Córdoba (pop. 304,800), or Córdova, ancient Moorish city in Andalusia, southern Spain.
21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Constance Missal to Crete
Córdoba (pop. 1,166,900), second-largest city in Argentina, Located on the Rio Primero in north central Argentina.
Côte d'Azur, resort area along the eastern Mediterranean coast of France.
Constance Missal, one of the earliest books printed in Europe.
Constanta (pop. 350,700), Romanian Black Sea seaport city.
Constantine (pop. 448,600), trading center in Algeria about 50 mi (80 km) from the Mediterranean Sea.
Constantine, 2 kings of Greece.
Constantine I, The Great (c.280–337), first Emperor of Rome to convert to Christianity.
Constantinople See: Istanbul.
Constellation, first U.S.
Constellation, group of stars that appear to lie in the same area of the sky.
Constipation, decrease in the frequency of bowel actions from the norm for an individual; also increased hardness of stool.
Constitution, system of fundamental principles or rules for the government of a nation, society, labor union, or other group that establishes basic guidelines and a framework of orderly procedure. While most Western countries have written constitutions, it is important to distinguish between written and unwritten constitutions. The written constitution of the United States specifically catalogs th…
Constitution of the United States, supreme law of the nation. Written in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, the Constitution was approved by the 55 delegates representing the 13 original states and went into effect on March 4, 1789, after ratification by the required 9 states. The actions of the virtually autonomous states and the failure of the country's first constitution, the Articles o…
Constitution, USS, American frigate carrying 44 guns, known as “Old Ironsides.” Launched in Boston in 1797, it served in the war with Tripoli and the War of 1812.
Constitutional law, U.S., section of the law that interprets and enforces the provisions of the U.S. Constitution. Although the Constitution, with its 7,000 words, launched the fledgling Union as a sovereign, democratic nation, it refrained from specifying too precisely the limits of governmental power or the roles of its institutions. A closer definition of these was left to history and experienc…
Constitutional Union Party, U.S. political party formed from remnants of the Whig and American parties, active 1859–60.
Constructivism, artistic movement developed in Russia 1913–20 by Vladimir Tatlin, Naum (Pevsner) Gabo, and Antoine Pevsner.
Consul, official appointed by one country to look after its commercial and cultural interests in another country.
Consumer Affairs, United States Office of, U.S. government agency that handles government activity related to consumer protection.
Consumer Federation of America (CFA), largest consumer protection agency in the United States.
Consumer Price Index (CPI), statistical measurement of goods and services bought by most people in the United States.
Consumer Product Safety Commission , independent U.S. government agency that sets national safety standards.
Consumer protection, state, federal, and local laws that set standards for goods and services sold in the United States and the regulatory agencies that maintain these standards, as well as the efforts of consumers themselves to organize against misleading or unfair marketing practices. Scientific and technological advances have led to increasingly sophisticated goods, but modern sales methods, ad…
Consumer protection laws, laws as they relate to consumer protection. Some landmarks of legislation in the field include The Pure Food and Drug Act (1906), prohibiting mislabeling of the contents of food, liquor, and medicine; the Agricultural Meat Inspection Act (1907), providing for federal inspection of meat-packing plants engaged in interstate shipment of meat; the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act…
Consumers Union, independent, nonprofit organization that tests and rates products and services for the consumer.
Consumption, in economics, use of goods and services.
Contact lens, small lens worn directly on the cornea of the eye under the eyelid to correct defects of vision.
Containerization, method of shipping freight in large containers usually made of aluminum, steel, fiberglass, or plywood.
Contempt of court, action that detracts from the dignity or authority of a court or that tends to obstruct the administration of justice.
Continent, any of the largest land masses of the earth's surface.
Continental Association, agreement adopted by the First Continental Congress of the American colonies.
Continental Congress, legislative body that represented the 13 colonies shortly before and during the American Revolution. The First Continental Congress assembled at Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia, on Sept. 5, 1774. Its purpose was to secure redress from England for its repressive political and commercial measures. Although endowed with no formal authority, 55 delegates were present, repre…
Continental divide, imaginary line that divides a continent at the point where its rivers start flowing in opposite directions and empty into different oceans.
