Webster's Dictionary, 1913
[ French laissé
, past participle of laisser
. See Lease
, transitive verb
] (Law) The person to whom a lease is given, or who takes an estate by lease. Blackstone.
(lĕs"'n) transitive verb
[ imperfect & past participle Lessened
(-'nd); present participle & verbal noun Lessening
.] [ From Less
] To make less; to reduce; to make smaller, or fewer; to diminish; to lower; to degrade; as, to lessen a kingdom, or a population; to lessen speed, rank, fortune.
Charity . . . shall lessen his punishment. Calamy.
St. Paul chose to magnify his office when ill men conspired to lessen it. Atterbury. Syn.
-- To diminish; reduce; abate; decrease; lower; impair; weaken; degrade.
Lessen intransitive verb To become less; to shrink; to contract; to decrease; to be diminished; as, the apparent magnitude of objects lessens as we recede from them; his care, or his wealth, lessened .
The objection lessens much, and comes to no more than this: there was one witness of no good reputation. Atterbury.
(-ẽr) noun One who, or that which, lessens.
His wife . . . is the lessener of his pain, and the augmenter of his pleasure. J. Rogers (1839).
[ This word is formed by adding anew the compar. suffix -er
(in which r
is from an original s
) to less
. See Less
] Less; smaller; inferior.
God made . . . the lesser light to rule the night. Gen. i. 15.
is used for less
, now the compar. of little
, in certain special instances in which its employment has become established by custom; as, Lesser
Asia (i. e., Asia Minor), the lesser
light, and some others; also in poetry, for the sake of the meter, and in prose where its use renders the passage more euphonious.
The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace. Shak.
The larger here, and there the lesser lambs. Pope.
By the same reason may a man, in the state of nature, punish the lesser breaches of the law. Locke.
Lesser adverb Less. [ Obsolete] Shak.
(lĕs"sĕz) noun plural
[ French laissées
, from laisser
to leave. See Lease
, transitive verb
] The leavings or dung of beasts.
[ Middle English lessoun
, French leçon
lesson, reading, from Latin lectio
a reading, from legere
to read, collect. See Legend
, and confer Lection
.] 1. Anything read or recited to a teacher by a pupil or learner; something, as a portion of a book, assigned to a pupil to be studied or learned at one time. 2. That which is learned or taught by an express effort; instruction derived from precept, experience, observation, or deduction; a precept; a doctrine; as, to take or give a lesson in drawing.
" A smooth and pleasing lesson
Emprinteth well this lesson in your mind. Chaucer. 3. A portion of Scripture read in divine service for instruction; as, here endeth the first lesson . 4. A severe lecture; reproof; rebuke; warning.
She would give her a lesson for walking so late. Sir. P. Sidney. 5. (Mus.) An exercise; a composition serving an educational purpose; a study.
Lesson transitive verb
[ imperfect & past participle Lessoned
(-s'nd); present participle & verbal noun Lessoning
.] To teach; to instruct. Shak.
To rest the weary, and to soothe the sad, Byron.
Doth lesson happier men, and shame at least the bad.
(lĕs"sŏr or lĕs*sôr") noun
[ See Lessee
, transitive verb
] (Law) One who leases; the person who lets to farm, or gives a lease. Blackstone.
Lest (lĕst) intransitive verb To listen. [ Obsolete] Chaucer. Spenser.
Lest noun [ See List to choose.] Lust; desire; pleasure. [ Obsolete] Chaucer.
Lest adjective Last; least. [ Obsolete] Chaucer.
[ Middle English leste
, from Anglo-Saxon ðȳ lǣs ðē
the less that, where ðȳ
is the instrumental case of the definite article, and ðē
is an indeclinable relative particle, that
. See The
] 1. For fear that; that . . . not; in order that . . . not.
Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty. Prov. xx. 13.
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 1 Cor. x. 12. 2. That (without the negative particle); -- after certain expressions denoting fear or apprehension .
I feared Shak.
Lest I might anger thee.
Lester noun [ Portuguese , probably from Fr. l'est the east.] (Meteor.) A dry sirocco in the Madeira Islands.
(lĕt) transitive verb
[ Middle English letten
, Anglo-Saxon lettan
to delay, to hinder, from læt
slow; akin to Dutch letten
to hinder, German verletzen
to hurt, Icelandic letja
to hold back, Goth. latjan
. See Late
.] To retard; to hinder; to impede; to oppose.
