40 Linguipotent L-Words To Enlarge Your Vocabulary

Justin Dodd (background); djmilic (Letter L) // iStock via Getty Images Plus

The letter L sits just outside the top 10 most frequently used letters of the English alphabet, with statistics showing that, on average, it accounts for around 4 percent of any page of written text. You can also expect it to begin just under 3 percent of the words in a standard dictionary, including linguipotent, “having a great mastery of language,” and logodaedalus, meaning “especially cunning or astute in your use of new words" (it’s related to the Greek mythological character Daedalus, who built the Minotaur’s Labyrinth).” Hopefully, the 40 largiloquent L-words listed here will likewise help to improve your linguipotence and logodaedaly

1. Labber

An old English dialect word meaning “to drag something through the mud.”

2. Lachanopolist

Derived from Greek, lachanopolist is a 16th-century word for a greengrocer.

3. Lachrymiform

Lacrima was the Latin word for a tear (as in a teardrop, not a rip), from which the eye’s lachrymal glands take their name. Likewise, to lachrymate is to cry; a lachrymator is anything that makes your eyes water; and anything lachrymiform is teardrop-shaped.

4. Lack-Latin

Having a working knowledge of Latin was once seen as such a cornerstone of a good education that being a lack-Latin—in other words, being illiterate in Latinmeant that you were an uneducated ignoramus. In Tudor English, Sir John Lack-Latin was used as a nickname for an ignorant priest.

5. Lacustrine

Lacustrine means “lake-like,” or “positioned by a lake.” A lacustrian is someone who lives beside a lake, and somewhere that is interlacustrine is situated between two lakes.

6. Laetificate

To make someone cheerful is to laetificate them, and if something is laetificant, then it cheers you up.

7. Lagniappe

A gratuity, or a free gift given with a purchase.

8. Lallycodler

A general old American slang word for anyone who is particularly good or successful at what they do.

9. Land-Damn

Shakespeare used the word land-damn in The Winter’s Tale, but no one is entirely sure what he wanted it to mean. It doesn’t help that some copies of the text spell this word lam-damn rather than land-damn, but, either way, it’s typically said to mean something along the lines of “to thrash,” or “to scold”—or, literally, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, “to make life Hell on Earth for someone.”

10. Lanspresado

According to one 17th-century dictionary of English slang, a lanspresado is “he that comes into company with but two pence in his pocket”—or in other words, that member of a group of friends who never has enough money with them.

11. Laodicean

Laodicea was an ancient city in Asia Minor, around 100 miles east of Ephesus. In the biblical Book of Revelation, its church is one of seven singled out by Christ as needing the help of St. John, who is asked to write to the Laodiceans, explaining, “I know … that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue [vomit] thee out of my mouth.” Just what this fairly unusual biblical passage is meant to mean is debatable, but it’s generally understood that Christ is unhappy with the Laodicean Church’s lukewarm, fair-weather, faltering faith. As a result, the adjective laodicean is used to mean “indifferent” or “apathetic.”

12. Largiloquent

If you’re largiloquent, then you’re talkative or garrulous.

13. Last-Feather

An old English slang nickname for the latest fashion.

14. Latebra

Adopted directly into English from Latin in the 1600s, a latebra is a hiding place. It’s the root of a handful of similar words including latebrous, describing anywhere that’s full of places to hide, and …

15. Latebricole

… a zoological adjective describing any creature (and in particular a spider) that lives in a concealed hole.

16. Latericumbent

If you’re latericumbent, then you’re lying on your side.

17. Latitate

Derived from a Latin word meaning “to lie hidden,” to latitate is to lurk. Latitation is a 17th-century word meaning “the act of lurking of lying concealed.”

18. Latrate

To bark like a dog.

19. Leasty

If the weather is leasty, then it’s dull and rainy.

20. Leatherdoom

An 18th-century name for a quilt or bedcover. Derived from a corruption of l’édredon, the French word for an eiderdown.

21. Leatherlaps

An old Yorkshire dialect nickname for a forgetful person.

22. Leg-Stretcher

Because stretching your legs is an excuse to walk to the bar, a leg-stretcher was an alcoholic drink in 19th-century slang.

23. Lemnisc

An 18th-century word for a ribbon, which is etymologically related to …

24. Lemniscate

leminscate, which is a formal name for a figure-eight shape, as well as being another name for the infinity symbol, ∞. It literally means “adorned with ribbons.”

25. Lennochmore

A lennochmore is a larger-than-average child or baby. It derives from the Scots Gaelic leanabh mor, literally meaning “big child.”

26. Lentitude

A formal word for slowness or sluggishness.

27. Leppy

Derived from a Scandinavian word for a lip, a leppy is a cup or bowl that has one side higher than the other. As an adjective, you can use it to describe anyone with a downturned or lopsided mouth.

28. Ligibed

Lig is an old English dialect word meaning “to lie” or “to lounge,” making a ligibed a late riser, or someone who lies in in the morning.

29. Lip-Salve

A 17th-century word for flattery or sycophancy.

30. Litotes

Litotes (pronounced “lye-toe-teas”) is essentially the opposite of hyperbole—so if hyperbole is a deliberate exaggeration or overstatement, then litotes is a rhetorical understatement or an intentional dismissal or belittling of something serious.

31. Loblolly

The word loblolly began life as a Tudor-period word for a thick stew or gruel, derived apparently from a compound of two dialect words: lob, meaning “to bubble while boiling,” and lolly, “broth or soup, or food boiled in a pot.” Over time, it came to be applied to a host of other equally thick and glutinous liquids and mixtures, including the medicines dispensed by a ship’s doctor, and in later American slang, a mudhole. Because of its connotations of thickness, however, in 17th-century English, loblolly became a byword for a slow-witted fool, a country-bumpkin character, or a lazy, clumsy person.

32. Lococession

Allowing someone to enter somewhere is called lococession.

33. Locupletative

If something is locuplete, then it is amply stocked, and so anything that is locupletative is enriching or fulfilling.

34. Long-Catching

An 18th-century word describing anyone who’s easily frightened.

35. Long-Tongue

A blabbering, gossiping person.

36. Lorrach

An old Scots word for a soggy, badly cooked chunk of food.

37. Loutch

Thought to be a combination of lout, an old Scots word meaning “to bend or stoop,” and slouch, to loutch is to walk with your head and shoulders hunched.

38. Love-Darg

Darg is an old English dialect word for a full day’s work, and a love-darg is a task or job done out of love for someone else, or to catch the romantic attention of someone you like.

39. Lowe

A lowe is a fire or flame, and a lilly-lowe is a fire that captivates a child. Should you need to, you can also use lowe as a verb meaning “to burn” or “to glow like a flame,” or, in reference to a relationship or romance, “to flourish passionately.”

40. Lust-Dieted

Another Shakespearism, literally meaning “self-indulgent” or “driven by pleasure.”

A version of this story ran in 2016; it has been updated for 2022.