L is for…


It’s been a while, dear readers, but I’d like to welcome you back to my Vocabulary Series! This week, we’re going to look at some pretty awesome words that start with the letter L.

Before we get started, I want to remind you to check out the Speakeasy, a weekly writing challenge of which I am the managing editor. We have different prompts each week and we’d love to see some new faces. And what better month to try something new than NaBloPoMo?

Okay, so without further ado, here is the first L word. I love the way this word sounds. It definitely lives up to its meaning.

Lambaste (verb)

Etymology:  First appears in the 1630s. Comes from combining the Scandinavian word lam (which originally comes from the Old Norse lemja, meaning to beat or to lame), with the English word baste, meaning to beat or thrash, and which may have come from the Swedish word basa, meaning to beat or flog.

Definition:  To thrash; to beat; to criticize someone or something severely.

Example:  By the time Irma had finished lambasting Doug for leaving the gate open, he was looking forward to the arrival of the zombie horde.


This next word oozes off the tongue like thick custard, but its meaning is not quite so tasty…

Lugubrious (adjective)

Etymology:  First appears in the 1600s. Comes from the Latin word lugubris, meaning related to mourning, which came from lugere, meaning to mourn. Likely originated from the Proto-Indo-European root leug-, meaning to break or cause pain.

Definition:  Doleful; mournful; appearing sad or dismal.

Example:  As the zombies carried Doug off, Irma noticed her lugubrious mood had lifted.


The bonus word this week has been a favourite of mine for a long time. It conjures up an image of a beast of, well, Biblical proportions.

Leviathan (noun)

Etymology:  First appears in the late 1300s, where it was used to describe a large sea monster or serpent, which was also considered to be one of Satan’s forms. Comes from the Late Latin leviathan, which in turn comes from the Hebrew word livyathan, meaning a dragon, serpent, or huge sea animal. Leviathan was first used to describe powerful individuals in the 1600s (shortly before Hobbes’ book was published in 1651).

Definition:  In the Bible, refers to a sea monster, including one of the Devil’s forms; an enormous real or imaginary aquatic creature; anything monstrously large or powerful; an autocratic monarch or nation.

Example:  The zombie horde surged with excitement at the sight of such leviathan brains, trampling over the Mensa sign in their rush.


As always, etymological information and definitions come from a combination of the Oxford Dictionary of Etymological English, the Oxford Dictionaries Online, and the Online Etymology Dictionary.


Image credit: Google Images

4 thoughts on “L is for…

  1. Every time I see lugubrious (all of once (this is the once) since I heard it the first time) I think of the two small demons voiced by Bobcat Goldthwaite and Matt Frewer groveling at the feet of James Woods Hades in Disney’s Hercules. Great list!

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