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    Los Angeles — low-life (adj.)

    Los Angeles

    city in southern California, U.S., founded 1781; the modern name is short for the original, given variously as El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles or El Pueblo de la Reyna de los Ángeles.ETD Los Angeles.2

    lose (v.)

    Old English losian "be lost, perish," from los "destruction, loss," from Proto-Germanic *lausa- (source also of Old Norse los "the breaking up of an army;" Old English forleosan "to lose, destroy," Old Frisian forliasa, Old Saxon farliosan, Middle Dutch verliesen, Old High German firliosan, German verlieren, as well as English -less, loss, loose). The Germanic word is from PIE *leus-, an extended form of root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart."ETD lose (v.).2

    The verb also is merged with, or has taken the (weaker) sense of, the related Middle English leese "be deprived of, lose" (Old English leosan, a class II strong verb whose past participle loren survives in forlorn and love-lorn), from Proto-Germanic *leusanan (source also of Old High German virliosan, German verlieren, Old Frisian urliasa, Gothic fraliusan "to lose").ETD lose (v.).3

    Hence lose in the transitive senses "part with accidentally, be deprived of, miss the possession or knowledge of" (money, blood, sleep, hair, etc.), c. 1200; "fail to keep, lose track of" (mid-13c.). Meaning "fail to preserve or maintain" is from mid-15c. Meaning "fail to gain or win" (something) is from c.1300; intransitive meaning "fail to win" (a game, contest, lawsuit, etc.) is from late 14c. Meaning "to cause (someone) to lose his way" is from 1640s; meaning "cease to have, be rid of" (something unwanted) is from 1660s.ETD lose (v.).4

    To lose heart "become discouraged" is from 1744; to lose (one's) heart "fall in love" is from 1630s. To lose (one's) mind "become insane" is attested from c. 1500. To lose out "fail" is 1858, American English. To lose it "become distraught, break down and lose control of oneself" is by 1990s; the it probably being one's self-control or grip on reality. Related: Lost; losing.ETD lose (v.).5

    loser (n.)

    mid-14c., "a destroyer" (a sense now obsolete), agent noun from lose (v.). Sense of "one who suffers loss" is from 1540s; meaning "horse that loses a race" is from 1902; "convicted criminal" is from 1912; "hapless person, one who habitually fails to win" is by 1955 in U.S. student slang. Bad loser (also poor, sore, etc.) "one who takes defeat with bad grace" is by 1892.ETD loser (n.).2

    loss (n.)

    Old English los "ruin, destruction," from Proto-Germanic *lausa- (from PIE root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart"), with an etymological sense of "dissolution." But this seems scarcely to have survived in Middle English, and the modern word, with a weaker sense, "failure to hold, keep, or preserve what was in one's possession; failure to gain or win," probably evolved 14c. from lost, the past participle of lose.ETD loss (n.).2

    Phrase at a loss "confused, uncertain" (1590s) is a phrase from hunting, in reference to hounds losing the scent. To cut (one's) losses is from 1885, originally in finance. The retailer's loss-leader "advertised product sold at cost or below" (to entice customers in to buy other things as well) is from 1922.ETD loss (n.).3

    lossy (adj.)

    "characterized by loss," 1948, a term in electrical engineering, from loss + -y (2).ETD lossy (adj.).2

    loss-proof (adj.)

    1963, from loss (n.) + proof (n.).ETD loss-proof (adj.).2

    lost (adj.)

    c. 1300; "wasted, ruined, spent in vain," c. 1500; also "no longer to be found, gone astray" (1520s), past-participle adjectives from lose. Meaning "spiritually ruined, inaccessible to good influence" is from 1640s. Related: Lostness.ETD lost (adj.).2

    Of battles, games, etc. in which one has been defeated, 1724; hence Lost Cause in reference to the bid for independence by the southern states of the U.S., first as the title of the 1866 pro-Southern history of the CSA and the rebellion written by Virginia journalist E.A. Pollard (1832-1872). Lost Generation in reference to the youth that came of age when World War I broke is first attested 1926 in Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises," where he credits it to Gertrude Stein. Lost-and-found as the name of a department where misplaced articles are brought or sought is by 1907.ETD lost (adj.).3

    lot (n.)

