Johnson's Dictionary - A Harmless Drudge

Before they did oppress the people only by the colour of a lewd custom, they did afterwards use the same oppressions by warrant.



3. Lustful; libidinous.

He is not lolling on a lewd love bed,

But on his knees at meditation.       Shakesp.


Then lewd Anchemolus he laid in dust,

Who stain’d his stepdam’s bed with impious lust.            Dryden.


LE’WDLY. adj. [from lewd.]

1. Wickedly; naughtily.

A sort of naughty persons, lewdly bent,

Have practis’d dangerously against your state.     Shakesp.

2. Libidinously; lustfully.

He loved fair lady Eltred, lewdly lov’d,

Whose wanton pleasures him too much did please,

That quite his heart from Guendeline remov’d       Spencer.

So lewdly dull his idle works appear,

The wretched texts deserve no comments here. Dryd.


LE’WDNESS. n.s. [from. lewd.] Lustful licentiousness.

Suffer no lewdness, nor indecent speech,

Th’ apartment of the tender youth to reach. Dryden.

Damianus’s letter to Nicholas is an authentick record of the lewdnesses committed under the reign of celibacy. Atterb.


LE’WDSTER. n.s. [from lewd] A lecher; one given to criminal pleasures.

Against such lewdsters, and their lechery,

Those that betray them do no treachery.    Shakesp.


LE’WIS D’OR. n.s. [French.] A golden French coin, in value twelve livres, now settled at seventeen shillings. Dict.


LEXICO’GRAPHER. n.s. [? lixicographe, French.] A writer of dictionories; a harmless drudge, that busies himself in tracing the original, and detailing the signification of words.

Commentators and lexicographers acquainted with the Syriac language, have given these hints in their writings on scripture. Watt’s Improvement of the Mind.


LEXICO’GRAPHY. n.s. [?] The art or practice of writing dictionaries.


LE’XICON. n.s. [?] A dictionary; a book teaching the signification of words.

Though a linguist should pride himself to have all the tongues that Babel cleft the world into, yet if he had not studied the solid things in them as well as the words and lexicons, yet he were nothing so much to be esteemed a learned man as any yeoman competently wise in his mother dialect only. Milton .


LEY. n.s.

Ley, lee, lay, are all from the Saxon ?, a field or pasture, by the usual melting of the letter ? or g. Gibson


LI’ABLE. adj. [liable, from lier, old French.] Obnoxious; not exempt; subject.

But what is strength without a double share

Of wisdom? vast, unwieldy, burthensome,

Proudly secure, yet liable to fall

By weakest subtleties.          Milton .

The English boast of Spencer and Milton, who neither of them wanted genius or learning; and yet both of them are liable to many censures.  Dryden.

This, or any other scheme, coming from a private hand, might be liable to many defects.      Swift.


LI’AR. n.s. [from lie.] This word would analogically be lier; but this orthography has prevailed, and the convenience of distinction from lier, he who lies down, is sufficient to confirm it.] One who tells falshood; one who wants veracity.

She’s like a liar, gone to burning hell!

‘Twas I that kill’d her. Shakespeare.

He approves the common liar, same,

Who speaks him thus at Rome.      Shakespeare.

I do not reject his observation as untrue, much less condemn the person himself as a liar, whensoever it seems to be contradicted.   Boyle

Thy better soul abhors a liar’s part,

Wise is thy voice, and noble is thy heart.                Pope.


LI’ARD. adj.

1. Mingled roan.        Markham .

2. Liard in Scotland denotes gray-haired: as, he’s liard old man.


LIBA’TION. n.s. [libatio, Latin.]

1. The act of pouring wine on the ground in honour of some deity.

In digging new earth pour in some wine, that the vapour of the earth and wine may comfort the spirits, provided it be not taken for a heathen sacrifice, or libation to the earth.            Bacon’s Natural History.

2. The wine so poured.

They had no other crime to object against the Christians, but that they did not offer up libations, and the smoke of sacrifices, to dead men. Stillingfleet.

The gobblet then she took, with nectar crown’d,

Sprinkling the first libations on the ground.            Dryden.


