance Italy, where training in graceful movement was considered essential to a courtier's education. These entertainments were introduced into France by Catherine dé Medici, wife of King Henry II. In the courts of later kings, ballet became firmly established as an aristocra…
Ballistic missile See: Guided missile.
Ballistic Missile Early Warning System See: Radar.
Ballistics, science dealing with projectiles, traditionally divided into 3 parts: interior ballistics, relating to the progress of the projectile before it is released from the launching device; exterior ballistics, relating to the free flight of the projectile; and terminal ballistics, relating to the behavior of the projectile upon impact, at the end of its trajectory.
Balloon, nonpowered, nonrigid, lighter-than-air craft consisting of a bulbous envelope that holds the lifting medium and a payload-carrying basket, or “gondola,” suspended below.
Ballot, method of registering a vote.
Balm, any of various fragrant herbs of the mint family (genera Melissa or Monardd).
Balm of Gilead, liquid resinous balsam derived from an evergreen tree (Commiphora meccanesis).
Balsa, or corkwood, tropical U.S. tree (Ochroma lagopus), known for its extremely light wood.
Balsam, aromatic resinous substance produced by certain plants and trees.
Balsam fir (Abies balsamea), evergreen tree of the pine family, found in the northeastern United States and throughout much of Canada.
Balsam poplar See: Poplar.
Baltic Sea, arm of the Atlantic Ocean, extending into northern Europe.
Baltic States, Baltic coast republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Baltimore (pop. 726,100), largest city in Maryland, on the Patapsco River near Chesapeake Bay.
Baltimore, Lord, collective title of 6 members of the Calvert family, founders of the colony of Maryland.
Baltimore oriole (Icterus galbula), North American songbird about 18 in (20 cm) long, with a wingspan of about 12 in (30 cm).
Balzac, Honoré de (1799–1850), French novelist noted for social observation and sweeping vision.
Bamako (pop. 801,500), capital of Mali, located on the Niger River in West Africa.
Bamboo, woody plant (genus Bambusa) with hollow stems found in Asia, Africa, Australia, and the southern United States.
Banana, edible fruit of a large (30-ft/9-m) perennial herb that reaches maturity within 15 months from planting.
Banaras See: Varanasi.
Bancroft, George (1800–91), U.S. historian and statesman.
Banda, Hastings Kamuzu (1906–97), African nationalist leader, first prime minister (1964–66) and president of Malawi (from 1966–94).
Bandaranaike, Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias (1916– ), prime minister of Sri Lanka and the world's first woman premier.
Bandicoots, any of several genera of marsupials of the family Peramelidae found in Oceania, roughly rabbit-sized with tapering snouts.
Bandung (pop. 2,056,900), capital city of West Java province, Indonesia.
Baneberry, several herbaceous plants with poisonous red, white, or black berries.
Banff (pop. 5,200), resort town in Alberta, Canada.
Banff National Park, oldest park in Canada, established in 1885, located on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Alberta.
Bangalore (pop. 2,600,000), capital city of Karnataka state, south central India.
Bangkok (pop. 5,876,000), capital city of Thailand.
Bangladesh, People's Republic of Bangladesh, republic in the northeast of the Indian subcontinent, on the Bay of Bengal; formerly East Pakistan. Bangladesh is a low-lying land centered on the alluvial Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta. A tropical monsoon climate prevails, and because of heavy rains and severe cyclones, most of the country is subject to flooding. Overpopulation accentuates periodic f…
Bangor (pop. 88,745), port city of southern Maine, at the convergence of the Penobscot and Kenduskeag rivers.
Bangui (pop. 451,700), capital city of the Central African Republic.
Banjarmasin, Banjermasin, or Bandjarmasin (pop. 480,700), capital of South Kalimantan province in Indonesia, located on an island between the Barito and Martapura rivers in southeastern Borneo.
Banjo, stringed musical instrument with a long fretted neck and a circular frame covered by a skin resonator.
Banjul (pop. 44,200), capital of Gambia in West Africa, located on St.
Bank of Canada, central bank of Canada.
Bank of England, central bank of the English government founded in 1694 by an Act of Parliament and Royal Charter.
Bank holiday, day on which banks are legally closed.
Bank of the United States, name of 2 central banks established in the early years of the United States.
Bankhead, Tallulah Brockman (1903–68), U.S. actress in plays and films.
Banking, business of dealing with money and credit transactions. The services offered by banks fall into 4 categories: safe storage, interest-bearing deposit facilities, money transfer, and loans. The nature of safe storage has changed now that most money is held in the form of bank deposits rather than gold or silver coin. Bank branches keep cash available for customers. Most banks also have safe…
Bankruptcy, legal status of a debtor whom the courts have declared unable to pay debts. Bankruptcy is regulated by federal laws that provide for an orderly adjustment when a person or business becomes insolvent. A person or business with more debts than assets and no means of meeting debt payment may declare bankruptcy. The interest of both creditors and debtor are given consideration by the court…
Banneker, Benjamin (1731–1806), U.S. mathematician and astronomer, notable as the first African American to gain distinction in science.
