Langobard Look up Langobard at Dictionary.com
see Lombard. Related: Langobardic.
language (n.) Look up language at Dictionary.com
late 13c., langage "words, what is said, conversation, talk," from Old French langage "speech, words, oratory; a tribe, people, nation" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *linguaticum, from Latin lingua "tongue," also "speech, language," from PIE *dnghu- "tongue" (see tongue (n.)).

The -u- is an Anglo-French insertion (see gu-); it was not originally pronounced. Meaning "manner of expression" (vulgar language, etc.) is from c. 1300. Meaning "a language," as English, French, Arabic, etc., is from c. 1300; Century Dictionary" defines this as: "The whole body of uttered signs employed and understood by a given community as expressions of its thoughts; the aggregate of words, and of methods of their combination into sentences, used in a community for communication and record and for carrying on the processes of thought." In Middle English the word also was used of dialects:
Mercii, þat beeþ men of myddel Engelond[,] vnderstondeþ bettre þe side langages, norþerne and souþerne, þan norþerne and souþerne vnderstondeþ eiþer oþer. [John of Trevisa, translation of Bartholomew de Glanville's "De proprietatibus rerum," 1398]



In oþir inglis was it drawin, And turnid ic haue it til ur awin Language of the norþin lede, Þat can na noþir inglis rede. ["Cursor Mundi," early 14c.]
Language barrier attested from 1885.
Languedoc (n.) Look up Languedoc at Dictionary.com
language of the south of France in the Middle Ages, the language of the troubadours (Provençal is one of its principal branches), 1660s, from French langue d'oc "speech of the south of France," literally "the language of 'yes,' " from oc, the word used south of the Loire for "yes," which is from Latin hoc "this," which in Vulgar Latin came to mean "yes" (see oui). The name also was given to one of the provinces where it was spoken. Opposed to langue d'oïl, from the way of saying "yes" in the north of France, from Old French oïl (Modern French oui). The langue d'oïl developed into standard Modern French. Related: Languedocian.
languet (n.) Look up languet at Dictionary.com
"something in the shape of a little tongue," early 15c., from Old French languete (Modern French languette), literally "little tongue," diminutive of langue "tongue," from Latin lingua "tongue" (see lingual). As the name of a kind of hood in 17c. women's dress it probably is a separate borrowing of the French word.
languid (adj.) Look up languid at Dictionary.com
1590s, from Middle French languide (16c.) and directly from Latin languidus "faint, listless, and sluggish from weakness, fatigue, or want of energy," from languere "be weak or faint," from PIE root *(s)leg- "to be slack" (see lax). Related: Languidly; languidness.
languish (v.) Look up languish at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "fail in strength, exhibit signs of approaching death," from languiss-, present participle stem of Old French languir "be listless, pine, grieve, fall ill," from Vulgar Latin *languire, from Latin languere "be weak or faint" (see lax). Weaker sense "be lovesick, grieve, lament, grow faint," is from mid-14c. Related: Languished; languishing.
languor (n.) Look up languor at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "disease, distress, mental suffering," from Old French langor "sickness, weakness" (Modern French langueur), from Latin languorem (nominative languor) "faintness, feebleness, lassitude," from languere "be weak or faint" (see lax). Sense shifted to "faintness, weariness" (1650s) and "habitual want of energy" (1825).
languorous (adj.) Look up languorous at Dictionary.com
late 15c., "mournful," from Old French langoros (11c.), from langor (see languor). Meaning "suggestive of languor" is from 1821. Related: Languorously; languorousness.
