- local (adj.)
- late 14c., "pertaining to position," originally medical: "confined to a particular part of the body;" from Old French local "local" (13c.) and directly from Late Latin localis "pertaining to a place," from Latin locus "a place, spot" (see locus).
The meaning "limited to a particular place" is from c. 1500. Local color is from 1721, originally a term in painting; the meaning "anything picturesque" is from c. 1900. Local option (1868, American English) is from the prohibition movement: "the right of a community to vote on whether to allow the sale of intoxicating liquor there." Local talent "attractive women thereabouts" is from 1947 in UK slang; earlier it was used in reference to entertainment acts in shows, radio broadcast, etc.
Thus, with the local talent, we have many factors which help "sell" is in quantities far beyond what the commercial market would carry. Pride in children, interest in relatives and friends, and pride in locality all give impetus to the development of home talent. [Horace Boies Hawthorn, "The Sociology of Rural Life," 1926]
- local (n.)
- early 15c., "a medicament applied to a particular part of the body," from local (adj.). The Old French adjective also was used as a noun, "place, position." Meaning "inhabitant of a particular locality" is from 1825. The meaning "local item in a newspaper" is from 1869; that of "a local train" is from 1879; "local branch of a trade union" is from 1888; "neighborhood pub" is from 1934.
- locale (n.)
- 1816, false spelling of local in a sense "a place, a locality, a scene," especially with reference to circumstances connected with it, from this sense in French local, noun use of local (adj.), from Latin locus "a place" (see locus). The English spelling with -e probably is based on morale and intended to indicate stress.
The word's right to exist depends upon the question whether the two indispensable words locality & scene give all the shades of meaning required, or whether something intermediate is useful. [Fowler]
- localise (v.)
- chiefly British English spelling of localize. For suffix, see -ize. Related: Localised; localising; localisation.
- localism (n.)
- 1803, "attachment to a particular locality," from local (adj.) + -ism. Always tending toward "limitation through local attachment, provincialism." Meaning "something (especially a way of speech) characteristic of a particular locality" is from 1823.
- localist (n.)
- "one focused on local conditions," 1680s, from local (adj.) + -ist. Related: Localistic "tending to see things as of local nature or origin" (1882).
- localitis (n.)
- "obsession with the problems of one's locality and consequent failure to see big pictures," 1943, U.S. World War II jargon, originally of military strategists, from local (adj.) + transferred use of medical suffix -itis.
- locality (n.)
- 1620s, "fact of having a place," from Middle French localité (16c.), from Late Latin localitatem (nominative localitas) "locality" (as a quality of bodies), from localis "belonging to a place, pertaining to a place," from Latin locus "a place, spot" (see locus). Meaning "a geographical place or district" is from 1830.
- localization (n.)
- "act or state of being localized," 1811, noun of action from localize. Especially in reference to perception of sensation in some part of the body.
- localize (v.)
- "make local, assign to a particular place," 1792, from local (adj.) + -ize. Related: Localized; localizing; localizable (1847, originally of diseases).
- locally (adv.)
- mid-15c., "with respect to space or place," from local (adj.) + -ly (2). From 1803 as "with regard to a particular place or region."
- place in Switzerland; a 1925 conference held there between Germany and other European powers led to treaties for the preservation of peace and the security of borders.
- locate (v.)
- 1650s, intransitive, "establish oneself in a place, settle, adopt a fixed residence," from Latin locatus, past participle of locare "to place, put, set, dispose, arrange," from locus "a place" (see locus).
Transitive sense of "to fix (something) in a place, settle or establish (something) in a particular spot" is from 1739, American English, originally of land surveys. And via the notion of "mark the limits of" (a parcel of land) the sense of the verb extended to "establish (something) in a place" (1807) and "find out the exact place of" (1882, American English). Related: Located; locating.
- location (n.)
- 1590s, "position, place; fact or condition of being in a particular place," from Latin locationem (nominative locatio) "a placing," noun of action from past participle stem of locare "to place, put, set," from locus "a place" (see locus). Meaning "act of placing or settling" is from 1620s. Of tracts of land, "act of fixing the boundaries of by survey," 1718, hence "a bounded or marked-off parcel of ground" (1792). The Hollywood sense of "place outside a film studio where a scene is filmed" is from 1914.
