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From Middle English leud, leued, lewed ‎(unlearned, lay, lascivious), from Old English lǣwede ‎(unlearned, ignorant, lay), of obscure origin; most likely a derivative of the past participle of lǣwan ‎(to reveal, betray) in the sense of "exposed as being unlearned" or "easily betrayed, clueless", from Proto-Germanic *lēwijaną ‎(to betray), from Proto-Germanic *lēwą ‎(an opportunity, cause), from Proto-Indo-European *lēw- ‎(to leave). Cognate with Old High German gilāen, firlāen ‎(to betray), Gothic 𐌲𐌰𐌻𐌴𐍅𐌾𐌰𐌽 ‎(galēwjan, to give over, betray), Gothic 𐌻𐌴𐍅 ‎(lēw), 𐌻𐌴𐍅𐌰 ‎(lēwa, an opportunity, cause).



lewd ‎(comparative lewder, superlative lewdest)

  1. Lascivious, sexually promiscuous, rude.
  2. (obsolete) Lay; not clerical.
    • Sir J. Davies
      So these great clerks their little wisdom show / To mock the lewd, as learn'd in this as they.
  3. (obsolete) Uneducated.
  4. (obsolete) Vulgar, common; typical of the lower orders.
    • Bible, Acts xvii. 5.
      But the Jews, which believed not, [] took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, [] and assaulted the house of Jason.
    • Southey
      Too lewd to work, and ready for any kind of mischief.
  5. (obsolete) Base, vile, reprehensible.

Derived terms[edit]