Etymology
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lance (n.)
late 13c. (late 12c. as a surname), from Old French lance "spear, lance, lance-length" (12c.), from Latin lancea "light spear, Spanish lance" (Italian lancia, Spanish lanza), a word said by Varro to be of Spanish origin, hence possibly from Celt-Iberian. The French word spread generally into the Germanic languages: German Lanze, Middle Dutch lanse, Dutch lans, Danish landse.

Lance corporal "private soldier performing the duties of a corporal" (1786) is a folk-etymology or partial nativizing of obsolete lancepesade "officer of lowest rank" (1570s), which is an Englishing of Old Italian lancia spezzata "old soldier," literally "broken lance."
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lance (v.)
"to pierce with a lance," c. 1300, from Old French lancier "to throw forward, hurl, dash; attack with a lance," from Late Latin lanceare "wield a lance; pierce with a lance," from lancea (see lance (n.)). The surgical sense (properly with reference to a lancet) is from late 15c. Related: Lanced; lancing.
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free-lance (n.)
also freelance, "medieval mercenary warrior," 1820 ("Ivanhoe"), from free (adj.) + lance (n.); apparently a coinage of Sir Walter Scott's. The description of them resembles that of the Italian condottieri. Figurative sense is from 1864; specifically of journalism by 1882.
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lancet (n.)
"small, sharp surgical instrument," late 14c., launcet, from Old French lancette "small lance" (12c.), diminutive of lance (see lance (n.)).
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lanceolate (adj.)
"shaped like a lance-head," 1751, from Late Latin lanceolatus "armed with a little lance," from Latin lanceola, diminutive of lancea (see lance (n.)).
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lancer (n.)
1580s, "soldier armed with a lance," from French lancier "soldier, knight armed with a lance," from Old French lance (see lance (n.)).
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elan (n.)
"vivacity," 1877, from French élan (16c.), "spring, bound, impetus," noun derived from élancer "to shoot, incite" (trans.); "rush forward, dart" (intrans.), from Old French elancer, from e- "out" (see ex-) + lancer "to throw," originally "to throw a lance," from Late Latin lanceare, from Latin lancea (see lance (n.)).
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launch (v.)
c. 1300, "to rush, plunge, leap, start forth; to be set into sudden motion," from Old North French lancher, Old French lancier "to fling, hurl, throw, cast," from Late Latin lanceare "wield a lance," from Latin lancea "light spear" (see lance (n.)).

Meaning "to throw, hurl, let fly" is from mid-14c. Sense of "set (a boat) afloat" first recorded c. 1400, from notion of throwing it out on the water; generalized by 1600 to any sort of beginning. Related: Launched; launching.
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kopeck (n.)
coin worth one-hundredth part of a ruble, from Russian kopeika, from kop'e "lance" (cognate with Greek kopis "chopper, cleaver;" see hatchet (n.)); so called because the coin showed the czar with lance in hand.
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freelance (v.)

1902, from free-lance (n.). Related: Freelancer (1898); freelanced; freelancing.

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