lightness (n.) Look up lightness at Dictionary.com
"quality of having little weight," late Old English, from light (adj.1) + -ness.
lightning (n.) Look up lightning at Dictionary.com
late 13c., present participle of lightnen "make bright," extended form of Old English lihting, from leht (see light (n.)). Meaning "cheap, raw whiskey" is attested from 1781, also sometimes "gin." Lightning bug is attested from 1778. Lightning rod from 1790.
lights (n.) Look up lights at Dictionary.com
"the lungs," c. 1200, literally "the light (in weight) organs," from light (adj.1); also see lung. Obsolete now except in phrases like to knock (someone's) lights out.
lightweight (adj.) Look up lightweight at Dictionary.com
also light-weight, 1773 in horse-racing, also in pugilism; from light (adj.1) + weight. Figurative sense of "inconsequential" first attested 1809.
ligneous (adj.) Look up ligneous at Dictionary.com
"woody," 1620s, from French ligneux and directly from Latin ligneus, from lignum "wood, firewood" (see ligni-).
ligni- Look up ligni- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "wood," from Latin lignum "wood, firewood," from PIE *leg-no-, literally "that which is collected," from root *leg- (1) "to collect" (see lecture (n.)).
lignin (n.) Look up lignin at Dictionary.com
1822, from Latin lignum "wood" (see ligni-) + chemical suffix -in (2).
lignite (n.) Look up lignite at Dictionary.com
"imperfectly formed coal," 1808, from French, from Latin lignum "wood" (see ligni-). Brown coal that still shows traces of the wood it once was. Probably directly from Lithanthrax Lignius, name given to woody coal by Swedish chemist Johan Gottschalk Wallerius (1709-1785) in 1775.
like (adj.) Look up like at Dictionary.com
"having the same characteristics or qualities" (as another), Middle English shortening of Old English gelic "like, similar," from Proto-Germanic *galika- "having the same form," literally "with a corresponding body" (source also of Old Saxon gilik, Dutch gelijk, German gleich, Gothic galeiks "equally, like"), a compound of *ga- "with, together" + Germanic base *lik- "body, form; like, same" (source also of Old English lic "body," German Leiche "corpse," Danish lig, Swedish lik, Dutch lijk "body, corpse"). Analogous, etymologically, to Latin conform. The modern form (rather than *lich) may be from a northern descendant of the Old English word's Norse cognate, glikr.

Formerly with comparative liker and superlative likest (still in use 17c.). The preposition (c. 1200) and the adverb (c. 1300) both are from the adjective. As a conjunction, first attested early 16c. The word has been used as a postponed filler ("going really fast, like") from 1778; as a presumed emphatic ("going, like, really fast") from 1950, originally in counterculture slang and bop talk. Phrase more like it "closer to what is desired" is from 1888.
like (v.) Look up like at Dictionary.com
Old English lician "to please, be sufficient," from Proto-Germanic *likjan (source also of Old Norse lika, Old Frisian likia, Old High German lihhen, Gothic leikan "to please"), from *lik- "body, form; like, same."

The basic meaning seems to be "to be like" (see like (adj.)), thus, "to be suitable." Like (and dislike) originally flowed the other way: It likes me, where we would say I like it. The modern flow began to appear late 14c. (compare please).
like (n.) Look up like at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, "a similar thing" (to another), from like (adj.).
likeable (adj.) Look up likeable at Dictionary.com
also likable, 1730, from like (v.) + -able. Related: Likeableness.
likelihood (n.) Look up likelihood at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "resemblance, similarity," from likely + -hood. Meaning "probability" is from mid-15c.
likely (adj.) Look up likely at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, perhaps from Old Norse likligr "likely," from likr "like" (see like (adj.)). Old English had cognate geliclic. Meaning "having the appearance of being strong and capable" is from mid-15c., though now mostly confined to American English; according to OED this sense is perhaps influenced by like (v.). Sense of "good-looking" is from late 15c. Meaning "probably" is attested from late 14c., now principally in American English.