    Old English hlot "object used to determine someone's share" (anything from dice to straw, but often a chip of wood with a name inscribed on it), also "what falls to a person by lot," from Proto-Germanic *khlutom (source also of Old Norse hlutr "lot, share," Old Frisian hlot "lot," Old Saxon hlot, Middle Dutch, Dutch lot, Old High German hluz "share of land," German Los), from a strong verb (the source of Old English hleotan "to cast lots, obtain by lot; to foretell"). The whole group is of unknown origin.ETD lot (n.).2

    The object was placed with others in a receptacle (such as a hat or helmet), which was shaken, the winner being the one whose name or mark was on the lot that fell out first. Hence the expression cast lots; to cast (one's) lot with another (1530s, originally biblical) is to agree to share winnings. In some cases the lots were drawn by hand, hence to draw lots. The word was adopted from Germanic into the Romanic languages (Spanish lote, and compare lottery, lotto).ETD lot (n.).3

    Meaning "choice resulting from the casting of lots" first attested c. 1200. Meaning "share or portion of life" in any way, "that which is given by fate, God or destiny" is from c. 1300. Meaning "number of persons or things of the same kind" is from 1570s (compare Latin mala merx, of persons, literally "a bad lot"). Sense of "plot of land" is first recorded 1630s, American English (distribution of the most desirable properties in new settlements often was determined by casting lots), then especially "parcel of land set aside for a specified purpose" (the Hollywood sense is from 1928). The common U.S. city lot was a rectangle 25 feet wide (along the street) by 100 deep; it was so universal as to be sometimes a unit of measure.ETD lot (n.).4

    Meaning "group, collection" is 1725, from the notion of auction lots. Lots in the generalized sense of "great many" is attested by 1812; lotsa, colloquial for "lots of," is from 1927; lotta for "lot of" is by 1906.ETD lot (n.).5

    lote (n.)

    c. 1500, Englished form of lotus. Related: Lote-tree.ETD lote (n.).2

    loth (adj.)

    alternative spelling of loath.ETD loth (adj.).2


    masc. proper name, Italian, from Old High German Hlothari, Hludher (whence German Luther, French Lothaire; the Old English equivalent was Hloðhere), literally "famous warrior," from Old High German lut (see loud) + heri "host, army" (see harry (v.)). As a characteristic name for a jaunty rake, 1756, from "the gay Lothario," name of the principal male character in Nicholas Rowe's "The Fair Penitent" (1703).ETD Lothario.2

    lotion (n.)

    c. 1400, loscion, "liquid preparation for application to the skin," from Old French lotion (14c.), from Latin lotionem (nominative lotio) "a washing," noun of action from lotus (varied contraction of lavatus), popular form of lautus, past participle of lavere "to wash" (from PIE root *leue- "to wash").ETD lotion (n.).2

    lotion (v.)

    1817, from lotion (n.). There is a nonce-use from 1768. Related: Lotioned; lotioning.ETD lotion (v.).2

    lotophagi (n.)

    c. 1600, literally "lotus-eaters," from Greek lotophagoi (plural), from lotos (see lotus) + -phagos "eating" (from PIE root *bhag- "to share out, apportion; to get a share"). Related: Lotophagous.ETD lotophagi (n.).2

    lottery (n.)

    1560s, "arrangement for an awarding of prizes by chance among those buying tickets," from Italian lotteria, from lotto "lot, portion, share," from a Germanic source. It is cognate with Old English hlot (see lot (n.)), and compare lotto. French loterie is from Middle Dutch loterje, from the same Germanic source. Formerly they were typically used to raise money for some state or charitable purpose.ETD lottery (n.).2


    also Lotta, fem. proper name, a diminutive of Charlotte.ETD Lottie.2

    lotto (n.)

