Old English lond, land, "ground, soil," also "definite portion of the earth's surface, home region of a person or a people, territory marked by political boundaries," from Proto-Germanic *landja- (source also of Old Norse, Old Frisian Dutch, Gothic land, German Land), perhaps from PIE *lendh- (2) "land, open land, heath" (source also of Old Irish land, Middle Welsh llan "an open space," Welsh llan "enclosure, church," Breton lann "heath," source of French lande; Old Church Slavonic ledina "waste land, heath," Czech lada "fallow land"). But Boutkan finds no IE etymology and suspects a substratum word in Germanic,
Etymological evidence and Gothic use indicates the original Germanic sense was "a definite portion of the earth's surface owned by an individual or home of a nation." The meaning was early extended to "solid surface of the earth," a sense which once had belonged to the ancestor of Modern English earth (n.). Original senses of land in English now tend to go with country. To take the lay of the land is a nautical expression. In the American English exclamation land's sakes (1846) land is a euphemism for Lord.
Old English lendan "to bring to land" (transitive), early 13c., from the source of land (n.). Intransitive sense "come to shore, go ashore, disembark" is from c. 1200. Spelling and pronunciation probably were influenced by the noun. Originally of ships; of fish, in the angling sense, from 1610s; hence figurative sense of "to obtain" (a job, etc.), first recorded 1854. Of aircraft, attested from 1916. Related: Landed; landing.
"person who cheats or robs sailors ashore," 1769, from land (n.) + shark (n.). Smyth ("Sailor's Word-book," 1867) lists the types as "Crimps, pettifogging attorneys, slopmongers, and the canaille infesting the slums of seaport towns." As "land-grabber, speculator in real estate" from 1839. In both senses often in Australian and New Zealand publications during 19c.
"possessed of land," late Old English gelandod; see land (n.).