LIKELY. That may be liked; that may please; handsome. In the United States, as a colloquial term, respectable; worthy of esteem; sensible.--Worcester. [Bartlett]
As an adverb, late 14c., from the adjective.
likeminded (adj.) Look up likeminded at Dictionary.com
also like-minded, 1520s, from like (adj.) + minded. One word from 19c.
liken (v.) Look up liken at Dictionary.com
late 13c., "to represent as like," from like (adj.) + -en (1). Related: Likened; likening.
likeness (n.) Look up likeness at Dictionary.com
Old English (Northumbrian) licnes "likeness, similarity; figure, statue, image," shortened from gelicness; see like (adj.) + -ness.
likes (n.) Look up likes at Dictionary.com
"predilections, preferences," 1851, plural of like (n.); earlier used in singular in this sense (early 15c.).
likewise (adv.) Look up likewise at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from the phrase in like wise "in the same manner" (mid-15c.), from like (adj.) + wise (n.).
Likud (n.) Look up Likud at Dictionary.com
nationalist coalition party formed in Israel 1973, from Hebrew, literally "union, combination."
lilac (n.) Look up lilac at Dictionary.com
1620s, from French lilac "shrub of genus Syringa with mauve flowers," from Spanish lilac, from Arabic lilak, from Persian lilak, variant of nilak "bluish," from nil "indigo" (compare Sanskrit nilah "dark blue"), of uncertain origin. As a color name, attested from 1791; as a scent, from 1895. As an adjective, "pale pinkish-purple," from 1801. Related: Lilaceous.
Lilith Look up Lilith at Dictionary.com
female evil spirit, in medieval Hebrew folklore the first wife of Adam, from Hebrew Lilith, from Akkad. Lilitu, which is connected by folk etymology with Hebrew laylah "night."
Lilliputian (adj.) Look up Lilliputian at Dictionary.com
"diminutive, tiny," literally "pertaining to Lilliput," the fabulous island whose inhabitants were six inches high, a name coined by Jonathan Swift in "Gulliver's Travels" (1726). Swift left no explanation of the origin of the word.
lilt (v.) Look up lilt at Dictionary.com
1510s, "to lift up" (the voice), probably from late 14c. West Midlands dialect lulten "to sound an alarm," of unknown origin. Possible relatives include Norwegian lilla "to sing" and Low German lul "pipe." It is possible that the whole loose group is imitative. Sense of "sing in a light manner" is first recorded 1786. Related: Lilted; lilting. As a noun, 1728, "lilting song," from the verb. As "rhythmical cadence," 1840.
lily (n.) Look up lily at Dictionary.com
Old English lilie, from Latin lilia, plural of lilium "a lily," cognate with Greek leirion, both perhaps borrowed from a corrupted pronunciation of an Egyptian word. Used in Old Testament to translate Hebrew shoshanna and in New Testament to translate Greek krinon. As an adjective, 1530s, "white, pure, lovely;" later "pale, colorless" (1580s).

Also from the Latin word are German lilie, French lis, Spanish lirio, Italian giglio. The lily of the valley translates Latin lilium convallium (Vulgate), a literal rendition of the Hebrew term in Song of Solomon ii:1. It apparently was applied to a particular plant (Convallaria majalis) first by 16c. German herbalists. Lily pad is from 1834, American English.
lily-livered (adj.) Look up lily-livered at Dictionary.com
"cowardly," 1605, in "Macbeth;" from lily (in its color sense of "pale, bloodless") + liver (n.1), which was a supposed seat of love and passion. A healthy liver is typically dark reddish-brown.
lily-white (adj.) Look up lily-white at Dictionary.com
early 14c., from lily + white; from 1903 with reference to whites-only segregation; 1964 as "irreproachable."
