British Library Cataloguing Data
The concise Oxford dictionary of current English.--8th ed.
1. English language--Dictionaries
I. Allen, R. E. (Robert Edward), 1944-423
ISBN 0-19-861243-5 thumb index
ISBN 0-19-861200-1 plain
LA abbr. 1 Library Association. 2 Los Angeles. 3 US Louisiana
(in official postal use).
La symb. Chem. the element lanthanum.
La. abbr. Louisiana.
la var. of LAH.
laager n. & v. --n. 1 esp. S.Afr. a camp or encampment, esp. formed
by a circle of wagons. 2 Mil. a park for armoured vehicles.
--v. 1 tr. a form (vehicles) into a laager. b encamp (people)
in a laager. 2 intr. encamp. [Afrik. f. Du. leger: see
Lab. abbr. 1 Labour. 2 Labrador.
lab n. colloq. a laboratory. [abbr.]
labarum n. 1 a symbolic banner. 2 Constantine the Great's imperial
standard, with Christian symbols added to Roman military
symbols. [LL: orig. unkn.]
labdanum var. of LADANUM.
n. literary a shaking, weakening, or downfall. [L labefacere
weaken f. labi fall + facere make]
label n. & v. --n. 1 a usu. small piece of paper, card, linen,
metal, etc., for attaching to an object and giving its name,
information about it, instructions for use, etc. 2 esp. derog.
a short classifying phrase or name applied to a person, a work
of art, etc. 3 a a small fabric label sewn into a garment
bearing the maker's name. b the logo, title, or trademark of
esp. a fashion or recording company (brought it out under his
own label). c the piece of paper in the centre of a gramophone
record describing its contents etc. 4 an adhesive stamp on a
parcel etc. 5 a word placed before, after, or in the course of
a dictionary definition etc. to specify its subject, register,
nationality, etc. 6 Archit. a dripstone. 7 Heraldry the mark
of an eldest son, consisting of a superimposed horizontal bar
with usu. three downward projections. --v.tr. (labelled,
labelling) 1 attach a label to. 2 (usu. foll. by as) assign to
a category (labelled them as irresponsible). 3 a replace (an
atom) by an atom of a usu. radioactive isotope as a means of
identification. b replace an atom in (a molecule) or atoms in
the molecules of (a substance). 4 (as labelled adj.) made
identifiable by the replacement of atoms. ЬЬlabeller n. [ME f.
OF, = ribbon, prob. f. Gmc (as LAP(1))]
labia pl. of LABIUM.
labial adj. & n. --adj. 1 a of the lips. b Zool. of, like, or
serving as a lip, a liplike part, or a labium. 2 Dentistry
designating the surface of a tooth adjacent to the lips. 3
Phonet. (of a sound) requiring partial or complete closure of
the lips (e.g. p, b, f, v, m, w; and vowels in which lips are
rounded, e.g. oo in m oon). --n. Phonet. a labial sound.
Ьlabial pipe Mus. an organ-pipe having lips; a flue-pipe.
ЬЬlabialism n. labialize v.tr. (also -ise). labially adv.
[med.L labialis f. L labia lips]
labiate n. & adj. --n. any plant of the family Labiatae, including mint
and rosemary, having square stems and a corolla or calyx divided
into two parts suggesting lips. --adj. 1 Bot. of or relating
to the Labiatae. 2 Bot. & Zool. like a lip or labium. [mod.L
labiatus (as LABIUM)]
labile adj. Chem. (of a compound) unstable; liable to displacement or
change esp. if an atom or group is easily replaced by other
atoms or groups. ЬЬlability n. [ME f. LL labilis f. labi to
labio- comb. form of the lips. [as LABIUM]
adj. (of a sound) made with the lips and teeth, e.g. f and v.
adj. (of a sound) made with the lips and soft palate, e.g. w.
labium n. (pl. labia) 1 (usu. in pl.) Anat. each of the two pairs of
skin folds that enclose the vulva. 2 the lower lip in the
mouth-parts of an insect or crustacean. 3 a lip, esp. the lower
one of a labiate plant's corolla. Ьlabia majora the larger
outer pair of labia (in sense 1). labia minora the smaller
inner pair of labia (in sense 1). [L, = lip]
US & Austral. var. of LABOUR etc.
n. (pl. -ies) a room or building fitted out for scientific
experiments, research, teaching, or the manufacture of drugs and
chemicals. [med.L laboratorium f. L laborare LABOUR]
laborious adj. 1 needing hard work or toil (a laborious task). 2 (esp.
of literary style) showing signs of toil; pedestrian; not
fluent. ЬЬlaboriously adv. laboriousness n. [ME f. OF
laborieus f. L laboriosus (as LABOUR)]
labour n. & v. (US, Austral. labor) --n. 1 a physical or mental
work; exertion; toil. b such work considered as supplying the
needs of a community. 2 a workers, esp. manual, considered as a
class or political force (a dispute between capital and labour).
b (Labour) the Labour Party. 3 the process of childbirth, esp.
the period from the start of uterine contractions to delivery
(has been in labour for three hours). 4 a particular task, esp.
of a difficult nature. --v. 1 intr. work hard; exert oneself.
2 intr. (usu. foll. by for, or to + infin.) strive for a purpose
(laboured to fulfil his promise). 3 tr. a treat at excessive
length; elaborate needlessly (I will not labour the point). b
(as laboured adj.) done with great effort; not spontaneous or
fluent. 4 intr. (often foll. by under) suffer under (a
disadvantage or delusion) (laboured under universal
disapproval). 5 intr. proceed with trouble or difficulty
(laboured slowly up the hill). 6 intr. (of a ship) roll or
pitch heavily. 7 tr. archaic or poet. till (the ground).
Ьlabour camp a prison camp enforcing a regime of hard labour.
Labour Day May 1 (or in the US and Canada the first Monday in
September), celebrated in honour of working people. Labour
Exchange Brit. colloq. or hist. an employment exchange; a
jobcentre. labour force the body of workers employed, esp. at a
single plant. labouring man a labourer. labour-intensive (of a
form of work) needing a large work force. labour in vain make a
fruitless effort. labour-market the supply of labour with
reference to the demand on it. labour of Hercules a task
needing enormous strength or effort. labour of love a task done
for pleasure, not reward. Labour Party 1 a British political
party formed to represent the interests of ordinary working
people. 2 any similar political party in other countries.
labour-saving (of an appliance etc.) designed to reduce or
eliminate work. labour union US a trade union. lost labour
fruitless effort. [ME f. OF labo(u)r, labourer f. L labor,
labourer n. (US laborer) 1 a person doing unskilled, usu. manual, work
for wages. 2 a person who labours. [ME f. OF laboureur (as
Labourite n. (also Laborite) a member or follower of the Labour Party.
labra pl. of LABRUM.
Labrador n. (in full Labrador dog or retriever) 1 a retriever of a breed
with a black or golden coat often used as a gun dog or as a
guide for a blind person. 2 this breed. [Labrador in Canada]
labret n. a piece of shell, bone, etc., inserted in the lip as an
labrum n. (pl. labra) the upper lip in the mouth-parts of an insect.
[L, = lip: rel. to LABIUM]
laburnum n. any small tree of the genus Laburnum with racemes of golden
flowers yielding poisonous seeds. Also called golden chain. [L]
labyrinth n. 1 a complicated irregular network of passages or paths etc.;
a maze. 2 an intricate or tangled arrangement. 3 Anat. the
complex arrangement of bony and membranous canals and chambers
of the inner ear which constitute the organs of hearing and
balance. Ьlabyrinth fish = GOURAMI. ЬЬlabyrinthian adj.
labyrinthine adj. [F labyrinthe or L labyrinthus f. Gk
LAC abbr. Leading Aircraftman.
lac(1) n. a resinous substance secreted as a protective covering by
the lac insect, and used to make varnish and shellac. Ьlac
insect an Asian scale insect, Laccifer lacca, living in trees.
[ult. f. Hind. lakh f. Prakrit lakkha f. Skr. laksa]
lac(2) var. of LAKH.
laccolith n. Geol. a lens-shaped intrusion of igneous rock which thrusts
the overlying strata into a dome. [Gk lakkos reservoir + -LITH]
lace n. & v. --n. 1 a fine open fabric, esp. of cotton or silk,
made by weaving thread in patterns and used esp. to trim
blouses, underwear, etc. 2 a cord or leather strip passed
through eyelets or hooks on opposite sides of a shoe, corsets,
etc., pulled tight and fastened. 3 braid used for trimming esp.
dress uniform (gold lace). --v. 1 tr. (usu. foll. by up) a
fasten or tighten (a shoe, corsets, etc.) with a lace or laces.
b compress the waist of (a person) with a laced corset. 2 tr.
flavour or fortify (coffee, beer, etc.) with a dash of spirits.
3 tr. (usu. foll. by with) a streak (a sky etc.) with colour
(cheek laced with blood). b interlace or embroider (fabric)
with thread etc. 4 tr. & (foll. by into) intr. colloq. lash,
beat, defeat. 5 tr. (often foll. by through) pass (a shoelace
etc.) through. 6 tr. trim with lace. Ьlace-glass Venetian
glass with lacelike designs. lace-pillow a cushion placed on
the lap and providing support in lacemaking. lace-up --n. a
shoe fastened with a lace. --attrib.adj. (of a shoe etc.)
fastened by a lace or laces. [ME f. OF laz, las, lacier ult. f.
L laqueus noose]
lacemaker n. a person who makes lace, esp. professionally. ЬЬlacemaking
lacerate v.tr. 1 mangle or tear (esp. flesh or tissue). 2 distress or
cause pain to (the feelings, the heart, etc.). ЬЬlacerable adj.
laceration n. [L lacerare f. lacer torn]
lacertian n. & adj. (also lacertilian, lacertine) --n. any reptile of the
suborder Lacertilia, including lizards. --adj. of or relating
to the Lacertilia; lizard-like, saurian. [L lacerta lizard]
lacewing n. a neuropterous insect.
lacewood n. the timber of the plane tree.
laches n. Law delay in performing a legal duty, asserting a right,
claiming a privilege, etc. [ME f. AF laches(se), OF laschesse
f. lasche ult. f. L laxus loose]
n. any of various wines from the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius. [L, =
lachrymal adj. & n. (also lacrimal, lacrymal) --adj. 1 literary of or
for tears. 2 (usu. as lacrimal) Anat. concerned in the
secretion of tears (lacrimal canal; lacrimal duct). --n. 1 =
lachrymal vase. 2 (in pl.) (usu. as lacrimals) the lacrimal
organs. Ьlachrymal vase hist. a phial holding the tears of
mourners at a funeral. [ME f. med.L lachrymalis f. L lacrima
n. (also lacrimation, lacrymation) formal the flow of tears.
[L lacrimatio f. lacrimare weep (as LACHRYMAL)]
n. an agent irritating the eyes, causing tears.
adj. & n. --adj. formal of or causing tears. --n. (pl.
-ies) a name applied to phials of a kind found in ancient Roman
tombs and thought to be lachrymal vases.
adj. formal given to weeping; tearful. ЬЬlachrymosely adv. [L
lacrimosus f. lacrima tear]
lacing n. 1 lace trimming, esp. on a uniform. 2 a laced fastening on
a shoe or corsets. 3 colloq. a beating. 4 a dash of spirits in
a beverage. Ьlacing course a strengthening course built into an
arch or wall.
laciniate adj. (also laciniated) Bot. & Zool. divided into deep narrow
irregular segments; fringed. ЬЬlaciniation n. [L lacinia flap
of a garment]
lack n. & v. --n. (usu. foll. by of) an absence, want, or deficiency
(a lack of talent; felt the lack of warmth). --v.tr. be without
or deficient in (lacks courage). Ьfor lack of owing to the
absence of (went hungry for lack of money). lack for lack. [ME
lac, lacen, corresp. to MDu., MLG lak deficiency, MDu. laken to
adj. 1 unenthusiastic; listless; idle. 2 feebly sentimental
and affected. ЬЬlackadaisically adv. lackadaisicalness n.
[archaic lackaday, -daisy (int.): see ALACK]
lacker var. of LACQUER.
lackey n. & v. (also lacquey) --n. (pl. -eys) 1 derog. a a servile
political follower. b an obsequious parasitical person. 2 a a
(usu. liveried) footman or manservant. b a servant. --v.tr.
(-eys, -eyed) archaic behave servilely to; dance attendance on.
Ьlackey moth a moth, Malacosoma neustria, developing from a
brightly striped caterpillar. [F laquais, obs. alaquais f.
Cat. alacay = Sp. ALCALDE]
lacking adj. 1 absent or deficient (money was lacking; is lacking in
determination). 2 colloq. deficient in intellect; mentally
lackland n. & adj. --n. 1 a person having no land. 2 (Lackland) a
nickname for King John of England. --adj. having no land.
adj. (US lackluster) 1 lacking in vitality, force, or
conviction. 2 (of the eye) dull.
Laconian n. & adj. --n. an inhabitant or the dialect of ancient Laconia.
--adj. of the Laconian dialect or people; Spartan. [L Laconia
Sparta f. Gk Lakon Spartan]
laconic adj. 1 (of a style of speech or writing) brief; concise; terse.
2 (of a person) laconic in speech etc. ЬЬlaconically adv.
laconicism n. [L f. Gk Lakonikos f. Lakon Spartan, the
Spartans being known for their terse speech]
laconism n. 1 brevity of speech. 2 a short pithy saying. [Gk
lakonismos f. lakonizo behave like a Spartan: see LACONIC]
lacquer n. & v. (also lacker) --n. 1 a sometimes coloured liquid made
of shellac dissolved in alcohol, or of synthetic substances,
that dries to form a hard protective coating for wood, brass,
etc. 2 a chemical substance sprayed on hair to keep it in
place. 3 the sap of the lacquer-tree used to varnish wood etc.
--v.tr. coat with lacquer. Ьlacquer-tree an E. Asian tree, Rhus
verniciflua, the sap of which is used as a hard-wearing varnish
for wood. ЬЬlacquerer n. [obs. F lacre sealing-wax, f. unexpl.
var. of Port. laca LAC(1)]
lacquey var. of LACKEY.
lacrimal var. of LACHRYMAL.
var. of LACHRYMATION.
lacrosse n. a game like hockey, but with a ball driven by, caught, and
carried in a crosse. [F f. la the + CROSSE]
lacrymal var. of LACHRYMAL.
var. of LACHRYMATION.
lactase n. Biochem. any of a group of enzymes which catalyse the
hydrolysis of lactose to glucose and galactose. [F f. lactose
n. Chem. any salt or ester of lactic acid.
lactation n. 1 the secretion of milk by the mammary glands. 2 the
suckling of young. [L lactare suckle f. lac lactis milk]
lacteal adj. & n. --adj. 1 of milk. 2 conveying chyle or other milky
fluid. --n. (in pl.) the lymphatic vessels of the small
intestine which absorb digested fats. [L lacteus f. lac lactis
n. 1 a milky form or appearance. 2 a milky juice. [L
lactescere f. lactere be milky (as LACTIC)]
adj. 1 milky. 2 yielding a milky juice.
lactic adj. Chem. of, relating to, or obtained from milk. Ьlactic
acid a clear odourless syrupy carboxylic acid formed in sour
milk, and produced in the muscle tissues during strenuous
exercise. [L lac lactis milk]
n. (pl. -bacilli) Biol. any Gram-positive rod-shaped
bacterium of the genus Lactobacillus, producing lactic acid from
the fermentation of carbohydrates.
n. an instrument for testing the density of milk.
lactone n. Chem. any of a class of cyclic esters formed by the
elimination of water from a hydroxy-carboxylic acid. [G Lacton]
n. the albuminous constituent of milk.
lactose n. Chem. a sugar that occurs in milk, and is less sweet than
sucrose. [as LACTO-]
lacuna n. (pl. lacunae or lacunas) 1 a hiatus, blank, or gap. 2 a
missing portion or empty page, esp. in an ancient MS, book, etc.
3 Anat. a cavity or depression, esp. in bone. ЬЬlacunal adj.
lacunar adj. lacunary adj. lacunose adj. [L, = pool, f.
adj. formal 1 of or relating to lakes. 2 living or growing in
or beside a lake. [L lacus LAKE(1), after palustris marshy]
LACW abbr. Leading Aircraftwoman.
lacy adj. (lacier, laciest) of or resembling lace fabric. ЬЬlacily
adv. laciness n.
lad n. 1 a a boy or youth. b a young son. 2 (esp. in pl.) colloq.
a man; a fellow, esp. a workmate, drinking companion, etc.
(he's one of the lads). 3 colloq. a high-spirited fellow; a
rogue (he's a bit of a lad). 4 Brit. a stable-worker
(regardless of age). Ьlad's love = SOUTHERNWOOD. [ME ladde, of
ladanum n. (also labdanum) a gum resin from plants of the genus Cistus,
used in perfumery etc. [L f. Gk ladanon f. ledon mastic]
ladder n. & v. --n. 1 a set of horizontal bars of wood or metal fixed
between two uprights and used for climbing up or down. 2 Brit.
a vertical strip of unravelled fabric in a stocking etc.
resembling a ladder. 3 a a hierarchical structure. b such a
structure as a means of advancement, promotion, etc. --v.
Brit. 1 intr. (of a stocking etc.) develop a ladder. 2 tr.
cause a ladder in (a stocking etc.). Ьladder-back an upright
chair with a back resembling a ladder. ladder-stitch transverse
bars in embroidery. ladder tournament a sporting contest with
each participant listed and entitled to a higher place by
defeating the one above. [OE hl‘d(d)er, ult. f. Gmc: cf.
laddie n. colloq. a young boy or lad.
lade v. (past part. laden) 1 tr. a put cargo on board (a ship). b
ship (goods) as cargo. 2 intr. (of a ship) take on cargo. 3
tr. (as laden adj.) (usu. foll. by with) a (of a vehicle,
donkey, person, tree, table, etc.) heavily loaded. b (of the
conscience, spirit, etc.) painfully burdened with sin, sorrow,
etc. [OE hladan]
la-di-da adj. & n. colloq. --adj. pretentious or snobbish, esp. in
manner or speech. --n. 1 a la-di-da person. 2 la-di-da speech
or manners. [imit. of an affected manner of speech]
ladies pl. of LADY.
ladify var. of LADYFY.
Ladin n. the Rhaeto-Romanic dialect of the Engadine in Switzerland.
[Romansh, f. L latinus LATIN]
lading n. 1 a cargo. 2 the act or process of lading.
Ladino n. (pl. -os) 1 the Spanish dialect of the Sephardic Jews. 2 a
mestizo or Spanish-speaking white person in Central America.
[Sp., orig. = Latin, f. L (as LADIN)]
ladle n. & v. --n. 1 a large long-handled spoon with a cup-shaped
bowl used for serving esp. soups and gravy. 2 a vessel for
transporting molten metal in a foundry. --v.tr. (often foll. by
out) transfer (liquid) from one receptacle to another. Ьladle
out distribute, esp. lavishly. ЬЬladleful n. (pl. -fuls).
ladler n. [OE hl‘del f. hladan LADE]
lady n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a woman regarded as being of superior social
status or as having the refined manners associated with this
(cf. GENTLEMAN). b (Lady) a title used by peeresses, female
relatives of peers, the wives and widows of knights, etc. 2
(often attrib.) a woman; a female person or animal (ask that
lady over there; lady butcher; lady dog). 3 colloq. a a wife.
b a man's girlfriend. 4 a ruling woman (lady of the house; lady
of the manor). 5 (in pl. as a form of address) a female
audience or the female part of an audience. 6 hist. a woman to
whom a man, esp. a knight, is chivalrously devoted; a mistress.
Ьfind the lady = three-card trick. the Ladies (or Ladies')
Brit. a women's public lavatory. ladies' chain a figure in a
quadrille etc. ladies' fingers = OKRA (cf. lady's finger).
Ladies' Gallery a public gallery in the House of Commons,
reserved for women. ladies' (or lady's) man a man fond of
female company; a seducer. ladies' night a function at a men's
club etc. to which women are invited. ladies' room a women's
lavatory in a hotel, office, etc. Lady altar the altar in a
Lady chapel. Lady Bountiful a patronizingly generous lady of
the manor etc. (a character in Farquhar's The Beaux'
Stratagem). Lady chapel a chapel in a large church or
cathedral, usu. to the E. of the high altar, dedicated to the
Virgin Mary. Lady Day the Feast of the Annunciation, 25 Mar.
lady-fern a slender fern, Athyrium filix-femina.
lady-in-waiting a lady attending a queen or princess.
lady-killer a practised and habitual seducer. lady-love a man's
sweetheart. Lady Mayoress the wife of a Lord Mayor. Lady Muck
sl. derog. a socially pretentious woman. lady of the
bedchamber = lady-in-waiting. lady of easy virtue a sexually
promiscuous woman; a prostitute. lady's bedstraw a
yellow-flowered herbaceous plant, Galium verum. lady's
companion a roll containing cottons etc. lady's finger 1 =
kidney vetch. 2 = LADYFINGER (cf. ladies' fingers). lady's
maid a lady's personal maidservant. lady's mantle any rosaceous
plant of the genus Alchemilla with yellowish-green clustered
flowers. lady-smock = cuckoo flower 1. lady's slipper any
orchidaceous plant of the genus Cypripedium, with a usu. yellow
slipper-shaped lip on its flowers. lady's tresses any
white-flowered orchid of the genus Spiranthes. Lady Superior
the head of a convent or nunnery in certain orders. my lady a
form of address used chiefly by servants etc. to holders of the
title 'Lady'. my lady wife joc. my wife. old lady colloq. 1
a mother. 2 a wife or mistress. Our Lady the Virgin Mary.
ЬЬladyhood n. [OE hl‘fdige f. hlaf LOAF(1) + (unrecorded) dig-
knead, rel. to DOUGH): in Lady Day etc. f. OE genit. hl‘fdigan
ladybird n. a coleopterous insect of the family Coccinellidae, with
wing-covers usu. of a reddish-brown colour with black spots.
ladybug n. US = LADYBIRD.
n. US a finger-shaped sponge cake.
ladyfy v.tr. (also ladify) (-ies, -ied) 1 make a lady of. 2 call (a
person) 'lady'. 3 (as ladyfied adj.) having the manner of a
ladylike adj. 1 a with the modesty, manners, etc., of a lady. b
befitting a lady. 2 (of a man) effeminate.
ladyship n. archaic being a lady. Ьher (or your or their) ladyship (or
ladyships) 1 a respectful form of reference or address to a Lady
or Ladies. 2 iron. a form of reference or address to a woman
thought to be giving herself airs.
laevo- comb. form (also levo-) on or to the left. [L laevus left]
adj. (US levorotatory) Chem. having the property of rotating
the plane of a polarized light ray to the left (anticlockwise
facing the oncoming radiation).
lag(1) v. & n. --v.intr. (lagged, lagging) 1 (often foll. by behind)
fall behind; not keep pace. 2 US Billiards make the preliminary
strokes that decide which player shall begin. --n. 1 a delay.
2 Physics a retardation in a current or movement. b the amount
of this. Ьlag of tide the interval by which a tide falls behind
mean time at the 1st and 3rd quarters of the moon (cf.
PRIMING(2)). ЬЬlagger n. [orig. = hindmost person, hang back:
perh. f. a fanciful distortion of LAST(1) in a children's game
(fog, seg, lag, = 1st, 2nd, last, in dial.)]
lag(2) v. & n. --v.tr. (lagged, lagging) enclose or cover in lagging.
--n. 1 the non-heat-conducting cover of a boiler etc.; lagging.
2 a piece of this. [prob. f. Scand.: cf. ON l”gg barrel-rim,
rel. to LAY(1)]
lag(3) n. & v. sl. --n. (esp. as old lag) a habitual convict.
--v.tr. (lagged, lagging) 1 send to prison. 2 apprehend;
arrest. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
lagan n. goods or wreckage lying on the bed of the sea, sometimes
with a marking buoy etc. for later retrieval. [OF, perh. of
Scand. orig., f. root of LIE(1), LAY(1)]
lager n. a kind of beer, effervescent and light in colour and body.
Ьlager lout colloq. a youth who behaves badly as a result of
excessive drinking. [G Lagerbier beer brewed for keeping f.
laggard n. & adj. --n. a dawdler; a person who lags behind. --adj.
dawdling; slow. ЬЬlaggardly adj. & adv. laggardness n.
lagging n. material providing heat insulation for a boiler, pipes, etc.
lagomorph n. Zool. any mammal of the order Lagomorpha, including hares
and rabbits. [Gk lagos hare + morphe form]
lagoon n. 1 a stretch of salt water separated from the sea by a low
sandbank, coral reef, etc. 2 the enclosed water of an atoll. 3
US, Austral., & NZ a small freshwater lake near a larger lake or
river. 4 an artificial pool for the treatment of effluent or to
accommodate an overspill from surface drains during heavy rain.
[F lagune or It. & Sp. laguna f. L lacuna: see LACUNA]
lah n. (also la) Mus. 1 (in tonic sol-fa) the sixth note of a
major scale. 2 the note A in the fixed-doh system. [ME f. L
labii: see GAMUT]
lahar n. a mud-flow composed mainly of volcanic debris. [Jav.]
laic adj. & n. --adj. non-clerical; lay; secular; temporal. --n.
formal a lay person; a non-cleric. ЬЬlaical adj. laically adv.
[LL f. Gk la‹kos f. laos people]
laicity n. the status or influence of the laity.
laicize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 make (an office etc.) tenable by lay
people. 2 subject (a school or institution) to the control of
lay people. 3 secularize. ЬЬlaicization n.
laid past and past part. of LAY(1).
lain past part. of LIE(1).
lair(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a a wild animal's resting-place. b a person's
hiding-place; a den (tracked him to his lair). 2 a place where
domestic animals lie down. 3 Brit. a shed or enclosure for
cattle on the way to market. --v. 1 intr. go to or rest in a
lair. 2 tr. place (an animal) in a lair. ЬЬlairage n. [OE
leger f. Gmc: cf. LIE(1)]
lair(2) n. & v. Austral. sl. --n. a youth or man who dresses flashily
and shows off. --v.intr. (often foll. by up or dress) behave or
dress like a lair. ЬЬlairy adj. [lair back-form. f. lairy;
lairy alt. f. LEERY]
laird n. Sc. a landed proprietor. ЬЬlairdship n. [Sc. form of
n. (also laisser-aller) unconstrained freedom; an absence of
constraint. [F, = let go]
n. (also laisser-faire) the theory or practice of governmental
abstention from interference in the workings of the market etc.
[F, = let act]
n. (also laisser-passer) a document allowing the holder to
pass; a permit. [F, = let pass]
laity n. (usu. prec. by the; usu. treated as pl.) 1 lay people, as
distinct from the clergy. 2 non-professionals. [ME f. LAY(2)
lake(1) n. a large body of water surrounded by land. Ьthe Great Lakes
the Lakes Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie, and Ontario, along
the boundary of the US and Canada. Lake District (or the Lakes)
the region of the English lakes in Cumbria. lake-dweller a
prehistoric inhabitant of lake-dwellings. lake-dwellings
prehistoric huts built on piles driven into the bed or shore of
a lake. Lake Poets Coleridge, Southey, and Wordsworth, who
lived in and were inspired by the Lake District. ЬЬlakeless
adj. lakelet n. [ME f. OF lac f. L lacus basin, pool, lake]
lake(2) n. 1 a reddish colouring orig. made from lac (crimson lake). 2
a complex formed by the action of dye and mordants applied to
fabric to fix colour. 3 any insoluble product of a soluble dye
and mordant. [var. of LAC(1)]
Lakeland n. = Lake District. ЬLakeland terrier 1 a terrier of a small
stocky breed originating in the Lake District. 2 this breed.
lakeside attrib.adj. beside a lake.
lakh n. (also lac) Ind. (usu. foll. by of) a hundred thousand
(rupees etc.). [Hind. lakh f. Skr. laksa]
Lallan n. & adj. Sc. --n. (now usu. Lallans) a Lowland Scots
dialect, esp. as a literary language. --adj. of or concerning
the Lowlands of Scotland. [var. of LOWLAND]
lallation n. 1 the pronunciation of r as l. 2 imperfect speech, esp.
that of young children. [L lallare lallat- sing a lullaby]
lallygag v.intr. (lallygagged, lallygagging) US sl. 1 loiter. 2 cuddle
amorously. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
Lam. abbr. Lamentations (Old Testament).
lam(1) v. (lammed, lamming) sl. 1 tr. thrash; hit. 2 intr. (foll. by
into) hit (a person etc.) hard with a stick etc. [perh. f.
Scand.: cf. ON lemja beat so as to LAME]
lam(2) n. Ьon the lam US sl. in flight, esp. from the police. [20th
c.: orig. unkn.]
lama n. a Tibetan or Mongolian Buddhist monk. ЬЬLamaism n. Lamaist
n. & adj. [Tibetan blama (with silent b)]
n. the theory of evolution devised by Lamarck, French botanist
and zoologist (d. 1829), based on the inheritance of acquired
characteristics. ЬЬLamarckian n. & adj.
lamasery n. (pl. -ies) a monastery of lamas. [F lamaserie irreg. f.
lamb n. & v. --n. 1 a young sheep. 2 the flesh of a lamb as food.
3 a mild or gentle person, esp. a young child. --v. 1 a tr.
(in passive) (of a lamb) be born. b intr. (of a ewe) give birth
to lambs. 2 tr. tend (lambing ewes). ЬThe Lamb (or The Lamb of
God) a name for Christ (see John 1:29) (cf. AGNUS DEI). lamb's
fry lamb's testicles or other offal as food. lamb's lettuce a
plant, Valerianella locusta, used in salad. lamb's-tails
catkins from the hazel tree. like a lamb meekly, obediently.
ЬЬlamber n. lambhood n. lambkin n. lamblike adj. [OE lamb f.
lambda n. 1 the eleventh letter of the Greek alphabet. 2 the symbol
for wavelength. [ME f. Gk la(m)bda]
lambent adj. 1 (of a flame or a light) playing on a surface with a soft
radiance but without burning. 2 (of the eyes, sky, etc.) softly
radiant. 3 (of wit etc.) lightly brilliant. ЬЬlambency n.
lambently adv. [L lambere lambent- lick]
lambert n. a former unit of luminance, equal to the emission or
reflection of one lumen per square centimetre. [J. H. Lambert,
Ger. physicist d. 1777]
n. 1 US a short piece of drapery hung over the top of a door or
a window or draped on a mantelpiece. 2 Heraldry = MANTLING. [F
f. Du. (unrecorded) lamperkin, dimin. of lamper veil]
lambskin n. a prepared skin from a lamb with the wool on or as leather.
lambswool n. (also lamb's-wool) soft fine wool from a young sheep used in
knitted garments etc.
lame adj. & v. --adj. 1 disabled, esp. in the foot or leg; limping;
unable to walk normally (lame in his right leg). 2 a (of an
argument, story, excuse, etc.) unconvincing; unsatisfactory;
weak. b (of verse etc.) halting. --v.tr. 1 make lame;
disable. 2 harm permanently. Ьlame-brain US colloq. a stupid
person. lame duck 1 a disabled or weak person. 2 a defaulter
on the Stock Exchange. 3 a firm etc. in financial difficulties.
4 US an official (esp. the President) in the final period of
office, after the election of a successor. ЬЬlamely adv.
lameness n. lamish adj. [OE lama f. Gmc]
lam‚ n. & adj. --n. a fabric with gold or silver threads interwoven.
--adj. (of fabric, a dress, etc.) having such threads. [F]
lamella n. (pl. lamellae) 1 a thin layer, membrane, scale, or
platelike tissue or part, esp. in bone tissue. 2 Bot. a
membranous fold in a chloroplast. ЬЬlamellar adj. lamellate
adj. lamelliform adj. lamellose adj. [L, dimin. of lamina:
n. any aquatic mollusc having a shell formed of two pieces or
valves, e.g. a mussel or oyster. Also called BIVALVE. [LAMELLA
+ Gk bragkhia gills]
n. & adj. --n. any beetle of the family Lamellicornia, having
lamelliform antennae, including the stag beetle, cockchafer,
dung-beetle, etc. --adj. having lamelliform antennae. [mod.L
lamellicornis f. L lamella (see LAMELLA) + cornu horn]
lament n. & v. --n. 1 a passionate expression of grief. 2 a song or
poem of mourning or sorrow. --v.tr. (also absol.) 1 express or
feel grief for or about; regret (lamented the loss of his
ticket). 2 (as lamented adj.) a conventional expression
referring to a recently dead person (your late lamented father).
Ьlament for (or over) mourn or regret. ЬЬlamenter n.
lamentingly adv. [L lamentum]
adj. 1 (of an event, fate, condition, character, etc.)
deplorable; regrettable. 2 archaic mournful. ЬЬlamentably adv.
[ME f. OF lamentable or L lamentabilis (as LAMENT)]
n. 1 the act or an instance of lamenting. 2 a lament.
ЬLamentations of Jeremiah an Old Testament book concerning the
destruction of Jerusalem in the 6th c. BC. [ME f. OF
lamentation or L lamentatio (as LAMENT)]
lamina n. (pl. laminae) a thin plate or scale, e.g. of bone,
stratified rock, or vegetable tissue. ЬЬlaminose adj. [L]
laminar adj. 1 consisting of laminae. 2 Physics (of a flow) taking
place along constant streamlines, not turbulent.
laminate v., n., & adj. --v. 1 tr. beat or roll (metal) into thin
plates. 2 tr. overlay with metal plates, a plastic layer, etc.
3 tr. manufacture by placing layer on layer. 4 tr. & intr.
split or be split into layers or leaves. --n. a laminated
structure or material, esp. of layers fixed together to form
rigid or flexible material. --adj. in the form of lamina or
laminae. ЬЬlamination n. laminator n. [LAMINA + -ATE(2),
Lammas n. (in full Lammas Day) the first day of August, formerly
observed as harvest festival. [OE hlafm‘sse (as LOAF(1),
n. a large vulture, Gypaetus barbatus, with a very large
wingspan (often of 3 m) and dark beardlike feathers on either
side of its beak. [G L„mmergeier f. L„mmer lambs + Geier
lamp n. & v. --n. 1 a device for producing a steady light, esp.: a
an electric bulb, and usu. its holder and shade or cover
(bedside lamp; bicycle lamp). b an oil-lamp. c a usu. glass
holder for a candle. d a gas-jet and mantle. 2 a source of
spiritual or intellectual inspiration. 3 poet. the sun, the
moon, or a star. 4 a device producing esp. ultraviolet or
infrared radiation as a treatment for various complaints. --v.
1 intr. poet. shine. 2 tr. supply with lamps; illuminate. 3
tr. US sl. look at. Ьlamp-chimney a glass cylinder enclosing
and making a draught for an oil-lamp flame. lamp-holder a
device for supporting a lamp, esp. an electric one. lamp
standard = LAMPPOST. ЬЬlampless adj. [ME f. OF lampe f. LL
lampada f. accus. of L lampas torch f. Gk]
lampblack n. a pigment made from soot.
lamplight n. light given by a lamp or lamps.
n. 1 hist. a person who lights street lamps. 2 US a spill for
lighting lamps. Ьlike a lamplighter with great speed.
lampoon n. & v. --n. a satirical attack on a person etc. --v.tr.
satirize. ЬЬlampooner n. lampoonery n. lampoonist n. [F
lampon, conjectured to be f. lampons let us drink f. lamper
gulp down f. laper LAP(3)]
lamppost n. a tall post supporting a street-light.
lamprey n. (pl. -eys) any eel-like aquatic vertebrate of the family
Petromyzonidae, without scales, paired fins, or jaws, but having
a sucker mouth with horny teeth and a rough tongue. [ME f. OF
lampreie f. med.L lampreda: cf. LL lampetra perh. f. L lambere
lick + petra stone]
lampshade n. a translucent cover for a lamp used to soften or direct its
n. & adj. --n. 1 a native of Lancashire or Lancaster in NW
England. 2 hist. a follower of the House of Lancaster or of the
Red Rose party supporting it in the Wars of the Roses (cf.
YORKIST). --adj. of or concerning Lancashire or Lancaster, or
the House of Lancaster.
lance n. & v. --n. 1 a a long weapon with a wooden shaft and a
pointed steel head, used by a horseman in charging. b a similar
weapon used for spearing a fish, killing a harpooned whale, etc.
2 a metal pipe supplying oxygen to burn metal. 3 = LANCER.
--v.tr. 1 Surgery prick or cut open with a lancet. 2 pierce
with a lance. 3 poet. fling; launch. Ьbreak a lance (usu.
foll. by for, with) argue. lance-bombardier a rank in the Royal
Artillery corresponding to lance-corporal in the infantry.
lance-corporal the lowest rank of NCO in the Army. lance-jack
Brit. sl. a lance-corporal or lance-bombardier.
lance-sergeant a corporal acting as sergeant. lance-snake = FER
DE LANCE. [ME f. OF lancier f. L lancea: lance-corporal on
analogy of obs. lancepesade lowest grade of NCO ult. f. It.
lancia spezzata broken lance]
lancelet n. any small non-vertebrate fishlike chordate of the family
Branchiostomidae, that burrows in sand. [LANCE n. + -LET, with
ref. to its thin form]
adj. shaped like a lance-head, tapering to each end. [LL
lanceolatus f. lanceola dimin. of lancea lance]
lancer n. 1 hist. a soldier of a cavalry regiment armed with lances.
2 (in pl.) a a quadrille for 8 or 16 pairs. b the music for
this. [F lancier (as LANCE)]
lancet n. a small broad two-edged surgical knife with a sharp point.
Ьlancet arch (or light or window) a narrow arch or window with a
pointed head. ЬЬlanceted adj. [ME f. OF lancette (as LANCE)]
lancewood n. a tough elastic wood from a W. Indian tree Oxandra
lanceolata, used for carriage-shafts, fishing-rods, etc.
Lancs. abbr. Lancashire.
Land n. (pl. L„nder) 1 a province of the Federal Republic of
Germany. 2 a province of Austria. [G (as LAND)]
land n. & v. --n. 1 the solid part of the earth's surface (opp.
SEA, WATER, AIR). 2 a an expanse of country; ground; soil. b
such land in relation to its use, quality, etc., or (often prec.
by the) as a basis for agriculture (building land; this is good
land; works on the land). 3 a country, nation, or State (land
of hope and glory). 4 a landed property. b (in pl.) estates.
5 the space between the rifling-grooves in a gun. 6 Sc. a
building containing several dwellings. 7 S.Afr. ground fenced
off for tillage. 8 a strip of plough or pasture land parted
from others by drain-furrows. --v. 1 a tr. & intr. set or go
ashore. b intr. (often foll. by at) disembark (landed at the
harbour). 2 tr. bring (an aircraft, its passengers, etc.) to
the ground or the surface of water. 3 intr. (of an aircraft,
bird, parachutist, etc.) alight on the ground or water. 4 tr.
bring (a fish) to land. 5 tr. & intr. (also refl.; often foll.
by up) colloq. bring to, reach, or find oneself in a certain
situation, place, or state (landed himself in jail; landed up in
France; landed her in trouble; landed up penniless). 6 tr.
colloq. a deal (a person etc.) a blow etc. (landed him one in
the eye). b (foll. by with) present (a person) with (a problem,
job, etc.). 7 tr. set down (a person, cargo, etc.) from a
vehicle, ship, etc. 8 tr. colloq. win or obtain (a prize, job,
etc.) esp. against strong competition. Ьhow the land lies what
is the state of affairs. in the land of the living joc. still
alive. land-agency 1 the stewardship of an estate. 2 an agency
for the sale etc. of estates. land-agent 1 the steward of an
estate. 2 an agent for the sale of estates. land-bank a bank
issuing banknotes on the securities of landed property. land
breeze a breeze blowing towards the sea from the land, esp. at
night. land-bridge a neck of land joining two large land
masses. land-crab a crab, Cardisoma guanhumi, that lives in
burrows inland and migrates in large numbers to the sea to
breed. land force (or forces) armies, not naval or air forces.
land-form a natural feature of the earth's surface. land-girl
Brit. a woman doing farm work, esp. in wartime. land-grabber
an illegal seizer of land, esp. a person who took the land of an
evicted Irish tenant. land-law (usu. in pl.) the law of landed
property. land-line a means of telecommunication over land.
land-locked almost or entirely enclosed by land. land mass a
large area of land. land-mine 1 an explosive mine laid in or on
the ground. 2 a parachute mine. land of cakes Scotland. land
office US an office recording dealings in public land.
land-office business US enormous trade. land of Nod sleep (with
pun on the phr. in Gen. 4:16). land on one's feet attain a good
position, job, etc., by luck. Land's End the westernmost point
of Cornwall and of England. land-tax hist. a tax assessed on
landed property. land-tie a rod, beam, or piece of masonry
securing or supporting a wall etc. by connecting it with the
ground. land-wind a wind blowing seaward from the land. land
yacht a vehicle with wheels and sails for recreational use on a
beach etc. ЬЬlander n. landless adj. landward adj. & adv.
landwards adv. [OE f. Gmc]
landau n. a four-wheeled enclosed carriage with a removable front
cover and a back cover that can be raised and lowered. [Landau
near Karlsruhe in Germany, where it was first made]
landaulet n. 1 a small landau. 2 hist. a car with a folding hood over
the rear seats.
landed adj. 1 owning land (landed gentry). 2 consisting of,
including, or relating to land (landed property).
L„nder pl. of LAND.
landfall n. the approach to land, esp. for the first time on a sea or
landfill n. 1 waste material etc. used to landscape or reclaim areas of
ground. 2 the process of disposing of rubbish in this way.
landgrave n. (fem. landgravine) hist. 1 a count having jurisdiction
over a territory. 2 the title of certain German princes.
ЬЬlandgraviate n. [MLG landgrave, MHG lantgrave (as LAND, G
n. the proprietor or, esp., the tenant of land.
landing n. 1 a the act or process of coming to land. b an instance of
this. c (also landing-place) a place where ships etc. land. 2
a a platform between two flights of stairs, or at the top or
bottom of a flight. b a passage leading to upstairs rooms.
Ьlanding-craft any of several types of craft esp. designed for
putting troops and equipment ashore. landing-gear the
undercarriage of an aircraft. landing-net a net for landing a
large fish which has been hooked. landing-stage a platform,
often floating, on which goods and passengers are disembarked.
landing-strip an airstrip.
landlady n. (pl. -ies) 1 a woman who lets land, a building, part of a
building, etc., to a tenant. 2 a woman who keeps a public
house, boarding-house, or lodgings.
l„ndler n. 1 an Austrian dance in triple time, a precursor of the
waltz. 2 the music for a l„ndler. [G f. Landl Upper Austria]
landloper n. esp. Sc. a vagabond. [MDu. landlooper (as LAND, loopen
run, formed as LEAP)]
landlord n. 1 a man who lets land, a building, part of a building, etc.,
to a tenant. 2 a man who keeps a public house, boarding-house,
n. a person unfamiliar with the sea or sailing.
landmark n. 1 a a conspicuous object in a district etc. b an object
marking the boundary of an estate, country, etc. 2 an event,
change, etc. marking a stage or turning-point in history etc.
n. (pl. -ies) joc. the landed class. ЬЬlandocrat n.
landowner n. an owner of land. ЬЬlandowning adj. & n.
landrail n. = CORNCRAKE.
landscape n. & v. --n. 1 natural or imaginary scenery, as seen in a
broad view. 2 (often attrib.) a picture representing this; the
genre of landscape painting. 3 (in graphic design etc.) a
format in which the width of an illustration etc. is greater
than the height (cf. PORTRAIT). --v.tr. (also absol.) improve
(a piece of land) by landscape gardening. Ьlandscape gardener
(or architect) a person who plans the layout of landscapes, esp.
extensive grounds. landscape gardening (or architecture) the
laying out of esp. extensive grounds to resemble natural
scenery. landscape-marble marble with treelike markings.
landscape-painter an artist who paints landscapes.
ЬЬlandscapist n. [MDu. landscap (as LAND, -SHIP)]
landslide n. 1 the sliding down of a mass of land from a mountain, cliff,
etc. 2 an overwhelming majority for one side in an election.
landslip n. = LANDSLIDE 1.
landsman n. (pl. -men) a non-sailor.
lane n. 1 a narrow, often rural, road, street, or path. 2 a
division of a road for a stream of traffic (three-lane highway).
