leeward (adj.) Look up leeward at Dictionary.com
1660s, "situated away from the wind," on the opposite of the weather side of the ship; from lee + -ward.
leeway (n.) Look up leeway at Dictionary.com
1660s, "sideways drift of a ship caused by wind," from lee + way (n.). Figurative meaning "extra space" is by 1835.
left (adj.) Look up left at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, from Kentish and northern English form of Old English lyft- "weak, foolish" (compare lyft-adl "lameness, paralysis," East Frisian luf, Dutch dialectal loof "weak, worthless"). It emerged 13c. as "opposite of right" (the left being usually the weaker hand), a derived sense also found in cognate Middle Dutch and Low German luchter, luft. But German link, Dutch linker "left" are said to be not directly related, being instead from Old High German slinc and Middle Dutch slink "left," which are related to Old English slincan "crawl" (Modern English (see slink), Swedish linka "limp," slinka "dangle."

Replaced Old English winestra, literally "friendlier," a euphemism used superstitiously to avoid invoking the unlucky forces connected with the left side (compare sinister). The Kentish word itself originally may have been a taboo replacement, if instead it represents PIE root *laiwo-, meaning "considered conspicuous" (represented in Greek laios, Latin laevus, and Russian levyi). Greek also uses a euphemism for "left," aristeros "the better one" (compare also Avestan vairyastara- "to the left," from vairya- "desirable"). But Lithuanian kairys "left" and Lettish kreilis "left hand" derive from a root that yields words for "twisted, crooked."

As an adverb from early 14c. As a noun from c. 1200. Political sense arose from members of a legislative body assigned to the left side of a chamber, first attested in English 1837 (by Carlyle, in reference to the French Revolution), probably a loan-translation of French la gauche (1791), said to have originated during the seating of the French National Assembly in 1789 in which the nobility took the seats on the President's right and left the Third Estate to sit on the left. The term became general in U.S. and British political speech c. 1900.

Used since at least c. 1600 in various senses of "irregular, illicit;" earlier proverbial sense was "opposite of what is expressed" (mid-15c.). Phrase out in left field "out of touch with pertinent realities" is attested from 1944, from the baseball fielding position that tends to be far removed from the play. To have two left feet "be clumsy" is attested by 1902. The Left Bank of Paris (left bank of the River Seine, as you face downstream) has been associated with intellectual and artistic culture since at least 1893.
left (v.) Look up left at Dictionary.com
past tense and past participle of leave (v.).
left wing (n.) Look up left wing at Dictionary.com
also (as an adjective) left-wing, 1871 in the political sense (1530s in a military formation sense), from left (adj.) + wing (n.). Related: Left-winger.
left-handed (adj.) Look up left-handed at Dictionary.com
late 14c., of persons; 1650s of tools, etc., from left (adj.) + -handed. In 15c. it also could mean "maimed." Sense of "underhanded" is from early 17c., as in left-handed compliment (1787, also attested 1855 in pugilism slang for "a punch with the left fist"), as is that of "illicit" (as in left-handed marriage). Related: Left-handedly; left-handedness.
leftish (adj.) Look up leftish at Dictionary.com
1934, in the political sense, from left (adj.) + -ish.
leftism (n.) Look up leftism at Dictionary.com
1917, from left in the political sense + -ism.
leftist (adj.) Look up leftist at Dictionary.com
1897, from left (adj.) in the political sense + -ist.
leftover (adj.) Look up leftover at Dictionary.com
also left-over, "remaining, not used up," 1890, from left + over. The noun meaning "something left over" is from 1891; leftovers "excess food after a meal" (especially if re-served later) is from 1878; in this sense Old English had metelaf.
leftward (adv.) Look up leftward at Dictionary.com
late 15c., from left (adj.) + -ward. Related: Leftwards.
lefty (n.) Look up lefty at Dictionary.com
"left-handed person," 1886, American English, baseball slang, from left + -y (3). Political sense by 1935.
leg (n.) Look up leg at Dictionary.com
late 13c., from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse leggr "leg, bone of the arm or leg," from Proto-Germanic *lagjaz, with no certain ulterior connections, perhaps from a PIE root meaning "to bend" [Buck]. For sense, compare German Bein "leg," in Old High German "bone, leg." Replaced Old English shank (n.), itself also perhaps from a root meaning "crooked."

