- lizard (n.)
- "an animal resembling a serpent, with legs added to it" [Johnson], late 14c., lusarde, from Anglo-French lusard, Old French laisarde "lizard" (Modern French lézard), from Latin lacertus (fem. lacerta) "lizard," a word of unknown origin, perhaps from PIE root *leq- "to bend, twist" [Klein]. Ending probably influenced by words in -ard.
- pet form of fem. proper name Elizabeth, used colloquially for "a motor car" (especially an early-model Ford) from 1913; also tin lizzie (1915). From 1905 as "effeminate man;" by 1949 as "a lesbian," the past probably from the resemblance of sound.
- capital of Slovenia, the name is popularly associated with the Slavic word ljub "dear," but it is probably pre-Slavic and of obscure origin. The German form, Laibach, is from the Roman name, Labacum.
- contraction of Latin legum "of laws, in degrees;" as in LL.D., which stands for Legum Doctor "Doctor of Laws." Plural abbreviations in Latin were formed by doubling the letter.
- llama (n.)
- woolly-haired South American ruminant, relative of the Old World camels, c. 1600, from Spanish llama (1535), from Quechua (Peru) llama.
- common in Welsh place names, literally "St. Mary's Church," from Welsh llan "church" (see land (n.)) + Mair "Mary," with lentition of m- to f-.
- llano (n.)
- 1610s, American Spanish, "prairie; treeless, level plain," especially that of South America north of the Amazon, from noun use of Spanish llano "plain, even, level, smooth," ultimately from Latin planus "smooth" (see plane (n.1)). Hence llanero "Latin-American cowboy" (1819), literally "plainsman."
- abbreviation of Limited Liability Company (see limited).
- male proper name, from Welsh Llywelin, often explained as "lion-like," but probably from llyw "leader."
- male proper name, from Welsh Llwyd, literally "gray," from PIE *pel- (2) "pale" (see pallor). Lloyd's, meaning the London-based association of marine underwriters, is first recorded as such 1805, from Lloyd's Coffee House, London, opened in 1688 by Edward Lloyd, who supplied shipping information to his patrons; merchants and underwriters met there to do business.
- by 1997, online abbreviation of laughing my ass off. Related: LMFAO (by 2000).
- lo (interj.)
- early 13c., from Old English la, exclamation of surprise, grief, joy, or mere greeting; probably merged with or influenced in Middle English by lo!, which is perhaps short for lok "look!" imperative of loken "to look" (see look (v.)). Expression lo and behold attested by 1779. In old U.S. slang, Lo was a generic name for an Indian or the Indians collectively (1871), jocularly from Pope's line "Lo, the poor Indian" ["Essay on Man"].
- lo-fi (adj.)
- 1958, the opposite of hi-fi.
- loach (n.)
- small edible European fish, mid-14c., from Old French loche "loach" (13c.), also, in dialect, "slug," a word of unknown origin (see discussion in Gamillscheg).
- load (n.)
- c. 1200, lode, lade "that which is laid upon a person or beast, burden," a sense extension from Old English lad "a way, a course, a carrying; a street, watercourse; maintenance, support," from Proto-Germanic *laitho (source also of Old High German leita, German leite, Old Norse leið "way, road, course"), from PIE root *leit- (2) "to go forth" (see lead (v.1)).
It seems to have expanded its range of senses in early Middle English, supplanting words based on lade (v.), to which it is not etymologically connected. The older senses went with the spelling lode (q.v.). The spelling is modern. Meaning "amount customarily loaded at one time" is from c. 1300; meaning "a quantity of strong drink taken" is from 1590s. Meaning "the charge of a firearm" is from 1690s.
Meaning "a great amount or number" (often loads) is from c.1600. Figurative sense of "burden weighing on the mind, heart, or soul" is first attested 1590s. Meaning "amount (of work, etc.) to be done by one person" is attested in compounds from 1939 (first was workload). Colloquial loads "lots, heaps" is attested from c. 1600. Phrase take a load off (one's) feet "sit down, relax" is from 1914, American English. Get a load of "take a look at" is American English colloquial, attested from 1929.
- load (v.)
- late 15c., "to place in or on (a vehicle)," from load (n.). Sense of "add to the weight of, put a load in or on" is from c. 1500; sense of "to charge a firearm" is from 1620s. Intransitive sense "put or take on a load or charge" is from 1720; of a vehicle, "to fill with passengers," from 1832. Of computer files or programs, by 1977. Related: Loaded; loaden (the old strong past participle, persisting till 18c. in poetry but now obsolete); loading.
