levari facias Look up levari facias at Dictionary.com
Latin, literally "cause to be levied."
levator (n.) Look up levator at Dictionary.com
from medical Latin levator "a lifter," from Latin levatus, past participle of levare "to raise" (see lever).
levee (n.1) Look up levee at Dictionary.com
1719, "natural or artificial embankment to prevent overflow of a river," from New Orleans French levée "raising, lifting; embankment," from French, originally fem. past participle of lever "to raise," from Latin levare "to raise" (see lever).
levee (n.2) Look up levee at Dictionary.com
"morning assembly held by a prince or king (upon rising from bed)," 1670s, from French lever "a raising," noun use of verb meaning "to raise" (see levee (n.1)).
level (n.) Look up level at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "tool to indicate a horizontal line," from Old French livel "a level" (13c.), ultimately from Latin libella "a balance, level," diminutive of libra "balance, scale, unit of weight," from PIE *lithra- "a scale." Cognate Spanish nivel, Modern French niveau are from the same source but altered by dissimilation. Meaning "horizontality" is from c. 1400. Meaning "position as marked by a horizontal line" is from 1530s. Phrase on the level "fair, honest" is from 1872; earlier it meant "moderate, without great ambition" (1790).
level (adj.) Look up level at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from level (n.). To do one's level best is from 1851.
level (v.) Look up level at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "to make level," from level (n.). From c. 1600 as "to bring to a level;" 1958 as "to cease increasing." Meaning "to aim a gun" is late 15c. Slang sense of "tell the truth" is from 1920. To level up "to rise" is attested by 1863.
A word here as to the misconception labored under by our English neighbor; he evidently does not understand the American manner of doing things. We never level down in this country; we are always at work on the up grade. "Level up! Level up!" is the motto of the American people. [James E. Garretson, "Professional Education," in "The Dental Cosmos," Philadelphia, 1865]
To level off "cease rising or falling" is from 1920, originally in aviation.
levelheaded (adj.) Look up levelheaded at Dictionary.com
also level-headed, 1869, from level (adj.) + head (n.). The notion is of "balanced." Related: Levelheadedness.
leveller (n.) Look up leveller at Dictionary.com
1590s, someone or something that makes level; agent noun of level (v.). From 1640s as the name of a political party of the time of Charles I that advocated abolishing all differences of position and rank.
lever (n.) Look up lever at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, from Old French levier (Modern French leveur) "a lifter, a lever," agent noun from lever "to raise," from Latin levare "to raise," from levis "light" in weight, from PIE root *legwh- "light, having little weight; easy, agile, nimble" (cognates: Sanskrit laghuh "quick, small;" Greek elakhys "small," elaphros "light;" Old Church Slavonic liguku, Lithuanian lengvas "light;" Old Irish laigiu "smaller, worse;" Gothic leihts, Old English leoht "light" (adj.)). As a verb, 1856, from the noun.
leverage (n.) Look up leverage at Dictionary.com
1724, "action of a lever," from lever (n.) + -age. Meaning "power or force of a lever" is from 1827; figurative sense from 1858. The financial sense is attested by 1933, American English; as a verb by 1956. Related: Leveraged; leverages; leveraging.
leveret (n.) Look up leveret at Dictionary.com
"young hare," early 15c., from Old French levrat, diminutive of levre (12c., Modern French lièvre) "hare," from Latin lepore, from lepus.
Levi Look up Levi at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, biblical son of Jacob by Leah, from Hebrew lewi, literally "joining, pledging, attached," from stem of lawah "he joined."
leviathan (n.) Look up leviathan at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "sea monster, sea serpent," also regarded as a form of Satan, from Late Latin leviathan, from Hebrew livyathan "dragon, serpent, huge sea animal," of unknown origin, perhaps related to liwyah "wreath," from root l-w-h- "to wind, turn, twist." Of powerful persons or things from c. 1600. Hobbes's use is from 1651.
levirate (n.) Look up levirate at Dictionary.com
custom by which the male next-of-kin of a dead man was bound to marry his widow, 1725, from Latin levir "brother-in-law" (from PIE *daiwer- "husband's brother") + -ate (2).
Levis (n.) Look up Levis at Dictionary.com
1926, American English, originally Levi's, from Levi Strauss and Company, original manufacturer. Strauss' innovation was the copper rivets at strain points. A cowboy's accessory, adopted as a fashion c. 1940s.
levitate (v.) Look up levitate at Dictionary.com
1670s, "to rise by virtue of lightness," from Latin levitas "lightness," patterned in English on gravitate. Sense of "raise (a person) into the air" is mainly from spiritualism (1870s). Related: Levitated; levitating.
levitation (n.) Look up levitation at Dictionary.com
1660s, noun of action from Latin levitas (see levitate) + -ion.
