Middle English le, leoh, from Old English hleo "shelter, cover, defense, protection," from Proto-Germanic *khlewaz (source also of Old Norse hle, Danish læ, Old Saxon hleo, Dutch lij "lee, shelter"). The original sense is uncertain; it might have been "warm" (compare German lau "tepid," Old Norse hly "shelter, warmth"), and Watkins traces it to a PIE *kle-wo-, a suffixed variant form of the root *kele- (1) "warm."
Nautical sense "that part of the hemisphere to which the wind is directed" (c. 1400) is of Scandinavian origin, from the notion of the side of the ship opposite that which receives the wind as the sheltered side. As an adjective, 1510s, from the noun. The lee shore is that toward which the wind blows. Middle English also had lewth "warmth, shelter," Old English hleowþ, with Proto-Germanic abstract noun suffix *-itho (see -th (2)). Also compare lukewarm.
"situated away from the wind, on the side opposite the weather side of a ship, pertaining to the quarter toward which the wind blows," 1660s, from lee + -ward. Also as an adverb. Similar formation in Dutch lijwaarts, German leewärts, Swedish lävart. The Leeward Islands are so called in reference to prevailing northeasterly trade winds.
type of rifle used by the British army early 20c., 1902 (adj.); 1910 (n.), named for J.P. Lee (1831-1904), U.S. designer of bolt action + Enfield (q.v.).
obsolete except in lukewarm (late 14c.), from Middle English leuk "tepid" (c. 1200), a word of uncertain origin, perhaps from an unrecorded Old English *hleoc (cognate with Middle Dutch or Old Frisian leuk "tepid, weak"), an unexplained variant of hleowe (adv.) "warm," from Proto-Germanic *khlewaz (see lee), or from the Middle Dutch or Old Frisian words.
Old English also had wlæc "tepid, lukewarm," which survived in Middle English as wlake. In Middle English lew-warm was a parallel form to luke-warm. Related: Lukely; lukeness. Other now-obsolete formations were luke-hot (late 14c.), luke-hearted (c. 1500).
kelə-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "warm." It forms all or part of: caldera; calid; Calor; caloric; calorie; calorimeter; cauldron; caudle; chafe; chauffeur; chowder; coddle; lee; lukewarm; nonchalant; scald (v.) "afflict painfully with hot liquid or steam."
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit carad- "harvest," literally "hot time;" Latin calor "heat," calidus "warm," calere "be hot;" Lithuanian šilti "become warm," šilus "August;" Old Norse hlær, Old English hleow "warm."
Old English weder "air, sky; breeze, storm, tempest," from Proto-Germanic *wedra- "wind, weather" (source also of Old Saxon wedar, Old Norse veðr, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, Dutch weder, Old High German wetar, German Wetter "storm, wind, weather"), traditionally said to be from PIE *we-dhro-, "weather" (source also of Lithuanian vėtra "storm," Old Church Slavonic vedro "good weather"), suffixed form of root *we- "to blow." But Boutkan finds this "problematic from a formal point of view" and finds only the Slavic word a likely cognate.
Greek had words for "good weather" (aithria, eudia) and words for "storm" and "winter," but no generic word for "weather" until kairos (literally "time") began to be used as such in Byzantine times. Latin tempestas "weather" (see tempest) also originally meant "time;" and words for "time" also came to mean weather in Irish (aimsir), Serbo-Croatian (vrijeme), Polish (czas), etc. Weather-report is from 1863. Weather-breeder "fine, serene day which precedes and seems to prepare a storm" is from 1650s.
Surnames Fairweather, Merriweather probably reflect disposition; medieval lists and rolls also include Foulweder, Wetweder, Strangweder.
"sudden pitch to one side," 1784, from earlier lee-larches (1765), a nautical term for "the sudden roll which a ship makes to lee-ward in a high sea, when a large wave strikes her, and bears her weather-side violently up, which depresses the other in proportion" ["Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences," London 1765]. This is perhaps from French lacher "to let go," from Latin laxus (see lax).
When a Ship is brought by the Lee, it is commonly occaſsioned by a large Sea, and by the Neglect of the Helm's-man. When the Wind is two or three Points on the Quarter, the Ship taking a Lurch, brings the Wind on the other Side, and lays the Sails all dead to the Maſt; as the Yards are braced up, ſhe then having no Way, and the Helm being of no Service, I would therefore brace about the Head ſails ſharp the other Way .... [John Hamilton Moore, Practical Navigator, 8th ed., 1784]