lac (n.) Look up lac at Dictionary.com
"red resinous substance," 1550s (perhaps via Middle French lacce), earlier lacca (early 15c., from Medieval Latin form lacca), from Persian lak, from Hindi lakh (Prakrit lakkha), from Sanskrit laksha "red dye," which according to Klein is literally "one hundred thousand," in reference to the insects that gather in great numbers on the trees and make the resin run out. But others say lakh is an alteration of Sanskrit rakh, from an IE root word for "color, dye" [Watkins]. Still another guess is that Sanskrit laksha is related to English lax, lox "salmon," and the substance was perhaps originally so called from being somewhat the color of salmon [Barnhart].
lace (n.) Look up lace at Dictionary.com
early 13c., laz, "cord made of braided or interwoven strands of silk, etc.," from Old French laz "a net, noose, string, cord, snare" (Modern French lacs), from Vulgar Latin *lacium, from Latin laqueum (nominative laqueus) "noose, snare" (source also of Italian laccio, Spanish lazo), a trapping and hunting term, probably from Italic base *laq- "to ensnare" (compare Latin lacere "to entice"). Later also "net, noose, snare" (c.1300); "piece of cord used to draw together the edges of slits or openings in an article of clothing" (late 14c.). The "ornamental net pattern" meaning is first recorded 1550s. Sense of "cord for tying" remains in shoelace. As an adjective, lace-curtain "middle class" (or lower-class with middle-class pretensions) usually is used in reference to Irish-Americans, by 1928.
lace (v.) Look up lace at Dictionary.com
c.1200, "fasten (clothing, etc.) with laces and ties;" see lace (n.). Also "tighten (a garment) by pulling its laces" (early 14c.). To lace coffee, etc., with a dash of liquor (1670s) originally was used of sugar, and comes via the notion of "to ornament or trim." Related: Laced; lacing. Laced mutton was "an old word for a whore" [Johnson].
lace-up (adj.) Look up lace-up at Dictionary.com
1831, originally of boots, from lace (v.) + up.
Lacedaemonian (adj.) Look up Lacedaemonian at Dictionary.com
1780, from Latin Lacedaemonius, from Greek Lakedaimonios, from Lakedaimon, an ancient Greek name for Sparta and the district around it.
lacerate (v.) Look up lacerate at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Latin laceratus, past participle of lacerare "tear to pieces, mangle," figuratively, "to slander, censure, abuse," from lacer "torn, mangled," from PIE root *lek- "to rend, tear" (cognates: Greek lakis "tatter, rag," lakizein "to tear to pieces;" Russian lochma "rag, tatter, scrap;" Albanian l'akur "naked"). Related: Lacerated; lacerating.
laceration (n.) Look up laceration at Dictionary.com
1590s, from Middle French lacération, from Latin lacerationem (nominative laceratio), noun of action from past participle stem of lacerare (see lacerate).
lacey Look up lacey at Dictionary.com
see lacy.
laches (n.) Look up laches at Dictionary.com
"negligence in performance of legal dute," 1570s, earlier simply "slackness, negligence, want of zeal," late 14c., from Anglo-French laches, Old French lachesse, from Old French lasche (Modern French lâche), verbal adj. from lascher, from Vulgar Latin *lascare, classical laxare, from laxus (see loose). Compare riches.
lachrymal (adj.) Look up lachrymal at Dictionary.com
also lachrimal, early 15c., from Medieval Latin lacrimalis, from Latin lacrima (see lachrymose).
lachrymose (adj.) Look up lachrymose at Dictionary.com
1660s, "tear-like," from Latin lacrimosus "tearful, sorrowful, weeping," also "causing tears, lamentable," from lacrima "tear," a dialect-altered borrowing of Greek dakryma "tear," from dakryein "to shed tears," from dakry "tear," from PIE *dakru-/*draku- (see tear (n.)). Meaning "given to tears, tearful" is first attested 1727; meaning "of a mournful character" is from 1822.