Leviticus Look up Leviticus at Dictionary.com
third book of the Pentateuch, c. 1400, from Late Latin Leviticus (liber), literally "book of the Levites," from Greek to Leuitikon biblion, from Leuites, from Hebrew Lewi. Properly the part of the Pentateuch dealing with the function of the priests who were of the tribe of Levi (a portion of the tribe acted as assistants to the priests in the temple-worship). The Hebrew title is Torath Kohanim, literally "the law of the priests." Related: Levite; Levitical.
Levittown Look up Levittown at Dictionary.com
used figuratively for "generic suburban tract housing," American English, from the vast planned real estate developments built by the firm Levitt & Sons Inc., the first on Long Island, 1946-51 (more than 17,000 homes), the second north of Philadelphia (1951-55).
levity (n.) Look up levity at Dictionary.com
"want of seriousness, frivolity," 1560s, from Latin levitatem (nominative levitas) "lightness, frivolity," from levis "light" in weight (see lever) + -ity.
levo- Look up levo- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "toward the left," from French lévo-, from Latin laevus "left" (see left (adj.)).
levy (v.) Look up levy at Dictionary.com
early 13c., "act of raising or collecting," from Anglo-French leve, from Old French levée "act of raising," noun use of fem. past participle of lever "to raise" (see lever). Originally of taxes, later of men for armies (c. 1500). Related: Levied; levying.
levy (n.) Look up levy at Dictionary.com
"an act of levying," early 15c., from Anglo-French leve, Old French levée "a raising, lifting; levying," noun use of fem. past participle of lever "to raise" (see lever).
lewd (adj.) Look up lewd at Dictionary.com
Old English læwede "nonclerical," of uncertain origin but probably ultimately from Vulgar Latin *laigo-, from Latin laicus (see lay (adj.)). Sense of "unlettered, uneducated" (early 13c.) descended to "coarse, vile, lustful" by late 14c. Related: Lewdly; lewdness.
Lewis Look up Lewis at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, Anglo-French form of French Louis (see Louis).
lex talionis Look up lex talionis at Dictionary.com
1590s, Latin, "law of retaliation," from talionis, genitive of talio (see retaliation); an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
lexeme (n.) Look up lexeme at Dictionary.com
1937, from lexicon + -eme, ending abstracted from morpheme. Related: Lexemic.
lexical (adj.) Look up lexical at Dictionary.com
1833, from Greek lexikos "pertaining to words" (see lexicon) + -al (1). Related: Lexically.
lexico- Look up lexico- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element, from Latinized comb. form of Greek lexikos (see lexicon).
lexicographer (n.) Look up lexicographer at Dictionary.com
1650s, from French lexicographe "lexicographer," from Greek lexikographos, from lexikon "wordbook" (see lexicon) + -graphos "writer," from graphein "to write" (see -graphy).
lexicography (n.) Look up lexicography at Dictionary.com
1670s, from lexico- + -graphy. Related: Lexicographic; lexicographical.
lexicology (n.) Look up lexicology at Dictionary.com
1828, from lexico- + -logy.
lexicon (n.) Look up lexicon at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, "a dictionary," from Middle French lexicon or directly from Modern Latin lexicon, from Greek lexikon (biblion) "word (book)," from neuter of lexikos "pertaining to words," from lexis "word," from legein "say" (see lecture (n.)).

Used originally of dictionaries of Greek, Syriac, Hebrew and Arabic, because these typically were in Latin and in Modern Latin lexicon, not dictionarius, was the preferred word. The modern sense of "vocabulary proper to some sphere of activity" (1640s) is a figurative extension.
ley (n.) Look up ley at Dictionary.com
"line of a prehistoric track; alignment of natural and artificial features," 1922 [Alfred Watkins], apparently a variant of lea. Popular topic in Britain in 1920s and 30s and again in 1960s-70s.
Leyden jar (n.) Look up Leyden jar at Dictionary.com
1755, phial used for accumulating and storing static electricity, from Leyden (modern Leiden), city in Holland; so called because it was first described (in 1746) by physicist Pieter van Musschenbroek of Leyden (1692-1761). The place name is said to be from Germanic *leitha- "canal."
lez Look up lez at Dictionary.com
also les; by 1929, colloquial shortening of lesbian.
Lhasa apso Look up Lhasa apso at Dictionary.com
type of dog, 1935, from Tibetan, literally "Lhasa terrier," from Lhasa, capital of Tibet.
liability (n.) Look up liability at Dictionary.com
1790, originally a term in law; "condition of being legally liable;" see liable + -ity. General sense is from 1809; meaning "thing for which one is liable" is first attested 1842. Related: Liabilities.
liable (adj.) Look up liable at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "bound or obliged by law," probably from Anglo-French *liable, from Old French lier "to bind, tie up, fasten, tether; bind by obligation," from Latin ligare "to bind, to tie" (see ligament). With -able. General sense of "exposed to" (something undesirable) is from 1590s. Incorrect use for "likely" is attested by 1886.
liaise (v.) Look up liaise at Dictionary.com
1928, back-formation from liaison. Said to be a coinage of British military men in World War I. Related: Liaised; liaising.
