Luxembourg Look up Luxembourg at
European state, from Germanic lutilla "little" + burg "fort, castle." Related: Luxembourgeois; Luxembourger. Hence also lushburg (mid-14c.), Middle English word for "a base coin made in imitation of the sterling or silver penny and imported from Luxemburg in the reign of Edward III" [OED].
Luxor Look up Luxor at
place in Egypt, from Arabic al-uqsur, plural of al-qasr, which is from an Arabicized form of Latin castrum "fortified camp" (see castle (n.)). Remains of Roman camps are nearby.
luxuriance (n.) Look up luxuriance at
1650s; see luxuriant + -ance. Related: Luxuriancy (1640s).
luxuriant (adj.) Look up luxuriant at
1530s, from Middle French luxuriant and directly from Latin luxuriantem (nominative luxurians), present participle of luxuriare "have to excess, grow profusely" (see luxuriate). Related: Luxuriantly.
luxuriate (v.) Look up luxuriate at
1620s, "to indulge in luxury," from Latin luxuriatus, past participle of luxuriare "have to excess," figuratively "run riot, be dissolute, indulge to excess," from luxuria "excess, rankness, luxuriance" (see luxury). Related: Luxuriated; luxuriating.
luxurious (adj.) Look up luxurious at
c. 1300, "lascivious, lecherous, unchaste," from Old French luxurios "lustful, lascivious" (Modern French luxurieux), from Latin luxuriosus, from luxuria (see luxury). Meaning "given to luxury, voluptuous" (of persons) is from c. 1600. Of things, meaning "characterized by luxury" is attested from c. 1650. Related: Luxuriously; luxuriousness.
luxury (n.) Look up luxury at
c. 1300, "sexual intercourse;" mid-14c., "lasciviousness, sinful self-indulgence," from Old French luxurie "debauchery, dissoluteness, lust" (Modern French luxure), from Latin luxuria "excess, luxury, extravagance, profusion; delicacy" (source also of Spanish lujuria, Italian lussuria), from luxus "excess, extravagance, magnificence," probably a figurative use of luxus (adj.) "dislocated," which is related to luctari "wrestle, strain" (see reluctance).

Meaning "sensual pleasure" is late 14c. Lost its pejorative taint 17c. Meaning "habit of indulgence in what is choice or costly" is from 1630s; that of "sumptuous surroundings" is from 1704; that of "something enjoyable or comfortable beyond life's necessities" is from 1780. Used as an adjective from 1916.
lycanthrope (n.) Look up lycanthrope at
1620s in the classical sense; 1825 in the modern sense, from Modern Latin lycanthropus, from Greek lykanthropos "wolf-man" (see lycanthropy).
lycanthropy (n.) Look up lycanthropy at
1580s, a form of madness (described by ancient writers) in which the afflicted thought he was a wolf, from Greek lykanthropia, from lykanthropos "wolf-man," from lykos "wolf" (see wolf (n.)) + anthropos "man" (see anthropo-). Originally a form of madness (described by ancient writers) in which the afflicted thought he was a wolf; applied to actual transformations of persons (especially witches) into wolves since 1830 (see werewolf).
lyceum (n.) Look up lyceum at
1580s, Latin form of Greek lykeion, name of a grove or garden with covered walks near Athens where Aristotle taught, from neuter of Lykeios "wolf-slayer," an epithet of Apollo, whose temple was nearby, from lykos "wolf." Hence lycée, name given in France to state-run secondary schools. In England, early 19c., lyceum was the name taken by a number of literary societies; in U.S., after c. 1820, it was the name of institutes that sponsored popular lectures in science and literature.
Lycra Look up Lycra at
elastic polyurethane fiber, 1955, proprietary name (registered by E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.) of an elastic polyurethane fiber.
lye (n.) Look up lye at
Old English læg, leag "lye," from Proto-Germanic *laugo (cognates: Middle Dutch loghe, Dutch loog, Old High German louga, German Lauge "lye"), from PIE root *leue- "to wash" (see lave). The substance was formerly used in place of soap, hence Old High German luhhen "to wash," Old Norse laug "hot bath, hot spring," Danish lørdag, Swedish lördag "Saturday," literally "washing-day." Chamber-lye in early Modern English was the name for urine used as a detergent.
lying (n.1) Look up lying at
early 13c., action of lie (v.2) "to recline." Lying-in "being in childbed" is attested from mid-15c.
lying (n.2) Look up lying at
c. 1300 (n.), action of lie (v.1) "to tell an untruth." As a past participle adjective, from 1530s.
lymph (n.) Look up lymph at
1725 in physiology sense, "colorless fluid found in the body," from French lymphe, from Latin lympha "water, clear water, a goddess of water," variant of lumpæ "waters," altered by influence of Greek nymphe "goddess of a spring, nymph." The word was used earlier in English in the classical sense "pure water, water" (1620s), also (1670s) with reference to colorless fluids in plants. Also see lymphatic. Lymph node is attested from 1892.
