largesse (n.) Look up largesse at Dictionary.com
also largess, "willingness to give or spend freely; munificence," c. 1200, from Old French largesse "a bounty, munificence," from Vulgar Latin *largitia "abundance," from Latin largus "abundant" (see large). In medieval theology, "the virtue whose opposite is avarice, and whose excess is prodigality" ["Middle English Dictionary"]. For Old French suffix -esse, compare fortress.
largest (adj.) Look up largest at Dictionary.com
superlative of large (q.v.).
lariat (n.) Look up lariat at Dictionary.com
1832, American English, from Spanish la reata "the rope," from reatar "to tie against," from re- "back" + atar "to tie," from Latin aptare "to join" (see adapt).
lark (n.1) Look up lark at Dictionary.com
"songbird," early 14c., earlier lauerche (c. 1200), from Old English lawerce (late Old English laferce), from Proto-Germanic *laiw(a)rikon (cognates: Old Saxon lewerka, Frisian liurk, Old Norse lævirik, Dutch leeuwerik, German Lerche), of unknown origin. Some Old English and Old Norse forms suggest a compound meaning "treason-worker," but there is no folk tale to explain or support this.
lark (n.2) Look up lark at Dictionary.com
"spree, frolic," 1811, possibly shortening of skylark (1809), sailors' slang "play rough in the rigging of a ship" (larks were proverbial for high-flying), or from English dialectal lake/laik "to play" (c. 1300, from Old Norse leika "to play," from PIE *leig- "to leap") with intrusive -r- common in southern British dialect. The verb lake, considered characteristic of Northern English vocabulary, is the opposite of work but lacks the other meanings of play. As a verb, from 1813. Related: Larked; larking.
larking (n.) Look up larking at Dictionary.com
"fun, frolicking," 1813, from present participle of lark (v.); see lark (n.2).
larkspur (n.) Look up larkspur at Dictionary.com
type of plant, 1570s, from lark (n.) + spur (n.); so called from resemblance to the bird's large hind claws.
larrup (v.) Look up larrup at Dictionary.com
"to beat, thrash," 1823, of unknown origin, possibly related to Dutch larpen "to thrash." First mentioned as a Suffolk dialect word.
Larry Look up Larry at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, often a familiar form of Lawrence.
larva (n.) Look up larva at Dictionary.com
1650s, "a ghost, specter," from Latin larva (plural larvae), earlier larua "ghost," also "mask;" applied in biological sense 1768 by Linnaeus because immature forms of insects "mask" the adult forms. On the double sense of the Latin word, Carlo Ginzburg, among other students of mythology and folklore, has commented on "the well-nigh universal association between masks and the spirits of the dead."
larvae (n.) Look up larvae at Dictionary.com
plural of larva (q.v.).
larval (adj.) Look up larval at Dictionary.com
1650s, from Latin larvalis, from larva (see larva).
laryngeal (adj.) Look up laryngeal at Dictionary.com
1795, from medical Latin laryngeus, from Greek larynx (see larynx) + English -al (1).
laryngitis (n.) Look up laryngitis at Dictionary.com
1822, Medical Latin, from comb. form of larynx (q.v.) + -itis "inflammation."
larynx (n.) Look up larynx at Dictionary.com
1570s, from Middle French larynx (16c.), from Modern Latin, from Greek larynx (genitive laryngos) "the upper windpipe," probably from laimos "throat" (a word of uncertain etymology), influenced by pharynx "throat, windpipe."
lasagna (n.) Look up lasagna at Dictionary.com
"pasta cut in long, wide strips; a dish made from this," 1760 (as an Italian word in English), from Italian (plural is lasagne), from Vulgar Latin *lasania, from Latin lasanum "a pot," from Greek lasanon "pot with feet, trivet."
lascar (n.) Look up lascar at Dictionary.com
East Indian sailor, 1620s, from Portuguese lachar, from Hindi lashkari "soldier, native sailor," from lashkar "army, camp," from Persian lashkar. Compare Arabic al-'askar "the army," perhaps from Persian.
lascivious (adj.) Look up lascivious at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Middle French lascivieux or directly from Late Latin lasciviosus (used in a scolding sense by Isidore and other early Church writers), from Latin lascivia "lewdness, playfulness, frolicsomeness, jolity," from lascivus "lewd, playful, frolicsome, wanton," from PIE *las-ko-, from *las- "to be eager, wanton, or unruly" (cognates: Sanskrit -lasati "yearns," lasati "plays, frolics," Hittite ilaliya- "to desire, covet," Greek laste "harlot," Old Church Slavonic laska "flattery," Slovak laska "love," Old Irish lainn "greedy," Gothic lustus, Old English lust "lust"). Related: Lasciviously; lasciviousness. In 17c. also with a verbal form, lasciviate.
laser (n.) Look up laser at Dictionary.com
1960, acronym for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation," on pattern of 1955 MASER. A corresponding verb, lase, was coined 1962.