Lanier Look up Lanier at Dictionary.com
surname, from Old French lainier "wool-monger," from Latin lana "wool" (see wool).
lank (adj.) Look up lank at Dictionary.com
Old English hlanc "loose and empty, slender, flaccid," from Proto-Germanic *hlanka-, forming words meaning "to bend, turn," perhaps with a connecting notion of "flexible" (see flank (n.)). In Middle English, "Some examples may be long adj. with unvoicing of g" ["Middle English Dictionary"]
lanky (adj.) Look up lanky at Dictionary.com
1630s, "straight and flat," used of hair, from lank + -y (2); sense of "awkwardly tall and thin" is first recorded 1818. Related: Lankiness.
lanolin (n.) Look up lanolin at Dictionary.com
fatty matter extracted from sheep's wool," 1885, from German Lanolin, coined by German physician Mathias Eugenius Oscar Liebreich (1838-1908) from Latin lana "wool" (see wool) + oleum "oil, fat" (see oil (n.)) + chemical suffix -in (2).
lantern (n.) Look up lantern at Dictionary.com
mid-13c., from Old French lanterne "lamp, lantern, light" (12c.), from Latin lanterna "lantern, lamp, torch," altered (by influence of Latin lucerna "lamp") from Greek lampter "torch," from lampein "to shine" (see lamp). Variant lanthorn (16c.-19c.) was folk etymology based on the common use of horn as a translucent cover. Lantern-jaws "hollow, long cheeks" is from a resemblance noted since at least mid-14c.; Johnson suggests the idea is "a thin visage, such as if a candle were burning in the mouth might transmit the light."
lanthanum (n.) Look up lanthanum at Dictionary.com
metallic rare earth element, 1841, coined in Modern Latin by Swedish chemist and mineralogist Carl Gustav Mosander (1797-1858), who discovered it in 1839, from Greek lanthanein "to lie hidden, escape notice," from PIE root *ladh- "to be hidden" (see latent). So called because the element was "concealed" in rare minerals.
lanyard (n.) Look up lanyard at Dictionary.com
also laniard, alternative spelling (influenced by nautical yard (2) "long beam used to support a sail") of Middle English lainer, "thong for fastening parts of armor or clothing" (late 14c.), from Old French laniere "thong, lash," from lasniere, from lasne "strap, thong," apparently altered (by metathesis and influence of Old French las "lace") from nasliere, from Frankish *nastila or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *nastila- (cognates: Old High German, Old Saxon nestila "lace, strap, band," German nestel "string, lace, strap"), from PIE root *ned- "to knot."
Laocoon Look up Laocoon at Dictionary.com
Trojan priest of Apollo, from Latin Laocoon, from Greek Laukoun, from laos "people" (see lay (adj.)) + koeo "I mark, perceive."
Laocoön, n. A famous piece of antique sculpture representing a priest of that time and his two sons in the folds of two enormous serpents. The skill and diligence with which the old man and lads support the serpents and keep them up in their work have been justly regarded as one of the noblest artistic illustrations of the mastery of human intelligence over brute inertia. [Ambrose Bierce, "Devil's Dictionary," 1911]
Laodicean Look up Laodicean at Dictionary.com
"lukewarm in religion," 1560s, from Laodicea, Syrian city (modern Latakia) whose early Christians were chastised in the Bible for indifference to their religion [Rev. iii:14-16]. The city is said to be named for the 3c B.C.E. Syrian queen Laodice, wife of Antiochus II.
Laos Look up Laos at Dictionary.com
Southeast Asian land, from the name of legendary founder Lao. Related: Laotian.
lap (n.) Look up lap at Dictionary.com
Old English læppa (plural læppan) "skirt or flap of a garment," from Proto-Germanic *lapp- (cognates: Old Frisian lappa, Old Saxon lappo, Middle Dutch lappe, Dutch lap, Old High German lappa, German Lappen "rag, shred," Old Norse leppr "patch, rag"), from PIE root *leb- "be loose, hang down."

Sense of "lower part of a shirt" led to that of "upper legs of seated person" (c. 1300). Used figuratively ("bosom, breast") from late 14c., as in lap of luxury, first recorded 1802. From 15c.-In 17c. the word (often in plural) was a euphemism for "female pudendum," but this is not the source of lap dance, which is first recorded 1993.
