Labour: Short for UK Labour Party, formed 1906 by trade unions and other political bodies. From Latin “laborem”=work, distress, trouble.
labyrinth: Complex, difficult to navigate, network of paths. From Greek “labyrinthos”=maze. Possibly related to “labrus”=double axe.
lachanopolist: Greengrocer, seller of produce. Obscure and last recorded 1656. From Greek “lacanon”=vegetable + “polis”=dealer.
lagan: Goods thrown into the sea marked by a buoy for later retrieval. Possibly from Old Norse “leggja”=to lie.
lager: Short version of “lager beer.” From Old High German “legar”=place of laying down; storehouse. Thus beer for storing/keeping.
lament: Express great sadness about something. From Latin “lamentationem “=wailing or weeping < “lamentum”=a wailing.
lanate: Covered in wool. From Latin “lanatus”=wool + “-ate”=suffix to create participial adjectives.
languor: Feeling of slowness, laziness, stagnation. From Latin “languor”=faintness, exhaustion, weariness, sickness > “languere” to be weak
Las Vegas: Desert city in Nevada, USA, famous for gambling, entertainment, and extravagant hotels. From Spanish “las”=the + “vegas”=meadows.
late: Happening after an expected time. From Old English “laet”=slow or sluggish. The meaning “deceased” is from the 1400’s.
latitude: Freedom of action or choice. From Latin “latitudo”=breadth, scope, size < “latus”=wide + “-tude”=suffix to create abstract nouns.
laze: To lie or act in a sleepy listless fashion. Back formation of “lazy”=obscure origin poss. < Middle High German “lasich, losich”=fragile.
levophobia: Abnormal fear of things to the left side of the body. From Latin “laevo-“=to the left + Greek “phobia”=fear.
lexiphanes: A person using bombastic phraseology. From Greek “lexiphanis” < “lexis”=word or phrase + “phinein”=to show.
liar: One who engages in telling deliberate untruths. From West Saxon “leogen”=to be untruthful.
libel: Defamatory written statement about a person. Original a short treatise or book. Old French “libel(le)” < Latin “liber”=book.
libido: Psychic drive or energy, usually sexual in nature. From Latin “libido”=lust < “libere”=to please.
lies: Untruths (noun), typically with intent to deceive; or to tell untruths (verb). From Old English “legan”=to tell a lie.
lightning: Flash of light caused by atmospheric discharge of electricity. From Old English “lihting”=to make bright.
limbo: region bordering Hell. Catholic mythology place for unbaptized individuals. From Latin “limbus”-border.
limerick: Comic verse of 5 lines. From c19th party game of invented nonsense verse, ending “Will you come to Limerick” < Irish “liumneach.”
limpid: Clear or transparent, oft used to describe eyes, From Latin “limpidus”=clear < “lympja”=clear liquid < ?Greek “nymph”=water goddess.
line: Piece of cord or string, often as used in fishing. Merged from two origins: Old English “line”=cord, and Latin “linia”=linen thread.
lipogram: a piece of text that purposely omits a specific letter. From Greek “leipen”= wanting/missing + “gram”=written.
literati: Men of letters or generally an educated, well-read class. Plural of Latin “litteratus” < “littera”=letter.
loathe: To have an intense dislike or aversion to something or someone. From Old English “lathian”=to be hateful or displeasing.
lobster: Large edible crustacean with stalked eyes, large claws, and a long abdomen. From Old English “loppestre”=spider.
lock: Mechanism on a gun that causes a charge to explode. From Old English “loc”=bolt or fastening.
logic: Principles and criteria for assessing validity of inferences and demonstration. From Latin “logica” < Greek “logos”=reason.
logodaedaly: Cunning in words, skill in adorning a speech. From Greek “logodaidalia” < “logos”=word + “daidalos”=cunning.
loner: Person who avoids company and prefers to be alone. Contraction of “alone” < Old English “all ana” + suffix “er”=person.
loquacious: Full of trivial conversation. Latin “loqui”=to speak + “-osus”=adjective-forming suffix meaning “full of.”
Los Angeles: Largest city in California, USA; second largest in the USA. From Spanish “los angeles”=the angels.
lost: State of not knowing where you are. From past ppl. “lose” = Old English “losian” < Old Norse “los”=breaking up of an army.
louche: Questionable, shady, immoral, or not reputable. From Old French “lousche”=squinting < Latin “lusca”=one-eyed.
love: Very strong affection for someone out of kinship or personal ties. From Old English “lufu”=affection, fondness < “lufen”=hope.
low: To make a sound like a cow. Mooing. From Old English “hlowen”=make a noise like an ox or cattle.
lubricious: Sexually stimulating, salacious or lustful. From Latin “lubricus”=to make slippery < “lubricus”=slippery.
lucid: Transparent, clear, easily understood. From Latin “lucidis”=bright and clear < “lux”=light + “-id”=suffix = “inclined to.”
lucifer: Satan or morning star. From Latin “lucifer”=morning star < “lux”=light + “ferre”=to carry; literally “bringer of light.”
lucrative: Activity that generates lots of money; wealth producing. From Latin “lucrativus”=profitable < “lucrum”=to profit or to gain.
lucre: Money or wealth, but usually used negatively in the phrase “filthy lucre.” From Latin “lucrum”=profit or material gain.
lullaby: soothing song, typically to help a child sleep. From about 1560’s Middle English “lullen”=to cause to rest/sleep + “by”=?bye-bye.
lunacy: Madness or insanity, once thought to be caused by the moon. From Latin “lunatic”=mad person + “-acy”=in the state of.
lunatic: Showing mad, crazy behavior. From Latin “luna”=moon + “-atic”=in the nature of. Astrological trait related to the moon’s influence.
lunch: Midday meal. Shortened “luncheon” (1580) > Middle English “lump”=chunk/piece. Used of food 16th century e.g. a lunch of pork.
lunomancy: Telling the future by shadows from the moon on someone’s face. From Latin “luna”=moon + Greek “manteia”=divination.
lupicide: The act of killing a wolf. From Latin “lupus”=wolf + “-cide”=”killer, slayer, or cutter.