Etymology
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lea (n.)

Old English leah "open field, meadow, piece of untilled grassy ground," earlier læch, preserved in place names, from Proto-Germanic *lauhaz (source also of Old High German loh "clearing," and probably also Flemish -loo, which forms the second element in Waterloo), from PIE *louko- "light place" (source also of Sanskrit lokah "open space, free space, world," Latin lucus "grove, sacred grove, wood," Lithuanian laukas "open field, land"), from root *leuk- "to shine, be bright." The dative form is the source of many of the English surnames Lee, Leigh.

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ley (n.)

"line of a prehistoric track; alignment of natural and artificial features," 1922 [Alfred Watkins], apparently a variant of lea. Popular topic in Britain in 1920s-30s and again 1960s-70s.

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Marley 

surname, from place-names in England, probably "boundary wood or clearing," from Old English mære "boundary, border, landmark" (see merestone) + leah (see lea).

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Bradley 

masc. proper name, originally a surname, from various places in England, literally "the broad clearing," from Old English elements brad (see broad (adj.)) + leah (see lea). Most popular in U.S. c. 1965-1995.

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Waterloo (n.)

village near Brussels; the great battle there took place June 18, 1815; extended sense of "a final, crushing defeat" is first attested 1816 in letter of Lord Byron. The second element in the place name is from Flemish loo "sacred wood" (see lea (n.)).

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Ashley 

fem. proper name, all but unknown before c. 1965; one of the most popular names for girls born in U.S. from c. 1980; evidently inspired by the surname Ashley, Ashleigh (attested from 12c.), which means "clearing among the ash trees," from Old English æsc (see ash (n.2)) + leah (see lea).

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Kimberley 

South African city, founded 1871; also region in northwest Australia; both named for John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley, who was British secretary of state for the colonies; the earldom is from a place in Norfolk, England (the name also is found in Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire). The second element is Old English leah "meadow, clearing in a woodland" (see lea); the first reflect various Old English personal names; the one in Norfolk appears first as Chineburlai (1086) and seems to be "clearing of a woman called Cyneburg."

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lucus a non lucendo 

a phrase that stands for "absurd etymology," or generally "anything illogical, outrageous hypothesis," 1711, from the Latin phrase, taken as the outstanding example of such an error.

"A grove (lucus) [is so called] from not (a non) being light" (lucendo, ablative of lucere "to shine;" see light (n.)). That is, it is called a grove because light doesn't get into it. This explanation is found in a commentary on Virgil (Aeneid 1.22) by Servius, a 4th century grammarian, among other places. Other ancient grammarians (notably Quintilian) found it paradoxical and absurd, based on nothing more than the similarity in sound between the two words.

Modern scholarship, however, concludes that lucus and lucere probably do come both from the same PIE root (*leuk-) meaning "light, bright." De Vaan writes: "Lucus 'sacred grove, wood,' from PIE *louk-o- 'light place,' with cognates in Sanskrit loka- 'free space, world,' Lithuanian laukas 'field, land,' Latvian lauks 'field, clearing in the woods,' Old High German loh 'clearing' and English lea 'open field, meadow, piece of untilled grassy ground.' " Apparently the primeval notion in *louk-o- was a lighter place in a thick forest. Migration, change of climate, or felling of the woods might have shifted the meaning.

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*leuk- 

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "light, brightness."

It forms all or part of: allumette; elucidate; illumination; illustration; lea; leukemia; leuko-; light (n.) "brightness, radiant energy;" lightning; limn; link (n.2) "torch of pitch, tow, etc.;" lucent; lucid; Lucifer; luciferase; luciferous; lucifugous; lucubrate; lucubration; luculent; lumen; Luminal; luminary; luminate; luminescence; luminous; luna; lunacy; lunar; Lunarian; lunate; lunation; lunatic; lune; lunette; luni-; luster; lustrum; lux; pellucid; sublunary; translucent.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit rocate "shines;" Armenian lois "light," lusin "moon;" Greek leukos "bright, shining, white;" Latin lucere "to shine," lux "light," lucidus "clear;" Old Church Slavonic luci "light;" Lithuanian laukas "pale;" Welsh llug "gleam, glimmer;" Old Irish loche "lightning," luchair "brightness;" Hittite lukezi "is bright;" Old English leht, leoht "light, daylight; spiritual illumination," German Licht, Gothic liuhaþ "light."

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Worcester 

Wireceastre (1086), Old English Wigranceastre (717), Weogorna civitas (691), from Weogora, a tribal name. Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrin's) is attested from 1843.

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