- locational (adj.)
- 1904, from location + -al (1).
- locative (n.)
- "grammatical case indicating 'place,' or 'the place wherein,'" 1804, formed as if from Latin *locativus, from locus "a place, spot, position" (see locus) on model of Latin vocativus "vocative" (from vocatus, past participle of vocare "to call, summon"). The case itself has been reconstructed as part of the Indo-European heritage and is well-preserved in some descendants, notably Sanskrit and Lithuanian; it survives elsewhere in relics, but Germanic abandoned it long ago. As an adjective by 1817, in grammatical use, 1841.
- locator (n.)
- c. 1600, "one who lets (something) for hire," a legal term, from Latin locator "one who lets," agent noun from locare "to put, place, set," from locus "a place" (see locus). As "one who settles upon land by legal right of possession," 1803, American English. Of things which locate, from 1902.
- locavore (n.)
- one who eats only locally grown or raised food, by 2001, from local (adj.) + ending abstracted from carnivore, etc., ultimately from Latin vorare "to devour" (see voracity).
- loch (n.)
- late 14c., from Gaelic loch "lake, lake-like body," including the narrow, nearly land-locked arms of the sea found in the glacier-scoured landscape of west Scotland; cognate with Old Irish loch "body of water, lake," Breton lagen, Anglo-Irish lough, Latin lacus (see lake (n.1)). "The word was adopted in ONorthumbrian as luh" [OED]. The diminutive form is lochan.
The Loch Ness monster is first attested 1933; the loch is named for the river Ness that flows out of it at Inverness; the river name is probably from an Old Celtic word meaning "roaring one."
- lochia (n.)
- "discharge from the uterus after childbirth," 1680s, Modern Latin, from Greek lokhia "childbirth," neuter plural of lokhios "pertaining to childbirth," from lokhos "a lying in, childbirth," also, "an ambush," from PIE root *legh- "to lie, lay" (see lie (v.2)). Related: Lochial. Greek Lokhia also was an epithet or surname of Artemis in her aspect as protectress of women in childbirth; in this case it is the fem. of the adjective lokhios.
- lock (n.1)
- "means of fastening," Old English loc "bolt, appliance for fastening a door, lid, etc.; barrier, enclosure; bargain, agreement, settlement, conclusion," from Proto-Germanic *lukan, a verbal root meaning "to close" (source also of Old Frisian lok "enclosure, prison, concealed place," Old Norse lok "fastening, lock," Gothic usluks "opening," Old High German loh "dungeon," German Loch "opening, hole," Dutch luik "shutter, trapdoor").
Ordinary mechanical locks work by means of an internal bolt or bar which slides and catches in an opening made to receive it. "The great diversity of meaning in the Teut. words seems to indicate two or more independent but formally identical substantival formations from the root" [OED]. The Old English sense "barrier, enclosure" led to the specific meaning "barrier on a stream or canal" (c. 1300), and the more specific sense "gate and sluice system on a water channel used as a means of raising and lowering boats" (1570s). From 1540s as "a fastening together," hence "a grappling in wrestling" (c. 1600). In firearms, the part of the mechanism which explodes the charge (1540s), hence lock, stock, and barrel (which add up to the whole firearm) "the whole of something" (1842). Phrase under lock and key attested from early 14c.
- lock (n.2)
- "tress of hair," Old English locc "lock of hair, curl" (plural loccas), from Proto-Germanic *lukkoz (source also of Old Norse lokkr, Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Dutch lok, Old High German loc, German Locke "lock of hair"), a word of uncertain origin. According to OED, perhaps from a PIE *lugnos- and related to Greek lygos "pliant twig, withe," Lithuanian lugnas "flexible."
- lock (v.)
- c. 1300, "to fasten with a lock, shut or confine with a lock." The sense is narrowed from that of Old English lucan "to lock, to close" (class II strong verb; past tense leac, past participle locen), from the same verbal root that yielded lock (n.1). The form is from the noun (perhaps reinforced by Old Norse loka); the old original strong verb survived as dialectal louk, and the strong past participle locken lingered a while, as in Middle English loken love "hidden love, clandestine love" (early 14c.).