- loaded (adj.)
- 1660s, "laden, burdened," past participle adjective from load (v.). Of dice, from 1739 (in a French phrase book, translating des Dez chargés), in reference to the lead inserted to unbalance them. Sense of "rich, wealthy" is attested from 1910. Of guns, 1858. Slang meaning "drunk" is from 1886, probably from expression take one's load "drink one's fill" (1590s).
- loader (n.)
- late 15c., "person who loads," agent noun from load (v.). Of machinery, by 1862.
- loading (n.)
- 1520s, verbal noun from load (v.).
- loadstone (n.)
- see lodestone, and compare load (n.).
- loaf (n.)
- late 13c., from Old English hlaf "portion of bread baked in a mass of definite form," from Proto-Germanic *khlaibuz, the common Germanic word for "bread" (source also of Old Norse hleifr, Swedish lev, Old Frisian hlef, Old High German hleib, German Laib, Gothic hlaifs "bread, loaf").
The Germanic root is of uncertain origin; it is perhaps connected to Old English hlifian "to raise higher, tower," on the notion of the bread rising as it bakes, but (according to OED) it is unclear whether "loaf" or "bread" is the original sense. It is disguised in lord and lady. Finnish leipä, Estonian leip, Old Church Slavonic chlebu, Lithuanian klepas probably are Germanic loan words.
Meaning "chopped meat shaped like a bread loaf" is attested from 1787. Figurative use of loaves and fishes to suggest religious profession for the sake of personal gain" is from John vi.26.
- loaf (v.)
- 1835, American English, apparently a back-formation from the earlier-attested loafer (1830). Related: Loafed; loafing. The noun meaning "an act of loafing" is attested from 1855.
The term "loafing" is, of course, very vague. Its meaning, like that of its opposite, "work," depends largely on the user. The highly successful quarterback with an E in Greek is a loafer in his professor's eyes, while the idea of the professor's working, in spite of his voluminous researches on Mycenean Table Manners, would excite hoots of derision from the laborer that lays the drains before his study window. [Yale Literary Magazine, May 1908]
- loafer (n.)
- "idler, person who loafs," 1830, of uncertain origin, often regarded as a shortened variant of land loper (1795), a partial loan-translation of German Landläufer "vagabond," from Land "land" + Läufer "runner," from laufen "to run" (see leap (v.)). But OED finds this connection "not very probable." As a type of shoe for informal occasions, 1937. Related: Loafers. By coincidence Old English had hlaf-aeta "household servant," literally "loaf-eater;" one who eats the bread of his master, suggesting the Anglo-Saxons might have still felt the etymological sense of lord as "loaf-guard."
- loam (n.)
- Old English lam "clay, mud, clayey or muddy earth," from Proto-Germanic *laimaz (source also of Old Saxon lemo, Dutch leem, German Lehm "loam"), from PIE root *(s)lei- "slimy" (source also of Latin limus "mud;" see slime (n.)).
In early use also the stuff from which God made man in His image. As the technical name for a type of highly fertile clayey soil, it is attested from 1660s. As a verb from c. 1600. Related: Loamed; loaming. Loamshire as a name for an imaginary typical rural English county is from "Adam Bede" (1859).
- loamy (adj.)
- early 13c., from loam (n.) + -y (2). Related: Loaminess.
- loan (n.)
- late 12c., "that which is lent or owning, a thing furnished on promise of future return," also "a gift or reward from a superior, a gift of God," from Old Norse lan "loan," from Proto-Germanic *laikhwniz (source also of Old Frisian len "thing lent," Middle Dutch lene, Dutch leen "loan, fief," Old High German lehan, German Lehn "fief, feudal tenure"), originally "to let have, to leave (to someone)," from PIE *loikw-nes-, suffixed form of root *leikw- "to leave" (see relinquish).
The Norse word also is cognate with Old English læn "gift," which according to OED did not survive into Middle English, but its derived verb lænan is the source of lend (v.). From early 15c. as "a contribution to public finances" (ostensibly voluntary but often coerced; sometimes repaid, sometimes not). As a verb, loan is attested from 1540s, perhaps earlier, and formerly was current, but it has now been supplanted in England by lend, though it survives in American English. Slang loan shark first attested 1900 (see shark (n.)).
- loan-translation (n.)