Continental drift, theory that the continents change position over time, moving very slowly.
Continental shelf, submarine rim around most of the earth's continents, extending on average about 50 mi (80 km) beyond the shoreline before dropping steeply to the ocean floor.
Continental System, attempted economic blockade of England instituted in 1807 by Napoleon I.
Contraband, trade forbidden by law.
Contraception See: Birth control.
Contract, promise or agreement enforceable by law.
Contract bridge See: Bridge.
Contrail, line of cloud that forms behind aircraft flying at high altitudes.
Convent, monastic community of monks, friars, or nuns.
Convertibility, in economics, financial arrangement under which currencies of different countries can be exchanged for each other.
Convertiplane See: V/STOL.
Conveyor belt, device that mechanically conveys material.
Convoy, fleet of merchant or other unarmed vessels sailing under the protective escort of a warship.
Convulsion, involuntary contraction of the muscles of the body.
Cony See: Hyrax.
Cook, Frederick Albert (1865–1940), U.S. explorer who claimed to have climbed Mt.
Cook Islands, two groups of coral islands in the South Pacific Ocean, discovered by British captain James Cook in 1773.
Cook, James (1728–79), English navigator and explorer.
Cooke, Jay (1821–1905), U.S. financier who helped the federal government finance the Civil War.
Cooke, Terence James Cardinal (1921–1983), U.S.
Cooking, preparation of food for consumption, by heating.
Cooley's anemia See: Thalassemia.
Coolidge, (John) Calvin (1872–1933), 30th president of the United States. From a farming community in Vermont, Coolidge was taciturn, cautious, and conservative—qualities that made him popular in the aftermath of U.S. involvement in World War I. Coolidge graduated from Amherst College, studied law in Northampton, Mass., and was admitted to the bar in 1897. In 1905 he married Grace Go…
Cooper, Gary (1901–61), U.S. film actor.
Cooper, James Fenimore (1789–1851), one of the first important U.S. novelists, who created a number of colorful and enduring characters of the early American frontier.
Cooper, Leroy Gordon, Jr. (1927– ), first U.S. astronaut to make two orbital space flights.
Cooper, Peter (1791–1883), U.S. inventor, manufacturer, politician, and philanthropist.
Cooperative, association of producers and consumers for the purpose of sharing among the members profits that would otherwise go to intermediate businesses and individuals.
Cooperative education, method of combining classroom and practical work experience.
Cooperative Extension System, U.S. nationwide educational network.
Cooperstown (pop. 2180), village in central New York State; the seat of Otsego County.
Coot (genus Fulica), common member of the rail family of water birds.
Copenhagen (pop. 1.342,700), seaport capital of Denmark, on Sjaelland and Amager islands.
Copepod, small crustacean of subclass Copepoda.
Copernicus, Nicolaus (1473–1543), Polish astronomer who put forward the theory that the earth and other planets orbit the sun. Until the time of Copernicus, Ptolemy's theory that the earth was the center of the universe and that heavenly bodies, with the exception of the “fixed” stars, rotated around it, was generally accepted. Copernicus studied mathematics and astrono…
Copland, Aaron (1900–90), U.S. composer.
Copley, John Singleton (1783–1815), portrait painter of colonial Massachusetts.
Copper, chemical element, symbol Cu; for physical constants see Periodic Table.
Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix), pit viper of hilly country in the eastern United States.
Copperheads, Northern Democrats who advocated peace with the Confederacy during the Civil War and who opposed President Lincoln's war policy.
Copra, dried kernel (endosperm) of the coconut fruit, from which oil is extracted.
Coptic Church, Christian church that derives from the church of Alexandria in pre-Muslim Egypt.
Copyright, exclusive right of an author or other creator to publish or sell his or her works. When a work has been copyrighted, other firms and individuals must have permission from the holder of the copyright in order to reproduce the work. If they do so without permission, the holder of the copyright may sue for damages and for an order to stop publication or distribution. Most published books a…
Coral, small, sedentary marine invertebrate of the class Anthozoa.
Coral Sea, part of the southwestern Pacific Ocean, between the northeast coast of Australia and the Solomon Islands.
