- linden (n.)
- "lime tree," 1570s, noun use of an adjective, "of linden wood," from Old English lind "linden" (n.), from Proto-Germanic *lindjo (source also of Old Saxon linda, Old Norse lind, Old High German linta, German linde), probably from PIE *lent-o- "flexible" (see lithe); with reference to the tree's pliant bast. Compare Russian lutĭijó "forest of lime trees," Polish łęt "switch, twig," Lithuanian lenta "board, plank."
For modern tree names from adjectives, compare aspen. OED suggests the use of the adjective as a noun is at least partly creditable to "translations of a German romance" (German linden is the plural form and the form used in compounds).
- Lindy Hop (n.)
- popular dance, 1931, it originated in Harlem, N.Y., named for Lindy, nickname of U.S. aviator Charles A. Lindbergh (1902-1974) who in 1927 made the first solo nonstop trans-Atlantic flight. The lind in the surname would mean "linden."
- line (n.)
- a Middle English merger of Old English line "cable, rope; series, row, row of letters; rule, direction," and Old French ligne "guideline, cord, string; lineage, descent" (12c.), both from Latin linea "linen thread, string, plumb-line," also "a mark, bound, limit, goal; line of descent," short for linea restis "linen cord," and similar phrases, from fem. of lineus (adj.) "of linen," from linum "linen" (see linen).
The earliest sense in Middle English was "cord used by builders for taking measurements;" extended late 14c. to "a thread-like mark" (from sense "cord used by builders for making things level," mid-14c.), also "track, course, direction." Meaning "limit, boundary" (of a county, etc.) is from 1590s. The mathematical sense of "length without breadth" is from 1550s. From 1530s as "a crease of the face or palm of the hand." From 1580s as "the equator."
Sense of "things or people arranged in a straight line" is from 1550s. Now considered American English, where British English uses queue (n.), but the sense appears earliest in English writers. Sense of "chronologically continuous series of persons" (a line of kings, etc.) is from late 14c.
Meaning "one's occupation, branch of business" is from 1630s, according to OED probably from misunderstood KJV translation of II Corinthians x.16, "And not to boast in another mans line of things made ready to our hand," where line translates Greek kanon which probably meant "boundary, limit;" the phrase "in another man's line" being parenthetical.
Commercial meaning "class of goods in stock" is from 1930, so called from being goods received by the merchant on a line in the specific sense "order given to an agent" for particular goods (1834). Insurance underwriting sense is from 1899. Line of credit is from 1958.
Meaning "series of public conveyances" (coaches, later ships) is from 1786; meaning "continuous part of a railroad" is from 1825. Meaning "telegraph wire between stations" is from 1847 (later "telephone wire"). Meaning "cord bearing hooks used in fishing" is from c. 1300. Meaning "policy or set of policies of a political faction" is 1892, American English, from notion of a procession of followers; this is the sense in the political party line, and, deteriorated, it is the slang line that means "glib and plausible talk meant to deceive."
In British army, the Line (1802) is the regular, numbered troops, as distinguished from guards, auxiliaries, militia, etc. In the Navy (1704) it refers to the battle line (the sense in ship of the line, which is attested from 1706).
Dutch lijn, Old High German lina, German Leine, Old Norse lina "a cord, rope," are likewise from Latin. Spanish and Italian have the word in the learned form linea. In continental measurements, a subdivision of an inch (one-tenth or one-twelfth in England), attested in English from 1660s but never common. Also see lines.
To get a line on "acquire information about" is from 1903. To lay it on the line is from 1929 as "to pay money;" by 1954 as "speak plainly." End of the line "as far as one can go" is from 1948. One's line of work, meaning "pursuit, interest" is from 1957, earlier line of country (1861). Line-drawing is from 1891. A line-storm (1850) is a type supposed to happen in the 10 days or two weeks around the times the sun crosses the equator.
- line (v.2)
- late 14c., "to tie with a cord," from line (n.). Meaning "to mark or mark off with lines" is from mid-15c. Sense of "arrange a line" is from 1640s, originally military; that of "to join a line" is by 1773. To line up is by 1864 as "form a good line, be in alignment;" 1889 as "form a line," in U.S. football; transitive sense "make into a line" is by 1902. Also see line-up. For line bees see beeline. Related: Lined; lining.
- line (v.1)
- "to cover the inner side of" (clothes, garments, etc.), late 14c., from Old English lin "linen cloth" (see linen). Linen was frequently used in the Middle Ages as a second layer of material on the inner side of a garment. Hence, by extension, "to fill the insides of" (1510s). Related: Lined; lining.
- line-up (n.)