3 a strip of track or water for a runner, rower, or swimmer in a
race. 4 a path or course prescribed for or regularly followed
by a ship, aircraft, etc. (ocean lane). 5 a gangway between
crowds of people, objects, etc. Ьit's a long lane that has no
turning change is inevitable. [OE: orig. unkn.]
langlauf n. cross-country skiing; a cross-country skiing race. [G, =
langouste n. a crawfish or spiny lobster. [F]
n. = NORWAY LOBSTER. [F]
lang syne adv. & n. Sc. --adv. in the distant past. --n. the old days
(cf. AULD LANG SYNE). [= long since]
language n. 1 the method of human communication, either spoken or
written, consisting of the use of words in an agreed way. 2 the
language of a particular community or country etc. (speaks
several languages). 3 a the faculty of speech. b a style or
the faculty of expression; the use of words, etc. (his language
was poetic; hasn't the language to express it). c (also bad
language) coarse, crude, or abusive speech (didn't like his
language). 4 a system of symbols and rules for writing computer
programs or algorithms. 5 any method of expression (the
language of mime; sign language). 6 a professional or
specialized vocabulary. 7 literary style. Ьlanguage laboratory
a room equipped with tape recorders etc. for learning a foreign
language. language of flowers a set of symbolic meanings
attached to different flowers. speak the same language have a
similar outlook, manner of expression, etc. [ME f. OF langage
ult. f. L lingua tongue]
langue de chat
n. a very thin finger-shaped crisp biscuit or piece of
chocolate. [F, = cat's tongue]
n. the form of medieval French spoken south of the Loire, the
basis of modern Proven‡al. [OF langue language f. L lingua
tongue + de of + oc (f. L hoc) the form for yes]
n. medieval French as spoken north of the Loire, the basis of
modern French. [as LANGUE D'OC + o‹l (f. L hoc ille) the form
languish v.intr. 1 be or grow feeble; lose or lack vitality. 2 put on a
sentimentally tender or languid look. Ьlanguish for droop or
pine for. languish under suffer under (esp. depression,
confinement, etc.). ЬЬlanguisher n. languishingly adv.
languishment n. [ME f. OF languir, ult. f. L languere, rel. to
languor n. 1 lack of energy or alertness; inertia; idleness; dullness.
2 faintness; fatigue. 3 a soft or tender mood or effect. 4 an
oppressive stillness (of the air etc.). ЬЬlanguorous adj.
languorously adv. [ME f. OF f. L languor -oris (as LANGUISH)]
langur n. any of various Asian long-tailed monkeys esp. of the genus
laniary adj. & n. --adj. (of a tooth) adapted for tearing; canine.
--n. (pl. -ies) a laniary tooth. [L laniarius f. lanius
butcher f. laniare to tear]
adj. (also lanigerous) wool-bearing. [L lanifer, -ger f. lana
lank adj. 1 (of hair, grass, etc.) long, limp, and straight. 2 thin
and tall. 3 shrunken; spare. ЬЬlankly adv. lankness n. [OE
hlanc f. Gmc: cf. FLANK, LINK(1)]
lanky adj. (lankier, lankiest) (of limbs, a person, etc.)
ungracefully thin and long or tall. ЬЬlankily adv. lankiness
lanner n. a S. European falcon, Falco biarmicus, esp. the female. [ME
f. OF lanier perh. f. OF lanier cowardly, orig. = weaver f. L
lanarius wool-merchant f. lana wool]
lanneret n. a male lanner, smaller than the female. [ME f. OF laneret
lanolin n. a fat found naturally on sheep's wool and used purified for
cosmetics etc. [G f. L lana wool + oleum oil]
n. 1 a card-game of German origin. 2 a German mercenary
soldier in the 16th-17th c. [F f. G Landsknecht (as LAND,
Knecht soldier f. OHG kneht: see KNIGHT)]
lantana n. any evergreen shrub of the genus Lantana, with usu. yellow
or orange flowers. [mod.L]
lantern n. 1 a a lamp with a transparent usu. glass case protecting a
candle flame etc. b a similar electric etc. lamp. c its case.
2 a a raised structure on a dome, room, etc., glazed to admit
light. b a similar structure for ventilation etc. 3 the
light-chamber of a lighthouse. 4 = magic lantern. Ьlantern
fish any marine fish of the family Myctophidae, having small
light organs on the head and body. lantern-fly (pl. -flies)
any tropical homopterous insect of the family Fulgoridae,
formerly thought to be luminous. lantern-jawed having lantern
jaws. lantern jaws long thin jaws and chin, giving a hollow
look to the face. lantern-slide a slide for projection by a
magic lantern etc. (see SLIDE n. 5b). lantern-wheel a
lantern-shaped gearwheel; a trundle. [ME f. OF lanterne f. L
lanterna f. Gk lampter torch, lamp]
n. Chem. an element of the lanthanide series. Ьlanthanide
series a series of 15 metallic elements from lanthanum to
lutetium in the periodic table, having similar chemical
properties: also called rare earths (see RARE(1)). [G Lanthanid
lanthanum n. Chem. a silvery metallic element of the lanthanide series
which occurs naturally and is used in the manufacture of alloys.
°Symb.: La. [Gk lanthano escape notice, from having remained
undetected in cerium oxide]
lanugo n. fine soft hair, esp. that which covers the body and limbs of
a human foetus. [L, = down f. lana wool]
lanyard n. 1 a cord hanging round the neck or looped round the
shoulder, esp. of a Scout or sailor etc., to which a knife, a
whistle, etc., may be attached. 2 Naut. a short rope or line
used for securing, tightening, etc. 3 a cord attached to a
breech mechanism for firing a gun. [ME f. OF laniere, lasniere:
assim. to YARD(1)]
Laodicean adj. & n. --adj. lukewarm or half-hearted, esp. in religion or
politics. --n. such a person. [L Laodicea in Asia Minor (with
ref. to the early Christians there: see Rev. 3:16)]
Laotian n. & adj. --n. 1 a a native or national of Laos in SE Asia. b
a person of Laotian descent. 2 the language of Laos. --adj. of
or relating to Laos or its people or language.
lap(1) n. 1 a the front of the body from the waist to the knees of a
sitting person (sat on her lap; caught it in his lap). b the
clothing, esp. a skirt, covering the lap. c the front of a
skirt held up to catch or contain something. 2 a hollow among
hills. 3 a hanging flap on a garment, a saddle, etc. Ьin (or
on) a person's lap as a person's responsibility. in the lap of
the gods (of an event etc.) open to chance; beyond human
control. in the lap of luxury in extremely luxurious
surroundings. lap-dog a small pet dog. lap robe US a
travelling-rug. ЬЬlapful n. (pl. -fuls). [OE l‘ppa fold,
lap(2) n. & v. --n. 1 a one circuit of a racetrack etc. b a section
of a journey etc. (finally we were on the last lap). 2 a an
amount of overlapping. b an overlapping or projecting part. 3
a a layer or sheet (of cotton etc. being made) wound on a
roller. b a single turn of rope, silk, thread, etc., round a
drum or reel. 4 a rotating disk for polishing a gem or metal.
--v. (lapped, lapping) 1 tr. lead or overtake (a competitor in
a race) by one or more laps. 2 tr. (often foll. by about,
round) coil, fold, or wrap (a garment etc.) round esp. a person.
3 tr. (usu. foll. by in) enfold or swathe (a person) in wraps
etc. 4 tr. (as lapped adj.) (usu. foll. by in) protectively
encircled; enfolded caressingly. 5 tr. surround (a person) with
an influence etc. 6 intr. (usu. foll. by over) project;
overlap. 7 tr. cause to overlap. 8 tr. polish (a gem etc.)
with a lap. Ьhalf-lap = lap joint. lap joint the joining of
rails, shafts, etc., by halving the thickness of each at the
joint and fitting them together. lap of honour a ceremonial
circuit of a football pitch, a track, etc., by a winner or
winners. lap-strake n. a clinker-built boat. --adj.
clinker-built. lap-weld v.tr. weld with overlapping edges.
--n. such a weld. [ME, prob. f. LAP(1)]
lap(3) v. & n. --v. (lapped, lapping) 1 tr. a (also absol.) (usu. of
an animal) drink (liquid) with the tongue. b (usu. foll. by up,
down) consume (liquid) greedily. c (usu. foll. by up) consume
(gossip, praise, etc.) greedily. 2 a tr. (of water) move or
beat upon (a shore) with a rippling sound as of lapping. b
intr. (of waves etc.) move in ripples; make a lapping sound.
--n. 1 a the process or an act of lapping. b the amount of
liquid taken up. 2 the sound of wavelets on a beach. 3 liquid
food for dogs. 4 sl. a a weak beverage. b any liquor. [OE
lapian f. Gmc]
n. Surgery a fibre optic instrument inserted through the
abdominal wall to give a view of the organs in the abdomen.
ЬЬlaparoscopy n. (pl. -ies). [Gk lapara flank + -SCOPE]
n. (pl. -ies) a surgical incision into the abdominal cavity
for exploration or diagnosis. [Gk lapara flank + -TOMY]
lapel n. the part of a coat, jacket, etc., folded back against the
front round the neck opening. ЬЬlapelled adj. [LAP(1) + -EL]
lapicide n. a person who cuts or engraves on stone. [L lapicida irreg.
f. lapis -idis stone: see -CIDE]
lapidary adj. & n. --adj. 1 concerned with stone or stones. 2 engraved
upon stone. 3 (of writing style) dignified and concise,
suitable for inscriptions. --n. (pl. -ies) a cutter,
polisher, or engraver of gems. [ME f. L lapidarius f. lapis
lapilli n.pl. stone fragments ejected from volcanoes. [It. f. L, pl.
dimin. of lapis stone]
n. 1 a blue mineral containing sodium aluminium silicate and
sulphur, used as a gemstone. 2 a bright blue pigment formerly
made from this. 3 its colour. [ME f. L lapis stone + med.L
lazuli genit. of lazulum f. Pers. (as AZURE)]
Laplander n. 1 a native or national of Lapland. 2 a person of this
descent. [Lapland f. Sw. Lappland (as LAPP, LAND)]
Lapp n. & adj. --n. 1 a member of a nomadic Mongol people of N.
Scandinavia. 2 the language of this people. --adj. of or
relating to the Lapps or their language. [Sw. Lapp, perh.
orig. a term of contempt: cf. MHG lappe simpleton]
lappet n. 1 a small flap or fold of a garment etc. 2 a hanging or
loose piece of flesh, such as a lobe or wattle. ЬЬlappeted adj.
[LAP(1) + -ET(1)]
Lappish adj. & n. --adj. = LAPP adj. --n. the Lapp language.
lapse n. & v. --n. 1 a slight error; a slip of memory etc. 2 a weak
or careless decline into an inferior state. 3 (foll. by of) an
interval or passage of time (after a lapse of three years). 4
Law the termination of a right or privilege through disuse or
failure to follow appropriate procedures. --v.intr. 1 fail to
maintain a position or standard. 2 (foll. by into) fall back
into an inferior or previous state. 3 (of a right or privilege
etc.) become invalid because it is not used or claimed or
renewed. 4 (as lapsed adj.) (of a person or thing) that has
lapsed. Ьlapse rate Meteorol. the rate at which the
temperature falls with increasing altitude. ЬЬlapser n. [L
lapsus f. labi laps- glide, slip, fall]
lapstone n. a shoemaker's stone held in the lap and used to beat leather
n. (pl. same) a slip of the pen. [L: see LAPSE]
n. a slip of the tongue. [L: see LAPSE]
laptop n. (attrib.) (of a microcomputer) portable and suitable for use
lapwing n. a plover, Vanellus vanellus, with black and white plumage,
crested head, and a shrill cry. [OE hleapewince f. hleapan
LEAP + WINK: assim. to LAP(1), WING]
larboard n. & adj. Naut. archaic = PORT(3). [ME lade-, ladde-, lathe-
(perh. = LADE + BOARD): later assim. to starboard]
larceny n. (pl. -ies) the theft of personal property. °In 1968
replaced as a statutory crime in English law by theft.
ЬЬlarcener n. larcenist n. larcenous adj. [OF larcin f. L
latrocinium f. latro robber, mercenary f. Gk latreus]
larch n. 1 a deciduous coniferous tree of the genus Larix, with
bright foliage and producing tough timber. 2 (in full
larchwood) its wood. [MHG larche ult. f. L larix -icis]
lard n. & v. --n. the internal fat of the abdomen of pigs, esp. when
rendered and clarified for use in cooking and pharmacy. --v.tr.
1 insert strips of fat or bacon in (meat etc.) before cooking.
2 (foll. by with) embellish (talk or writing) with foreign or
technical terms. [ME f. OF lard bacon f. L lardum, laridum,
rel. to Gk larinos fat]
larder n. 1 a room or cupboard for storing food. 2 a wild animal's
store of food, esp. for winter. [ME f. OF lardier f. med.L
lardarium (as LARD)]
lardon n. (also lardoon) a strip of fat bacon used to lard meat. [ME
f. F lardon (as LARD)]
lardy adj. like or with lard. Ьlardy-cake Brit. a cake made with
lard, currants, etc.
lares n.pl. Rom.Hist. the household gods. Ьlares and penates the
large adj. & n. --adj. 1 of considerable or relatively great size or
extent. 2 of the larger kind (the large intestine). 3 of wide
range; comprehensive. 4 pursuing an activity on a large scale
(large farmer). --n. (at large) 1 at liberty. 2 as a body or
whole (popular with the people at large). 3 (of a narration
etc.) at full length and with all details. 4 without a specific
target (scatters insults at large). 5 US representing a whole
area and not merely a part of it (congressman at large). Ьin
large on a large scale. large as life see LIFE. large-minded
liberal; not narrow-minded. larger than life see LIFE.
large-scale made or occurring on a large scale or in large
amounts. ЬЬlargeness n. largish adj. [ME f. OF f. fem. of L
largely adv. to a great extent; principally (is largely due to
largesse n. (also largess) 1 money or gifts freely given, esp. on an
occasion of rejoicing, by a person in high position. 2
generosity, beneficence. [ME f. OF largesse ult. f. L largus
larghetto adv., adj., & n. Mus. --adv. & adj. in a fairly slow tempo.
--n. (pl. -os) a larghetto passage or movement. [It., dimin.
largo adv., adj., & n. Mus. --adv. & adj. in a slow tempo and
dignified in style. --n. (pl. -os) a largo passage or
movement. [It., = broad]
lariat n. 1 a lasso. 2 a tethering-rope, esp. used by cowboys. [Sp.
la reata f. reatar tie again (as RE-, L aptare adjust f. aptus
lark(1) n. 1 any small bird of the family Alaudidae with brown plumage,
elongated hind claws and tuneful song, esp. the skylark. 2 any
of various similar birds such as the meadow lark. [OE laferce,
l‘werce, of unkn. orig.]
lark(2) n. & v. colloq. --n. 1 a frolic or spree; an amusing
incident; a joke. 2 Brit. a type of activity, affair, etc. (fed
up with this digging lark). --v.intr. (foll. by about) play
tricks; frolic. ЬЬlarky adj. larkiness n. [19th c.: orig.
larkspur n. any of various plants of the genus Consolida, with a
larn v. colloq. or joc. 1 intr. = LEARN. 2 tr. teach (that'll larn
you). [dial. form of LEARN]
larrikin n. Austral. a hooligan. [also Engl. dial.: perh. f. the name
Larry (pet-form of Lawrence) + -KIN]
larrup v.tr. (larruped, larruping) colloq. thrash. [dial.: perh. f.
Larry n. Ьas happy as Larry colloq. extremely happy. [20th c.:
orig. uncert.: cf. LARRIKIN]
larva n. (pl. larvae) 1 the stage of development of an insect
between egg and pupa, e.g. a caterpillar. 2 an immature form of
other animals that undergo some metamorphosis, e.g. a tadpole.
ЬЬlarval adj. larvicide n. [L, = ghost, mask]
laryngeal adj. 1 of or relating to the larynx. 2 Phonet. (of a sound)
made in the larynx.
n. inflammation of the larynx. ЬЬlaryngitic adj.
n. an instrument for examining the larynx, or for inserting a
tube through it.
n. (pl. -ies) a surgical incision of the larynx, esp. to
provide an air passage when breathing is obstructed.
larynx n. (pl. larynges) the hollow muscular organ forming an air
passage to the lungs and holding the vocal cords in humans and
other mammals. [mod.L f. Gk larugx -ggos]
lasagne n. pasta in the form of sheets or wide ribbons, esp. as cooked
and served with minced meat and cheese sauce. [It., pl. of
lasagna f. L lasanum cooking-pot]
Lascar n. an E. Indian seaman. [ult. f. Urdu & Pers. laskar army]
adj. 1 lustful. 2 inciting to or evoking lust. ЬЬlasciviously
adv. lasciviousness n. [ME f. LL lasciviosus f. L lascivia
lustfulness f. lascivus sportive, wanton]
lase v.intr. 1 function as or in a laser. 2 (of a substance)
undergo the physical processes employed in a laser. [back-form.
laser n. a device that generates an intense beam of coherent
monochromatic radiation in the infrared, visible, or ultraviolet
region of the electromagnetic spectrum, by stimulated emission
of photons from an excited source. [light amplification by
stimulated emission of radiation: cf. MASER]
n. a system for the reproduction of video signals recorded on a
disc with a laser. [LASER + VISION, after TELEVISION]
lash v. & n. --v. 1 intr. make a sudden whiplike movement with a
limb or flexible instrument. 2 tr. beat with a whip, rope, etc.
3 intr. pour or rush with great force. 4 intr. (foll. by at,
against) strike violently. 5 tr. castigate in words. 6 tr.
urge on as with a lash. 7 tr. (foll. by down, together, etc.)
fasten with a cord, rope, etc. 8 tr. (of rain, wind, etc.) beat
forcefully upon. --n. 1 a a sharp blow made by a whip, rope,
etc. b (prec. by the) punishment by beating with a whip etc. 2
the flexible end of a whip. 3 (usu. in pl.) an eyelash. Ьlash
out 1 speak or hit out angrily. 2 spend money extravagantly, be
lavish. lash-up a makeshift or improvised structure or
arrangement. ЬЬlasher n. lashingly adv. (esp. in senses 4-5 of
v.). lashless adj. [ME: prob. imit.]
lashing n. 1 a beating. 2 cord used for lashing.
lashings n.pl. Brit. colloq. (foll. by of) plenty; an abundance.
lass n. esp. Sc. & N.Engl. or poet. a girl or young woman. [ME
lasce ult. f. ON laskwa unmarried (fem.)]
n. an acute and often fatal febrile viral disease of tropical
Africa. [Lassa in Nigeria, where first reported]
lassie n. colloq. = LASS.
lassitude n. 1 languor, weariness. 2 disinclination to exert or interest
oneself. [F lassitude or L lassitudo f. lassus tired]
lasso n. & v. --n. (pl. -os or -oes) a rope with a noose at one
end, used esp. in N. America for catching cattle etc. --v.tr.
(-oes, -oed) catch with a lasso. ЬЬlassoer n. [Sp. lazo LACE]
last(1) adj., adv., & n. --adj. 1 after all others; coming at or
belonging to the end. 2 a most recent; next before a specified
time (last Christmas; last week). b preceding; previous in a
sequence (got on at the last station). 3 only remaining (the
last biscuit; our last chance). 4 (prec. by the) least likely
or suitable (the last person I'd want; the last thing I'd have
expected). 5 the lowest in rank (the last place). --adv. 1
after all others (esp. in comb.: last-mentioned). 2 on the last
occasion before the present (when did you last see him?). 3
(esp. in enumerating) lastly. --n. 1 a person or thing that is
last, last-mentioned, most recent, etc. 2 (prec. by the) the
last mention or sight etc. (shall never hear the last of it). 3
the last performance of certain acts (breathed his last). 4
(prec. by the) a the end or last moment. b death. Ьat last (or
long last) in the end; after much delay. last agony the pangs
of death. last ditch a place of final desperate defence (often
(with hyphen) attrib.). Last Judgement see JUDGEMENT. last
minute (or moment) the time just before an important event
(often (with hyphen) attrib.). last name surname. last post
see POST(3). last rites sacred rites for a person about to die.
the last straw a slight addition to a burden or difficulty that
makes it finally unbearable. the Last Supper that of Christ and
his disciples on the eve of the Crucifixion, as recorded in the
New Testament. last thing adv. very late, esp. as a final act
before going to bed. the last word 1 a final or definitive
statement (always has the last word; is the last word on this
subject). 2 (often foll. by in) the latest fashion. on one's
last legs see LEG. pay one's last respects see RESPECT. to (or
till) the last till the end; esp. till death. [OE latost
superl.: see LATE]
last(2) v.intr. 1 remain unexhausted or adequate or alive for a
specified or considerable time; suffice (enough food to last us
a week; the battery lasts and lasts). 2 continue for a
specified time (the journey lasts an hour). Ьlast out remain
adequate or in existence for the whole of a period previously
stated or implied. [OE l‘stan f. Gmc]
last(3) n. a shoemaker's model for shaping or repairing a shoe or boot.
Ьstick to one's last not meddle with what one does not
understand. [OE l‘ste last, l‘st boot, last footprint f. Gmc]
latch n. & v. --n. 1 a bar with a catch and lever used as a
fastening for a gate etc. 2 a spring-lock preventing a door
from being opened from the outside without a key after being
shut. --v.tr. & intr. fasten or be fastened with a latch.
Ьlatch on (often foll. by to) colloq. 1 attach oneself (to). 2
understand. on the latch fastened by the latch only, not
locked. [prob. f. (now dial.) latch (v.) seize f. OE l‘ccan f.
latchkey n. (pl. -eys) a key of an outer door. Ьlatchkey child a child
who is alone at home after school until a parent returns from
late adj. & adv. --adj. 1 after the due or usual time; occurring or
done after the proper time (late for dinner; a late milk
delivery). 2 a far on in the day or night or in a specified
time or period. b far on in development. 3 flowering or
ripening towards the end of the season (late strawberries). 4
(prec. by the or my, his, etc.) no longer alive or having the
specified status (my late husband; the late president). 5 of
recent date (the late storms). --adv. 1 after the due or usual
time (arrived late). 2 far on in time (this happened later on).
3 at or till a late hour. 4 at a late stage of development. 5
formerly but not now (late of the Scillies). Ьat the latest as
the latest time envisaged (will have done it by six at the
latest). late in the day colloq. at a late stage in the
proceedings, esp. too late to be useful. late Latin Latin of
about AD 200-600. the latest the most recent news, fashion,
etc. (have you heard the latest?). ЬЬlateness n. [OE l‘t
(adj.), late (adv.) f. Gmc]
latecomer n. a person who arrives late.
lateen adj. (of a ship) rigged with a lateen sail. Ьlateen sail a
triangular sail on a long yard at an angle of 45ш to the mast.
[F (voile) latine Latin (sail), because common in the
lately adv. not long ago; recently; in recent times. [OE l‘tlice (as
La TЉne adj. of or relating to the second Iron-Age culture of central
and W. Europe. [La TЉne in Switzerland, where remains of it
were first identified]
latent adj. 1 concealed, dormant. 2 existing but not developed or
manifest. Ьlatent heat Physics the heat required to convert a
solid into a liquid or vapour, or a liquid into a vapour,
without change of temperature. latent image Photog. an image
not yet made visible by developing. ЬЬlatency n. latently adv.
[L latere latent- be hidden]
-later comb. form denoting a person who worships a particular thing or
person (idolater). [Gk: see LATRIA]
lateral adj. & n. --adj. 1 of, at, towards, or from the side or sides.
2 descended from a brother or sister of a person in direct line.
--n. a side part etc., esp. a lateral shoot or branch. Ьlateral
line Zool. a visible line along the side of a fish consisting
of a series of sense organs acting as vibration receptors.
lateral thinking a method of solving problems indirectly or by
apparently illogical methods. ЬЬlaterally adv. [L lateralis f.
latus lateris side]
laterite n. a red or yellow ferruginous clay, friable and hardening in
air, used for making roads in the tropics. ЬЬlateritic adj. [L
later brick + -ITE(1)]
latex n. (pl. latexes or latices) 1 a milky fluid of mixed
composition found in various plants and trees, esp. the rubber
tree, and used for commercial purposes. 2 a synthetic product
resembling this. [L, = liquid]
lath n. & v. --n. (pl. laths) a thin flat strip of wood, esp. each
of a series forming a framework or support for plaster etc.
--v.tr. attach laths to (a wall or ceiling). Ьlath and plaster
a common material for interior walls and ceilings etc. [OE
lathe n. a machine for shaping wood, metal, etc., by means of a
rotating drive which turns the piece being worked on against
changeable cutting tools. [prob. rel. to ODa. lad structure,
frame, f. ON hlath, rel. to hlatha LADE]
lather n. & v. --n. 1 a froth produced by agitating soap etc. and
water. 2 frothy sweat, esp. of a horse. 3 a state of
agitation. --v. 1 intr. (of soap etc.) form a lather. 2 tr.
cover with lather. 3 intr. (of a horse etc.) develop or become
covered with lather. 4 tr. colloq. thrash. ЬЬlathery adj.
[OE leathor (n.), lethran (v.)]
lathi n. (pl. lathis) (in India) a long heavy iron-bound bamboo
stick used as a weapon, esp. by police. [Hindi lathi]
latices pl. of LATEX.
Latin n. & adj. --n. 1 the Italic language of ancient Rome and its
empire, originating in Latium. 2 Rom.Hist. an inhabitant of
ancient Latium in Central Italy. --adj. 1 of or in Latin. 2
of the countries or peoples (e.g. France and Spain) using
languages developed from Latin. 3 Rom.Hist. of or relating to
ancient Latium or its inhabitants. 4 of the Roman Catholic
Church. ЬLatin America the parts of Central and S. America
where Spanish or Portuguese is the main language. Latin
American n. a native of Latin America. --adj. of or relating
to Latin America. Latin Church the Western Church. ЬЬLatinism
n. Latinist n. [ME f. OF Latin or L Latinus f. Latium]
Latinate adj. having the character of Latin.
Latinize v. (also -ise) 1 tr. give a Latin or Latinate form to. 2 tr.
translate into Latin. 3 tr. make conformable to the ideas,
customs, etc., of the ancient Romans, Latin peoples, or Latin
Church. 4 intr. use Latin forms, idioms, etc. ЬЬLatinization
n. Latinizer n. [LL latinizare (as LATIN)]
latish adj. & adv. fairly late.
latitude n. 1 Geog. a the angular distance on a meridian north or south
of the equator, expressed in degrees and minutes. b (usu. in
pl.) regions or climes, esp. with reference to temperature (warm
latitudes). 2 freedom from narrowness; liberality of
interpretation. 3 tolerated variety of action or opinion (was
allowed much latitude). 4 Astron. the angular distance of a
celestial body or point from the ecliptic. Ьhigh latitudes
regions near the poles. low latitudes regions near the equator.
ЬЬlatitudinal adj. latitudinally adv. [ME, = breadth, f. L
latitudo -dinis f. latus broad]
adj. & n. --adj. allowing latitude esp. in religion; showing no
preference among varying creeds and forms of worship. --n. a
person with a latitudinarian attitude. ЬЬlatitudinarianism n.
[L latitudo -dinis breadth + -ARIAN]
latria n. Theol. supreme worship allowed to God alone. [LL f. Gk
latreia worship f. latreuo serve]
latrine n. a communal lavatory, esp. in a camp, barracks, etc. [F f. L
latrina, shortening of lavatrina f. lavare wash]
-latry comb. form denoting worship (idolatry). [Gk latreia: see
latten n. an alloy of copper and zinc, often rolled into sheets, and
formerly used for monumental brasses and church articles. [ME
latoun f. OF laton, leiton]
latter adj. 1 a denoting the second-mentioned of two, or disp. the
last-mentioned of three or more. b (prec. by the; usu. absol.)
the second- or last-mentioned person or thing. 2 nearer to the
end (the latter part of the year). 3 recent. 4 belonging to
the end of a period, of the world, etc. Ьlatter-day modern,
newfangled. Latter-day Saints the Mormons' name for themselves.
[OE l‘tra, compar. of l‘t LATE]
latterly adv. 1 in the latter part of life or of a period. 2 recently.
lattice n. 1 a a structure of crossed laths or bars with spaces
between, used as a screen, fence, etc. b (in full lattice-work)
laths arranged in lattice formation. 2 Crystallog. a regular
periodic arrangement of atoms, ions, or molecules in a
crystalline solid. Ьlattice frame (or girder) a girder or truss
made of top and bottom members connected by struts usu. crossing
diagonally. lattice window a window with small panes set in
diagonally crossing strips of lead. ЬЬlatticed adj. latticing
n. [ME f. OF lattis f. latte lath f. WG]
Latvian n. & adj. --n. 1 a a native of Latvia, a Baltic republic of
the USSR. b a person of Latvian descent. 2 the language of
Latvia. --adj. of or relating to Latvia or its people or
laud v. & n. --v.tr. praise or extol, esp. in hymns. --n. 1
literary praise; a hymn of praise. 2 (in pl.) the traditional
morning prayer of the Roman Catholic Church. [ME: (n.) f. OF
laude, (v.) f. L laudare, f. L laus laudis praise]
laudable adj. commendable, praiseworthy. ЬЬlaudability n. laudably
adv. [ME f. L laudabilis (as LAUD)]
laudanum n. a solution containing morphine and prepared from opium,
formerly used as a narcotic painkiller. [mod.L, the name given
by Paracelsus to a costly medicament, later applied to
preparations containing opium: perh. var. of LADANUM]
laudation n. formal praise. [L laudatio -onis (as LAUD)]
laugh v. & n. --v. 1 intr. make the spontaneous sounds and movements
usual in expressing lively amusement, scorn, derision, etc. 2
tr. express by laughing. 3 tr. bring (a person) into a certain
state by laughing (laughed them into agreeing). 4 intr. (foll.
by at) ridicule, make fun of (laughed at us for going). 5 intr.
(be laughing) colloq. be in a fortunate or successful position.
6 intr. esp. poet. make sounds reminiscent of laughing. --n.
1 the sound or act or manner of laughing. 2 colloq. a comical
or ridiculous thing. Ьhave the last laugh be ultimately the
winner. laugh in a person's face show open scorn for a person.
laugh off get rid of (embarrassment or humiliation) with a jest.
laugh on the other side of one's face change from enjoyment or
amusement to displeasure, shame, apprehension, etc. laugh out
of court deprive of a hearing by ridicule. laugh up one's
sleeve be secretly or inwardly amused. ЬЬlaugher n. [OE
hl‘hhan, hliehhan f. Gmc]
laughing n. & adj. --n. laughter. --adj. in senses of LAUGH v.
Ьlaughing-gas nitrous oxide as an anaesthetic, formerly used
without oxygen and causing an exhilarating effect when inhaled.
laughing hyena see HYENA. laughing jackass = KOOKABURRA.
laughing-stock a person or thing open to general ridicule. no
laughing matter something serious. ЬЬlaughingly adv.
laughter n. the act or sound of laughing. [OE hleahtor f. Gmc]
launce n. a sand eel. [perh. f. LANCE: cf. garfish]
launch(1) v. & n. --v. 1 tr. set (a vessel) afloat. 2 tr. hurl or send
forth (a weapon, rocket, etc.). 3 tr. start or set in motion
(an enterprise, a person on a course of action, etc.). 4 tr.
formally introduce (a new product) with publicity etc. 5 intr.
(often foll. by out, into, etc.) a make a start, esp. on an
ambitious enterprise. b burst into strong language etc. --n.
the act or an instance of launching. Ьlaunch (or launching) pad
a platform with a supporting structure, from which rockets are
launched. [ME f. AF launcher, ONF lancher, OF lancier LANCE v.]
launch(2) n. 1 a large motor boat, used esp. for pleasure. 2 a
man-of-war's largest boat. [Sp. lancha pinnace perh. f. Malay
lancharan f. lanchar swift]
launcher n. a structure or device to hold a rocket during launching.
launder v. & n. --v.tr. 1 wash and iron (clothes, linen, etc.). 2
colloq. transfer (funds) to conceal a dubious or illegal origin.
--n. a channel for conveying liquids, esp. molten metal.
ЬЬlaunderer n. [ME launder (n.) washer of linen, contr. of
lavander f. OF lavandier ult. f. L lavanda things to be washed,
neut. pl. gerundive of lavare wash]
n. (also laundrette) an establishment with coin-operated
washing-machines and driers for public use.
laundress n. a woman who launders clothes, linen, etc., esp.
laundry n. (pl. -ies) 1 an establishment for washing clothes or linen.
2 clothes or linen for laundering or newly laundered. [contr.
f. lavendry (f. OF lavanderie) after LAUNDER]
laureate adj. & n. --adj. 1 wreathed with laurel as a mark of honour.
2 consisting of laurel; laurel-like. --n. 1 a person who is
honoured for outstanding creative or intellectual achievement
(Nobel laureate). 2 = Poet Laureate. ЬЬlaureateship n. [L
laureatus f. laurea laurel-wreath f. laurus laurel]
laurel n. & v. --n. 1 = BAY(2). 2 a (in sing. or pl.) the foliage of
the bay-tree used as an emblem of victory or distinction in
poetry usu. formed into a wreath or crown. b (in pl.) honour or
distinction. 3 any plant with dark-green glossy leaves like a
bay-tree, e.g. cherry-laurel, mountain laurel, spurge laurel.
--v.tr. (laurelled, laurelling; US laureled, laureling) wreathe
with laurel. Ьlook to one's laurels beware of losing one's
pre-eminence. rest on one's laurels be satisfied with what one
has done and not seek further success. [ME lorer f. OF lorier
f. Prov. laurier f. laur f. L laurus]
n. an evergreen winter-flowering shrub, Viburnum tinus, with
dense glossy green leaves and white or pink flowers. [mod.L f.
L laurus laurel + tinus wild laurel]
lav n. Brit. colloq. lavatory. [abbr.]
lava n. 1 the molten matter which flows from a volcano. 2 the solid
substance which it forms on cooling. [It. f. lavare wash f. L]
lavabo n. (pl. -os) 1 RC Ch. a the ritual washing of the celebrant's
hands at the offertory of the Mass. b a towel or basin used for
this. 2 a monastery washing-trough. 3 a wash-basin. [L, = I
will wash, first word of Psalm 26:6]
lavage n. Med. the washing-out of a body cavity, such as the colon or
stomach, with water or a medicated solution. [F f. laver wash:
lavation n. formal washing. [L lavatio f. lavare wash]
adj. (esp. of humour) relating to lavatories and their use.
lavatory n. (pl. -ies) 1 a large receptacle for urine and faeces, usu.
with running water and a flush mechanism as a means of disposal.
2 a room or compartment containing one or more of these.
Ьlavatory paper = toilet paper. [ME, = washing vessel, f. LL
lavatorium f. L lavare lavat- wash]
lave v.tr. literary 1 wash, bathe. 2 (of water) wash against; flow
along. [ME f. OF laver f. L lavare wash, perh. coalescing with
lavender n. & v. --n. 1 a any small evergreen shrub of the genus
Lavandula, with narrow leaves and blue, purple, or pink aromatic
flowers. b its flowers and stalks dried and used to scent
linen, clothes, etc. 2 a pale blue colour with a trace of red.
--v.tr. put lavender among (linen etc.). Ьlavender-water a
perfume made from distilled lavender, alcohol, and ambergris.
[ME f. AF lavendre, ult. f. med.L lavandula]
laver(1) n. any of various edible seaweeds, esp. Porphyra umbilicalis,
having sheetlike fronds. Ьlaver bread a Welsh dish of laver
which is boiled, dipped in oatmeal, and fried. [L]
laver(2) n. 1 Bibl. a large brass vessel for Jewish priests' ritual
ablutions. 2 archaic a washing or fountain basin; a font. [ME
lavo(u)r f. OF laveo(i)r f. LL (as LAVATORY)]
lavish adj. & v. --adj. 1 giving or producing in large quantities;
profuse. 2 generous, unstinting. 3 excessive, over-abundant.
--v.tr. (often foll. by on) bestow or spend (money, effort,
praise, etc.) abundantly. ЬЬlavishly adv. lavishness n. [ME
f. obs. lavish, lavas (n.) profusion f. OF lavasse deluge of
rain f. laver wash]
law n. 1 a a rule enacted or customary in a community and
recognized as enjoining or prohibiting certain actions and
enforced by the imposition of penalties. b a body of such rules
(the law of the land; forbidden under Scots law). 2 the
controlling influence of laws; a state of respect for laws (law
and order). 3 laws collectively as a social system or subject
of study (was reading law). 4 (with defining word) any of the
specific branches or applications of law (commercial law; law of
contract). 5 binding force or effect (their word is law). 6
(prec. by the) a the legal profession. b colloq. the police. 7
the statute and common law (opp. EQUITY). 8 (in pl.)
jurisprudence. 9 a the judicial remedy; litigation. b the
lawcourts as providing this (go to law). 10 a rule of action or
procedure, e.g. in a game, social context, form of art, etc. 11
a regularity in natural occurrences, esp. as formulated or
propounded in particular instances (the laws of nature; the law
of gravity; Parkinson's law). 12 a divine commandments as
expressed in the Bible or other sources. b (Law of Moses) the
precepts of the Pentateuch. Ьat (or in) law according to the
laws. be a law unto oneself do what one feels is right;
disregard custom. go to law take legal action; make use of the
lawcourts. law-abiding obedient to the laws. law-abidingness
obedience to the laws. law agent (in Scotland) a solicitor.
law centre Brit. an independent publicly-funded advisory
service on legal matters. Law Lord a member of the House of
Lords qualified to perform its legal work. law of diminishing
returns see DIMINISH. law of nature = natural law. laws of war
the limitations on belligerents' action recognized by civilized
nations. law term a period appointed for the sitting of
lawcourts. lay down the law be dogmatic or authoritarian. take
the law into one's own hands redress a grievance by one's own
means, esp. by force. [OE lagu f. ON lag something 'laid down'
or fixed, rel. to LAY(1)]
n. a person who breaks the law. ЬЬlawbreaking n. & adj.
lawcourt n. a court of law.
lawful adj. conforming with, permitted by, or recognized by law; not
illegal or (of a child) illegitimate. ЬЬlawfully adv.
lawgiver n. a person who lays down laws.
lawless adj. 1 having no laws or enforcement of them. 2 disregarding
laws. 3 unbridled, uncontrolled. ЬЬlawlessly adv. lawlessness
lawmaker n. a legislator.
lawman n. (pl. -men) US a law-enforcement officer, esp. a sheriff or
lawn(1) n. a piece of grass kept mown and smooth in a garden, park,
etc. Ьlawn tennis the usual form of tennis, played with a soft
ball on outdoor grass or a hard court. [ME laund glade f. OF
launde f. OCelt., rel. to LAND]
lawn(2) n. a fine linen or cotton fabric used for clothes. ЬЬlawny
adj. [ME, prob. f. Laon in France]
lawnmower n. a machine for cutting the grass on a lawn.
n. Chem. an artificially made transuranic radioactive metallic
element. °Symb.: Lw. [E. O. Lawrence, Amer. physicist d.
lawsuit n. the process or an instance of making a claim in a lawcourt.
lawyer n. a member of the legal profession, esp. a solicitor.
ЬЬlawyerly adj. [ME law(i)er f. LAW]
lax adj. 1 lacking care, concern, or firmness. 2 loose, relaxed;
not compact. 3 Phonet. pronounced with the vocal muscles
relaxed. ЬЬlaxity n. laxly adv. laxness n. [ME, = loose, f.
L laxus: rel. to SLACK(1)]
laxative adj. & n. --adj. tending to stimulate or facilitate evacuation
of the bowels. --n. a laxative medicine. [ME f. OF laxatif
-ive or LL laxativus f. L laxare loosen (as LAX)]
lay(1) v. & n. --v. (past and past part. laid) 1 tr. place on a
surface, esp. horizontally or in the proper or specified place.
2 tr. put or bring into a certain or the required position or
state (laid his hand on her arm; lay a carpet). 3 intr. dial.
or erron. lie. °This use, incorrect in standard English, is
probably partly encouraged by confusion with lay as the past of
lie, as in the dog lay on the floor which is correct; the dog is
laying on the floor is not correct. 4 tr. make by laying (lay
the foundations). 5 tr. (often absol.) (of a hen bird) produce
(an egg). 6 tr. a cause to subside or lie flat. b deal with
to remove (a ghost, fear, etc.). 7 tr. place or present for
consideration (a case, proposal, etc.). 8 tr. set down as a
basis or starting-point. 9 tr. (usu. foll. by on) attribute or
impute (blame etc.). 10 tr. locate (a scene etc.) in a certain
place. 11 tr. prepare or make ready (a plan or a trap). 12 tr.
prepare (a table) for a meal. 13 tr. place or arrange the
material for (a fire). 14 tr. put down as a wager; stake. 15
tr. (foll. by with) coat or strew (a surface). 16 tr. sl.
offens. have sexual intercourse with (esp. a woman). --n. 1
the way, position, or direction in which something lies. 2 sl.
offens. a partner (esp. female) in sexual intercourse. 3 the
direction or amount of twist in rope-strands. Ьin lay (of a
hen) laying eggs regularly. laid-back colloq. relaxed,
unbothered, easygoing. laid paper paper with the surface marked
in fine ribs. laid up confined to bed or the house. lay about
one 1 hit out on all sides. 2 criticize indiscriminately. lay
aside 1 put to one side. 2 cease to practise or consider. 3
save (money etc.) for future needs. lay at the door of see
DOOR. lay back cause to slope back from the vertical. lay bare
expose, reveal. lay a charge make an accusation. lay claim to
claim as one's own. lay down 1 put on the ground. 2
relinquish; give up (an office). 3 formulate (a rule or
principle). 4 pay or wager (money). 5 begin to construct (a
ship or railway). 6 store (wine) in a cellar. 7 set down on
paper. 8 sacrifice (one's life). 9 convert (land) into
pasture. 10 record (esp. popular music). lay down the law see
LAW. lay one's hands on obtain, acquire, locate. lay hands on
1 seize or attack. 2 place one's hands on or over, esp. in
confirmation, ordination, or spiritual healing. lay hold of
seize or grasp. lay in provide oneself with a stock of. lay
into colloq. punish or scold heavily. lay it on thick (or with
a trowel) colloq. flatter or exaggerate grossly. lay low
overthrow, kill, or humble. lay off 1 discharge (workers)
temporarily because of a shortage of work. 2 colloq. desist.
lay-off n. 1 a temporary discharge of workers. 2 a period when
this is in force. lay on 1 provide (a facility, amenity, etc.).
2 impose (a penalty, obligation, etc.). 3 inflict (blows). 4
spread on (paint etc.). lay on the table see TABLE. lay open 1
break the skin of. 2 (foll. by to) expose (to criticism etc.).
lay out 1 spread out. 2 expose to view. 3 prepare (a corpse)
for burial. 4 colloq. knock unconscious. 5 dispose (grounds
etc.) according to a plan. 6 expend (money). 7 refl. (foll. by
to + infin.) take pains (to do something) (laid themselves out
to help). lay store by see STORE. lay to rest bury in a grave.
lay up 1 store, save. 2 put (a ship etc.) out of service. lay
waste see WASTE. [OE lecgan f. Gmc]
lay(2) adj. 1 a non-clerical. b not ordained into the clergy. 2 a
not professionally qualified, esp. in law or medicine. b of or
done by such persons. Ьlay brother (or sister) a person who has
taken the vows of a religious order but is not ordained and is
employed in ancillary or manual work. lay reader a lay person
licensed to conduct some religious services. [ME f. OF lai f.
eccl.L laicus f. Gk la‹kos LAIC]
lay(3) n. 1 a short lyric or narrative poem meant to be sung. 2 a
song. [ME f. OF lai, Prov. lais, of unkn. orig.]
lay(4) past of LIE.
layabout n. a habitual loafer or idler.
lay-by n. (pl. lay-bys) 1 Brit. an area at the side of an open road
where vehicles may stop. 2 a similar arrangement on a canal or
railway. 3 Austral. & NZ a system of paying a deposit to secure
an article for later purchase.
layer n. & v. --n. 1 a thickness of matter, esp. one of several,
covering a surface. 2 a person or thing that lays. 3 a hen
that lays eggs. 4 a shoot fastened down to take root while
attached to the parent plant. --v.tr. 1 a arrange in layers.
b cut (hair) in layers. 2 propagate (a plant) as a layer.
Ьlayer-out a person who prepares a corpse for burial. ЬЬlayered
adj. [ME f. LAY(1) + -ER(1)]
layette n. a set of clothing, toilet articles, and bedclothes for a
newborn child. [F, dimin. of OF laie drawer f. MDu. laege]
n. 1 a dummy or jointed figure of a human body used by artists
for arranging drapery on etc. 2 an unrealistic character in a
novel etc. 3 a person lacking in individuality. [lay f. obs.
layman f. Du. leeman f. obs. led joint]
layman n. (pl. -men; fem. laywoman, pl. -women) 1 any non-ordained
member of a Church. 2 a person without professional or
specialized knowledge in a particular subject.
layout n. 1 the disposing or arrangement of a site, ground, etc. 2
the way in which plans, printed matter, etc., are arranged or
set out. 3 something arranged or set out in a particular way.
4 the make-up of a book, newspaper, etc.
layover n. a period of rest or waiting before a further stage in a
journey etc.; a stopover.
layshaft n. a second or intermediate transmission shaft in a machine.
lazar n. archaic a poor and diseased person, esp. a leper. [ME f.
med.L lazarus f. the name in Luke 16:20]
lazaret n. (also lazaretto) (pl. lazarets or lazarettos) 1 a hospital
for diseased people, esp. lepers. 2 a building or ship for
quarantine. 3 the after part of a ship's hold, used for stores.
