Perhaps from law because the practice was ordained by law. Few dictionaries comment directly on the etymology of the sense, but several (which also spell the infinitive law) group it with the other verb and noun senses derived from Old English lagu (“law”).
- (transitive) To cut off the claws and balls of (e.g. a dog's forefeet).
1808, William Gilpin, Remarks on forest scenery, and other woodland views:
- They were enveloped in forms, and easily evaded ; like a lawed dog, too mutilated to catch their game.
1866, George Richard Jesse, Researches Into the History of the British Dog:
- In the 3 Edw II., at a Court-Leet and Court-Baron held for the manor of Sutton-Cold field, in Warwickshire, when the ancient customs of the Lordship from the time of Athelstan and until the coronation of Henry III. were testified to by the Jury, they certified that they had heard their ancestors say that, when Sutton manor was in the hands of the Kings of England, all the Chase was afforested, and all the dogs within the forest used to be lawed, and the left claw of the foot cut off: and after it came into the hands of the Earl of Warwick they had leave to have and hold dogs of all kind unlawed.
1950, Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire:
- The Vicar of Bacford for the same John Miller there for the same Beatrice de Coghull for one dog not lawed.
2011, Edward Rutherfurd, Sarum, ↑ISBN, page 511:
- Godric rarely entered the forest, and, having already trained Harold to help with driving the sheep, at which the young dog had shown a remarkable talent, he had no wish to have him lawed.
- For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:lawe.
lawe (plural lawes)
- Obsolete spelling of
- (transitive) to transport, carry, take, bring
- lawe mai – to bring
- lawe aku – to take away
- (stative) to become