To lap dance, you undress, sit your client down, order him to stay still and fully clothed, then hover over him, making a motion that you have perfected by watching Mister Softee ice cream dispensers. [Anthony Lane, review of "Showgirls," "New Yorker," Oct. 16, 1995]
That this is pleasure and not torment for the client is something survivors of the late 20c. will have to explain to their youngers.
lap (v.1) Look up lap at Dictionary.com
"take up liquid with the tongue," from Old English lapian "to lap up, drink," from Proto-Germanic *lapojan (cognates: Old High German laffen "to lick," Old Saxon lepil, Dutch lepel, German Löffel "spoon"), from PIE imitative base *lab- (cognates: Greek laptein "to sip, lick," Latin lambere "to lick"), indicative of licking, lapping, smacking lips. Meaning "splash gently" first recorded 1823, based on similarity of sound. Related: Lapped; lapping.
lap (v.2) Look up lap at Dictionary.com
"to lay one part over another," early 14c., "to surround (something with something else)," from lap (n.). Figurative use, "to envelop (in love, sin, desire, etc.)" is from mid-14c. The sense of "to get a lap ahead (of someone) on a track" is from 1847, on notion of "overlapping." The noun in this sense is 1670s, originally "something coiled or wrapped up;" meaning "a turn around a track" (1861) also is from this sense. Related: Lapped; lapping; laps.
laparoscopy (n.) Look up laparoscopy at Dictionary.com
1855, from -scopy + Greek lapara "flank," from laparos "soft," from PIE *lep- "to peel;" + -scopy. Related: Laparoscopic; laparoscope.
lapdog (n.) Look up lapdog at Dictionary.com
also lap-dog, 1640s, from lap (n.) + dog (n.); figurative sense of "subservient person" is by 1950.
Senator McCarthy (R-Wis) renewed his Communists-in-Government charges today and called Senator Tydings (D-Md) the Truman administration's "whimpering lap dog." [AP news story, Aug. 7, 1950]
lapel (n.) Look up lapel at Dictionary.com
1751 (implied in lapelled), from lap (n.) + -el (2), diminutive suffix. Compare lappet.
lapful (n.) Look up lapful at Dictionary.com
1610s, from lap (n.) + -ful.
lapidary (n.) Look up lapidary at Dictionary.com
"one skilled in working with precious stones," late 14c., from Old French lapidaire (12c.), from Latin lapidarius "stonecutter," originally an adjective "of or working with stone," from lapis (genitive lapidis) "stone." Meaning "a treatise on precious stones" is late 14c. Related: Lapidarist.
lapidation (n.) Look up lapidation at Dictionary.com
"stoning to death," 1610s, from Latin lapidationem (nominative lapidatio), noun of action from past participle stem of lapidare "to throw stones at," from the stem of lapis "stone."
lapis lazuli (n.) Look up lapis lazuli at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Middle Latin lapis lazuli, literally "stone of azure," from Latin lapis "stone" + Medieval Latin lazuli, genitive of lazulum, from Arabic lazuward (see azure).
Laplace Look up Laplace at Dictionary.com
in scientific phrases, a reference to French astronomer and mathematician Pierre Simon, Marquis de Laplace (1749-1827).
Lapland Look up Lapland at Dictionary.com
1570s, from Lapp, the Swedish name for this Finnic people (their name for themselves was Sabme), which probably originally was an insulting coinage (compare Middle High German lappe "simpleton"). In English traditionally the home of witches and wizards who had power to conjure winds and tempests. Related: Laplander.
Lapp Look up Lapp at Dictionary.com
1859; see Lapland.
lappet (n.) Look up lappet at Dictionary.com
"a small flap," 1570s; earlier "lobe of a body part" (early 15c.), from Middle English lappe "lap" (see lap (n.)) + -et, diminutive suffix.
lapse (v.) Look up lapse at Dictionary.com
early 15c., said to be from lapse (n.) or from Latin lapsare "to lose one's footing." Related: Lapsed; lapses; lapsing.
lapse (n.) Look up lapse at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "elapsing of time, expiration;" also "temporary forfeiture of a legal right," from Middle French laps "lapse," from Latin lapsus "a slipping and falling, flight (of time), falling into error," from labi "to slip, slide, sink, fall; decline, go to ruin." Meaning "moral transgression, sin" is c. 1500; that of "slip of the memory" is 1520s; that of "a falling away from one's faith" is from 1650s.
laptop Look up laptop at Dictionary.com
also lap-top, as a type of portable computer, 1984, from lap (n.) + top (1), on model of desktop.