LI’BBARD. n.s. [liebard, German; leopardus, Lat.] A leopard.

Make the libbard stern,

Leave roaring, when in rage he for revenge did yearn.    Spencer’s Fairy Queen.

The libbard, and the tiger, as the mole

Rising, the crumbled earth above them threw.       Milton .

The torrid parts of Africk are by Piso resembled to a libbard’s skin, the distance of whose spots represent the dispersness of habitations, or towns of Africk.                  Brerewood.


LI’BEL. n.s. [libellus, Latin; libelle, French.]

1. A satire; defamatory writing; a lampoon.

Are we reproached for the name of Christ? that ignominy serves but to advance our future glory; every such libel here becomes panegyrick there. Decay of Piety.     Decay of Piety.

Good heav’n! that sots and knaves should be so vain,

To wish their vile resemblance may remain!

And stand recorded, at their own request,

To future days, a libel or a jest.       Dryden.


2. [In the civil law.] A declaration or charge in writing against a person in court.


To LI’BEL. v.n. [from the noun.] To spread defamation: generally written or printed.

Sweet scrauls to fly about the streets of Rome :

What’s this but libelling against the senate? Shakesp.

He, like a privileg’d spy, whom nothing can

Discredit, libels now against each great man.      Donne.


To LI’BEL v.a. To satirise; to lampoon.

Is then the peerage of England any thing dishonoured when a peer suffers for his treason? If he be libelled, or any way defamed, he has his scandalum magnatum to punish the offender.    Dryden.


But what so pure which envious tongues will spare?

Some wicked wits have libelled all the fair.           Pope.


LI’BELLER. n.s. [from libel.] A defamer by writing; a lampooner.

Our common libellers are as free from the imputation of wit, as of morality. Dryden.

The squibs are those who, in the common phrase, are called libellers and lampooners.        Tatler.

The common libellers, in their invectives, tax the church with an insatiable desire of power and wealth, equally common to all bodies of men.         Swift.


LI’BELLOUS. adj. [from libel.] Defamatory.

It was the most malicious surmise that had ever been brewed, howsoever countenanced by a libellous pamphlet.       Wotton.


LI’BERAL. adj. [liberalis, Latin; liberal, French.]

1. Not mean; not low in birth; not low in mind.

2. Becoming a gentleman.

3. Munificent; generous; bountiful; not parcimonious.

Her name was Mercy, well known over all

To be both gracious and eke liberal.          Spenser

Sparing would shew a worse sin than ill doctrine.

Men of his way should be most liberal,

They’re set here for examples.        Shakespeare.

Needs must the pow’r

That made us, and for us this ample world,

Be infinitely good, and of his good

As liberal and free, as infinite.         Milton .

There is no art better than to be liberal of praise and commendation to others, in that wherein a man’s self hath any perfection.   Bacon’s Essays.

The liberal are secure alone;

For what we frankly give, for ever is our own.        Granv.

Several clergymen, otherwise little fond of obscure terms, are, in their sermons, very liberal of all those which they find in ecclesiastical writers, as if it were our duty to understand them.      Swift.


LIBERA’LITY. n.s. [liberalitas, Latin; liberalité, Fr.] Munificence; bounty; generosity; generous profusion.

Why should he despair, that knows to court

With words, fair looks, and liberality?        Shakesp.

Such moderation with thy bounty join,

That thou may’st nothing give that is not thine;

That liberality is but cast away,

Which makes us borrow what we cannot pay.       Denham.


LIBERA’LLY. adv. [from liberal.] Bounteously; bountifully; largely.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.     James i.5.


LI’BERTINE. n.s. [libertin, French.]

1. one unconfined; one at liberty.

When he speaks, the air, a charter’d libertine, is still;

And the must wonder lurketh in men’s ears,

To Steal his sweet and honied sentences.            Shakesp.

2. One who lives without restraint or law.

Man, the lawless libertine, may rove

Free and unquestion’d.        Rowe.

Want of power is the only bound that a libertine puts to his views upon any of the sex.            Clarissa.


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