Lima Look up Lima at Dictionary.com
Peruvian capital, founded 1535 by Pizarro, from Spanish corruption of Quechua (Inca) Rimak, name of a god and his temple, from rima "to speak" (perhaps a reference to priests who spoke from concealed places in statues of the gods).
lima bean (n.) Look up lima bean at Dictionary.com
1756, associated with Lima, Peru, from which region the plant (Phaseolus lunatus) was introduced to Europe c. 1500. Among the earliest New World crops to be known in the Old World, Simmonds' "Dictionary of Trade" (1858) describes it as "esteemed," but it has the consistency of a diseased dog kidney.
limaceous (adj.) Look up limaceous at Dictionary.com
"pertaining to slugs," 1650s, with -ous + Latin limax (genitive limacis) "snail, slug," from Greek leimax, from PIE root *(s)lei- "slime" (see slime (n.)). The Greek word is cognate with Russian slimák "snail," Lithuanian slíekas "earthworm," and the first element in Old English slaw-wyrm "slow-worm."
limb (n.1) Look up limb at Dictionary.com
"part or member," Old English lim "limb, joint, main branch of a tree," from Proto-Germanic *limu- (source also of Old Norse limr "limb," lim "small branch of a tree"), a variant of *liþu- (source of Old English liþ, Old Frisian lith, Old Norse liðr, Gothic liþus "a limb;" and with prefix ga-, source of German Glied "limb, member"), from PIE root *lei- "to bend, be movable, be nimble." The parasitic -b began to appear late 1500s for no etymological reason (perhaps by influence of limb (n.2)). In Old and Middle English, and until lately in dialects, it could mean "any visible body part."
The lymmes of generacion were shewed manyfestly. [Caxton, "The subtyl historyes and fables of Esope, Auyan, Alfonce, and Poge," 1484]
Hence, limb-lifter "fornicator" (1570s). To go out on a limb in figurative sense "enter a risky situation" is from 1897. Life and limb in reference to the body inclusively is from c. 1200.
limb (n.2) Look up limb at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "edge of a quadrant or other instrument," from Latin limbus "border, hem, fringe, edge," of uncertain origin. Klein suggests cognate with Sanskrit lambate "hangs down," and English limp. But Tucker writes that "the sense appears to be that of something which twists, goes round, or binds ... not of something which hangs loose," and suggests cognates in Lithuanian linta "ribbon," Old Norse linnr "whether." Astronomical sense of "edge of the disk of a heavenly body" first attested 1670s.
limbate (adj.) Look up limbate at Dictionary.com
"edged, bordered," 1826, from Late Latin limbatus, from Latin limbus (see limb (n.2)).
limber (adj.) Look up limber at Dictionary.com
"pliant, flexible," 1560s, of uncertain origin, possibly from limb (n.1) on notion of supple boughs of a tree [Barnhart], or from limp "flaccid" [Skeat], or somehow from Middle English lymer "shaft of a cart" (see limber (n.)), but the late appearance of the -b- in that word argues against it. Related: Limberness. Dryden used limber-ham (see ham (n.1) in the "joint" sense) as a name for a character "perswaded by what is last said to him, and changing next word."
limber (n.) Look up limber at Dictionary.com
"detachable forepart of a gun carriage," 1620s, from Middle English lymer (early 15c.), earlier lymon (c. 1400), probably from Old French limon "shaft," a word perhaps of Celtic origin, or possibly from Germanic and related to limb (n.1). Hence, limber (v.) "to attach a limber to a gun" (1783). Compare related Spanish limon "shaft," leman "helmsman."
limber (v.) Look up limber at Dictionary.com
1748, from limber (adj.). Related: Limbered; limbering.
limbic (adj.) Look up limbic at Dictionary.com
1879, from French limbique (1878, Broca), from limbe, from Latin limbus "edge" (see limb (n.2)). Limbic system is attested from 1950.
limbless (adj.) Look up limbless at Dictionary.com
1590s, from limb (n.1) + -less. Related: Limblessness.
limbo (n.1) Look up limbo at Dictionary.com
"region supposed to exist on the border of Hell" reserved for pre-Christian saints (Limbus patrum) and unbaptized infants (Limbus infantum);" c. 1300, from Latin limbo, ablative of limbus "edge, border" (see limb (2)). It emerged from Latin in the ablative form from frequent use in phrases such as in limbo (patrum), etc. Figurative sense of "condition of neglect or oblivion" is from 1640s.
limbo (n.2) Look up limbo at Dictionary.com
dance in which the dancer bends backward and passes under a bar, 1956, of W.Indian origin, probably an alteration of limber.