Of furniture supports from 1670s. The meaning "a part or stage of a journey or race" (1920) is from earlier sailing sense of "a run made on a single tack" (1867), which was usually qualified as long leg, short leg, etc. Slang phrase shake a leg "dance" is attested from 1881. To be on (one's) last legs "at the end of one's life" is from 1590s.
leg (v.) Look up leg at Dictionary.com
"to use the legs; walk or run," c. 1500 (from the beginning usually with it); from leg (n.).
leg up (n.) Look up leg up at Dictionary.com
"aid, boost," 1837, from leg (n.) + up.
leg-warmer (n.) Look up leg-warmer at Dictionary.com
1974, from leg + agent noun from warm (v.). Related: Leg-warmers.
leg-work (n.) Look up leg-work at Dictionary.com
1891, from leg (n.) + work (n.). Originally news reporter slang for an assignment that produced more walking than text.
legacy (n.) Look up legacy at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "body of persons sent on a mission," from Old French legatie "legate's office," from Medieval Latin legatia, from Latin legatus "ambassador, envoy," noun use of past participle of legare "appoint by a last will, send as a legate" (see legate). Sense of "property left by will" appeared in Scottish mid-15c.
legal (adj.) Look up legal at Dictionary.com
mid-15c. "of or pertaining to the law," from Middle French légal or directly from Latin legalis "legal, pertaining to the law," from lex (genitive legis) "law," possibly related to legere "to gather," on notion of "a collection of rules" (see lecture (n.)).

Sense of "permitted by law" is from 1640s. Related: Legally. The Old French form was leial, loial (see leal, loyal). Legal tender is from 1740.
legalese (n.) Look up legalese at Dictionary.com
"the language of legal documents," 1914, from legal + language name ending -ese.
legalistic (adj.) Look up legalistic at Dictionary.com
1843, from legalist (1640s); see legal + -istic.
legality (n.) Look up legality at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Middle French légalité, from Medieval Latin legalitatem (nominative legalitas), from Latin legalis "pertaining to the law" (see legal).
legalization (n.) Look up legalization at Dictionary.com
1805, noun of action from legalize.
legalize (v.) Look up legalize at Dictionary.com
1716, from legal + -ize. Related: Legalized; legalizing.
legate (n.) Look up legate at Dictionary.com
mid-12c., "authorized representative of the Pope," from Old French legat and directly from Latin legatus "ambassador, envoy," originally "provided with a commission," past participle of legare "send as a deputy, send with a commission, bequeath," from lex (genitive legis) "contract, law" (see legal). General sense of "ambassador, delegate, messenger" is from late 14c.
legation (n.) Look up legation at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Old French legation and directly from Latin legationem (nominative legatio) "the office of an ambassador," noun of action from past participle stem of legare (see legate).
legato Look up legato at Dictionary.com
1811, from Italian legato, literally "bound," past participle of legare, from Latin ligare (see ligament). Of music to be played smoothly, without intervals.
legem pone Look up legem pone at Dictionary.com
"payment of money, cash down," 1570s, from first two words of the fifth division of Psalm cxix, which begins the psalms at Matins on the 25th of the month; consequently associated with March 25, a quarter day in the old financial calendar, when payments and debts came due.
legend (n.) Look up legend at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "narrative dealing with a happening or an event," from Old French legende (12c., Modern French légende) and directly from Medieval Latin legenda "legend, story," literally "(things) to be read," on certain days in church, etc., from Latin legendus, neuter plural gerundive of legere "to read, gather, select" (see lecture (n.)).

