- linsey-woolsey (n.)
- late 15c., originally a cloth woven from linen (perhaps directly from Middle English line "linen") and wool; the words apparently were altered for the sake of a jingling sound. Linsey by itself is attested from mid-15c., apparently meaning "coarse linen fabric." Some sources suggest a connection or influence from the place name Lindsey in Suffolk.
- linstock (n.)
- also linestock, lintstock, forked staff used for firing a cannon, 1570s, from Dutch lonstok, from lont "match" + stok "stick," from Proto-Germanic *stukkaz-, from PIE root *steu- (1) "to push, stick, knock, beat."
- lint (n.)
- late 14c., "flax prepared for spinning," also "refuse of flax used as kindling," somehow from the source of Old English lin "flax" (see linen). Perhaps from or by influence of Middle French linette "grain of flax," diminutive of lin "flax," from Latin linum "flax, linen;" Klein suggests from Latin linteum "linen cloth," neuter of adjective linteus.
Later "flocculent flax refuse used as tinder or for dressing wounds" (c. 1400). Still used for "flax" in Scotland in Burns' time. Applied to stray cotton fluff from 1610s, though in later use this is said to be American English.
- lintel (n.)
- "horizontal piece resting on the jambs of a door or window," early 14c., from Old French lintel "threshold" (13c., Modern French linteau), a word of uncertain origin, probably a variant of lintier, from Vulgar Latin *limitalis "threshold," or a similar unrecorded word, from Latin limitaris (adj.) "that is on the border," from limes (genitive limitis) "border, boundary" (see limit (n.)). Altered by influence of Latin limen "threshold."
- computer operating system, named for Linux kernel, written 1991 by software engineer Linus Torvalds (b. 1969) of Finland (who coined the word but did not choose it as the name).
- Linzertorte (n.)
- kind of jam-filled tart, 1906, from German Linzertorte, from Linzer (adj.) "of Linz," the city in Austria, + torte "tart" (see torte). The city name probably is ultimately from the Germanic root for "lime tree."
- lion (n.)
- late 12c., from Old French lion "lion," also figuratively "hero" (12c.), from Latin leonem (nominative leo) "lion; the constellation leo," from Greek leon (genitive leontos), a word from a non-Indo-European language, perhaps Semitic (compare Hebrew labhi "lion," plural lebaim; Egyptian labai, lawai "lioness"). Old English had the word straight from Latin as leo (Anglian lea).
The Latin word was borrowed throughout Germanic (compare Old Frisian lawa; Middle Dutch leuwe, Dutch leeuw; Old High German lewo, German Löwe); it is also found in most other European languages, often via Germanic (Old Church Slavonic livu, Polish lew, Czech lev, Old Irish leon, Welsh llew).
Lowse me, lauerd, ut of þe liunes muð. ["St. Margaret of Antioch," c. 1200]
Extended 17c. to American big cats. Paired alliteratively with lamb since late 14c. Used figuratively from c. 1200 in English of lion-like persons, in an approving sense, "one who is fiercely brave," and a disapproving one, "tyrannical leader, greedy devourer." Lion-hearted is from 1708. Lion's share "the greatest portion" is attested from 1701. The image of the lion's mouth as a place of great danger is from early 13c. Sometimes used ironically of other animals (for example Cotswold lion "sheep" (16c.; lyons of Cotteswold is from mid-15c.). In early 19c., to avoid advertising breaches of the game laws, hare, when served as food was listed as lion.
- masc. proper name, from French, literally "young lion" (see lion), from Old French lionel, also lioncel.
- lioness (n.)
- "female lion," c. 1300, leoness, from lion + -ess. From late 14c., of persons, "fierce or cruel woman." From 1590s as "woman who is boldly public;" from 1808 as "woman who is a focus of public interest."
- lionise (v.)
- chiefly British English spelling of lionize (q.v.); for suffix, see -ize. Related: Lionised; lionising.
- lionize (v.)
- "to treat (someone) as a celebrity," 1809 (Scott), a hybrid from lion + -ize. It preserves lion in the sense of "person of note who is much sought-after" (1715), a sense said to have been extended from the lions formerly kept in the Tower of London (proverbial from late 16c.) that were objects of general curiosity that every visitor in town was taken to see. Related: Lionized; lionizing.
- lip (n.)
- Old English lippa "lip, one of the two sides of the mouth," from Proto-Germanic *lepjon (source also of Old Frisian lippa, Middle Dutch lippe, Dutch lip, Old High German lefs, German Lefze, Swedish läpp, Danish læbe), from PIE *leb- "to lick; lip" (source also of Latin labium). French lippe is an Old French borrowing from a Germanic source.
