L Look up L at Dictionary.com
Roman form of the Greek lambda, which is from the Semitic lamed. The shape of the Roman letter is an early one in Greek, adopted in Italic before it was superseded in Greek by the inverted form which became the Greek lambda.
L.A. Look up L.A. at Dictionary.com
abbreviation for Los Angeles, attested from 1949.
L.L. Look up L.L. at Dictionary.com
contraction of Latin legum "of laws, in degrees;" as in L.L.D., which stands for Legum Doctor "Doctor of Laws." Plural abbreviations in Latin were formed by doubling the letter.
l.s.d. Look up l.s.d. at Dictionary.com
abbreviation of British currency units, from Latin librae, soldi, denarii, Roman equivalent of "pounds, shillings, pence."
la Look up la at Dictionary.com
musical note (sixth note of the diatonic scale), early 14c., see gamut. It represents the initial syllable of Latin labii "of the lips."
la-di-da Look up la-di-da at Dictionary.com
interjection mocking affected gentility, 1874, in derisive imitation of "swell" way of talking.
la-la Look up la-la at Dictionary.com
nonsense refrain in songs, probably from Old English la, a common exclamation; but la-la is imitative of babbling speech in many languages: Greek lalage "babble, prattle," Sanskrit lalalla "imitation of stammering" Latin lallare "to sing to sleep, lull," German lallen "to stammer," Lithuanian laluoti "to stammer."
La-Z-Boy Look up La-Z-Boy at Dictionary.com
brand of recliner chair, named 1929, Floral City Furniture Co., Monroe, Michigan, U.S. According to company lore, chosen from names submitted in a contest.
lab (n.) Look up lab at Dictionary.com
shortened form of laboratory, 1895.
labefaction (n.) Look up labefaction at Dictionary.com
1610s, "process of shaking; downfall," noun of action from Latin labefactus, past participle of labefacere "to cause to totter, shake; overthrow," from labi "to slip, slide" (see lapse (n.)) + facere "to make, do" (see factitious). Related: Labefy.
label (n.) Look up label at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "narrow band or strip of cloth" (oldest use is as a technical term in heraldry), from Old French label, lambel "ribbon, fringe worn on clothes" (13c., Modern French lambeau "strip, rag, shred, tatter"), possibly from Frankish *labba or some other Germanic source (compare Old High German lappa "flap"), from Proto-Germanic *lapp- (see lap (n.)).

Later "dangling strip of cloth or ribbon used as an ornament in dress," "strip attached to a document to hold a seal" (both early 15c.), and with a general meaning "tag, sticker, slip of paper" (1670s). Meaning "circular piece of paper in the center of a gramophone record" (1907), containing information about the recorded music, led to meaning "a recording company" (1947).
label (v.) Look up label at Dictionary.com
"to affix a label to," c. 1600, see label (n.); figurative sense of "to categorize" is from 1853. Related: Labeled; labeling; labelled; labelling.
labia (n.) Look up labia at Dictionary.com
from Latin labia, plural of labium "lip" (see lip (n.)). Specifically of the folds on either side of the vulva from 1630s (labia pudendi).
labia majora (n.) Look up labia majora at Dictionary.com
the outer fold of skin around the vulva, 1813, Modern Latin, literally "great lips" (see labia). The singular is labium majus.
labia minora (n.) Look up labia minora at Dictionary.com
inner folds of skin around the vulva, 1781, Modern Latin, literally "lesser lips" (see labia). The singular is labium minus.
labial (adj.) Look up labial at Dictionary.com
"pertaining to the lips," 1590s, from Medieval Latin labialis "having to do with the lips," from Latin labium "lip" (see lip (n.)). The noun meaning "a labial sound" is from 1660s. Related: Labially.
labiate (adj.) Look up labiate at Dictionary.com
"having a lip or lip-like part," 1706, from Modern Latin labiatus "lipped," from Latin labium "lip" (see lip (n.)).
labio- Look up labio- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element in medical use, taken as a comb. form of Latin labium "lip" (see lip (n.)).
labium (n.) Look up labium at Dictionary.com
1590s, plural labia, from Latin labium "lip" (see lip (n.)).
labonza (n.) Look up labonza at Dictionary.com
"belly," 1943, American English slang, probably from dialectal pronunciation of Italian la pancia "the belly," from Latin pantex (genitive panticis) "belly" (see paunch).
labor (n.) Look up labor at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "a task, a project;" later "exertion of the body; trouble, difficulty, hardship" (late 14c.), from Old French labor "labor, toil, work, exertion, task" (12c., Modern French labeur), from Latin laborem (nominative labor) "labor, toil, exertion; hardship, pain, fatigue; a work, a product of labor," of uncertain origin, perhaps originally from the notion of "tottering under a burden," and related to labere "to totter."

