Latin (adj.) Look up Latin at Dictionary.com
Old English latin, from Latin Latinus "belonging to Latium," the region of Italy around Rome, possibly from PIE root *stela- "to spread, extend," with a sense of "flat country" (as opposed to the mountainous district of the Sabines), or from a prehistoric non-IE language. The Latin adjective also was used of the Roman language and people.

Used as a designation for "people whose languages descend from Latin" (1856), hence Latin America (1862). The Latin Quarter (French Quartier latin) of Paris, on the south (left) bank of the Seine, was the site of university buildings in the Middle Ages, hence the place where Latin was spoken. The surname Latimer, Lattimore, etc. is from Vulgar Latin latimarus, from Latin latinarius "interpreter," literally "a speaker of Latin." "What Latin was to the learned, that their tongue was to laymen; hence latino was used for any dialect, even Arabic and the language of birds ...." [Donkin, "Etymological Dictionary of the Romance Languages," 1864].
Latin America Look up Latin America at Dictionary.com
1862; see Latin (adj.). Related: Latin American (adj.), 1871.
Latino Look up Latino at Dictionary.com
"male Latin inhabitant of the United States" (fem. Latina), 1946, American English, from American Spanish, shortening of Latinoamericano "Latin-American" (see Latin America). As an adjective, attested from 1974.
Latino- Look up Latino- at Dictionary.com
prefix in use from 1939; see Latino.
latitude (n.) Look up latitude at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "breadth," from Old French latitude (13c.) and directly from Latin latitudo "breadth, width, extent, size," from latus "wide," from PIE root *stele- "to spread" (cognates: Old Church Slavonic steljo "to spread out," Armenian lain "broad"). Geographical sense also is from late 14c., literally "breadth" of a map of the known world. Figurative sense of "allowable degree of variation" is early 15c. Related: Latitudinal.
latitudinarian (adj.) Look up latitudinarian at Dictionary.com
1660s, "characterized by broad-mindedness," especially in reference to Episcopal clergymen indifferent to doctrinal details; from Latin latitudin-, from latitude in its meaning "freedom from narrow restrictions" (c. 1600). Related: Latitudinarianism.
latke (n.) Look up latke at Dictionary.com
"pancake made with grated potatoes," 1927, from Yiddish, from Russian latka "pastry," said to mean literally "a patch," but by Watkins traced to Greek elaia "olive."
latrine (n.) Look up latrine at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, probably from Latin latrina, contraction of lavatrina "washbasin, washroom," from lavatus, past participle of lavare "to wash" (see lave) + -trina, suffix denoting "workplace." Its reappearance in 1640s is probably a re-borrowing from French; especially of a privy of a camp, barracks, college, hospital, etc. Latrine rumor "baseless gossip" (of the kind that spreads in conversations in latrines) is military slang, first recorded 1918.
latte (n.) Look up latte at Dictionary.com
by 1990, espresso coffee with milk, short for caffè latte, from Italian, literally "milk coffee" (see cafe au lait).
latter (adj.) Look up latter at Dictionary.com
Old English lætra "slower," comparative of læt "late" (see late (adj.)). Sense of "second of two" first recorded 1550s. The modern later is a formation from mid-15c.
latterly Look up latterly at Dictionary.com
1734, from latter + -ly (2). Called by Johnson "a low word lately hatched." Related: Lattermost.
lattice (n.) Look up lattice at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, from Old French latiz "lattice," from late "lath, board, plank, batten" (Modern French latte), from Frankish or some other Germanic source, such as Old High German latta "lath;" see lath).
latticework (n.) Look up latticework at Dictionary.com
also lattice-work, late 15c., from lattice + work (n.).
Latvia Look up Latvia at Dictionary.com
Baltic nation, independent from 1918, named for its inhabitants, Latvian Latvji, whose ancient name is of unknown origin. In English, the people name was Lett. Parts of the modern state were known previously as Livonia (from Estonian liiv "sand") and Courland (from Curonians, name of a Lettish people, of unknown origin).
laud (v.) Look up laud at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French lauder "praise, extol," from Latin laudare "to praise, commend, honor, extol, eulogize," from laus (genitive laudis) "praise, fame glory." Probably cognate with Old English leoð "song, poem, hymn," from Proto-Germanic *leuthan (cognates: Old Norse ljoð "strophe," German Lied "song," Gothic liuþon "to praise"), and from an echoic PIE root *leu-. Related: Lauded; lauding.
laudable (adj.) Look up laudable at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Old French laudable and directly from Latin laudabilis "praiseworthy," from laudare (see laud). Related: Laudably.
laudanum (n.) Look up laudanum at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, from Modern Latin laudanum (1540s), coined by Paracelsus for a medicine he mixed, supposed to contain gold and crushed pearls and many expensive ingredients, but probably owing its effectiveness to only one of them, opium. Perhaps from Latin laudare "to praise," or from Latin ladanum "a gum resin," from Greek ladanon, a word perhaps of Semitic origin. The word soon came to be used for "any alcoholic tincture of opium." Latin ladanum was used in Middle English of plant resins, but this is not regarded as the source of the 16c. word.
