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.
lavish (v.) Look up lavish at Dictionary.com
1540s, from lavish (adj.). Related: Lavished; lavishing.
law (n.) Look up law at Dictionary.com
Old English lagu (plural laga, comb. form lah-) "law, ordinance, rule, regulation; district governed by the same laws," from Old Norse *lagu "law," collective plural of lag "layer, measure, stroke," literally "something laid down or fixed," from Proto-Germanic *lagan "put, lay" (see lay (v.)).

Replaced Old English æ and gesetnes, which had the same sense development as law. Compare also statute, from Latin statuere; German Gesetz "law," from Old High German gisatzida; Lithuanian istatymas, from istatyti "set up, establish." In physics, from 1660s. Law and order have been coupled since 1796.
law-abiding (adj.) Look up law-abiding at Dictionary.com
1839, from law + abiding.
lawbreaker (n.) Look up lawbreaker at Dictionary.com
also law-breaker, mid-15c., from law + agent noun from break (v.).
lawful (adj.) Look up lawful at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, laghful; see law + -ful. Similar construction in Old Norse logfullr. Related: Lawfully; lawfulness.
lawless (adj.) Look up lawless at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, lawelese (see law + -less) Related: Lawlessly; lawlessness.
lawmaker (n.) Look up lawmaker at Dictionary.com
also law-maker, late 15c., from law + maker.
lawman (n.) Look up lawman at Dictionary.com
1530s, "lawyer," from law + man (n.). Meaning "law-enforcement officer" is from 1865. There is an Anglo-Latin lagamannus "magistrate" from early 12c.
lawn (n.1) Look up lawn at Dictionary.com
"turf, stretch of grass," 1540s, laune "glade, open space between woods," from Middle English launde (c. 1300), from Old French lande "heath, moor, barren land; clearing" (12c.), from Gaulish (compare Breton lann "heath"), or from its Germanic cognate, source of English land (n.). The -d perhaps mistaken for an affix and dropped. Sense of "grassy ground kept mowed" first recorded 1733.
lawn (n.2) Look up lawn at Dictionary.com
"thin linen or cotton cloth," early 15c., probably from Laon, city in northern France, a center of linen manufacture. The town name is Old French Lan, from Latin Laudunum, of Celtic origin.
lawn mower (n.) Look up lawn mower at Dictionary.com
also lawn-mower, 1853 as a type of machine to cut grass, from lawn (n.1) + mower.
Lawrence Look up Lawrence at Dictionary.com
see Laurence.
Lawrencium (n.) Look up Lawrencium at Dictionary.com
1961, Modern Latin, from the name of Ernest O. Lawrence (1901-1958), U.S. physicist, cyclotron pioneer and founder of the lab where it was discovered. With metallic element ending -ium.
lawsuit (n.) Look up lawsuit at Dictionary.com
1620s, from law + suit (n.).
lawyer (n.) Look up lawyer at Dictionary.com
late 14c. (mid-14c. as a surname), from Middle English lawe "law" (see law) + -iere. Spelling with -y- first attested 1610s (see -yer).
lax (adj.) Look up lax at Dictionary.com
c. 1400, "loose" (in reference to bowels), from Latin laxus "wide, loose, open," figuratively "loose, free, wide," from PIE root *(s)leg- "to be slack, be languid" (cognates: Greek legein "to leave off, stop," lagos "hare," literally "with drooping ears," lagnos "lustful, lascivious," lagaros "slack, hollow, shrunken;" Latin languere "to be faint, weary," languidis "faint, weak, dull, sluggish, languid"). Of rules, discipline, etc., attested from mid-15c.
lax (n.) Look up lax at Dictionary.com
"salmon," from Old English leax (see lox).
laxative (adj.) Look up laxative at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French laxatif (13c.), from Medieval Latin laxativus "loosening," from Latin laxatus, past participle of laxare "loosen," from laxus "loose, lax" (see lax). The noun meaning "a laxative medicine" is from late 14c.