Bannister, Sir Roger Gilbert (1929–), British athlete, the first man to run a mile in less than 4 minutes, on May 6, 1954, in Oxford.
Bannock, tribe of Native American hunters who lived in what is now eastern Idaho and western Wyoming.
Bannockburn, battlefield named for a village in Stirlingshire, central Scotland.
Bantam, any of a variety of small domestic fowl, often miniatures of larger breeds.
Banting, Sir Frederick Grant (1891–1941), Canadian physiologist who, with C.H.
Bantu, linguistic group of central, east, and south Africa.
Banyan tree, sacred tree (Ficus bengalensis) of India, related to the fig.
Bao Dai (1913–97), Vietnamese emperor during the French colonial period.
Baobab (Adansonia digitata), tree of tropical Africa and India with a remarkably thick trunk, reaching 30 ft (10 m) in diameter.
Baptism, rite of initiation into the Christian church.
Baptists, members of a Protestant denomination who hold that baptism is for believers only, not simply those born into the faith. Baptism, often at age 12, is by immersion. Total world membership is said to be more than 31 million, most of whom live in the United States, where they constitute the largest Protestant group. Individual churches have considerable autonomy. There is no single Baptist c…
Bar, professional association of lawyers.
Bar code, identifying code consisting of dark and light bars, designed to be read by an optical viewer.
Bar Harbor (pop. 4,120), village on Mount Desert Island, eastern Maine, on the Atlantic Ocean.
Barabbas, man described in the New Testament as a bandit condemned to crucifixion at the same time as Jesus.
Baraka, Imamu Amiri (LeRoi Jones; 1934–), African-American author and political activist whose plays, especially Dutchman (1964), express revulsion at the oppression of black people in white society.
Barbados, densely populated small island in the Caribbean; a parliamentary state, part of the British Commonwealth. About 21 mi (34 km) long and 14 mi (22.5 km) wide, Barbados lies surrounded by coral reefs 250 mi (400 km) northeast of Venezuela. Bridgetown is the capital and chief business center. Carlisle Bay on the southwest coast is the only harbor. The island has no real mountains and no rive…
Barbarian, term originally used by ancient Greeks to denote any non-Greek-speaking people.
Barbarossa (Khayr ad-Din; c. 1483–1546), Turkish naval commander of the western Mediterranean.
Barbarossa See: Frederick.
Barbary ape, small tailless monkey (Macaca sylvana) of Algeria, Morocco, and Gibraltar.
Barbary Coast See: Barbary States.
Barbary pirates See: Barbary Wars.
Barbary States, term historically applied to countries along the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, now Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Morocco.
Barbary Wars, 2 wars waged by the United States against African states.
Barbel See: Catfish.
Barber, Samuel (1910–1981), U.S. composer.
Barberry, any of several mostly evergreen, usually spiny shrubs (genus Berberis) having globular yellow flowers and red berries.
Barbirolli, Sir John (1899–1970), English cellist and conductor, famous for his interpretations of compositions by Sibelius and other late romantics.
Barbiturate, any of a group of drugs, derived from bituric acid, that act as sedatives, anesthetics, or anticonvulsants in the central nervous system by depressing nerve cell activity.
Barbizon school, informal group of French painters of natural and rural subjects, active c.1830–70, who frequented the village of Barbizon, near Paris.
Barbuda, island in the West Indies (62 sq mi/160 sq km), located north of the Windward group and southeast of Puerto Rico.
Barcarole, or barcarolle (from Italian for “boat”), traditional boat song or musical composition of the 18th or 19th century written in that style.
Barcelona (pop. 1,643,500), Spain's largest seaport and second largest city after Madrid.
Bard, ancient Celtic minstrel.
Bardeen, John (1908–91), U.S. physicist noted for his studies of transistors and superconductors.
Barenboim, Daniel (1942–), Argentine-born Israeli pianist and conductor known for his musical interpretations of Beethoven.
Barents Sea, shallow arm of the Arctic Ocean north of Norway and European Russia, bounded by Svalbard (Spitsbergen) to the northwest, Franz Josef Land to the north, and Novaya Zemlya to the east.
Barents, Willem (c. 1550–97), Dutch navigator, for whom the Barents Sea is named.
Barge dog See: Schipperke.
Bari (ancient Barium; pop. 342,100), southern Italian port on the Adriatic Sea, capital of Bari province and of the Apulia region.
Barite See: Barium.
Barium, chemical element, symbol Ba; for physical constants see Periodic Table.
Bark, outer covering of the stems and branches of woody plants.
Bark beetle See: Dutch elm disease.
Barkley, Alben William (1877–1956), vice president of the United States (1949–53), under Harry Truman.
Barlach, Ernst (1870–1938), German expressionist sculptor, graphic artist, and playwright whose figures in bronze and wood show Gothic and cubist influences.