laudation (n.) Look up laudation at Dictionary.com
late 15c., from Latin laudationem (nominative laudatio) "a praising, commendation," noun of action from past participle stem of laudare "to praise" (see laud).
laudator temporis acti Look up laudator temporis acti at Dictionary.com
Latin phrase, 1736, from Horace's laudator temporis acti se puero "a praiser of times past when he was a boy" [Ars Poetica, 173].
laudatory (adj.) Look up laudatory at Dictionary.com
1550s, from Middle French laudatoire and directly from Late Latin laudatorius, from Latin laudare (see laud).
lauds (n.) Look up lauds at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., from Old French; morning Church service in which psalms of praise to God (Psalms 148-150) are sung (see laud).
laugh (v.) Look up laugh at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old English (Anglian) hlæhhan, earlier hlihhan, from Proto-Germanic *klakhjan (cognates: Old Norse hlæja, Danish le, Old Frisian hlakkia, Old Saxon hlahhian, Middle Dutch and Dutch lachen, Old High German hlahhan, German lachen, Gothic hlahjan), from PIE *kleg-, of imitative origin (compare Latin cachinnare "to laugh aloud," Sanskrit kakhati "laughs," Old Church Slavonic chochotati "laugh," Lithuanian klageti "to cackle," Greek kakhazein). Originally with a "hard" -gh- sound, as in Scottish loch; the spelling remained after the pronunciation shifted to "-f."
If I coveted nowe to avenge the injuries that you have done me, I myght laughe in my slyve. [John Daus, "Sleidanes Commentaries," 1560]
Related: Laughed; laughing.
laugh (n.) Look up laugh at Dictionary.com
1680s, from laugh (v.). Meaning "a cause of laughter" is from 1895; ironic use (as in that's a laugh) attested from 1930. Laugh track "canned laughter on a TV program" is from 1961.
laughable (adj.) Look up laughable at Dictionary.com
1590s, from laugh (v.) + -able. Related: Laughably.
laughing (n.) Look up laughing at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., verbal noun from laugh (v.). Laughing matter (usually with negative) is from 1560s. Nitrous oxide has been called laughing gas since 1842 (for its exhilarating effects). Davy, experimenting with the gas, discovered these as far back as 1779: "When I took the bag from my mouth, I immediately laughed. The laughter was involuntary, but highly pleasurable, accompanied by a thrill all through me."
laughing-stock (n.) Look up laughing-stock at Dictionary.com
also laughingstock; 1510s, formed by analogy with whipping-stock "whipping post," later also "object of frequent whipping" (but that word is not attested in writing in this sense until 1670s). See laughing + stock (n.1).
Laughlin Look up Laughlin at Dictionary.com
Gaelic Lachlann, earlier Lochlann, literally "lake-" or "fjord-land," i.e. "Scandinavia;" as a name, denoting "one from Norway."
laughter (n.) Look up laughter at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old English hleahtor, from Proto-Germanic *hlahtraz (cognates: Old Norse hlatr, Danish latter, Old High German lahtar, German Gelächter); see laugh (v.).
launch (v.) Look up launch at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "to rush, plunge, leap, start forth; to be set into sudden motion," from Old North French lancher (Old French lancier) "to fling, hurl, throw, cast," from Late Latin lanceare "wield a lance," from Latin lancea "light spear" (see lance (n.)). Sense of "set (a boat) afloat" first recorded c.1400, from notion of throwing it out on the water; generalized by 1600 to any sort of beginning. The noun meaning "a leap or a bound" is from mid-15c., from the verb. Meaning "the liftoff of a missile, spacecraft, etc." is from 1935. Launch pad attested from 1960.
launch (n.) Look up launch at Dictionary.com
"large boat carried on a warship," 1690s, from Portuguese lancha "barge, launch," apparently from Malay lancharan, from lanchar "quick, agile;" English spelling influenced by launch (v.).
launder (v.) Look up launder at Dictionary.com
1660s, "to wash linen," from noun launder "one who washes" (especially linen), mid-15c., a contraction of lavender, from Old French lavandier "washer, launderer," from Medieval Latin lavandaria "a washer," ultimately from Latin lavare "to wash" (see lave). Criminal banking sense first recorded 1961, from notion of making dirty money seem clean; brought to widespread use during U.S. Watergate scandal, 1973. Related: Laundered; laundering.
laundress (n.) Look up laundress at Dictionary.com
1540s; see laundry + -ess.
laundromat (n.) Look up laundromat at Dictionary.com
"automatic coin-operated public laundry," 1946, originally (1942) a proprietary name by Westinghouse for a type of automatic washing machine; from laundry + ending probably suggested by automat. Also used for public clothes-washing places in U.S. were washateria (1935), laundrette (1945). The Westinghouse machine was popular after the war and was available with coin chutes and timers.
laundry (n.) Look up laundry at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "place for washing;" mid-15c. "act of washing," from Old French lavanderie, from Latin lavandaria, plural of lavandarium "things to be washed," from lavare "to wash" (see lave). As a verb, from 1880. Laundry list in figurative sense is from 1958.