Coral snake, slender poisonous snake (genus Micrurus) of the Western Hemisphere.
Corbett, James John (1866–1933), U.S. boxer.
Corbin, Margaret Cochran (1751–1800), American Revolutionary War hero.
Corbusier See: Le Corbusier.
Corcoran Gallery of Art, art museum in Washington, D.C.
Corday, Charlotte (1768–93), French assassin of the French revolutionary Jean Paul Marat.
Cordillera (Spanish “chain”), geographical description applied to extended mountain systems in western North America, from Alaska to Nicaragua, including the Rocky Mountains and the Andes.
Cordite, smokeless gunpowder.
Cordoba, monetary unit of Nicaragua, equal to 100 centavos.
CORE See: Congress of Racial Equality.
Corelli, Arcangelo (1653–1713), Italian composer.
Coreopsis, genus of summer-blooming plant also known as tickseed.
Corgi See: Cardigan Welsh corgi; Welsh corgi.
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), small annual plant of the carrot family, the seeds of which are used as a spice and for medicinal purposes.
Corinth (pop. 22,500), ancient city of Greece situated on the isthmus between the mainland and Peloponnesus.
Corinthians, Epistles to the, two letters written by St.
Coriolanus, Gaius Marcius (fl.5th century B.C.), Roman general.
Coriolis force, apparent curvature of the path of a moving object due to the rotation of the earth.
Cork (pop. 173,700), second largest city in Ireland (after Dublin) situated at the mouth of the Lee River, in the southwest of the republic.
Cork, spongy tissue in the bark of trees that acts as an insulation and protection to the delicate growing tissues.
Corliss, George Henry (1817–88), U.S. engineer who contributed to the perfection of the steam engine.
Corm, thick underground stem used by certain plants (e.g., crocus, gladiolus) to store food over the winter to get them ready for flowering in the spring.
Cormorant, any of a number of long-necked seabirds (family Phalacrocoracidae).
Corn, or maize (Zea mays), grain crop cultivated in the Americas long before the arrival of Europeans and now grown extensively throughout the world.
Corn borer, caterpillars of a moth, especially the Old World maize moth, that feeds on a variety of plants, including beet, beans, and corn.
Corn earworm, larval stage of moth (Heliothis zea) in the owlet moth family (Noctuidae).
Corn laws, various laws regulating English import and export of grain from the 14th century to 1849.
Corn oil, vegetable oil derived from the kernel of the corn plant.
Corn syrup, syrup prepared from cornstarch and containing glucose combined with dextrin and maltose.
Cornea See: Eye.
Corneal transplant See: Eye bank.
Corneille, Pierre (1606–84), French dramatist, creator of French classical verse tragedy.
Cornell, Ezra (1807–74), U.S. businessman, pioneer in telegraphy.
Cornell, Katharine (1898–1974), U.S. stage actress, noted for her major roles in serious dramas, often directed by her husband, Guthrie McClintic.
Cornell University, nonsectarian, coeducational university founded in 1865 and located in Ithaca, N.Y.
Corner Brook (pop. 22,800), town in Newfoundland, Canada, on the Bay of Islands, near the mouth of the Humber River.
Cornering the market, investment term for a speculator conspiracy to drive up stock prices.
Cornet, trumpetlike valved brass wind instrument.
Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), annual herb whose flowers are used for medicinal purposes.
Corning (pop. 11,936), city in southwestern New York State, situated on the Chemung River.
Cornplanter (c. 1740–1836), Seneca chief who aided the British during the American Revolution.
Cornstalk (1720?–77), Shawnee chief who led his tribe in wars against colonial settlers in the Ohio Territory.
Cornstarch, fine white flour extracted from corn.
Cornucopia, or horn of plenty, curved goat's horn symbolizing nature's abundance.
Cornwallis, Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquis of (1738–1805), British general whose surrender to Washington at Yorktown (Oct. 19, 1781) ended the Revolutionary War.
Corona, outer atmosphere of the sun or other stars.
Coronado, Francisco Vásquez de (1510–54), Spanish explorer.
Coronary thrombosis, myocardial infarction, or heart attack, one of the commonest causes of serious illness and death in Western countries.