lymphadenopathy (n.) Look up lymphadenopathy at
1899, from lymph + adenopathy, from comb. form of Greek aden (genitive adenos) "gland" (see inguinal) + -pathy.
lymphatic (adj.) Look up lymphatic at
1640s, from Latin lymphaticus, from lympha (see lymph). Also sometimes used in the classical Latin sense "mad, frenzied," which was the primary sense of lymphaticus in Latin: OED reports this "difficult to account for," but perhaps due to association of lympha with nymphe; compare Greek nymphian "to be frenzy-stricken."
lymphocyte (n.) Look up lymphocyte at
cell found in the lymph, 1890, from Latin lympho- (see lymph) + -cyte (see cyto-).
lymphoma (n.) Look up lymphoma at
plural lymphomata, 1867, from lymph + -oma.
lynch (v.) Look up lynch at
1835, from earlier Lynch law (1811), likely named after William Lynch (1742-1820) of Pittsylvania, Virginia, who c. 1780 led a vigilance committee to keep order there during the Revolution. Other sources trace the name to Charles Lynch (1736-1796) a Virginia magistrate who fined and imprisoned Tories in his district c. 1782, but the connection to him is less likely. The surname is perhaps from Irish Loingseach "sailor."

Originally any sort of summary justice, especially by flogging; narrowing of focus to "extralegal execution by hanging" is 20c. Lynch mob is attested from 1838. Compare earlier Lydford law, from a place in Dartmoor, England, "where was held a Stannaries Court of summary jurisdiction" [Weekley], hence:
Lydford law: is to hang men first, and indite them afterwards. [Thomas Blount, "Glossographia," 1656]
Also Jedburgh justice (1706). Related: Lynched; lynching.
lynx (n.) Look up lynx at
mid-14c., from Latin lynx (source of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian lince), from Greek lyngz, perhaps from PIE *leuk- "light" (see light (n.)), in reference to its gleaming eyes or its ability to see in the dark.
If that men hadden eyghen of a beeste that highte lynx, so that the lokynge of folk myghte percen thurw the thynges that withstonden it. [Chaucer's "Boethius," c. 1380]
Compare Lithuanian luzzis, Old High German luhs, German luchs, Old English lox, Dutch los, Swedish lo "lynx."
Lyons Look up Lyons at
city in France at the confluence of the Rhone and the Saône, from Gallo-Latin Lugudunum, literally "fort of Lug." The adjectival form is Lyonnaise.
lyre (n.) Look up lyre at
harp-like instrument, c. 1200, from Old French lire "lyre," from Latin lyra, from Greek lyra, a foreign word of uncertain origin.
lyric (n.) Look up lyric at
"a lyric poem," 1580s, from Middle French lyrique "short poem expressing personal emotion," from Latin lyricus "of or for the lyre," from Greek lyrikos "singing to the lyre," from lyra (see lyre). Meaning "words of a popular song" is first recorded 1876. Related: lyrics.
lyrical (adj.) Look up lyrical at
1580s, from lyric (n.) + -al (1). Related: Lyrically.
lyricism (n.) Look up lyricism at
1760, from lyric + -ism.
lyricist (n.) Look up lyricist at
1832, "one skilled in lyric composition;" from lyric + -ist. Meaning "one who writes lyrics" is from 1908.
Lysander Look up Lysander at
masc. proper name, from Greek Lysandros, literally "releasing men," from comb. form of lyein "to release" (see lose) + -andros "man" (see anthropo-).
lyse (v.) Look up lyse at
1927, back-formation from lysis.
lysergic (adj.) Look up lysergic at
1934, from -lys- in hydrolysis + first syllable of ergot + -ic.
lysis (n.) Look up lysis at
"dissolution of cells, bacteria, etc.," 1902, from Latin lysis, from Greek lysis "a loosening," from lyein "to unfasten, loose, loosen, untie" (see lose).
lyso- Look up lyso- at
word-forming element indicating "loosening, dissolving, freeing," before vowels lys-, from comb. form of Greek lysis "a loosening" (see lyse).
lysol (n.) Look up lysol at
brown oily coal-tar solution used as a disinfectant, 1890, coined, perhaps in German, from Greek lysis "dissolution" (see lysis) + -ol, element indicating "oil."
lysosome (n.) Look up lysosome at
1955, from lyso- + -some (3).
lysozyme Look up lysozyme at
1922, from lyso- + suffix from enzyme.
lytic (adj.) Look up lytic at
"pertaining to lysis," 1889, from Greek lytikos "able to loose, loosing," from lytos "loosed," verbal adjective of lyein "to unfasten, loose, loosen, untie" (see lose). Related: Lytically.