- "process by which a word or phrase is translated literally from another language, keeping its original connotation," 1931, from German Lehnübersetzung (by 1905), properly "lend-translation," from lehnen "lend" (see lend (v.)). An earlier word for it was calque.
- loan-word (n.)
- "word taken untranslated from one language into another," 1860, a translation of German Lehnwort, properly "lend-word," from lehnen "lend" (see lend (v.)) + Word (see word (n.)).
- loaner (n.)
- 1884, "one who lends," agent noun from loan (v.), for which see loan (n.). Meaning "a thing loaned" especially in place of one being repaired, is from 1926. Related: Loanee (1832).
- loath (adj.)
- Old English lað "hated; hateful; hostile; repulsive," from Proto-Germanic *laithaz (source also of Old Saxon leth, Old Frisian leed "loathsome," Old Norse leiðr "hateful, hostile, loathed;" Middle Dutch lelijc, Dutch leelijk "ugly;" Old High German leid "sorrowful, hateful, offensive, grievous," German leid "hateful, painful"), from PIE root *leit- (1) "to detest."
And niðful neddre, loð an liðer, sal gliden on hise brest neðer [Middle English Genesis and Exodus, c. 1250]
Weakened meaning "averse, disinclined" is attested from late 14c. "Rare in 17th and 18th cents.; revived in the 19th c. as a literary word" [OED]. Loath to depart, a line from some long-forgotten song, is recorded since 1580s as a generic term expressive of any tune played at farewells, the sailing of a ship, etc. French laid, Italian laido "ugly" are from the same Germanic source. The sense "ugly" persisted in English into 15c. in the marriage service, where a man took his wife for fayrer, for layther. Related: Loathness.
- loathe (v.)
- Old English laðian "be hateful or displeasing," from lað "hated; hateful" (see loath). Cognate with Old Saxon lethon "be evil or hateful," Old Norse leiða "disgust." Main modern sense of "to hate, be disgusted with" is attested by c. 1200. Impersonal use (it loathes me = "I am disgusted with it") persisted through 16c. Related: Loathed; loathing.
- loathing (n.)
- "abhorrence, revulsion; hatred," late 14c., verbal noun from loathe (v.). Old English had laðwendnes, from laðwende "hateful."
- loathly (adj.)
- Old English laðlic "hateful, horrible, unpleasant;" see loath + -ly (2). Similar formation in Old Frisian ledlik, Old Saxon lethlik, Old High German leidlih, Old Norse leiðiligr. Related: Loathliness. As an adverb, Old English laðlice.
- loathsome (adj.)
- c. 1300, "foul, detestable," from loath in its older, stronger sense + -some (1). Related: Loathsomely; loathsomeness.
- lob (v.)
- "send up in a slow, high arc," 1869, of artillery shells; 1875 of tennis strokes, of uncertain origin, perhaps somehow from some sense in lob (n.). Earlier the verb meant "to throw slowly or gently" in bowling (1824) Related: Lobbed; lobbing. The noun in the "high, arcing throw or hit" sense (originally in tennis) is from 1875, from the verb.
- lob (n.)
- a word of widespread application to lumpish things or suggesting heaviness, pendence, or floppiness, probably ultimately from an unrecorded Old English word. Compare East Frisian lobbe "hanging lump of flesh," Dutch lob "hanging lip, ruffle, hanging sleeve," Danish lobbes "clown, bumpkin;" Old English lobbe "spider." From late 13c. as a surname; meaning "pollack" is from early 14c.; that of "lazy lout" is from late 14c. Meaning "thick mixture" is from 1839, originally in brewing.
- lobar (adj.)
- "of or pertaining to a lobe or lobes," 1839, from modern Latin lobaris, from Latin lobus (see lobe (n.)).
- lobate (adj.)
- "having lobes," 1760, from Modern Latin lobatus "lobed," from lobus "a lobe" (see lobe). Related: Lobation.
- lobby (n.)
- 1550s, "cloister, covered walk," from Medieval Latin laubia, lobia "covered walk in a monastery," from a Germanic source (compare Old High German louba "hall, roof;" see lodge (n.)).
Meaning "large entrance hall in a public building" is from 1590s; in reference to the House of Commons from 1630s. Political sense of "those who seek to influence legislation" is attested by 1790s in American English, in reference to the custom of influence-seekers gathering in the large entrance-halls outside legislative chambers.
- lobby (v.)
- "seek to influence legislation" (originally by frequenting the lobby of a legislature, to solicit members), 1826, American English, from lobby (n.) in the political sense. Related: Lobbied; lobbying.