The Old English verb is cognate with Old Frisian luka "to close," Old Saxon lukan, Old High German luhhan, Old Norse luka, Gothic galukan. Meaning "to fasten parts together" is from late 14c., originally of armor; of persons, "to embrace closely," from mid-14c. Related: Locked; locking. Locked "securely established" is from early 15c. To lock (someone) in "shut in a place" is from c. 1400. Slang lock horns "fight" is from 1839.
- lock-box (n.)
- "a box with a lock" (for keeping valuables, etc.), 1855, from lock (n.1) + box (n.1). Earlier as the name of the metal box containing the external lock mechanism on a door.
- lock-jaw (n.)
- also lockjaw, 1786, earlier locked-jaw (1765), popular name for trismus, also applied to tetanus, from lock (v.) + jaw (n.).
- lock-step (n.)
- 1802, in military writing, to describe a very tight style of mass marching, from lock (n.) + step (n.).
Lock-step. A mode of marching by a body of men going one after another as closely as possible, in which the leg of each moves at the same time with and closely follows the corresponding leg of the person directly before him. [Thomas Wilhelm, "Military Dictionary and Gazetteer," Philadelphia, 1881]
Figurative use by 1836.
- lock-up (n.)
- also lockup, "detention cell for offenders," 1838, perhaps short for earlier lock-up house; from the verbal phrase. Meaning "action of locking up" is from 1845. The verbal phrase lock (someone) up in a dwelling, prison, etc., is from early 15c. Of things, "to hold in safekeeping or concealment," also early 15c. See lock (v.) + up (adv.). To lock up (intransitive) "lock all the doors" (of a house, shop, etc.) is from 1901.
- lockable (adj.)
- 1832, from lock (v.) + -able. Related: Lockability.
- lockdown (n.)
- also lock-down, from late 19c. in various mechanical senses, from the verbal phrase; see lock (v.) + down (adv.). Prison sense is by 1975, American English.
- Lockean (adj.)
- pertaining to John Locke (1632-1704), greatest of the English metaphysicians. As a surname, one with fine curls or else one who lives near, or operates, a lock.
- locker (n.)
- "small chest that can be locked," late 14c., agent noun from Middle English lokken (see lock (v.)). Especially for individual use in companies of men, as on shipboard or in military regiments. As a characteristic of high school life, 20c. Earlier the word meant "a mechanism for locking" (early 14c.).
- locket (n.)
- mid-14c., "iron cross-bar of a window," from Old French loquet "door-handle, bolt, latch, fastening" (14c.), diminutive of loc "lock, latch," from Frankish or some other Germanic source (compare Old Norse lok "fastening, lock;" see lock (n.1)). Meaning "little ornamental case with hinged cover" (containing a lock of hair, miniature portrait, etc.) first recorded 1670s. Italian lucchetto also is from Germanic.
- lockout (n.)
- also lock-out, "act of excluding from a place by locking it up," especially of management locking out workers in labor disputes (1854) but also in 19c. the exclusion of a teacher from the schoolhouse by his pupils as an act of protest. From the verbal phrase lock (someone) out, which is attested from mid-14c. in the sense "turn or keep out (of a place), bar the doors against" (see lock (v.) + out (adv.)).
- locksmith (n.)
- "a maker of locks," early 13c., from lock (n.1) + smith (n.).
- loco (adj.)
- "mad, crazy," 1844, American English, from Spanish loco (adj.) "insane," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Arabic lauqa, fem. of 'alwaq "fool, crazy person." Loco-weed was the name given to species of western U.S. plants that cause cattle and horse diseases that make them stagger and act strangely. But the adjective seems to be the older word.
- word-forming element meaning "from place to place," from comb. form of Latin locus "a place" (see locus).
- loco-foco (n.)
- also locofoco, American English, said to date from 1834 in the sense "self-igniting cigar or friction match," of obscure origin. The first element is apparently a misapprehension of the loco- in locomotive ("a word just then becoming familiar" [Century Dictionary]) as "self-, self-moving-." The second element is perhaps a jingling reduplication of this, or somehow from Spanish fuego "fire."