Coronation, ceremony of crowning a sovereign, usually consisting of a solemn ritual of religious as well as secular significance.
Coroner, public official who investigates sudden, suspicious, or violent death, sometimes with the aid of a jury.
Corot, Jean Baptiste Camille (1796–1875), French landscape painter.
Corporation, group of persons regarded as a legal entity apart from the individuals owning or managing it. As a legal person, a corporation can hold property and sue and be sued. Corporations may be either private or public. The corporate form of business organization has at least 4 advantages. (1) It safeguards its owners, relieving them of legal responsibility as individuals when they act as age…
Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), U.S. non-profit organization formed to promote public television and radio.
Corps, unit of a military force, usually a tactical division consisting of 2 or more subdivisions.
Corpus Christi (pop. 349,894), city in southeastern Texas situated on the Corpus Christi Bay of the Texas Gulf Coast, seat of Nueces County.
Corpus Christi Naval Air Station, headquarters of the U.S.
Corpuscle, in biology, isolated cell, usually one that can move freely in fluid and is not fixed in tissue.
Correggio (Antonio Allegri; 1494–1534), Italian Renaissance painter who influenced the Baroque style.
Corregidor, fortified island near the entrance to Manila Bay and the Philippines.
Corrosion, gradual destruction of a substance, usually a metal, by chemical action.
Corsica, Mediterranean island and French department north of Sardinia, off the coast of western Italy, occupying 3,352 sq mi (8,682 sq km).
Cortés, Hernando (1485–1547), Spanish explorer, conqueror of Mexico.
Cortex, cerebral See: Brain.
Corticosteroid See: Cortisone.
Cortina, Juan Nepomuceno (1824–94), civil rights leader who fought for fair treatment of Mexican Americans.
Cortisone, one of the group of hormones secreted by the cortex of the adrenal glands.
Corundum, mineral consisting of alumina (aluminum oxide, Al2O3) and second in hardness only to diamond.
Cosby, Bill (William Henry Cosby, Jr.; 1937–), U.S. entertainer.
Cosimo de' Medici See: Medici.
Cosmetics, preparations applied to the human body to beautify or alter appearance.
Cosmic rays, highly penetrating radiation that strikes the earth, assumed to originate in interstellar space.
Cosmology, study of how the universe originated and how it has evolved. There are 2 main theories. The first, known as the evolutionary theory, pictures the universe as having been born, and as evolving and eventually dying. The popular name for this theory is the “big bang” theory, because it assumes that all the material in the universe was at one time packed tightly together and w…
Cosmonaut See: Astronaut.
Cosmos, term for the universe and all its components.
Cosmos, genus of tropical fall-blooming flowers of the Compositae family.
Cossacks, Slavic warrior peasants living on the Ukrainian steppe and famed for horsemanship.
Cost-benefit analysis, comparison study of costs versus benefits.
Cost-of-living index, number or device showing how the cost of living compares at a certain time with the cost at a given time in the past, called the base period.
Costa Rica, republic in the southern part of Central America, between Nicaragua and Panama. Costa Rica is the second smallest of the Central American republics, measuring between 75 and 175 mi (121 and 282 km) from the Caribbean to the Pacific coasts. San Jose is the capital. Costa Rica consists of tropical coastal plains, chains of mountain ranges running in a northwest-southeast direction throug…
Costello, John Aloysius (1891–1976), Irish prime minister(1948–51,1954–57).
Cotopaxi, highest active volcano in the world.
Cottage industry, term used to describe the structure of industry, particularly the spinning and weaving industry in Britain, before the Industrial Revolution.
Each cotton fiber is an elongated plant cell made up of 90% cellulose. Unlike other natural fibers, the cotton fiber has 200–400 twists per inch (500–1,000 twists per cm) along its length. These give it excellent spinning characteristics. The quality of cotton is measured in terms of the length and fineness of the lint. Egyptian-type cotton, grown mainly in Egypt, the Sudan, a…
Cotton gin, machine that separates cotton fibers from the seeds, leaves, and other unwanted matter.
Cotton, John (1584–1652), powerful Puritan minister of Boston, Mass., noted for his didactic writings.
Cottonmouth See: Water moccasin.