- also lineup, from the verbal phrase line up (1889 as "form a line;" 1902 as "make into a line"); see line (v.2) + up (adv.). As a noun, the baseball version (1889) is older than the police version (1907).
- lineage (n.)
- late 17c., from Middle English linage "line of descent; an ancestor" (c. 1300), from Old French lignage "descent, extraction, race" (11c.), from ligne "line," from Latin linea "line of descent," literally "string, line, thread" (see line (n.)). The word altered in spelling and pronunciation in early Modern English, apparently by some combined influence of line (n.) and lineal.
- lineal (adj.)
- late 14c., "resembling a line," from Old French lineal "pertaining to a line" (14c.), from Late Latin linealis "pertaining to a line," from linea "a string, line, thread" (see line (n.)). Compare linear. Related: Lineally.
- lineality (n.)
- 1818, from lineal + -ity. Originally of handwriting.
- lineament (n.)
- early 15c., "distinctive feature of the body, outline," from Middle French lineament, from Latin lineamentum "contour, outline; a feature," literally "a line, stroke, mark," from lineare "to reduce to a straight line" (here apparently in an unrecorded sense "trace lines"), from linea "string, thread, line" (see line (n.)). Figurative sense of "a characteristic" is attested from 1630s.
- linear (adj.)
- "resembling a line, of or pertaining to lines," 1640s, from French linéaire, from Latin linearis "belonging to a line," from linea "string, line" (see line (n.)). Essentially the same word as lineal; "in Latin linearis the original suffix -alis was dissimilated to -aris, but in Late Latin this rule was no longer productive and the formation or re-formation in -alis remained unchanged." [Barnhart].
As "involving the use of lines" from 1840, hence Linear A, Linear B, names given (1902-3) to two related forms of linear Minoan writing discovered 1894-1901 in Crete by Sir Arthur Evans and long defying translation. It is used there in opposition to pictographic.
- linearity (n.)
- 1748, from linear + -ity.
- lineate (v.)
- "to mark with lines," 1550s, from Latin lineatus, past participle of lineare in an unrecorded sense "trace lines" (see lineament). Related: Lineated; lineating.
- lineate (adj.)
- "marked with lines," 1640s, from Latin lineatus, past participle of lineare in an unrecorded sense "trace lines" (see lineament).
- lineation (n.)
- late 14c., "the act of drawing lines," from Latin lineationem (nominative lineatio) "a drawing of a line, the making in a straight line," noun of action from past participle stem of lineare in an unrecorded sense "trace lines" (see lineament). Meaning "a marking by lines" is from 1540s.
- lined (adj.)
- "having a lining or backing" (of some other material), mid-15c., from past participle of line (v.1); meaning "marked with lines" is from 1776, from past participle of line (v.2).
- lineman (n.)
- 1858, worker on telegraph (later telephone) lines, from line (n.) + man (n.). U.S. football sense is from 1894.
- linen (n.)
- "cloth from woven flax," early 14c., noun use of adjective linen "made of flax" from Old English līn "flax, linen thread, linen cloth" + -en (2). Old English lin is from Proto-Germanic *linam (source also of Old Saxon, Old Norse, Old High German lin "flax, linen," German Leinen "linen," Gothic lein "linen cloth"), probably an early borrowing from Latin linum "flax, linen," which, along with Greek linon is from a non-Indo-European language. Beekes writes, "Original identity is possible, however, since the cultivation of flax in Central Europe is very old. Still, it is more probable that linon and linum derive from a Mediterranean word. The word is unknown in Indo-Iranian (but the concept is, of course)." Lithuanian linai, Old Church Slavonic linu, Irish lin probably are ultimately from Latin or Greek.
Woolen has begun the same evolution. Meaning "articles of linen fabric collectively" is from 1748, now sometimes extended unetymologically to cotton and artificial fabrics. The Old English noun also carried into Middle English as lin (n.) "linen" and persisted into 17c. and later in technical uses. The Middle English phrase under line (c. 1300) meant "in one's clothes." Linen-lifter (1650s) was old slang for an adulterous male.
- word-forming element, used as a comb. form of Latin linea (see line (n.)).
- liner (n.2)
- "person who fits a lining to," 1610s, agent noun from line (v.1). Meaning "thing serving as a lining" is from 1869. Liner notes in a record album are attested from 1953.
- liner (n.1)
- "vessel belonging to a shipping line," 1838, from line (n.) on notion of a succession of ships plying between ports along regular "lines," as distinguished from transient ships using those ports. (Line in this sense is attested by 1786 in reference to stagecoaches.) Earlier it meant "man of war, ship of the line" (1829). Meaning "cosmetic for highlighting the eyes" is from 1926. The type of baseball hit (forcible and parallel to the ground) was so called from 1874 (line drive is attested from 1899).
