"like one another, very similar," c. 1300, aliche, ylike, ilike, from Old English anlig, onlic "similar, resembling;" from Old English an, on (see a- (1) + like (adj.), which is related to Old English lic "body, corpse."
The notion is "having a corresponding form (body)." The more usual Germanic compound is represented by Old English gelic, from Proto-Germanic *galikam "associated form" (source also of Old Frisian gelik, Dutch gelijk, German gleich, Gothic galeiks, Old Norse glikr). As an adverb, late Old English onlice, gelice.
updated on September 16, 2022