Words related to lecher

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to lick." It forms all or part of: cunnilingus; lecher; lichen; lick.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit ledhi "he licks," Armenian lizum "I lick," Greek leikhein "to lick," Latin lingere "to lick," Old Irish ligim "I lick," Welsh llwy "spoon," Old English liccian "to lick."

Old English -istre, from Proto-Germanic *-istrijon, feminine agent suffix used as the equivalent of masculine -ere (see -er (1)). Also used in Middle English to form nouns of action (meaning "a person who ...") without regard for gender.

The genderless agent noun use apparently was a broader application of the original feminine suffix, beginning in the north of England, but linguists disagree over whether this indicates female domination of weaving and baking trades, as represented in surnames such as Webster, Baxter, Brewster, etc. (though spinster probably carries an originally female ending).

Also compare whitester "one who bleaches cloth;" kempster (c. 1400; Halliwell has it as kembster) "woman who cleans wool." Chaucer ("Merchant's Tale") has chidester "an angry woman." In Modern English, the suffix has been productive in forming derivative nouns (gamester,roadster, punster, rodster "angler," etc.; the 17c. had scoldster).

lech (n.2)
"yen, strong desire" (especially sexual and sometimes implying perversion), 1796, variant of letch, but according to OED "now regarded as a back-formation" from lecher. Meaning "a lecher" is by 1943. As a verb by 1911. Related: Leched; leching.
lecherous (adj.)

"prone to indulge in sensuality, lustful, lewd," c. 1300, probably from lecher + -ous; or else from rare Old French adjective lecheros. The nativized form is lickerish. Related: Lecherously; lecherousness.

lechery (n.)
"lewdness in living, habitual lustful indulgence," c. 1200, from Old French lecherie "gluttony, sensuality, lewdness," from lecheor "debauched man" (see lecher).
letch (n.)
"craving, longing, strong desire," 1796 [Grose], perhaps a back-formation from lecher, or deformed from a figurative use of latch (v.) in a secondary sense of "grasp, grasp on to." Or perhaps from letch (v.), a variant of leach.