- lynch (v.)
- 1835, from earlier Lynch law (1811), likely named after William Lynch (1742-1820) of Pittsylvania, Virginia, who c.1780 led a vigilance committee to keep order there during the Revolution. Other sources trace the name to Charles Lynch (1736-1796) a Virginia magistrate who fined and imprisoned Tories in his district c.1782, but the connection to him is less likely. Originally any sort of summary justice, especially by flogging; narrowing of focus to "extralegal execution by hanging" is 20c. Lynch mob is attested from 1838. The surname is perhaps from Irish Loingseach "sailor." Cf. earlier Lydford law, from a place in Dartmoor, England, "where was held a Stannaries Court of summary jurisdiction" [Weekley], hence:
Lydford law: is to hang men first, and indite them afterwards. [Thomas Blount, "Glossographia," 1656]
Related: Lynched; lynching.
- lynx (n.)
- mid-14c., from Latin lynx (source of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian lince), from Greek lyngz, perhaps from PIE *leuk- "light" (see light (n.)), in reference to its gleaming eyes or its ability to see in the dark.
If that men hadden eyghen of a beeste that highte lynx, so that the lokynge of folk myghte percen thurw the thynges that withstonden it. [Chaucer's "Boethius," c.1380]
Cf. Lithuanian luzzis, Old High German luhs, German luchs, Old English lox, Dutch los, Swedish lo "lynx."
- city in France at the confluence of the Rhone and the Saône, from Gallo-Latin Lugudunum, literally "fort of Lug." The adjectival form is Lyonnaise.
- lyre (n.)
- harp-like instrument, c.1200, from Old French lire "lyre," from Latin lyra, from Greek lyra, a foreign word of uncertain origin.
- lyric (n.)
- "a lyric poem," 1580s, from Middle French lyrique "short poem expressing personal emotion," from Latin lyricus "of or for the lyre," from Greek lyrikos "singing to the lyre," from lyra (see lyre). Meaning "words of a popular song" is first recorded 1876. Related: lyrics.
- lyrical (adj.)
- 1580s, from lyric (n.) + -al (1). Related: Lyrically.
- lyricism (n.)
- 1760, from lyric + -ism.
- lyricist (n.)
- 1832, "one skilled in lyric composition;" from lyric + -ist. Meaning "one who writes lyrics" is from 1908.
- masc. proper name, from Greek Lysandros, literally "releasing men," from comb. form of lyein "to release" (see lose) + -andros "man" (see anthropo-).
- lyse (v.)
- 1927, back-formation from lysis.
- lysergic (adj.)
- 1934, from -lys- in hydrolysis + first syllable of ergot + -ic.
- lysis (n.)
- "dissolution of cells, bacteria, etc.," 1902, from Latin lysis, from Greek lysis "a loosening," from lyein "to unfasten, loose, loosen, untie" (see lose).
- word-forming element indicating "loosening, dissolving, freeing," before vowels lys-, from comb. form of Greek lysis "a loosening" (see lyse).
- lysol (n.)
- brown oily coal-tar solution used as a disinfectant, 1890, coined, perhaps in German, from Greek lysis "dissolution" (see lysis) + -ol, element indicating "oil."
- lysosome (n.)
- 1955, from lyso- + -some, from Greek soma "body" (see somato-).
- 1922, from lyso- + suffix from enzyme.
- lytic (adj.)
- "pertaining to lysis," 1889, from Greek lytikos "able to loose, loosing," from lytos "loosed," verbal adjective of lyein "to unfasten, loose, loosen, untie" (see lose). Related: Lytically.