    1778 as the name of a bingo-like game of chance, from French loto and directly from Italian lotto "a lot," from or with Old French lot "lot, share, reward, prize" a borrowing from Frankish or some other Germanic source (compare Old English and Old Frisian hlot; see lot (n.)). In reference to the drawing of numbers to match those on the cards. Meaning "a lottery, a game of chance" is attested from 1827.ETD lotto (n.).2

    lotus (n.)

    a name given to various plants, not all related or alike, 1540s, from Latin lotus, from Greek lotos, a word used as a name for several plants before it came to mean Egyptian white lotus (a sense attested in English from 1580s). It is perhaps from Semitic (compare Hebrew lot "myrrh"). The plant bears a prominent part in the mythology of India, Egypt, China. The Homeric lotus later was held to be a North African shrub, from which "a kind of wine" [Century Dictionary] can be made. The name has also been given to several species of water-lilies and a bean that grows in water. The yogic sense is attested from 1848.ETD lotus (n.).2

    It was believed to induce a dreamy forgetfulness, hence lotus-eater "one who finds pleasure in a listless life" (1812) is from Greek lotophagoi, mentioned in "Odyssey," book IX (see lotophagi).ETD lotus (n.).3

    louche (adj.)

    "dubious, disreputable," 1819, from French louche "squinting," from Old French lousche, lois (12c.) "cross-eyed, squint-eyed, lop-sided," from Latin lusca, fem. of luscus "blind in one eye, one-eyed," from Proto-Italic *luk-sko- "with partial sight, visually handicapped," from PIE *luk- "to see" or *leuk- "light" [de Vaan].ETD louche (adj.).2

    loudness (n.)

    Old English hludnis "loudness, clamor;" see loud + -ness.ETD loudness (n.).2

    loud (adj.)

    Middle English, from Old English hlud "noisy; making or emitting noise" (of voices, musical instruments, etc.), from Proto-Germanic *hludaz "heard" (source also of Old Frisian and Old Saxon hlud, Middle Dutch luut, Dutch luid, Old High German hlut, German laut "loud"), from PIE *klutos- (source also of Sanskrit srutah, Greek klytos "heard of, celebrated," Latin inclutus "renowned, famous," Armenian lu "known," Irish cloth "noble, brave," Welsh clod "praise, fame"), suffixed form of root *kleu- "to hear."ETD loud (adj.).2

    Of places, "noisy," from 1590s. Application to colors, garments, etc. ("flashy, showy") is by 1849. Also used colloquially of notably strong or bad smells. Paired with clear (adj.) at least since c. 1650.ETD loud (adj.).3

    loud (adv.)

    Old English hlude "loudly, noisily," from Proto-Germanic *khludai (source also of Dutch luid, German laut), from the source of loud (adj.).ETD loud (adv.).2

    loudly (adv.)

    c. 1400, from loud + -ly (2).ETD loudly (adv.).2

    loud-mouth (n.)

    also loudmouth, "loud or overly talkative person," 1872, from loud (adj.) + mouth (n.). As an adjective from 1660s; loud-mouth'd is from 1620s.ETD loud-mouth (n.).2

    loud-speaker (n.)

    also loudspeaker, "device for amplifying sound using an electric current," 1898, from loud (adj.) + speaker (n.).ETD loud-speaker (n.).2

    lough (n.)

    "a lake, pool," early 14c., Anglo-Celtic, representing a northern form of Irish and Gaelic loch, Welsh llwch, from PIE *laku- (see lake (n.1), and compare loch).ETD lough (n.).2


    masc. proper name, from French Louis, from Old French Loois, probably via Medieval Latin Ludovicus, a Latinization of Old High German Hluodowig, literally "famous in war" (cognate with Clovis; for etymology see Ludwig).ETD Louis.2

    As the name of a French gold coin 17c.-18c., short for Louis d'or, from the French kings of that name (originally Louis XIII) pictured on the coins. Louis-Quatorze (1855) refers to styles reminiscent of the time of King Louis XIV of France (1643-1715).ETD Louis.3


    also Louisa, fem. proper name, from French, fem. of Louis.ETD Louise.2


    French colony, from 1812 a U.S. state, named 1682 by French explorer la Salle for Louis XIV of France. The name originally applied to the entire Mississippi basin. Related: Louisianian. The Louisiana Purchase, accomplished in 1803, was so called by 1806.ETD Louisiana.2

    lounge (v.)