Cottonseed oil, edible oil extracted from cottonseeds.
Cottontail See: Rabbit.
Cottonwood, tree (genus Populus) of the willow family with windblown seeds surrounded by tufts of cottonlike hairs.
Cotyledon, first leaf developed by a seed plant's embryo.
Cougar See: Mountain lion.
Coughlin, Charles Edward (1891–1969), U.S.
Coulee Dam See: Grand Coulee Dam.
Coulomb (coul or C), unit of electricity, the quantity of electricity that must pass through a circuit to deposit .0000394 oz (0.0011180 g) of silver from a solution of silver nitrate.
Coulomb, Charles Augustin de (1736–1806), French physicist noted for his researches into friction, torsion, electricity, and magnetism.
Counter-Reformation, reform movement in the Roman Catholic Church during the 16th and 17th centuries. It arose in part as a reaction against the Reformation, which attacked the Church and in the end offered as an alternative the independent Protestant churches founded by Luther and Calvin. The Counter-Reformation, on the other hand, proposed to reform the Church from within. One of the first moves…
Counterpoint, in music, art of combining 2 or more different melodic lines simultaneously in a composition.
Country, political nation with geographic boundaries.
Country and western music, broad category of popular music that has its roots in rural American music of the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly in the South where black music, religious music, and British folk music fused into a unique American musical genre. Most songs are deeply personal and deal with themes of love, loneliness, and separation, but maintain a strong sense of faith in the huma…
County, territorial division of local government.
County agricultural extension agent, U.S. government official who advises farmers about agricultural issues.
County extension home economist, U.S. government official who advises families about consumer education and nutrition.
Coup d'état (French, “stroke of state”), sudden and unlawful takeover of a government, usually the result of a country's unsteady and unbalanced politics.
Couperin, François Le Grand (1668–1733), French composer, organist, and harpsichordist, of a family of musicians that included Louis Couperin (1626–61), his uncle.
Courbet, Gustave (1819–77), 19th-century French painter, an early realist.
Coureurs de bois, French-Canadian adventurers, who in the late 1600s and early 1700s, traded furs with the Native Americans.
Courser, any of a genus (Pluvianus) of long-legged, short-winged, desert birds, particular to Australia, India, and Africa.
Court, judicial portion of government, responsible for the administration of justice. The term also refers to the building in which courts sit and to the proceedings themselves. A typical U.S. court consists of 1 or more judges, a jury when required, attorneys for both parties to the dispute, a bailiff or marshal who carries out court orders and preserves order, and a clerk who records the proceed…
Court-martial, court for the trial of offenses against military rules and regulations.
Court reporter, stenographer who records the proceedings in a court of law.
Cousteau, Jacques-Yves (1910–97), French oceanographer who pioneered underwater exploration.
Cousy, Bob (Robert Joseph Cousy; 1928– ), U.S. basketball player.
Covenanters, 16th- and 17th-century Scottish Presbyterians pledged by covenants to defend their religion against Anglican influences.
Coventry (pop. 312,200), cathedral city in England, southeast of Birmingham.
Covered wagon See: Conestoga wagon.
Covington (pop. 43,264), city in northern Kentucky, situated on the Ohio River across from Cincinnati, Ohio.
Cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum), large perennial plant of the carrot family.
Coward, Sir Noel Pierce (1899–1973), English actor, playwright, and composer.
Cowbird, bird of the blackbird family (Icteridae), so named because it follows cattle and feeds on the insects they stir up.
Cowboy, person who handles cattle on horseback. The U.S. cowboy has become a legendary folk hero, celebrated in innumerable films and novels. In the early 1800s in areas such as Texas (then part of Mexico), settlers took over the Spanish practice of using the plains for grazing cattle. At the same time they borrowed from the Spanish the typical equipment and methods of the cattle herder: broad-bri…
Cowell, Henry Dixon (1897–1965), U.S. composer.
Cowley, Abraham (1618–67), English poet and essayist of the metaphysical and neoclassical periods.
Cowpea, or black-eyed pea (Vigna sinen-sis), member of the pea family, cultivated widely in warmer climates for its edible beans.
Cowper, William (1731–1800), 18th-century English poet.
