English edit

Etymology 1 edit

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).

Pronunciation edit

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ljuːd/
    • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /lud/
  • enPR: lo͞od

Adjective edit

lewd (comparative lewder, superlative lewdest)

  1. Lascivious, sexually promiscuous, rude.
    Synonym: lubricious
  2. (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.
  3. (obsolete) Uneducated.
    • c. 1515–1516, published 1568, John Skelton, Againſt venemous tongues enpoyſoned with ſclaunder and falſe detractions &c.:
      My ſcoles are not for unthriftes untaught,
      For frantick faitours half mad and half ſtraught;
      But my learning is of another degree
      To taunt theim like liddrons, lewde as thei bee.
  4. (obsolete) Vulgar, common; typical of the lower orders.
  5. (obsolete) Base, vile, reprehensible.
Derived terms edit
Translations edit

Noun edit

lewd (plural lewds)

  1. 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."
Derived terms edit

Verb edit

lewd (third-person singular simple present lewds, present participle lewding, simple past and past participle lewded)

  1. (slang, transitive, intransitive) 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.

References edit

Etymology 2 edit

Verb edit

lewd (third-person singular simple present lewds, present participle lewding, simple past and past participle lewded)

  1. (slang) Alternative form of lude (take the drug quaalude)
    • 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.

Anagrams edit

Middle English edit

Adjective edit


  1. Alternative form of lewed