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labile 1. Liable to change; easily altered. 2. Of or characterized by emotions that are easily aroused or freely expressed, and that tend to alter quickly and spontaneously; emotionally unstable.
laird A generic name for the owner of a Scottish estate, roughly equivalent to an esquire in England, yet ranking above the same in Scotland. In the Scottish order of precedence, a laird ranks below a baron and above a gentleman.
lakh A unit in the South Asian numbering system meaning 100,000.
lamias A mythical monster, with the body of a woman or with the head and breasts of a woman and the body of a snake, said to prey on human beings.
langouste Spiny lobster, differentiating from Maine lobsters in that they have no claws. Langoustes are warm water crustaceans that can be found in the south Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and off the coasts of South America, Australia and the West Indies.
lanternfish Lanternfishes (or myctophids, from the Greek mykter, "nose" and ophis, "serpent") are small, deep sea fish of the large family Myctophidae. One of two families in the order Myctophiformes, the Myctophidae are represented by 246 species in 33 genera, and are found in oceans worldwide. They are aptly named after their conspicuous use of bioluminescence.
lanthorn (archaic) A lantern.
lassipedes Tired feet.
lath A narrow thin strip of wood used as backing for plaster or to make latticework.
latifundia Latifundia are pieces of property covering tremendous areas. The latifundia (Latin: lātus, "spacious" + fundus, "farm, estate") of Roman history were great landed estates, specializing in agriculture destined for export: grain, olive oil, or wine. They were characteristic of Magna Graecia and Sicily, of Egypt and the North African Maghreb and of Hispania Baetica in southern Spain. The latifundia were the closest approximation to industrialized agriculture in Antiquity, and their economics depended upon slave labour. Today, latifundia are only found in Latin America and Italy and the term is often extended to describe the haciendas (in Spanish) and fazendas (in Portuguese) of colonial and post-colonial Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Uruguay, Cuba, Chile (called latifundio or simply fundo) and Argentina. These originated under colonial law allowing forced labor recruitment and land grants for military services. In post-colonial times, ending the dominance of the latifundia system by implementing agrarian reforms became a popular goal of several governments in the region.
latitudinarian 1. A person who is broad-minded and tolerant, especially in standards of religious belief and conduct. 2. Free-thinking, undogmatic, unwilling to accept authority or dogma, especially in religion.
laudanum A tincture of opium.
Lèse majesté The crime of violating majesty, an offense against the dignity of a reigning sovereign or against a state.
Least Common Multiple The smallest multiple that is exactly divisible by every member of a set of numbers; "the least common multiple of 12 and 18 is 36."
lectionary A selected list of Scripture passages for daily readings throughout the Christian year.
legatory Of or pertaining to a diplomatic mission.
lemma 1. In mathematics, a lemma (plural lemmata or lemmas from the Greek λήμμα, "lemma" meaning "anything which is received, such as a gift, profit, or a bribe") is a proven proposition which is used as a stepping stone to a larger result 2. Lemma, when used as a term in botany, refers to a part of the spikelet of grasses (Poaceae). It is the lowermost of two chaff-like bracts enclosing the grass floret. 3. A lexeme is an abstract unit of morphological analysis in linguistics, that roughly corresponds to a set of forms taken by a single word. For example, in the English language, run, runs, ran and running are forms of the same lexeme, conventionally written as run. A related concept is the lemma (or citation form), which is a particular form of a lexeme that is chosen by convention to represent a canonical form of a lexeme. Lemmas are used in dictionaries as the headwords, and other forms of a lexeme are often listed later in the entry if they are not common conjugations of that word.
lenition The change from fortis to lenis articulation.
Lenkung Führung, Leitung, Steuerung
lentigo A flat, discoloured area of skin similar to a freckle. Sun induced lentigines (plural of lentigo) are known as solar lentigines.
leporine Of, relating to, or resembling a hare or rabbit.
leprotic Of, or pertaining to leprosy.
Levant The former name for the geographical area of the eastern Mediterranean that is now occupied by Lebanon, Syria, and Israel.
levirate Levirate marriage is a type of marriage in which a woman is required to marry her deceased husband's brother. Levirate marriage has been practiced by societies with a strong clan structure in which exogamous marriage, i.e. that outside the clan, was forbidden. It is or was known in societies around the world. The term is a derivative of the Latin word levir, meaning "husband's brother."
levisomnous Tending to sleep lightly.
lex talionis Law of equivalent retaliation, i.e. the belief that the purpose of the law is to provide retaliation for an offended party. This early belief is reflected in the code of Hammurabi and in the laws of the Old Testament.
lifemanship The skill or practice of achieving superiority or an appearance of superiority over others (as in conversation) by perplexing and demoralizing them.
limber A two-wheeled horse-drawn vehicle used to pull a field gun or caisson.
limerence Limerence is a term coined c. 1977 by the psychologist Dorothy Tennov to describe an involuntary state of mind which seems to result from a romantic attraction for another person combined with an overwhelming, obsessive need to have one's feelings reciprocated. The concept grew out of Tennov's mid-1960s work, when she interviewed over 500 people on the topic of love, and was first published in her 1979 book Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love.
limn To draw or paint; delineate; to describe.
liturgic Of or pertaining to public worship.
locus classicus A passage often cited as authoritative or illustrative on a particular point or subject.
loess A fine-grained unstratified accumulation of clay and silt deposited by the wind.
log rolling The trading of favors or quid pro quo, such as vote trading by legislative members to obtain passage of actions of interest to each legislative member.
logogenic Of vocal music, "word-born," in which the verbal text completely dominates; the melody has little or no tonal syntax independent from that of the words. Logogenic music is characteristic of primitive and folk cultures.
logomachy 1. A dispute about or concerning words. 2. A contention or debate marked by reckless or incorrect use of words; a meanginless battle of words.
lothario A successful womanizer; a man who behaves selfishly in his sexual relationships with women.
louche Of questionable taste or morality; decadent; "a louche nightclub"; "a louche painting."
lovage Lovage (Levisticum officinale) is a plant, the leaves and seeds or fruit of which are used to flavor food, especially in South European cuisine.
loxodrome Rhumb line: a line on a sphere that cuts all meridians at the same angle; the path taken by a ship or plane that maintains a constant compass direction.
lucubration Laborious study or writing [often in pl.] (humorous usage suggesting pedantry).
ludic 1. Ludic derives from Latin ludus, "play." It means literally 'playful', and refers to any philosophy where play is the prime purpose of life. 2. ludics - In proof theory, ludics is an analysis of the principles governing inference rules of mathematical logic.
lusingando (Italian) to play in an intimate manner.
lustration 1. A rite of purification, especially washing. 2. The restoration of credibility to a government by the purging of perpetrators of crimes committed under an earlier regime.
lutefisk Norwegian fish dish of dried cod, cured in lye, then reconstituted by boiling. Traditionally served with clarified butter or in white sauce and served with lefse. In its finest form, lutefisk has a delicately mild buttery flavor and flaky consistency.
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