Cowpox See: Jenner, Edward.
Cowrie, any of a variety of mollusks (family Cyprocidae) with shells that have spirals like those of snails but that are obscured by the final dome-shaped twist.
Cowslip, or marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), marsh plant with large yellow flowers, related to the buttercup.
Cox, James Middleton (1870–1957), U.S. politician and journalist who championed liberal reform.
Coyote, or prairie wolf (Canis latrans), wild dog of North America.
Coysevox, Antoine (1640–1720), French sculptor.
Cozzens, James Gould (1903–78), U.S. novelist.
CPR See: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Crécy, Battle of, key battle in the Hundred Years War between England and France, fought in 1346.
Crédit Mobilier of America, construction company instrumental in building the Union Pacific railroad in the 1860s.
Crab, crustacean with 10 pairs of legs, the first pair usually modified as pincers. Crabs start life as small, swimming larvae that look more like lobsters. After molting several times the larva settles on the bottom and becomes an adult crab, with the typical rounded shell protecting the body. Most crabs are marine or live in brackish water, feeding on small animals and carrion that are torn up w…
Crab apple (genus Malus, family Roseceae), tree that bears small tart-tasting apples, and has fragrant white or pink flowers.
Craft See: Handicraft.
Craft union See: Labor movement.
Cramp, painful contraction of muscle—often in the legs.
Cranach, Lucas, The Elder (1472–1553), German painter and engraver.
Cranberry, berry-bearing shrub (genus Oxycoccus) found in wet bogs or heaths or in flooded areas known as cranberry bogs.
Crandall, Prudence (1803–90), U.S. educator.
Crane, long-necked, long-legged bird of the family Gruidae.
Crane, machine designed to lift loads and move them horizontally.
Crane, Hart (Harold Crane; 1899–1932), U.S. poet.
Crane, Stephen (1871–1900), U.S. author.
Crane, Walter (1845–1915), English artist and book illustrator.
Cranmer, Thomas (1489–1556), first Protestant archbishop of Canterbury and English martyr. He was an outstanding scholar and one of the leaders of the English Reformation. He obtained the favor of Henry VIII by proposing to refer the question of the annulment of the king's marriage to Catherine of Aragon to the European universities rather than to the pope. He became the king'…
Cranston, Alan Macgregor (1914– ), U.S. senator.
Crappie, any of a genus (Pomoxis) of freshwater sunfishes that have been spread across the United States from the east because of their popularity with anglers.
Crassus, Marcus Licinius (112–53B.C.), Roman general and political leader.
Crater, depression on the surface of the earth or other celestial body.
Crater Lake National Park, national park in the Cascade Mountains of southwest Oregon.
Crawfish See: Crayfish.
Crawford, Joan (1908–77), U.S. film actress noted for her roles as self-made, tough-minded women.
Crayfish, or crawfish, edible freshwater crustacean found in ponds and streams in most parts of the world except Africa.
Crazy Horse (c. 1849–77), Native American leader, chief of the Oglala Sioux.
Creationism, also known as Creation Science, theory held by fundamentalist Christians that the Earth and living things were created as described in Genesis rather than through a process of evolution.
Credit, delivery of goods, services, or money with a promise of payment in the future, usually with an interest charge.
Credit Union, cooperative bank formed by the members of a company, church, labor union, or other organization.
Cree, Native American tribe originating in Manitoba.
Creek, Native American confederation of tribes and settlements in Alabama and Georgia.
Creeley, Robert (1926– ), U.S. poet and author.
Creeper, any of several small brown birds of the treecreeper family, found in most parts of the world.
Creole, term used to describe the descendants of Spanish, Portuguese, and French settlers in the West Indies, Latin America, and parts of the United States.
Creosote, thick, oily liquid made by distilling coal or wood tar.
Creosote bush (Larrea divaricata), evergreen shrub that grows in the deserts of Mexico and southwestern United States.
Cresol, or hydroxytoluene, group of organic chemical compounds.
Cress, any of various plants of the mustard family.
Cretaceous period, geological period from about 140 to 65 million years ago.
Crete, mountainous island in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, about 3,235 sq mi (8,380 sq km).