lash (n.) Look up lash at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, las "a blow, a stroke," later "flexible part of a whip" (late 14c.), possibly imitative. The verb might be the source of the noun.
lash (v.2) Look up lash at Dictionary.com
"bind," 1620s, originally nautical, from Middle French lachier, from Old French lacier "to lace" (see lace (v.)). Related: Lashed; lashing.
lash (v.1) Look up lash at Dictionary.com
"to strike with a whip," c. 1300, "to deal a blow;" later "to whip" (late 14c.); see lash (n.). Lash out "to strike out violently" is from 1560s. Related: Lashed; lashing.
lashing (n.) Look up lashing at Dictionary.com
"a beating, flogging," c. 1400, verbal noun from lash (v.1).
lass (n.) Look up lass at Dictionary.com
"young woman," c. 1300, probably from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Swedish løsk kona "unmarried woman," but also perhaps related to Old Norse löskr "idle, weak," West Frisian lask "light, thin." Liberman suggests Old Danish las "rag." "Slang words for 'rag' sometimes acquire the jocular meaning 'child' and especially 'girl.'" "Used now only of mean girls" [Johnson, who also has lasslorn "forsaken by his mistress"]. Paired with lad since early 15c. Scottish diminutive lassie first recorded 1725.
lassitude (n.) Look up lassitude at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Middle French lassitude (14c.), from Latin lassitudinem (nominative lassitudo) "faintness, weariness," from lassus "faint, tired, weary," from PIE *led- "slow, weary" (source also of Old English læt "sluggish, slow;" see late (adj.)), from root *le- "to let go, slacken" (see lenient).
lasso Look up lasso at Dictionary.com
1807 (v.); 1808 (n.), American English, from Spanish lazo, from Latin laqueum (nominative laqueus) "noose, snare" (see lace (n.)).
last (adj., adv.) Look up last at Dictionary.com
"following all others," from Old English latost (adj.) and lætest (adv.), superlative of læt (see late). Cognate with Old Frisian lest, Dutch laatst, Old High German laggost, German letzt. Meaning "most recent" is from c. 1200. The noun, "last person or thing," is c. 1200, from the adjective. Last hurrah is from the title of Edwin O'Connor's 1956 novel. Last word "final, definitive statement" is from 1650s. A dying person's last words so called by 1740. As an adjective, last-minute attested from 1913. Last-chance (adj.) is from 1962.
last (v.) Look up last at Dictionary.com
"endure, go on existing," from Old English læstan "to continue, endure," earlier "accomplish, carry out," literally "to follow a track," from Proto-Germanic *laistjan "to follow a track" (cognates: Gothic laistjan "to follow," Old Frisian lasta "to fulfill, to pay (duties)," German leisten "to perform, achieve, afford"), from PIE *leis- (1) "track, furrow" (see learn).

Related to last (n.), not to last (adj.). Related: Lasted; lasting.
last (n.) Look up last at Dictionary.com
"shoemaker's block," from Old English læste, from last "track, footprint, trace," from Proto-Germanic *laist- (cognates: Old Norse leistr "the foot," Middle Dutch, Dutch leest "form, model, last," Old High German leist "track, footprint," German Leisten "last," Gothic laistjan "to follow," Old English læran "to teach"); see last (v.).
last-ditch (adj.) Look up last-ditch at Dictionary.com
"on the last line of defense," 1715, attributed to William of Orange; if so, originally in a Dutch context.
We have no space to enter into the detail of the heroic struggle maintained by the young stadtholder and his faithful Dutchmen; how they laid their country under water, and successfully kept the powerful invader at bay. Once the contest seemed utterly hopeless. William was advised to compromise the matter, and yield up Holland as the conquest of Louis XIV. "No," replied he; "I mean to die in the last ditch." A speech alone sufficient to render his memory immortal. [Agnes Strickland, "Lives of the Queens of England," London, 1847]
lastly (adv.) Look up lastly at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from last (adj.) + -ly (2).
latch (v.) Look up latch at Dictionary.com
Old English læccan "to grasp or seize," from Proto-Germanic *lakkijanan. Not found in other Germanic languages; probably from PIE *(s)lagw- "to seize" (see analemma). In its original sense the verb was paralleled in Middle English and then replaced by French import catch (v.). Meaning "to fasten with a latch" is mid-15c. Related: Latched; latching.
latch (n.) Look up latch at Dictionary.com
a fastening for a door, etc., late 13c., probably from latch (v.).
latchkey (n.) Look up latchkey at Dictionary.com
also latch-key, 1825, a key to draw back the latch of a door, from latch (n.) + key (n.1). Latchkey child first recorded 1944, American English, in reference to children who come home from school while both parents are at work.