The -d- to -l- alteration in Latin is the so-called "Sabine -L-"; compare Latin olere "smell," from root of odor, and Ulixes, the Latin form of Greek Odysseus. The Medieval Latin practice of writing -ch- for -c- before Latin -r- also altered anchor, pulchritude, sepulchre. The -y- is pedantic, from belief in a Greek origin. Middle English had lacrymable "tearful" (mid-15c.).
lack (n.) Look up lack at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "absence, want; shortage, deficiency," perhaps from an unrecorded Old English *lac, or else borrowed from Middle Dutch lak "deficiency, fault;" in either case from Proto-Germanic *laka- (cognates: Old Frisian lek "disadvantage, damage," Old Norse lakr "lacking"), from PIE *leg- "to dribble, trickle." Middle English also had lackless "without blame or fault."
lack (v.) Look up lack at Dictionary.com
late 12c., perhaps from Middle Dutch laken "to be wanting," from lak (n.) "deficiency, fault," or an unrecorded native cognate word (see lack (n.)). Related: Lacked; lacking.
lackadaisical (adj.) Look up lackadaisical at Dictionary.com
1768 (Sterne), from interjection lackadaisy "alas, alack" (1748), an alteration of lack-a-day (1690s), from alack the day (1590s). Hence, "given to crying 'lack-a-day,' vapidly sentimental." Sense probably altered by influence of lax. Related: Lackadaisically.
lackey (n.) Look up lackey at Dictionary.com
1520s, "footman, running footman, valet," from Middle French laquais "foot soldier, footman, servant" (15c.), of unknown origin; perhaps from Old Provençal lacai, from lecai "glutton, covetous," from lecar "to lick." Alternative etymology is via French from Catalan alacay, from Arabic al-qadi "the judge." Yet another guess traces it through Spanish lacayo, from Italian lacchè, from Modern Greek oulakes, from Turkish ulak "runner, courier." This suits the original sense better, but OED says Italian lacchè is from French. Sense of "servile follower" appeared 1580s. As a political term of abuse it dates from 1939 in communist jargon.
lackluster (adj.) Look up lackluster at Dictionary.com
also lack-luster, c.1600, first attested in "As You Like It," from lack + luster. Combinations with lack- were frequent in 16c., such as lackland (1590s), of a landless man; lack-Latin (1530s), of an ignorant priest.
lacklustre Look up lacklustre at Dictionary.com
chiefly British English spelling of lackluster (q.v.); for spelling, see -re.
laconic (adj.) Look up laconic at Dictionary.com
"concise, abrupt," 1580s, probably via Latin Laconicus, from Greek Lakonikos, from Lakon "person from Lakonia," the district around Sparta in southern Greece in ancient times, whose inhabitants were famously proud of their brevity of speech. When Philip of Macedon threatened them with, "If I enter Laconia, I will raze Sparta to the ground," the Spartans' reply was, "If." An earlier form was laconical (1570s). Related: Laconically.
Lacoste Look up Lacoste at Dictionary.com
Paris-based high-end apparel company, founded 1933, named for René Lacoste (1904-1996), company co-founder.
lacquer (n.) Look up lacquer at Dictionary.com
1570s as "dye obtained from lac;" 1670s as "lacquer," from obsolete French lacre, name for a kind of sealing wax, from Portuguese lacre, unexplained variant of lacca "resinous substance," from Arabic lakk, from Persian lak (see lac).
lacquer (v.) Look up lacquer at Dictionary.com
"cover or coat with laqueur," 1680s, from lacquer (n.). Related: Lacquered; lacquering.
lacrosse (n.) Look up lacrosse at Dictionary.com
1718, American English, from Canadian French jeu de la crosse "game of the hooked sticks," from crosse "hooked stick," which is used to throw the ball, from Proto-Germanic *kruk-. Originally a North American Indian game. The native name is represented by Ojibwa (Algonquian) baaga'adowe "to play lacrosse."
lactate (v.) Look up lactate at Dictionary.com
"secrete milk from the breasts," 1889, probably a back-formation from lactation. Related: Lactated; lactating.
lactate (n.) Look up lactate at Dictionary.com
1794, from stem of lactic + -ate (1).