[(F lazaret) f. It. lazzaretto f. lazzaro LAZAR]
laze v. & n. --v. 1 intr. spend time lazily or idly. 2 tr. (often
foll. by away) pass (time) in this way. --n. a spell of lazing.
[back-form. f. LAZY]
lazuli n. = LAPIS LAZULI. [abbr.]
lazy adj. (lazier, laziest) 1 disinclined to work, doing little
work. 2 of or inducing idleness. 3 (of a river) slow-moving.
ЬЬlazily adv. laziness n. [earlier laysie, lasie, laesy, perh.
f. LG: cf. LG lasich idle]
LD abbr. lethal dose, usu. with a following numeral indicating the
percentage of a group of animals killed by such a dose (LD).
Ld. abbr. Lord.
Ldg. abbr. Leading (Seaman etc.).
LDS abbr. Licentiate in Dental Surgery.
-le(1) suffix forming nouns, esp.: 1 names of appliances or instruments
(handle; thimble). 2 names of animals and plants (beetle;
thistle). °The suffix has ceased to be syllabic in fowl, snail,
stile. [ult. from or repr. OE -el etc. f. Gmc, with many IE
-le(2) suffix (also -el) forming nouns with (or orig. with) diminutive
sense, or = -AL (angle; castle; mantle; syllable; novel;
tunnel). [ME -el, -elle f. OF ult. f. L forms -ellus, -ella,
-le(3) suffix forming adjectives, often with (or orig. with) the sense
'apt or liable to' (brittle; fickle; little; nimble). [ME f. OE
-el etc. f. Gmc, corresp. to L -ulus]
-le(4) suffix forming verbs, esp. expressing repeated action or
movement or having diminutive sense (bubble; crumple; wriggle).
°Examples from OE are handle, nestle, startle, twinkle. [OE
-lian f. Gmc]
LEA abbr. (in the UK) Local Education Authority.
lea n. poet. a piece of meadow or pasture or arable land. [OE
lea(h) f. Gmc]
leach v. 1 tr. make (a liquid) percolate through some material. 2
tr. subject (bark, ore, ash, or soil) to the action of
percolating fluid. 3 tr. & intr. (foll. by away, out) remove
(soluble matter) or be removed in this way. ЬЬleacher n.
[prob. repr. OE leccan to water, f. WG]
lead(1) v. & n. --v. (past and past part. led) 1 tr. cause to go with
one, esp. by guiding or showing the way or by going in front and
taking a person's hand or an animal's halter etc. 2 tr. a
direct the actions or opinions of. b (often foll. by to, or to
+ infin.) guide by persuasion or example or argument (what led
you to that conclusion?; was led to think you may be right). 3
tr. (also absol.) provide access to; bring to a certain position
or destination (this door leads you into a small room; the road
leads to Lincoln; the path leads uphill). 4 tr. pass or go
through (a life etc. of a specified kind) (led a miserable
existence). 5 tr. a have the first place in (lead the dance;
leads the world in sugar production). b (absol.) go first; be
ahead in a race or game. c (absol.) be pre-eminent in some
field. 6 tr. be in charge of (leads a team of researchers). 7
tr. a direct by example. b set (a fashion). c be the
principal player of (a group of musicians). 8 tr. (also absol.)
begin a round of play at cards by playing (a card) or a card of
(a particular suit). 9 intr. (foll. by to) have as an end or
outcome; result in (what does all this lead to?). 10 intr.
(foll. by with) Boxing make an attack (with a particular blow).
11 a intr. (foll. by with) (of a newspaper) use a particular
item as the main story (led with the Stock Market crash). b tr.
(of a story) be the main feature of (a newspaper or part of it)
(the royal wedding will lead the front page). 12 tr. (foll. by
through) make (a liquid, strip of material, etc.) pass through a
pulley, channel, etc. --n. 1 guidance given by going in front;
example. 2 a a leading place; the leadership (is in the lead;
take the lead). b the amount by which a competitor is ahead of
the others (a lead of ten yards). 3 a clue, esp. an early
indication of the resolution of a problem (is the first real
lead in the case). 4 a strap or cord for leading a dog etc. 5
a conductor (usu. a wire) conveying electric current from a
source to an appliance. 6 a the chief part in a play etc. b
the person playing this. 7 (in full lead story) the item of
news given the greatest prominence in a newspaper or magazine.
8 a the act or right of playing first in a game or round of
cards. b the card led. 9 the distance advanced by a screw in
one turn. 10 a an artificial watercourse, esp. one leading to a
mill. b a channel of water in an ice-field. Ьlead astray see
ASTRAY. lead by the nose cajole (a person) into compliance.
lead a person a dance see DANCE. lead-in 1 an introduction,
opening, etc. 2 a wire leading in from outside, esp. from an
aerial to a receiver or transmitter. lead off 1 begin; make a
start. 2 colloq. lose one's temper. lead-off n. an action
beginning a process. lead on 1 entice into going further than
was intended. 2 mislead or deceive. lead time the time between
the initiation and completion of a production process. lead up
the garden path colloq. mislead. lead the way see WAY.
ЬЬleadable adj. [OE l‘dan f. Gmc]
lead(2) n. & v. --n. 1 Chem. a heavy bluish-grey soft ductile metallic
element occurring naturally in galena and used in building and
the manufacture of alloys. °Symb.: Pb. 2 a graphite. b a thin
length of this for use in a pencil. 3 a lump of lead used in
sounding water. 4 (in pl.) Brit. a strips of lead covering a
roof. b a piece of lead-covered roof. 5 (in pl.) Brit. lead
frames holding the glass of a lattice or stained-glass window.
6 Printing a blank space between lines of print (orig. with ref.
to the metal strip used to give this space). 7 (attrib.) made
of lead. --v.tr. 1 cover, weight, or frame (a roof or window
panes) with lead. 2 Printing separate lines of (printed matter)
with leads. 3 add a lead compound to (petrol etc.). Ьlead
acetate a white crystalline compound of lead that dissolves in
water to form a sweet-tasting solution. lead-free (of petrol)
without added tetraethyl lead. lead pencil a pencil of graphite
enclosed in wood. lead-poisoning acute or chronic poisoning by
absorption of lead into the body. lead shot = SHOT(1) 3b. lead
tetraethyl = TETRAETHYL LEAD. lead wool a fibrous form of lead,
used for jointing water pipes. ЬЬleadless adj. [OE lead f. WG]
leaden adj. 1 of or like lead. 2 heavy, slow, burdensome (leaden
limbs). 3 inert, depressing (leaden rule). 4 lead-coloured
(leaden skies). Ьleaden seal a stamped piece of lead holding
the ends of a wire used as a fastening. ЬЬleadenly adv.
leadenness n. [OE leaden (as LEAD(2))]
leader n. 1 a a person or thing that leads. b a person followed by
others. 2 a the principal player in a music group or of the
first violins in an orchestra. b US a conductor of an
orchestra. 3 Brit. = leading article. 4 a short strip of
non-functioning material at each end of a reel of film or
recording tape for connection to the spool. 5 (in full Leader
of the House) Brit. a member of the government officially
responsible for initiating business in Parliament. 6 a shoot of
a plant at the apex of a stem or of the main branch. 7 (in pl.)
Printing a series of dots or dashes across the page to guide the
eye, esp. in tabulated material. 8 the horse placed at the
front in a team or pair. ЬЬleaderless adj. leadership n. [OE
l‘dere (as LEAD(1))]
adj. & n. --adj. chief; most important. --n. guidance,
leadership. Ьleading aircraftman the rank above aircraftman in
the RAF. leading article a newspaper article giving the
editorial opinion. leading counsel the senior barrister of two
or more in a case. leading edge 1 the foremost edge of an
aerofoil, esp. a wing or propeller blade. 2 Electronics the
part of a pulse in which the amplitude increases (opp. trailing
edge). leading lady the actress playing the principal part.
leading light a prominent and influential person. leading man
the actor playing the principal part. leading note Mus. =
SUBTONIC. leading question a question that prompts the answer
wanted. leading seaman the rank next below NCO in the Royal
Navy. leading-strings (or -reins) 1 strings for guiding
children learning to walk. 2 oppressive supervision or control.
leading tone US Mus. = leading note.
n. Printing = LEAD(2) n. 6.
leadwort n. = PLUMBAGO 2.
leaf n. & v. --n. (pl. leaves) 1 a each of several flattened usu.
green structures of a plant, usu. on the side of a stem or
branch and the main organ of photosynthesis. b other similar
plant structures, e.g. bracts, sepals, and petals (floral leaf).
2 a foliage regarded collectively. b the state of having leaves
out (a tree in leaf). 3 the leaves of tobacco or tea. 4 a
single thickness of paper, esp. in a book with each side forming
a page. 5 a very thin sheet of metal, esp. gold or silver. 6 a
the hinged part or flap of a door, shutter, table, etc. b an
extra section inserted to extend a table. --v. 1 intr. put
forth leaves. 2 tr. (foll. by through) turn over the pages of
(a book etc.). Ьleaf-green the colour of green leaves. leaf
insect any insect of the family Phylliidae, having a flattened
body leaflike in appearance. leaf-miner any of various larvae
burrowing in leaves, esp. moth caterpillars of the family
Gracillariidae. leaf-monkey a langur. leaf-mould soil
consisting chiefly of decayed leaves. leaf spring a spring made
of strips of metal. leaf-stalk a petiole. ЬЬleafage n. leafed
adj. (also in comb.). leafless adj. leaflessness n. leaflike
adj. [OE leaf f. Gmc]
n. any homopterous insect of the family Cicadellidae, which
sucks the sap of plants and often causes damage and spreads
leaflet n. & v. --n. 1 a young leaf. 2 Bot. any division of a
compound leaf. 3 a sheet of (usu. printed) paper (sometimes
folded but not stitched) giving information, esp. for free
distribution. --v.tr. (leafleted, leafleting) distribute
leafy adj. (leafier, leafiest) 1 having many leaves. 2 resembling a
leaf. ЬЬleafiness n.
league(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a collection of people, countries, groups,
etc., combining for a particular purpose, esp. mutual protection
or cooperation. 2 an agreement to combine in this way. 3 a
group of sports clubs which compete over a period for a
championship. 4 a class of contestants. --v.intr. (leagues,
leagued, leaguing) (often foll. by together) join in a league.
Ьin league allied, conspiring. league football Austral. Rugby
League or Australian Rules football played in leagues. league
table 1 a listing of competitors as a league, showing their
ranking according to performance. 2 any list of ranking order.
[F ligue or It. liga, var. of lega f. legare bind f. L ligare]
league(2) n. archaic a varying measure of travelling-distance by land,
usu. about three miles. [ME, ult. f. LL leuga, leuca, of
n. esp. US a member of a league.
n. & v. = LAAGER. [Du. leger camp, rel. to LAIR(1)]
leak n. & v. --n. 1 a a hole in a vessel, pipe, or container etc.
caused by wear or damage, through which matter, esp. liquid or
gas, passes accidentally in or out. b the matter passing in or
out through this. c the act or an instance of leaking. 2 a a
similar escape of electrical charge. b the charge that escapes.
3 the intentional disclosure of secret information. --v. 1 a
intr. (of liquid, gas, etc.) pass in or out through a leak. b
tr. lose or admit (liquid, gas, etc.) through a leak. 2 tr.
intentionally disclose (secret information). 3 intr. (often
foll. by out) (of a secret, secret information) become known.
Ьhave (or take) a leak sl. urinate. ЬЬleaker n. [ME prob. f.
leakage n. 1 the action or result of leaking. 2 what leaks in or out.
3 an intentional disclosure of secret information.
leaky adj. (leakier, leakiest) 1 having a leak or leaks. 2 given to
letting out secrets. ЬЬleakiness n.
leal adj. Sc. loyal, honest. [ME f. AF leal, OF leel, loial (as
lean(1) v. & n. --v. (past and past part. leaned or leant) 1 intr. &
tr. (often foll. by across, back, over, etc.) be or place in a
sloping position; incline from the perpendicular. 2 intr. & tr.
(foll. by against, on, upon) rest or cause to rest for support
against etc. 3 intr. (foll. by on, upon) rely on; derive
support from. 4 intr. (foll. by to, towards) be inclined or
partial to; have a tendency towards. --n. a deviation from the
perpendicular; an inclination (has a decided lean to the right).
Ьlean on colloq. put pressure on (a person) to act in a certain
way. lean over backwards see BACKWARDS. lean-to (pl. -tos) a
building with its roof leaning against a larger building or a
wall. [OE hleonian, hlinian f. Gmc]
lean(2) adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of a person or animal) thin; having no
superfluous fat. 2 (of meat) containing little fat. 3 a
meagre; of poor quality (lean crop). b not nourishing (lean
diet). 4 unremunerative. --n. the lean part of meat. Ьlean
years years of scarcity. ЬЬleanly adv. leanness n. [OE hl‘ne
leaning n. a tendency or partiality.
leap v. & n. --v. (past and past part. leaped or leapt) 1 intr.
jump or spring forcefully. 2 tr. jump across. 3 intr. (of
prices etc.) increase dramatically. --n. a forceful jump. Ьby
leaps and bounds with startlingly rapid progress. leap in the
dark a daring step or enterprise whose consequences are
unpredictable. leap to the eye be immediately apparent. leap
year a year, occurring once in four, with 366 days (including
29th Feb. as an intercalary day). ЬЬleaper n. [OE hlyp,
hleapan f. Gmc: leap year prob. refers to the fact that
feast-days after Feb. in such a year fall two days later
(instead of the normal one day later) than in the previous year]
leap-frog n. & v. --n. a game in which players in turn vault with parted
legs over another who is bending down. --v. (-frogged,
-frogging) 1 intr. (foll. by over) perform such a vault. 2 tr.
vault over in this way. 3 tr. & intr. (of two or more people,
vehicles, etc.) overtake alternately.
learn v. (past and past part. learned or learnt) 1 tr. gain
knowledge of or skill in by study, experience, or being taught.
2 tr. (foll. by to + infin.) acquire or develop a particular
ability (learn to swim). 3 tr. commit to memory (will try to
learn your names). 4 intr. (foll. by of) be informed about. 5
tr. (foll. by that, how, etc. + clause) become aware of by
information or from observation. 6 intr. receive instruction;
acquire knowledge or skill. 7 tr. archaic or sl. teach.
Ьlearn one's lesson see LESSON. ЬЬlearnable adj. learnability
n. [OE leornian f. Gmc: cf. LORE(1)]
learned adj. 1 having much knowledge acquired by study. 2 showing or
requiring learning (a learned work). 3 studied or pursued by
learned persons. 4 concerned with the interests of learned
persons; scholarly (a learned journal). 5 Brit. as a courteous
description of a lawyer in certain formal contexts (my learned
friend). ЬЬlearnedly adv. learnedness n. [ME f. LEARN in the
learner n. 1 a person who is learning a subject or skill. 2 (in full
learner driver) a person who is learning to drive a motor
vehicle and has not yet passed a driving test.
learning n. knowledge acquired by study. [OE leornung (as LEARN)]
lease n. & v. --n. an agreement by which the owner of a building or
land allows another to use it for a specified time, usu. in
return for payment. --v.tr. grant or take on lease. Ьa new
lease of (US on) life a substantially improved prospect of
living, or of use after repair. ЬЬleasable adj. leaser n. [ME
f. AF les, OF lais, leis f. lesser, laissier leave f. L laxare
make loose (laxus)]
leaseback n. the leasing of a property back to the vendor.
leasehold n. & adj. --n. 1 the holding of property by lease. 2 property
held by lease. --adj. held by lease. ЬЬleaseholder n.
leash n. & v. --n. a thong for holding a dog; a dog's lead. --v.tr.
1 put a leash on. 2 restrain. Ьstraining at the leash eager to
begin. [ME f. OF lesse, laisse f. specific use of laisser let
run on a slack lead: see LEASE]
least adj., n., & adv. --adj. 1 smallest, slightest, most
insignificant. 2 (prec. by the; esp. with neg.) any at all (it
does not make the least difference). 3 (of a species or
variety) very small (least tern). --n. the least amount.
--adv. in the least degree. Ьat least 1 at all events; anyway;
even if there is doubt about a more extended statement. 2 (also
at the least) not less than. in the least (or the least) (usu.
with neg.) in the smallest degree; at all (not in the least
offended). least common denominator, multiple see DENOMINATOR,
MULTIPLE. to say the least (or the least of it) used to imply
the moderation of a statement (that is doubtful to say the
least). [OE l‘st, l‘sest f. Gmc]
leastways adv. (also leastwise) dial. or at least, or rather.
leat n. Brit. an open watercourse conducting water to a mill etc.
[OE -gel‘t (as Y- + root of LET(1))]
leather n. & v. --n. 1 a material made from the skin of an animal by
tanning or a similar process. b (attrib.) made of leather. 2 a
piece of leather for polishing with. 3 the leather part or
parts of something. 4 sl. a cricket-ball or football. 5 (in
pl.) leather clothes, esp. leggings, breeches, or clothes for
wearing on a motor cycle. 6 a thong (stirrup-leather). --v.tr.
1 cover with leather. 2 polish or wipe with a leather. 3 beat,
thrash (orig. with a leather thong). Ьleather-jacket 1 Brit. a
crane-fly grub with a tough skin. 2 any of various
tough-skinned marine fish of the family Monacanthidae.
leather-neck Naut. sl. a soldier or (esp. US) a marine (with
reference to the leather stock formerly worn by them). [OE
lether f. Gmc]
n. a large marine turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, having a thick
n. strong fabric coated to resemble leather.
n. imitation leather.
leathern n. archaic made of leather.
leathery adj. 1 like leather. 2 (esp. of meat etc.) tough.
leave(1) v. & n. --v. (past and past part. left) 1 a tr. go away from;
cease to remain in or on (left him quite well an hour ago; leave
the track; leave here). b intr. (often foll. by for) depart (we
leave tomorrow; has just left for London). 2 tr. cause to or
let remain; depart without taking (has left his gloves; left a
slimy trail; left a bad impression; six from seven leaves one).
3 tr. (also absol.) cease to reside at or attend or belong to or
work for (has left the school; I am leaving for another firm).
4 tr. abandon, forsake, desert. 5 tr. have remaining after
one's death (leaves a wife and two children). 6 tr. bequeath.
7 tr. (foll. by to + infin.) allow (a person or thing) to do
something without interference or assistance (leave the future
to take care of itself). 8 tr. (foll. by to) commit or refer to
another person (leave that to me; nothing was left to chance).
9 tr. a abstain from consuming or dealing with. b (in passive;
often foll. by over) remain over. 10 tr. a deposit or entrust
(a thing) to be attended to, collected, delivered, etc., in
one's absence (left a message with his secretary). b depute (a
person) to perform a function in one's absence. 11 tr. allow to
remain or cause to be in a specified state or position (left the
door open; the performance left them unmoved; left nothing that
was necessary undone). 12 tr. pass (an object) so that it is in
a specified relative direction (leave the church on the left).
--n. the position in which a player leaves the balls in
billiards, croquet, etc. Ьbe left with 1 retain (a feeling
etc.). 2 be burdened with (a responsibility etc.). be well
left be well provided for by a legacy etc. get left colloq. be
deserted or worsted. have left have remaining (has no friends
left). leave alone 1 refrain from disturbing, not interfere
with. 2 not have dealings with. leave be colloq. refrain from
disturbing, not interfere with. leave behind 1 go away without.
2 leave as a consequence or a visible sign of passage. 3 pass.
leave a person cold (or cool) not impress or excite a person.
leave go colloq. relax one's hold. leave hold of cease
holding. leave it at that colloq. abstain from comment or
further action. leave much (or a lot etc.) to be desired be
highly unsatisfactory. leave off 1 come to or make an end. 2
discontinue (leave off work; leave off talking). 3 cease to
wear. leave out omit, not include. leave over Brit. leave to
be considered, settled, or used later. leave a person to
himself or herself 1 not attempt to control a person. 2 leave a
person solitary. left at the post beaten from the start of a
race. left for dead abandoned as being beyond rescue. left
luggage Brit. luggage deposited for later retrieval, esp. at a
railway station. ЬЬleaver n. [OE l‘fan f. Gmc]
leave(2) n. 1 (often foll. by to + infin.) permission. 2 a (in full
leave of absence) permission to be absent from duty. b the
period for which this lasts. Ьby (or with) your leave often
iron. an expression of apology for taking a liberty or making
an unwelcome statement. on leave legitimately absent from duty.
take one's leave bid farewell. take one's leave of bid farewell
to. take leave of one's senses see SENSE. take leave to
venture or presume to. [OE leaf f. WG: cf. LIEF, LOVE]
leaved adj. 1 having leaves. 2 (in comb.) having a leaf or leaves of
a specified kind or number (four-leaved clover).
leaven n. & v. --n. 1 a substance added to dough to make it ferment
and rise, esp. yeast, or fermenting dough reserved for the
purpose. 2 a a pervasive transforming influence (cf. Matt.
13:33). b (foll. by of) a tinge or admixture of a specified
quality. --v.tr. 1 ferment (dough) with leaven. 2 a permeate
and transform. b (foll. by with) modify with a tempering
element. Ьthe old leaven traces of the unregenerate state (cf.
1 Cor. 5:6-8). [ME f. OF levain f. Gallo-Roman spec. use of L
levamen relief f. levare lift]
leaves pl. of LEAF.
leavings n.pl. things left over, esp. as worthless.
Lebanese adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to Lebanon in the Middle East.
--n. (pl. same) 1 a native or national of Lebanon. 2 a person
of Lebanese descent.
n. the territory which a State or nation believes is needed for
its natural development. [G, = living-space (orig. with
reference to Germany, esp. in the 1930s)]
lech v. & n. colloq. --v.intr. feel lecherous; behave lustfully.
--n. 1 a strong desire, esp. sexual. 2 a lecher. [back-form.
f. LECHER: (n.) perh. f. letch longing]
lecher n. a lecherous man; a debauchee. [ME f. OF lecheor etc. f.
lechier live in debauchery or gluttony f. Frank., rel. to LICK]
lecherous adj. lustful, having strong or excessive sexual desire.
ЬЬlecherously adv. lecherousness n. [ME f. OF lecheros etc. f.
lechery n. unrestrained indulgence of sexual desire. [ME f. OF
lecherie f. lecheur LECHER]
lecithin n. 1 any of a group of phospholipids found naturally in
animals, egg-yolk, and some higher plants. 2 a preparation of
this used to emulsify foods etc. [Gk lekithos egg-yolk + -IN]
lectern n. 1 a stand for holding a book in a church or chapel, esp. for
a bible from which lessons are to be read. 2 a similar stand
for a lecturer etc. [ME lettorne f. OF let(t)run, med.L lectrum
f. legere lect- read]
lection n. a reading of a text found in a particular copy or edition.
[L lectio reading (as LECTERN)]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a list of portions of Scripture appointed to
be read at divine service. 2 a book containing such portions.
[ME f. med.L lectionarium (as LECTION)]
lector n. 1 a reader, esp. of lessons in a church service. 2 (fem.
lectrice) a lecturer or reader, esp. one employed in a foreign
university to give instruction in his or her native language.
[L f. legere lect- read]
lecture n. & v. --n. 1 a discourse giving information about a subject
to a class or other audience. 2 a long serious speech esp. as a
scolding or reprimand. --v. 1 intr. (often foll. by on)
deliver a lecture or lectures. 2 tr. talk seriously or
reprovingly to (a person). 3 tr. instruct or entertain (a class
or other audience) by a lecture. [ME f. OF lecture or med.L
lectura f. L (as LECTOR)]
lecturer n. a person who lectures, esp. as a teacher in higher
n. the office of lecturer. °The form lecturership, which is
strictly more regular, is in official use at Oxford University
and elsewhere, but is not widely current.
lecythus n. (pl. lecythi) Gk Antiq. a thin narrow-necked vase or
flask. [Gk lekuthos]
LED abbr. light-emitting diode.
led past and past part. of LEAD(1).
n.pl. leather shorts as worn by men in Bavaria etc. [G, =
ledge n. 1 a narrow horizontal surface projecting from a wall etc. 2
a shelflike projection on the side of a rock or mountain. 3 a
ridge of rocks, esp. below water. 4 Mining a stratum of
metal-bearing rock. ЬЬledged adj. ledgy adj. [perh. f. ME
ledger n. 1 a tall narrow book in which a firm's accounts are kept,
esp. one which is the principal book of a set and contains
debtor-and-creditor accounts. 2 a flat gravestone. 3 a
horizontal timber in scaffolding, parallel to the face of the
building. Ьledger line Mus. = LEGER LINE. ledger-tackle a kind
of fishing tackle in which a lead weight keeps the bait on the
bottom. [ME f. senses of Du. ligger and legger (f. liggen
LIE(1), leggen LAY(1)) & pronunc. of ME ligge, legge]
lee n. 1 shelter given by a neighbouring object (under the lee of).
2 (in full lee side) the sheltered side, the side away from the
wind (opp. weather side). Ьlee-board a plank frame fixed to
the side of a flat-bottomed vessel and let down into the water
to diminish leeway. lee shore the shore to leeward of a ship.
[OE hleo f. Gmc]
leech(1) n. 1 any freshwater or terrestrial annelid worm of the class
Hirudinea with suckers at both ends, esp. Hirudo medicinalis, a
bloodsucking parasite of vertebrates formerly much used
medicinally. 2 a person who extorts profit from or sponges on
others. Ьlike a leech persistently or clingingly present. [OE
l‘ce, assim. to LEECH(2)]
leech(2) n. archaic or joc. a physician; a healer. [OE l‘ce f. Gmc]
leech(3) n. 1 a perpendicular or sloping side of a square sail. 2 the
side of a fore-and-aft sail away from the mast or stay. [ME,
perh. rel. to ON lik, a nautical term of uncert. meaning]
n. archaic the art of healing. [OE l‘cecr‘ft (as LEECH(2),
leek n. 1 an alliaceous plant, Allium porrum, with flat overlapping
leaves forming an elongated cylindrical bulb, used as food. 2
this as a Welsh national emblem. [OE leac f. Gmc]
leer(1) v. & n. --v.intr. look slyly or lasciviously or maliciously.
--n. a leering look. ЬЬleeringly adv. [perh. f. obs. leer
cheek f. OE hleor, as though 'to glance over one's cheek']
leer(2) var. of LEHR.
leery adj. (leerier, leeriest) sl. 1 knowing, sly. 2 (foll. by of)
wary. ЬЬleeriness n. [perh. f. obs. leer looking askance f.
LEER(1) + -Y(1)]
lees n.pl. 1 the sediment of wine etc. (drink to the lees). 2
dregs, refuse. [pl. of ME lie f. OF lie f. med.L lia f.
leet(1) n. hist. 1 (in full Court leet) a yearly or half-yearly court
of record that lords of certain manors might hold. 2 its
jurisdiction or district. [ME f. AF lete (= AL leta), of unkn.
leet(2) n. Sc. a selected list of candidates for some office. Ьshort
leet = short list. [ME lite etc., prob. f. AF & OF lit(t)e,
var. of liste LIST(1)]
leeward Naut. adj., adv., & n. --adj. & adv. on or towards the side
sheltered from the wind (opp. WINDWARD). --n. the leeward
region, side, or direction (to leeward; on the leeward of).
leewardly adj. (of a ship) apt to drift to leeward.
leeway n. 1 the sideways drift of a ship to leeward of the desired
course. 2 a allowable deviation or freedom of action. b US
margin of safety. Ьmake up leeway struggle out of a bad
position, recover lost time, etc.
left(1) adj., adv., & n. (opp. RIGHT). --adj. 1 on or towards the
side of the human body which corresponds to the position of west
if one regards oneself as facing north. 2 on or towards the
part of an object which is analogous to a person's left side or
(with opposite sense) which is nearer to an observer's left
hand. 3 (also Left) Polit. of the Left. --adv. on or to the
left side. --n. 1 the left-hand part or region or direction.
2 Boxing a the left hand. b a blow with this. 3 a (often Left)
Polit. a group or section favouring radical socialism (orig. the
more radical section of a continental legislature, seated on the
president's left); such radicals collectively. b the more
advanced or innovative section of any group. 4 the side of a
stage which is to the left of a person facing the audience. 5
(esp. in marching) the left foot. 6 the left wing of an army.
Ьhave two left feet be clumsy. left and right = right and left.
left bank the bank of a river on the left facing downstream.
left bower see BOWER(3). left field Baseball the part of the
outfield to the left of the batter as he or she faces the
pitcher. left hand 1 the hand of the left side. 2 (usu. prec.
by at, on, to) the region or direction on the left side of a
person. left-hand adj. 1 on or towards the left side of a
person or thing (left-hand drive). 2 done with the left hand
(left-hand blow). 3 a (of rope) twisted counter-clockwise. b
(of a screw) = LEFT-HANDED. left turn a turn that brings one's
front to face as one's left side did before. left wing 1 the
radical or socialist section of a political party. 2 the left
side of a football etc. team on the field. 3 the left side of
an army. left-wing adj. socialist, radical. left-winger a
person on the left wing. marry with the left hand marry
morganatically (see LEFT-HANDED). ЬЬleftish adj. [ME lЃft,
lift, left, f. OE, orig. sense 'weak, worthless']
left(2) past and past part. of LEAVE(1).
adj. 1 using the left hand by preference as more serviceable
than the right. 2 (of a tool etc.) made to be used with the
left hand. 3 (of a blow) struck with the left hand. 4 a
turning to the left; towards the left. b (of a racecourse)
turning anticlockwise. c (of a screw) advanced by turning to
the left (anticlockwise). 5 awkward, clumsy. 6 a (of a
compliment) ambiguous. b of doubtful sincerity or validity. 7
(of a marriage) morganatic (from a German custom by which the
bridegroom gave the bride his left hand in such marriages).
ЬЬleft-handedly adv. left-handedness n.
n. 1 a left-handed person. 2 a left-handed blow.
leftie var. of LEFTY.
leftism n. Polit. the principles or policy of the left. ЬЬleftist n.
leftmost adj. furthest to the left.
leftovers n.pl. items (esp. of food) remaining after the rest has been
leftward adv. & adj. --adv. (also leftwards) towards the left. --adj.
going towards or facing the left.
lefty n. (also leftie) (pl. -ies) colloq. 1 Polit. a left-winger.
2 a left-handed person.
leg n. & v. --n. 1 a each of the limbs on which a person or animal
walks and stands. b the part of this from the hip to the ankle.
2 a leg of an animal or bird as food. 3 an artificial leg
(wooden leg). 4 a part of a garment covering a leg or part of a
leg. 5 a a support of a chair, table, bed, etc. b a long thin
support or prop, esp. a pole. 6 Cricket the half of the field
(as divided lengthways through the pitch) in which the striker's
feet are placed (opp. OFF). 7 a a section of a journey. b a
section of a relay race. c a stage in a competition. d one of
two or more games constituting a round. 8 one branch of a
forked object. 9 Naut. a run made on a single tack. 10 archaic
an obeisance made by drawing back one leg and bending it while
keeping the front leg straight. --v.tr. (legged, legging)
propel (a boat) through a canal tunnel by pushing with one's
legs against the tunnel sides. Ьfeel (or find) one's legs
become able to stand or walk. give a person a leg up help a
person to mount a horse etc. or get over an obstacle or
difficulty. have the legs of be able to go further than. have
no legs colloq. (of a golf ball etc.) have not enough momentum
to reach the desired point. keep one's legs not fall. leg
before wicket Cricket (of a batsman) out because of illegally
obstructing the ball with a part of the body other than the
hand. leg break Cricket 1 a ball which deviates from the leg
side after bouncing. 2 such deviation. leg-bye see BYE(1).
leg-cutter Cricket a fast leg break. leg-iron a shackle or
fetter for the leg. leg it colloq. walk or run hard.
leg-of-mutton sail a triangular mainsail. leg-of-mutton sleeve
a sleeve which is full and loose on the upper arm but
close-fitting on the forearm. leg-pull colloq. a hoax.
leg-rest a support for a seated invalid's leg. leg-room space
for the legs of a seated person. leg-show a theatrical
performance by scantily-dressed women. leg slip Cricket a
fielder stationed for a ball glancing off the bat to the leg
side behind the wicket. leg spin Cricket a type of spin which
causes the ball to deviate from the leg side after bouncing.
leg stump Cricket the stump on the leg side. leg theory Cricket
bowling to leg with fielders massed on that side. leg trap
Cricket a group of fielders near the wicket on the leg side.
leg warmer either of a pair of tubular knitted garments covering
the leg from ankle to thigh. not have a leg to stand on be
unable to support one's argument by facts or sound reasons. on
one's last legs near death or the end of one's usefulness etc.
on one's legs 1 (also on one's hind legs) standing esp. to make
a speech. 2 well enough to walk about. take to one's legs run
away. ЬЬlegged adj. (also in comb.). legger n. [ME f. ON
leggr f. Gmc]
legacy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a gift left in a will. 2 something handed
down by a predecessor (legacy of corruption). Ьlegacy-hunter a
person who pays court to another to secure a legacy. [ME f. OF
legacie legateship f. med.L legatia f. L legare bequeath]
legal adj. 1 of or based on law; concerned with law; falling within
the province of law. 2 appointed or required by law. 3
permitted by law, lawful. 4 recognized by law, as distinct from
equity. 5 Theol. a of the Mosaic law. b of salvation by works
rather than by faith. Ьlegal aid payment from public funds
allowed, in cases of need, to help pay for legal advice or
proceedings. legal fiction an assertion accepted as true
(though probably fictitious) to achieve a useful purpose, esp.
in legal matters. legal holiday US a public holiday established
by law. legal proceedings see PROCEEDING. legal separation see
SEPARATION. legal tender currency that cannot legally be
refused in payment of a debt (usu. up to a limited amount for
coins not made of gold). ЬЬlegally adv. [F l‚gal or L legalis
f. lex legis law: cf. LEAL, LOYAL]
legalese n. colloq. the technical language of legal documents.
legalism n. 1 excessive adherence to law or formula. 2 Theol. adherence
to the Law rather than to the Gospel, the doctrine of
justification by works. ЬЬlegalist n. legalistic adj.
legality n. (pl. -ies) 1 lawfulness. 2 legalism. 3 (in pl.)
obligations imposed by law. [F l‚galit‚ or med.L legalitas (as
legalize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 make lawful. 2 bring into harmony with the
law. ЬЬlegalization n.
legate n. 1 a member of the clergy representing the Pope. 2 Rom.Hist.
a a deputy of a general. b a governor or deputy governor of a
province. 3 archaic an ambassador or delegate. Ьlegate a
latere a papal legate of the highest class, with full powers.
ЬЬlegateship n. legatine adj. [OE f. OF legat f. L legatus
past part. of legare depute, delegate]
legatee n. the recipient of a legacy. [as LEGATOR + -EE]
legation n. 1 a body of deputies. 2 a the office and staff of a
diplomatic minister (esp. when not having ambassadorial rank).
b the official residence of a diplomatic minister. 3 a
legateship. 4 the sending of a legate or deputy. [ME f. OF
legation or L legatio (as LEGATE(1))]
legato adv., adj., & n. Mus. --adv. & adj. in a smooth flowing
manner, without breaks between notes (cf. STACCATO, TENUTO).
--n. (pl. -os) 1 a legato passage. 2 legato playing. [It., =
bound, past part. of legare f. L ligare bind]
legator n. the giver of a legacy. [archaic legate bequeath f. L legare
legend n. 1 a a traditional story sometimes popularly regarded as
historical but unauthenticated; a myth. b such stories
collectively. c a popular but unfounded belief. d colloq. a
subject of such beliefs (became a legend in his own lifetime).
2 a an inscription, esp. on a coin or medal. b Printing a
caption. c wording on a map etc. explaining the symbols used.
3 hist. a the story of a saint's life. b a collection of lives
of saints or similar stories. ЬЬlegendry n. [ME (in sense 3)
f. OF legende f. med.L legenda what is to be read, neut. pl.
gerundive of L legere read]
legendary adj. 1 of or connected with legends. 2 described in a legend.
3 colloq. remarkable enough to be a subject of legend. 4 based
on a legend. ЬЬlegendarily adv. [med.L legendarius (as
n. 1 sleight of hand; conjuring or juggling. 2 trickery,
sophistry. [ME f. F l‚ger de main light of hand, dextrous]
n. Mus. a short line added for notes above or below the range
of a staff. [var. of LEDGER]
legging n. (usu. in pl.) a stout protective outer covering for the leg
from the knee to the ankle.
leggy adj. (leggier, leggiest) 1 a long-legged. b (of a woman)
having attractively long legs. 2 long-stemmed. ЬЬlegginess n.
leghorn n. 1 a fine plaited straw. b a hat of this. 2 (Leghorn) a a
bird of a small hardy breed of domestic fowl. b this breed.
[Leghorn (Livorno) in Italy, from where the straw and fowls were
legible adj. (of handwriting, print, etc.) clear enough to read;
readable. ЬЬlegibility n. legibly adv. [ME f. LL legibilis f.
legion n. & adj. --n. 1 a division of 3,000-6,000 men, including a
complement of cavalry, in the ancient Roman army. 2 a large
organized body. 3 a vast host, multitude, or number.
--predic.adj. great in number (his good works have been legion).
ЬAmerican Legion (in the US) an association of ex-servicemen
formed in 1919. foreign legion a body of foreign volunteers in
a modern, esp. French, army. Legion of Honour a French order of
distinction founded in 1802. Royal British Legion (in the UK)
an association of ex-servicemen (and now women) formed in 1921.
[ME f. OF f. L legio -onis f. legere choose]
legionary adj. & n. --adj. of a legion or legions. --n. (pl. -ies) a
member of a legion. [L legionarius (as LEGION)]
legioned adj. poet. arrayed in legions.
n. the bacterium Legionella pneumophila, which causes
n. 1 a member of a foreign legion. 2 a member of the American
Legion or the Royal British Legion. Ьlegionnaires' disease a
form of bacterial pneumonia first identified after an outbreak
at an American Legion meeting in 1976 (cf. LEGIONELLA). [F
l‚gionnaire (as LEGION)]
legislate v.intr. 1 make laws. 2 (foll. by for) make provision by law.
[back-form. f. LEGISLATION]
n. 1 the process of making laws. 2 laws collectively. [LL
legis latio f. lex legis law + latio proposing f. lat- past
part. stem of ferre bring]
adj. of or empowered to make legislation. ЬЬlegislatively adv.
n. 1 a member of a legislative body. 2 a lawgiver. [L (as
n. the legislative body of a State.
legit adj. & n. colloq. --adj. legitimate. --n. 1 legitimate
drama. 2 an actor in legitimate drama. [abbr.]
adj. & v. --adj. 1 a (of a child) born of parents lawfully
married to each other. b (of a parent, birth, descent, etc.)
with, of, through, etc., a legitimate child. 2 lawful, proper,
regular, conforming to the standard type. 3 logically
admissible. 4 a (of a sovereign's title) based on strict
hereditary right. b (of a sovereign) having a legitimate title.
5 constituting or relating to serious drama as distinct from
musical comedy, revue, etc. --v.tr. 1 make legitimate by
decree, enactment, or proof. 2 justify, serve as a
justification for. ЬЬlegitimacy n. legitimately adv.
legitimation n. [med.L legitimare f. L legitimus lawful f. lex
v.tr. (also -ise) legitimize. ЬЬlegitimatization n.
n. adherence to a sovereign or pretender whose claim is based
on direct descent (esp. in French and Spanish history).
ЬЬlegitimist n. & adj. [F l‚gitimisme f. l‚gitime LEGITIMATE]
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 make legitimate. 2 serve as a
justification for. ЬЬlegitimization n.
legless adj. 1 having no legs. 2 sl. drunk, esp. too drunk to stand.
legman n. (pl. -men) a person employed to go about gathering news or
running errands etc.
Lego n. propr. a construction toy consisting of interlocking
plastic building blocks. [Da. legetнj toys f. lege to play]
legume n. 1 the seed pod of a leguminous plant. 2 any seed, pod, or
other edible part of a leguminous plant used as food. [F l‚gume
f. L legumen -minis f. legere pick, because pickable by hand]
adj. of or like the family Leguminosae, including peas and
beans, having seeds in pods and usu. root nodules able to fix
nitrogen. [mod.L leguminosus (as LEGUME)]
legwork n. work which involves a lot of walking, travelling, or
lehr n. (also leer) a furnace used for the annealing of glass.
[17th c.: orig. unkn.]
lei(1) n. a Polynesian garland of flowers. [Hawaiian]
lei(2) pl. of LEU.
adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to the philosophy of G. W.
Leibniz, German philosopher (d. 1716), esp. regarding matter as
a multitude of monads and assuming a pre-established harmony
between spirit and matter. --n. a follower of this philosophy.
Leicester n. a kind of mild firm cheese, usu. orange-coloured and orig.
made in Leicestershire.
Leics. abbr. Leicestershire.
n. any of several diseases caused by parasitic protozoans of
the genus Leishmania transmitted by the bite of sandflies. [W.
B. Leishman, Brit. physician d. 1926]
leister n. & v. --n. a pronged salmon-spear. --v.tr. pierce with a
leister. [ON ljўstr f. ljўsta to strike]
leisure n. 1 free time; time at one's own disposal. 2 enjoyment of
free time. 3 (usu. foll. by for, or to + infin.) opportunity
afforded by free time. Ьat leisure 1 not occupied. 2 in an
unhurried manner. at one's leisure when one has time.
ЬЬleisureless adj. [ME f. AF leisour, OF leisir ult. f. L
licere be allowed]
leisured adj. having ample leisure.
leisurely adj. & adv. --adj. having leisure; acting or done at leisure;
unhurried, relaxed. --adv. without hurry. ЬЬleisureliness n.
n. informal clothes, especially tracksuits and other
leitmotif n. (also leitmotiv) a recurrent theme associated throughout a
musical, literary, etc. composition with a particular person,
idea, or situation. [G Leitmotiv (as LEAD(1), MOTIVE)]
lek(1) n. the chief monetary unit of Albania. [Albanian]
lek(2) n. a patch of ground used by groups of certain birds during the
breeding season as a setting for the males' display and their
meeting with the females. [perh. f. Sw. leka to play]
LEM abbr. lunar excursion module.
leman n. (pl. lemans) archaic 1 a lover or sweetheart. 2 an illicit
lover, esp. a mistress. [ME leofman (as LIEF, MAN)]
lemma n. 1 an assumed or demonstrated proposition used in an argument
or proof. 2 a a heading indicating the subject or argument of a
literary composition, a dictionary entry, etc. b (pl. lemmata)
a heading indicating the subject or argument of an annotation.
3 a motto appended to a picture etc. [L f. Gk lemma -matos
thing assumed, f. the root of lambano take]
lemme colloq. let me. [corrupt.]
lemming n. any small arctic rodent of the genus Lemmus, esp. L. lemmus
of Norway which is reputed to rush headlong into the sea and
drown during migration. [Norw.]
lemon n. 1 a a pale-yellow thick-skinned oval citrus fruit with
acidic juice. b a tree of the species Citrus limon which
produces this fruit. 2 a pale-yellow colour. 3 colloq. a
person or thing regarded as feeble or unsatisfactory or
disappointing. Ьlemon balm a bushy plant, Melissa officinalis,
with leaves smelling and tasting of lemon. lemon curd (or
cheese) a conserve made from lemons, butter, eggs, and sugar,
with the consistency of cream cheese. lemon drop a boiled sweet
flavoured with lemon. lemon geranium a lemon-scented
pelargonium, Pelargonium crispum. lemon grass any fragrant
tropical grass of the genus Cymbopogon, yielding an oil smelling
of lemon. lemon squash Brit. a soft drink made from lemons and
other ingredients, often sold in concentrated form.
lemon-squeezer a device for extracting the juice from a lemon.
lemon thyme a herb, Thymus citriodorus, with lemon-scented
leaves used for flavouring. lemon verbena (or plant) a shrub,
Lippia citriodora, with lemon-scented leaves. ЬЬlemony adj.
[ME f. OF limon f. Arab. lima: cf. LIME(2)]
lemonade n. 1 an effervescent or still drink made from lemon juice. 2 a
synthetic substitute for this.
n. a flat-fish, Microstomus kitt, of the plaice family. [F
lemur n. any arboreal primate of the family Lemuridae native to
Madagascar, with a pointed snout and long tail. [mod.L f. L
lemures (pl.) spirits of the dead, from its spectre-like face]
lend v.tr. (past and past part. lent) 1 (usu. foll. by to) grant
(to a person) the use of (a thing) on the understanding that it
or its equivalent shall be returned. 2 allow the use of (money)
at interest. 3 bestow or contribute (something temporary) (lend
assistance; lends a certain charm). Ьlend an ear (or one's
ears) listen. lend a hand = give a hand (see HAND). lending
library a library from which books may be temporarily taken away
with or Brit. without direct payment. lend itself to (of a
thing) be suitable for. Lend-Lease hist. an arrangement made
in 1941 whereby the US supplied equipment etc. to the UK and its
allies, orig. as a loan in return for the use of British-owned
military bases. lend oneself to accommodate oneself to (a
policy or purpose). ЬЬlendable adj. lender n. lending n.
