list (n.1)

"catalogue consisting of names in a row or series," c. 1600, from Middle English liste "border, edging, stripe" (late 13c.), from Old French liste "border, band, row, group," also "strip of paper," or from Old Italian lista "border, strip of paper, list," both from Germanic sources (compare Old High German lista "strip, border, list," Old Norse lista "border, selvage," Old English liste "border of cloth, fringe"), from Proto-Germanic *liston, from PIE *leizd- "border, band."

The original Middle English sense is now obsolete. The sense of "enumeration" is from strips of paper used as a sort of catalogue. The native Old English form of the word lingered as list in a few specialized senses. List price is from 1871.

list (v.1)

"to tilt, lean, incline to one side," especially of a ship, 1880, earlier spelled lust (1620s), of unknown origin. Perhaps an unexplained spelling variant of Middle English lysten "to please, desire, wish, like" (see list (v.4)) with a sense development from the notion of "leaning" toward what one desires (compare incline (v.)). Related: Listed; listing.

list (v.2)

also lyst, "hear, harken," now poetic or obsolete, from Old English hlystan "hear, hearken," from hlyst "hearing," from Proto-Germanic *hlustjan (source also of Old Norse hlusta), from PIE root *kleu- "to hear." With "noun-formative -t-" [Century Dictionary]. Related: Listed; listing.

list (v.3)

"to put down in a list or catalogue; to make a list of," 1610s, from list (n.1). Meaning "to place real estate on the market" is from 1904. Meaning "put an edge around" (c. 1300, now probably obsolete) is from Old French lister or else from list (n.2). Related: Listed; listing.

list (v.4)

"to be pleased, desire" (intransitive), a sense now archaic, mid-12c., lusten, listen "to please, desire," from Old English lystan "to please, cause pleasure or desire, provoke longing," from Proto-Germanic *lustjan (source also of Old Saxon lustian, Dutch lusten "to like, fancy," Old High German lusten, German lüsten, Old Norse lysta "desire, wish, have a fancy"), from *lustuz-, from PIE root *las- "to be eager, wanton, or unruly" (see lust (n.)). Related: Listed; listing.

list (n.2)

"a narrow strip," Old English liste "border, hem, edge, strip," from Proto-Germanic *liston (source also of Old High German lista "strip, border, list," Old Norse lista "border, selvage," German leiste), from PIE *leizd- "border, band" (see list (n.1)). The Germanic root also is the source of French liste, Italian lista. The word has had many technical senses in English, including "lobe of an ear" and "a stripe of color." This also is the list in archaic lists "place of combat" (late 14c.), from an earlier sense "boundary;" the fighting ground being originally at the boundary of fields.

list (n.3)

"a lean (of a ship) to one side," 1834, from earlier lust, from the verb (see list (v.1)).

list (n.4)

c. 1200, "pleasure, enjoyment;" mid-13c., "desire, wish, will, choice," from list (v.4). Somehow English has lost listy (adj.) "pleasant, willing (to do something); ready, quick" (mid-15c.).

updated on October 14, 2021