"idler, person who loafs," 1830, of uncertain origin, often regarded as a shortened variant of land loper (1795), a partial loan-translation of German Landläufer "vagabond," from Land "land" + Läufer "runner," from laufen "to run" (see leap (v.)). But OED finds this connection "not very probable." As a type of shoe for informal occasions, 1937. Related: Loafers. By coincidence Old English had hlaf-aeta "household servant," literally "loaf-eater;" one who eats the bread of his master, suggesting the Anglo-Saxons might have still felt the etymological sense of lord as "loaf-guard."