Etymology
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La Tene (adj.)
1882 in archaeology in reference to La Tène, district at the end of Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland, where after c. 1860 relics were found from a prehistoric culture that dominated central Europe c. 3c. B.C.E.
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lame duck (n.)

1761, "any disabled person or thing;" especially Stock Exchange slang for "defaulter."

A lame duck is a man who cannot pay his differences, and is said to waddle off. [Thomas Love Peacock, "Gryll Grange," 1861]

Sometimes also in naval use for "an old, slow ship." Modern sense of "public official serving out term after an election" is recorded by 1863, American English. The quote attributed to President Lincoln ("[A] senator or representative out of business is a sort of lame duck. He has to be provided for") is from an anecdote of 1878.

It is well known to everybody who knows anything of its history, that this court [Court of Claims] was made a sort of retreat for lame duck politicians that got wounded and had to retreat before the face of popular condemnation. That is just exactly what it was for, a safe retreat for lame ducks; and it was so filled up; (etc.) [Sen. John P. Hale, New Hampshire, Congressional Globe, Jan. 12, 1863, p.271]
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lang syne 
"long ago," c. 1500, Scottish dialect variant of long since; popularized in Burns' song, 1788. Century Dictionary has langsyner "person who lived long ago."
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lapis lazuli (n.)
"azure-stone, rich ultramarine silicate stone," early 15c., from Middle Latin lapis lazuli, literally "stone of azure," from Latin lapis "a stone" (see lapideous) + Medieval Latin lazuli, genitive of lazulum, from Arabic lazuward (see azure).
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Latin America 
1862; see Latin (adj.). The notion is the nations whose languages descend from Latin. Related: Latin American (adj.), 1871.
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laudator temporis acti 
Latin phrase used of one who looks to the past as better times, 1736, from Horace's laudator temporis acti se puero "a praiser of times past when he was a boy" [Ars Poetica, 173], from laudator, agent noun of laudare "to praise" (see laud).
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leap year (n.)
"year containing 366 days," late 14c., lepe gere (not in Old English), from leap (v.) + year. Probably so called from its causing fixed festival days, which normally advance one weekday per year, to "leap" ahead one day in the week. Compare Medieval Latin saltus lunae (Old English monan hlyp) "omission of one day in the lunar calendar every 19 years."

Dutch schrikkeljaar "leap year" is from Middle Dutch schricken "leap forward," literally "be startled, be in fear." The 29th of February is schrikkeldag. Danish skudaar, Swedish skottår are literally "shoot-year;" German schaltjahr is from schalten "insert, intercalate." The Late Latin phrase was annus bissextilis, source of the Romanic words; compare bissextile.
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lectio difficilior 
Latin, literally "harder reading," from phrase maxim difficilior lectio potior. In textual reconstruction (of the Bible, etc.) the rule that, of two alternative manuscript readings, the one whose meaning is less obvious is less likely to be a copyist's alteration, and therefore should be given precedence. From lectio, noun of action from past participle stem of legere "to read," from PIE root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather," with derivatives meaning "to speak (to 'pick out words')."
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left wing (n.)
also (as an adjective) left-wing, 1871 in the political sense (1530s in a military formation sense), from left (adj.) + wing (n.). Related: Left-winger.
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leg up (n.)
"an aid, a boost," 1837, from leg (n.) + up (adv.).
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