Etymology
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Lao

Tai people of Southeast Asia, 1882; see Laos. In reference to their dialects, by 1939.

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Definitions of Lao
1
Lao (n.)
a member of a Buddhist people inhabiting the area of the Mekong River in Laos and Thailand and speaking the Lao language; related to the Thais;
Synonyms: Laotian
Lao (n.)
the Tai language of a Buddhist people living in the area of the Mekong River in Thailand and Laos;
2
Lao (adj.)
of or relating to a member of the Buddhist people inhabiting the Mekong river in Laos and Thailand;
From wordnet.princeton.edu