- lines (n.)
- 1560s, "any short piece of writing" (especially poetry), from line (n.) in the sense "row of verse," attested since late Old English (answering to Latin versus, Greek stikhos). Hence "a few words in writing, a short letter" (1640s); meaning "words of an actor's part" is from 1882. From 1670s as "outlines, plans" (of a building, ship, etc.); hence, figuratively, "plan, model" of anything (1757). Lines of communication originally were transverse trenches in siegeworks, from line (n.) in a military sense "trench, rampart," a collective singular from 1690s given a new currency in World War I.
- linesman (n.)
- 1856, "private soldier in a regiment of the Line," from genitive of line (n.) + man (n.). Sports sense, in reference to umpires with specific duties in games with lines (originally tennis, also ice hockey) is from 1890.
- ling (n.)
- long, slender European fish, c. 1300, lenge, common Germanic, cognate with Dutch leng, German Leng, Old Norse langa, probably ultimately related to long (adj.) and so named for its length.
- lingam (n.)
- in Hindu religion, "phallic emblem under which Siva is worshipped," 1719, from Sanskrit linga (nominative lingam) "mark, token, sign, emblem," a word of unknown origin.
- linger (v.)
- c. 1300, lenger "reside, dwell," northern England frequentative of lengen "to tarry," from Old English lengan "prolong, lengthen," from Proto-Germanic *langjan "to make long" (source also of Old Frisian lendza, Old High German lengan, Dutch lengen "to lengthen"), from *langaz- "long" (see long (adj.)).
Intransitive sense of "delay going, depart slowly and unwillingly" is from 1520s. Meaning "remain long in sickness, be near death for a time" is from 1530s. It shares verbal duties with long, prolong, lengthen. Related: Lingered; lingerer; lingering.
- lingerie (n.)
- 1835 (but not in widespread use until 1852), "linen underwear, especially as made for women," from French lingerie "linen goods, things made of linen," originally "laundry room, linen warehouse, linen shop, linen market" (15c.), also the name of a street in Paris, from linger "a dealer in linen goods," from Old French linge "linen" (12c.), from Latin lineus (adj.) "of linen," from linum "flax, linen" (see linen). Originally introduced in English as a euphemism for then-scandalous under-linen. Extension to articles of cotton or artificial material is unetymological.
- lingering (adj.)
- "remaining long," 1540s, present-participle adjective from linger (v.). Related: Lingeringly.
- lingo (n.)
- "foreign speech," 1650s, probably a corruption of Latin lingua "speech, language; tongue" (see lingual), perhaps immediately as a shortening of lingua franca (q.v.), or from Provençal lingo "language, tongue," from Old Provençal lenga, from Latin lingua.
- lingua franca (n.)
- 1620s, from Italian, literally "Frankish tongue." A stripped-down Italian peppered with Spanish, French, Greek, Arabic, and Turkish words, it began as a form of communication in the Levant. The name probably is from the Arabic custom, dating back to the Crusades, of calling all Europeans Franks (see Frank). Sometimes in 17c. English sources also known as Bastard Spanish.
- lingual (adj.)
- "of or pertaining to the tongue," 1640s, from Medieval Latin lingualis "of the tongue," from Latin lingua "tongue," also "speech, language," from Old Latin dingua, from PIE *dnghu- "tongue" (source also of Old English tunge "tongue;" see tongue (n.)). Altered in Latin probably in part by association with lingere "to lick." Earlier "tongue-shaped" (c. 1400).
- Linguaphone (n.)
- proprietary name of a language-learning program involving phonograph records, 1908, from Latin lingua "language, tongue" (see lingual) + ending from gramophone, etc.
- linguiform (adj.)
- "tongue-shaped," 1753, from Latin lingua "tongue" (see lingual) + -form.
- linguine (n.)
- 1948, from Italian linguine, plural of linguina "little tongue," diminutive of lingua "tongue," from Latin lingua "tongue," from PIE root *dhghu- "tongue" (see tongue (n.)).
- linguist (n.)
- 1580s, "a master of languages;" also "one who uses his tongue freely," a hybrid from Latin lingua "language, tongue," from PIE root *dhghu- "tongue" (see tongue (n.)) + -ist. Meaning "a student of language" first attested 1640s. Compare French linguiste, Spanish linguista. English in 17c. had an adjective linguacious "talkative" (1650s). Linguister (1640s) was the old name in early colonial New England for an interpreter between Europeans and Indians (Lowell used it in a sense "dabbler in philology, linguist"). Linguistician is attested from 1895.
- linguistic (adj.)