    c. 1500, "to loll idly, act or rest lazily and indifferently, move indolently if at all," Scottish, a word of uncertain origin. The meaning "recline lazily" is from 1746. Perhaps [Barnhart] it is from French s'allonger (paresseusement) "to lounge about, lie at full length," from Old French alongier "lengthen," from Latin longus "long" (see long (adj.)).ETD lounge (v.).2

    Another etymology traces it through the obsolete noun lungis "slow, lazy person" (c. 1560), which is from French longis "an idle, stupid dreamer," a special application, for some obscure reason, in Old French of the proper name Longis, which is from Latin Longius, Longinus. In old mystery plays and apocryphal gospels, Longinus is the name of the centurion who pierces Christ's side with a spear; the name perhaps was suggested by Greek longe "a lance" in John xix.34. But popular etymology associated the name directly with long (adj.). Related: Lounged; lounging; lounger. Scottish and Northern English also had slounge "to hang about lazily" (compare slouch).ETD lounge (v.).3

    lounging (n.)

    1790, verbal noun from lounge (v.). Lounge chair is from 1841.ETD lounging (n.).2

    lounge (n.)

    1806 as "act of lounging;" 1830 as "couch on which one can lie at full length;" 1881 as "comfortable drawing room" (suitable for lounging); from lounge (v.). Earlier senses, now out of use, were "pastime" (1788), "place for gathering" (1775). Lounge lizard is by 1917, perhaps 1912, originally in reference to men who loitered in tea rooms to flirt.ETD lounge (n.).2

    loupe (n.)

    "watchmaker's magnifier," 1909, from French loupe.ETD loupe (n.).2

    lour (v.)

    "to frown," late 13c. variant of lower (v.2). Related: Loured; louring.ETD lour (v.).2

    louse (n.)

    parasitic insect infesting human hair and skin, Old English lus, from Proto-Germanic *lus (source also of Old Norse lus, Middle Dutch luus, Dutch luis, Old High German lus, German Laus), from PIE *lus- "louse" (source also of Welsh lleuen "louse").ETD louse (n.).2

    The meaning "obnoxious person" is from 1630s. The plural lice (Old English lys) shows effects of i-mutation. Grose ["Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1785] has louse ladder "A stitch fallen in a stocking."ETD louse (n.).3

    louse (v.)

    late 14c., "to clear of lice," from louse (n.). Compare delouse. Related: Loused; lousing. To louse up "ruin, botch" first attested 1934, from a literal sense (in reference to bedding), from 1931.ETD louse (v.).2

    lousy (adj.)

    mid-14c., lousi, "infested with lice," from louse (n.) + -y (2). Figurative use as a generic adjective of abuse dates from late 14c.; sense of "swarming with" (money, etc.) is American English slang from 1843. Related: Lousiness.ETD lousy (adj.).2

    lout (n.)

    1540s, "awkward fellow, boor, bumpkin," of uncertain origin. Perhaps a noun from a dialectal survival of Middle English louten (v.) "bow down" (c. 1300), from Old English lutan "bow low," from Proto-Germanic *lut- "to bow, bend, stoop" (source also of Old Norse lutr "stooping," which itself might also be the source of the modern English word).ETD lout (n.).2

    According to Watkins this is from PIE *leud- "to lurk" (source also of Gothic luton "to deceive," Old English lot "deceit), also "to be small" (see little). Non-Germanic cognates probably include Lithuanian liūdėti "to mourn;" Old Church Slavonic luditi "to deceive," ludu "foolish." Sense of "cad" is first attested 1857 in British schoolboy slang.ETD lout (n.).3

    loutish (adj.)