laudation (n.) Look up laudation at Dictionary.com
late 15c., from Latin laudationem (nominative laudatio) "a praising, commendation," noun of action from past participle stem of laudare "to praise" (see laud).
laudator temporis acti Look up laudator temporis acti at Dictionary.com
Latin phrase, 1736, from Horace's laudator temporis acti se puero "a praiser of times past when he was a boy" [Ars Poetica, 173].
laudatory (adj.) Look up laudatory at Dictionary.com
1550s, from Middle French laudatoire and directly from Late Latin laudatorius, from Latin laudare (see laud).
lauds (n.) Look up lauds at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., from Old French; morning Church service in which psalms of praise to God (Psalms 148-150) are sung (see laud).
laugh (v.) Look up laugh at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old English (Anglian) hlæhhan, earlier hlihhan, from Proto-Germanic *klakhjan (cognates: Old Norse hlæja, Danish le, Old Frisian hlakkia, Old Saxon hlahhian, Middle Dutch and Dutch lachen, Old High German hlahhan, German lachen, Gothic hlahjan), from PIE *kleg-, of imitative origin (compare Latin cachinnare "to laugh aloud," Sanskrit kakhati "laughs," Old Church Slavonic chochotati "laugh," Lithuanian klageti "to cackle," Greek kakhazein). Originally with a "hard" -gh- sound, as in Scottish loch; the spelling remained after the pronunciation shifted to "-f."
If I coveted nowe to avenge the injuries that you have done me, I myght laughe in my slyve. [John Daus, "Sleidanes Commentaries," 1560]
Related: Laughed; laughing.
laugh (n.) Look up laugh at Dictionary.com
1680s, from laugh (v.). Meaning "a cause of laughter" is from 1895; ironic use (as in that's a laugh) attested from 1930. Laugh track "canned laughter on a TV program" is from 1961.
laughable (adj.) Look up laughable at Dictionary.com
1590s, from laugh (v.) + -able. Related: Laughably.
laughing (n.) Look up laughing at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., verbal noun from laugh (v.). Laughing matter (usually with negative) is from 1560s. Nitrous oxide has been called laughing gas since 1842 (for its exhilarating effects). Davy, experimenting with the gas, discovered these as far back as 1779: "When I took the bag from my mouth, I immediately laughed. The laughter was involuntary, but highly pleasurable, accompanied by a thrill all through me."
laughing-stock (n.) Look up laughing-stock at Dictionary.com
also laughingstock; 1510s, formed by analogy with whipping-stock "whipping post," later also "object of frequent whipping" (but that word is not attested in writing in this sense until 1670s). See laughing + stock (n.1). Also in the same sense was jesting-stock (1530s), and compare gaping-stock "person or thing regarded as an object of wonder." A Latin word for it was irridiculum.
Laughlin Look up Laughlin at Dictionary.com
Gaelic Lachlann, earlier Lochlann, literally "lake-" or "fjord-land," i.e. "Scandinavia;" as a name, denoting "one from Norway."
laughter (n.) Look up laughter at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old English hleahtor, from Proto-Germanic *hlahtraz (cognates: Old Norse hlatr, Danish latter, Old High German lahtar, German Gelächter); see laugh (v.).
launch (v.) Look up launch at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "to rush, plunge, leap, start forth; to be set into sudden motion," from Old North French lancher (Old French lancier) "to fling, hurl, throw, cast," from Late Latin lanceare "wield a lance," from Latin lancea "light spear" (see lance (n.)). Sense of "set (a boat) afloat" first recorded c. 1400, from notion of throwing it out on the water; generalized by 1600 to any sort of beginning. The noun meaning "a leap or a bound" is from mid-15c., from the verb. Meaning "the liftoff of a missile, spacecraft, etc." is from 1935. Launch pad attested from 1960.
launch (n.) Look up launch at Dictionary.com
"large boat carried on a warship," 1690s, from Portuguese lancha "barge, launch," apparently from Malay lancharan, from lanchar "quick, agile;" English spelling influenced by launch (v.).
launder (v.) Look up launder at Dictionary.com
1660s, "to wash linen," from noun launder "one who washes" (especially linen), mid-15c., a contraction of lavender, from Old French lavandier "washer, launderer," from Medieval Latin lavandaria "a washer," ultimately from Latin lavare "to wash" (see lave). Criminal banking sense first recorded 1961, from notion of making dirty money seem clean; brought to widespread use during U.S. Watergate scandal, 1973. Related: Laundered; laundering.
laundress (n.) Look up laundress at Dictionary.com
1540s; see laundry + -ess.
laundromat (n.) Look up laundromat at Dictionary.com
"automatic coin-operated public laundry," 1946, originally (1942) a proprietary name by Westinghouse for a type of automatic washing machine; from laundry + ending probably suggested by automat. Also used for public clothes-washing places in U.S. were washateria (1935), laundrette (1945). The Westinghouse machine was popular after the war and was available with coin chutes and timers.
laundry (n.) Look up laundry at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "place for washing;" mid-15c. "act of washing," from Old French lavanderie, from Latin lavandaria, plural of lavandarium "things to be washed," from lavare "to wash" (see lave). As a verb, from 1880. Laundry list in figurative sense is from 1958.