- "of or pertaining to the study of language," 1824, from German linguistisch (1807); see linguist + -ic. The use of linguistic to mean "of or pertaining to language or languages" (1847) is "hardly justifiable etymologically," according to OED, but "has arisen because lingual suggests irrelevant associations." Related: Linguistical; linguistically.
To the science which may be formed by comparing languages, the term Linguistic has been applied by some German authors. It is not, however, generally adopted, and is liable to some objections. ["Biblical Repository," vol. vii, no. 21, Jan. 1836]
- linguistics (n.)
- "the science of languages," 1847; see linguistic; also see -ics. Also known as comparative philology (1822). An earlier word for it was linguistry (1794); logonomy (1803) also was tried.
- liniment (n.)
- "oily liquid for external application," early 15c., a term in medicine, from Late Latin linimentum "a soft ointment," from Latin linire, collateral form of earlier linere "to daub, smear," from PIE root *(s)lei- "slime, slimy, sticky" (see slime (n.)).
- lining (n.)
- late 14c., "stuff with which garments are lined," verbal noun from Middle English linen "to line" (see line (v.1)). Extended use, "covering or inner surface of anything," is from 1713. Meaning "action of providing with a lining" is from 1839.
- link (n.)
- early 15c., "one of a series of rings or loops which form a chain; section of a cord," probably from Old Norse *hlenkr or a similar Scandinavian source (compare Old Norse hlekkr "link," in plural, "chain;" Old Swedish lænker "chain, link," Norwegian lenke "a link," Danish lænke "a chain," German Gelenk "articulation, a joint of the body; a link, ring"), from Proto-Germanic *khlink- (source also of German lenken "to bend, turn, lead"), from PIE root *kleng- "to bend, turn." Related to lank, flank, flinch.
The noun is not found in Old English, where it is represented by lank "the hip" ("turn of the body"), hlencan (plural) "armor." Meaning "a division of a sausage made in a continuous chain" is from mid-15c. Meaning "anything serving to connect one thing or part with another" is from 1540s. Sense of "means of telecommunication between two points" is from 1911. Missing link between man and apes dates to 1880.
- link (v.)
- "to bind, fasten, couple, unite as if by links," late 14c., believed to be from link (n.1), though it is attested earlier. Intransitive sense "become connected, join in marriage" is from 1530s. Related: Linked; linking.
- link (n.2)
- "torch of tow, pitch, etc.," 1520s, of uncertain origin, possibly from Medieval Latin linchinus, from lichinus "wick," from Greek lykhnos "portable light, lamp," from PIE root *leuk- "light, brightness" (see light (n.)).
- link (n.3)
- "undulating sandy ground," especially in a golf course; see links.
- link-up (n.)
- 1945, from the verbal phrase; see link (v.) + up (adv.).
- linkage (n.)
- "system of combined links," 1874, originally in mechanical engineering, from link (v.) + -age.
To understand the principle of Peaucellier's link-work, it is convenient to consider previously certain properties of a linkage, (to coin a new and useful word of general application), consisting of an arrangement of six links, obtained in the following manner ... (etc.). ["Recent Discoveries in Mechanical Conservation of Motion," in "Van Nostrand's Eclectic Engineering Magazine," vol. xi, July-December 1874]
- links (n.)
- "undulating sandy ground," 1728, from Scottish/Northumbrian link "sandy, rolling ground near seashore, a crook or winding of a river," from Old English hlinc "rising ground, ridge;" perhaps from the same Proto-Germanic root as lean (v.). The Scottish word for the type of landscape where golf was born; the word has been part of the names of golf courses since at least 1728. The southern form of the word was Middle English linch "rising ground, especially between plowed fields or along a chalk down," which persisted in dialect.
- linnet (n.)
- small finch-like Eurasian songbird, 1530s, from Middle French linette "grain of flax," diminutive of lin "flax," from Latin linum "flax, linen thread" (see linen). Flaxseed forms much of the bird's diet. Old English name for the bird, linetwige, with second element perhaps meaning "to pluck," yielded Middle English and dialectal lintwhite. Also compare German Hänfling "linnet," from Hanf hemp.
- lino (n.)
- 1907, short for linotype.
- linoleum (n.)
- 1860, coined by English inventor Frederick Walton (1837-1928), from Latin linum "flax, linen" (see linen) + oleum "oil" (see oil (n.)) and intended to indicate "linseed-oil cloth." Originally, a preparation of solidified linseed oil used to coat canvas for making floor coverings; the word was applied to the flooring material itself after 1878. The Linoleum Manufacturing Company was formed 1864.
- Linotype (n.)
- proprietary name of a machine for producing stereotyped lines of type for printing, 1886, American English, trademark name (Mergenthaler Linotype Co.), a contraction of line o' type. Invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler (1854-1899) and in widespread use in U.S. newspaper production early 20c.