- lobbyist (n.)
- 1863, American English, from lobby (n.) in the political sense + -ist.
[A] strong lobbyist will permit himself to lose heavily at the poker-table, under the assumption that the great Congressman who wins the stake will look leniently upon the little appropriation he means to ask for. [George A. Townsend, "Events at the National Capital and the Campaign of 1876," Hartford, Conn., 1876]
- lobe (n.)
- early 15c., "a lobe of the liver or lungs," from Medieval Latin lobus "a lobe," from Late Latin lobus "hull, husk, pod," from Greek lobos "lobe, lap, slip; vegetable pod," used of lap- or slip-like parts of the body or plants, especially "earlobe," but also of lobes of the liver or lungs, a word of unknown origin. It is perhaps related to Greek leberis "husk of fruits," from PIE *logwos. Beekes writes that the proposed connection with the PIE source of English lap (n.1)) "is semantically attractive." Extended 1670s to divisions of the brain; 1889 to ice sheets. The common notion is "rounded protruding part."
- loblolly (n.)
- "thick gruel," especially as a typical rustic dish, also the word for a nautical medicinal remedy, 1590s, probably from lob in some sense (or perhaps it is imitative of bubbling and boiling) + lolly, an obsolete Devonshire dialect word for "broth, soup, food boiled in a pot." Compare lobscouse (1706), another obscure word for a sailor's dish. Meaning "loutish person, bumpkin" is from c. 1600. Loblolly-pine "swamp-pine, an inferior lumber-producing tree growing in the U.S. South" is from 1760.
- lobo (n.)
- large gray wolf of the U.S. southwest, 1859, from Spanish lobo "a wolf," from Latin lupus (see wolf (n.)).
- lobotomize (v.)
- 1943; see lobotomy + -ize. Related: Lobotomized.
- lobotomy (n.)
- 1936, coined from lobe (in the brain sense) + medical suffix -tomy "a cutting." Figurative use is attested from 1953. Lobectomy (attested from 1911) was in use earlier in reference to lobes of other organs (lungs, liver).
Now I guess I'll have to tell 'em
That I got no cerebellum
[Ramones, "Teenage Lobotomy," 1977]
- lobster (n.)
- large, long-tailed, stalk-eyed, 10-legged marine shellfish (Homarus vulgaris), early Middle English lopster, lopister, from Old English loppestre "lobster," also "locust," a corruption of Latin locusta, lucusta "locust, grasshopper," which is of unknown origin. De Vaan writes that "The only word similar in form and meaning is lacerta 'lizard; mackerel', but there is no common preform in sight. ... [T]hey could be cognate words in the language from which Latin borrowed these forms."
The change of Latin -c- to English -p- (and, from late 14c., to -b-) is unexplained; perhaps it is by influence of Old English loppe, lobbe "spider." The ending seems to have been altered by the old fem. agent noun suffix (preserved in Baxter, Webster, etc.; see -ster), which approximated the sound of Latin -sta.
OED says the Latin word originally meant "lobster or some similar crustacean, the application to the locust being suggested by the resemblance in shape." Trilobite fossils in Worcestershire limestone quarries were known colloquially as locusts, which seems to have been the generic word for "unidentified arthropod" (as apple was for "foreign fruit"). Locusta in the sense "lobster" also appears in Old Cornish legast and French langouste (12c.), now "crawfish, crayfish," but in Old French both "lobster" and "locust" (a 13c. psalter has God giving over the crops of Egypt to the langoustes).
As slang for "a British soldier" since 1640s, originally in reference to the jointed armor of the Roundhead cuirassiers, later (1660) to the red coat, the color of a boiled lobster.
Sir William Waller having received from London [in June 1643] a fresh regiment of five hundred horse, under the command of sir Arthur Haslerigge, which were so prodigiously armed that they were called by the other side the regiment of lobsters, because of their bright iron shells with which they were covered, being perfect curasseers. [Lord Clarendon, "History of the Rebellion," 1647]
- lobsterman (n.)
- 1823, American English, from lobster (n.) + man (n.).
- loc. cit.
- abbreviation of Latin loco citato or locus citatus "in the place (already) cited;" hence, "in the book that has been previously quoted." See locus, cite. In use in English books by 1704.
- locable (adj.)
- 1816, "that can be placed," from Latin locare "to place, put, set, arrange," (from locus "a place;" see locus) + -able. Alternative formation locatable is attested from 1838.