late 14c. lauier, lawer, lawere (mid-14c. as a surname), "one versed in law, one whose profession is suits in court or client advice on legal rights," from Middle English lawe "law" (see law) + -iere. Spelling with -y- predominated from 17c. (see -yer). In the New Testament (Luke xiv.3, etc.) "interpreter of Mosaic law." Old English had lahwita, with wita "sage, wise man; adviser councilor," and an earlier Middle English word for "lawyer" was man-of-law (mid-14c.). Related: Lawyerly.
updated on November 14, 2018