Laura Look up Laura at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, from Italian, probably originally a pet form of Laurentia, fem. of Laurentius (see Laurence). Among the top 20 names for girls born in U.S. between 1963 and 1979.
Laurasia Look up Laurasia at Dictionary.com
1931; see Laurentian.
laureate (adj.) Look up laureate at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Latin laureatus "crowned with laurels," from laurea "laurel crown" (emblematic of victory or distinction in poetry), from fem. of laureus "of laurel," from laurus "laurel." Laureat poete first found in "Canterbury Tales" (form with the noun before the adjective, in imitation of Latin word order, is from c. 1400 in English); the first official one was probably Ben Jonson (1638), though the first recorded one was Dryden (1668). Extended to Nobel prize winners, 1947. As a noun, 1520s, from the adjective. Related: Laureateship.
laurel (n.) Look up laurel at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, lorrer, from Old French laurier (12c.), from Latin laurus "laurel tree," probably related to Greek daphne "laurel" (for change of d- to l- see lachrymose), probably from a pre-IE Mediterranean language. The change of second -r- to -l- after mid-14c. is by dissimilation. An emblem of victory or of distinction, hence the phrase to rest (originally repose) on one's laurels, first attested 1831.
Laurence Look up Laurence at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, from Old French Lorenz (French Laurent), from Latin Laurentius, literally "of Laurentum," a maritime town in Latium, literally "town of bay trees," from laurus (see laurel). The Italian form is Lorenzo. A popular given name in the Middle Ages, as a surname it is attested in England from mid-12c. Larkin is a pet-form. For some reason, the name since at least 18c. has been the personification of indolence (compare German der faule Lenz "Lazy Lawrence"). But in Scotland, the pet form Lowrie has been used for "a fox" (c. 1500), also for "a crafty person" (1560s).
Laurentian Look up Laurentian at Dictionary.com
in reference to granite strata in eastern Canada, 1863, named for the Laurentian Mountains, where it is found, which are named for the nearby St. Lawrence River. Hence, Laurasia, Paleozoic supercontinent comprising North America and Eurasia, 1931, from German (1928), from Laurentia, geologists' name for the ancient core of North America + (Eur)asia.
lav (n.) Look up lav at Dictionary.com
colloquial shortening of lavatory, attested from 1913.
lava (n.) Look up lava at Dictionary.com
1750, from Italian (Neapolitan or Calabrian dialect) lava "torrent, stream," traditionally from Latin lavare "to wash" (see lave). Originally applied in Italian to flash flood rivulets after downpours, then to streams of molten rock from Vesuvius. Alternative etymology is from Latin labes "a fall," from labi "to fall." Lava lamp is attested from 1965, also lava light (reg. U.S., 1968, as Lava Lite).
lavage (n.) Look up lavage at Dictionary.com
"a washing," 1895, from French lavage, from laver "to wash" (see lave).
lavalier (n.) Look up lavalier at Dictionary.com
kind of ornament that hangs around the neck, from French lavallière, a kind of tie, after Louise Françoise de La Baume Le Blanc de La Vallière, Duchesse de La Vallière (1644-1710), mistress of Louis XIV from 1661-1667.
lavaliere Look up lavaliere at Dictionary.com
see lavalier.
lavation (n.) Look up lavation at Dictionary.com
"act of washing," 1620s, from Latin lavationem (nominative lavatio), noun of action from past participle stem of lavare (see lave). Related: Lavations.
lavatory (n.) Look up lavatory at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "washbasin," from Latin lavatorium "place for washing," noun use of neuter of adjective lavatorius "pertaining to washing," from lavatus, past participle of lavare "to wash" (see lave). Sense of "washroom" is first attested 1650s; as a euphemism for "toilet, W.C.," it is attested by 1864.
lave (v.) Look up lave at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, from Old English gelafian "wash by pouring, pour (water)," possibly an early English or West Germanic borrowing (compare Dutch laven, German laben) of Latin lavare "to wash," or its Old French descendant, laver. Latin lavare is from PIE *leu(e)- "to wash" (cognates: Latin luere "to wash," Greek louein "to wash, bathe," Old Irish loathar "basin," Breton laouer "trough," Old English leaþor "lather").
lavender (n.) Look up lavender at Dictionary.com
"fragrant plant of the mint family," c. 1300, from Anglo-French lavendre, Old French lavendre, from Medieval Latin lavendula "lavender" (10c.), perhaps from Latin lividus "bluish, livid." Associated with French lavande, Italian lavanda "a washing" (from Latin lavare "to wash;" see lave) because it was used to scent washed fabrics and as a bath perfume. (An identical Middle English word meant "laundress, washerwoman;" also, apparently, "prostitute, whore; camp follower" and is attested as a surname from early 13c.). The adjective meaning "pale purple color" is from 1840.
lavish (adj.) Look up lavish at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Middle French lavasse (n.) "torrent of rain, deluge," from Old French lavache, from laver "to wash," from Latin lavare "to wash" (see lave). Related: Lavishly.