Many elementary school principals and teachers have always known the "latchkey" child or the "eight-hour orphan." [New York State Teachers Association, "New York State Education," 1944]
late (adj.) Look up late at Dictionary.com
Old English læt "occurring after the customary or expected time," originally "slow, sluggish," from Proto-Germanic *lata- (cognates: Old Norse latr "sluggish, lazy," Middle Dutch, Old Saxon lat, German laß "idle, weary," Gothic lats "weary, sluggish, lazy," latjan "to hinder"), from PIE *led- "slow, weary" (cognates: Latin lassus "faint, weary, languid, exhausted," Greek ledein "to be weary"), from root *le- "to let go, slacken" (see let (v.)).

The sense of "deceased" (as in the late Mrs. Smith) is from late 15c., from an adverbial sense of "recently." Of women's menstrual periods, attested colloquially from 1962. Related: Lateness. As an adverb, from Old English late.
lateen Look up lateen at Dictionary.com
mid-18c., phonetic spelling of French latine in voile latine, literally "Latin sail" (see Latin). So called because it was used in the Mediterranean.
lately (adv.) Look up lately at Dictionary.com
Old English lætlice "slow, sluggish;" see late (adj.) + -ly (2). Meaning "within recent times" is from late 15c., probably a new formation.
latency (n.) Look up latency at Dictionary.com
1630s, "condition of being concealed," from latent + -cy. Meaning "delay between stimulus and response" is from 1882; computer sense (latency time) is from 1954.
latent (adj.) Look up latent at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "concealed, secret," from Latin latentem (nominative latens) "lying hid, secret, unknown," present participle of latere "to lie hidden," from PIE *laidh-, from root *la- "to be hidden" (cognates: Greek lethe "forgetfulness, oblivion," Old Church Slavonic lajati "to lie in wait for"). Meaning "dormant" is from 1680s.
later Look up later at Dictionary.com
comparative of late. Meaning "farewell" is from 1954, U.S. colloquial, short for (I'll) see you later.
lateral (adj.) Look up lateral at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Middle French latéral and directly from Latin lateralis "belonging to the side," from latus (genitive lateris) "side" (see oblate (n.)). As a noun, from 1630s, "a side part." As a type of pass to the side in U.S. football, it is attested from 1934. Related: Laterally.
Lateran Look up Lateran at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, popular name of cathedral church of St. John Lateran at Rome, which is built on the site of the palace of the Plautii Laterani, a Roman family. As a papal headquarters, it was the site of five general councils of the Western Church.
latescent (adj.) Look up latescent at Dictionary.com
"tending to become latent," 1836, from Latin latescentem (nominative latescens), present participle of latescere "to hide oneself, be hidden," inchoative of latere (see latent).
latest (adj.) Look up latest at Dictionary.com
superlative of late. The latest "the news" attested from 1886.
latex (n.) Look up latex at Dictionary.com
1660s, "body fluid," from Latin latex (genitive laticis) "liquid, fluid," probably from Greek latax "dregs," from PIE root *lat- "wet" (cognates: Middle Irish laith "beer," Welsh llaid "mud, mire," Lithuanian latakas "pool, puddle," Old Norse leþja "filth"). Used 1835 to mean "milky liquid from plants." Meaning "water-dispersed polymer particles" (used in rubber goods, paints, etc.) is from 1937. As an adjective by 1954, in place of clasically correct laticiferous.
lath (n.) Look up lath at Dictionary.com
late 13c., probably from Old English *læððe, variant of lætt "lath," apparently from a Proto-Germanic *laþþo (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Norse latta, Middle Dutch, German latte "lath," Dutch lat, Middle High German lade "plank," which is source of German Laden "counter," hence, "shop"). As a verb, 1530s, from the noun.
lathe (n.) Look up lathe at Dictionary.com
"machine for turning," early 14c., of uncertain origin, probably from a Scandinavian source (compare Danish drejelad "turning-lathe," Old Norse hlaða "pile of shavings under a lathe," related to hlaða "to load, lade;" see lade (v.)).
lather (n.) Look up lather at Dictionary.com
Old English lauþr "foam, washing soda," from Proto-Germanic *lauthran (cognates: Old Norse lauðr "washing soap, foam"), from PIE *loutro- (cognates: Gaulish lautron, Old Irish loathar "bathing tub," Greek louein "to bathe," Latin lavere "to wash"), which is from root *leu(e)- "to wash" + instrumentative suffix *-tro-. The modern noun might be a 16c. redevelopment from the verb. Meaning "violent perspiration" (especially of horses) is from 1650s. Meaning "state of agitation" (such as induces sweating) is from 1839.
lather (v.) Look up lather at Dictionary.com
Old English laþran, from Proto-Germanic *lauthrjan (source also of Old Norse leyðra "to clean, wash;" see lather (n.)). Related: Lathered; lathering.
Latin (n.) Look up Latin at Dictionary.com
"the language of the (ancient) Romans," Old English latin, from Latin latinium (see Latin (adj.)). The more common form in Old English was læden, from Vulgar Latin *ladinum, probably influenced by Old English leoden "language."