Transferred sense of "edge or margin of a cup, etc." is from 1590s. Slang sense "saucy talk" is from 1821, probably from the expression move the lip (1570s) "utter even the slightest word (against someone)." To bite (one's) lip "show vexation" is from early 14c. Stiff upper lip as a sign of courage and struggle against despondency is from 1833. Lip gloss is attested from 1939; lip balm from 1877. Related: Lips.
- lip (v.)
- c. 1600, "to kiss," from lip (n.). Meaning "to pronounce with the lips only" is from 1789. Related: Lipped; lipping.
- lip-read (v.)
- 1880, back-formation from lip-reading, which is attested from 1852 in writings on educating deaf-mutes; from lip (n.) + reading.
- lip-service (n.)
- "something proffered but not performed, service with the lips only; insincere profession of good will," 1640s, from lip (n.) + service (n.1). Earlier in same sense was lip-labour (1530s). This was a general pattern in 16c.-17c., for example lip-wisdom (1580s), the wisdom of those who do not practice what they preach; lip-religion (1590s), lip-devotion "prayer without genuine faith or desire" (c. 1600); lip-comfort (1630s).
- large island north of Sicily, largest of the Aeolian Islands, probably somehow related to Greek liparos "fat; rich" (see liparo-).
- before vowels lipar-, word-forming element meaning "oily," from Greek liparos "oily, shiny with oil, fatty, greasy," used of rich soil and smooth skin; figuratively "rich, comfortable; costly, splendid," from lipos "fat" (see lipo-).
- lipase (n.)
- class of enzymes, 1897, from French lipase (1896), from Greek lipos "fat" (see lipo-) + chemical enzyme ending -ase.
- lipid (n.)
- "organic substance of the fat group," 1925, from French lipide, coined 1923 by G. Bertrand from Greek lipos "fat, grease" (see lipo-) + chemical suffix -ide.
- 1911, from Lipizza, home of the former Austrian Imperial Stud; term used to designate horses originally bred there. The city is modern-day Lipica near Trieste in Slovenia (Lipizza is the Italian form of the name). Related: Lipizzaner.
- lipless (adj.)
- c. 1400, from lip (n.) + -less. Related: Liplessly.
- word-forming element meaning "fat" (n.), from Greek lipos "fat" (n.), from PIE root *leip- "to stick, adhere," also used to form words for "fat" (see leave (v.)). In some biological compounds, "be lacking, having no," from Greek leipein "to leave, be lacking."
- lipogram (n.)
- "writing which avoids all words containing a particular letter" (an ancient literary pastime; in English typically -e-), 1711, abstracted from Greek lipogrammatikos, literally "wanting a letter," from stem of leipein "to leave, be lacking" (from PIE root *leikw- "to leave behind;" see relinquish) + gramma "a letter, character" (see -gram).
If Youth, throughout all history, had had a champion to stand up for it; to show a doubting world that a child can think; and, possibly, do it practically, you wouldn't constantly run across folks today who claim that "a child don't know anything." A child's brain starts functioning at birth; and has, amongst its many infant convolutions, thousands of dormant atoms, into which God has put a mystic possibility for noticing an adult's act, and figuring out its purport. [Ernest Vincent Wright, "Gadsby: A Story of Over 50,000 Words without Using the Letter 'e'," Los Angeles: 1939]
- lipoma (n.)
- "fatty tumor" (plural lipomata), 1830, medical Latin, from Greek lipos "fat" (n.), see lipo-, + -oma. Related: Lipomatous.
- liposuction (n.)
- 1983, from Greek lipos "fat, grease" (from PIE root *leip-; see leave (v.)) + suction (n.).
- lipped (adj.)
- "having lips or a lip," late 14c., past-participle adjective from lip (v.).
- lippy (adj.)
- "insolent, full of 'lip,'" 1875, from lip (n.) + -y (2). Related: Lippiness.
- lipstick (n.)
- 1880, from lip (n.) + stick (n.).
- liquefaction (n.)
- early 15c., "act or process of becoming liquid," from French liquéfaction, from Late Latin liquefactionem (nominative liquefactio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin liquefacere "to make liquid, melt" (see liquefy). Formerly also used in a metaphysical sense, of the melting of the soul in the ardor of devotion. Related: Liquefacient.
Whenas in silks my Julia goes,
Then, then (methinks) how sweetly flows
That liquefaction of her clothes.
- liquefy (v.)
- early 15c., transitive, "to turn to liquid, dissolve, melt," from Old French liquefier "liquefy, dissolve" (12c., Modern French liquéfier), from Latin liquefacere "make liquid, melt, dissolve," from liquere "be fluid" (see liquid (adj.)) + facere "to make" (see factitious).
- liquescent (adj.)
- "having a tendency to become liquid," 1727, from Latin liquescentem (nominative liquescens), present participle of liquescere "to melt," from liquere "to be liquid" (see liquid (adj.)) Related: Liquescency (1650s).