[ME, earlier lene(n) f. OE l‘nan f. l‘n LOAN(1)]
length n. 1 measurement or extent from end to end; the greater of two
or the greatest of three dimensions of a body. 2 extent in, of,
or with regard to, time (a stay of some length; the length of a
speech). 3 the distance a thing extends (at arm's length; ships
a cable's length apart). 4 the length of a horse, boat, etc.,
as a measure of the lead in a race. 5 a long stretch or extent
(a length of hair). 6 a degree of thoroughness in action (went
to great lengths; prepared to go to any length). 7 a piece of
material of a certain length (a length of cloth). 8 Prosody the
quantity of a vowel or syllable. 9 Cricket a the distance from
the batsman at which the ball pitches (the bowler keeps a good
length). b the proper amount of this. 10 the extent of a
garment in a vertical direction when worn. 11 the full extent
of one's body. Ьat length 1 (also at full or great etc. length)
in detail, without curtailment. 2 after a long time, at last.
[OE lengthu f. Gmc (as LONG(1))]
lengthen v. 1 tr. & intr. make or become longer. 2 tr. make (a vowel)
long. ЬЬlengthener n.
lengthman n. (pl. -men) Brit. a person employed to maintain a section
of railway or road.
adv. in a direction parallel with a thing's length.
lengthy adj. (lengthier, lengthiest) 1 of unusual length. 2 (of
speech, writing, style, a speaker, etc.) tedious, prolix.
ЬЬlengthily adv. lengthiness n.
lenient adj. 1 merciful, tolerant, not disposed to severity. 2 (of
punishment etc.) mild. 3 archaic emollient. ЬЬlenience n.
leniency n. leniently adv. [L lenire lenit- soothe f. lenis
Leninism n. Marxism as interpreted and applied by Lenin. ЬЬLeninist n.
& adj. Leninite n. & adj. [V. I. Lenin (name assumed by V. I.
Ulyanov), Russian statesman d. 1924]
lenition n. (in Celtic languages) the process or result of articulating
a consonant softly. [L lenis soft, after G lenierung]
lenitive adj. & n. --adj. Med. soothing. --n. 1 Med. a soothing drug
or appliance. 2 a palliative. [ME f. med.L lenitivus (as
lenity n. (pl. -ies) literary 1 mercifulness, gentleness. 2 an act
of mercy. [F l‚nit‚ or L lenitas f. lenis gentle]
leno n. (pl. -os) an open-work fabric with the warp threads twisted
in pairs before weaving. [F linon f. lin flax f. L linum]
lens n. 1 a piece of a transparent substance with one or (usu.) both
sides curved for concentrating or dispersing light-rays esp. in
optical instruments. 2 a combination of lenses used in
photography. 3 Anat. = crystalline lens. 4 Physics a device
for focusing or otherwise modifying the direction of movement of
light, sound, electrons, etc. ЬЬlensed adj. lensless adj. [L
lens lentis lentil (from the similarity of shape)]
Lent n. 1 Eccl. the period from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday, of
which the 40 weekdays are devoted to fasting and penitence in
commemoration of Christ's fasting in the wilderness. 2 (in pl.)
the boat races held at Cambridge in the Lent term. ЬLent lily
Brit. a daffodil, esp. a wild one. Lent term Brit. the term
at a university etc. in which Lent falls. [ME f. LENTEN]
Lenten adj. of, in, or appropriate to, Lent. ЬLenten fare food
without meat. [orig. as noun, = spring, f. OE lencten f. Gmc,
rel. to LONG(1), perh. with ref. to lengthening of the day in
spring: now regarded as adj. f. LENT + -EN(2)]
lenticel n. Bot. any of the raised pores in the stems of woody plants
that allow gas exchange between the atmosphere and the internal
tissues. [mod.L lenticella dimin. of L lens: see LENS]
adj. 1 shaped like a lentil or a biconvex lens. 2 of the lens
of the eye. [L lenticularis (as LENTIL)]
lentil n. 1 a leguminous plant, Lens culinaris, yielding edible
biconvex seeds. 2 this seed, esp. used as food with the husk
removed. [ME f. OF lentille f. L lenticula (as LENS)]
lento adj. & adv. Mus. --adj. slow. --adv. slowly. [It.]
Leo n. (pl. -os) 1 a constellation, traditionally regarded as
contained in the figure of a lion. 2 a the fifth sign of the
zodiac (the Lion). b a person born when the sun is in this
sign. [OE f. L, = LION]
Leonid n. any of the meteors that seem to radiate from the direction
of the constellation Leo. [L leo (see LEO) leonis + -ID(3)]
Leonine adj. & n. --adj. of Pope Leo; made or invented by Pope Leo.
--n. (in pl.) leonine verse. ЬLeonine City the part of Rome
round the Vatican fortified by Pope Leo IV. leonine verse 1
medieval Latin verse in hexameter or elegiac metre with internal
rhyme. 2 English verse with internal rhyme. [the name Leo (as
leonine adj. 1 like a lion. 2 of or relating to lions. [ME f. OF
leonin -ine or L leoninus f. leo leonis lion]
leopard n. (fem. leopardess) 1 any large African or Asian flesh-eating
cat, Panthera pardus, with either a black-spotted yellowish-fawn
or all black coat. Also called PANTHER. 2 Heraldry a lion
passant guardant as in the arms of England. 3 (attrib.) spotted
like a leopard (leopard moth). Ьleopard's bane any plant of the
genus Doronicum, with large yellow daisy-like flowers. [ME f.
OF f. LL f. late Gk leopardos (as LION, PARD)]
leotard n. a close-fitting one-piece garment worn by ballet-dancers,
acrobats, etc. [J. L‚otard, French trapeze artist d. 1870]
leper n. 1 a person suffering from leprosy. 2 a person shunned on
moral grounds. [ME, prob. attrib. use of leper leprosy f. OF
lepre f. L lepra f. Gk, fem. of lepros scaly f. lepos scale]
adj. of the order Lepidoptera of insects, with four
scale-covered wings often brightly coloured, including
butterflies and moths. ЬЬlepidopteran adj. & n. lepidopterist
n. [Gk lepis -idos scale + pteron wing]
leporine adj. of or like hares. [L leporinus f. lepus -oris hare]
n. a small mischievous sprite in Irish folklore. [OIr.
luchorp n f. lu small + corp body]
leprosy n. 1 a contagious bacterial disease that affects the skin,
mucous membranes, and nerves, causing disfigurement. Also called
HANSEN'S DISEASE. 2 moral corruption or contagion. [LEPROUS +
leprous adj. 1 suffering from leprosy. 2 like or relating to leprosy.
[ME f. OF f. LL leprosus f. lepra: see LEPER]
adj. & n. --adj. having long slender toes. --n. a bird having
lepton(1) n. (pl. lepta) a Greek coin worth one-hundredth of a drachma.
[Gk lepton (nomisma coin) neut. of leptos small]
lepton(2) n. (pl. leptons) Physics any of a class of elementary
particles which do not undergo strong interaction, e.g. an
electron, muon, or neutrino. [LEPTO- + -ON]
n. an infectious disease caused by bacteria of the genus
Leptospira, that occurs in rodents, dogs, and other mammals, and
can be transmitted to man. [LEPTO- + SPIRO-(1) + -OSIS]
leptotene n. Biol. the first stage of the prophase of meiosis in which
each chromosome is apparent as two fine chromatids. [LEPTO- +
Gk tainia band]
lesbian n. & adj. --n. a homosexual woman. --adj. 1 of homosexuality
in women. 2 (Lesbian) of Lesbos. ЬЬlesbianism n. [L Lesbius
f. Gk Lesbios f. Lesbos, island in the Aegean Sea, home of
Sappho (see SAPPHIC)]
n. (also lЉse-majest‚) 1 treason. 2 an insult to a sovereign
or ruler. 3 presumptuous conduct. [F lЉse-majest‚ f. L laesa
majestas injured sovereignty f. laedere laes- injure + majestas
lesion n. 1 damage. 2 injury. 3 Med. a morbid change in the
functioning or texture of an organ etc. [ME f. OF f. L laesio
-onis f. laedere laes- injure]
less adj., adv., n., & prep. --adj. 1 smaller in extent, degree,
duration, number, etc. (of less importance; in a less degree).
2 of smaller quantity, not so much (opp. MORE) (find less
difficulty; eat less meat). 3 disp. fewer (eat less biscuits).
4 of lower rank etc. (no less a person than; James the Less).
--adv. to a smaller extent, in a lower degree. --n. a smaller
amount or quantity or number (cannot take less; for less than
њ10; is little less than disgraceful). --prep. minus (made
њ1,000 less tax). Ьin less than no time joc. very quickly or
soon. much (or still) less with even greater force of denial
(do not suspect him of negligence, much less of dishonesty).
[OE l‘ssa (adj.), l‘s (adv.), f. Gmc]
-less suffix forming adjectives and adverbs: 1 from nouns, meaning
'not having, without, free from' (doubtless; powerless). 2 from
verbs, meaning 'not affected by or doing the action of the verb'
(fathomless; tireless). ЬЬ-lessly suffix forming adverbs.
-lessness suffix forming nouns. [OE -leas f. leas devoid of]
lessee n. (often foll. by of) a person who holds a property by lease.
ЬЬlesseeship n. [ME f. AF past part., OF less‚ (as LEASE)]
lessen v.tr. & intr. make or become less, diminish.
lesser adj. (usu. attrib.) not so great as the other or the rest (the
lesser evil; the lesser celandine). [double compar., f. LESS +
lesson n. & v. --n. 1 a an amount of teaching given at one time. b
the time assigned to this. 2 (in pl.; foll. by in) systematic
instruction (gives lessons in dancing; took lessons in French).
3 a thing learnt or to be learnt by a pupil. 4 a an occurrence,
example, rebuke, or punishment, that serves or should serve to
warn or encourage (let that be a lesson to you). b a thing
inculcated by experience or study. 5 a passage from the Bible
read aloud during a church service, esp. either of two readings
at morning and evening prayer in the Church of England. --v.tr.
archaic 1 instruct. 2 admonish, rebuke. Ьlearn one's lesson
profit from or bear in mind a particular (usu. unpleasant)
experience. teach a person a lesson punish a person, esp. as a
deterrent. [ME f. OF le‡on f. L lectio -onis: see LECTION]
lessor n. a person who lets a property by lease. [AF f. lesser: see
lest conj. 1 in order that not, for fear that (lest we forget). 2
that (afraid lest we should be late). [OE thy l‘s the whereby
less that, later the l‘ste, ME lest(e)]
let(1) v. & n. --v. (letting; past and past part. let) 1 tr. a
allow to, not prevent or forbid (we let them go). b cause to
(let me know; let it be known). 2 tr. (foll. by into) a allow
to enter. b make acquainted with (a secret etc.). c inlay in.
3 tr. Brit. grant the use of (rooms, land, etc.) for rent or
hire (was let to the new tenant for a year). 4 tr. allow or
cause (liquid or air) to escape (let blood). 5 tr. award (a
contract for work). 6 aux. supplying the first and third
persons of the imperative in exhortations (let us pray),
commands (let it be done at once; let there be light),
assumptions (let AB be equal to CD), and permission or challenge
(let him do his worst). --n. Brit. the act or an instance of
letting a house, room, etc. (a long let). Ьlet alone 1 not to
mention, far less or more (hasn't got a television, let alone a
video). 2 = let be. let be not interfere with, attend to, or
do. let down 1 lower. 2 fail to support or satisfy,
disappoint. 3 lengthen (a garment). 4 deflate (a tyre).
let-down n. a disappointment. let down gently avoid
humiliating abruptly. let drop (or fall) 1 drop (esp. a word or
hint) intentionally or by accident. 2 (foll. by on, upon, to)
Geom. draw (a perpendicular) from an outside point to a line.
let fly 1 (often foll. by at) attack physically or verbally. 2
discharge (a missile). let go 1 release, set at liberty. 2 a
(often foll. by of) lose or relinquish one's hold. b lose hold
of. 3 cease to think or talk about. let oneself go 1 give way
to enthusiasm, impulse, etc. 2 cease to take trouble, neglect
one's appearance or habits. let in 1 allow to enter (let the
dog in; let in a flood of light; this would let in all sorts of
evils). 2 (usu. foll. by for) involve (a person, often oneself)
in loss or difficulty. 3 (foll. by on) allow (a person) to
share privileges, information, etc. 4 inlay (a thing) in
another. let oneself in enter a building by means of a
latchkey. let loose release or unchain (a dog, fury, a maniac,
etc.). let me see see SEE(1). let off 1 a fire (a gun). b
explode (a bomb or firework). 2 allow or cause (steam, liquid,
etc.) to escape. 3 allow to alight from a vehicle etc. 4 a not
punish or compel. b (foll. by with) punish lightly. 5 Brit.
let (part of a house etc.). let-off n. being allowed to escape
something. let off steam see STEAM. let on colloq. 1 reveal a
secret. 2 pretend (let on that he had succeeded). let out 1
allow to go out, esp. through a doorway. 2 release from
restraint. 3 (often foll. by that + clause) reveal (a secret
etc.). 4 make (a garment) looser esp. by adjustment at a seam.
5 put out to rent esp. to several tenants, or to contract. 6
exculpate. let-out n. colloq. an opportunity to escape. let
rip see RIP(1). let slip see SLIP(1). let through allow to
pass. let up colloq. 1 become less intense or severe. 2 relax
one's efforts. let-up n. colloq. 1 a reduction in intensity.
2 a relaxation of effort. to let available for rent. [OE l‘tan
f. Gmc, rel. to LATE]
let(2) n. & v. --n. 1 (in lawn tennis, squash, etc.) an obstruction
of a ball or a player in certain ways, requiring the ball to be
served again. 2 (archaic except in without let or hindrance)
obstruction, hindrance. --v.tr. (letting; past and past part.
letted or let) archaic hinder, obstruct. [OE lettan f. Gmc,
rel. to LATE]
-let suffix forming nouns, usu. diminutives (flatlet; leaflet) or
denoting articles of ornament or dress (anklet). [orig.
corresp. (in bracelet, crosslet, etc.) to F -ette added to nouns
lethal adj. causing or sufficient to cause death. Ьlethal chamber a
chamber in which animals may be killed painlessly with gas.
lethal dose the amount of a toxic compound or drug that causes
death in humans or animals. ЬЬlethality n. lethally adv. [L
let(h)alis f. letum death]
lethargy n. 1 lack of energy or vitality; a torpid, inert, or apathetic
state. 2 Med. morbid drowsiness or prolonged and unnatural
sleep. ЬЬlethargic adj. lethargically adv. [ME f. OF litargie
f. LL lethargia f. Gk lethargia f. lethargos forgetful f.
leth-, lanthanomai forget]
Lethe n. 1 (in Greek mythology) a river in Hades producing
forgetfulness of the past. 2 such forgetfulness. ЬЬLethean
adj. [L, use of Gk lethe forgetfulness (as LETHARGY)]
let's contr. let us (let's go now).
Lett n. archaic = LATVIAN n. [G Lette f. Lettish Latvi]
letter n. & v. --n. 1 a a character representing one or more of the
simple or compound sounds used in speech, any of the alphabetic
symbols. b (in pl.) colloq. the initials of a degree etc. after
the holder's name. c US a school or college initial as a mark
of proficiency in games etc. 2 a a written, typed, or printed
communication, usu. sent by post or messenger. b (in pl.) an
addressed legal or formal document for any of various purposes.
3 the precise terms of a statement, the strict verbal
interpretation (opp. SPIRIT n. 6) (according to the letter of
the law). 4 (in pl.) a literature. b acquaintance with books,
erudition. c authorship (the profession of letters). 5
Printing a types collectively. b a fount of type. --v.tr. 1 a
inscribe letters on. b impress a title etc. on (a book-cover).
2 classify with letters. Ьletter-bomb a terrorist explosive
device in the form of a postal packet. letter-box esp. Brit.
a box or slot into which letters are posted or delivered.
letter-card a folded card with a gummed edge for posting as a
letter. letter-heading = LETTERHEAD. letter of comfort an
assurance about a debt, short of a legal guarantee, given to a
bank by a third party. letter of credence see CREDENCE. letter
of credit see CREDIT. letter-perfect Theatr. knowing one's
part perfectly. letter-quality of the quality of printing
suitable for a business letter; producing print of this quality.
letters missive see MISSIVE. letters of administration
authority to administer the estate of an intestate. letters of
marque see MARQUE(2). letters patent see PATENT. letter-writer
1 a person who writes letters. 2 a book giving guidance on
writing letters. man of letters a scholar or author. to the
letter with adherence to every detail. ЬЬletterer n.
letterless adj. [ME f. OF lettre f. L litera, littera letter of
alphabet, (in pl.) epistle, literature]
lettered adj. well read or educated.
n. 1 a printed heading on stationery. 2 stationery with this.
lettering n. 1 the process of inscribing letters. 2 letters inscribed.
n. 1 a the contents of an illustrated book other than the
illustrations. b printed matter relating to illustrations. 2
printing from raised type, not from lithography or other
Lettic adj. & n. archaic --adj. 1 = LATVIAN adj. 2 of or relating to
the Baltic branch of languages. --n. = LATVIAN n. 2.
Lettish adj. & n. archaic = LATVIAN.
lettuce n. 1 a composite plant, Lactuca sativa, with crisp edible
leaves used in salads. 2 any of various plants resembling this.
[ME letus(e), rel. to OF laitu‰ f. L lactuca f. lac lactis
milk, with ref. to its milky juice]
leu n. (pl. lei) the basic monetary unit of Romania. [Romanian, =
leucine n. Biochem. an amino acid present in protein and essential in
the diet of vertebrates. [F f. Gk leukos white + -IN]
leuco- comb. form white. [Gk leukos white]
leucocyte n. (also leukocyte) 1 a white blood cell. 2 any blood cell
that contains a nucleus. ЬЬleucocytic adj.
leucoma n. a white opacity in the cornea of the eye.
n. a whitish or yellowish discharge of mucus from the vagina.
leucotomy n. (pl. -ies) the surgical lesions of white nerve fibres
within the brain, formerly used in psychosurgery.
leukaemia n. (US leukemia) Med. any of a group of malignant diseases in
which the bone-marrow and other blood-forming organs produce
increased numbers of leucocytes. ЬЬleukaemic adj. [mod.L f. G
Leuk„mie f. Gk leukos white + haima blood]
leukocyte var. of LEUCOCYTE.
Lev. abbr. Leviticus (Old Testament).
Levant n. (prec. by the) the eastern part of the Mediterranean with
its islands and neighbouring countries. ЬLevant morocco
high-grade large-grained morocco leather. [F, pres. part. of
lever rise, used as noun = point of sunrise, east]
levant v.intr. Brit. abscond or bolt, esp. with betting or gaming
losses unpaid. [perh. f. LEVANT]
n. 1 a strong easterly Mediterranean wind. 2 (Levanter) a
native or inhabitant of the Levant in the eastern Mediterranean.
n. a person who levants.
Levantine adj. & n. --adj. of or trading to the Levant. --n. a native or
inhabitant of the Levant.
levator n. a muscle that lifts the structure into which it is inserted.
[L, = one who lifts f. levare raise]
levee(1) n. 1 archaic or US an assembly of visitors or guests, esp. at a
formal reception. 2 hist. (in the UK) an assembly held by the
sovereign or sovereign's representative at which men only were
received. 3 hist. a reception of visitors on rising from bed.
[F lev‚ var. of lever rising f. lever to rise: see LEVY]
levee(2) n. US 1 an embankment against river floods. 2 a natural
embankment built up by a river. 3 a landing-place, a quay. [F
lev‚e fem. past part. of lever raise: see LEVY]
level n., adj., & v. --n. 1 a horizontal line or plane. 2 a height
or value reached, a position on a real or imaginary scale (eye
level; sugar level in the blood; danger level). 3 a social,
moral, or intellectual standard. 4 a plane of rank or authority
(discussions at Cabinet level). 5 a an instrument giving a line
parallel to the plane of the horizon for testing whether things
are horizontal. b Surveying an instrument for giving a
horizontal line of sight. 6 a more or less level surface. 7 a
flat tract of land. --adj. 1 having a flat and even surface;
not bumpy. 2 horizontal; perpendicular to the plumb-line. 3
(often foll. by with) a on the same horizontal plane as
something else. b having equality with something else. c (of a
spoonful etc.) with the contents flat with the brim. 4 even,
uniform, equable, or well-balanced in quality, style, temper,
judgement, etc. 5 (of a race) having the leading competitors
close together. --v. (levelled, levelling; US leveled,
leveling) 1 tr. make level, even, or uniform. 2 tr. (often
foll. by to (or with) the ground, in the dust) raze or demolish.
3 tr. (also absol.) aim (a missile or gun). 4 tr. (also absol.;
foll. by at, against) direct (an accusation, criticism, or
satire). 5 tr. abolish (distinctions). 6 intr. (usu. foll. by
with) sl. be frank or honest. 7 tr. place on the same level. 8
tr. (also absol.) Surveying ascertain differences in the height
of (land). Ьdo one's level best colloq. do one's utmost; make
all possible efforts. find one's level 1 reach the right
social, intellectual, etc. place in relation to others. 2 (of a
liquid) reach the same height in receptacles or regions which
communicate with each other. level crossing Brit. a crossing
of a railway and a road, or two railways, at the same level.
level down bring down to a standard. levelling-screw a screw
for adjusting parts of a machine etc. to an exact level. level
off make or become level or smooth. level out make or become
level, remove differences from. level pegging Brit. equality
of scores or achievements. level up bring up to a standard. on
the level colloq. adv. honestly, without deception. --adj.
honest, truthful. on a level with 1 in the same horizontal
plane as. 2 equal with. ЬЬlevelly adv. levelness n. [ME f.
OF livel ult. f. L libella dimin. of libra scales, balance]
adj. mentally well-balanced, cool, sensible. ЬЬlevel-headedly
adv. level-headedness n.
leveller n. (US leveler) 1 a person who advocates the abolition of
social distinctions. 2 (Leveller) hist. an extreme radical
dissenter in 17th-c. England. 3 a person or thing that levels.
lever n. & v. --n. 1 a bar resting on a pivot, used to help lift a
heavy or firmly fixed object. 2 Mech. a simple machine
consisting of a rigid bar pivoted about a fulcrum (fixed point)
which can be acted upon by a force (effort) in order to move a
load. 3 a projecting handle moved to operate a mechanism. 4 a
means of exerting moral pressure. --v. 1 intr. use a lever. 2
tr. (often foll. by away, out, up, etc.) lift, move, or act on
with a lever. Ьlever escapement a mechanism connecting the
escape wheel and the balance wheel using two levers. lever
watch a watch with a lever escapement. [ME f. OF levier, leveor
f. lever raise: see LEVY]
leverage n. 1 the action of a lever; a way of applying a lever. 2 the
power of a lever; the mechanical advantage gained by use of a
lever. 3 a means of accomplishing a purpose; power, influence.
4 a set or system of levers. 5 US Commerce gearing. Ьleveraged
buyout esp. US the buyout of a company by its management using
leveret n. a young hare, esp. one in its first year. [ME f. AF, dimin.
of levre, OF lievre f. L lepus leporis hare]
leviable see LEVY.
leviathan n. 1 Bibl. a sea-monster. 2 anything very large or powerful,
esp. a ship. 3 an autocratic monarch or State (in allusion to a
book by Hobbes, 1651). [ME f. LL f. Heb. liwyatan]
levigate v.tr. 1 reduce to a fine smooth powder. 2 make a smooth paste
of. ЬЬlevigation n. [L levigare levigat- f. levis smooth]
levin n. archaic 1 lightning. 2 a flash of lightning. [ME leven(e),
prob. f. ON]
levirate n. a custom of the ancient Jews and some other peoples by which
a man is obliged to marry his brother's widow. ЬЬleviratic adj.
leviratical adj. [L levir brother-in-law + -ATE(1)]
Levis n.pl. propr. a type of (orig. blue) denim jeans or overalls
reinforced with rivets. [Levi Strauss, orig. US manufacturer in
levitate v. 1 intr. rise and float in the air (esp. with reference to
spiritualism). 2 tr. cause to do this. ЬЬlevitation n.
levitator n. [L levis light, after GRAVITATE]
Levite n. a member of the tribe of Levi, esp. of that part of it which
provided assistants to the priests in the worship in the Jewish
temple. [ME f. LL levita f. Gk leuites f. Leui f. Heb. lewЊ
Levitical adj. 1 of the Levites or the tribe of Levi. 2 of the Levites'
ritual. 3 of Leviticus. [LL leviticus f. Gk leuitikos (as
levity n. 1 lack of serious thought, frivolity, unbecoming jocularity.
2 inconstancy. 3 undignified behaviour. 4 archaic lightness of
weight. [L levitas f. levis light]
levo- US var. of LAEVO-.
levodopa n. laevorotatory dopa.
levulose US var. of LAEVULOSE.
levy v. & n. --v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 a impose (a rate or toll). b
raise (contributions or taxes). c (also absol.) raise (a sum of
money) by legal execution or process (the debt was levied on the
debtor's goods). d seize (goods) in this way. e extort (levy
blackmail). 2 enlist or enrol (troops etc.). 3 (usu. foll. by
upon, against) wage, proceed to make (war). --n. (pl. -ies) 1
a the collecting of a contribution, tax, etc., or of property to
satisfy a legal judgement. b a contribution, tax, etc., levied.
2 a the act or an instance of enrolling troops etc. b (in pl.)
men enrolled. c a body of men enrolled. d the number of men
enrolled. ЬЬleviable adj. [ME f. OF levee fem. past part. of
lever f. L levare raise f. levis light]
lewd adj. 1 lascivious. 2 indecent, obscene. ЬЬlewdly adv.
lewdness n. [OE l‘wede LAY(2), of unkn. orig.]
lewis n. an iron contrivance for gripping heavy blocks of stone or
concrete for lifting. [18th c.: orig. unkn.]
Lewis gun n. a light machine-gun with a magazine, air cooling, and
operation by gas from its own firing. [I. N. Lewis, Amer.
soldier d. 1931, its inventor]
lewisite n. an irritant gas that produces blisters, developed for use in
chemical warfare. [W. L. Lewis, Amer. chemist d. 1943 +
n. Law the law of the country in which a person is domiciled.
lexeme n. Linguistics a basic lexical unit of a language comprising
one or several words, the elements of which do not separately
convey the meaning of the whole. [LEXICON + -EME]
lex fori n. Law the law of the country in which an action is brought.
lexical adj. 1 of the words of a language. 2 of or as of a lexicon.
ЬЬlexically adv. [Gk lexikos, lexikon: see LEXICON]
n. the compiling of dictionaries. ЬЬlexicographer n.
lexicographic adj. lexicographical adj. lexicographically adv.
n. the study of the form, history, and meaning of words.
ЬЬlexicological adj. lexicologically adv. lexicologist n.
lexicon n. 1 a dictionary, esp. of Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, or Arabic. 2
the vocabulary of a person, language, branch of knowledge, etc.
[mod.L f. Gk lexikon (biblion book), neut. of lexikos f. lexis
word f. lego speak]
n. a system of writing in which each character represents a
word. [Gk lexis (see LEXICON) + -GRAPHY]
lexis n. 1 words, vocabulary. 2 the total stock of words in a
language. [Gk: see LEXICON]
lex loci n. Law the law of the country in which a transaction is
performed, a tort is committed, or a property is situated. [L]
n. the law of retaliation, whereby a punishment resembles the
offence committed, in kind and degree. [L]
ley(1) n. a field temporarily under grass. Ьley farming alternate
growing of crops and grass. [ME (orig. adj.), perh. f. OE, rel.
to LAY(1), LIE(1)]
ley(2) n. the supposed straight line of a prehistoric track, usu.
between hilltops. [var. of LEA]
n. an early form of capacitor consisting of a glass jar with
layers of metal foil on the outside and inside. [Leyden (now
Leiden) in Holland, where it was invented (1745)]
liability n. (pl. -ies) 1 the state of being liable. 2 a person or
thing that is troublesome as an unwelcome responsibility; a
handicap. 3 what a person is liable for, esp. (in pl.) debts
or pecuniary obligations.
liable predic.adj. 1 legally bound. 2 (foll. by to) subject to (a tax
or penalty). 3 (foll. by to + infin.) under an obligation. 4
(foll. by to) exposed or open to (something undesirable). 5
disp. (foll. by to + infin.) apt, likely (it is liable to rain).
6 (foll. by for) answerable. [ME perh. f. AF f. OF lier f. L
liaise v.intr. (foll. by with, between) colloq. establish
cooperation, act as a link. [back-form. f. LIAISON]
liaison n. 1 communication or cooperation, esp. between military forces
or units. 2 an illicit sexual relationship. 3 the binding or
thickening agent of a sauce. 4 the sounding of an ordinarily
silent final consonant before a word beginning with a vowel (or
a mute h in French). Ьliaison officer an officer acting as a
link between allied forces or units of the same force. [F f.
lier bind f. L ligare]
liana n. (also liane) any of several climbing and twining plants of
tropical forests. [F liane, lierne clematis, of uncert. orig.]
liar n. a person who tells a lie or lies, esp. habitually. Ьliar
dice a game with poker dice in which the result of a throw may
be announced falsely. [OE leogere (as LIE(2), -AR(4))]
lias n. 1 (Lias) Geol. the lower strata of the Jurassic system of
rocks, consisting of shales and limestones rich in fossils. 2 a
blue limestone rock found in SW England. ЬЬliassic adj. (in
sense 1). [ME f. OF liois hard limestone, prob. f. Gmc]
Lib. abbr. Liberal.
lib n. colloq. liberation (women's lib). [abbr.]
libation n. 1 a the pouring out of a drink-offering to a god. b such a
drink-offering. 2 joc. a potation. [ME f. L libatio f. libare
pour as offering]
libber n. colloq. an advocate of women's liberation.
libel n. & v. --n. 1 Law a a published false statement damaging to a
person's reputation (cf. SLANDER). b the act of publishing
this. 2 a a false and defamatory written statement. b (foll.
by on) a thing that brings discredit by misrepresentation etc.
(the portrait is a libel on him; the book is a libel on human
nature). 3 a (in civil and ecclesiastical law) the plaintiff's
written declaration. b Sc. Law a statement of the grounds of a
charge. 4 (in full public libel) Law the publication of a libel
that also involves the criminal law. --v.tr. (libelled,
libelling; US libeled, libeling) 1 defame by libellous
statements. 2 accuse falsely and maliciously. 3 Law publish a
libel against. 4 (in ecclesiastical law) bring a suit against.
Ьcriminal libel Law a deliberate defamatory statement in a
permanent form. ЬЬlibeller n. [ME f. OF f. L libellus dimin.
of liber book]
libellous adj. containing or constituting a libel. ЬЬlibellously adv.
liber n. bast. [L, = bark]
liberal adj. & n. --adj. 1 given freely; ample, abundant. 2 (often
foll. by of) giving freely, generous, not sparing. 3
open-minded, not prejudiced. 4 not strict or rigorous; (of
interpretation) not literal. 5 for general broadening of the
mind, not professional or technical (liberal studies). 6 a
favouring individual liberty, free trade, and moderate political
and social reform. b (Liberal) of or characteristic of Liberals
or a Liberal Party. 7 Theol. regarding many traditional beliefs
as dispensable, invalidated by modern thought, or liable to
change (liberal Protestant; liberal Judaism). --n. 1 a person
of liberal views. 2 (Liberal) a supporter or member of a
Liberal Party. Ьliberal arts 1 US the arts as distinct from
science and technology. 2 hist. the medieval trivium and
quadrivium. Liberal Democrat (in the UK) a member of a party
(formerly the Social and Liberal Democrats) formed from the
Liberal Party and members of the Social Democratic Party.
Liberal Party a political party advocating liberal policies.
°In the UK the name was discontinued in official use in 1988,
when the party regrouped with others to form the Social and
Liberal Democrats (see Liberal Democrat). ЬЬliberalism n.
liberalist n. liberalistic adj. liberally adv. liberalness n.
[ME, orig. = befitting a free man, f. OF f. L liberalis f.
liber free (man)]
n. 1 free giving, munificence. 2 freedom from prejudice,
breadth of mind. [ME f. OF liberalite or L liberalitas (as
v.tr. & intr. (also -ise) make or become more liberal or less
strict. ЬЬliberalization n. liberalizer n.
liberate v.tr. 1 (often foll. by from) set at liberty, set free. 2 free
(a country etc.) from an oppressor or an enemy occupation. 3
(often as liberated adj.) free (a person) from rigid social
conventions, esp. in sexual behaviour. 4 sl. steal. 5 Chem.
release (esp. a gas) from a state of combination. ЬЬliberator
n. [L liberare liberat- f. liber free]
n. the act or an instance of liberating; the state of being
liberated. Ьliberation theology a theory which interprets
liberation from social, political, and economic oppression as an
anticipation of ultimate salvation. ЬЬliberationist n. [ME f.
L liberatio f. liberare: see LIBERATE]
n. & adj. --n. 1 an advocate of liberty. 2 a believer in free
will (opp. NECESSITARIAN). --adj. believing in free will.
libertine n. & adj. --n. 1 a dissolute or licentious person. 2 a free
thinker on religion. 3 a person who follows his or her own
inclinations. --adj. 1 licentious, dissolute. 2 freethinking.
3 following one's own inclinations. ЬЬlibertinage n.
libertinism n. [L libertinus freedman f. libertus made free f.
liberty n. (pl. -ies) 1 a freedom from captivity, imprisonment,
slavery, or despotic control. b a personification of this. 2 a
the right or power to do as one pleases. b (foll. by to +
infin.) right, power, opportunity, permission. c Philos.
freedom from control by fate or necessity. 3 a (usu. in pl.) a
right, privilege, or immunity, enjoyed by prescription or grant.
b (in sing. or pl.) hist. an area having such privileges etc.,
esp. a district controlled by a city though outside its boundary
or an area outside a prison where some prisoners might reside.
4 setting aside of rules or convention. Ьat liberty 1 free, not
imprisoned (set at liberty). 2 (foll. by to + infin.) entitled,
permitted. 3 available, disengaged. Liberty Bell (in the US) a
bell in Philadelphia rung at the adoption of the Declaration of
Independence. liberty boat Brit. Naut. a boat carrying
liberty men. liberty bodice a close-fitting under-bodice.
liberty hall a place where one may do as one likes. liberty
horse a horse performing in a circus without a rider. liberty
man Brit. Naut. a sailor with leave to go ashore. liberty of
the subject the rights of a subject under constitutional rule.
Liberty ship hist. a prefabricated US-built freighter of the
war of 1939-45. take liberties 1 (often foll. by with) behave
in an unduly familiar manner. 2 (foll. by with) deal freely or
superficially with rules or facts. take the liberty (foll. by
to + infin., or of + verbal noun) presume, venture. [ME f. OF
libert‚ f. L libertas -tatis f. liber free]
adj. lustful. ЬЬlibidinously adv. libidinousness n. [ME f. L
libidinosus f. libido -dinis lust]
libido n. (pl. -os) Psychol. psychic drive or energy, esp. that
associated with sexual desire. ЬЬlibidinal adj. libidinally
adv. [L: see LIBIDINOUS]
Lib-Lab adj. Brit. hist. Liberal and Labour. [abbr.]
Libra n. 1 a constellation, traditionally regarded as contained in
the figure of scales. 2 a the seventh sign of the zodiac (the
Balance or Scales). b a person born when the sun is in this
sign. ЬЬLibran n. & adj. [ME f. L, orig. = pound weight]
librarian n. a person in charge of, or an assistant in, a library.
ЬЬlibrarianship n. [L librarius: see LIBRARY]
library n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a collection of books etc. for use by the
public or by members of a group. b a person's collection of
books. 2 a room or building containing a collection of books
(for reading or reference rather than for sale). 3 a a similar
collection of films, records, computer routines, etc. b the
place where these are kept. 4 a series of books issued by a
publisher in similar bindings etc., usu. as a set. 5 a public
institution charged with the care of a collection of books,
films, etc. Ьlibrary edition a strongly bound edition. library
school a college or a department in a university or polytechnic
teaching librarianship. library science the study of
librarianship. [ME f. OF librairie f. L libraria (taberna
shop), fem. of librarius bookseller's, of books, f. liber libri
libration n. an apparent oscillation of a heavenly body, esp. the moon,
by which the parts near the edge of the disc are alternately in
view and out of view. [L libratio f. librare f. libra
libretto n. (pl. libretti or -os) the text of an opera or other long
musical vocal work. ЬЬlibrettist n. [It., dimin. of libro book
f. L liber libri]
Librium n. propr. a white crystalline drug used as a tranquillizer.
Libyan adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to modern Libya in N.
Africa. 2 of ancient N. Africa west of Egypt. 3 of or relating
to the Berber group of languages. --n. 1 a a native or
national of modern Libya. b a person of Libyan descent. 2 an
ancient language of the Berber group.
lice pl. of LOUSE.
licence n. (US license) 1 a permit from an authority to own or use
something (esp. a dog, gun, television set, or vehicle), do
something (esp. marry, print something, preach, or drive on a
public road), or carry on a trade (esp. in alcoholic liquor). 2
leave, permission (have I your licence to remove the fence?). 3
a liberty of action, esp. when excessive; disregard of law or
propriety, abuse of freedom. b licentiousness. 4 a writer's or
artist's irregularity in grammar, metre, perspective, etc., or
deviation from fact, esp. for effect (poetic licence). 5 a
university certificate of competence in a faculty. Ьlicense
plate US the number plate of a licensed vehicle. [ME f. OF f. L
licentia f. licere be lawful: -se by confusion with LICENSE]
license v.tr. (also licence) 1 grant a licence to (a person). 2
authorize the use of (premises) for a certain purpose, esp. the
sale and consumption of alcoholic liquor. 3 authorize the
publication of (a book etc.) or the performance of (a play). 4
archaic allow. Ьlicensed victualler see VICTUALLER.
ЬЬlicensable adj. licenser n. licensor n. [ME f. LICENCE:
-se on analogy of the verbs PRACTISE, PROPHESY, perh. after
ADVISE, where the sound differs from the corresp. noun]
licensee n. the holder of a licence, esp. to sell alcoholic liquor.
n. 1 a holder of a certificate of competence to practise a
certain profession, or of a university licence. 2 a licensed
preacher not yet having an appointment, esp. in a Presbyterian
church. [ME f. med.L licentiatus past part. of licentiare f. L
licentia: see LICENCE]
adj. 1 immoral in sexual relations. 2 archaic disregarding
accepted rules or conventions. ЬЬlicentiously adv.
licentiousness n. [L licentiosus f. licentia: see LICENCE]
lichee var. of LYCHEE.
lichen n. 1 any plant organism of the group Lichenes, composed of a
fungus and an alga in symbiotic association, usu. of green,
grey, or yellow tint and growing on and colouring rocks,
tree-trunks, roofs, walls, etc. 2 any of several types of skin
disease in which small round hard lesions occur close together.
ЬЬlichened adj. (in sense 1). lichenology n. (in sense 1).
lichenous adj. (in sense 2). [L f. Gk leikhen]
lich-gate n. (also lych-gate) a roofed gateway to a churchyard where a
coffin awaits the clergyman's arrival. [ME f. OE lic corpse f.
Gmc + GATE(1)]
licit adj. not forbidden; lawful. ЬЬlicitly adv. [L licitus past
part. of licere be lawful]
lick v. & n. --v.tr. & intr. 1 tr. pass the tongue over, esp. to
taste, moisten, or (of animals) clean. 2 tr. bring into a
specified condition or position by licking (licked it all up;
licked it clean). 3 a tr. (of a flame, waves, etc.) touch; play
lightly over. b intr. move gently or caressingly. 4 colloq. a
defeat, excel. b surpass the comprehension of (has got me
licked). 5 colloq. thrash. --n. 1 an act of licking with the
tongue. 2 = salt-lick. 3 colloq. a fast pace (at a lick; at
full lick). 4 colloq. a a small amount, quick treatment with
(foll. by of: a lick of paint). b a quick wash. 5 a smart blow
with a stick etc. Ьa lick and a promise colloq. a hasty
performance of a task, esp. of washing oneself. lick a person's
boots (or shoes) toady; be servile. lick into shape see SHAPE.
lick one's lips (or chops) 1 look forward with relish. 2 show
one's satisfaction. lick one's wounds be in retirement after
defeat. ЬЬlicker n. (also in comb.). [OE liccian f. WG]
lickerish adj. (also liquorish) 1 lecherous. 2 a fond of fine food. b
greedy, longing. [ME lickerous f. OF lecheros: see LECHER]
adv. colloq. at full speed; headlong. [prob. f. LICK (cf.
at full lick) + SPLIT]
licking n. colloq. 1 a thrashing. 2 a defeat.
n. a toady.
licorice var. of LIQUORICE.
lictor n. (usu. in pl.) Rom.Hist. an officer attending the consul or
other magistrate, bearing the fasces, and executing sentence on
offenders. [ME f. L, perh. rel. to ligare bind]
lid n. 1 a hinged or removable cover, esp. for the top of a
container. 2 = EYELID. 3 the operculum of a shell or a plant.
4 sl. a hat. Ьput the lid (or tin lid) on Brit. colloq. 1 be
the culmination of. 2 put a stop to. take the lid off colloq.
expose (a scandal etc.). ЬЬlidded adj. (also in comb.).
lidless adj. [OE hlid f. Gmc]
lido n. (pl. -os) a public open-air swimming-pool or bathing-beach.
[It. f. Lido, the name of a bathing-beach near Venice, f. L
lie(1) v. & n. --v.intr. (lying; past lay; past part. lain) 1 be in
or assume a horizontal position on a supporting surface; be at
rest on something. 2 (of a thing) rest flat on a surface (snow
lay on the ground). 3 (of abstract things) remain undisturbed
or undiscussed etc. (let matters lie). 4 a be kept or remain
or be in a specified, esp. concealed, state or place (lie
hidden; lie in wait; malice lay behind those words; they lay
dying; the books lay unread; the money is lying in the bank). b
(of abstract things) exist, reside; be in a certain position or
relation (foll. by in, with, etc.: the answer lies in education;
my sympathies lie with the family). 5 a be situated or
stationed (the village lay to the east; the ships are lying off
the coast). b (of a road, route, etc.) lead (the road lies over
mountains). c be spread out to view (the desert lay before us).
6 (of the dead) be buried in a grave. 7 (foll. by with) archaic
have sexual intercourse. 8 Law be admissible or sustainable
(the objection will not lie). 9 (of a game-bird) not rise.
--n. 1 a the way or direction or position in which a thing
lies. b Golf the position of a golf ball when about to be
struck. 2 the place of cover of an animal or a bird. Ьas far
as in me lies to the best of my power. let lie not raise (a
controversial matter etc.) for discussion etc. lie about (or
around) be left carelessly out of place. lie ahead be going to
happen; be in store. lie back recline so as to rest. lie down
assume a lying position; have a short rest. lie-down n. a
short rest. lie down under accept (an insult etc.) without
protest. lie heavy cause discomfort or anxiety. lie in 1
remain in bed in the morning. 2 archaic be brought to bed in
childbirth. lie-in n. a prolonged stay in bed in the morning.
lie in state (of a deceased great personage) be laid in a public
place of honour before burial. lie low 1 keep quiet or unseen.
2 be discreet about one's intentions. lie off Naut. stand some
distance from shore or from another ship. the lie of the land
the current state of affairs. lie over be deferred. lie to
Naut. come almost to a stop facing the wind. lie up (of a
ship) go into dock or be out of commission. lie with (often
foll. by to + infin.) be the responsibility of (a person) (it
lies with you to answer). take lying down (usu. with neg.)
accept (defeat, rebuke, etc.) without resistance or protest etc.
[OE licgan f. Gmc]
lie(2) n. & v. --n. 1 an intentionally false statement (tell a lie;
pack of lies). 2 imposture; false belief (live a lie).