Laura Look up Laura at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, from Italian, probably originally a pet form of Laurentia, fem. of Laurentius (see Laurence). Among the top 20 names for girls born in U.S. between 1963 and 1979.
Laurasia Look up Laurasia at Dictionary.com
1931; see Laurentian.
laureate (adj.) Look up laureate at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Latin laureatus "crowned with laurels," from laurea "laurel crown" (emblematic of victory or distinction in poetry), from fem. of laureus "of laurel," from laurus "laurel." Laureat poete first found in "Canterbury Tales" (form with the noun before the adjective, in imitation of Latin word order, is from c.1400 in English); the first official one was probably Ben Jonson (1638), though the first recorded one was Dryden (1668). Extended to Nobel prize winners, 1947. As a noun, 1520s, from the adjective. Related: Laureateship.
laurel (n.) Look up laurel at Dictionary.com
c.1300, lorrer, from Old French laurier (12c.), from Latin laurus "laurel tree," probably related to Greek daphne "laurel" (for change of d- to l- see lachrymose), probably from a pre-IE Mediterranean language. The change of second -r- to -l- after mid-14c. is by dissimilation. An emblem of victory or of distinction, hence the phrase to rest (originally repose) on one's laurels, first attested 1831.
Laurence Look up Laurence at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, from Old French Lorenz (French Laurent), from Latin Laurentius, literally "of Laurentum," a maritime town in Latium, literally "town of bay trees," from laurus (see laurel). The Italian form is Lorenzo. A popular given name in the Middle Ages, as a surname it is attested in England from mid-12c. Larkin is a pet-form. For some reason, the name since at least 18c. has been the personification of indolence (compare German der faule Lenz "Lazy Lawrence"). But in Scotland, the pet form Lowrie has been used for "a fox" (c.1500), also for "a crafty person" (1560s).
Laurentian Look up Laurentian at Dictionary.com
in reference to granite strata in eastern Canada, 1863, named for the Laurentian Mountains, where it is found, which are named for the nearby St. Lawrence River. Hence, Laurasia, Paleozoic supercontinent comprising North America and Eurasia, 1931, from German (1928), from Laurentia, geologists' name for the ancient core of North America + (Eur)asia.
lav (n.) Look up lav at Dictionary.com
colloquial shortening of lavatory, attested from 1913.
lava (n.) Look up lava at Dictionary.com
1750, from Italian (Neapolitan or Calabrian dialect) lava "torrent, stream," traditionally from Latin lavare "to wash" (see lave). Originally applied in Italian to flash flood rivulets after downpours, then to streams of molten rock from Vesuvius. Alternative etymology is from Latin labes "a fall," from labi "to fall." Lava lamp is attested from 1965, also lava light (reg. U.S., 1968, as Lava Lite).
lavage (n.) Look up lavage at Dictionary.com
"a washing," 1895, from French lavage, from laver "to wash" (see lave).
lavalier (n.) Look up lavalier at Dictionary.com
kind of ornament that hangs around the neck, from French lavallière, a kind of tie, after Louise Françoise de La Baume Le Blanc de La Vallière, Duchesse de La Vallière (1644-1710), mistress of Louis XIV from 1661-1667.
lavaliere Look up lavaliere at Dictionary.com
see lavalier.
lavation (n.) Look up lavation at Dictionary.com
"act of washing," 1620s, from Latin lavationem (nominative lavatio), noun of action from past participle stem of lavare (see lave). Related: Lavations.
lavatory (n.) Look up lavatory at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "washbasin," from Latin lavatorium "place for washing," noun use of neuter of adjective lavatorius "pertaining to washing," from lavatus, past participle of lavare "to wash" (see lave). Sense of "washroom" is first attested 1650s; as a euphemism for "toilet, W.C.," it is attested by 1864.
lave (v.) Look up lave at Dictionary.com
c.1200, from Old English gelafian "wash by pouring, pour (water)," possibly an early English or West Germanic borrowing (compare Dutch laven, German laben) of Latin lavare "to wash," or its Old French descendant, laver. Latin lavare is from PIE *leu(e)- "to wash" (cognates: Latin luere "to wash," Greek louein "to wash, bathe," Old Irish loathar "basin," Breton laouer "trough," Old English leaþor "lather").