    1550s, from lout + -ish. Related: Loutishly; loutishness.ETD loutish (adj.).2

    louver (n.)

    also louvre, early 14c., "domed turret-like structure atop a building to disperse smoke and admit light," from Old French lovier, a word of uncertain origin. One theory [OED, Barnhart] connects it to Medieval Latin *lodarium, which might be from a Germanic source (compare Old High German louba "upper room, roof;" see lobby). Skeat and Klein's sources suggest it is from French l'ouvert, literally "the open place," from le, definite article, + past participle of ouvrir "to open." Century Dictionary finds this "quite untenable."ETD louver (n.).2

    Meaning "overlapping strips in a window" (to let in air but keep out rain) first recorded 1550s. The form has been influenced by apparently unrelated French Louvre, the name of the palace in Paris, which is said to be so named because its builder, Philip Augustus, intended it as a wolf kennel. Related: Louvered, louvred.ETD louver (n.).3

    lovable (adj.)

    also loveable, mid-14c., from love (v.) + -able. Related: Lovably.ETD lovable (adj.).2

    loving (adj.)

    "affectionate," early 14c. (Old English had lufende "affectionate"), verbal noun from love (v.). Loving-cup, made for several to drink from, is attested from 1808. Loving-kindness was Coverdale's word to describe God's love (Psalm lxxxix.33).ETD loving (adj.).2

    love (v.)

    Old English lufian "to feel love for, cherish, show love to; delight in, approve," from Proto-Germanic *lubojanan (source also of Old High German lubon, German lieben), a verb from the root of love (n.). Weakened sense of "like" attested by c. 1200. Intransitive sense "be in love, have a passionate attachment" is from mid-13c. To love (someone) up "make out with" is from 1921. To love and leave is from 1885.ETD love (v.).2

    love (n.)

    Old English lufu "feeling of love; romantic sexual attraction; affection; friendliness; the love of God; Love as an abstraction or personification," from Proto-Germanic *lubo (source also of Old High German liubi "joy," German Liebe "love;" Old Norse, Old Frisian, Dutch lof; German Lob "praise;" Old Saxon liof, Old Frisian liaf, Dutch lief, Old High German liob, German lieb, Gothic liufs "dear, beloved"). The Germanic words are from PIE root *leubh- "to care, desire, love."ETD love (n.).2

    The weakened sense "liking, fondness" was in Old English. Meaning "a beloved person" is from early 13c. The sense "no score" (in tennis, etc.) is 1742, from the notion of playing for love (1670s), that is, for no stakes. Phrase for love or money "for anything" is attested from 1580s. The phrase no love lost (between two people) is ambiguous and was used 17c. in reference to two who love each other well (c. 1640) as well as two who have no liking for each other (1620s, the usual modern sense).ETD love (n.).3

    To fall in love is attested from early 15c.; to be in love with (someone) is from c. 1500. To make love is from 1570s in the sense "pay amorous attention to;" as a euphemism for "have sex," it is attested from c. 1950. Love affair "a particular experience of love" is from 1590s. Love life "one's collective amorous activities" is from 1919, originally a term in psychological jargon. Love beads is from 1968. Love bug, imaginary insect, is from 1883. Love-handles "the fat on one's sides" is by 1967.ETD love (n.).4

    lovely (adj.)

    Old English luflic "affectionate, loving; loveable;" see love (n.) + -ly (1). Sense of "lovable on account of beauty, attractive" is from c. 1300; in modern use "applied indiscriminately to all pleasing material objects, from a piece of plum-cake to a Gothic cathedral" [George P. Marsh, "The Origin and History of the English Language," 1862]. As an expression of delight, 1610s.ETD lovely (adj.).2

    loved (adj.)

    c. 1300, past-participle adjective from love (v.). Loved ones "friends and relations" (especially those deceased) is by 1793, earlier often beloved ones.ETD loved (adj.).2

    loving (n.)

    "love, friendship," also "sexual love," late 14c., verbal noun from love (v.).ETD loving (n.).2

    love-apple (n.)

    old name for "tomato," 1570s, translating French pomme d'amour, corresponding to German Liebesapfel, etc., but the alleged aphrodisiac qualities that supposedly inspired the name seem far-fetched. The phrase also has been explained as a mangled transliteration of the Italian name pomo d'oro (by 1560s), taken as from adorare "to adore," but probably rather from d'or "of gold" (the earliest tomatoes brought to Italy in the mid-1500s apparently were of the yellow or orange variety), or, less likely, pomo de'Mori or Spanish pome dei Moro, literally "Moorish apple."ETD love-apple (n.).2

    love-bird (n.)

    also lovebird, 1590s, small species of West African parrot, noted for the remarkable attention mating pairs pay to one another; figurative sense of "a lover" is attested from 1911.ETD love-bird (n.).2

    love-child (n.)