Limburger (n.) Look up Limburger at Dictionary.com
1870, short for Limburger cheese (1817), from Limburg, province in northeast Belgium, where the cheese is made.
Some frauds a few years ago started a Limburger cheese factory down in Keyport, New Jersey, but the imposition was soon exposed. A man could come within 300 yards of the spurious article without being knocked down, and as the smell never had any effect on the town clock the business was soon discontinued. [John E. Boyd, "The Berkeley Heroine and Others Stories"]
The place name is from Germanic *lindo "lime tree" + *burg "fortification."
limbus (n.) Look up limbus at Dictionary.com
Latin, literally "edge, border" (see limb (n.2)). In Medieval Latin, "region on the border of Hell," and thus sometimes used in English for limbo (n.1).
lime (n.1) Look up lime at Dictionary.com
"chalky mineral used in making mortar," from Old English lim "sticky substance, birdlime, mortar, cement, gluten," from Proto-Germanic *leimaz (source also of Old Saxon, Old Norse, Danish lim, Dutch lijm, German Leim "birdlime"), from PIE root *(s)lei- "slime, slimy, sticky" (source also of Latin limus "slime, mud, mire," linere "to smear;" see slime (n.)). Lime is made by putting limestone or shells in a red heat, which burns off the carbonic acid and leaves a brittle white solid which dissolves easily in water. Hence lime-kiln (late 13c.), lime-burner (early 14c.). As a verb, c. 1200, from the noun.
lime (n.2) Look up lime at Dictionary.com
greenish-yellow citrus fruit, 1630s, probably via Spanish lima, from Arabic limah "citrus fruit," from Persian limun "lemon" (see lemon (n.1)). Related: Limeade (1892), with ending as in lemonade.
lime (n.3) Look up lime at Dictionary.com
"linden tree," 1620s, earlier line (c. 1500), from Middle English lynde (early 14c.), from Old English lind "lime tree" (see linden). Klein suggests the change of -n- to -m- probably began in compounds whose second element began in a labial (such as line-bark, line-bast). An ornamental European tree unrelated to the tree that produces the citrus fruit.
lime-juicer (n.) Look up lime-juicer at Dictionary.com
see Limey.
limelight (n.) Look up limelight at Dictionary.com
1826, popular name for Drummond light, a brilliant light created by the incandescence of lime (n.1); adopted for lighthouses and later for the Victorian stage, where it illuminated the principal actors, hence the figurative sense of "on stage, at the center of attention" (1877).
limerick (n.) Look up limerick at Dictionary.com
nonsense verse of five lines, 1896, perhaps from the county and city in Ireland, but if so the connection is obscure. Often (after OED's Murray) attributed to a party game in which each guest in turn made up a nonsense verse and all sang a refrain with the line "Will you come up to Limerick?" but he reported this in 1898 and earlier evidence is wanting. Or perhaps from Learic, from Edward Lear (1812-1888) English humorist who popularized the form. Earliest examples are in French, which further complicates the quest for the origin. OED's first record of the word is in a letter of Aubrey Beardsley. The place name is literally "bare ground," from Irish Liumneach, from lom "bare, thin." It was famous for hooks.
The limerick may be the only traditional form in English not borrowed from the poetry of another language. Although the oldest known examples are in French, the name is from Limerick, Ireland. John Ciardi suggests that the Irish Brigade, which served in France for most of the eighteenth century, might have taken the form to France or developed an English version of a French form. ... The contemporary limerick usually depends on a pun or some other turn of wit. It is also likely to be somewhat suggestive or downright dirty. [Miller Williams, "Patterns of Poetry," Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1986]
limestone (n.) Look up limestone at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from lime (n.1) + stone (n.).
limey (n.) Look up limey at Dictionary.com
1888, Australian, New Zealand, and South African slang for "English immigrant;" U.S. use is attested from 1918, originally "British sailor, British warship," short for lime-juicer (1857), in derisive reference to the British Navy's policy (begun 1795) of issuing lime (n.2) juice on ships to prevent scurvy among sailors. In U.S., extended to "any Englishman" by 1924.
Midway Signs Limey Prof to Dope Yank Talk ["Chicago Tribune" headline, Oct. 18, 1924]