He was so strong that no man might him let . Chaucer.
He who now letteth will let , until he be taken out of the way. 2. Thess. ii. 7.
Mine ancient wound is hardly whole, Tennyson.
And lets me from the saddle.
Let noun 1. A retarding; hindrance; obstacle; impediment; delay; -- common in the phrase without let or hindrance , but elsewhere archaic. Keats.
Consider whether your doings be to the let of your salvation or not. Latimer. 2. (Lawn Tennis) A stroke in which a ball touches the top of the net in passing over.
Let transitive verb
[ imperfect & past participle Let
(lĕt"tĕd), [ Obs].); present participle & verbal noun Letting
.] [ Middle English leten
(past tense lat
, past participle laten
), Anglo-Saxon lǣtan
(past tense lēt
, past participle lǣten
); akin to OFries. lēta
, Old Saxon lātan
, Dutch laten
, German lassen
, Old High German lāzzan
, Icelandic lāta
, Swedish låta
, Danish lade
, Goth. lētan
, and Latin lassus
weary. The original meaning seems to have been, to let loose, let go, let drop. Confer Alas
to hinder.] 1. To leave; to relinquish; to abandon.
[ Obsolete or Archaic, except when followed by alone
He . . . prayed him his voyage for to let . Chaucer.
Yet neither spins nor cards, ne cares nor frets, Spenser.
But to her mother Nature all her care she lets .
Let me alone in choosing of my wife. Chaucer. 2. To consider; to think; to esteem.
[ Obsolete] Chaucer. 3. To cause; to make; -- used with the infinitive in the active form but in the passive sense; as, let make, i. e. , cause to be made; let bring, i. e. , cause to be brought.
This irous, cursed wretch Chaucer.
Let this knight's son anon before him fetch.
He . . . thus let do slay hem all three. Chaucer.
Anon he let two coffers make. Gower. 4. To permit; to allow; to suffer; -- either affirmatively, by positive act, or negatively, by neglecting to restrain or prevent.
» In this sense, when followed by an infinitive, the latter is commonly without the sign to
; as to let
us walk, i. e.
, to permit or suffer us to walk. Sometimes there is entire omission of the verb; as, to let
[ to be or to go] loose.
Pharaoh said, I will let you go. Ex. viii. 28.
If your name be Horatio, as I am let to know it is. Shak. 5. To allow to be used or occupied for a compensation; to lease; to rent; to hire out; -- often with out ; as, to let a farm; to let a house; to let out horses. 6. To give, grant, or assign, as a work, privilege, or contract; -- often with out ; as, to let the building of a bridge; to let out the lathing and the plastering.
» The active form of the infinitive of let
, as of many other English verbs, is often used in a passive sense; as, a house to let
( i. e.
, for letting, or to be let). This form of expression conforms to the use of the Anglo-Saxon gerund with to
(dative infinitive) which was commonly so employed. See Gerund
, 2. " Your elegant house in Harley Street is to let
In the imperative mood, before the first person plural, let
has a hortative force. " Rise up, let
us go." Mark xiv. 42.
us seek out some desolate shade." Shak. To let alone
, to leave; to withdraw from; to refrain from interfering with.
-- To let blood
, to cause blood to flow; to bleed.
-- To let down
. (a) To lower
. (b) To soften in tempering; as, to let down tools, cutlery, and the like.
-- To let drive or fly
, to discharge with violence, as a blow, an arrow, or stone. See under Drive , and Fly .
-- To let in
or into. (a) To permit or suffer to enter; to admit. (b) To insert, or imbed, as a piece of wood, in a recess formed in a surface for the purpose
. To let loose
, to remove restraint from; to permit to wander at large.
-- To let off. (a) To discharge; to let fly, as an arrow; to fire the charge of, as a gun
. (b) To release, as from an engagement or obligation
. [ Colloq.] -- To let out
. (a) To allow to go forth; as, to let out a prisoner
. (b) To extend or loosen, as the folds of a garment; to enlarge; to suffer to run out, as a cord
. (c) To lease; to give out for performance by contract, as a job
. (d) To divulge.
-- To let slide
, to let go; to cease to care for.