Meaning "body of laborers considered as a class" (usually contrasted to capitalists) is from 1839. Sense of "physical exertions of childbirth" is 1590s, earlier labour of birthe (early 15c.), a sense also found in Old French, and compare French en travail "in (childbirth) suffering" (see travail). Labor Day first marked 1882 in New York City.
labor (v.) Look up labor at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "perform manual or physical work; work hard; keep busy; take pains, strive, endeavor" (also "copulate"), from Old French laborer "work, toil; struggle, have difficulty," from Latin laborare, from labor (see labor (n.)). The verb in modern French, Spanish, Portuguese means "to plow;" the wider sense being taken by the equivalent of English travail. Sense of "to endure pain, suffer" is early 15c., especially in phrase labor of child. Related: Labored; laboring.
laboratory (n.) Look up laboratory at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, "building set apart for scientific experiments," from Medieval Latin laboratorium "a place for labor or work," from Latin laboratus, past participle of laborare "to work" (see labor (n.)). Figurative use by 1660s.
labored (adj.) Look up labored at Dictionary.com
also laboured, "learned," mid-15c., past participle adjective from labor (v.). Meaning "done with much labor" is from c. 1600.
laborer (n.) Look up laborer at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "manual worker," especially an unskilled one, agent noun from labor (v.). Meaning "member of the working class, member of the lowest social rank" is from c. 1400.
laborious (adj.) Look up laborious at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "hard-working, industrious," from Old French laborios "arduous, wearisome; hard-working" (12c., Modern French laborieux), from Latin laboriosus "toilsome, wearisome, troublesome," from labor (see labor (n.)). Meaning "costing much labor, burdensome" is from early 15c.; meaning "resulting from hard work" is mid-15c. Related: Laboriousness.
laboriously (adv.) Look up laboriously at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "with difficulty, laboriously, slowly," from laborious + -ly (2). Meaning "earnestly, strongly" is from c. 1500.
labour Look up labour at Dictionary.com
chiefly British English spelling of labor (q.v.); for spelling, see -or. As short for "the British Labour Party" it is from 1906.
labourer (n.) Look up labourer at Dictionary.com
chiefly British English spelling of laborer; for suffix, see -or.
Labrador Look up Labrador at Dictionary.com
large province of eastern Canada, probably from Portuguese lavrador "landholder," perhaps in reference to 15c. Portuguese explorer Joao Fernandes, a landholder in the Azores. The name was first applied to Greenland. The breed of retriever dog so called from 1815. Related: Labradorian.
labret (n.) Look up labret at Dictionary.com
ornament inserted into a lip, 1843 (first reference is to Eskimo men), from Latin labrum "lip" (see labrum) + -et, as in anklet, bracelet, etc.
labrum (n.) Look up labrum at Dictionary.com
lip or lip-like part, 1816, in various anatomical and zoological uses, from Latin labrum, cognate with labium "lip" (see lip (n.)). Also noted mid-15c. as the name of some herb.
laburnum (n.) Look up laburnum at Dictionary.com
1570s, from Latin laburnum (Pliny), of unknown origin; perhaps from Etruscan.
labyrinth (n.) Look up labyrinth at Dictionary.com
c. 1400, laberynthe (late 14c. in Latinate form laborintus) "labyrinth, maze," figuratively "bewildering arguments," from Latin labyrinthus, from Greek labyrinthos "maze, large building with intricate passages," especially the structure built by Daedelus to hold the Minotaur near Knossos in Crete, from a pre-Greek language; perhaps related to Lydian labrys "double-edged axe," symbol of royal power, which fits with the theory that the labyrinth was originally the royal Minoan palace on Crete and meant "palace of the double-axe." Used in English for "maze" early 15c., and in figurative sense of "confusing state of affairs" (1540s).
labyrinthine (adj.) Look up labyrinthine at Dictionary.com
1630s; see labyrinth + -ine (1). Earlier adjective forms were labyrinthian (1580s); labyrinthial (1540s).
lac (n.) Look up lac at Dictionary.com
"red resinous substance," 1550s (perhaps via Middle French lacce), earlier lacca (early 15c., from Medieval Latin form lacca), from Persian lak, from Hindi lakh (Prakrit lakkha), from Sanskrit laksha "red dye," of uncertain origin. According to Klein, literally "one hundred thousand," in reference to the insects that gather in great numbers on the trees and make the resin run out. But others say lakh is an alteration of Sanskrit rakh, from an IE root word for "color, dye" [Watkins]. Still another guess is that Sanskrit laksha is related to English lax, lox "salmon," and the substance was perhaps originally so called from being somewhat the color of salmon [Barnhart].
lace (n.) Look up lace at Dictionary.com
early 13c., laz, "cord made of braided or interwoven strands of silk, etc.," from Old French laz "a net, noose, string, cord, snare" (Modern French lacs), from Vulgar Latin *lacium, from Latin laqueum (nominative laqueus) "noose, snare" (source also of Italian laccio, Spanish lazo), a trapping and hunting term, probably from Italic base *laq- "to ensnare" (compare Latin lacere "to entice"). Later also "net, noose, snare" (c. 1300); and "piece of cord used to draw together the edges of slits or openings in an article of clothing" (late 14c., as in shoelace). The "ornamental net pattern" meaning is first recorded 1550s. As an adjective, lace-curtain "middle class" (or lower-class with middle-class pretensions), usually is used in reference to Irish-Americans, is attested by 1928.