lavender (n.) Look up lavender at Dictionary.com
"fragrant plant of the mint family," c.1300, from Anglo-French lavendre, Old French lavendre, from Medieval Latin lavendula "lavender" (10c.), perhaps from Latin lividus "bluish, livid." Associated with French lavande, Italian lavanda "a washing" (from Latin lavare "to wash;" see lave) because it was used to scent washed fabrics and as a bath perfume. (An identical Middle English word meant "laundress, washerwoman;" also, apparently, "prostitute, whore; camp follower" and is attested as a surname from early 13c.). The adjective meaning "pale purple color" is from 1840.
lavish (adj.) Look up lavish at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Middle French lavasse (n.) "torrent of rain, deluge," from Old French lavache, from laver "to wash," from Latin lavare "to wash" (see lave). Related: Lavishly.
lavish (v.) Look up lavish at Dictionary.com
1540s, from lavish (adj.). Related: Lavished; lavishing.
law (n.) Look up law at Dictionary.com
Old English lagu (plural laga, comb. form lah-) "law, ordinance, rule, regulation; district governed by the same laws," from Old Norse *lagu "law," collective plural of lag "layer, measure, stroke," literally "something laid down or fixed," from Proto-Germanic *lagan "put, lay" (see lay (v.)).

Replaced Old English æ and gesetnes, which had the same sense development as law. Compare also statute, from Latin statuere; German Gesetz "law," from Old High German gisatzida; Lithuanian istatymas, from istatyti "set up, establish." In physics, from 1660s. Law and order have been coupled since 1796.
law-abiding (adj.) Look up law-abiding at Dictionary.com
1839, from law + abiding.
lawbreaker (n.) Look up lawbreaker at Dictionary.com
also law-breaker, mid-15c., from law + agent noun from break (v.).
lawful (adj.) Look up lawful at Dictionary.com
c.1300, laghful; see law + -ful. Similar construction in Old Norse logfullr. Related: Lawfully; lawfulness.
lawless (adj.) Look up lawless at Dictionary.com
c.1200, lawelese (see law + -less) Related: Lawlessly; lawlessness.
lawmaker (n.) Look up lawmaker at Dictionary.com
also law-maker, late 15c., from law + maker.
lawman (n.) Look up lawman at Dictionary.com
1530s, "lawyer," from law + man (n.). Meaning "law-enforcement officer" is from 1865. There is an Anglo-Latin lagamannus "magistrate" from early 12c.
lawn (n.1) Look up lawn at Dictionary.com
"turf, stretch of grass," 1540s, laune "glade, open space between woods," from Middle English launde (c.1300), from Old French lande "heath, moor, barren land; clearing" (12c.), from Gaulish (compare Breton lann "heath"), or from its Germanic cognate, source of English land (n.). The -d perhaps mistaken for an affix and dropped. Sense of "grassy ground kept mowed" first recorded 1733.
lawn (n.2) Look up lawn at Dictionary.com
"thin linen or cotton cloth," early 15c., probably from Laon, city in northern France, a center of linen manufacture. The town name is Old French Lan, from Latin Laudunum, of Celtic origin.
lawn mower (n.) Look up lawn mower at Dictionary.com
also lawn-mower, 1853 as a type of machine to cut grass, from lawn (n.1) + mower.
Lawrence Look up Lawrence at Dictionary.com
see Laurence.
Lawrencium (n.) Look up Lawrencium at Dictionary.com
1961, Modern Latin, from the name of Ernest O. Lawrence (1901-1958), U.S. physicist, cyclotron pioneer and founder of the lab where it was discovered.
lawsuit (n.) Look up lawsuit at Dictionary.com
1620s, from law + suit (n.).
lawyer (n.) Look up lawyer at Dictionary.com
late 14c. (mid-14c. as a surname), from Middle English lawe "law" (see law) + -iere. Spelling with -y- first attested 1610s (see -yer).
lax (adj.) Look up lax at Dictionary.com
c.1400, "loose" (in reference to bowels), from Latin laxus "wide, loose, open," figuratively "loose, free, wide," from PIE root *(s)leg- "to be slack, be languid" (cognates: Greek legein "to leave off, stop," lagos "hare," literally "with drooping ears," lagnos "lustful, lascivious," lagaros "slack, hollow, shrunken;" Latin languere "to be faint, weary," languidis "faint, weak, dull, sluggish, languid"). Of rules, discipline, etc., attested from mid-15c.
lax (n.) Look up lax at Dictionary.com
"salmon," from Old English leax (see lox).