lactation (n.) Look up lactation at Dictionary.com
1660s, "process of suckling an infant," from French lactation, from Late Latin lactationem (nominative lactatio) "a suckling," noun of action from past participle stem of lactare "suckle," from lac (genitive lactis) "milk," from PIE root *glakt- (cognates: Greek gala, genitive galaktos, "milk"), which, along with *melg-, accounts for words for "milk" in most Indo-European languages (the absence of a common word for it is considered a mystery). Meaning "process of secreting milk from the breasts" first recorded 1857. Middle Irish lacht, Welsh llaeth "milk" are loan words from Latin.
lacteal (adj.) Look up lacteal at Dictionary.com
1650s, formed in English from Latin lacteus, from lac (genitive lactis) "milk," from PIE root *glakt- (see lactation) + -al (1).
lactic (adj.) Look up lactic at Dictionary.com
"pertaining to milk," 1790 (in lactic acid; so called because it was obtained from sour milk), from French lactique, from Latin lactis, genitive of lac "milk" (see lactation) + French -ique.
lacto- Look up lacto- at Dictionary.com
before vowels, lac-, word-forming element meaning "milk," from Latin lac (genitive lactis) "milk," from PIE root *glakt- (see lactation).
lactose (n.) Look up lactose at Dictionary.com
sugar from milk, 1858, from French, coined by French chemist Marcelin-Pierre-Eugène Berthelot (1827-1907) from Latin lac (genitive lactis) "milk" (see lactation) + chemical suffix -ose (2).
lacuna (n.) Look up lacuna at Dictionary.com
"blank or missing portion in a manuscript," 1660s, from Latin lacuna "hole, pit," diminutive of lacus "pond, lake" (see lake (n.1)). The Latin plural is lacunae. Related: Lacunal; lacunar; lacunose.
lacunae Look up lacunae at Dictionary.com
plural of lacuna (q.v.).
lacy (adj.) Look up lacy at Dictionary.com
1804, from lace (n.) in the decorative sense + -y (2).
lad (n.) Look up lad at Dictionary.com
c.1300, ladde "foot soldier," also "young male servant" (attested as a surname from late 12c.), possibly from a Scandinavian language (compare Norwegian -ladd, in compounds for "young man"), but of obscure origin in any case. OED hazards a guess on Middle English ladde, plural of the past participle of lead (v.), thus "one who is led" (by a lord). Liberman derives it from Old Norse ladd "hose; woolen stocking." "The development must have been from 'stocking,' 'foolish youth' to 'youngster of inferior status' and (with an ameliorated meaning) to 'young fellow.'" He adds, "Words for socks, stockings, and shoes seem to have been current as terms of abuse for and nicknames of fools." Meaning "boy, youth, young man" is from mid-15c. Scottish form laddie, a term of endearment, attested from 1540s.
ladder (n.) Look up ladder at Dictionary.com
Old English hlæder "ladder, steps," from Proto-Germanic *khlaidri (cognates: Old Frisian hledere, Middle Dutch ledere, Old High German leitara, German Leiter), from PIE root *klei- "to lean" (cognates: Greek klimax "ladder;" see lean (v.)). In late Old English, rungs were læddrestæfæ and the side pieces were ledder steles. The belief that walking under one brings bad luck is attested from 1787, but its origin likely is more pragmatic than symbolic. Ladder-back (adj.) as a type of chair is from 1898.
lade (v.) Look up lade at Dictionary.com
Old English hladan (past tense hlod, past participle gehladen) "to load, heap" (the general Germanic sense), also "to draw water" (a meaning peculiar to English), from Proto-Germanic *khlad- (cognates: Old Norse hlaða, Old Saxon hladan, Middle Dutch and Dutch laden, Old Frisian hlada "to load," Old High German hladen, German laden), from PIE *kla- "to spread out flat" (cognates: Lithuanian kloti "to spread," Old Church Slavonic klado "to set, place").
laden (adj.) Look up laden at Dictionary.com
"loaded, weighted down," 1590s, from the original past participle of lade.
ladies (n.) Look up ladies at Dictionary.com
plural of lady (q.v.).