lapwing (n.) Look up lapwing at Dictionary.com
Middle English lappewinke (late 14c.), lapwyngis (early 15c.), folk etymology alteration of Old English hleapewince, probably literally "leaper-winker," from hleapan "to leap" + wince "totter, waver, move rapidly," related to wincian "to wink." Said to be so called from "the manner of its flight" [OED] "in reference to its irregular flapping manner of flight" [Barnhart], but the lapwing also flaps on the ground pretending to have a broken wing to lure egg-hunters away from its nest, which seems a more logical explanation. Its Greek name was polyplagktos "luring on deceitfully."
larboard (n.) Look up larboard at Dictionary.com
"left-hand side of a ship" (to a person on board and facing the bow), 1580s, from Middle English ladde-borde (c. 1300), perhaps literally "the loading side," if this was the side on which goods were loaded onto a ship, from laden "to load" + bord "ship's side." Altered 16c. on influence of starboard, then largely replaced by the specialized sense of port (n.1). to avoid confusion of similar-sounding words. The Old English term was bæcboard, literally "back board" (see starboard).
larcenist (n.) Look up larcenist at Dictionary.com
1803, from larceny + -ist. Earlier was larcener (1630s).
larcenous (adj.) Look up larcenous at Dictionary.com
1742, from larceny + -ous.
larceny (n.) Look up larceny at Dictionary.com
late 15c., with -y (3) + Anglo-French larcin (late 13c.), from Old French larrecin, larcin "theft, robbery" (11c.), from Latin latrocinium "robbery, freebooting, highway-robbery, piracy," from latro "robber, bandit," also "hireling, mercenary," ultimately from a Greek source akin to latron "pay, hire, wages," from a suffixed form of PIE root *le- (1) "to get."
larch (n.) Look up larch at Dictionary.com
1540s, from German Lärche, from Middle High German larche, from Old High German *larihha, from Latin larix (genitive laricis), probably a loan-word from an Alpine Gaulish language, corresponding phonetically to Old Celtic *darik- "oak" (see Druid and tree).
lard (n.) Look up lard at Dictionary.com
late 14c. (possibly early 13c.), "rendered fat of a swine," from Old French larde "joint, meat," especially "bacon fat" (12c.), and directly from Latin lardum "lard, bacon, cured swine's flesh," probably cognate with Greek larinos "fat," laros "pleasing to the taste."
lard (v.) Look up lard at Dictionary.com
"prepare (meat) for roasting by inserting of pieces of salt pork, etc., into it," mid-14c., from Old French larder "to lard" (12c.), from lard "bacon fat" (see lard (n.)). Figuratively, of speech or writing, from 1540s. Related: Larded; larding.
larder (n.) Look up larder at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "supply of salt pork, bacon, and other meats," later in reference to the room for processing and storing such (late 14c.), from Anglo-French larder, Old French lardier "a place for meats," from Medieval Latin lardarium "a room for meats," from Latin lardum "lard, bacon" (see lard (n.)). Meaning "department of the royal household or of a monastic house in charge of stored meats" is mid-15c. Surname Lardner "person in charge of a larder" is attested from mid-12c.
lardy (adj.) Look up lardy at Dictionary.com
1879, from lard (n.) + -y (2). Related: Lardiness.
lares (n.) Look up lares at Dictionary.com
"Roman tutelary gods, household deities," Latin, plural of lar.
large (adj.) Look up large at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, "bountiful, inclined to give or spend freely," also, of areas, "great in expanse," from Old French large "broad, wide; generous, bounteous," from Latin largus "abundant, copious, plentiful; bountiful, liberal in giving," of unknown origin. Main modern meanings "extensive; big in overall size" emerged 14c. An older sense of "liberated, free from restraining influence" is preserved in at large (late 14c.). Adjective phrase larger-than-life first attested 1937 (bigger than life is from 1640s).
largely (adv.) Look up largely at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, "liberally, generously, bountifully;" also "in large measure; abundantly," from large + -ly (2). Meaning "extensively, to a great extent" is c. 1400.
largeness (n.) Look up largeness at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, from large + -ness.
larger Look up larger at Dictionary.com
comparative of large (q.v.).