--v.intr. & tr. (lies, lied, lying) 1 intr. a tell a lie or
lies (they lied to me). b (of a thing) be deceptive (the camera
cannot lie). 2 tr. (usu. refl.; foll. by into, out of) get
(oneself) into or out of a situation by lying (lied themselves
into trouble; lied my way out of danger). Ьgive the lie to
serve to show the falsity of (a supposition etc.). lie-detector
an instrument for determining whether a person is telling the
truth by testing for physiological changes considered to be
symptomatic of lying. [OE lyge leogan f. Gmc]
n. a light white wine from the Rhine region. [G f. Liebfrau
the Virgin Mary, the patroness of the convent where it was first
made + Milch milk]
lied n. (pl. lieder) a type of German song, esp. of the Romantic
period, usu. for solo voice with piano accompaniment. [G]
lief adv. archaic gladly, willingly. (usu. had lief, would lief)
[orig. as adj. f. OE leof dear, pleasant, f. Gmc, rel. to
liege adj. & n. usu. hist. --adj. (of a superior) entitled to
receive or (of a vassal) bound to give feudal service or
allegiance. --n. 1 (in full liege lord) a feudal superior or
sovereign. 2 (usu. in pl.) a vassal or subject. [ME f. OF
lige, liege f. med.L laeticus, prob. f. Gmc]
liegeman n. (pl. -men) hist. a sworn vassal; a faithful follower.
lien n. Law a right over another's property to protect a debt
charged on that property. [F f. OF loien f. L ligamen bond f.
lierne n. Archit. (in vaulting) a short rib connecting the bosses and
intersections of the principal ribs. [ME f. F: see LIANA]
lieu n. Ьin lieu 1 instead. 2 (foll. by of) in the place of. [ME
f. F f. L locus place]
Lieut. abbr. Lieutenant.
n. 1 a deputy or substitute acting for a superior. 2 a an army
officer next in rank below captain. b a naval officer next in
rank below lieutenant commander. 3 US a police officer next in
rank below captain. Ьlieutenant colonel (or commander or
general) officers ranking next below colonel, commander, or
general. lieutenant-governor the acting or deputy governor of a
State, province, etc., under a governor or Governor-General.
Lieutenant of the Tower the acting commandant of the Tower of
London. ЬЬlieutenancy n. (pl. -ies). [ME f. OF (as LIEU,
life n. (pl. lives) 1 the condition which distinguishes active
animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity
for growth, functional activity, and continual change preceding
death. 2 a living things and their activity (insect life; is
there life on Mars?). b human presence or activity (no sign of
life). 3 a the period during which life lasts, or the period
from birth to the present time or from the present time to death
(have done it all my life; will regret it all my life; life
membership). b the duration of a thing's existence or of its
ability to function; validity, efficacy, etc. (the battery has a
life of two years). 4 a a person's state of existence as a
living individual (sacrificed their lives; took many lives). b
a living person (many lives were lost). 5 a an individual's
occupation, actions, or fortunes; the manner of one's existence
(that would make life easy; start a new life). b a particular
aspect of this (love-life; private life). 6 the active part of
existence; the business and pleasures of the world (travel is
the best way to see life). 7 man's earthly or supposed future
existence. 8 a energy, liveliness, animation (full of life; put
some life into it!). b an animating influence (was the life of
the party). 9 the living, esp. nude, form or model (taken from
the life). 10 a written account of a person's life; a
biography. 11 colloq. a sentence of imprisonment for life (they
were all serving life). 12 a chance; a fresh start (cats have
nine lives; gave the player three lives). Ьcome to life 1
emerge from unconsciousness or inactivity; begin operating. 2
(of an inanimate object) assume an imaginary animation. for
dear (or one's) life as if or in order to escape death; as a
matter of extreme urgency (hanging on for dear life; run for
your life). for life for the rest of one's life. for the life
of (foll. by pers. pron.) even if (one's) life depended on it
(cannot for the life of me remember). give one's life 1 (foll.
by for) die; sacrifice oneself. 2 (foll. by to) dedicate
oneself. large as life colloq. in person, esp. prominently
(stood there large as life). larger than life 1 exaggerated. 2
(of a person) having an exuberant personality. life-and-death
vitally important; desperate (a life-and-death struggle). life
cycle the series of changes in the life of an organism including
reproduction. life expectancy the average period that a person
at a specified age may expect to live. life-force inspiration
or a driving force or influence. life-form an organism.
life-giving that sustains life or uplifts and revitalizes. Life
Guards (in the UK) a regiment of the royal household cavalry.
life history the story of a person's life, esp. told at tedious
length. life insurance insurance for a sum to be paid on the
death of the insured person. life-jacket a buoyant or
inflatable jacket for keeping a person afloat in water. life
peer Brit. a peer whose title lapses on death. life-preserver
1 a short stick with a heavily loaded end. 2 a life-jacket etc.
life-raft an inflatable or timber etc. raft for use in an
emergency instead of a boat. life-saver colloq. 1 a thing that
saves one from serious difficulty. 2 Austral. & NZ = LIFEGUARD.
life sciences biology and related subjects. life sentence 1 a
sentence of imprisonment for life. 2 an illness or commitment
etc. perceived as a continuing threat to one's freedom.
life-size (or -sized) of the same size as the person or thing
represented. life-support adj. (of equipment) allowing vital
functions to continue in an adverse environment or during severe
disablement. life-support machine Med. a ventilator or
respirator. life's-work a task etc. pursued throughout one's
lifetime. lose one's life be killed. a matter of life and
death a matter of vital importance. not on your life colloq.
most certainly not. save a person's life 1 prevent a person's
death. 2 save a person from serious difficulty. take one's
life in one's hands take a crucial personal risk. to the life
true to the original. [OE lif f. Gmc]
lifebelt n. a belt of buoyant or inflatable material for keeping a
person afloat in water.
lifeblood n. 1 the blood, as being necessary to life. 2 the vital factor
lifeboat n. 1 a specially constructed boat launched from land to rescue
those in distress at sea. 2 a ship's small boat for use in
lifebuoy n. a buoyant support (usu. a ring) for keeping a person afloat
lifeguard n. an expert swimmer employed to rescue bathers from drowning.
lifeless adj. 1 lacking life; no longer living. 2 unconscious. 3
lacking movement or vitality. ЬЬlifelessly adv. lifelessness
n. [OE lifleas (as LIFE, -LESS)]
lifelike adj. closely resembling the person or thing represented.
lifeline n. 1 a a rope etc. used for life-saving, e.g. that attached to
a lifebuoy. b a diver's signalling line. 2 a sole means of
communication or transport. 3 a fold in the palm of the hand,
regarded as significant in palmistry. 4 an emergency telephone
lifelong adj. lasting a lifetime.
lifer n. sl. a person serving a life sentence.
lifestyle n. the particular way of life of a person or group.
lifetime n. 1 the duration of a person's life. 2 the duration of a
thing or its usefulness. 3 colloq. an exceptionally long time.
Ьof a lifetime such as does not occur more than once in a
person's life (the chance of a lifetime; the journey of a
lift v. & n. --v. 1 tr. (often foll. by up, off, out, etc.) raise
or remove to a higher position. 2 intr. go up; be raised; yield
to an upward force (the window will not lift). 3 tr. give an
upward direction to (the eyes or face). 4 tr. a elevate to a
higher plane of thought or feeling (the news lifted their
spirits). b make less heavy or dull; add interest to (something
esp. artistic). c enhance, improve (lifted their game after
half-time). 5 intr. (of a cloud, fog, etc.) rise, disperse. 6
tr. remove (a barrier or restriction). 7 tr. transport
supplies, troops, etc. by air. 8 tr. colloq. a steal. b
plagiarize (a passage of writing etc.). 9 Phonet. a tr. make
louder; raise the pitch of. b intr. (of the voice) rise. 10
tr. dig up (esp. potatoes etc. at harvest). 11 intr. (of a
floor) swell upwards, bulge. 12 tr. hold or have on high (the
church lifts its spire). 13 tr. hit (a cricket-ball) into the
air. 14 tr. (usu. in passive) perform cosmetic surgery on (esp.
the face or breasts) to reduce sagging. --n. 1 the act of
lifting or process of being lifted. 2 a free ride in another
person's vehicle (gave them a lift). 3 a Brit. a platform or
compartment housed in a shaft for raising and lowering persons
or things to different floors of a building or different levels
of a mine etc. b a similar apparatus for carrying persons up or
down a mountain etc. (see ski-lift). 4 a transport by air (see
AIRLIFT n.). b a quantity of goods transported by air. 5 the
upward pressure which air exerts on an aerofoil to counteract
the force of gravity. 6 a supporting or elevating influence; a
feeling of elation. 7 a layer of leather in the heel of a boot
or shoe, esp. to correct shortening of a leg or increase height.
8 a a rise in the level of the ground. b the extent to which
water rises in a canal lock. Ьlift down pick up and bring to a
lower position. lift a finger (or hand etc.) (in neg.) make the
slightest effort (didn't lift a finger to help). lift off (of a
spacecraft or rocket) rise from the launching pad. lift-off n.
the vertical take-off of a spacecraft or rocket. lift up one's
head hold one's head high with pride. lift up one's voice sing
out. ЬЬliftable adj. lifter n. [ME f. ON lypta f. Gmc]
ligament n. 1 Anat. a a short band of tough flexible fibrous connective
tissue linking bones together. b any membranous fold keeping an
organ in position. 2 archaic a bond of union. ЬЬligamental
adj. ligamentary adj. ligamentous adj. [ME f. L ligamentum
bond f. ligare bind]
ligand n. Chem. an ion or molecule attached to a metal atom by
covalent bonding in which both electrons are supplied by one
atom. [L ligandus gerundive of ligare bind]
ligate v.tr. Surgery tie up (a bleeding artery etc.). ЬЬligation n.
[L ligare ligat-]
ligature n. & v. --n. 1 a tie or bandage, esp. in surgery for a
bleeding artery etc. 2 Mus. a slur; a tie. 3 Printing two or
more letters joined, e.g. ‘. 4 a bond; a thing that unites. 5
the act of tying or binding. --v.tr. bind or connect with a
ligature. [ME f. LL ligatura f. L ligare ligat- tie, bind]
liger n. the offspring of a lion and a tigress (cf. TIGON).
[portmanteau word f. LION + TIGER]
light(1) n., v., & adj. --n. 1 the natural agent (electromagnetic
radiation of wavelength between about 390 and 740 mm) that
stimulates sight and makes things visible. 2 the medium or
condition of the space in which this is present. 3 an
appearance of brightness (saw a distant light). 4 a a source of
light, e.g. the sun, or a lamp, fire, etc. b (in pl.)
illuminations. 5 (often in pl.) a traffic-light (went through a
red light; stop at the lights). 6 a the amount or quality of
illumination in a place (bad light stopped play). b one's fair
or usual share of this (you are standing in my light). 7 a a
flame or spark serving to ignite (struck a light). b a device
producing this (have you got a light?). 8 the aspect in which a
thing is regarded or considered (appeared in a new light). 9 a
mental illumination; elucidation, enlightenment. b hope,
happiness; a happy outcome. c spiritual illumination by divine
truth. 10 vivacity, enthusiasm, or inspiration visible in a
person's face, esp. in the eyes. 11 (in pl.) a person's mental
powers or ability (according to one's lights). 12 an eminent
person (a leading light). 13 a the bright part of a thing; a
highlight. b the bright parts of a picture etc. esp. suggesting
illumination (light and shade). 14 a a window or opening in a
wall to let light in. b the perpendicular division of a
mullioned window. c a pane of glass esp. in the side or roof of
a greenhouse. 15 (in a crossword etc.) each of the items
filling a space and to be deduced from the clues. 16 Law the
light falling on windows, the obstruction of which by a
neighbour is illegal. --v. (past lit; past part. lit or
(attrib.) lighted) 1 tr. & intr. set burning or begin to burn;
ignite. 2 tr. provide with light or lighting. 3 tr. show (a
person) the way or surroundings with a light. 4 intr. (usu.
foll. by up) (of the face or eyes) brighten with animation.
--adj. 1 well provided with light; not dark. 2 (of a colour)
pale (light blue; a light-blue ribbon). Ьbring (or come) to
light reveal or be revealed. festival of lights 1 = HANUKKAH.
2 = DIWALI. in a good (or bad) light giving a favourable (or
unfavourable) impression. in the light of having regard to;
drawing information from. light-bulb a glass bulb containing an
inert gas and a metal filament, providing light when an electric
current is passed through. lighting-up time the time during or
after which vehicles on the road must show the prescribed
lights. light meter an instrument for measuring the intensity
of the light, esp. to show the correct photographic exposure.
light of day 1 daylight, sunlight. 2 general notice; public
attention. light of one's life usu. joc. a much-loved person.
light-pen (or -gun) 1 a penlike or gunlike photosensitive device
held to the screen of a computer terminal for passing
information on to it. 2 a light-emitting device used for
reading bar-codes. light show a display of changing coloured
lights for entertainment. light up 1 colloq. begin to smoke a
cigarette etc. 2 switch on lights or lighting; illuminate a
scene. light-year 1 Astron. the distance light travels in one
year, nearly 6 million million miles. 2 (in pl.) colloq. a long
distance or great amount. lit up colloq. drunk. out like a
light deeply asleep or unconscious. throw (or shed) light on
help to explain. ЬЬlightish adj. lightless adj. lightness n.
[OE leoht, liht, lihtan f. Gmc]
light(2) adj., adv., & v. --adj. 1 of little weight; not heavy; easy to
lift. 2 a relatively low in weight, amount, density, intensity,
etc. (light arms; light traffic; light metal; light rain; a
light breeze). b deficient in weight (light coin). c (of an
isotope etc.) having not more than the usual mass. 3 a carrying
or suitable for small loads (light aircraft; light railway). b
(of a ship) unladen. c carrying only light arms, armaments,
etc. (light brigade; light infantry). d (of a locomotive) with
no train attached. 4 a (of food, a meal, etc.) small in amount;
easy to digest (had a light lunch). b (of drink) not heavy on
the stomach or strongly alcoholic. 5 a (of entertainment,
music, etc.) intended for amusement, rather than edification;
not profound. b frivolous, thoughtless, trivial (a light
remark). 6 (of sleep or a sleeper) easily disturbed. 7 easily
borne or done (light duties). 8 nimble; quick-moving (a light
step; light of foot; a light rhythm). 9 (of a building etc.)
graceful, elegant, delicate. 10 (of type) not heavy or bold.
11 a free from sorrow; cheerful (a light heart). b giddy (light
in the head). 12 (of soil) not dense; porous. 13 (of pastry,
sponge, etc.) fluffy and well-aerated during cooking and with
the fat fully absorbed. 14 (of a woman) unchaste or wanton;
fickle. --adv. 1 in a light manner (tread light; sleep light).
2 with a minimum load or minimum luggage (travel light).
--v.intr. (past and past part. lit or lighted) 1 (foll. by on,
upon) come upon or find by chance. 2 archaic a alight, descend.
b (foll. by on) land on (shore etc.). Ьlighter-than-air (of an
aircraft) weighing less than the air it displaces.
light-fingered given to stealing. light flyweight see
FLYWEIGHT. light-footed nimble. light-footedly nimbly.
light-headed giddy, frivolous, delirious. light-headedly in a
light-headed manner. light-headedness being light-headed.
light-hearted 1 cheerful. 2 (unduly) casual, thoughtless.
light-heartedly in a light-hearted manner. light-heartedness
being light-hearted. light heavyweight see HEAVYWEIGHT. light
industry the manufacture of small or light articles. light into
colloq. attack. light middleweight see MIDDLEWEIGHT. light
out colloq. depart. light touch delicate or tactful treatment.
light welterweight see WELTERWEIGHT. make light of treat as
unimportant. make light work of do a thing quickly and easily.
ЬЬlightish adj. lightness n. [OE leoht, liht, lihtan f. Gmc,
the verbal sense from the idea of relieving a horse etc. of
v. 1 a tr. & intr. make or become lighter in weight. b tr.
reduce the weight or load of. 2 tr. bring relief to (the heart,
mind, etc.). 3 tr. mitigate (a penalty).
v. 1 a tr. shed light on. b tr. & intr. make or grow bright.
2 intr. a shine brightly; flash. b emit lightning (it is
n. a drop in the level of the womb during the last weeks of
n. a device for lighting cigarettes etc.
n. a boat, usu. flat-bottomed, for transferring goods from a
ship to a wharf or another ship. [ME f. MDu. lichter (as
LIGHT(2) in the sense 'unload')]
n. 1 the transference of cargo by means of a lighter. 2 a
charge made for this.
n. (pl. -men) a person who works on a lighter.
n. a tower or other structure containing a beacon light to warn
or guide ships at sea.
lighting n. 1 equipment in a room or street etc. for producing light. 2
the arrangement or effect of lights.
lightly adv. in a light (esp. frivolous or unserious) manner. Ьget off
lightly escape with little or no punishment. take lightly not
be serious about (a thing).
lightning n. & adj. --n. a flash of bright light produced by an electric
discharge between clouds or between clouds and the ground.
--attrib.adj. very quick (with lightning speed).
Ьlightning-conductor (or -rod) a metal rod or wire fixed to an
exposed part of a building or to a mast to divert lightning into
the earth or sea. lightning strike a strike by workers at short
notice, esp. without official union backing. [ME,
differentiated from lightening, verbal noun f. LIGHTEN(2)]
adj. able to resist the harmful effects of (esp. excessive)
lights n.pl. the lungs of sheep, pigs, bullocks, etc., used as a food
esp. for pets. [ME, noun use of LIGHT(2): cf. LUNG]
lightship n. a moored or anchored ship with a beacon light.
lightsome adj. gracefully light; nimble; merry. ЬЬlightsomely adv.
adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of a person, animal, garment, etc.) of
below average weight. 2 of little importance or influence.
--n. 1 a lightweight person, animal, or thing. 2 a a weight in
certain sports intermediate between featherweight and
welterweight, in the amateur boxing scale 57-60 kg but differing
for professionals, wrestlers, and weightlifters. b a sportsman
of this weight. Ьjunior lightweight 1 a weight in professional
boxing of 57.1-59 kg. 2 a professional boxer of this weight.
lightwood n. 1 a tree with a light wood. 2 US wood or a tree with wood
that burns with a bright flame.
ligneous adj. 1 (of a plant) woody (opp. HERBACEOUS). 2 of the nature
of wood. [L ligneus (as LIGNI-)]
ligni- comb. form wood. [L lignum wood]
lignify v.tr. & intr. (-ies, -ied) Bot. make or become woody by the
deposition of lignin.
lignin n. Bot. a complex organic polymer deposited in the cell-walls
of many plants making them rigid and woody. [as LIGNI- + -IN]
lignite n. a soft brown coal showing traces of plant structure,
intermediate between bituminous coal and peat. ЬЬlignitic adj.
[F (as LIGNI-, -ITE(1))]
n. Pharm. a local anaesthetic for the gums, mucous membranes,
or skin, usu. given by injection. [ligno- (as LIGNI-) for
XYLO- + COCA + -INE(4)]
n. = GUAIACUM 2a. [L, = wood of life]
ligroin n. Chem. a volatile hydrocarbon mixture obtained from
petroleum and used as a solvent. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
ligulate adj. Bot. having strap-shaped florets. [formed as LIGULE +
ligule n. Bot. a narrow projection from the top of a leaf-sheath of a
grass. [L ligula strap, spoon f. lingere lick]
ligustrum n. = PRIVET. [L]
likable var. of LIKEABLE.
like(1) adj., prep., adv., conj., & n. --adj. (often governing a noun
as if a transitive participle such as resembling) (more like,
most like) 1 a having some or all of the qualities of another or
each other or an original; alike (in like manner; as like as two
peas; is very like her brother). b resembling in some way, such
as; in the same class as (good writers like Dickens). c (usu.
in pairs correlatively) as one is so will the other be (like
mother, like daughter). 2 characteristic of (it is not like
them to be late). 3 in a suitable state or mood for (doing or
having something) (felt like working; felt like a cup of tea).
--prep. in the manner of; to the same degree as (drink like a
fish; sell like hot cakes; acted like an idiot). --adv. 1
archaic likely (they will come, like enough). 2 archaic in the
same manner (foll. by as: sang like as a nightingale). 3 sl. so
to speak (did a quick getaway, like; as I said, like, I'm no
Shakespeare). 4 colloq. likely, probably (as like as not).
--conj. colloq. disp. 1 as (cannot do it like you do). 2 as
if (ate like they were starving). --n. 1 a counterpart; an
equal; a similar person or thing (shall not see its like again;
compare like with like). 2 (prec. by the) a thing or things of
the same kind (will never do the like again). Ьand the like and
similar things; et cetera (music, painting, and the like). be
nothing like (usu. with compl.) be in no way similar or
comparable or adequate. like anything see ANYTHING. like (or
as like) as not probably. like-minded having the same tastes,
opinions, etc. like-mindedly in accordance with the same tastes
etc. like-mindedness being like-minded. like so colloq. like
this; in this manner. the likes of colloq. a person such as.
more like it colloq. nearer what is required. [ME lic, lik,
shortened form of OE gelic ALIKE]
like(2) v. & n. --v.tr. 1 a find agreeable or enjoyable or
satisfactory (like reading; like the sea; like to dance). b be
fond of (a person). 2 a choose to have; prefer (like my coffee
black; do not like such things discussed). b wish for or be
inclined to (would like a cup of tea; should like to come). 3
(usu. in interrog.; prec. by how) feel about; regard (how would
you like it if it happened to you?). --n. (in pl.) the things
one likes or prefers. ЬI like that! iron. as an exclamation
expressing affront. like it or not colloq. whether it is
acceptable or not. [OE lician f. Gmc]
-like comb. form forming adjectives from nouns, meaning 'similar to,
characteristic of' (doglike; shell-like; tortoise-like). °In
formations intended as nonce-words, or not generally current,
the hyphen should be used. It may be omitted when the first
element is of one syllable, but nouns in -l always require it.
likeable adj. (also likable) pleasant; easy to like. ЬЬlikeableness n.
n. probability; being likely. Ьin all likelihood very
likely adj. & adv. --adj. 1 probable; such as well might happen or be
true (it is not likely that they will come; the most likely
place is London; a likely story). 2 (foll. by to + infin.) to
be reasonably expected (he is not likely to come now). 3
promising; apparently suitable (this is a likely spot; three
likely lads). --adv. probably (is very likely true). Ьas
likely as not probably. not likely! colloq. certainly not, I
refuse. ЬЬlikeliness n. [ME f. ON lЎkligr (as LIKE(1),
liken v.tr. (foll. by to) point out the resemblance of (a person or
thing to another). [ME f. LIKE(1) + -EN(1)]
likeness n. 1 (foll. by between, to) resemblance. 2 (foll. by of) a
semblance or guise (in the likeness of a ghost). 3 a portrait
or representation (is a good likeness). [OE geliknes (as
likewise adv. 1 also, moreover, too. 2 similarly (do likewise). [for
in like wise]
liking n. 1 what one likes; one's taste (is it to your liking?). 2
(foll. by for) regard or fondness; taste or fancy (had a liking
for toffee). [OE licung (as LIKE(2), -ING(1))]
lilac n. & adj. --n. 1 any shrub or small tree of the genus Syringa,
esp. S. vulgaris with fragrant pale pinkish-violet or white
blossoms. 2 a pale pinkish-violet colour. --adj. of this
colour. [obs. F f. Sp. f. Arab. lilak f. Pers. lilak, var. of
nilak bluish f. nil blue]
adj. 1 of or relating to the family Liliaceae of plants with
elongated leaves growing from a corm, bulb, or rhizome, e.g.
tulip, lily, or onion. 2 lily-like. [LL liliaceus f. L lilium
n. & adj. --n. a diminutive person or thing. --adj.
diminutive. [Lilliput in Swift's Gulliver's Travels]
Lilo n. (pl. -os) propr. a type of inflatable mattress. [f. lie
lilt n. & v. --n. 1 a a light springing rhythm or gait. b a song
or tune marked by this. 2 (of the voice) a characteristic
cadence or inflection; a pleasant accent. --v.intr. (esp. as
lilting adj.) move or speak etc. with a lilt (a lilting step; a
lilting melody). [ME lilte, lЃlte, of unkn. orig.]
lily n. (pl. -ies) 1 a any bulbous plant of the genus Lilium with
large trumpet-shaped often spotted flowers on a tall slender
stem, e.g. the madonna lily and tiger lily. b any of several
other plants of the family Liliaceae with similar flowers, e.g.
the African lily. c the water lily. 2 a person or thing of
special whiteness or purity. 3 a heraldic fleur-de-lis. 4
(attrib.) a delicately white (a lily hand). b pallid.
Ьlily-livered cowardly. lily of the valley any liliaceous plant
of the genus Convallaria, with oval leaves in pairs and racemes
of white bell-shaped fragrant flowers. lily-pad a floating leaf
of a water lily. lily-white 1 as white as a lily. 2 faultless.
ЬЬlilied adj. [OE lilie f. L lilium prob. f. Gk leirion]
lima bean n. 1 a tropical American bean plant, Phaseolus limensis, having
large flat white edible seeds. 2 the seed of this plant. [Lima
limb(1) n. 1 any of the projecting parts of a person's or animal's body
used for contact or movement. 2 a large branch of a tree. 3 a
branch of a cross. 4 a spur of a mountain. 5 a clause of a
sentence. Ьout on a limb 1 isolated, stranded. 2 at a
disadvantage. tear limb from limb violently dismember. with
life and limb (esp. escape) without grave injury. ЬЬlimbed adj.
(also in comb.). limbless adj. [OE lim f. Gmc]
limb(2) n. 1 Astron. a a specified edge of the sun, moon, etc.
(eastern limb; lower limb). b the graduated edge of a quadrant
etc. 2 Bot. the broad part of a petal, sepal, or leaf. [F
limbe or L limbus hem, border]
limber(1) adj. & v. --adj. 1 lithe, agile, nimble. 2 flexible. --v.
(usu. foll. by up) 1 tr. make (oneself or a part of the body
etc.) supple. 2 intr. warm up in preparation for athletic etc.
activity. ЬЬlimberness n. [16th c.: orig. uncert.]
limber(2) n. & v. --n. the detachable front part of a gun-carriage,
consisting of two wheels, axle, pole, and ammunition-box. --v.
1 tr. attach a limber to (a gun etc.). 2 intr. fasten together
the two parts of a gun-carriage. [ME limo(u)r, app. rel. to
med.L limonarius f. limo -onis shaft]
limbo(1) n. (pl. -os) 1 (in some Christian beliefs) the supposed abode
of the souls of unbaptized infants, and of the just who died
before Christ. 2 an intermediate state or condition of awaiting
a decision etc. 3 prison, confinement. 4 a state of neglect or
oblivion. [ME f. med.L phr. in limbo, f. limbus: see LIMB(2)]
limbo(2) n. (pl. -os) a W. Indian dance in which the dancer bends
backwards to pass under a horizontal bar which is progressively
lowered to a position just above the ground. [a W. Indian word,
perh. = LIMBER(1)]
Limburger n. a soft white cheese with a characteristic strong smell,
orig. made in Limburg. [Du. f. Limburg in Belgium]
lime(1) n. & v. --n. 1 (in full quicklime) a white caustic alkaline
substance (calcium oxide) obtained by heating limestone and used
for making mortar or as a fertilizer or bleach etc. 2 =
BIRDLIME. --v.tr. 1 treat (wood, skins, land, etc.) with lime.
2 archaic catch (a bird etc.) with birdlime. Ьlime water an
aqueous solution of calcium hydroxide used esp. to detect the
presence of carbon dioxide. ЬЬlimeless adj. limy adj.
(limier, limiest). [OE lim f. Gmc, rel. to LOAM]
lime(2) n. 1 a a round citrus fruit like a lemon but greener, smaller,
and more acid. b the tree, Citrus aurantifolia, bearing this.
2 (in full lime-juice) the juice of limes as a drink and
formerly esp. as a cure for scurvy. 3 (in full lime-green) a
pale green colour like a lime. [F f. mod.Prov. limo, Sp. lima
f. Arab. lima: cf. LEMON]
lime(3) n. 1 (in full lime-tree) any ornamental tree of the genus
Tilia, esp. T. europaea with heart-shaped leaves and fragrant
yellow blossom. Also called LINDEN. 2 the wood of this. [alt.
of line = OE lind = LINDEN]
limekiln n. a kiln for heating limestone to produce quicklime.
limelight n. 1 an intense white light obtained by heating a cylinder of
lime in an oxyhydrogen flame, used formerly in theatres. 2
(prec. by the) the full glare of publicity; the focus of
limepit n. a pit containing lime for steeping hides to remove hair.
limerick n. a humorous or comic form of five-line stanza with a
rhyme-scheme aabba. [said to be from the chorus 'will you come
up to Limerick?' sung between improvised verses at a gathering:
f. Limerick in Ireland]
limestone n. Geol. a sedimentary rock composed mainly of calcium
carbonate, used as building material and in the making of
limewash n. a mixture of lime and water for coating walls.
Limey n. (pl. -eys) US sl. offens. a British person (orig. a
sailor) or ship. [LIME(2), because of the former enforced
consumption of lime-juice in the British Navy]
limit n. & v. --n. 1 a point, line, or level beyond which something
does not or may not extend or pass. 2 (often in pl.) the
boundary of an area. 3 the greatest or smallest amount
permissible or possible (upper limit; lower limit). 4 Math. a
quantity which a function or sum of a series can be made to
approach as closely as desired. --v.tr. (limited, limiting) 1
set or serve as a limit to. 2 (foll. by to) restrict. Ьbe the
limit colloq. be intolerable or extremely irritating. off
limits US out of bounds. within limits moderately; with some
degree of freedom. without limit with no restriction.
ЬЬlimitable adj. limitative adj. limiter n. [ME f. L limes
limitis boundary, frontier]
limitary adj. 1 subject to restriction. 2 of, on, or serving as a
n. 1 the act or an instance of limiting; the process of being
limited. 2 a condition of limited ability (often in pl.: know
one's limitations). 3 a limiting rule or circumstance (often in
pl.: has its limitations). 4 a legally specified period beyond
which an action cannot be brought, or a property right is not to
continue. [ME f. L limitatio (as LIMIT)]
limited adj. 1 confined within limits. 2 not great in scope or talents
(has limited experience). 3 a few, scanty, restricted (limited
accommodation). b restricted to a few examples (limited
edition). Ьlimited (or limited liability) company a company
whose owners are legally responsible only to a limited amount
for its debts. limited liability Brit. the status of being
legally responsible only to a limited amount for debts of a
trading company. ЬЬlimitedly adv. limitedness n.
limitless adj. 1 extending or going on indefinitely (a limitless
expanse). 2 unlimited (limitless generosity). ЬЬlimitlessly
adv. limitlessness n.
limn v.tr. 1 archaic paint (esp. a miniature portrait). 2 hist.
illuminate (manuscripts). ЬЬlimner n. [obs. lumine illuminate
f. OF luminer f. L luminare: see LUMEN]
limnology n. the study of the physical phenomena of lakes and other fresh
waters. ЬЬlimnological adj. limnologist n. [Gk limne lake +
limo n. (pl. -os) US colloq. a limousine. [abbr.]
limousine n. a large luxurious motor car, often with a partition behind
the driver. [F, orig. a caped cloak worn in the former French
province of Limousin]
limp(1) v. & n. --v.intr. 1 walk lamely. 2 (of a damaged ship,
aircraft, etc.) proceed with difficulty. 3 (of verse) be
defective. --n. a lame walk. ЬЬlimper n. limpingly adv.
[rel. to obs. limphalt lame, OE lemp-healt]
limp(2) adj. 1 not stiff or firm; easily bent. 2 without energy or
will. 3 (of a book) having a soft cover. ЬЬlimply adv.
limpness n. [18th c.: orig. unkn.: perh. rel. to LIMP(1) in the
sense 'hanging loose']
limpet n. 1 any of various marine gastropod molluscs, esp. the common
limpet Patella vulgata, with a shallow conical shell and a broad
muscular foot that sticks tightly to rocks. 2 a clinging
person. Ьlimpet mine a mine designed to be attached to a ship's
hull and set to explode after a certain time. [OE lempedu f.
med.L lampreda limpet, LAMPREY]
limpid adj. 1 (of water, eyes, etc.) clear, transparent. 2 (of
writing) clear and easily comprehended. ЬЬlimpidity n.
limpidly adv. limpidness n. [F limpide or L limpidus, perh.
rel. to LYMPH]
linage n. 1 the number of lines in printed or written matter. 2
payment by the line.
linchpin n. 1 a pin passed through an axle-end to keep a wheel in
position. 2 a person or thing vital to an enterprise,
organization, etc. [ME linch f. OE lynis + PIN]
n. a bright green cloth of a kind orig. made at Lincoln in E.
Lincs. abbr. Lincolnshire.
linctus n. a syrupy medicine, esp. a soothing cough mixture. [L f.
lindane n. Chem. a colourless crystalline chlorinated derivative of
cyclohexane used as an insecticide. [T. van der Linden, Du.
chemist b. 1884]
linden n. a lime-tree. [(orig. adj.) f. OE lind lime-tree: cf.
line(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a continuous mark or band made on a surface
(drew a line). 2 use of lines in art, esp. draughtsmanship or
engraving (boldness of line). 3 a thing resembling such a mark
esp. a furrow or wrinkle. 4 Mus. a each of (usu. five)
horizontal marks forming a stave in musical notation. b a
sequence of notes or tones forming an instrumental or vocal
melody. 5 a a straight or curved continuous extent of length
without breadth. b the track of a moving point. 6 a a contour
or outline, esp. as a feature of design (admired the sculpture's
clean lines; this year's line is full at the back; the ship's
lines). b a facial feature (the cruel line of his mouth). 7 a
(on a map or graph) a curve connecting all points having a
specified common property. b (the Line) the Equator. 8 a a
limit or boundary. b a mark limiting the area of play, the
starting or finishing point in a race, etc. c the boundary
between a credit and a debit in an account. 9 a a row of
persons or things. b a direction as indicated by them (line of
march). c US a queue. 10 a a row of printed or written words.
b a portion of verse written in one line. 11 (in pl.) a a piece
of poetry. b the words of an actor's part. c a specified
amount of text etc. to be written out as a school punishment.
12 a short letter or note (drop me a line). 13 (in pl.) =
marriage lines. 14 a length of cord, rope, wire, etc., usu.
serving a specified purpose, esp. a fishing-line or
clothes-line. 15 a a wire or cable for a telephone or
telegraph. b a connection by means of this (am trying to get a
line). 16 a a single track of a railway. b one branch or route
of a railway system, or the whole system under one management.
17 a a regular succession of buses, ships, aircraft, etc.,
plying between certain places. b a company conducting this
(shipping line). 18 a connected series of persons following one
another in time (esp. several generations of a family); stock,
succession (a long line of craftsmen; next in line to the
throne). 19 a a course or manner of procedure, conduct,
thought, etc. (did it along these lines; don't take that line
with me). b policy (the party line). c conformity (bring them
into line). 20 a direction, course, or channel (lines of
communication). 21 a department of activity; a province; a
branch of business (not in my line). 22 a class of commercial
goods (a new line in hats). 23 colloq. a false or exaggerated
account or story; a dishonest approach (gave me a line about
missing the bus). 24 a a connected series of military
fieldworks, defences, etc. (behind enemy lines). b an
arrangement of soldiers or ships side by side; a line of battle
(ship of the line). c (prec. by the) regular army regiments
(not auxiliary forces or Guards). 25 each of the very narrow
horizontal sections forming a television picture. 26 a narrow
range of the spectrum that is noticeably brighter or darker than
the adjacent parts. 27 the level of the base of most letters in
printing and writing. 28 (as a measure) one twelfth of an inch.
--v. 1 tr. mark with lines. 2 tr. cover with lines (a face
lined with pain). 3 tr. & intr. position or stand at intervals
along (crowds lined the route). Ьall along the line at every
point. bring into line make conform. come into line conform.
end of the line the point at which further effort is
unproductive or one can go no further. get a line on colloq.
learn something about. in line for likely to receive. in the
line of in the course of (esp. duty). in (or out of) line with
in (or not in) accordance with. lay (or put) it on the line
speak frankly. line-drawing a drawing in which images are
produced from variations of lines. line of fire the expected
path of gunfire, a missile, etc. line of force Physics an
imaginary line which represents the strength and direction of a
magnetic, gravitational, or electric field at any point. line
of march the route taken in marching. line of vision the
straight line along which an observer looks. line-out (in Rugby
Football) parallel lines of opposing forwards at right angles to
the touchline for the throwing in of the ball. line printer a
machine that prints output from a computer a line at a time
rather than character by character. line up 1 arrange or be
arranged in a line or lines. 2 have ready; organize (had a job
lined up). line-up n. 1 a line of people for inspection. 2 an
arrangement of persons in a team or nations etc. in an alliance.
on the line 1 at risk (put my reputation on the line). 2
speaking on the telephone. 3 (of a picture in an exhibition)
hung with its centre about level with the spectator's eye. out
of line not in alignment; discordant. [ME line, ligne f. OF
ligne ult. f. L linea f. linum flax, & f. OE line rope, series]
line(2) v.tr. 1 a cover the inside surface of (a garment, box, etc.)
with a layer of usu. different material. b serve as a lining
for. 2 cover as if with a lining (shelves lined with books). 3
colloq. fill, esp. plentifully. Ьline one's pocket (or purse)
make money, usu. by corrupt means. [ME f. obs. line flax, with
ref. to the use of linen for linings]
lineage n. lineal descent; ancestry, pedigree. [ME f. OF linage,
lignage f. Rmc f. L linea LINE(1)]
lineal adj. 1 in the direct line of descent or ancestry. 2 linear; of
or in lines. ЬЬlineally adv. [ME f. OF f. LL linealis (as
lineament n. (usu. in pl.) a distinctive feature or characteristic, esp.
of the face. [ME f. L lineamentum f. lineare make straight f.
linear adj. 1 a of or in lines; in lines rather than masses (linear
development). b of length (linear extent). 2 long and narrow
and of uniform breadth. 3 involving one dimension only.
Ьlinear accelerator Physics an accelerator in which particles
travel in straight lines, not in closed orbits. Linear B a form
of Bronze Age writing found in Crete and parts of Greece and
recording a form of Mycenaean Greek: an earlier undeciphered
form (Linear A) also exists. linear equation an equation
between two variables that gives a straight line when plotted on
a graph. linear motor a motor producing straight-line (not
rotary) motion by means of a magnetic field. ЬЬlinearity n.
linearize v.tr. (also -ise). linearly adv. [L linearis f.
lineation n. 1 a marking with or drawing of lines. 2 a division into
lines. [ME f. L lineatio f. lineare make straight]
lineman n. (pl. -men) 1 a a person who repairs and maintains telephone
or electrical etc. lines. b a person who tests the safety of
railway lines. 2 US Football a player in the line formed before
linen n. & adj. --n. 1 a cloth woven from flax. b a particular kind
of this. 2 (collect.) articles made or orig. made of linen,
calico, etc., as sheets, cloths, shirts, undergarments, etc.
--adj. made of linen or flax (linen cloth). Ьlinen basket a
basket for soiled clothes. wash one's dirty linen in public be
indiscreet about one's domestic quarrels etc. [OE linen f. WG,
rel. to obs. line flax]
linenfold n. (often attrib.) a carved or moulded ornament representing a
fold or scroll of linen (linenfold panelling).
liner(1) n. a ship or aircraft etc. carrying passengers on a regular
line. Ьliner train a fast goods train with detachable
containers on permanently coupled wagons.
liner(2) n. a removable lining.
-liner comb. form (prec. by a numeral, usu. one or two) colloq. a
spoken passage of a specified number of lines in a play etc. (a
linesman n. (pl. -men) 1 (in games played on a pitch or court) an
umpire's or referee's assistant who decides whether a ball falls
within the playing area or not. 2 Brit. = LINEMAN 1.
ling(1) n. a long slender marine fish, Molva molva, of N. Europe, used
as food. [ME leng(e), prob. f. MDu, rel. to LONG(1)]
ling(2) n. any of various heathers, esp. Calluna vulgaris. ЬЬlingy
adj. [ME f. ON lyng]
-ling(1) suffix 1 denoting a person or thing: a connected with (hireling;
sapling). b having the property of being (weakling; underling)
or undergoing (starveling). 2 denoting a diminutive (duckling),
often derogatory (lordling). [OE (as -LE(1) + -ING(3)): sense 2
-ling(2) suffix forming adverbs and adjectives (darkling; grovelling)
(cf. -LONG). [OE f. Gmc]
linga n. (also lingam) a phallus, esp. as the Hindu symbol of Siva.
[Skr. lingam, lit. 'mark']
linger v.intr. 1 a be slow or reluctant to depart. b stay about. c
(foll. by over, on, etc.) dally (lingered over dinner; lingered
on what they said). 2 (esp. of an illness) be protracted. 3
(foll. by on) (of a dying person or custom) be slow in dying;
drag on feebly. ЬЬlingerer n. lingeringly adv. [ME lenger,
frequent. of leng f. OE lengan f. Gmc, rel. to LENGTHEN]
lingerie n. women's underwear and nightclothes. [F f. linge linen]
lingo n. (pl. -os or -oes) colloq. 1 a foreign language. 2 the
vocabulary of a special subject or group of people. [prob. f.
Port. lingoa f. L lingua tongue]
n. (pl. lingua francas) 1 a language adopted as a common
language between speakers whose native languages are different.
2 a system for mutual understanding. 3 hist. a mixture of
Italian with French, Greek, Arabic, and Spanish, used in the
Levant. [It., = Frankish tongue]
lingual adj. 1 of or formed by the tongue. 2 of speech or languages.
ЬЬlingualize v.tr. (also -ise). lingually adv. [med.L
lingualis f. L lingua tongue, language]
linguist n. a person skilled in languages or linguistics. [L lingua
adj. of or relating to language or the study of languages.
n. the scientific study of languages and their structure.
ЬЬlinguistician n. [F linguistique or G Linguistik (as
adj. (of a sound) made with the tongue and teeth. [L lingua
tongue + DENTAL]
liniment n. an embrocation, usu. made with oil. [LL linimentum f. L
lining n. 1 a layer of material used to line a surface etc. 2 an
inside layer or surface etc. (stomach lining).
link(1) n. & v. --n. 1 one loop or ring of a chain etc. 2 a a
connecting part, esp. a thing or person that unites or provides
continuity; one in a series. b a state or means of connection.
3 a means of contact by radio or telephone between two points.
4 a means of travel or transport between two places. 5 =
cuff-link (see CUFF(1)). 6 a measure equal to one-hundredth of
a surveying chain (7.92 inches). --v. 1 tr. (foll. by
together, to, with) connect or join (two things or one to
another). 2 tr. clasp or intertwine (hands or arms). 3 intr.
(foll. by on, to, in to) be joined; attach oneself to (a system,
company, etc.). Ьlink up (foll. by with) connect or combine.
link-up n. an act or result of linking up. [ME f. ON f. Gmc]
link(2) n. hist. a torch of pitch and tow for lighting the way in dark
streets. [16th c.: perh. f. med.L li(n)chinus wick f. Gk
linkage n. 1 a connection. 2 a system of links; a linking or link.
linkman n. (pl. -men) 1 a person providing continuity in a broadcast
programme. 2 a player between the forwards and half-backs or
strikers and backs in football etc.
links n.pl. 1 (treated as sing. or pl.) a golf-course, esp. one
having undulating ground, coarse grass, etc. 2 Sc. dial. level
or undulating sandy ground near a seashore, with turf and coarse
grass. [pl. of link 'rising ground' f. OE hlinc]
linn n. Sc. 1 a a waterfall. b a pool below this. 2 a precipice;
a ravine. [Gael. linne]
Linnaean adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to the Swedish naturalist
Linnaeus (Linn‚, d. 1778) or his system of binary nomenclature
in the classification of plants and animals. --n. a follower of
Linnaeus. °Spelt Linnean in Linnean Society.
linnet n. a finch, Acanthis cannabina, with brown and grey plumage.
[OF linette f. lin flax (the bird feeding on flax-seeds)]
lino n. (pl. -os) linoleum. [abbr.]
linocut n. 1 a design or form carved in relief on a block of linoleum.
2 a print made from this. ЬЬlinocutting n.
linoleum n. a material consisting of a canvas backing thickly coated
with a preparation of linseed oil and powdered cork etc., used
esp. as a floor-covering. ЬЬlinoleumed adj. [L linum flax +
Linotype n. Printing propr. a composing-machine producing lines of
words as single strips of metal, used esp. for newspapers. [=
line o' type]
linsang n. any of various civet-like cats, esp. of the genus Poiana of
linseed n. the seed of flax. Ьlinseed cake pressed linseed used as
cattle-food. linseed meal ground linseed. linseed oil oil
extracted from linseed and used in paint and varnish. [OE
lins‘d f. lin flax + s‘d seed]
n. a fabric of coarse wool woven on a cotton warp. [ME f.
linsey coarse linen, prob. f. Lindsey in Suffolk + WOOL, with
linstock n. hist. a match-holder used to fire cannon. [earlier
lintstock f. Du. lontstok f. lont match + stok stick, with
assim. to LINT]
lint n. 1 a fabric, orig. of linen, with a raised nap on one side,
used for dressing wounds. 2 fluff. 3 Sc. flax. ЬЬlinty adj.