liaison (n.) Look up liaison at Dictionary.com
1640s, from French liaison "a union, a binding together" (13c.), from Late Latin ligationem (nominative ligatio) "a binding," from past participle stem of Latin ligare "to bind" (see ligament). Originally a cookery term for a thickening agent for sauces. Sense of "intimate relations" is from 1806. Military sense of "cooperation between branches, allies, etc." is from 1816. The noun meaning "one who is concerned with liaison of units, etc." is short for liaison officer.
liar (n.) Look up liar at Dictionary.com
early 13c., from Old English leogere "liar, false witness," agent noun from Anglian legan, West Saxon leogan "be untruthful, lie" (see lie (v.1)). "The form in -ar is probably in imitation of the refashioned forms such as scholar for scoler and pillar for piler." [Barnhart]
lib (n.) Look up lib at Dictionary.com
1969, American English, shortening of liberation, used with possessives, originally in Women's Lib. Colloquial shortening libber for liberationist is attested from 1971.
libation (n.) Look up libation at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "pouring out of wine in honor of a god," from Latin libationem (nominative libatio) "a drink offering," noun of action from past participle stem of libare "pour out (an offering)," from PIE *(s)leib- "to pour, drop" (source of Greek leibein "to pour, make a libation"), an enlargement of root *lei- "to pour, to flow" (cognates: Sanskrit riyati "to let run;" Greek aleison "a wine vessel;" Lithuanian lieju "to pour," lytus "rain;" Hittite lilai- "to let go;" Albanian lyse, lise "a stream;" Welsh lliant "a stream, a sea," llifo "to flow;" Old Irish lie "a flood;" Breton livad "inundation;" Gaelic lighe "a flood, overflow;" Gothic leithu "fruit wine;" Old Church Slavonic liti, lêju, Bulgarian leja "I pour;" Czech liti, leji, Old Polish lić "to pour"). Transferred sense of "liquid poured out to be drunk" is from 1751. Related: Libations.
libel (n.) Look up libel at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "formal written statement," especially, in civil law, "plaintiff's statement of charges" (mid-14c.); from Old French libelle (fem.) "small book; (legal) charge, claim; writ; written report" (13c.), from Latin libellus "a little book, pamphlet; petition, written accusation, complaint," diminutive of liber "book" (see library). Broader sense of "any published or written statement likely to harm a person's reputation" is first attested 1630s.
libel (v.) Look up libel at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "make an initial statement setting out a plaintiff's case" (modern sense from 1560s), from libel (n.), q.v. for sense development. Related: Libeled; libelled; libeling; libelling.
libelous (adj.) Look up libelous at Dictionary.com
also libellous, 1610s, from libel (n.) + -ous. Related: Libelously; libelousness.
liberal (adj.) Look up liberal at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "generous," also, late 14c., "selfless; noble, nobly born; abundant," and, early 15c., in a bad sense "extravagant, unrestrained," from Old French liberal "befitting free men, noble, generous, willing, zealous" (12c.), from Latin liberalis "noble, gracious, munificent, generous," literally "of freedom, pertaining to or befitting a free man," from liber "free, unrestricted, unimpeded; unbridled, unchecked, licentious," from PIE *leudh-ero-, probably originally "belonging to the people" (though the precise semantic development is obscure; compare frank (adj.)), and a suffixed form of the base *leudh- "people" (cognates: Old Church Slavonic ljudu, Lithuanian liaudis, Old English leod, German Leute "nation, people;" Old High German liut "person, people").

With the meaning "free from restraint in speech or action," liberal was used 16c.-17c. as a term of reproach. It revived in a positive sense in the Enlightenment, with a meaning "free from prejudice, tolerant," which emerged 1776-88.

In reference to education, explained by Fowler as "the education designed for a gentleman (Latin liber a free man) & ... opposed on the one hand to technical or professional or any special training, & on the other to education that stops short before manhood is reached" (see liberal arts). Purely in reference to political opinion, "tending in favor of freedom and democracy" it dates from c. 1801, from French libéral, originally applied in English by its opponents (often in French form and with suggestions of foreign lawlessness) to the party favorable to individual political freedoms. But also (especially in U.S. politics) tending to mean "favorable to government action to effect social change," which seems at times to draw more from the religious sense of "free from prejudice in favor of traditional opinions and established institutions" (and thus open to new ideas and plans of reform), which dates from 1823.
Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. [Ambrose Bierce, "Devil's Dictionary," 1911]
liberal (n.) Look up liberal at Dictionary.com
1820, "member of the Liberal party of Great Britain," from liberal (adj.). Used early 20c. of less dogmatic Christian churches; in reference to a political ideology not conservative or fascist but short of socialism, from c. 1920.
This is the attitude of mind which has come to be known as liberal. It implies vigorous convictions, tolerance for the opinions of others, and a persistent desire for sound progress. It is a method of approach which has played a notable and constructive part in our history, and which merits a thorough trial today in the attack on our absorbingly interesting American task. [Guy Emerson, "The New Frontier," 1920]