from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The lowest sill, block, or timber supporting a building, located at or below ground level.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The lowest sill of a structure, usually placed in or on the ground.
- n. A particularly low or dirty place/state; the nadir of something (see rock bottom)
- n. A person of low status or humble provenance.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The lowest sill of a structure, usually embedded in the soil; the lowest timber of a house; also, that sill or timber of a bridge which is laid at the bottom of the water. See sill.
- n. Fig.: A person of the lowest stratum of society; -- a term of opprobrium or contempt.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The lowest sill of a structure, resting on the ground.
- n. A lowborn, ignorant, contemptible person.
- n. Specifically, the bed-piece or bottom timber of a dam placed across the stream and usually resting on rocks or in mud.
All of this -- but little understood within a very few years -- has been of late made generally intelligible on this side of the border, thanks, perhaps, as much to Mr. Hammond's word 'mudsill' as to any other cause.
If you are building a "mudsill," that is, a building upon the ground itself, the sill logs will be subject to dampness which will cause them to rot unless they are protected by some wood preservative.
If your house is not a "mudsill" you may rest your sill logs upon posts or stone piles; in either case, in the Northern States, they should extend three feet below the ground, so as to be below frost-line and prevent the upheaval of the spring thaw from throwing your house "out of plumb."
When Douglas reached New Orleans he substantially repeated these declarations in another long speech, and, as if he had not yet placed himself in entire harmony with Southern opinion, he added a sentiment almost as remarkable as the "mudsill" theory of Hammond, or the later
This is usually accomplished by bolting the "mudsill," the piece of wood at the base of the wall, to the foundation.
'mudsill' from Vermont, and when the war broke out I applied to be received into the hospitals, but was refused on account of want of experience.
a "mudsill," wet the floor until it becomes spongy, then with the butt end of a log ram the dirt down hard until you have an even, hard floor -- such a floor as some of the greatest men of this nation first crept over when they were babies.
"mudsill," as the cartoonist was pleased to call the President of the
"mudsill" speech as a defiant rejoinder to Northern criticisms of slavery.
We push below this mudsill the derelicts and halfmen, whom we hate and despise, and seek to build above it—Democracy!