- liqueur (n.)
- "sweetened, flavored alcoholic liquor," 1729, from French liqueur "liquor, liquid," from Old French licor "liquid." See liquor, which is the same word but borrowed earlier.
- liquid (adj.)
- late 14c., "flowing, capable of flowing; neither solid nor gaseous," from Old French liquide "liquid, running" (13c.), from Latin liquidus "fluid, liquid, moist," figuratively "flowing, continuing," also of sounds and voices, from liquere "be fluid," related to liqui "to melt, flow," from PIE *wleik- "to flow, run."
In English, of sounds from 1630s. Financial sense of "capable of being converted to cash" is first recorded 1818, from earlier use in Scots Law (17c.) in reference to debts that had been proved (in court, etc.).
- liquid (n.)
- "a liquid substance," 1708, from liquid (adj.). Earlier it meant "sound of a liquid consonant" (1520s), following Latin liquidae, Greek hygra, applied to letters of an easy, "flowing" sound.
- liquidate (v.)
- 1570s, of accounts, "to reduce to order, to set out clearly" (a sense now obsolete), from Late Latin or Medieval Latin liquidatus, past participle of liquidare "to melt, make liquid, make clear, clarify," from Latin liquidus "fluid, liquid, moist" (see liquid (adj.)). Sense of "clear away" (a debt) first recorded 1755. The meaning "wipe out, kill" is from 1924, possibly from Russian likvidirovat, ultimately from the Latin word. Related: Liquidated; liquidating.
- liquidation (n.)
- 1570s, in law, of debts, noun of action from past participle stem of Late Latin liquidare "melt, make liquid" (see liquidate). Originally as a legal term in reference to assets; of companies going out of business, 1869; of inconvenient groups of persons, "a killing, a wiping out," 1925 in communist writings. In O. Henry, "the act of taking a drink of liquor."
- liquidator (n.)
- 1825, agent noun in Latin form from liquidate (v.). By 1949 in the "killer" sense.
- liquidity (n.)
- 1610s, "quality of being liquid," from Late Latin liquiditatem (nominative liquiditas) "liquidity," from Latin liquidus (see liquid (adj.)). Meaning "quality of being financially liquid" is from 1897. Earlier in the literal sense was liquidness (1520s).
- liquidize (v.)
- 1837, "make liquid," from liquid (adj.) + -ize. Meaning "to run through a kitchen liquidizer" is from 1954. Related: Liquidized; liquidizing.
- liquidizer (n.)
- 1850, agent noun from liquidize.
- liquify (v.)
- alternative spelling of liquefy.
- liquor (n.)
- c. 1200, likur "any matter in a liquid state, a liquid or fluid substance," from Old French licor "fluid, liquid; sap; oil" (12c., Modern French liqueur), from Latin liquorem (nominative liquor) "a liquid, liquor; wine; the sea," originally "liquidity, fluidity," from liquere "be fluid, liquid" (see liquid (adj.)).
Narrowed sense of "fermented or distilled drink" (especially wine) first recorded c. 1300; the broader sense seems to have been obsolete from c. 1700. As long as liquor is in him was a Middle English expression, "as long as he is alive," that is, "as long as he has a drop of blood left." The form in Modern English has been assimilated to Latin, but the old pronunciation persists.
- liquor (v.)
- c. 1500, "to moisten," from liquor (n.). From 1550s as "supply with liquor," 1839 as "drink" (intoxicating liquor). To liquor up "get drunk" is from 1845. Related: Liquored; liquoring.
- liquorice (n.)
- chiefly British alternative spelling of licorice (q.v.).
- lira (n.)
- Italian monetary unit, 1610s, from Italian lira, literally "pound," from Latin libra "pound (unit of weight);" see Libra, and compare livre. There also was a Turkish lira.
- capital of Portugal, Portuguese Lisboa, perhaps from a Phoenician word; the derivation from Ulysses probably is folk-etymology.
- lisle (n.)
- in reference to fabric, thread, etc., 1851, from French Lisle, earlier spelling of Lille, city in northwest France where the thread was made. The name is apparently originally l'isle "the island," referring to its location.
- lisp (v.)
- sometimes lipse, late 14c. alteration of wlisp, from late Old English awlyspian "to lisp, to pronounce 's' and 'z' imperfectly," from wlisp (adj.) "lisping," which is probably imitative (compare Middle Dutch, Old High German lispen, Danish læspe, Swedish läspa). General sense "speak imperfectly or childishly" is from 17c. Transitive sense from 1610s. Related: Lisped; lisping. Suggestive of effeminacy from 14c.
- lisp (n.)
- "act or habit of lisping," 1620s, from lisp (v.).
- lissome (adj.)
- "limber, supple, flexible," 1800, variant of lithesome. Related: Lissomeness.