    "child born out of wedlock, child of illicit love," 1798, from love (n.) + child. Compare German Liebeskind. Earlier was love brat (17c.).ETD love-child (n.).2

    love-hate (adj.)

    expressing ambivalent and strong feelings toward someone or something, 1935, originally in the jargon of psychology, from love + hate.ETD love-hate (adj.).2


    affectionate pet name, 1731, from love (n.) + -y (3). Extended form lovey-dovey attested from 1819 (n.), 1847 as an adjective.ETD lovey.2

    love-knot (n.)

    bow or ribbon tied in a particular way, as a love token, late 14c., from love (n.) + knot (n.).ETD love-knot (n.).2

    Lovelace (n.)

    "fine-mannered libertine" [Century Dictionary], from the name of the hero of Richardson's "Clarissa Harlowe" (1748).ETD Lovelace (n.).2

    loveless (adj.)

    early 14c., "feeling no love;" late 14c. "unloved, not attracting love," from love (n.) + -less. Attested from mid-13c. as a surname. Related: Lovelessly; lovelessness.ETD loveless (adj.).2

    love-letter (n.)

    mid-13c., from love (n.) + letter (n.).ETD love-letter (n.).2

    loveliness (n.)

    mid-14c., lufliness, "lovableness," from lovely + -ness. Original sense now obsolete; the meaning "exquisite beauty" is attested by c. 1600.ETD loveliness (n.).2

    lovelily (adv.)

    "in a lovely way," early 14c., from lovely + -ly (2).ETD lovelily (adv.).2

    love-longing (n.)

    c. 1300, luue langing, from love (n.) + longing (n.).ETD love-longing (n.).2

    love-lorn (adj.)

    also lovelorn, "pining for love," 1630s, from love (n.) + lorn. It seems to be first in Milton.ETD love-lorn (adj.).2

    love-making (n.)

    "courtship," mid-15c.; see love (n.) + make (v.). Phrase make love is attested from 1570s in the sense "pay amorous attention to;" as a euphemism for "have sex," it is attested from c. 1950.ETD love-making (n.).2

    lover (n.)

    "one who is enamored, person in love," early 13c., agent noun from love (v.). Old English had lufend for male lovers, lufestre for women. Meaning "one who has a predilection for" (a thing, concept, pursuit, etc.) is mid-14c. As a form of address to a lover, from 1911. Related: Loverly (adj.) "like a lover, suitable for a lover" (1853); loverless (1819).ETD lover (n.).2

    Lover's quarrel is from 1660s; lover's leap, usually involving a local crag and a fanciful story, is by 1712; Lover's Lane for a remote and shady road, little-traveled and thus popular with lovers, is by 1853. It seems also to have been an actual road-name in some places.ETD lover (n.).3

    lover-boy (n.)

    "boyfriend, male paramour," by 1852; see lover (n.) + boy (n.).ETD lover-boy (n.).2

    loverly (adj.)

    representing in print a Cockney pronunciation of lovely (adj.), 1907; also see R.ETD loverly (adj.).2

    love-scene (n.)

    "a marked exhibition of mutual love; an interview between lovers; a pictured, written, or acted representation of such an interview" [Century Dictionary], by 1630s, from love (n.) + scene.ETD love-scene (n.).2

    love-seat (n.)

    1904, from love (n.) + seat (n.).ETD love-seat (n.).2

    lovesick (adj.)

    also love-sick, "languishing with amorous desire," 1520s, from love (n.) + sick (adj.). Related: Lovesickness.ETD lovesick (adj.).2

    lovesome (adj.)

    Old English lufsum "worthy of love," from love (n.) + -some (1). Early 13c. as "lovely," 1720 as "amorous." An old word that yet might be useful in its original sense. Related: Lovesomely; lovesomeness.ETD lovesome (adj.).2

    love-song (n.)

