la (1)Related entries & more
musical note (sixth note of the diatonic scale), early 14c., see gamut. It represents the initial syllable of Latin labii "of the lips." In French and Italian it became the name of the musical note A, which is the sixth of the natural scale (C major).
la (2)Related entries & more
fem. form of the French definite article, used in English in certain phrases and sometimes added ironically to a woman's name with a suggestion of "prima donna" (OED examples begin 1860s). See le.
la (3)Related entries & more
Anglo-Saxon interjection of mild wonder or surprise, or grief; "oh, ah, indeed, verily."
la-laRelated entries & more
syllables used to make nonsense refrains in songs; compare Old English la, a common exclamation; but la-la is imitative of babbling speech in many languages: Greek lalage "babble, prattle," Sanskrit lalalla as an imitation of stammering, Latin lallare "to sing to sleep, lull," German lallen "to stammer," Lithuanian laluoti "to stammer."
a laRelated entries & more
from French à la, literally "to the," hence "in the manner of, according to," from à, from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + la, fem. of definite article le "the," from Latin ille (fem. illa; see le). Attested in English in French terms from fashion or cookery since late 16c.; since c. 1800 used in native formations with English words or names.
La Tene (adj.)Related entries & more
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.
a la mode (adv.)Related entries & more
also alamode, 1640s, from French à la mode (15c.), literally "in the (prevailing) fashion" (see a la + mode (n.2)). In 17c., sometimes nativized as all-a-mode. Cookery sense in reference to a dessert served with ice cream is 1903, American English; earlier it was used of a kind of beef stew or soup (1753).
Traviata, LaRelated entries & more
Shangri La (n.)Related entries & more
imaginary earthly paradise, 1938, from Shangri La, name of Tibetan utopia in James Hilton's novel "Lost Horizon" (1933, film version 1937). In Tibetan, la means "mountain pass."