laxity (n.) Look up laxity at Dictionary.com
1520s, from Middle French laxité, from Latin laxitatem (nominative laxitas) "width, spaciousness," from laxus (see lax).
lay (v.) Look up lay at Dictionary.com
Old English lecgan "to place on the ground (or other surface)," also "put down (often by striking)," from Proto-Germanic *lagjan (cognates: Old Saxon leggian, Old Norse leggja, Old Frisian ledza, Middle Dutch legghan, Dutch leggen, Old High German lecken, German legen, Gothic lagjan "to lay, put, place"), causative of lie (v.2). As a noun, from 1550s, "act of laying." Meaning "way in which something is laid" (as in lay of the land) first recorded 1819.

Meaning "have sex with" first recorded 1934, in U.S. slang, probably from sense of "deposit" (which was in Old English, as in lay an egg, lay a bet, etc.), perhaps reinforced by to lie with, a phrase frequently met in the Bible. The noun meaning "woman available for sexual intercourse" is attested from 1930, but there are suggestions of it in stage puns from as far back as 1767. To lay for (someone) "await a chance at revenge" is from late 15c.; lay low "stay inconspicuous" is from 1839. To lay (someone) low preserves the secondary Old English sense.
lay (n.) Look up lay at Dictionary.com
"short song," mid-13c., from Old French lai "song, lyric," of unknown origin, perhaps from Celtic (compare Irish laid "song, poem," Gaelic laoidh "poem, verse, play") because the earliest verses so called were Arthurian ballads, but OED finds this "out of the question" and prefers a theory which traces it to a Germanic source, such as Old High German leich "play, melody, song."
lay (adj.) Look up lay at Dictionary.com
"uneducated; non-clerical," early 14c., from Old French lai "secular, not of the clergy" (Modern French laïque), from Late Latin laicus, from Greek laikos "of the people," from laos "people," of unknown origin. In Middle English, contrasted with learned, a sense revived 1810 for "non-expert."
layabout (n.) Look up layabout at Dictionary.com
"habitual loafer," 1932, from lay (v.) + about. One who "lays about" the house, etc.
layaway Look up layaway at Dictionary.com
1961, as a system of payments for merchandise, from lay (v.) + away. Earlier in the same sense was Australian lay-by (1930).
layer (n.) Look up layer at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "one who or that lays" (especially stones, "a mason"), agent noun from lay (v.). Passive sense of "that which is laid over a surface" first recorded 1610s, but because earliest English use was in cookery, this is perhaps from French liue "binding," used of a thickened sauce. Layer cake attested from 1881.
layer (v.) Look up layer at Dictionary.com
1832, from layer (n.). Related: Layered; layering.
layette (n.) Look up layette at Dictionary.com
"baby's outfit," 1839, from French layette, properly the box in which it comes, subsequently transferred to the linen, from Middle French layette "chest of drawers," from laie "drawer, box," from Middle Dutch laeye, related to lade, load (v.).
layman (n.) Look up layman at Dictionary.com
"non-cleric," early 15c., from lay (adj.) + man (n.). Meaning "outsider, non-expert" (especially in regards to law or medicine) is from late 15c. Related: Laymen.
layoff (n.) Look up layoff at Dictionary.com
also lay-off, lay off; 1889, "rest, respite;" from lay (v.) + off. Via seasonal labor with periodic down time, it came to have a sense of "temporary release from employment," and by 1960s was being used somewhat euphemistically for permanent releases of masses of workers by employers. The verbal phrase lay off is attested from 1868 as "dismiss" (an employee); meaning "stop disturbing" is from 1908.
layout (n.) Look up layout at Dictionary.com
also lay-out, "configuration, arrangement," 1852, from lay (v.) + out. Meaning "rough design of a printing job" is from 1910.
layover (n.) Look up layover at Dictionary.com
also lay-over, "a stop overnight," 1873, from lay (v.) + over. Earlier as "a cloth laid over a table-cloth" (1777).
layperson (n.) Look up layperson at Dictionary.com
1972, gender-neutral version of layman.