    "amorous song," late 14c., earlier "song of praise" (Tech me, iesu, þi loue song); in late Old English, "hymn," from love (n.) + song (n.).ETD love-song (n.).2

    lovestruck (adj.)

    also love-struck, by 1762, from love (n.) + struck, from strike (v.). Love-stricken is attested from 1805.ETD lovestruck (adj.).2

    love-tap (n.)

    "gentle blow given affectionately," 1848, from love (n.) + tap (n.2).ETD love-tap (n.).2

    lovingly (adv.)

    late 14c., from loving (adj.) + -ly (2).ETD lovingly (adv.).2

    low (v.)

    Old English hlowan "moo, make a noise like a cow," from Proto-Germanic imitative *khlo- (source also of Middle Dutch loeyen, Dutch loeien, Old Low Franconian luon, Old High German hluojen). This is perhaps identical with the imitative PIE root *kele- (2) "to shout."ETD low (v.).2

    low (n.2)

    "hill, small eminence," obsolete except in place names, from Old English hlaw "hill, mound," especially "barrow," a noun related to hleonian "to lean," from PIE root *klei- "to lean." Compare Latin clivus "hill," Greek klitys "side of a hill," from the same PIE root.ETD low (n.2).2

    low (adv.)

    "near the ground, not high," c. 1200, from low (adj.). Of voices or sounds, from c. 1300.ETD low (adv.).2

    low (adj.)

    "not high, below the usual level," late 13c., earlier lah (late 12c.), "not rising much, being near the base or ground" (of objects or persons), also "lying on the ground or in a deep place" (late 13c.). This is not found in Old English, so the word is probably from Old Norse lagr "low, low-down, short; humble," or a similar Scandinavian source (compare Swedish låg, Danish lav), from Proto-Germanic *lega- "lying flat, low" (source also of Old Frisian lech, Middle Dutch lage, Dutch laag "low," dialectal German läge "flat"), from PIE root *legh- "to lie down, lay."ETD low (adj.).2

    In reference to sounds, "not loud," also "having a deep pitch," from c. 1300. Meaning "humble in rank" is from c. 1200; "undignified, not high in character" is from 1550s; meaning "coarse, vulgar" is from 1759. Sense of "dejected, dispirited" is attested from 1737. Of prices, from c. 1400. In geographical usage, low refers to the part of a country near the sea-shore (c. 1300), as in Low Countries "Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg" (1540s). Low German languages (1845) are so called for being spoken in the lower elevations of old Germany.ETD low (adj.).3

    Low blow in the figurative sense (1940s) is from pugilism. To lie low is from mid-13c. as "get down so as not to be seen," 1880 in the modern slang sense "keep quiet." Low Church in 18c. English history referred to Anglicans laying little stress on church authority (1702); in 19c. it meant evangelical Anglicans.ETD low (adj.).4

    low (n.1)

    "the ordinary sound uttered by an ox or cow" [OED], 1540s, from low (v.); ultimately imitative.ETD low (n.1).2

    lowing (n.)

    the normal bellowing of cattle, early 13c., verbal noun from low (v.).ETD lowing (n.).2

    lowness (n.)

    early 13c., from low (adj.) + -ness. Tyndale and Coverdale have lowth "lowness" (with -th (2)) in Romans viii.39.ETD lowness (n.).2

    low (n.3)

    the low point of anything, the minimum, 1818, originally in card games; general sense by 1911.ETD low (n.3).2

    lowball (v.)

    also low-ball, "report or estimate lower," from low (adj.) + ball (n.1).ETD lowball (v.).2

    lowboy (n.)

    also low-boy, "chest of drawers on short legs," 1891, a hybrid from low (adj.) + French bois "wood" (see bush). Compare highboy.ETD lowboy (n.).2

    lowbrow (n.)

    also low-brow, "person who is not intellectual," 1902, from low (adj.) + brow (n.). Said to have been coined by U.S. journalist Will Irwin (1873-1948), perhaps on the model of highbrow, which seems to be earlier. A low brow on a man as a sign of primitive qualities was common in 19c. fiction, but on a woman it was considered a mark of classical beauty.ETD lowbrow (n.).2

    As an adjective from 1913.ETD lowbrow (n.).3

    low-budget (adj.)