[ME lyn(n)et, perh. f. OF linette linseed f. lin flax]
lintel n. Archit. a horizontal supporting piece of timber, stone,
etc., across the top of a door or window. ЬЬlintelled adj. (US
linteled). [ME f. OF lintel threshold f. Rmc limitale
(unrecorded), infl. by LL liminare f. L limen threshold]
linter n. US 1 a machine for removing the short fibres from cotton
seeds after ginning. 2 (in pl.) these fibres. [LINT + -ER(1)]
liny adj. (linier, liniest) marked with lines; wrinkled.
lion n. 1 (fem. lioness) a large flesh-eating cat, Panthera leo, of
Africa and S. Asia, with a tawny coat and, in the male, a
flowing shaggy mane. 2 (the Lion) the zodiacal sign or
constellation Leo. 3 a brave or celebrated person. 4 the lion
as a national emblem of Great Britain or as a representation in
heraldry. Ьlion-heart a courageous person (esp. as a sobriquet
of Richard I of England). lion-hearted brave and generous. the
lion's share the largest or best part. ЬЬlionhood n. lion-like
adj. [ME f. AF liun f. L leo -onis f. Gk leon leontos]
lionize v.tr. (also -ise) treat as a celebrity. ЬЬlionization n.
lip n. & v. --n. 1 a either of the two fleshy parts forming the
edges of the mouth-opening. b a thing resembling these. c =
LABIUM. 2 the edge of a cup, vessel, etc., esp. the part shaped
for pouring from. 3 colloq. impudent talk (that's enough of
your lip!). --v.tr. (lipped, lipping) 1 a touch with the lips;
apply the lips to. b touch lightly. 2 Golf a hit a ball just
to the edge of (a hole). b (of a ball) reach the edge of (a
hole) but fail to drop in. Ьbite one's lip repress an emotion;
stifle laughter, a retort, etc. curl one's lip express scorn.
hang on a person's lips listen attentively to a person. lick
one's lips see LICK. lip-read (past and past part. -read)
(esp. of a deaf person) understand (speech) entirely from
observing a speaker's lip-movements. lip-reader a person who
lip-reads. lip-service an insincere expression of support etc.
pass a person's lips be eaten, drunk, spoken, etc. smack one's
lips part the lips noisily in relish or anticipation, esp. of
food. ЬЬlipless adj. liplike adj. lipped adj. (also in
comb.). [OE lippa f. Gmc]
lipase n. Biochem. an enzyme that catalyses the decomposition of
fats. [Gk lipos fat + -ASE]
lipid n. Chem. any of a group of organic compounds that are
insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents, including
fatty acids, oils, waxes, and steroids. [F lipide (as LIPASE)]
lipidosis n. (also lipoidosis) (pl. -doses) any disorder of lipid
metabolism in the body tissues.
var. of LIPPIZANER.
n. the omission of letters or words in writing. [Gk lip- stem
of leipo omit + -GRAPHY]
lipoid adj. resembling fat.
n. Biochem. any of a group of proteins that are combined with
fats or other lipids. [Gk lipos fat + PROTEIN]
liposome n. Biochem. a minute artificial spherical sac usu. of a
phospholipid membrane enclosing an aqueous core. [G. Liposom:
n. (also Lipizzaner) 1 a horse of a fine white breed used esp.
in displays of dressage. 2 this breed. [G f. Lippiza in
lipsalve n. 1 a preparation, usu. in stick form, to prevent or relieve
sore lips. 2 flattery.
lipstick n. a small stick of cosmetic for colouring the lips.
liquate v.tr. separate or purify (metals) by liquefying. ЬЬliquation
n. [L liquare melt, rel. to LIQUOR]
liquefy v.tr. & intr. (also liquify) (-ies, -ied) Chem. make or become
liquid. ЬЬliquefacient adj. & n. liquefaction n. liquefactive
adj. liquefiable adj. liquefier n. [F liqu‚fier f. L
liquefacere f. liquere be liquid]
adj. becoming or apt to become liquid. [L liquescere (as
liqueur n. any of several strong sweet alcoholic spirits, variously
flavoured, usu. drunk after a meal. [F, = LIQUOR]
liquid adj. & n. --adj. 1 having a consistency like that of water or
oil, flowing freely but of constant volume. 2 having the
qualities of water in appearance; translucent (liquid blue; a
liquid lustre). 3 (of a gas, e.g. air, hydrogen) reduced to a
liquid state by intense cold. 4 (of sounds) clear and pure;
harmonious, fluent. 5 (of assets) easily converted into cash.
6 not fixed; fluid (liquid opinions). --n. 1 a liquid
substance. 2 Phonet. the sound of l or r. Ьliquid crystal a
turbid liquid with some order in its molecular arrangement.
liquid crystal display a form of visual display in electronic
devices, in which the reflectivity of a matrix of liquid
crystals changes as a signal is applied. liquid measure a unit
for measuring the volume of liquids. liquid paraffin Pharm. a
colourless odourless oily liquid obtained from petroleum and
used as a laxative. ЬЬliquidly adv. liquidness n. [ME f. L
liquidus f. liquere be liquid]
n. 1 any tree of the genus Liquidambar yielding a resinous gum.
2 this gum. [mod.L app. f. L liquidus (see LIQUID) + med.L
liquidate v. 1 a tr. wind up the affairs of (a company or firm) by
ascertaining liabilities and apportioning assets. b intr. (of a
company) be liquidated. 2 tr. clear or pay off (a debt). 3 tr.
put an end to or get rid of (esp. by violent means). [med.L
liquidare make clear (as LIQUID)]
n. the process of liquidating a company etc. Ьgo into
liquidation (of a company etc.) be wound up and have its assets
n. a person called in to wind up the affairs of a company etc.
liquidity n. (pl. -ies) 1 the state of being liquid. 2 a availability
of liquid assets. b (in pl.) liquid assets. [F liquidit‚ or
med.L liquiditas (as LIQUID)]
liquidize v.tr. (also -ise) reduce (esp. food) to a liquid or pur‚ed
n. a machine for liquidizing.
liquify var. of LIQUEFY.
liquor n. & v. --n. 1 an alcoholic (esp. distilled) drink. 2 water
used in brewing. 3 other liquid, esp. that produced in cooking.
4 Pharm. a solution of a specified drug in water. --v.tr. 1
dress (leather) with grease or oil. 2 steep (malt etc.) in
water. [ME f. OF lic(o)ur f. L liquor -oris (as LIQUID)]
liquorice n. (also licorice) 1 a black root extract used as a sweet and
in medicine. 2 the leguminous plant Glycyrrhiza glabra from
which it is obtained. [ME f. AF lycorys, OF licoresse f. LL
liquiritia f. Gk glukurrhiza f. glukus sweet + rhiza root]
liquorish adj. 1 = LICKERISH. 2 fond of or indicating a fondness for
liquor. ЬЬliquorishly adv. liquorishness n. [var. of
lira n. (pl. lire) 1 the chief monetary unit of Italy. 2 the chief
monetary unit of Turkey. [It. f. Prov. liura f. L libra pound
lisle n. (in full lisle thread) a fine smooth cotton thread for
stockings etc. [Lisle, former spelling of Lille in France,
where orig. made]
lisp n. & v. --n. 1 a speech defect in which s is pronounced like
th in thick and z is pronounced like th in this. 2 a rippling
of waters; a rustling of leaves. --v.intr. & tr. speak or utter
with a lisp. ЬЬlisper n. lispingly adv. [OE wlispian
(recorded in awlyspian) f. wlisp (adj.) lisping, of uncert.
lissom adj. (also lissome) lithe, supple, agile. ЬЬlissomly adv.
lissomness n. [ult. f. LITHE + -SOME(1)]
list(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a number of connected items, names, etc.,
written or printed together usu. consecutively to form a record
or aid to memory (shopping list). 2 (in pl.) a palisades
enclosing an area for a tournament. b the scene of a contest.
3 Brit. a a selvage or edge of cloth, usu. of different
material from the main body. b such edges used as a material.
--v. 1 tr. make a list of. 2 tr. enter in a list. 3 tr. (as
listed adj.) a (of securities) approved for dealings on the
Stock Exchange. b (of a building in the UK) officially
designated as being of historical importance and having
protection from demolition or major alterations. 4 tr. & intr.
archaic enlist. Ьenter the lists issue or accept a challenge.
list price the price of something as shown in a published list.
ЬЬlistable adj. [OE liste border, strip f. Gmc]
list(2) v. & n. --v.intr. (of a ship etc.) lean over to one side, esp.
owing to a leak or shifting cargo (cf. HEEL(2)). --n. the
process or an instance of listing. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
listen v.intr. 1 a make an effort to hear something. b attentively
hear a person speaking. 2 (foll. by to) a give attention with
the ear (listened to my story). b take notice of; respond to
advice or a request or to the person expressing it. 3 (also
listen out) (often foll. by for) seek to hear or be aware of by
waiting alertly. Ьlisten in 1 tap a telephonic communication.
2 use a radio receiving set. listening-post 1 a a point near an
enemy's lines for detecting movements by sound. b a station for
intercepting electronic communications. 2 a place for the
gathering of information from reports etc. [OE hlysnan f. WG]
adj. easy or pleasant to listen to. ЬЬlistenability n.
listener n. 1 a person who listens. 2 a person receiving broadcast
lister n. US a plough with a double mould-board. [list prepare land
for a crop + -ER(1)]
listeria n. any motile rodlike bacterium of the genus Listeria, esp. L.
monocytogenes infecting humans and animals eating contaminated
food. [mod.L f. J. Lister, Engl. surgeon d. 1912]
listing n. 1 a list or catalogue (see LIST(1) 1). 2 the drawing up of
a list. 3 Brit. selvage (see LIST(1) n. 3).
listless adj. lacking energy or enthusiasm; disinclined for exertion.
ЬЬlistlessly adv. listlessness n. [ME f. obs. list
inclination + -LESS]
lit past and past part. of LIGHT(1), LIGHT(2).
litany n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a series of petitions for use in church
services or processions, usu. recited by the clergy and
responded to in a recurring formula by the people. b (the
Litany) that contained in the Book of Common Prayer. 2 a
tedious recital (a litany of woes). [ME f. OF letanie f. eccl.L
litania f. Gk litaneia prayer f. lite supplication]
litchi var. of LYCHEE.
-lite suffix forming names of minerals (rhyolite; zeolite). [F f. Gk
liter US var. of LITRE.
literacy n. the ability to read and write. [LITERATE + -ACY after
n. Brit. the name of the school of classics and philosophy at
Oxford University. [L, = the more humane studies]
literal adj. & n. --adj. 1 taking words in their usual or primary
sense without metaphor or allegory (literal interpretation). 2
following the letter, text, or exact or original words (literal
translation; a literal transcript). 3 (in full literal-minded)
(of a person) prosaic; matter of fact. 4 a not exaggerated (the
literal truth). b so called without exaggeration (a literal
extermination). 5 colloq. disp. so called with some
exaggeration or using metaphor (a literal avalanche of mail). 6
of, in, or expressed by a letter or the letters of the alphabet.
7 Algebra not numerical. --n. Printing a misprint of a letter.
ЬЬliterality n. literalize v.tr. (also -ise). literally adv.
literalness n. [ME f. OF literal or LL litteralis f. L littera
n. insistence on a literal interpretation; adherence to the
letter. ЬЬliteralist n. literalistic adj.
literary adj. 1 of, constituting, or occupied with books or literature
or written composition, esp. of the kind valued for quality of
form. 2 well informed about literature. 3 (of a word or idiom)
used chiefly in literary works or other formal writing.
Ьliterary executor see EXECUTOR. literary history the history
of the treatment of a subject in literature. ЬЬliterarily adv.
literariness n. [L litterarius (as LETTER)]
literate adj. & n. --adj. able to read and write. --n. a literate
person. ЬЬliterately adv. [ME f. L litteratus (as LETTER)]
literati n.pl. 1 men of letters. 2 the learned class. [L, pl. of
literatus (as LETTER)]
literatim adv. letter for letter; textually, literally. [med.L]
n. the representation of sounds etc. by a letter or group of
letters. [L litera LETTER]
n. 1 written works, esp. those whose value lies in beauty of
language or in emotional effect. 2 the realm of letters. 3 the
writings of a country or period. 4 literary production. 5
colloq. printed matter, leaflets, etc. 6 the material in print
on a particular subject (there is a considerable literature on
geraniums). [ME, = literary culture, f. L litteratura (as
-lith suffix denoting types of stone (laccolith; monolith). [Gk
litharge n. a usu. red crystalline form of lead monoxide. [ME f. OF
litarge f. L lithargyrus f. Gk litharguros f. lithos stone +
lithe adj. flexible, supple. ЬЬlithely adv. litheness n. lithesome
adj. [OE lithe f. Gmc]
lithia n. lithium oxide. Ьlithia water water containing lithium salts
and used against gout. [mod.L, alt. of earlier lithion f. Gk
neut. of litheios f. lithos stone, after soda etc.]
lithic adj. 1 of, like, or made of stone. 2 Med. of a calculus. [Gk
lithikos (as LITHIA)]
lithium n. Chem. a soft silver-white metallic element, the lightest
metal, used in alloys and in batteries. °Symb.: Li. [LITHIA +
litho n. & v. colloq. --n. = LITHOGRAPHY. --v.tr. (-oes, -oed)
produce by lithography. [abbr.]
litho- comb. form stone. [Gk lithos stone]
n. & v. --n. a lithographic print. --v.tr. 1 print by
lithography. 2 write or engrave on stone. [back-form. f.
n. a process of obtaining prints from a stone or metal surface
so treated that what is to be printed can be inked but the
remaining area rejects ink. ЬЬlithographer n. lithographic
adj. lithographically adv. [G Lithographie (as LITHO-,
lithology n. the science of the nature and composition of rocks.
n. Bot. a plant that grows on stone.
lithopone n. a white pigment of zinc sulphide, barium sulphate, and zinc
oxide. [LITHO- + Gk ponos work]
n. 1 the layer including the earth's crust and upper mantle. 2
solid earth (opp. HYDROSPHERE, ATMOSPHERE). ЬЬlithospheric
lithotomy n. (pl. -ies) the surgical removal of a stone from the urinary
tract, esp. the bladder. ЬЬlithotomist n. lithotomize v.tr.
(also -ise). [LL f. Gk lithotomia (as LITHO-, -TOMY)]
n. (pl. -ies) a treatment using ultrasound to shatter a stone
in the bladder into small particles that can be passed through
the urethra. ЬЬlithotripter n. lithotriptic adj. [LITHO- + Gk
tripsis rubbing f. tribo rub]
n. & adj. --n. 1 a a native of Lithuania, a Baltic republic of
the USSR. b a person of Lithuanian descent. 2 the language of
Lithuania. --adj. of or relating to Lithuania or its people or
litigant n. & adj. --n. a party to a lawsuit. --adj. engaged in a
lawsuit. [F (as LITIGATE)]
litigate v. 1 intr. go to law; be a party to a lawsuit. 2 tr. contest
(a point) in a lawsuit. ЬЬlitigable adj. litigation n.
litigator n. [L litigare litigat- f. lis litis lawsuit]
litigious adj. 1 given to litigation; unreasonably fond of going to law.
2 disputable in a lawcourt; offering matter for a lawsuit. 3 of
lawsuits. ЬЬlitigiously adv. litigiousness n. [ME f. OF
litigieux or L litigiosus f. litigium litigation: see LITIGATE]
litmus n. a dye obtained from lichens that is red under acid
conditions and blue under alkaline conditions. Ьlitmus paper a
paper stained with litmus to be used as a test for acids or
alkalis. [ME f. ONorw. litmosi f. ON litr dye + mosi moss]
litotes n. ironical understatement, esp. the expressing of an
affirmative by the negative of its contrary (e.g. I shan't be
sorry for I shall be glad). [LL f. Gk litotes f. litos plain,
litre n. (US liter) a metric unit of capacity, formerly defined as
the volume of one kilogram of water under standard conditions,
now equal to 1 cubic decimetre (about 1.75 pints). ЬЬlitreage
n. [F f. litron, an obs. measure of capacity, f. med.L f. Gk
litra a Sicilian monetary unit]
Litt.D. abbr. Doctor of Letters. [L Litterarum Doctor]
litter n. & v. --n. 1 a refuse, esp. paper, discarded in an open or
public place. b odds and ends lying about. c (attrib.) for
disposing of litter (litter-bin). 2 a state of untidiness,
disorderly accumulation of papers etc. 3 the young animals
brought forth at a birth. 4 a vehicle containing a couch shut
in by curtains and carried on men's shoulders or by beasts of
burden. 5 a framework with a couch for transporting the sick
and wounded. 6 a straw, rushes, etc., as bedding, esp. for
animals. b straw and dung in a farmyard. --v.tr. 1 make (a
place) untidy with litter. 2 scatter untidily and leave lying
about. 3 give birth to (whelps etc.). 4 (often foll. by down)
a provide (a horse etc.) with litter as bedding. b spread
litter or straw on (a floor) or in (a stable). Ьlitter-lout =
LITTERBUG. ЬЬlittery adj. (in senses 1, 2 of n.). [ME f. AF
litere, OF litiere f. med.L lectaria f. L lectus bed]
n. a literary person. [F]
litterbug n. a person who carelessly leaves litter in a public place.
little adj., n., & adv. --adj. (littler, littlest; less or lesser;
least) 1 small in size, amount, degree, etc.; not great or big:
often used to convey affectionate or emotional overtones, or
condescension, not implied by small (a friendly little chap; a
silly little fool; a nice little car). 2 a short in stature (a
little man). b of short distance or duration (will go a little
way with you; wait a little while). 3 (prec. by a) a certain
though small amount of (give me a little butter). 4 trivial;
relatively unimportant (exaggerates every little difficulty). 5
not much; inconsiderable (gained little advantage from it). 6
operating on a small scale (the little shopkeeper). 7 as a
distinctive epithet: a of a smaller or the smallest size etc.
(little finger). b that is the smaller or smallest of the name
(little auk; little grebe). 8 young or younger (a little boy;
my little sister). 9 as of a child, evoking tenderness,
condescension, amusement, etc. (we know their little ways). 10
mean, paltry, contemptible (you little sneak). --n. 1 not
much; only a small amount (got very little out of it; did what
little I could). 2 (usu. prec. by a) a a certain but no great
amount (knows a little of everything; every little helps). b a
short time or distance (after a little). --adv. (less, least)
1 to a small extent only (little-known authors; is little more
than speculation). 2 not at all; hardly (they little thought).
3 (prec. by a) somewhat (is a little deaf). Ьin little on a
small scale. the Little Bear see BEAR(2). little by little by
degrees; gradually. little end the smaller end of a
connecting-rod, attached to the piston. little finger the
smallest finger, at the outer end of the hand. little man esp.
joc. (as a form of address) a boy. little ones young children
or animals. little or nothing hardly anything. the little
people fairies. Little Russian hist. n. a Ukrainian. --adj.
Ukrainian. little slam Bridge the winning of 12 tricks. the
little woman colloq. often derog. one's wife. no little
considerable, a good deal of (took no little trouble over it).
not a little n. much; a great deal. --adv. extremely (not a
little concerned). ЬЬlittleness n. [OE lytel f. Gmc]
littoral adj. & n. --adj. of or on the shore of the sea, a lake, etc.
--n. a region lying along a shore. [L littoralis f. litus
adj. of or related to liturgies or public worship.
ЬЬliturgically adv. liturgist n. [med.L f. Gk leitourgikos (as
liturgy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a form of public worship. b a set of
formularies for this. c public worship in accordance with a
prescribed form. 2 (the Liturgy) the Book of Common Prayer. 3
the Communion office of the Orthodox Church. 4 Gk Antiq. a
public office or duty performed voluntarily by a rich Athenian.
[F liturgie or LL liturgia f. Gk leitourgia public worship f.
leitourgos minister f. leit- public + ergon work]
livable var. of LIVEABLE.
live(1) v. 1 intr. have (esp. animal) life; be or remain alive. 2
intr. (foll. by on) subsist or feed (lives on fruit). 3 intr.
(foll. by on, off) depend for subsistence (lives off the family;
lives on income from investments). 4 intr. (foll. by on, by)
sustain one's position or repute (live on their reputation;
lives by his wits). 5 tr. a (with compl.) spend, pass,
experience (lived a happy life). b express in one's life (was
living a lie). 6 intr. conduct oneself in a specified way (live
quietly). 7 intr. arrange one's habits, expenditure, feeding,
etc. (live modestly). 8 intr. make or have one's abode. 9
intr. (foll. by in) spend the daytime (the room does not seem to
be lived in). 10 intr. (of a person or thing) survive. 11
intr. (of a ship) escape destruction. 12 intr. enjoy life
intensely or to the full (you haven't lived till you've drunk
champagne). Ьlive and let live condone others' failings so as
to be similarly tolerated. live down (usu. with neg.) cause
(past guilt, embarrassment, etc.) to be forgotten by different
conduct over a period of time (you'll never live that down!).
live in Brit. (of a domestic employee) reside on the premises
of one's work. live-in attrib.adj. (of a sexual partner)
cohabiting. live it up colloq. live gaily and extravagantly.
live out 1 survive (a danger, difficulty, etc.). 2 (of a
domestic employee) reside away from one's place of work. live
through survive; remain alive at the end of. live to survive
and reach (lived to a great age). live to oneself live in
isolation. live together (esp. of a man and woman not married
to each other) share a home and have a sexual relationship.
live up to honour or fulfil; put into practice (principles
etc.). live with 1 share a home with. 2 tolerate; find
congenial. long live ...! an exclamation of loyalty (to a
person etc. specified). [OE libban, lifian, f. Gmc]
live(2) adj. 1 (attrib.) that is alive; living. 2 (of a broadcast)
heard or seen at the time of its performance, not from a
recording. 3 full of power, energy, or importance; not obsolete
or exhausted (disarmament is still a live issue). 4 expending
or still able to expend energy in various forms, esp.: a (of
coals) glowing, burning. b (of a shell) unexploded. c (of a
match) unkindled. d (of a wire etc.) connected to a source of
electrical power. 5 (of rock) not detached, seeming to form
part of the earth's frame. 6 (of a wheel or axle etc. in
machinery) moving or imparting motion. Ьlive bait small fish
used to entice prey. live load the weight of persons or goods
in a building or vehicle. live oak an American evergreen tree,
Quercus virginiana. live wire an energetic and forceful person.
[aphetic form of ALIVE]
liveable adj. (also livable) 1 (of a house, room, climate, etc.) fit to
live in. 2 (of a life) worth living. 3 (of a person)
companionable; easy to live with. ЬЬliveability n.
n. a means of living; sustenance. [OE liflad f. lif LIFE +
lad course (see LOAD): assim. to obs. livelihood liveliness]
adj. poet. or rhet. in its entire length or apparently so (the
livelong day). [ME lefe longe (as LIEF, LONG(1)): assim. to
n. an orpine. [LIVE(1) + LONG(1)]
lively adj. 1 full of life; vigorous, energetic. 2 brisk (a lively
pace). 3 vivid, stimulating (a lively discussion). 4
vivacious, jolly, sociable. 5 joc. exciting, dangerous,
difficult (the press is making things lively for them). 6 (of a
colour) bright and vivid. 7 lifelike, realistic (a lively
description). 8 (of a boat etc.) rising lightly to the waves.
ЬЬlivelily adv. liveliness n. [OE liflic (as LIFE, -LY(1))]
liver(1) n. 1 a a large lobed glandular organ in the abdomen of
vertebrates, functioning in many metabolic processes including
the regulation of toxic materials in the blood, secreting bile,
etc. b a similar organ in other animals. 2 the flesh of an
animal's liver as food. 3 (in full liver-colour) a dark
reddish-brown. Ьliver chestnut see CHESTNUT. liver fluke
either of two types of fluke, esp. Fasciola hepatica, the
adults of which live within the liver tissues of vertebrates,
and the larvae within snails. liver of sulphur a liver-coloured
mixture of potassium sulphides etc., used as a lotion in skin
disease. liver salts Brit. salts to cure dyspepsia or
biliousness. liver sausage a sausage containing cooked liver
etc. ЬЬliverless adj. [OE lifer f. Gmc]
liver(2) n. a person who lives in a specified way (a clean liver).
liverish adj. 1 suffering from a disorder of the liver. 2 peevish,
glum. ЬЬliverishly adv. liverishness n.
n. & adj. --n. a native of Liverpool in NW England. --adj. of
or relating to Liverpool. [joc. f. Liverpool + PUDDLE]
liverwort n. any small leafy or thalloid bryophyte of the class
Hepaticae, of which some have liver-shaped parts.
livery(1) n. (pl. -ies) 1 a distinctive clothing worn by a member of a
City Company or by a servant. b membership of a City livery
company. 2 a distinctive guise or marking or outward appearance
(birds in their winter livery). 3 a distinctive colour scheme
in which the vehicles, aircraft, etc., of a particular company
or line are painted. 4 US a place where horses can be hired. 5
hist. a provision of food or clothing for retainers etc. 6 Law
a the legal delivery of property. b a writ allowing this. Ьat
livery (of a horse) kept for the owner and fed and groomed for a
fixed charge. livery company Brit. one of the London City
Companies that formerly had a distinctive costume. livery
stable a stable where horses are kept at livery or let out for
hire. ЬЬliveried adj. (esp. in senses 1, 2). [ME f. AF liver‚,
OF livr‚e, fem. past part. of livrer DELIVER]
livery(2) adj. 1 of the consistency or colour of liver. 2 Brit. (of
soil) tenacious. 3 colloq. liverish.
liveryman n. (pl. -men) 1 Brit. a member of a livery company. 2 a
keeper of or attendant in a livery stable.
lives pl. of LIFE.
livestock n. (usu. treated as pl.) animals, esp. on a farm, regarded as
livid adj. 1 colloq. furiously angry. 2 a of a bluish leaden colour.
b discoloured as by a bruise. ЬЬlividity n. lividly adv.
lividness n. [F livide or L lividus f. livere be bluish]
living n. & adj. --n. 1 a livelihood or means of maintenance (made my
living as a journalist; what does she do for a living?). 2
Brit. Eccl. a position as a vicar or rector with an income or
property. --adj. 1 contemporary; now existent (the greatest
living poet). 2 (of a likeness or image of a person) exact. 3
(of a language) still in vernacular use. 4 (of water)
perennially flowing. 5 (of rock etc.) = LIVE(2) 5. Ьliving
death a state of hopeless misery. living-room a room for
general day use. within living memory within the memory of
people still living.
lixiviate v.tr. separate (a substance) into soluble and insoluble
constituents by the percolation of liquid. ЬЬlixiviation n. [L
lixivius made into lye f. lix lye]
lizard n. any reptile of the suborder Lacertilia, having usu. a long
body and tail, four legs, movable eyelids, and a rough or scaly
hide. [ME f. OF lesard(e) f. L lacertus]
'll v. (usu. after pronouns) shall, will (I'll; that'll). [abbr.]
llama n. 1 a S. American ruminant, Lama glama, kept as a beast of
burden and for its soft woolly fleece. 2 the wool from this
animal, or cloth made from it. [Sp., prob. f. Quechua]
llanero n. (pl. -os) an inhabitant of the llanos. [Sp.]
llano n. (pl. -os) a treeless grassy plain or steppe, esp. in S.
America. [Sp. f. L planum plain]
LL B abbr. Bachelor of Laws. [L legum baccalaureus]
LL D abbr. Doctor of Laws. [L legum doctor]
LL M abbr. Master of Laws. [L legum magister]
Lloyd's n. an incorporated society of underwriters in London. ЬLloyd's
List a daily publication devoted to shipping news. Lloyd's
Register 1 an annual alphabetical list of ships assigned to
various classes. 2 a society that produces this. [after the
orig. meeting in a coffee-house established in 1688 by Edward
lo int. archaic calling attention to an amazing sight. Ьlo and
behold joc. a formula introducing a surprising or unexpected
fact. [OE la int. of surprise etc., & ME lo = loke LOOK]
loach n. any small edible freshwater fish of the family Cobitidae.
[ME f. OF loche, of unkn. orig.]
load n. & v. --n. 1 a what is carried or is to be carried; a
burden. b an amount usu. or actually carried (often in comb.: a
busload of tourists; a lorry-load of bricks). 2 a unit of
measure or weight of certain substances. 3 a burden or
commitment of work, responsibility, care, grief, etc. 4 (in
pl.; often foll. by of) colloq. plenty; a lot. 5 a Electr. the
amount of power supplied by a generating system at any given
time. b Electronics an impedance or circuit that receives or
develops the output of a transistor or other device. 6 the
weight or force borne by the supporting part of a structure. 7
a material object or force acting as a weight or clog. 8 the
resistance of machinery to motive power. --v. 1 tr. a put a
load on or aboard (a person, vehicle, ship, etc.). b place (a
load or cargo) aboard a ship, on a vehicle, etc. 2 intr. (often
foll. by up) (of a ship, vehicle, or person) take a load aboard,
pick up a load. 3 tr. (often foll. by with) a add weight to; be
a weight or burden upon. b oppress (a stomach loaded with
food). 4 tr. strain the bearing-capacity of (a table loaded
with food). 5 tr. (also load up) (foll. by with) a supply
overwhelmingly (loaded us with work). b assail overwhelmingly
(loaded us with abuse). 6 tr. charge (a firearm) with
ammunition. 7 tr. insert (the required operating medium) in a
device, e.g. film in a camera, magnetic tape in a tape recorder,
a program into a computer, etc. 8 tr. add an extra charge to
(an insurance premium) in the case of a poorer risk. 9 tr. a
weight with lead. b give a bias to (dice, a roulette wheel,
etc.) with weights. Ьget a load of sl. listen attentively to;
notice. load-displacement (or -draught) the displacement of a
ship when laden. load line a Plimsoll line. [OE lad way,
journey, conveyance, f. Gmc: rel. to LEAD(1), LODE]
loaded adj. 1 bearing or carrying a load. 2 sl. a wealthy. b drunk.
c US drugged. 3 (of dice etc.) weighted or given a bias. 4 (of
a question or statement) charged with some hidden or improper
loader n. 1 a loading-machine. 2 (in comb.) a gun, machine, lorry,
etc., loaded in a specified way (breech-loader). 3 an attendant
who loads guns at a shoot. ЬЬ-loading adj. (in comb.) (in sense
loading n. 1 Electr. the maximum current or power taken by an
appliance. 2 an increase in an insurance premium due to a
factor increasing the risk involved (see LOAD v. 8). 3
Austral. an increment added to a basic wage for special skills
loadstar var. of LODESTAR.
loadstone var. of LODESTONE.
loaf(1) n. (pl. loaves) 1 a portion of baked bread, usu. of a standard
size or shape. 2 a quantity of other food formed into a
particular shape (sugar loaf; meat loaf). 3 sl. the head, esp.
as a source of common sense (use your loaf). Ьloaf sugar a
sugar loaf as a whole or cut into lumps. [OE hlaf f. Gmc]
loaf(2) v. & n. --v. 1 intr. (often foll. by about, around) spend time
idly; hang about. 2 tr. (foll. by away) waste (time) idly
(loafed away the morning). 3 intr. saunter. --n. an act or
spell of loafing. [prob. a back-form. f. LOAFER]
loafer n. 1 an idle person. 2 (Loafer) propr. a leather shoe shaped
like a moccasin with a flat heel. [perh. f. G Landl„ufer
loam n. 1 a fertile soil of clay and sand containing decayed
vegetable matter. 2 a paste of clay and water with sand,
chopped straw, etc., used in making bricks, plastering, etc.
ЬЬloamy adj. loaminess n. [OE lam f. WG, rel. to LIME(1)]
loan(1) n. & v. --n. 1 something lent, esp. a sum of money to be
returned normally with interest. 2 the act of lending or state
of being lent. 3 funds acquired by the State, esp. from
individuals, and regarded as a debt. 4 a word, custom, etc.,
adopted by one people from another. --v.tr. lend (esp. money).
Ьloan shark colloq. a person who lends money at exorbitant
rates of interest. loan-translation an expression adopted by
one language from another in a more or less literally translated
form. on loan acquired or given as a loan. ЬЬloanable adj.
loanee n. loaner n. [ME lan f. ON l n f. Gmc: cf. LEND]
loan(2) n. (also loaning) Sc. 1 a lane. 2 an open place where cows
are milked. [ME var. of LANE]
n. 1 a person holding securities for a loan. 2 a mortgagee.
loanword n. a word adopted, usu. with little modification, from a
loath predic.adj. (also loth) (usu. foll. by to + infin.)
disinclined, reluctant, unwilling (was loath to admit it).
Ьnothing loath adj. quite willing. [OE lath f. Gmc]
loathe v.tr. regard with disgust; abominate, detest. ЬЬloather n.
loathing n. [OE lathian f. Gmc, rel. to LOATH]
loathsome adj. arousing hatred or disgust; offensive, repulsive.
ЬЬloathsomely adv. loathsomeness n. [ME f. loath disgust f.
loaves pl. of LOAF(1).
lob v. & n. --v.tr. (lobbed, lobbing) 1 hit or throw (a ball or
missile etc.) slowly or in a high arc. 2 send (an opponent) a
lobbed ball. --n. 1 a a ball struck in a high arc. b a stroke
producing this result. 2 Cricket a slow underarm ball.
[earlier as noun, prob. f. LG or Du.]
lobar adj. 1 of the lungs (lobar pneumonia). 2 of, relating to, or
affecting a lobe.
lobate adj. Biol. having a lobe or lobes. ЬЬlobation n.
lobby n. & v. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a porch, ante-room, entrance-hall,
or corridor. 2 a (in the House of Commons) a large hall used
esp. for interviews between MPs and members of the public. b
(also division lobby) each of two corridors to which MPs retire
to vote. 3 a a body of persons seeking to influence legislators
on behalf of a particular interest (the anti-abortion lobby). b
an organized attempt by members of the public to influence
legislators (a lobby of MPs). 4 (prec. by the) (in the UK) a
group of journalists who receive unattributable briefings from
the government (lobby correspondent). --v. (-ies, -ied) 1 tr.
solicit the support of (an influential person). 2 tr. (of
members of the public) seek to influence (the members of a
legislature). 3 intr. frequent a parliamentary lobby. 4 tr.
(foll. by through) get (a bill etc.) through a legislature, by
interviews etc. in the lobby. ЬЬlobbyer n. lobbyism n.
lobbyist n. [med.L lobia, lobium LODGE]
lobe n. 1 a roundish and flattish projecting or pendulous part,
often each of two or more such parts divided by a fissure (lobes
of the brain). 2 = ear lobe (see EAR(1)). ЬЬlobed adj.
lobeless adj. [LL f. Gk lobos lobe, pod]
lobectomy n. (pl. -ies) Surgery the excision of a lobe of an organ such
as the thyroid gland, lung, etc.
lobelia n. any plant of the genus Lobelia, with blue, scarlet, white,
or purple flowers having a deeply cleft corolla. [M. de Lobel,
Flemish botanist in England d. 1616]
lobotomy n. (pl. -ies) Surgery = LEUCOTOMY. [LOBE + -TOMY]
lobscouse n. a sailor's dish of meat stewed with vegetables and ship's
biscuit. [18th c.: orig. unkn.: cf. Du. lapskous, Da., Norw.,
lobster n. & v. --n. 1 any large marine crustacean of the family
Nephropidae, with stalked eyes and two pincer-like claws as the
first pair of ten limbs. 2 its flesh as food. --v.intr. catch
lobsters. Ьlobster-pot a basket in which lobsters are trapped.
lobster thermidor a mixture of lobster meat, mushrooms, cream,
egg yolks, and sherry, cooked in a lobster shell. [OE lopustre,
corrupt. of L locusta crustacean, locust: thermidor f. the name
of the 11th month of the Fr. revolutionary calendar]
lobule n. a small lobe. ЬЬlobular adj. lobulate adj. [LOBE]
lobworm n. 1 a large earthworm used as fishing-bait. 2 = LUGWORM.
[LOB in obs. sense 'pendulous object']
local adj. & n. --adj. 1 belonging to or existing in a particular
place or places. 2 peculiar to or only encountered in a
particular place or places. 3 of or belonging to the
neighbourhood (the local doctor). 4 of or affecting a part and
not the whole, esp. of the body (local pain; a local
anaesthetic). 5 in regard to place. --n. a local person or
thing, esp.: 1 an inhabitant of a particular place regarded with
reference to that place. 2 a local train, bus, etc. 3 (often
prec. by the) Brit. colloq. a local public house. 4 a local
anaesthetic. 5 US a local branch of a trade union. Ьlocal
authority Brit. an administrative body in local government.
local Derby see DERBY. local government a system of
administration of a county, district, parish, etc., by the
elected representatives of those who live there. local option
(or veto) esp. US a system whereby the inhabitants of a
district may prohibit the sale of alcoholic liquor there. local
preacher a Methodist lay person authorized to conduct services
in a particular circuit. local time 1 time measured from the
sun's transit over the meridian of a place. 2 the time as
reckoned in a particular place, esp. with reference to an event
recorded there. local train a train stopping at all the
stations on its route. ЬЬlocally adv. localness n. [ME f. OF
f. LL localis f. L locus place]
locale n. a scene or locality, esp. with reference to an event or
occurrence taking place there. [F local (n.) (as LOCAL),
respelt to indicate stress: cf. MORALE]
localism n. 1 preference for what is local. 2 a local idiom, custom,
etc. 3 a attachment to a place. b a limitation of ideas etc.
resulting from this.
locality n. (pl. -ies) 1 a district or neighbourhood. 2 the site or
scene of something, esp. in relation to its surroundings. 3 the
position of a thing; the place where it is. [F localit‚ or LL
localitas (as LOCAL)]
localize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 restrict or assign to a particular place.
2 invest with the characteristics of a particular place. 3
attach to districts; decentralize. ЬЬlocalizable adj.
locate v. 1 tr. discover the exact place or position of (locate the
enemy's camp). 2 tr. establish in a place or in its proper
place. 3 tr. state the locality of. 4 tr. (in passive) be
situated. 5 intr. (often foll. by in) US take up residence or
business (in a place). ЬЬlocatable adj. locator n. [L locare
locat- f. locus place]
location n. 1 a particular place; the place or position in which a
person or thing is. 2 the act of locating or process of being
located. 3 an actual place or natural setting featured in a
film or broadcast, as distinct from a simulation in a studio
(filmed entirely on location). 4 S.Afr. an area where Blacks
are obliged to live, usu. on the outskirts of a town or city.
[L locatio (as LOCATE)]
locative n. & adj. Gram. --n. the case of nouns, pronouns, and
adjectives, expressing location. --adj. of or in the locative.
[formed as LOCATE + -IVE, after vocative]
loc. cit. abbr. in the passage already cited. [L loco citato]
loch n. Sc. 1 a lake. 2 an arm of the sea, esp. when narrow or
partially land-locked. [ME f. Gael.]
lochia n. a discharge from the uterus after childbirth. ЬЬlochial
adj. [mod.L f. Gk lokhia neut. pl. of lokhios of childbirth]
loci pl. of LOCUS.
pl. of LOCUS CLASSICUS.
lock(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a mechanism for fastening a door, lid, etc.,
with a bolt that requires a key of a particular shape, or a
combination of movements (see combination lock), to work it. 2
a confined section of a canal or river where the level can be
changed for raising and lowering boats between adjacent sections
by the use of gates and sluices. 3 a the turning of the front
wheels of a vehicle to change its direction of motion. b (in
full full lock) the maximum extent of this. 4 an interlocked or
jammed state. 5 Wrestling a hold that keeps an opponent's limb
fixed. 6 (in full lock forward) Rugby Football a player in the
second row of a scrum. 7 an appliance to keep a wheel from
revolving or slewing. 8 a mechanism for exploding the charge of
a gun. 9 = airlock 2. --v. 1 a tr. fasten with a lock. b tr.
(foll. by up) shut and secure (esp. a building) by locking. c
intr. (of a door, window, box, etc.) have the means of being
locked. 2 tr. (foll. by up, in, into) enclose (a person or
thing) by locking or as if by locking. 3 tr. (often foll. by
up, away) store or allocate inaccessibly (capital locked up in
land). 4 tr. (foll. by in) hold fast (in sleep or enchantment
etc.). 5 tr. (usu. in passive) (of land, hills, etc.) enclose.
6 tr. & intr. make or become rigidly fixed or immovable. 7
intr. & tr. become or cause to become jammed or caught. 8 tr.
(often in passive; foll. by in) entangle in an embrace or
struggle. 9 tr. provide (a canal etc.) with locks. 10 tr.
(foll. by up, down) convey (a boat) through a lock. 11 intr. go
through a lock on a canal etc. Ьlock-keeper a keeper of a lock
on a river or canal. lock-knit knitted with an interlocking
stitch. lock-nut Mech. a nut screwed down on another to keep
it tight. lock on to locate or cause to locate by radar etc.
and then track. lock out 1 keep (a person) out by locking the
door. 2 (of an employer) submit (employees) to a lockout. lock
step marching with each person as close as possible to the one
in front. lock stitch a stitch made by a sewing-machine by
firmly locking together two threads or stitches. lock, stock,
and barrel n. the whole of a thing. --adv. completely. under
lock and key securely locked up. ЬЬlockable adj. lockless adj.
[OE loc f. Gmc]
lock(2) n. 1 a a portion of hair that coils or hangs together. b (in
pl.) the hair of the head. 2 a tuft of wool or cotton.
ЬЬ-locked adj. (in comb.). [OE locc f. Gmc]
lockage n. 1 the amount of rise and fall effected by canal locks. 2 a
toll for the use of a lock. 3 the construction or use of locks.
4 locks collectively; the aggregate of locks constructed.
locker n. 1 a small lockable cupboard or compartment, esp. each of
several for public use. 2 Naut. a chest or compartment for
clothes, stores, ammunition, etc. 3 a person or thing that
locks. Ьlocker-room a room containing lockers (in sense 1),
esp. in a pavilion or sports centre.
locket n. 1 a small ornamental case holding a portrait, lock of hair,
etc., and usu. hung from the neck. 2 a metal plate or band on a
scabbard. [OF locquet dimin. of loc latch, lock, f. WG (as
lockfast adj. Sc. secured with a lock.
lockjaw n. = TRISMUS. °Not in technical use.
lockout n. the exclusion of employees by their employer from their
place of work until certain terms are agreed to.
locksman n. (pl. -men) a lock-keeper.
locksmith n. a maker and mender of locks.
lock-up n. & adj. --n. 1 a house or room for the temporary detention
of prisoners. 2 Brit. non-residential premises etc. that can be
locked up, esp. a small shop or storehouse. 3 a the locking up
of premises for the night. b the time of doing this. 4 a the
unrealizable state of invested capital. b an amount of capital
locked up. --attrib.adj. Brit. that can be locked up (lock-up
loco(1) n. (pl. -os) colloq. a locomotive engine. [abbr.]
loco(2) adj. & n. --adj. sl. crazy. --n. (pl. -oes or -os) (in full
loco-weed) a poisonous leguminous plant of the US causing brain
disease in cattle eating it. [Sp., = insane]
n. 1 motion or the power of motion from one place to another.
2 travel; a means of travelling, esp. an artificial one. [L
loco ablat. of locus place + motio MOTION]
n. & adj. --n. (in full locomotive engine) an engine powered by
steam, diesel fuel, or electricity, used for pulling trains.
--adj. 1 of or relating to or effecting locomotion (locomotive
power). 2 having the power of or given to locomotion; not
locomotor adj. of or relating to locomotion. [LOCOMOTION + MOTOR]
loculus n. (pl. loculi) Zool., Anat., & Bot. each of a number of
small separate cavities. ЬЬlocular adj. [L, dimin. of locus:
locum n. colloq. = LOCUM TENENS. [abbr.]
n. (pl. locum tenentes) a deputy acting esp. for a cleric or
doctor. ЬЬlocum tenency n. [med.L, one holding a place: see
locus n. (pl. loci) 1 a position or point, esp. in a text, treatise,
etc. 2 Math. a curve etc. formed by all the points satisfying a
particular equation of the relation between coordinates, or by a
point, line, or surface moving according to mathematically
defined conditions. 3 Biol. the position of a gene, mutation,
etc. on a chromosome. [L, = place]
n. (pl. loci classici) the best known or most authoritative
passage on a subject. [L]
n. a recognized or identifiable (esp. legal) status.
locust n. 1 any of various African and Asian grasshoppers of the
family Acrididae, migrating in swarms and destroying vegetation.
2 US a cicada. 3 (in full locust bean) a carob. 4 (in full
locust tree) a a carob tree. b = ACACIA 2. c = KOWHAI.
