- let (v.)
- Old English lætan "to allow to remain; let go, leave, depart from; leave undone; to allow; bequeath," also "to rent" (class VII strong verb; past tense let, past participle læten), from Proto-Germanic *letan (cognates: Old Saxon latan, Old Frisian leta, Dutch laten, German lassen, Gothic letan "to leave, let"), from PIE *le- (2) "to let go, slacken" (cognates: Latin lassus "faint, weary," Lithuanian leisti "to let, to let loose;" see lenient). If that derivation is correct, the primary sense would be "let go through weariness, neglect."
Of blood, from late Old English. To let (something) slip originally (1520s) was a reference to hounds on a leash; figurative use from 1540s. To let (someone) off "allow to go unpunished" is from 1814. To let on "reveal, divulge" is from 1725; to let up "cease, stop" is from 1787. Let alone "not to mention" is from 1812.
- let (n.)
- "stoppage, obstruction" (obsolete unless in legal contracts), late 12c., from archaic verb letten "to hinder," from Old English lettan "hinder, delay," from Proto-Germanic *latjan (cognates: Old Saxon lettian "to hinder," Old Norse letja "to hold back," Old High German lezzen "to stop, check," Gothic latjan "to hinder, make late," Old English læt "sluggish, slow, late"); see late.