    1939, originally of motion pictures, "made with little expense;" from low (adj.) + budget (n.). Usually with a suggestion of low quality as a result.ETD low-budget (adj.).2

    low-class (adj.)

    1868, from low (adj.) + class (n.). Earlier were low-born (c. 1200), low-bred (1757).ETD low-class (adj.).2

    low-down (adj.)

    also low down, lowdown, "vulgar, far down the social scale," 1888, from low (adj.) + down (adv.). Earlier it had meant "humble" (1540s). As a noun, 1915, from the adjective, American English. Low-downer was late 19c. American English colloquial for "poor white; rude, mean person."ETD low-down (adj.).2

    lower (adj.)

    Middle English lawar, lower, lougher, earlier lahre (c. 1200), comparative of lah "low" (see low (adj.)). As an adverb from 1540s. Lower-class is from 1772. Lower 48, "the forty-eight contiguous states of the United States of America, excluding Alaska and Hawaii," is by 1961 in an Alaska context (Hawaii actually is "lower" on the globe than all of them).ETD lower (adj.).2

    lower (v.1)

    c. 1600, "descend, sink, grow less or lower" (intransitive), from lower (adj.), comparative of low (adj.). Transitive meaning "let down, cause to descend" attested from 1650s. Related: Lowered; lowering. In the transitive sense "to cause to descend" the older verb was low (Middle English lahghenn, c. 1200), which continued in use into the 18c.ETD lower (v.1).2

    lower (v.2)

    "to look dark and menacing," also lour, from Middle English louren, luren "to frown, scowl" (early 13c.), "to lurk" (mid-15c.), from Old English *luran or from its cognates, Middle Low German luren, Middle Dutch loeren "lie in wait." The form perhaps has been assimilated to lower (v.1). Related: Lowered; lowering.ETD lower (v.2).2

    lower-case (adj.)

    also lowercase, 1680s, in printing, "kind of type placed in the lower case," which held small letters collectively (as opposed to capitals); see lower (adj.) + case (n.2).ETD lower-case (adj.).2

    lowercase (v.)

    "to set (text) in lower-case type," 1911, from lower-case (adj.). Related: Lowercased; lowercasing.ETD lowercase (v.).2

    lowermost (adj.)

    1560s, from lower (adj.) + -most. Lowermore (1660s) seems to have gone obsolete.ETD lowermost (adj.).2

    lowest (adj.)

    c. 1200, laghesst, superlative of lah "low" (see low (adj.)).ETD lowest (adj.).2

    Lowestoft (n.)

    type of porcelain, named for a town in Suffolk where it was made from 1757. The place name is "Hlothver's Toft," from genitive singular of the proper name + Old Norse toft "a building lot," also "a deserted site."ETD Lowestoft (n.).2

    low-grade (adj.)

    1867, originally in mining, with reference to ores, from low (adj.) + grade (n.).ETD low-grade (adj.).2

    low-key (adj.)

    by 1895, perhaps 1847, from low key in some sense relating to deep musical tone or quiet sound; see low (adj.) + key (n.1). Low key in reference to a quiet voice is attested from 1837. Also compare undertone.ETD low-key (adj.).2

    lowland (n.)

    land lower than other land thereabouts, c. 1500, originally with reference to the southern and eastern regions of Scotland, from low (adj.) + land (n.). As an adjective from 1560s. Related: Lowlander.ETD lowland (n.).2

    lowliness (n.)

    early 15c., "meek or humble state of mind," from lowly + -ness. From 1590s as "humble state or condition."ETD lowliness (n.).2

    lowly (adv.)

    c. 1300, "humbly, in a modest manner," from low (adj.) + -ly (2).ETD lowly (adv.).2

    lowly (adj.)

    late 14c., "humble in feeling, not proud," from low (adj.) + -ly (1). Related: Lowlily.ETD lowly (adj.).2

    low-life (adj.)

    "disreputable, vulgar," 1794, from low (adj.) + life (n.). As a noun, also lowlife, "coarse, no-good person," from 1911. Low-lived (adj.) is attested from 1760.ETD low-life (adj.).2

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