Ladin (n.) Look up Ladin at Dictionary.com
Rhaeto-Romanic dialect spoken in Switzerland and Tyrol, 1873, from Latin Latinus "Latin."
lading (n.) Look up lading at Dictionary.com
"act of loading a boat," early 15c., verbal noun from lade (v.).
Ladino (n.) Look up Ladino at Dictionary.com
1889, Spanish mixed with Hebrew, Arabic, and other elements, written in Hebrew characters, spoken by Sephardim in Turkey, Greece, etc. From Spanish Ladino "sagacious, cunning crafty," originally "knowing Latin, Latin," from Latin Latinus. The Spanish word also has appeared in 19c. American English in its senses "vicious horse" and, in Central America, "mestizo, white person."
ladle (n.) Look up ladle at Dictionary.com
"large, long-handled spoon for drawing liquids," Old English hlædel "ladle," from hladan "to load" (see lade) + -le, suffix expressing "appliance, tool" (compare shovel, handle, thimble). The verb is first recorded 1520s, from the noun. Related: Ladled; ladling.
lady (n.) Look up lady at Dictionary.com
c.1200, lafdi, lavede, from Old English hlæfdige "mistress of a household, wife of a lord," literally "one who kneads bread," from hlaf "bread" (see loaf) + -dige "maid," related to dæge "maker of dough" (see dey (n.1); also compare lord). The medial -f- disappeared 14c. Not found outside English except where borrowed from it.

Sense of "woman of superior position in society" is c.1200; "woman whose manners and sensibilities befit her for high rank in society" is from 1861 (ladylike in this sense is from 1580s, and ladily from c.1400). Meaning "woman as an object of chivalrous love" is from early 14c. Used commonly as an address to any woman since 1890s. Applied in Old English to the Holy Virgin, hence many extended usages in plant names, place names, etc., from genitive singular hlæfdigan, which in Middle English merged with the nominative, so that lady- often represents (Our) Lady's, as in ladybug. Ladies' man first recorded 1784. Lady of pleasure recorded from 1640s.
ladybird (n.) Look up ladybird at Dictionary.com
"sweetheart," 1590s, from lady + bird (n.2).
ladybug (n.) Look up ladybug at Dictionary.com
1690s, from lady + bug (n.). The "lady" is the Virgin Mary (compare German cognate Marienkäfer). In Britain, now usually ladybird beetle (1704), through aversion to the word bug, which there has overtones of sodomy.
ladylike (adj.) Look up ladylike at Dictionary.com
also lady-like, 1580s; see lady + like (adj.). Middle English had ladily "queenly, exalted" (late 14c.).
Laertes Look up Laertes at Dictionary.com
king of Ithaca, father of Odysseus, Greek, literally "gatherer of the people," from laos "people" (see lay (adj.)) + eirein "to fasten together."
lag (v.) Look up lag at Dictionary.com
"fail to keep pace," 1520s, earlier as a noun meaning "last person" (1510s), later also as an adjective (1550s, as in lag-mon "last man"), all of uncertain relationship, possibly from a Scandinavian source (compare Norwegian lagga "go slowly"), or some dialectal version of last, lack, or delay. Related: Lag; lagging. The noun meaning "retardation" is from 1855. First record of lag time is from 1951.
lager (n.) Look up lager at Dictionary.com
1858, American English, short for lager beer (1845), from German Lagerbier "beer brewed for keeping" some months before being drunk, from Lager "storehouse" (see lair) + Bier "beer."
laggard Look up laggard at Dictionary.com
1702 (adj.), from lag (v.) + -ard. From 1757 as a noun.
lagniappe (n.) Look up lagniappe at Dictionary.com
"dividend, something extra," 1849, from New Orleans creole, of unknown origin though much speculated upon. Originally a bit of something given by New Orleans shopkeepers to customers. Said to be from American Spanish la ñapa "the gift." Klein says this is in turn from Quechua yapa "something added, gift."
We picked up one excellent word -- a word worth travelling to New Orleans to get; a nice, limber, expressive, handy word -- 'lagniappe.' They pronounce it lanny-yap. It is Spanish -- so they said. [Mark Twain, "Life on the Mississippi"]