[ Colloq.] " Let
the world slide
Let intransitive verb 1. To forbear.
[ Obsolete] Bacon. 2. To be let or leased; as, the farm lets for $500 a year. See note under Let , transitive verb To let on
, to tell; to tattle; to divulge something.
[ Low] -- To let up
, to become less severe; to diminish; to cease; as, when the storm lets up .
(lĕt"ȧ*lōn") adjective Letting alone. The let-alone principle, doctrine, or policy
. (Polit. Econ.) See Laissez faire .
Let-off (lĕt"ŏf`; 115) noun (Machinery) A device for letting off, releasing, or giving forth, as the warp from the cylinder of a loom.
(lĕch) v. & noun See Leach .
[ See Lech
.] Strong desire; passion. (Archaic).
Some people have a letch for unmasking impostors, or for avenging the wrongs of others. De Quincey.
(-ȳ) adjective See Leachy .
Lete (lĕt) transitive verb To let; to leave. [ Obsolete]
n), obsolete past participle of Lete . Chaucer.
Lethal (lĕth"ăl) noun [ L auric + eth er + al cohol.] (Chemistry) One of the higher alcohols of the paraffine series obtained from spermaceti as a white crystalline solid. It is so called because it occurs in the ethereal salt of lauric acid.
Lethal (lē"th a l) adjective [ Latin lethalis , letalis , from lethum , letum , death: confer French léthal .] Deadly; mortal; fatal. "The lethal blow." W. Richardson. -- Le"thal*ly , adverb
Lethality (le*thăl"ĭ*tȳ) noun [ Confer French léthalité .] The quality of being lethal; mortality.
[ Latin lethargicus
, Greek lhqargiko`s
: confer French léthargique
. See Lethargy
.] Pertaining to, affected with, or resembling, lethargy; morbidly drowsy; dull; heavy.
(lĕth"ȧr*jīz) transitive verb
[ imperfect & past participle Lethargized
(- jīzd); present participle & verbal noun Lethargizing
(- jī`zĭng).] To make lethargic.
All bitters are poison, and act by stilling, and depressing, and lethargizing the irritability. Coleridge.
; plural -gies
(-jĭz). [ French léthargie
, Latin lethargia
, Greek lhqargi`a
, from lh`qargos
forgetful, from lh`qh
forgetfulness. See Lethe
.] 1. Morbid drowsiness; continued or profound sleep, from which a person can scarcely be awaked. 2. A state of inaction or indifference.
Europe lay then under a deep lethargy . Atterbury.
Lethargy transitive verb To lethargize. [ Obsolete] Shak.
(lē"the or lēth) noun
[ See Lethal
[ Obsolete] Shak.
Lethe (lē"the) noun [ Latin , from Greek lh`qh , prop., forgetfulness; akin to lanqa`nesqai to forget, lanqa`nein to escape notice.]
1. (Class. Myth.) A river of Hades whose waters when drunk caused forgetfulness of the past. 2. Oblivion; a draught of oblivion; forgetfulness.
Lethean (le*thē" a n) adjective [ Latin Lethaeus , Greek lh`qaios or lhqai^os .] Of or pertaining to Lethe; resembling in effect the water of Lethe. Milton. Barrow.
Letheed (lē"thēd) adjective Caused by Lethe. " Letheed dullness." [ Obsolete] Shak.
Letheon (lē"the*ŏn) noun [ New Latin , from Greek lh`qh .] (Medicine) Sulphuric ether used as an anæsthetic agent. [ R.]
Letheonize (-īz) transitive verb To subject to the influence of letheon. [ R. or Obsolete]
Lethiferous (le*thĭf"ẽr*ŭs) adjective [ Latin lethifer , letifer , from lethum , letum , death + ferre to bear, to bring: confer French léthifère .] Deadly; bringing death or destruction.
Lethy (lē"thȳ) adjective Lethean. [ Obsolete] Marston.
) transitive verb
[ imperfect & past participle Letted
.] To let; to hinder. See Let , to hinder.
[ Obsolete] Chaucer.
[ From Let
to permit.] One who lets or permits; one who lets anything for hire.
[ From Let
to hinder.] One who retards or hinders.