Ьlocust-bird (or -eater) any of various birds feeding on
locusts. [ME f. OF locuste f. L locusta lobster, locust]
locution n. 1 a word or phrase, esp. considered in regard to style or
idiom. 2 style of speech. [ME f. OF locution or L locutio f.
loqui locut- speak]
lode n. a vein of metal ore. [var. of LOAD]
loden n. 1 a thick waterproof woollen cloth. 2 the dark green colour
in which this is often made. [G]
lodestar n. (also loadstar) 1 a star that a ship etc. is steered by,
esp. the polestar. 2 a a guiding principle. b an object of
pursuit. [LODE in obs. sense 'way, journey' + STAR]
lodestone n. (also loadstone) 1 magnetic oxide of iron, magnetite. 2 a a
piece of this used as a magnet. b a thing that attracts.
lodge n. & v. --n. 1 a small house at the gates of a park or in the
grounds of a large house, occupied by a gatekeeper, gardener,
etc. 2 any large house or hotel, esp. in a resort. 3 a house
occupied in the hunting or shooting season. 4 a a porter's room
or quarters at the gate of a college or other large building. b
the residence of a head of a college, esp. at Cambridge. 5 the
members or the meeting-place of a branch of a society such as
the Freemasons. 6 a local branch of a trade union. 7 a
beaver's or otter's lair. 8 a N. American Indian's tent or
wigwam. --v. 1 tr. deposit in court or with an official a
formal statement of (complaint or information). 2 tr. deposit
(money etc.) for security. 3 tr. bring forward (an objection
etc.). 4 tr. (foll. by in, with) place (power etc.) in a person
or group. 5 tr. & intr. make or become fixed or caught without
further movement (the bullet lodged in his brain; the tide
lodges mud in the cavities). 6 tr. a provide with sleeping
quarters. b receive as a guest or inmate. c establish as a
resident in a house or room or rooms. 7 intr. reside or live,
esp. as a guest paying for accommodation. 8 tr. serve as a
habitation for; contain. 9 tr. (in passive; foll. by in) be
contained in. 10 a tr. (of wind or rain) flatten (crops). b
intr. (of crops) be flattened in this way. [ME loge f. OF loge
arbour, hut, f. med.L laubia, lobia (see LOBBY) f. Gmc]
lodgement n. 1 the act of lodging or process of being lodged. 2 the
depositing or a deposit of money. 3 an accumulation of matter
intercepted in fall or transit. [F logement (as LODGE)]
lodger n. a person receiving accommodation in another's house for
lodging n. 1 temporary accommodation (a lodging for the night). 2 (in
pl.) a room or rooms (other than in a hotel) rented for lodging
in. 3 a dwelling-place. 4 (in pl.) the residence of a head of
a college at Oxford. Ьlodging-house a house in which lodgings
lodicule n. Bot. a small green or white scale below the ovary of a
grass flower. [L lodicula dimin. of lodix coverlet]
loess n. a deposit of fine light-coloured wind-blown dust found esp.
in the basins of large rivers and very fertile when irrigated.
ЬЬloessial adj. [G L”ss f. Swiss G l”sch loose f. l”sen
loft n. & v. --n. 1 the space under the roof of a house, above the
ceiling of the top floor; an attic. 2 a room over a stable,
esp. for hay and straw. 3 a gallery in a church or hall
(organ-loft). 4 US an upstairs room. 5 a pigeon-house. 6 Golf
a a backward slope in a club-head. b a lofting stroke. --v.tr.
1 a send (a ball etc.) high up. b clear (an obstacle) in this
way. 2 (esp. as lofted adj.) give a loft to (a golf club). [OE
f. ON lopt air, sky, upper room, f. Gmc (as LIFT)]
lofter n. a golf club for lofting the ball.
lofty adj. (loftier, loftiest) 1 literary (of things) of imposing
height, towering, soaring (lofty heights). 2 consciously
haughty, aloof, or dignified (lofty contempt). 3 exalted or
noble; sublime (lofty ideals). ЬЬloftily adv. loftiness n.
[ME f. LOFT as in aloft]
log(1) n. & v. --n. 1 an unhewn piece of a felled tree, or a similar
rough mass of wood, esp. cut for firewood. 2 a a float attached
to a line wound on a reel for gauging the speed of a ship. b
any other apparatus for the same purpose. 3 a record of events
occurring during and affecting the voyage of a ship or aircraft
(including the rate of a ship's progress shown by a log: see
sense 2). 4 any systematic record of things done, experienced,
etc. 5 = LOGBOOK. --v.tr. (logged, logging) 1 a enter (the
distance made or other details) in a ship's logbook. b enter
details about (a person or event) in a logbook. c (of a ship)
achieve (a certain distance). 2 a enter (information) in a
regular record. b attain (a cumulative total of time etc.
recorded in this way) (logged 50 hours on the computer). 3 cut
into logs. Ьlike a log 1 in a helpless or stunned state (fell
like a log under the left hook). 2 without stirring (slept like
a log). log cabin a hut built of logs. log in = log on.
log-jam 1 a crowded mass of logs in a river. 2 a deadlock.
log-line a line to which a ship's log (see sense 2 a. of n.) is
attached. log on (or off) go through the procedures to begin
(or conclude) use of a computer system. [ME: orig. unkn.]
log(2) n. a logarithm (esp. prefixed to a number or algebraic symbol
whose logarithm is to be indicated). [abbr.]
-log US var. of -LOGUE.
logan n. (in full logan-stone) a poised heavy stone rocking at a
touch. [= logging f. dial. log to rock + STONE]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a hybrid, Rubus loganobaccus, between a
blackberry and a raspberry with dull red acid fruits. 2 the
fruit of this plant. [J. H. Logan, Amer. horticulturalist d.
1928 + BERRY]
logarithm n. 1 one of a series of arithmetic exponents tabulated to
simplify computation by making it possible to use addition and
subtraction instead of multiplication and division. 2 the power
to which a fixed number or base ( see BASE(1) 7) must be raised
to produce a given number (the logarithm of 1000 to base 10 is
3). °Abbr.: log. Ьcommon logarithm a logarithm to the base 10.
natural (or Napierian) logarithm a logarithm to the base e
(2.71828.....). °Abbr.: ln or log**. ЬЬlogarithmic adj.
logarithmically adv. [mod.L logarithmus f. Gk logos reckoning,
ratio + arithmos number]
logbook n. 1 a book containing a detailed record or log. 2 Brit. a
document recording the registration details of a motor vehicle.
°Now officially called vehicle registration document.
loge n. a private box or enclosure in a theatre. [F]
log/e abbr. natural logarithm.
-loger comb. form forming nouns, = -LOGIST. [after astrologer]
logger n. US a lumberjack.
n. 1 an iron instrument with a ball at the end heated for
melting pitch etc. 2 any of various large-headed animals, esp.
a turtle (Caretta caretta) or shrike (Lanius ludovicianus). 3
archaic a blockhead or fool. Ьat loggerheads (often foll. by
with) disagreeing or disputing. [prob. f. dial. logger block
of wood for hobbling a horse + HEAD]
loggia n. 1 an open-sided gallery or arcade. 2 an open-sided
extension of a house. [It., = LODGE]
logging n. the work of cutting and preparing forest timber.
logia pl. of LOGION.
logic n. 1 a the science of reasoning, proof, thinking, or inference.
b a particular scheme of or treatise on this. 2 a a chain of
reasoning (I don't follow your logic). b the correct or
incorrect use of reasoning (your logic is flawed). c ability in
reasoning (argues with great learning and logic). d arguments
(is not governed by logic). 3 a the inexorable force or
compulsion of a thing (the logic of events). b the necessary
consequence of (an argument, decision, etc.). 4 a a system or
set of principles underlying the arrangements of elements in a
computer or electronic device so as to perform a specified task.
b logical operations collectively. ЬЬlogician n. [ME f. OF
logique f. LL logica f. Gk logike (tekhne) (art) of reason: see
-logic comb. form (also -logical) forming adjectives corresponding esp.
to nouns in -logy (pathological; theological). [from or after
Gk -logikos: see -IC, -ICAL]
logical adj. 1 of logic or formal argument. 2 not contravening the
laws of thought, correctly reasoned. 3 deducible or defensible
on the ground of consistency; reasonably to be believed or done.
4 capable of correct reasoning. Ьlogical atomism Philos. the
theory that all propositions can be analysed into simple
independent elements. logical necessity the compulsion to
believe that of which the opposite is inconceivable. logical
positivism (or empiricism) a form of positivism in which
symbolic logic is used and linguistic problems of meaning are
emphasized. ЬЬlogicality n. logically adv. [med.L logicalis
f. LL logica (as LOGIC)]
logion n. (pl. logia) a saying attributed to Christ, esp. one not
recorded in the canonical Gospels. [Gk, = oracle f. logos
-logist comb. form forming nouns denoting a person skilled or involved
in a branch of study etc. with a name in -logy (archaeologist;
logistics n.pl. 1 the organization of moving, lodging, and supplying
troops and equipment. 2 the detailed organization and
implementation of a plan or operation. ЬЬlogistic adj.
logistical adj. logistically adv. [F logistique f. loger
logo n. (pl. -os) colloq. = LOGOTYPE 2. [abbr.]
logogram n. a sign or character representing a word, esp. in shorthand.
[Gk logos word + -GRAM]
logomachy n. (pl. -ies) literary a dispute about words; controversy
turning on merely verbal points. [Gk logomakhia f. logos word
+ makhia fighting]
n. (US logorrhea) an excessive flow of words esp. in mental
illness. [Gk logos word + rhoia flow]
Logos n. the Word of God, or Second Person of the Trinity. [Gk, =
logotype n. 1 Printing a single piece of type that prints a word or
group of separate letters. 2 a an emblem or device used as the
badge of an organization in display material. b Printing a
single piece of type that prints this. [Gk logos word + TYPE]
n. US 1 colloq. the practice of exchanging favours, esp. (in
politics) of exchanging votes to mutual benefit. 2 a sport in
which two contestants stand on a floating log and try to knock
each other off. ЬЬlogroll v.intr. & tr. logroller n. [polit.
sense f. phr. you roll my log and I'll roll yours]
-logue comb. form (US -log) 1 forming nouns denoting talk (dialogue) or
compilation (catalogue). 2 = -LOGIST (ideologue). [from or
after F -logue f. Gk -logos, -logon]
logwood n. 1 a W. Indian tree, Haematoxylon campechianum. 2 the wood
of this, producing a substance used in dyeing.
-logy comb. form forming nouns denoting: 1 (usu. as -ology) a subject
of study or interest (archaeology; zoology). 2 a characteristic
of speech or language (tautology). 3 discourse (trilogy). [F
-logie or med.L -logia f. Gk (as LOGOS)]
loin n. 1 (in pl.) the part of the body on both sides of the spine
between the false ribs and the hip-bones. 2 a joint of meat
that includes the loin vertebrae. [ME f. OF loigne ult. f. L
loincloth n. a cloth worn round the loins, esp. as a sole garment.
loiter v. 1 intr. hang about; linger idly. 2 intr. travel indolently
and with long pauses. 3 tr. (foll. by away) pass (time etc.) in
loitering. Ьloiter with intent hang about in order to commit a
felony. ЬЬloiterer n. [ME f. MDu. loteren wag about]
loll v. 1 intr. stand, sit, or recline in a lazy attitude. 2 intr.
(foll. by out) (of the tongue) hang out. 3 tr. (foll. by out)
hang (one's tongue) out. 4 tr. let (one's head or limbs) rest
lazily on something. ЬЬloller n. [ME: prob. imit.]
Lollard n. any of the followers of the 14th-c. religious reformer John
Wyclif. ЬЬLollardism n. [MDu. lollaerd f. lollen mumble]
lollipop n. a large usu. flat rounded boiled sweet on a small stick.
Ьlollipop man (or lady or woman) Brit. colloq. an official
using a circular sign on a stick to stop traffic for children to
cross the road, esp. near a school. [perh. f. dial. lolly
tongue + POP(1)]
lollop v.intr. (lolloped, lolloping) colloq. 1 flop about. 2 move or
proceed in a lounging or ungainly way. [prob. f. LOLL, assoc.
lolly n. (pl. -ies) 1 colloq. a a lollipop. b Austral. a sweet. c
Brit. = ice lolly. 2 Brit. sl. money. [abbr. of LOLLIPOP]
Lombard n. & adj. --n. 1 a member of a Germanic people who conquered
Italy in the 6th c. 2 a native of Lombardy in N. Italy. 3 the
dialect of Lombardy. --adj. of or relating to the Lombards or
Lombardy. ЬЬLombardic adj. [ME f. OF lombard or MDu.
lombaerd, f. It. lombardo f. med.L Longobardus f. L Langobardus
n. a variety of poplar with an especially tall slender form.
loment n. Bot. a kind of pod that breaks up when mature into
one-seeded joints. ЬЬlomentaceous adj. [L lomentum bean-meal
(orig. cosmetic) f. lavare wash]
n. a geological formation in the lower division of Eocene in SE
England. [London, capital of the UK]
Londoner n. a native or inhabitant of London.
n. a hybrid plane-tree resistant to smoke and therefore often
planted in streets.
n. a pink-flowered saxifrage, Saxifraga urbium.
lone attrib.adj. 1 (of a person) solitary; without a companion or
supporter. 2 (of a place) unfrequented, uninhabited, lonely. 3
literary feeling or causing to feel lonely. Ьlone hand 1 a hand
played or a player playing against the rest at quadrille and
euchre. 2 a person or action without allies. lone wolf a
person who prefers to act alone. [ME, f. ALONE]
lonely adj. (lonelier, loneliest) 1 solitary, companionless, isolated.
2 (of a place) unfrequented. 3 sad because without friends or
company. Ьlonely heart a lonely person (in sense 3).
loner n. a person or animal that prefers not to associate with
lonesome adj. 1 solitary, lonely. 2 feeling lonely or forlorn. 3
causing such a feeling. Ьby (or on) one's lonesome all alone.
ЬЬlonesomely adv. lonesomeness n.
long(1) adj., n., & adv. --adj. (longer; longest) 1 measuring much
from end to end in space or time; not soon traversed or finished
(a long line; a long journey; a long time ago). 2 (following a
measurement) in length or duration (2 metres long; the vacation
is two months long). 3 relatively great in extent or duration
(a long meeting). 4 a consisting of a large number of items (a
long list). b seemingly more than the stated amount; tedious,
lengthy (ten long miles; tired after a long day). 5 of
elongated shape. 6 a lasting or reaching far back or forward in
time (a long friendship). b (of a person's memory) retaining
things for a long time. 7 far-reaching; acting at a distance;
involving a great interval or difference. 8 Phonet. & Prosody
of a vowel or syllable: a having the greater of the two
recognized durations. b stressed. c (of a vowel in English)
having the pronunciation shown in the name of the letter (as in
pile and cute which have a long i and u, as distinct from pill
and cut) (cf. SHORT adj. 6). 9 (of odds or a chance)
reflecting or representing a low level of probability. 10 Stock
Exch. a (of stocks) bought in large quantities in advance, with
the expectation of a rise in price. b (of a broker etc.) buying
etc. on this basis. 11 (of a bill of exchange) maturing at a
distant date. 12 (of a cold drink) large and refreshing. 13
colloq. (of a person) tall. 14 (foll. by on) colloq. well
supplied with. --n. 1 a long interval or period (shall not be
away for long; it will not take long). 2 Phonet. a a long
syllable or vowel. b a mark indicating that a vowel is long. 3
a long-dated stock. b a person who buys this. --adv. (longer;
longest) 1 by or for a long time (long before; long ago; long
live the king!). 2 (following nouns of duration) throughout a
specified time (all day long). 3 (in compar.; with neg.) after
an implied point of time (shall not wait any longer). Ьas (or
so) long as 1 during the whole time that. 2 provided that; only
if. at long last see LAST(1). before long fairly soon (shall
see you before long). be long (often foll. by pres. part. or in
+ verbal noun) take a long time; be slow (was long finding it
out; the chance was long in coming; I shan't be long). by a
long chalk see CHALK. in the long run 1 over a long period. 2
eventually; finally. long ago in the distant past. long-ago
adj. that is in the distant past. the long and the short of it
1 all that can or need be said. 2 the eventual outcome.
long-case clock a grandfather clock. long-chain (of a molecule)
containing a chain of many carbon atoms. long-dated (of
securities) not due for early payment or redemption. long-day
(of a plant) needing a long daily period of light to cause
flowering. long-distance 1 (of a telephone call, public
transport, etc.) between distant places. 2 (of a weather
forecast) long-range. long division division of numbers with
details of the calculations written down. long dozen thirteen.
long-drawn (or -drawn-out) prolonged, esp. unduly. long face a
dismal or disappointed expression. long-faced with a long face.
long field Cricket 1 = long off. 2 = long on. 3 the part of
the field behind the bowler. long figure (or price) a heavy
cost. long haul 1 the transport of goods or passengers over a
long distance. 2 a prolonged effort or task. long-headed
shrewd, far-seeing, sagacious. long-headedness being
long-headed. long hop a short-pitched easily hit ball in
cricket. long hundredweight see HUNDREDWEIGHT. long in the
tooth rather old (orig. of horses, from the recession of the
gums with age). long johns colloq. underpants with full-length
legs. long-jump an athletic contest of jumping as far as
possible along the ground in one leap. long leg Cricket 1 a
fielder far behind the batsman on the leg side. 2 this
position. long-legged speedy. long-life (of consumable goods)
treated to preserve freshness. long-lived having a long life;
durable. long measure a measure of length (metres, miles,
etc.). long metre 1 a hymn stanza of four lines with eight
syllables each. 2 a quatrain of iambic tetrameters with
alternate lines rhyming. long off (or on) Cricket 1 a fielder
far behind the bowler and towards the off (or on) side. 2 his
position. long-player a long-playing record. long-playing (of
a gramophone record) playing for about 20-30 minutes on each
side. long-range 1 (of a missile etc.) having a long range. 2
of or relating to a period of time far into the future.
long-running continuing for a long time. long ship hist. a
long narrow warship with many rowers, used esp. by the Vikings.
long shot 1 a wild guess or venture. 2 a bet at long odds. 3
Cinematog. a shot including objects at a distance. long sight
the ability to see clearly only what is comparatively distant.
long-sleeved with sleeves reaching to the wrist. long-standing
that has long existed; not recent. long-suffering bearing
provocation patiently. long-sufferingly in a long-suffering
manner. long suit 1 many cards of one suit in a hand (esp. more
than 3 or 4 in a hand of 13). 2 a thing at which one excels.
long-term occurring in or relating to a long period of time
(long-term plans). long-time that has been such for a long
time. long ton see TON(1). long tongue loquacity. long
vacation Brit. the summer vacation of lawcourts and
universities. long waist a low or deep waist of a dress or
body. long wave a radio wave of frequency less than 300 kHz.
not by a long shot by no means. ЬЬlongish adj. [OE long, lang]
long(2) v.intr. (foll. by for or to + infin.) have a strong wish or
desire for. [OE langian seem long to]
long. abbr. longitude.
-long comb. form forming adjectives and adverbs: 1 for the duration of
(lifelong). 2 = -LING(2) (headlong).
longboard n. US a type of surfboard.
longboat n. a sailing ship's largest boat.
longbow n. a bow drawn by hand and shooting a long feathered arrow.
longe var. of LUNGE(2).
longeron n. a longitudinal member of a plane's fuselage. [F, = girder]
longevity n. long life. [LL longaevitas f. L longus life + aevum age]
longhair n. a person characterized by the associations of long hair,
esp. a hippie or intellectual.
longhand n. ordinary handwriting (as opposed to shorthand or typing or
longhorn n. 1 one of a breed of cattle with long horns. 2 any beetle of
the family Cerambycidae with long antennae.
longhouse n. a tribal communal dwelling, esp. in N. America and the Far
longicorn n. a longhorn beetle. [mod.L longicornis f. L longus long +
longing n. & adj. --n. a feeling of intense desire. --adj. having or
showing this feeling. ЬЬlongingly adv.
longitude n. 1 Geog. the angular distance east or west from a standard
meridian such as Greenwich to the meridian of any place. 2
Astron. the angular distance of a celestial body north or south
of the ecliptic measured along a great circle through the body
and the poles of the ecliptic. [ME f. L longitudo -dinis f.
adj. 1 of or in length. 2 running lengthwise. 3 of longitude.
Ьlongitudinal wave a wave vibrating in the direction of
propagation. ЬЬlongitudinally adv.
longshore adj. 1 existing on or frequenting the shore. 2 directed along
the shore. [along shore]
n. (pl. -men) US a docker.
adj. 1 having long sight. 2 having imagination or foresight.
ЬЬlong-sightedly adv. long-sightedness n.
longstop n. 1 Cricket a a position directly behind the wicket-keeper. b
a fielder in this position. 2 a last resort.
longueur n. 1 a tedious passage in a book etc. 2 a tedious stretch of
time. [F, = length]
longways adv. (also longwise) = LENGTHWAYS.
adj. 1 (of speech or writing) tediously lengthy. 2 able to run
a long distance without rest. ЬЬlong-windedly adv.
lonicera n. 1 a dense evergreen shrub, Lonicera nitidum, much used as
hedging. 2 = HONEYSUCKLE. [A. Lonicerus, Ger. botanist d.
loo(1) n. Brit. colloq. a lavatory. [20th c.: orig. uncert.]
loo(2) n. 1 a round card-game with penalties paid to the pool. 2 this
penalty. Ьloo table a kind of circular table. [abbr. of obs.
lanterloo f. F lanturlu, refrain of a song]
loof var. of LUFF.
loofah n. (also luffa) 1 a climbing gourdlike plant, Luffa cylindrica,
native to Asia, producing edible marrow-like fruits. 2 the
dried fibrous vascular system of this fruit used as a sponge.
[Egypt. Arab. lufa, the plant]
look v., n., & int. --v. 1 a intr. (often foll. by at) use one's
sight; turn one's eyes in some direction. b tr. turn one's eyes
on; contemplate or examine (looked me in the eyes). 2 intr. a
make a visual or mental search (I'll look in the morning). b
(foll. by at) consider, examine (we must look at the facts). 3
intr. (foll. by for) a search for. b hope or be on the watch
for. c expect. 4 intr. inquire (when one looks deeper). 5
intr. have a specified appearance; seem (look a fool; look
foolish). 6 intr. (foll. by to) a consider; take care of; be
careful about (look to the future). b rely on (a person or
thing) (you can look to me for support). c expect; count on;
aim at. 7 intr. (foll. by into) investigate or examine. 8 tr.
(foll. by what, where, etc. + clause) ascertain or observe by
sight (look where we are). 9 intr. (of a thing) face or be
turned, or have or afford an outlook, in a specified direction.
10 tr. express, threaten, or show (an emotion etc.) by one's
looks. 11 intr. (foll. by that + clause) take care; make sure.
12 intr. (foll. by to + infin.) expect (am looking to finish
this today). --n. 1 an act of looking; the directing of the
eyes to look at a thing or person; a glance (a scornful look).
2 (in sing. or pl.) the appearance of a face; a person's
expression or personal aspect. 3 the (esp. characteristic)
appearance of a thing (the place has a European look). --int.
(also look here!) calling attention, expressing a protest, etc.
Ьlook after 1 attend to; take care of. 2 follow with the eye.
3 seek for. look one's age appear to be as old as one really
is. look-alike a person or thing closely resembling another (a
Prince Charles look-alike). look alive (or lively) colloq. be
brisk and alert. look as if suggest by appearance the belief
that (it looks as if he's gone). look back 1 (foll. by on,
upon, to) turn one's thoughts to (something past). 2 (usu. with
neg.) cease to progress (since then we have never looked back).
3 Brit. make a further visit later. look before you leap avoid
precipitate action. look daggers see DAGGER. look down on (or
upon or look down one's nose at) regard with contempt or a
feeling of superiority. look for trouble see TROUBLE. look
forward to await (an expected event) eagerly or with specified
feelings. look in make a short visit or call. look-in n.
colloq. 1 an informal call or visit. 2 a chance of
participation or success (never gets a look-in). look a person
in the eye (or eyes or face) look directly and unashamedly at
him or her. look like 1 have the appearance of. 2 Brit. seem
to be (they look like winning). 3 threaten or promise (it looks
like rain). 4 indicate the presence of (it looks like
woodworm). look on 1 (often foll. by as) regard (looks on you
as a friend; looked on them with disfavour). 2 be a spectator;
avoid participation. look oneself appear in good health (esp.
after illness etc.). look out 1 direct one's sight or put one's
head out of a window etc. 2 (often foll. by for) be vigilant or
prepared. 3 (foll. by on, over, etc.) have or afford a
specified outlook. 4 search for and produce (shall look one out
for you). look over 1 inspect or survey (looked over the
house). 2 examine (a document etc.) esp. cursorily (shall look
it over). look round 1 look in every or another direction. 2
examine the objects of interest in a place (you must come and
look round sometime). 3 examine the possibilities etc. with a
view to deciding on a course of action. look-see colloq. a
survey or inspection. look sharp act promptly; make haste
(orig. = keep strict watch). look small see SMALL. look
through 1 examine the contents of, esp. cursorily. 2 penetrate
(a pretence or pretender) with insight. 3 ignore by pretending
not to see (I waved, but you just looked through me). look up 1
search for (esp. information in a book). 2 colloq. go to visit
(a person) (had intended to look them up). 3 raise one's eyes
(looked up when I went in). 4 improve, esp. in price,
prosperity, or well-being (things are looking up all round).
look a person up and down scrutinize a person keenly or
contemptuously. look up to respect or venerate. not like the
look of find alarming or suspicious. ЬЬ-looking adj. (in
comb.). [OE locian f. WG]
looker n. 1 a person having a specified appearance (a good-looker). 2
colloq. an attractive woman. Ьlooker-on a person who is a mere
n. a mirror for looking at oneself.
lookout n. 1 a watch or looking out (on the lookout for bargains). 2 a
a post of observation. b a person or party or boat stationed to
keep watch. 3 a view over a landscape. 4 a prospect of luck
(it's a bad lookout for them). 5 colloq. a person's own
loom(1) n. an apparatus for weaving yarn or thread into fabric. [ME
lome f. OE geloma tool]
loom(2) v. & n. --v.intr. (often foll. by up) 1 come into sight dimly,
esp. as a vague and often magnified or threatening shape. 2 (of
an event or prospect) be ominously close. --n. a vague often
exaggerated first appearance of land at sea etc. [prob. f. LG
or Du.: cf. E Fris. lomen move slowly, MHG lЃemen be weary]
loon n. 1 US any aquatic diving bird of the family Gaviidae, with a
long slender body and a sharp bill; a diver. 2 colloq. a crazy
person (cf. LOONY). [alt. f. loom f. ON lўmr]
loony n. & adj. sl. --n. (pl. -ies) a mad or silly person; a
lunatic. --adj. (loonier, looniest) crazy, silly. Ьloony-bin
sl. a mental home or hospital. ЬЬlooniness n. [abbr. of
loop n. & v. --n. 1 a a figure produced by a curve, or a doubled
thread etc., that crosses itself. b anything forming this
figure. 2 a similarly shaped attachment or ornament formed of
cord or thread etc. and fastened at the crossing. 3 a ring or
curved piece of material as a handle etc. 4 a contraceptive
coil. 5 (in full loop-line) a railway or telegraph line that
diverges from a main line and joins it again. 6 a manoeuvre in
which an aeroplane describes a vertical loop. 7 Skating a
manoeuvre describing a curve that crosses itself, made on a
single edge. 8 Electr. a complete circuit for a current. 9 an
endless strip of tape or film allowing continuous repetition.
10 Computing a programmed sequence of instructions that is
repeated until or while a particular condition is satisfied.
--v. 1 tr. form (thread etc.) into a loop or loops. 2 tr.
enclose with or as with a loop. 3 tr. (often foll. by up, back,
together) fasten or join with a loop or loops. 4 intr. a form
a loop. b move in looplike patterns. 5 intr. (also loop the
loop) Aeron. perform an aerobatic loop. [ME: orig. unkn.]
looper n. 1 a caterpillar of the geometer moth which progresses by
arching itself into loops. 2 a device for making loops.
loophole n. & v. --n. 1 a means of evading a rule etc. without
infringing the letter of it. 2 a narrow vertical slit in a wall
for shooting or looking through or to admit light or air.
--v.tr. make loopholes in (a wall etc.). [ME loop in the same
sense + HOLE]
loopy adj. (loopier, loopiest) 1 sl. crazy. 2 having many loops.
loose adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 a not or no longer held by bonds or
restraint. b (of an animal) not confined or tethered etc. 2
detached or detachable from its place (has come loose). 3 not
held together or contained or fixed. 4 not specially fastened
or packaged (loose papers; had her hair loose). 5 hanging
partly free (a loose end). 6 slack, relaxed; not tense or
tight. 7 not compact or dense (loose soil). 8 (of language,
concepts, etc.) inexact; conveying only the general sense. 9
(preceding an agent noun) doing the expressed action in a loose
or careless manner (a loose thinker). 10 morally lax; dissolute
(loose living). 11 (of the tongue) likely to speak
indiscreetly. 12 (of the bowels) tending to diarrhoea. 13
Sport a (of a ball) in play but not in any player's possession.
b (of play etc.) with the players not close together. 14
Cricket a (of bowling) inaccurately pitched. b (of fielding)
careless or bungling. 15 (in comb.) loosely (loose-flowing;
loose-fitting). --n. 1 a state of freedom or unrestrainedness.
2 loose play in football (in the loose). 3 free expression.
--v.tr. 1 release; set free; free from constraint. 2 untie or
undo (something that constrains). 3 detach from moorings. 4
relax (loosed my hold on it). 5 discharge (a gun or arrow
etc.). Ьat a loose end (US at loose ends) (of a person)
unoccupied, esp. temporarily. loose box a compartment for a
horse, in a stable or vehicle, in which it can move about.
loose change money as coins in the pocket etc. for casual use.
loose cover Brit. a removable cover for a chair or sofa etc.
loose-leaf adj. (of a notebook, manual, etc.) with each leaf
separate and removable. --n. a loose-leaf notebook etc.
loose-limbed having supple limbs. loose order an arrangement of
soldiers etc. with wide intervals. on the loose 1 escaped from
captivity. 2 having a free enjoyable time. ЬЬloosely adv.
looseness n. loosish adj. [ME los f. ON lauss f. Gmc]
loosen v. 1 tr. & intr. make or become less tight or compact or firm.
2 tr. make (a regime etc.) less severe. 3 tr. release (the
bowels) from constipation. 4 tr. relieve (a cough) from
dryness. Ьloosen a person's tongue make a person talk freely.
loosen up = limber up (see LIMBER(1)). ЬЬloosener n.
n. 1 any marsh plant of the genus Lysimachia, esp. the golden
or yellow loosestrife, L. vulgaris. 2 any plant of the genus
Lythrum, esp. the purple loosestrife L. salicaria, with racemes
of star-shaped purple flowers. [LOOSE + STRIFE, taking the Gk
name lusimakhion (f. Lusimakhos, its discoverer) as if directly
f. luo undo + makhe battle]
loot n. & v. --n. 1 goods taken from an enemy; spoil. 2 booty;
illicit gains made by an official. 3 sl. money. --v.tr. 1 rob
(premises) or steal (goods) left unprotected, esp. after riots
or other violent events. 2 plunder or sack (a city, building,
etc.). 3 carry off as booty. ЬЬlooter n. [Hindi lut]
lop(1) v. & n. --v. (lopped, lopping) 1 tr. a (often foll. by off,
away) cut or remove (a part or parts) from a whole, esp.
branches from a tree. b remove branches from (a tree). 2 tr.
(often foll. by off, away) remove (items) as superfluous. 3
intr. (foll. by at) make lopping strokes on (a tree etc.). --n.
parts lopped off, esp. branches and twigs of trees. Ьlop and
top (or crop) the trimmings of a tree. ЬЬlopper n. [ME f. OE
loppian (unrecorded): cf. obs. lip to prune]
lop(2) v. (lopped, lopping) 1 intr. & tr. hang limply. 2 intr. (foll.
by about) slouch, dawdle; hang about. 3 intr. move with short
bounds. 4 tr. (of an animal) let (the ears) hang. Ьlop-ears
drooping ears. lop-eared (of an animal) having drooping ears.
ЬЬloppy adj. [rel. to LOB]
lope v. & n. --v.intr. (esp. of animals) run with a long bounding
stride. --n. a long bounding stride. [ME, var. of Sc. loup f.
ON hlaupa LEAP]
lopho- comb. form Zool. crested. [Gk lophos crest]
adj. (of a fish) having the gills arranged in tufts. [LOPHO- +
lophodont n. & adj. --adj. having transverse ridges on the grinding
surface of molar teeth. --n. an animal with these teeth.
[LOPHO- + Gk odous odont- tooth]
n. a tentacled disc at the mouth of bryozoans and brachiopods.
lopolith n. Geol. a large saucer-shaped intrusion of igneous rock. [Gk
lopas basin + -LITH]
lopsided adj. with one side lower or smaller than the other; unevenly
balanced. ЬЬlopsidedly adv. lopsidedness n. [LOP(2) + SIDE]
adj. 1 talkative. 2 (of birds or water) chattering, babbling.
ЬЬloquaciously adv. loquaciousness n. loquacity n. [L loquax
-acis f. loqui talk]
loquat n. 1 a rosaceous tree, Eriobotrya japonica, bearing small
yellow egg-shaped fruits. 2 this fruit. [Chin. dial. luh kwat
loquitur v.intr. (he or she) speaks (with the speaker's name following,
as a stage direction or to inform the reader). [L]
lor int. Brit. sl. an exclamation of surprise or dismay. [abbr.
loran n. a system of long-distance navigation in which position is
determined from the intervals between signal pulses received
from widely spaced radio transmitters. [long- range navigation]
lord n., int., & v. --n. 1 a master or ruler. 2 hist. a feudal
superior, esp. of a manor. 3 a peer of the realm or a person
entitled to the title Lord, esp. a marquess, earl, viscount, or
baron. 4 (Lord) (often prec. by the) a name for God or Christ.
5 (Lord) a prefixed as the designation of a marquis, earl,
viscount, or baron. b prefixed to the Christian name of the
younger son of a duke or marquis. c (the Lords) = House of
Lords. 6 Astrol. the ruling planet (of a sign, house, or
chart). --int. (Lord) expressing surprise, dismay, etc.
--v.tr. confer the title of Lord upon. Ьlive like a lord live
sumptuously. Lord Advocate the principal law-officer of the
Crown in Scotland. Lord Bishop the ceremonious title of any
bishop. Lord Chamberlain see CHAMBERLAIN. Lord (or Lord High)
Chancellor (in the UK) the highest officer of the Crown,
presiding in the House of Lords etc. Lord Chief Justice (in the
UK) the president of the Queen's Bench Division. lord it over
domineer. Lord Lieutenant 1 (in the UK) the chief executive
authority and head of magistrates in each county. 2 hist. the
viceroy of Ireland. Lord Mayor the title of the mayor in London
and some other large cities. Lord Ordinary see ORDINARY n. 5.
lord over (usu. in passive) domineer, rule over. Lord President
of the Council (in the UK) the cabinet minister presiding at the
Privy Council. Lord Privy Seal (in the UK) a senior cabinet
minister without official duties. Lord Provost the head of a
municipal corporation or borough in certain Scottish cities.
lords and ladies wild arum. Lords Commissioners the members of
a board performing the duties of a high State office put in
commission. Lord's Day Sunday. Lords of Session the judges of
the Scottish Court of Session. Lord's Prayer the Our Father,
the prayer taught by Christ to his disciples. Lords spiritual
the bishops in the House of Lords. Lord's Supper the Eucharist.
Lords temporal the members of the House of Lords other than the
bishops. Our Lord a name for Christ. Sea Lord a naval member
of the Admiralty Board. ЬЬlordless adj. lordlike adj. [OE
hlaford f. hlafweard = bread-keeper (as LOAF(1), WARD)]
lordling n. usu. derog. a minor lord.
lordly adj. (lordlier, lordliest) 1 haughty, imperious. 2 suitable
for a lord. ЬЬlordliness n. [OE hlafordlic (as LORD)]
lordosis n. Med. inward curvature of the spine (opp. KYPHOSIS).
ЬЬlordotic adj. [mod.L f. Gk lordosis f. lordos bent
lordship n. 1 (usu. Lordship) a title used in addressing or referring
to a man with the rank of Lord or a judge or a bishop (Your
Lordship; His Lordship). 2 (foll. by of, over) dominion, rule,
or ownership. 3 the condition of being a lord. [OE
hlafordscipe (as LORD, -SHIP)]
Lordy int. = LORD int.
lore(1) n. a body of traditions and knowledge on a subject or held by a
particular group (herbal lore; gypsy lore). [OE lar f. Gmc,
rel. to LEARN]
lore(2) n. Zool. a straplike surface between the eye and upper
mandible in birds, or between the eye and nostril in snakes. [L
lorgnette n. (in sing. or pl.) a pair of eyeglasses or opera-glasses held
by a long handle. [F f. lorgner to squint]
loricate adj. & n. Zool. --adj. having a defensive armour of bone,
plates, scales, etc. --n. an animal with this. [L loricatus f.
lorica breastplate f. lorum strap]
lorikeet n. any of various small brightly coloured parrots of the
subfamily Loriinae, including the rainbow lorikeet. [dimin. of
LORY, after parakeet]
loris n. (pl. same) either of two small tailless nocturnal primates,
Loris tardigradus of S. India (slender loris), and Nycticebus
coucang of the E. Indies (slow loris). [F perh. f. obs. Du.
lorn adj. literary desolate, forlorn, abandoned. [past part. of
obs. leese f. OE -leosan lose]
lorry n. Brit. (pl. -ies) 1 a large strong motor vehicle for
transporting goods etc. 2 a long flat low wagon. 3 a truck
used on railways and tramways. [19th c.: orig. uncert.]
lory n. (pl. -ies) any of various brightly-coloured Australasian
parrots of the subfamily Loriinae. [Malay luri]
lose v. (past and past part. lost) 1 tr. be deprived of or cease to
have, esp. by negligence or misadventure. 2 tr. a be deprived
of (a person, esp. a close relative) by death. b suffer the
loss of (a baby) in childbirth. 3 tr. become unable to find;
fail to keep in sight or follow or mentally grasp (lose one's
way). 4 tr. let or have pass from one's control or reach (lose
one's chance; lose one's bearings). 5 tr. be defeated in (a
game, race, lawsuit, battle, etc.). 6 tr. evade; get rid of
(lost our pursuers). 7 tr. fail to obtain, catch, or perceive
(lose a train; lose a word). 8 tr. forfeit (a stake, deposit,
right to a thing, etc.). 9 tr. spend (time, efforts, etc.) to
no purpose (lost no time in raising the alarm). 10 intr. a
suffer loss or detriment; incur a disadvantage. b be worse off,
esp. financially. 11 tr. cause (a person) the loss of (will
lose you your job). 12 intr. & tr. (of a timepiece) become
slow; become slow by (a specified amount of time). 13 tr. (in
passive) disappear, perish; be dead (was lost in the war; is a
lost art). Ьbe lost (or lose oneself) in be engrossed in. be
lost on be wasted on, or not noticed or appreciated by. be lost
to be no longer affected by or accessible to (is lost to pity;
is lost to the world). be lost without have great difficulty if
deprived of (am lost without my diary). get lost sl. (usu. in
imper.) go away. lose one's balance 1 fail to remain stable;
fall. 2 fail to retain one's composure. lose one's cool
colloq. lose one's composure. lose face be humiliated; lose
one's credibility. lose ground see GROUND(1). lose one's head
see HEAD. lose heart be discouraged. lose one's heart see
HEART. lose one's nerve become timid or irresolute. lose out
(often foll. by on) colloq. be unsuccessful; not get a fair
chance or advantage (in). lose one's temper become angry. lose
time allow time to pass with something unachieved etc. lose
touch see TOUCH. lose track of see TRACK(1). lose the (or
one's) way become lost; fail to reach one's destination. losing
battle a contest or effort in which failure seems certain. lost
cause 1 an enterprise etc. with no chance of success. 2 a
person one can no longer hope to influence. lost generation 1 a
generation with many of its men killed in war, esp. that of
1914-18. 2 an emotionally and culturally unstable generation
coming to maturity, esp. in 1915-25. ЬЬlosable adj. [OE losian
perish, destroy f. los loss]
loser n. 1 a person or thing that loses or has lost (esp. a contest
or game) (is a poor loser; the loser pays). 2 colloq. a person
who regularly fails.
loss n. 1 the act or an instance of losing; the state of being lost.
2 a person, thing, or amount lost. 3 the detriment or
disadvantage resulting from losing (that is no great loss). Ьat
a loss (sold etc.) for less than was paid for it. be at a loss
be puzzled or uncertain. be at a loss for words not know what
to say. loss adjuster an insurance agent who assesses the
amount of compensation arising from a loss. loss-leader an item
sold at a loss to attract customers. [ME los, loss prob.
back-form. f. lost, past part. of LOSE]
lost past and past part. of LOSE.
lot n. & v. --n. 1 colloq. (prec. by a or in pl.) a a large number
or amount (a lot of people; lots of chocolate). b colloq. much
(a lot warmer; smiles a lot; is lots better). 2 a each of a set
of objects used in making a chance selection. b this method of
deciding (chosen by lot). 3 a share, or the responsibility
resulting from it. 4 a person's destiny, fortune, or condition.
5 esp. US a plot; an allotment of land (parking lot). 6 an
article or set of articles for sale at an auction etc. 7 a
number or quantity of associated persons or things. --v.tr.
(lotted, lotting) divide into lots. Ьbad lot a person of bad
character. cast (or draw) lots decide by means of lots. throw
in one's lot with decide to share the fortunes of. the (or the
whole) lot the whole number or quantity. a whole lot colloq.
very much (is a whole lot better). [OE hlot portion, choice f.
loth var. of LOATH.
Lothario n. (pl. -os) a rake or libertine. [a character in Rowe's Fair
lotion n. a medicinal or cosmetic liquid preparation applied
externally. [ME f. OF lotion or L lotio f. lavare lot- wash]
lottery n. (pl. -ies) 1 a means of raising money by selling numbered
tickets and giving prizes to the holders of numbers drawn at
random. 2 an enterprise, process, etc., whose success is
governed by chance (life is a lottery). [prob. f. Du. loterij
lotto n. a game of chance like bingo, but with numbers drawn instead
of called. [It.]
lotus n. 1 (in Greek mythology) a legendary plant inducing luxurious
languor when eaten. 2 a any water lily of the genus Nelumbo,
esp. N. nucifera of India, with large pink flowers. b this
flower used symbolically in Hinduism and Buddhism. 3 an
Egyptian water lily, Nymphaea lotus, with white flowers. 4 any
plant of the genus Lotus, e.g. bird's foot trefoil.
Ьlotus-eater a person given to indolent enjoyment. lotus-land a
place of indolent enjoyment. lotus position a cross-legged
position of meditation with the feet resting on the thighs. [L
f. Gk lotos, of Semitic orig.]
loud adj. & adv. --adj. 1 a strongly audible, esp. noisily or
oppressively so. b able or liable to produce loud sounds (a
loud engine). c clamorous, insistent (loud complaints). 2 (of
colours, design, etc.) gaudy, obtrusive. 3 (of behaviour)
aggressive and noisy. --adv. in a loud manner. Ьloud hailer an
electronic device for amplifying the sound of the voice so that
it can be heard at a distance. loud-mouth colloq. a
loud-mouthed person. loud-mouthed colloq. noisily
self-assertive; vociferous. out loud 1 aloud. 2 loudly
(laughed out loud). ЬЬlouden v.tr. & intr. loudish adj.
loudly adv. loudness n. [OE hlud f. WG]
n. an apparatus that converts electrical impulses into sound,
esp. music and voice.
lough n. Ir. = LOCH. [Ir. loch LOCH, assim. to the related obs. ME
louis n. (pl. same) hist. (in full louis d'or) a former French gold
coin worth about 20 francs. [Louis, the name of kings of
lounge v. & n. --v.intr. 1 recline comfortably and casually; loll. 2
stand or move about idly. --n. 1 a place for lounging, esp.: a
a public room (e.g. in a hotel). b a place in an airport etc.
with seats for waiting passengers. c a sitting-room in a house.
2 a spell of lounging. Ьlounge bar Brit. a more comfortable
room for drinking in a public house. lounge lizard colloq. an
idler in fashionable society. lounge suit Brit. a man's formal
suit for ordinary day wear. [perh. f. obs. lungis lout]
lounger n. 1 a person who lounges. 2 a piece of furniture for relaxing
on. 3 a casual garment for wearing when relaxing.
loupe n. a small magnifying glass used by jewellers etc. [F]
lour v. & n. (also lower) --v.intr. 1 frown; look sullen. 2 (of
the sky etc.) look dark and threatening. --n. 1 a scowl. 2 a
gloomy look (of the sky etc.). ЬЬlouringly adv. loury adj.
[ME loure, of unkn. orig.]
louse n. & v. --n. 1 (pl. lice) a a parasitic insect, Pediculus
humanus, infesting the human hair and skin and transmitting
various diseases. b any insect of the order Anoplura or
Mallophaga parasitic on mammals, birds, fish, or plants. 2 sl.
(pl. louses) a contemptible or unpleasant person. --v.tr.
remove lice from. Ьlouse up sl. make a mess of. [OE lus, pl.
lousewort n. any plant of the genus Pedicularis with purple-pink flowers
found in marshes and wet places.
lousy adj. (lousier, lousiest) 1 infested with lice. 2 colloq. very
bad; disgusting (also as a term of general disparagement). 3
colloq. (often foll. by with) well supplied, teeming (with).