Used originally of saints' lives; extended sense of "nonhistorical or mythical story" first recorded late 14c. Meaning "writing or inscription" (especially on a coin or medal) is from 1610s; on a map, illustration, etc., from 1903.
legendary (adj.) Look up legendary at Dictionary.com
mid-16c., from Medieval Latin legendarius, from legenda (see legend). Earlier it was a noun meaning "a collection of legends" (1510s).
legerdemain (n.) Look up legerdemain at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "conjuring tricks," from Middle French léger de main "quick of hand," literally "light of hand," from léger "light" in weight (from Latin levis "light;" see lever) + main "hand" (from Latin manus; see manual).
legging (n.) Look up legging at Dictionary.com
"extra outer covering to protect the leg," 1763, from leg (n.). Related: Leggings.
leggy (adj.) Look up leggy at Dictionary.com
1787, from leg (n.) + -y (2).
Leghorn Look up Leghorn at Dictionary.com
breed of fowl, 1869, from Leghorn, city in Italy (modern Livorno, 16c.-17c. Legorno), from Latin Liburnus, from the native people name Liburni, which is of unknown signification.
legibility (n.) Look up legibility at Dictionary.com
1670s; see legible + -ity.
legible (adj.) Look up legible at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Late Latin legibilis "that can be read," from Latin legere "to read" (see lecture (n.)). Related: Legibly.
legion (n.) Look up legion at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, from Old French legion "Roman legion" (3,000 to 6,000 men, under Marius usually with attached cavalry), from Latin legionem (nominative legio) "body of soldiers," from legere "to choose, gather," also "to read" (see lecture (n.)).

Generalized sense of "a large number" is due to translations of allusive phrase in Mark v:9. American Legion, U.S. association of ex-servicemen, founded in 1919. Legion of Honor is French légion d'honneur, an order of distinction founded by Napoleon in 1802. Foreign Legion is French légion étrangère "body of foreign volunteers in a modern army," originally Polish, Belgian, etc. units in French army; they traditionally served in colonies or distant expeditions.
legionnaire (n.) Look up legionnaire at Dictionary.com
1818, from French légionnaire, from légion (see legion). Legionnaires' Disease, caused by Legionella pneumophilia, was named after the lethal outbreak of July 1976 at the American Legion convention in Philadelphia's Bellevue Stratford Hotel. Hence Legionella as the name of the bacterium that causes it.
legislate (v.) Look up legislate at Dictionary.com
1805, back-formation from legislation, etc. Related: Legislated; legislating.
legislation (n.) Look up legislation at Dictionary.com
1650s, from French législation, from Late Latin legislationem (nominative legislatio), properly two words, legis latio, "proposing (literally 'bearing') of a law;" see legislator.
legislative (adj.) Look up legislative at Dictionary.com
1640s; from legislator + -ive. Related: Legislatively.
legislator (n.) Look up legislator at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, from Latin legis lator "proposer of a law," from legis, genitive of lex "law" (see legal (adj.)) + lator "proposer," agent noun of latus "borne, brought, carried" (see oblate (n.)), used as past tense of ferre "to carry" (see infer). Fem. form legislatrix is from 1670s.
legislature (n.) Look up legislature at Dictionary.com
1670s; see legislator + -ure.
legit Look up legit at Dictionary.com
colloquial shortening of legitimate, 1897, originally in theater, in reference to legitimate drama, that which has literary merit (Shakespeare, etc.).
legitimacy (n.) Look up legitimacy at Dictionary.com
1690s, of children; general use by 1836; see legitimate + -cy. Legitimateness an earlier word for it.
legitimate (adj.) Look up legitimate at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "lawfully begotten," from Middle French legitimer and directly from Medieval Latin legitimatus, past participle of legitimare "make lawful, declare to be lawful," from Latin legitimus "lawful," originally "fixed by law, in line with the law," from lex (genitive legis) "law" (see legal). Transferred sense of "genuine, real" is attested from 1550s. Related: Legitimately.
legitimate (v.) Look up legitimate at Dictionary.com
1590s, from Medieval Latin legitimatus, past participle of legitimare (see legitimate (adj.)). Related: Legitimated; legitimating.
legitimation (n.) Look up legitimation at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Middle French légitimation, from Medieval Latin legitimationem (nominative legitimatio), noun of action from past participle stem of legitimare (see legitimate (adj.)).
legitimism (n.) Look up legitimism at Dictionary.com
1877, from French légitimisme; see legitimate (adj.) + -ism.
legitimist (n.) Look up legitimist at Dictionary.com
1841, from French légitimiste, from légitime (see legitimate).