Better remembered, if at all, as a political term: During a heated Democratic party meeting in Tammany Hall c. 1835, the opposition doused the gaslights to break it up, and the radical delegates used loco-foco matches to relight them. When it was publicized, the name loco-foco entered U.S. political jargon (by 1837) and down to the Civil War was applied, usually disparagingly, to a radical faction of the Democratic Party (but by the Whigs to all Democrats).
- loco-weed (n.)
- plant of the U.S. West, noted for its effect on cattle and horses that ate it, 1877; see loco (adj.) "crazy" + weed (n.).
- locomote (v.)
- 1831, back-formation from locomotion.
- locomotion (n.)
- 1640s, "action or power of motion," from Latin loco "from a place" (ablative of locus "a place;" see locus) + motionem (nominative motio) "motion, a moving" (see motion (n.)). From 1788 as "movement from place to place."
- locomotive (adj.)
- 1610s, "pertaining to movement," from French locomotif, from Latin loco "from a place" (ablative of locus "place;" see locus) + Late Latin motivus "moving" (see motive).
From 1650s as "moving from place to place;" by 1814 as "having the power of moving by itself. The noun meaning "engine which travels on rails by its own power" is from 1829, short for locomotive engine, which is attested from 1814. A locomotive engine used without rails was a traction engine, which became tractor.
- locomotor (adj.)
- 1870, "of or pertaining to locomotion;" probably based on locomotion (as motor/motion). Earlier as a noun, "something with locomotive power" (1822). Related: Locomotory; locomotorial.
- locum-tenens (n.)
- legal Latin, "one who holds the place (of another);" from locum, accusative of locus "place" (see locus) + tenens, present participle of tenere "to hold" (see tenant (n.)).
- locus (n.)
- (plural loci), 1715, "place, spot, locality," from Latin locus "a place, spot; appointed place, position; locality, region, country; degree, rank, order; topic, subject," from Old Latin stlocus, literally "where something is placed," from PIE root *st(h)el- "to cause to stand, to place." Used by Latin writers for Greek topos. Mathematical sense by 1750.
- locust (n.1)
- "grasshopper, large orthopterous insect noted for mass migrations accompanied by destructive ravages of vegetation," early 14c., borrowed earlier in Old French form languste (c. 1200), from Latin locusta "locust; lobster" (see lobster).
In the Hebrew Bible there are nine different names for the insect or for particular species or varieties; in the English Bible they are rendered sometimes 'locust,' sometimes 'beetle,' 'grasshopper,' 'caterpillar,' 'palmerworm,' etc. The precise application of several names is unknown. [OED]
- locust (n.2)
- North American tree, used for ornament and lumber, 1630s, a transferred use (based on resemblance) from locust-tree "carob tree" (1610s), the fruit of which supposedly resembles the insect (see locust (n.1)). Greek akris "locust" often was applied in the Levant to carob pods. In U.S. from late 19c. policemen's clubs were famously made from locust wood (locust-club is attested from 1887).
- locution (n.)
- "style of speech," early 15c., from Latin locutionem (nominative locutio) "a speaking, speech, discourse; way of speaking," noun of action from past participle stem of loqui "to speak," from PIE root *tolk(w)- (source also of Old Irish ad-tluch- "to thank," to-tluch- "to ask;" Old Church Slavonic tloko "interpretation, explanation"). Related: Locutionary.
- locutory (n.)
- "room (in a monastery) for conversation," especially with those not connected with the monastery, late 15c., from Medieval Latin locutorium, from Late Latin locutor "a speaker," from Latin loqui "to talk" (see locution).
- lode (n.)
- Middle English spelling of load (n.) "a burden," it keeps most of the word's original meaning "a way, a course, something to be followed." The differentiation in sense took place 16c., that of spelling somewhat later. Mining sense of "vein of metal ore" is from c. 1600, from the notion of miners "following" it through the rock. Also found in lodestone, lodestar, and, somewhat disguised, livelihood. Middle English also had lodesman (c. 1300) "leader, guide; pilot, steersman."
- loden (n.)
- "coarse woolen cloth," 1880, from German loden "thick woolen cloth."