ЬЬlousily adv. lousiness n.
lout n. a rough, crude, or ill-mannered person (usu. a man).
ЬЬloutish adj. loutishly adv. loutishness n. [perh. f.
archaic lout to bow]
louvre n. (also louver) 1 each of a set of overlapping slats designed
to admit air and some light and exclude rain. 2 a domed
structure on a roof with side openings for ventilation etc.
Ьlouvre-boards the slats or boards making up a louvre.
ЬЬlouvred adj. [ME f. OF lover, lovier skylight, prob. f. Gmc]
lovable adj. (also loveable) inspiring or deserving love or affection.
ЬЬlovability n. lovableness n. lovably adv.
lovage n. 1 a S. European herb, Levisticum officinale, used for
flavouring etc. 2 a white-flowered umbelliferous plant,
Ligusticum scoticum. [ME loveache alt. f. OF levesche f. LL
levisticum f. L ligusticum neut. of ligusticus Ligurian]
lovat n. (also attrib.) a muted green colour found esp. in tweed and
woollen garments. [Lovat in Scotland]
love n. & v. --n. 1 an intense feeling of deep affection or
fondness for a person or thing; great liking. 2 sexual passion.
3 sexual relations. 4 a a beloved one; a sweetheart (often as a
form of address). b Brit. colloq. a form of address regardless
of affection. 5 colloq. a person of whom one is fond. 6
affectionate greetings (give him my love). 7 (often Love) a
representation of Cupid. 8 (in some games) no score; nil.
--v.tr. 1 (also absol.) feel love or deep fondness for. 2
delight in; admire; greatly cherish. 3 colloq. like very much
(loves books). 4 (foll. by verbal noun, or to + infin.) be
inclined, esp. as a habit; greatly enjoy; find pleasure in
(children love dressing up; loves to find fault). Ьfall in love
(often foll. by with) develop a great (esp. sexual) love (for).
for love for pleasure not profit. for the love of for the sake
of. in love (often foll. by with) deeply enamoured (of). love
affair a romantic or sexual relationship between two people in
love. love-apple archaic a tomato. love-bird any of various
African and Madagascan parrots, esp. Agapornis personata.
love-child an illegitimate child. love-feast 1 a meal affirming
brotherly love among early Christians. 2 a religious service of
Methodists, etc., imitating this. love game a game in which the
loser makes no score. love-hate relationship an intensely
emotional relationship in which one or each party has ambivalent
feelings of love and hate for the other. love-in-a-mist a
blue-flowered garden plant, Nigella damascena, with many
delicate green bracts. love-letter a letter expressing feelings
of sexual love. love-lies-bleeding a garden plant, Amaranthus
caudatus, with drooping spikes of purple-red blooms. love-match
a marriage made for love's sake. love-nest a place of intimate
lovemaking. love-seat an armchair or small sofa for two. make
love (often foll. by to) 1 have sexual intercourse (with). 2
archaic pay amorous attention (to). not for love or money
colloq. not in any circumstances. out of love no longer in
love. ЬЬloveworthy adj. [OE lufu f. Gmc]
loveable var. of LOVABLE.
loveless adj. without love; unloving or unloved or both. ЬЬlovelessly
adv. lovelessness n.
lovelock n. a curl or lock of hair worn on the temple or forehead.
lovelorn adj. pining from unrequited love.
lovely adj. & n. --adj. (lovelier, loveliest) 1 exquisitely
beautiful. 2 colloq. pleasing, delightful. --n. (pl. -ies)
colloq. a pretty woman. Ьlovely and colloq. delightfully
(lovely and warm). ЬЬlovelily adv. loveliness n. [OE luflic
n. 1 amorous sexual activity, esp. sexual intercourse. 2
lover n. 1 a person in love with another. 2 a person with whom
another is having sexual relations. 3 (in pl.) a couple in love
or having sexual relations. 4 a person who likes or enjoys
something specified (a music lover; a lover of words).
lovesick adj. languishing with romantic love. ЬЬlovesickness n.
lovesome adj. literary lovely, lovable.
lovey n. (pl. -eys) colloq. love, sweetheart (esp. as a form of
loving adj. & n. --adj. feeling or showing love; affectionate. --n.
affection; active love. Ьloving-cup a two-handled drinking-cup
passed round at banquets. loving-kindness tenderness and
consideration. ЬЬlovingly adv. lovingness n. [OE lufiende (as
low(1) adj., n., & adv. --adj. 1 of less than average height; not
high or tall or reaching far up (a low wall). 2 a situated
close to ground or sea level etc.; not elevated in position (low
altitude). b (of the sun) near the horizon. c (of latitude)
near the equator. 3 of or in humble rank or position (of low
birth). 4 of small or less than normal amount or extent or
intensity (low price; low temperature; low in calories). 5
small or reduced in quantity (stocks are low). 6 coming below
the normal level (a dress with a low neck). 7 a dejected;
lacking vigour (feeling low; in low spirits). b poorly
nourished; indicative of poor nutrition. 8 (of a sound) not
shrill or loud or high-pitched. 9 not exalted or sublime;
commonplace. 10 unfavourable (a low opinion). 11 abject, mean,
vulgar (low cunning; low slang). 12 (in compar.) situated on
less high land or to the south. 13 (of a geographical period)
earlier. --n. 1 a low or the lowest level or number (the
dollar has reached a new low). 2 an area of low pressure.
--adv. 1 in or to a low position or state. 2 in a low tone
(speak low). 3 (of a sound) at or to a low pitch. Ьlow-born of
humble birth. Low Church the section of the Church of England
giving a low place to ritual, priestly authority, and the
sacraments. low-class of low quality or social class. low
comedy that in which the subject and the treatment border on
farce. Low Countries the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxemburg.
low-cut (of a dress etc.) made with a low neckline. low-down
adj. abject, mean, dishonourable. --n. colloq. (usu. foll. by
on) the relevant information (about). lowest common
denominator, multiple see DENOMINATOR, MULTIPLE. low frequency
(in radio) 30-300 kilohertz. low gear see GEAR. Low German see
GERMAN. low-grade of low quality or strength. low-key lacking
intensity or prominence; restrained. Low Latin medieval and
later forms of Latin. low-level Computing (of a programming
language) close in form to machine language. low-loader a lorry
with a low floor and no sides, for heavy loads. low-lying at
low altitude (above sealevel etc.). low mass see MASS(2).
low-pitched 1 (of a sound) low. 2 (of a roof) having only a
slight slope. low pressure 1 little demand for activity or
exertion. 2 an atmospheric condition with pressure below
average. low profile avoidance of attention or publicity.
low-profile adj. (of a motor-vehicle tyre) having a greater
width than usual in relation to height. low relief see RELIEF
6a. low-rise (of a building) having few storeys. low season
the period of fewest visitors at a resort etc. low-spirited
dejected, dispirited. low-spiritedness dejection, depression.
low spirits dejection, depression. Low Sunday the Sunday after
Easter. low tide the time or level of the tide at its ebb. low
water the tide at its lowest. low-water mark 1 the level
reached at low water. 2 a minimum recorded level or value etc.
Low Week the week beginning with Low Sunday. ЬЬlowish adj.
lowness n. [ME lah f. ON l gr f. Gmc]
low(2) n. & v. --n. a sound made by cattle; a moo. --v.intr. utter
this sound. [OE hlowan f. Gmc]
lowboy n. US a low chest or table with drawers and short legs.
lowbrow adj. & n. --adj. not highly intellectual or cultured. --n. a
lowbrow person. ЬЬlowbrowed adj.
lower(1) adj. & adv. --adj. (compar. of LOW(1)). 1 less high in
position or status. 2 situated below another part (lower lip;
lower atmosphere). 3 a situated on less high land (Lower
Egypt). b situated to the South (Lower California). 4 (of a
mammal, plant, etc.) evolved to only a slight degree (e.g. a
platypus or fungus). --adv. in or to a lower position, status,
etc. Ьlower case see CASE(2). lower class working-class people
and their families. lower-class adj. of the lower class.
lower deck 1 the deck of a ship situated immediately over the
hold. 2 the petty officers and men of a ship collectively.
Lower House the larger and usu. elected body in a legislature,
esp. the House of Commons. lower regions (or world) hell; the
realm of the dead. ЬЬlowermost adj.
lower(2) v. 1 tr. let or haul down. 2 tr. & intr. make or become lower.
3 tr. reduce the height or pitch or elevation of (lower your
voice; lower one's eyes). 4 tr. degrade. 5 tr. & intr.
lower(3) var. of LOUR.
lowland n. & adj. --n. 1 (usu. in pl.) low-lying country. 2 (Lowland)
(usu. in pl.) the region of Scotland lying south and east of the
Highlands. --adj. of or in lowland or the Scottish Lowlands.
ЬЬlowlander n. (also Lowlander).
lowlight n. 1 a monotonous or dull period; a feature of little
prominence (one of the lowlights of the evening). 2 (usu. in
pl.) a dark tint in the hair produced by dyeing. [after
lowly adj. (lowlier, lowliest) 1 humble in feeling, behaviour, or
status. 2 modest, unpretentious. 3 (of an organism) evolved to
only a slight degree. ЬЬlowlily adv. lowliness n.
adj. vulgar or ignoble in mind or character. ЬЬlow-mindedness
lox(1) n. liquid oxygen. [abbr.]
lox(2) n. US smoked salmon. [Yiddish laks]
loyal adj. 1 (often foll. by to) true or faithful (to duty, love, or
obligation). 2 steadfast in allegiance; devoted to the
legitimate sovereign or government of one's country. 3 showing
loyalty. Ьloyal toast a toast to the sovereign. ЬЬloyally adv.
[F f. OF loial etc. f. L legalis LEGAL]
loyalist n. 1 a person who remains loyal to the legitimate sovereign
etc., esp. in the face of rebellion or usurpation. 2 (Loyalist)
a supporter of Parliamentary union between Great Britain and
Northern Ireland. ЬЬloyalism n.
loyalty n. (pl. -ies) 1 the state of being loyal. 2 (often in pl.) a
feeling or application of loyalty.
lozenge n. 1 a rhombus or diamond figure. 2 a small sweet or medicinal
tablet, orig. lozenge-shaped, for dissolving in the mouth. 3 a
lozenge-shaped pane in a window. 4 Heraldry a lozenge-shaped
device. 5 the lozenge-shaped facet of a cut gem. ЬЬlozenged
adj. (in sense 4). lozengy adj. [ME f. OF losenge, ult. of
Gaulish or Iberian orig.]
lubber n. a big clumsy fellow; a lout. Ьlubber line Naut. a line
marked on a compass, showing the ship's forward direction.
ЬЬlubberlike adj. lubberly adj. & adv. [ME, perh. f. OF lobeor
swindler, parasite f. lober deceive]
lubra n. Austral. sometimes derog. an Aboriginal woman. [F loubra
lubricant n. & adj. --n. a substance used to reduce friction. --adj.
lubricate v.tr. 1 reduce friction in (machinery etc.) by applying oil or
grease etc. 2 make slippery or smooth with oil or grease.
ЬЬlubrication n. lubricative adj. lubricator n. [L lubricare
lubricat- f. lubricus slippery]
lucerne n. (also lucern) Brit. = ALFALFA. [F luzerne f. mod. Prov.
luzerno glow-worm, with ref. to its shiny seeds]
lucid adj. 1 expressing or expressed clearly; easy to understand. 2
of or denoting intervals of sanity between periods of insanity
or dementia. 3 Bot. with a smooth shining surface. 4 poet.
bright. ЬЬlucidity n. lucidly adv. lucidness n. [L lucidus
(perh. through F lucide or It. lucido) f. lucere shine (as
Lucifer n. 1 Satan. 2 poet. the morning star (the planet Venus). 3
(lucifer) archaic a friction match. [OE f. L, = light-bringing,
morning-star (as LUX, -fer f. ferre bring)]
luck n. 1 chance regarded as the bringer of good or bad fortune. 2
circumstances of life (beneficial or not) brought by this. 3
good fortune; success due to chance (in luck; out of luck).
Ьfor luck to bring good fortune. good luck 1 good fortune. 2
an omen of this. hard luck worse fortune than one deserves. no
such luck colloq. unfortunately not. try one's luck make a
venture. with luck if all goes well. worse luck colloq.
unfortunately. [ME f. LG luk f. MLG geluke]
luckily adv. 1 (qualifying a whole sentence or clause) fortunately
(luckily there was enough food). 2 in a lucky or fortunate
luckless adj. having no luck; unfortunate. ЬЬlucklessly adv.
lucky adj. (luckier, luckiest) 1 having or resulting from good luck,
esp. as distinct from skill or design or merit. 2 bringing good
luck (a lucky mascot). 3 fortunate, appropriate (a lucky
guess). Ьlucky dip Brit. a tub containing different articles
concealed in wrapping or bran etc., and chosen at random by
participants. ЬЬluckiness n.
lucrative adj. profitable, yielding financial gain. ЬЬlucratively adv.
lucrativeness n. [ME f. L lucrativus f. lucrari to gain]
lucre n. derog. financial profit or gain. Ьfilthy lucre see FILTHY.
[ME f. F lucre or L lucrum]
lucubrate v.intr. literary 1 write or study, esp. by night. 2 express
one's meditations in writing. ЬЬlucubrator n. [L lucubrare
lucubrat- work by lamplight (as LUX)]
n. literary 1 nocturnal study or meditation. 2 (usu. in pl.)
literary writings, esp. of a pedantic or elaborate character.
[L lucubratio (as LUCUBRATE)]
Lucullan adj. profusely luxurious. [L. Licinius Lucullus, Roman general
of 1st c. BC famous for his lavish banquets]
lud n. Brit. Ьm'lud (or my lud) a form of address to a judge in a
court of law. [corrupt. of LORD]
Luddite n. & adj. --n. 1 hist. a member of any of the bands of English
artisans who rioted against mechanization and destroyed
machinery (1811-16). 2 a person opposed to increased
industrialization or new technology. --adj. of the Luddites or
their beliefs. ЬЬLuddism n. Ludditism n. [perh. f. Ned Lud,
who destroyed machinery c. 1779]
ludicrous adj. absurd or ridiculous; laughable. ЬЬludicrously adv.
ludicrousness n. [L ludicrus prob. f. ludicrum stage play]
ludo n. Brit. a simple board game in which counters are moved round
according to the throw of dice. [L, = I play]
lues n. (in full lues venerea) syphilis. ЬЬluetic adj. [L]
luff n. & v. (also loof) Naut. --n. 1 the edge of the fore-and-aft
sail next to the mast or stay. 2 Brit. the broadest part of the
ship's bow where the sides begin to curve in. --v.tr. (also
absol.) 1 steer (a ship) nearer the wind. 2 turn (the helm) so
as to achieve this. 3 obstruct (an opponent in yacht-racing) by
sailing closer to the wind. 4 raise or lower (the jib of a
crane or derrick). [ME lo(o)f f. OF lof, prob. f. LG]
luffa var. of LOOFAH.
Luftwaffe n. hist. the German Air Force. [G f. Luft air + Waffe
lug(1) v. & n. --v. (lugged, lugging) 1 tr. a drag or tug (a heavy
object) with effort or violence. b (usu. foll. by round, about)
carry (something heavy) around with one. 2 tr. (usu. foll. by
in, into) introduce (a subject etc.) irrelevantly. 3 tr. (usu.
foll. by along, to) force (a person) to join in an activity. 4
intr. (usu. foll. by at) pull hard. --n. 1 a hard or rough
pull. 2 (in pl.) US affectation (put on lugs). [ME, prob. f.
Scand.: cf. Sw. lugga pull a person's hair f. lugg forelock]
lug(2) n. 1 Sc. or colloq. an ear. 2 a projection on an object by
which it may be carried, fixed in place, etc. 3 esp. US sl. a
lout; a sponger; a stupid person. [prob. of Scand. orig.: cf.
lug(3) n. = LUGWORM. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
lug(4) n. = LUGSAIL. [abbr.]
luge n. & v. --n. a light toboggan for one or two people, ridden in
the sitting position. --v.intr. ride on a luge. [Swiss F]
Luger n. a type of German automatic pistol. [G. Luger, German
firearms expert d. 1922]
luggage n. suitcases, bags, etc. to hold a traveller's belongings.
Ьluggage-van Brit. a railway carriage for travellers' luggage.
[LUG(1) + -AGE]
lugger n. a small ship carrying two or three masts with a lugsail on
each. [LUGSAIL + -ER(1)]
lughole n. sl. the ear orifice. [LUG(2) + HOLE]
lugsail n. Naut. a quadrilateral sail which is bent on and hoisted
from a yard. [prob. f. LUG(2)]
adj. doleful, mournful, dismal. ЬЬlugubriously adv.
lugubriousness n. [L lugubris f. lugere mourn]
lugworm n. any polychaete worm of the genus Arenicola, living in muddy
sand and leaving characteristic worm-casts on lower shores, and
often used as bait by fishermen. [LUG(3)]
lukewarm adj. 1 moderately warm; tepid. 2 unenthusiastic, indifferent.
ЬЬlukewarmly adv. lukewarmness n. [ME f. (now dial.) luke,
lew f. OE]
lull v. & n. --v. 1 tr. soothe or send to sleep gently. 2 tr.
(usu. foll. by into) deceive (a person) into confidence (lulled
into a false sense of security). 3 tr. allay (suspicions etc.)
usu. by deception. 4 intr. (of noise, a storm, etc.) abate or
fall quiet. --n. a temporary quiet period in a storm or in any
activity. [ME, imit. of sounds used to quieten a child]
lullaby n. & v. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a soothing song to send a child to
sleep. 2 the music for this. --v.tr. (-ies, -ied) sing to
sleep. [as LULL + -by as in BYE-BYE(2)]
lulu n. sl. a remarkable or excellent person or thing. [19th c.,
perh. f. Lulu, pet form of Louise]
lumbago n. rheumatic pain in the muscles of the lower back. [L f.
lumbar adj. Anat. relating to the loin, esp. the lower back area.
Ьlumbar puncture the withdrawal of spinal fluid from the lower
back with a hollow needle, usu. for diagnosis. [med.L lumbaris
f. L lumbus loin]
lumber(1) v.intr. (usu. foll. by along, past, by, etc.) move in a slow
clumsy noisy way. ЬЬlumbering adj. [ME lomere, perh. imit.]
lumber(2) n. & v. --n. 1 disused articles of furniture etc.
inconveniently taking up space. 2 useless or cumbersome
objects. 3 US partly prepared timber. --v. 1 tr. a (usu.
foll. by with) leave (a person etc.) with something unwanted or
unpleasant (always lumbering me with the cleaning). b (as
lumbered adj.) in an unwanted or inconvenient situation (afraid
of being lumbered). 2 tr. (usu. foll. by together) heap or
group together carelessly. 3 tr. (usu. foll. by up) obstruct.
4 intr. cut and prepare forest timber for transport.
Ьlumber-jacket a jacket, usu. of warm checked material, of the
kind worn by lumberjacks. lumber-room a room where disused or
cumbrous things are kept. ЬЬlumberer n. (in sense 4 of v.).
lumbering n. (in sense 4 of v.). [perh. f. LUMBER(1): later
assoc. with obs. lumber pawnbroker's shop]
n. (also lumberman pl. -men) esp. US one who fells, prepares,
or conveys lumber.
adj. unwieldy, awkward.
n. any of the muscles flexing the fingers or toes. [mod.L
lumbricalis f. L lumbricus earthworm, with ref. to its shape]
lumen n. 1 Physics the SI unit of luminous flux, equal to the amount
of light emitted per second in a unit solid angle of one
steradian from a uniform source of one candela. °Abbr.: lm. 2
Anat. (pl. lumina) a cavity within a tube, cell, etc.
ЬЬluminal adj. [L lumen luminis a light, an opening]
Luminal n. propr. phenobarbitone. [as LUMEN + -al as in veronal]
luminance n. Physics the intensity of light emitted from a surface per
unit area in a given direction. [L luminare illuminate (as
luminary n. (pl. -ies) 1 literary a natural light-giving body, esp. the
sun or moon. 2 a person as a source of intellectual light or
moral inspiration. 3 a prominent member of a group or gathering
(a host of show-business luminaries). [ME f. OF luminarie or LL
luminarium f. L LUMEN]
n. the emission of light by a substance other than as a result
of incandescence. ЬЬluminescent adj. [as LUMEN + -ESCENCE (see
adj. producing or transmitting light.
luminous adj. 1 full of or shedding light; radiant, bright, shining. 2
phosphorescent, visible in darkness (luminous paint). 3 (esp.
of a writer or a writer's work) throwing light on a subject. 4
of visible radiation (luminous intensity). ЬЬluminosity n.
luminously adj. luminousness n. [ME f. OF lumineux or L
lumme int. Brit. sl. an expression of surprise or interest. [=
(Lord) love me]
lummox n. US colloq. a clumsy or stupid person. [19th c. in US &
dial.: orig. unkn.]
lump(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a compact shapeless or unshapely mass. 2 sl. a
quantity or heap. 3 a tumour, swelling, or bruise. 4 a heavy,
dull, or ungainly person. 5 (prec. by the) Brit. casual workers
in the building and other trades. --v. 1 tr. (usu. foll. by
together, with, in with, under, etc.) mass together or group
indiscriminately. 2 tr. carry or throw carelessly (lumping
crates round the yard). 3 intr. become lumpy. 4 intr. (usu.
foll. by along) proceed heavily or awkwardly. 5 intr. (usu.
foll. by down) sit down heavily. Ьin the lump taking things as
a whole; in a general manner. lump in the throat a feeling of
pressure there, caused by emotion. lump sugar sugar shaped into
lumps or cubes. lump sum 1 a sum covering a number of items. 2
money paid down at once (opp. INSTALMENT). ЬЬlumper n. (in
sense 2 of v.). [ME, perh. of Scand. orig.]
lump(2) v.tr. colloq. endure or suffer (a situation) ungraciously.
Ьlike it or lump it put up with something whether one likes it
or not. [imit.: cf. dump, grump, etc.]
n. (pl. -ies) the surgical removal of a usu. cancerous lump
from the breast.
n. (esp. in Marxist terminology) the unorganized and
unpolitical lower orders of society, not interested in
revolutionary advancement. ЬЬlumpen adj. [G f. Lumpen rag,
rogue: see PROLETARIAT]
lumpfish n. (pl. -fishes or -fish) a spiny-finned fish, Cyclopterus
lumpus, of the N. Atlantic with modified pelvic fins for
clinging to objects. [MLG lumpen, MDu. lumpe (perh. = LUMP(1))
lumpish adj. 1 heavy and clumsy. 2 stupid, lethargic. ЬЬlumpishly
adv. lumpishness n.
n. = LUMPFISH.
lumpy adj. (lumpier, lumpiest) 1 full of or covered with lumps. 2
(of water) cut up by the wind into small waves. ЬЬlumpily adv.
lunacy n. (pl. -ies) 1 insanity (orig. of the intermittent kind
attributed to changes of the moon); the state of being a
lunatic. 2 Law such mental unsoundness as interferes with civil
rights or transactions. 3 great folly or eccentricity; a
luna moth n. a N. American moth, Actias luna, with crescent-shaped spots
on its pale green wings. [L luna, = moon (from its markings)]
lunar adj. 1 of, relating to, or determined by the moon. 2 concerned
with travel to the moon and related research. 3 (of light,
glory, etc.) pale, feeble. 4 crescent-shaped, lunate. 5 of or
containing silver (from alchemists' use of luna (= moon) for
'silver'). Ьlunar caustic silver nitrate, esp. in stick form.
lunar cycle = METONIC CYCLE. lunar distance the angular
distance of the moon from the sun, a planet, or a star, used in
finding longitude at sea. lunar module a small craft used for
travelling between the moon's surface and a spacecraft in orbit
around the moon. lunar month 1 the period of the moon's
revolution, esp. the interval between new moons of about 29«
days. 2 (in general use) a period of four weeks. lunar nodes
the points at which the moon's orbit cuts the ecliptic. lunar
observation the finding of longitude by lunar distance. lunar
orbit 1 the orbit of the moon round the earth. 2 an orbit round
the moon. lunar year a period of 12 lunar months. [L lunaris
f. luna moon]
lunate adj. & n. --adj. crescent-shaped. --n. a crescent-shaped
prehistoric implement etc. Ьlunate bone a crescent-shaped bone
in the wrist. [L lunatus f. luna moon]
lunatic n. & adj. --n. 1 an insane person. 2 someone foolish or
eccentric. --adj. mad, foolish. Ьlunatic asylum hist. a
mental home or hospital. lunatic fringe an extreme or eccentric
minority group. [ME f. OF lunatique f. LL lunaticus f. L luna
lunation n. the interval between new moons, about 29« days. [ME f.
med.L lunatio (as LUNATIC)]
lunch n. & v. --n. 1 the meal eaten in the middle of the day. 2 a
light meal eaten at any time. --v. 1 intr. eat one's lunch. 2
tr. provide lunch for. Ьlunch-box a container for a packed
meal. lunch-hour (or -time) a break from work, when lunch is
eaten. ЬЬluncher n. [LUNCHEON]
luncheon n. formal lunch. Ьluncheon meat a usu. tinned block of ground
meat ready to cut and eat. luncheon voucher Brit. a voucher or
ticket issued to employees and exchangeable for food at many
restaurants and shops. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
n. orig. US a small restaurant or snack bar serving light
lune n. Geom. a crescent-shaped figure formed on a sphere or plane
by two arcs intersecting at two points. [F f. L luna moon]
lunette n. 1 an arched aperture in a domed ceiling to admit light. 2 a
crescent-shaped or semicircular space or alcove which contains a
painting, statue, etc. 3 a watch-glass of flattened shape. 4 a
ring through which a hook is placed to attach a vehicle to the
vehicle towing it. 5 a temporary fortification with two faces
forming a salient angle, and two flanks. 6 RC Ch. a holder for
the consecrated host in a monstrance. [F, dimin. of lune (see
lung n. either of the pair of respiratory organs which bring air
into contact with the blood in humans and many other
vertebrates. Ьlung-power the power of one's voice. ЬЬlunged
adj. lungful n. (pl. -fuls). lungless adj. [OE lungen f.
Gmc, rel. to LIGHT(2)]
lunge(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a sudden movement forward. 2 a thrust with a
sword etc., esp. the basic attacking move in fencing. 3 a
movement forward by bending the front leg at the knee while
keeping the back leg straight. --v. 1 intr. make a lunge. 2
intr. (usu. foll. by at, out) deliver a blow from the shoulder
in boxing. 3 tr. drive (a weapon etc.) violently in some
direction. [earlier allonge f. F allonger lengthen f. … to +
lunge(2) n. & v. (also longe) --n. 1 a long rope on which a horse is
held and made to move in a circle round its trainer. 2 a
circular exercise-ground for training horses. --v.tr. exercise
(a horse) with or in a lunge. [F longe, allonge (as LUNGE(1))]
lungfish n. any freshwater fish of the order Dipnoi, having gills and a
modified swim bladder used as lungs, and able to aestivate to
lungi n. (pl. lungis) a length of cotton cloth, usu. worn as a
loincloth in India, or as a skirt in Burma where it is the
national dress for both sexes. [Urdu]
lungwort n. 1 any herbaceous plant of the genus Pulmonaria, esp. P.
officinalis with white-spotted leaves likened to a diseased
lung. 2 a lichen, Lobaria pulmonaria, used as a remedy for lung
lunisolar adj. of or concerning the sun and moon. Ьlunisolar period a
period of 532 years between the repetitions of both solar and
lunar cycles. lunisolar year a year with divisions regulated by
changes of the moon and an average length made to agree with the
solar year. [L luna moon + sol sun]
lunula n. (pl. lunulae) 1 a crescent-shaped mark, esp. the white area
at the base of the fingernail. 2 a crescent-shaped Bronze-Age
ornament. [L, dimin. of luna moon]
lupin n. (also lupine) 1 any plant of the genus Lupinus, with long
tapering spikes of blue, purple, pink, white, or yellow flowers.
2 (in pl.) seeds of the lupin. [ME f. L lupinus]
lupine adj. of or like a wolf or wolves. [L lupinus f. lupus wolf]
lupus n. any of various ulcerous skin diseases, esp. tuberculosis of
the skin. Ьlupus vulgaris tuberculosis with dark red patches on
the skin, usu. due to direct inoculation of the tuberculosis
bacillus into the skin. ЬЬlupoid adj. lupous adj. [L, = wolf]
lur n. (also lure) a bronze S-shaped trumpet of prehistoric times,
still used in Scandinavia to call cattle. [Da. & Norw.]
lurch(1) n. & v. --n. a stagger, a sudden unsteady movement or leaning.
--v.intr. stagger, move suddenly and unsteadily. [orig. Naut.,
lee-lurch alt. of lee-latch drifting to leeward]
lurch(2) n. Ьleave in the lurch desert (a friend etc.) in difficulties.
[orig. = a severe defeat in a game, f. F lourche (also the game
itself, like backgammon)]
lurcher n. 1 Brit. a cross-bred dog, usu. a retriever, collie, or
sheepdog crossed with a greyhound, used esp. for hunting and by
poachers. 2 archaic a petty thief, swindler, or spy. [f. obs.
lurch (v.) var. of LURK]
lure(1) v. & n. --v.tr. 1 (usu. foll. by away, into) entice (a person,
an animal, etc.) usu. with some form of bait. 2 attract back
again or recall (a person, animal, etc.) with the promise of a
reward. --n. 1 a thing used to entice. 2 (usu. foll. by of)
the attractive or compelling qualities (of a pursuit etc.). 3 a
falconer's apparatus for recalling a hawk, consisting of a bunch
of feathers attached to a thong, within which the hawk finds
food while being trained. ЬЬluring adj. luringly adv. [ME f.
OE luere f. Gmc]
lure(2) var. of LUR.
Lurex n. propr. 1 a type of yarn which incorporates a glittering
metallic thread. 2 fabric made from this yarn.
lurid adj. 1 vivid or glowing in colour (lurid orange). 2 of an
unnatural glare (lurid nocturnal brilliance). 3 sensational,
horrifying, or terrible (lurid details). 4 showy, gaudy
(paperbacks with lurid covers). 5 ghastly, wan (lurid
complexion). 6 Bot. of a dingy yellowish brown. Ьcast a lurid
light on explain or reveal (facts or character) in a horrific,
sensational, or shocking way. ЬЬluridly adv. luridness n. [L
luridus f. luror wan or yellow colour]
lurk v. & n. --v.intr. 1 linger furtively or unobtrusively. 2 a
lie in ambush. b (usu. foll. by in, under, about, etc.) hide,
esp. for sinister purposes. 3 (as lurking adj.) latent,
semi-conscious (a lurking suspicion). --n. Austral. sl. a
dodge, racket, or scheme; a method of profitable business.
ЬЬlurker n. [ME perh. f. LOUR with frequent. -k as in TALK]
luscious adj. 1 a richly sweet in taste or smell. b colloq. delicious.
2 (of literary style, music, etc.) over-rich in sound, imagery,
or voluptuous suggestion. 3 voluptuously attractive.
ЬЬlusciously adv. lusciousness n. [ME perh. alt. of obs.
licious f. DELICIOUS]
lush(1) adj. 1 (of vegetation, esp. grass) luxuriant and succulent. 2
luxurious. ЬЬlushly adv. lushness n. [ME, perh. var. of obs.
lash soft, f. OF lasche lax (see LACHES): assoc. with LUSCIOUS]
lush(2) n. & v. esp. US sl. --n. 1 alcohol, liquor. 2 an alcoholic,
a drunkard. --v. 1 tr. & intr. drink (alcohol). 2 tr. ply
with alcohol. [18th c.: perh. joc. use of LUSH(1)]
lust n. & v. --n. 1 strong sexual desire. 2 a (usu. foll. by for,
of) a passionate desire for (a lust for power). b (usu. foll.
by of) a passionate enjoyment of (the lust of battle). 3 (usu.
in pl.) a sensuous appetite regarded as sinful (the lusts of the
flesh). --v.intr. (usu. foll. by after, for) have a strong or
excessive (esp. sexual) desire. ЬЬlustful adj. lustfully adv.
lustfulness n. [OE f. Gmc]
luster US var. of LUSTRE(1).
lustra pl. of LUSTRUM.
lustral adj. relating to or used in ceremonial purification. [L
lustralis (as LUSTRUM)]
lustrate v.tr. purify by expiatory sacrifice, ceremonial washing, or
other such rite. ЬЬlustration n. [L lustrare (as LUSTRUM)]
lustre(1) n. & v. (US luster) --n. 1 gloss, brilliance, or sheen. 2 a
shining or reflective surface. 3 a a thin metallic coating
giving an iridescent glaze to ceramics. b = LUSTREWARE. 4 a
radiance or attractiveness; splendour, glory, distinction (of
achievements etc.) (add lustre to; shed lustre on). 5 a a
prismatic glass pendant on a chandelier etc. b a cut-glass
chandelier or candelabra. 6 a Brit. a thin dress-material with
a cotton warp, woollen weft, and a glossy surface. b any fabric
with a sheen or gloss. --v.tr. put lustre on (pottery, a cloth,
etc.). ЬЬlustreless adj. (US lusterless). lustrous adj.
lustrously adv. lustrousness n. [F f. It. lustro f. lustrare
f. L lustrare illuminate]
lustre(2) n. (US luster) = LUSTRUM. [ME, Anglicized f. LUSTRUM]
n. (US lusterware) ceramics with an iridescent glaze.
lustrum n. (pl. lustra or lustrums) a period of five years. [L, an
orig. purificatory sacrifice after a quinquennial census]
lusty adj. (lustier, lustiest) 1 healthy and strong. 2 vigorous or
lively. ЬЬlustily adv. lustiness n. [ME f. LUST + -Y(1)]
lusus n. (in full lusus naturae) a freak of nature. [L]
lutanist var. of LUTENIST.
lute(1) n. a guitar-like instrument with a long neck and a pear-shaped
body, much used in the 14th-17th c. [ME f. F lut, leЃt, prob.
f. Prov. laЃt f. Arab. al-' ud]
lute(2) n. & v. --n. 1 clay or cement used to stop a hole, make a
joint airtight, coat a crucible, protect a graft, etc. 2 a
rubber seal for a jar etc. --v.tr. apply lute to. [ME f. OF
lut f. L lutum mud, clay]
lutecium var. of LUTETIUM.
lutein n. Chem. a pigment of a deep yellow colour found in egg-yolk
etc. [L luteum yolk of egg, neut. of luteus yellow]
n. Biochem. a hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary gland
that in females stimulates ovulation and in males stimulates the
synthesis of androgen. °Abbr.: LH. [LUTEIN]
lutenist n. (also lutanist) a lute-player. [med.L lutanista f. lutana
luteo- comb. form orange-coloured. [as LUTEOUS + -O-]
luteous adj. of a deep orange yellow or greenish yellow. [L luteus f.
n. archaic a glossy silk fabric. [app. f. lustring f. F
lustrine or It. lustrino f. lustro LUSTRE(1)]
lutetium n. (also lutecium) Chem. a silvery metallic element of the
lanthanide series. °Symb.: Lu. [F lut‚cium f. L Lutetia the
ancient name of Paris]
Lutheran n. & adj. --n. 1 a follower of Martin Luther, Ger. religious
reformer d. 1546. 2 a member of the Church which accepts the
Augsburg confession of 1530, with justification by faith alone
as a cardinal doctrine. --adj. of or characterized by the
theology of Martin Luther. ЬЬLutheranism n. Lutheranize v.tr.
& intr. (also -ise).
n. a bell kept at Lloyd's in London and rung whenever there is
an important announcement to be made to the underwriters. [HMS
Lutine, which sank in 1799, whose bell it was]
luting n. = LUTE(2) n.
lutz n. a jump in ice-skating in which the skater takes off from the
outside back edge of one skate and lands, after a complete
rotation in the air, on the outside back edge of the opposite
skate. [prob. f. Gustave Lussi b. 1898, who invented it]
lux n. (pl. same) Physics the SI unit of illumination, equivalent
to one lumen per square metre. °Abbr.: lx. [L lux lucis light]
luxe n. luxury (cf. DE LUXE). [F f. L luxus]
n. 1 a native or national of Luxemburg. 2 a person of
luxuriant adj. 1 (of vegetation etc.) lush, profuse in growth. 2
prolific, exuberant, rank (luxuriant imagination). 3 (of
literary or artistic style) florid, richly ornate. ЬЬluxuriance
n. luxuriantly adv. [L luxuriare grow rank f. luxuria LUXURY]
luxuriate v.intr. 1 (foll. by in) take self-indulgent delight in, enjoy
in a luxurious manner. 2 take one's ease, relax in comfort.
luxurious adj. 1 supplied with luxuries. 2 extremely comfortable. 3
fond of luxury, self-indulgent, voluptuous. ЬЬluxuriously adv.
luxuriousness n. [ME f. OF luxurios f. L luxuriosus (as
luxury n. (pl. -ies) 1 choice or costly surroundings, possessions,
food, etc.; luxuriousness (a life of luxury). 2 something
desirable for comfort or enjoyment, but not indispensable. 3
(attrib.) providing great comfort, expensive (a luxury flat; a
luxury holiday). [ME f. OF luxurie, luxure f. L luxuria f.
-ly(1) suffix forming adjectives esp. from nouns, meaning: 1 having the
qualities of (princely; manly). 2 recurring at intervals of
(daily; hourly). [from or after OE - lic f. Gmc, rel. to
-ly(2) suffix forming adverbs from adjectives, denoting esp. manner or
degree (boldly; happily; miserably; deservedly; amusingly).
[from or after OE -lice f. Gmc (as -LY(1))]
n. 1 a werewolf. 2 an insane person who believes that he or
she is an animal, esp. a wolf. [mod.L lycanthropus f. Gk (as
n. 1 the mythical transformation of a person into a wolf (see
also WEREWOLF). 2 a form of madness involving the delusion of
being a wolf, with changed appetites, voice, etc. [mod.L
lycanthropia f. Gk lukanthropia f. lukos wolf + anthropos man]
lyc‚e n. (pl. lyc‚es) a State secondary school in France. [F f. L
Lyceum n. 1 a the garden at Athens in which Aristotle taught
philosophy. b Aristotelian philosophy and its followers. 2
(lyceum) US hist. a literary institution, lecture-hall, or
teaching-place. [L f. Gk Lukeion neut. of Lukeios epithet of
Apollo (from whose neighbouring temple the Lyceum was named)]
lychee n. (also litchi, lichee) 1 a sweet fleshy fruit with a thin
spiny skin. 2 the tree, Nephelium litchi, orig. from China,
bearing this. [Chin. lizhi]
lych-gate var. of LICH-GATE.
lychnis n. any herbaceous plant of the genus Lychnis, including ragged
robin. [L f. Gk lukhnis a red flower f. lukhnos lamp]
lycopod n. any of various club-mosses, esp. of the genus Lycopodium.
[Anglicized form of LYCOPODIUM]
n. 1 = LYCOPOD. 2 a fine powder of spores from this, used as
an absorbent in surgery, and in making fireworks etc. [mod.L f.
Gk lukos wolf + pous podos foot]
Lycra n. propr. an elastic polyurethane fibre or fabric used esp.
for close-fitting sports clothing.
Lydian adj. & n. --n. 1 a native or inhabitant of ancient Lydia in W.
Asia Minor. 2 the language of this people. --adj. of or
relating to the people of Lydia or their language. ЬLydian mode
Mus. the mode represented by the natural diatonic scale F-F.
[L Lydius f. Gk Ludios of Lydia]
lye n. 1 water that has been made alkaline by lixiviation of
vegetable ashes. 2 any strong alkaline solution, esp. of
potassium hydroxide used for washing or cleansing. [OE leag f.
Gmc: cf. LATHER]
lying(1) pres. part. of LIE(1). --n. a place to lie (a dry lying).
lying(2) pres. part. of LIE(2). --adj. deceitful, false. ЬЬlyingly adv.
lyke-wake n. Brit. a night-watch over a dead body. [perh. f. ON: cf.
lymph n. 1 Physiol. a colourless fluid containing white blood cells,
drained from the tissues and conveyed through the body in the
lymphatic system. 2 this fluid used as a vaccine. 3 exudation
from a sore etc. 4 poet. pure water. Ьlymph gland (or node) a
small mass of tissue in the lymphatic system where lymph is
purified and lymphocytes are formed. ЬЬlymphoid adj. lymphous
adj. [F lymphe or L lympha, limpa water]
lymphatic adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or secreting or conveying lymph
(lymphatic gland). 2 (of a person) pale, flabby, or sluggish.
--n. a veinlike vessel conveying lymph. Ьlymphatic system a
network of vessels conveying lymph. [orig. = frenzied, f. L
lymphaticus mad f. Gk numpholeptos seized by nymphs: now assoc.
with LYMPH (on the analogy of spermatic etc.)]
n. a form of leucocyte occurring in the blood, in lymph, etc.
lymphoma n. (pl. lymphomata) any malignant tumour of the lymph nodes,
lyncean adj. lynx-eyed, keen-sighted. [L lynceus f. Gk lugkeios f.
lynch v.tr. (of a body of people) put (a person) to death for an
alleged offence without a legal trial. Ьlynch law the procedure
of a self-constituted illegal court that punishes or executes.
ЬЬlyncher n. lynching n. [Lynch's law, after Capt. W. Lynch
of Virginia c.1780]
lynchet n. (in the UK) a ridge or ledge formed by ancient ploughing on
a slope. [linch f. OE hlinc: cf. LINKS]
lynchpin var. of LINCHPIN.
lynx n. 1 a medium-sized cat, Felis lynx, with short tail, spotted
fur, and tufted ear-tips. 2 its fur. Ьlynx-eyed keen-sighted.
ЬЬlynxlike adj. [ME f. L f. Gk lugx]
Lyon n. (in full Lord Lyon or Lyon King of Arms) the chief herald of
Scotland. ЬLyon Court the court over which he presides.
[archaic form. of LION: named f. the lion on the royal shield]
lyophilic adj. (of a colloid) readily dispersed by a solvent. [Gk luo
loosen, dissolve + Gk philos loving]
v.tr. (also -ise) freeze-dry.
lyophobic adj. (of a colloid) not lyophilic. [Gk luo loosen, dissolve +
-PHOBIC (see -PHOBIA)]
lyrate adj. Biol. lyre-shaped.
lyre n. Gk Antiq. an ancient stringed instrument like a small
U-shaped harp, played usu. with a plectrum and accompanying the
voice. Ьlyre-bird any Australian bird of the family Menuridae,
the male of which has a lyre-shaped tail display. lyre-flower a
bleeding heart. [ME f. OF lire f. L lyra f. Gk lura]
lyric adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of poetry) expressing the writer's
emotions, usu. briefly and in stanzas or recognized forms. 2
(of a poet) writing in this manner. 3 of or for the lyre. 4
meant to be sung, fit to be expressed in song, songlike (lyric
drama; lyric opera). --n. 1 a lyric poem or verse. 2 (in pl.)
lyric verses. 3 (usu. in pl.) the words of a song. [F lyrique
or L lyricus f. Gk lurikos (as LYRE)]
lyrical adj. 1 = LYRIC. 2 resembling, couched in, or using language
appropriate to, lyric poetry. 3 colloq. highly enthusiastic
(wax lyrical about). ЬЬlyrically adv. lyricalness n.
lyricism n. 1 the character or quality of being lyric or lyrical. 2 a
lyrical expression. 3 high-flown sentiments.
lyricist n. a person who writes the words to a song.
lyrist n. 1 a person who plays the lyre. 2 a lyric poet. [L lyrista
f. Gk luristes f. lura lyre]
lyse v.tr. & intr. bring about or undergo lysis. [back-form. f.
n. a crystalline acid extracted from ergot or prepared
synthetically. Ьlysergic acid diethylamide a powerful
hallucinogenic drug. °Abbr.: LSD. [hydro lysis + ergot + -IC]
lysin n. a protein in the blood able to cause lysis. [G Lysine]
lysine n. Biochem. an amino acid present in protein and essential in
the diet of vertebrates. [G Lysin, ult. f. LYSIS]
lysis n. (pl. lyses) the disintegration of a cell. [L f. Gk lusis
loosening f. luo loosen]
-lysis comb. form forming nouns denoting disintegration or
decomposition (electrolysis; haemolysis).
Lysol n. propr. a mixture of cresols and soft soap, used as a
disinfectant. [LYSIS + -OL(2)]
lysosome n. a cytoplasmic organelle in eukaryotic cells containing
degradative enzymes enclosed in a membrane. [LYSIS + -SOME(3)]
lysozyme n. Biochem. an enzyme found in tears and egg-white which
catalyses the destruction of cell walls of certain bacteria.
[LYSIS + ENZYME]
lytic adj. of, relating to, or causing lysis.
-lytic comb. form forming adjectives corresponding to nouns in -lysis.
[Gk lutikos (as LYSIS)]