From Middle English lewed, lewd, leued, from Old English lǣwede, of obscure origin; most likely a derivative of the past participle of lǣwan in the sense of "exposed as being unlearned" or "easily betrayed, clueless", from Proto-Germanic *lēwijaną, from *lēwą, from Proto-Indo-European *lēw-. Or, according to the OED, from Vulgar Latin *laigo-, from Late Latin laicus ("of the people").
Cognate with Old High German gilāen, firlāen, Gothic 𐌲𐌰𐌻𐌴𐍅𐌾𐌰𐌽, Gothic 𐌻𐌴𐍅.
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