From Middle English lewed, lewd, leued (“unlearned, lay, lascivious”), from Old English lǣwede (“unlearned, ignorant, lay”), of uncertain origin. Formally similar to a derivative of the past participle of Old English lǣwan (“to reveal, betray”) in the sense of "exposed as being unlearned" or "easily betrayed, clueless", from Proto-West Germanic *lāwijan, from Proto-Germanic *lēwijaną (“to betray”), from *lēwą (“an opportunity, cause”), from Proto-Indo-European *lēw- (“to leave”). If so, then cognate with Old High German gilāen, firlāen (“to betray”), Gothic 𐌲𐌰𐌻𐌴𐍅𐌾𐌰𐌽 (galēwjan, “to give over, betray”), Gothic 𐌻𐌴𐍅 (lēw, “an opportunity, cause”). Or, according to the OED, probably from Vulgar Latin *laigo-, from Late Latin lāicus (“of the people”), from Ancient Greek λαϊκός (laïkós).
- Rhymes: -uːd
- Lascivious, sexually promiscuous, rude.
- Synonym: lubricious
- 2014 August 11, Dave Itzkoff, “Robin Williams, Oscar-Winning Comedian, Dies at 63 in Suspected Suicide”, in New York Times:
- Onstage he was known for ricochet riffs on politics, social issues and cultural matters both high and low; tales of drug and alcohol abuse; lewd commentaries on relations between the sexes; and lightning-like improvisations on anything an audience member might toss at him.
- (obsolete) Lay; not clerical.
- 1599, John Davies, Nosce Teipsum:
- So these great clerks their little wisdom show / To mock the lewd, as learn'd in this as they.
- (obsolete) Uneducated.
- (obsolete) Vulgar, common; typical of the lower orders.
- 1829, Robert Southey, Sir Thomas More; or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society:
- Too lewd to work, and ready for any kind of mischief.
- (obsolete) Base, vile, reprehensible.
lewd (plural lewds)
- A sexually suggestive image, particularly one which does not involve full nudity.
- 1944, The Saturday Evening Post, volume 217, page 25:
- Nudes, lewds and smutty outhouse cards, although they can be bought in some of the rowdy joints, are a negligible percentage of the total, and are unobtainable in the chain stores, drugstores and travel stations which are the outlets for […]
- 1996, Cigar Aficionado, page 309:
- […] also put it, he learned “the difference between nudes and lewds."
- To express lust; to behave in a lewd manner.
- 2011, Cooper, The Queen's Assassin, page 189:
- "Well then,” dropping her bathrobe, lewding her lips, “how 'bout some lovee?”
- 2016, George Saoulidis, The Girl Who Twisted Fate's Arm:
- Now, the men could just have been watching the unusual APC running on the road, or just lewding at the women.
- 2019, Aldious Waite, Grape Juice Enlightenment: Immortal Mind, page 14:
- Each one lusting and lewding themselves - fighting against the spirit of change.
- Oxford English Dictionary, 1884–1928, and First Supplement, 1933.
- (slang) Alternative form of
- 1968, Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test:
- Babbs, after many days of glumming in his Purina Chow redoubt, strolls over, lewding out, “Hi, Je-e-e-ed!” to Kesey's three-year-old son.
- 1973, Yardbird Reader - Volumes 1-3, page 186:
- I was just lewding around, fucking furiously, drinking and doping and daring the devil.
- 1996, Exquisite Corpse - Issues 56-61, page 54:
- Once lewded-out. I sampled the bourbon, then somebody suggested I take five more hits.
- Alternative form of