lace (v.) Look up lace at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, "fasten (clothing, etc.) with laces and ties," from Old French lacier, from laz (see lace (n.)). Also "tighten (a garment) by pulling its laces" (early 14c.). To lace coffee, etc., with a dash of liquor (1670s) originally was used of sugar, and comes via the notion of "to ornament or trim." Related: Laced; lacing. Laced mutton was "an old word for a whore" [Johnson].
lace-up (adj.) Look up lace-up at Dictionary.com
1831, originally of boots, from the verbal phrase, from lace (v.) + up (adv.).
Lacedaemonian (adj.) Look up Lacedaemonian at Dictionary.com
1780, from Latin Lacedaemonius, from Greek Lakedaimonios, from Lakedaimon, an ancient Greek name for Sparta and the district around it.
lacerate (v.) Look up lacerate at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Latin laceratus, past participle of lacerare "tear to pieces, mangle," figuratively, "to slander, censure, abuse," from lacer "torn, mangled," from PIE root *lek- "to rend, tear" (cognates: Greek lakis "tatter, rag," lakizein "to tear to pieces;" Russian lochma "rag, tatter, scrap;" Albanian l'akur "naked"). Related: Lacerated; lacerating.
laceration (n.) Look up laceration at Dictionary.com
1590s, from Middle French lacération, from Latin lacerationem (nominative laceratio), noun of action from past participle stem of lacerare (see lacerate).
lacey Look up lacey at Dictionary.com
see lacy.
laches (n.) Look up laches at Dictionary.com
"negligence in performance of legal dute," 1570s, earlier simply "slackness, negligence, want of zeal" (late 14c.), from Anglo-French laches, Old French lachesse, from Old French lasche (Modern French lâche), verbal adjective from lascher, from Vulgar Latin *lascare, classical laxare, from laxus (see loose). Compare riches.
lachrymal (adj.) Look up lachrymal at Dictionary.com
also lachrimal, early 15c., from Medieval Latin lacrimalis, from Latin lacrima (see lachrymose).
lachrymose (adj.) Look up lachrymose at Dictionary.com
1660s, "tear-like," from Latin lacrimosus "tearful, sorrowful, weeping," also "causing tears, lamentable," from lacrima "tear," a dialect-altered borrowing of Greek dakryma "tear," from dakryein "to shed tears," from dakry "tear," from PIE *dakru- (see tear (n.1)). Meaning "given to tears, tearful" is first attested 1727; meaning "of a mournful character" is from 1822.

The -d- to -l- alteration in Latin is the so-called "Sabine -L-"; compare Latin olere "smell," from root of odor, and Ulixes, the Latin form of Greek Odysseus. The Medieval Latin practice of writing -ch- for -c- before Latin -r- also altered anchor, pulchritude, sepulchre. The -y- is pedantic, from belief in a Greek origin. Middle English had lacrymable "tearful" (mid-15c.).
lack (n.) Look up lack at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "absence, want; shortage, deficiency," perhaps from an unrecorded Old English *lac, or else borrowed from Middle Dutch lak "deficiency, fault;" in either case from Proto-Germanic *laka- (cognates: Old Frisian lek "disadvantage, damage," Old Norse lakr "lacking"), from PIE *leg- "to dribble, trickle" (see leak (v.)). Middle English also had lackless "without blame or fault."
lack (v.) Look up lack at Dictionary.com
late 12c., perhaps from Middle Dutch laken "to be wanting," from lak (n.) "deficiency, fault," or an unrecorded native cognate word (see lack (n.)). Related: Lacked; lacking.
lackadaisical (adj.) Look up lackadaisical at Dictionary.com
1768 (Sterne), from interjection lackadaisy "alas, alack" (1748), an alteration of lack-a-day (1690s), from alack the day (1590s). Hence, "given to crying 'lack-a-day,' vapidly sentimental." Sense probably altered by influence of lax. Related: Lackadaisically.
lackey (n.) Look up lackey at Dictionary.com
1520s, "footman, running footman, valet," from Middle French laquais "foot soldier, footman, servant" (15c.), of unknown origin; perhaps from Old Provençal lacai, from lecai "glutton, covetous," from lecar "to lick." Alternative etymology is via French from Catalan alacay, from Arabic al-qadi "the judge." Yet another guess traces it through Spanish lacayo, from Italian lacchè, from Modern Greek oulakes, from Turkish ulak "runner, courier." This suits the original sense better, but OED says Italian lacchè is from French. Sense of "servile follower" appeared 1580s. As a political term of abuse it dates from 1939 in communist jargon.