[ Middle English lettre
, French lettre
, Old French letre
, from Latin littera
, a letter; plural, an epistle, a writing, literature, from linere
, to besmear, to spread or rub over; because one of the earliest modes of writing was by graving the characters upon tablets smeared over or covered with wax. Pliny, xiii. 11.
, and confer Literal
.] 1. A mark or character used as the representative of a sound, or of an articulation of the human organs of speech; a first element of written language.
And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew. Luke xxiii. 38. 2. A written or printed communication; a message expressed in intelligible characters on something adapted to conveyance, as paper, parchment, etc.; an epistle.
The style of letters ought to be free, easy, and natural. Walsh. 3. A writing; an inscription.
None could expound what this letter meant. Chaucer. 4. Verbal expression; literal statement or meaning; exact signification or requirement.
We must observe the letter of the law, without doing violence to the reason of the law and the intention of the lawgiver. Jer. Taylor.
I broke the letter of it to keep the sense. Tennyson. 5. (Print.) A single type; type, collectively; a style of type.
Under these buildings . . . was the king's printing house, and that famous letter so much esteemed. Evelyn. 6. plural Learning; erudition; as, a man of letters . 7. plural A letter; an epistle.
[ Obsolete] Chaucer. Dead letter
, Drop letter
, etc. See under Dead , Drop , etc.
-- Letter book
, a book in which copies of letters are kept.
-- Letter box
, a box for the reception of letters to be mailed or delivered.
-- Letter carrier
, a person who carries letters; a postman; specif., an officer of the post office who carries letters to the persons to whom they are addressed, and collects letters to be mailed.
-- Letter cutter
, one who engraves letters or letter punches.
-- Letter lock
, a lock that can not be opened when fastened, unless certain movable lettered rings or disks forming a part of it are in such a position (indicated by a particular combination of the letters) as to permit the bolt to be withdrawn.
A strange lock that opens with AMEN. Beau. & Fl.
-- Letter paper
, paper for writing letters on; especially, a size of paper intermediate between note paper and foolscap. See Paper .
-- Letter punch
, a steel punch with a letter engraved on the end, used in making the matrices for type.
-- Letters of administration (Law)
, the instrument by which an administrator or administratrix is authorized to administer the goods and estate of a deceased person.
-- Letter of attorney
, Letter of credit
, etc. See under Attorney , Credit , etc.
-- Letter of license
, a paper by which creditors extend a debtor's time for paying his debts.
-- Letters close or clause (Eng. Law.)
, letters or writs directed to particular persons for particular purposes, and hence closed or sealed on the outside; -- distinguished from letters patent . Burrill.
-- Letters of orders (Eccl.)
, a document duly signed and sealed, by which a bishop makes it known that he has regularly ordained a certain person as priest, deacon, etc.
-- Letters patent
, or open (Eng. Law)
, a writing executed and sealed, by which power and authority are granted to a person to do some act, or enjoy some right; as, letters patent under the seal of England.
-- Letter-sheet envelope
, a stamped sheet of letter paper issued by the government, prepared to be folded and sealed for transmission by mail without an envelope.
-- Letters testamentary (Law)
, an instrument granted by the proper officer to an executor after probate of a will, authorizing him to act as executor.
-- Letter writer
. (a) One who writes letters. (b) A machine for copying letters
. (c) A book giving directions and forms for the writing of letters.
(lĕt"tẽr) transitive verb
[ imperfect & past participle Lettered
(-tẽrd); present participle & verbal noun Lettering
.] To impress with letters; to mark with letters or words; as, a book gilt and lettered .
Letter noun (Teleg.) A telegram longer than an ordinary message sent at rates lower than the standard message rate in consideration of its being sent and delivered subject to priority in service of regular messages. Such telegrams are called by the Western Union Company day, or night, letters according to the time of sending, and by The Postal Telegraph Company day, or night, lettergrams .
(lĕt"tẽrd) adjective 1. Literate; educated; versed in literature.
" Are you not lettered
The unlettered barbarians willingly accepted the aid of the lettered clergy, still chiefly of Roman birth, to reduce to writing the institutes of their forefathers. Milman. 2. Of or pertaining to learning or literature; learned.
" A lettered
education." Collier. 3. Inscribed or stamped with letters. Addison.
Letterer (lĕt"tẽr*ẽr) noun One who makes, inscribes, or engraves, alphabetical letters.
Lettergram noun See Letter , above.