Etymology 1Edit

See lithe.


  • IPA(key): /ˈlaɪðə(ɹ)/
  • (file)



  1. comparative form of lithe: more lithe
    • 1900Grant Allen and Arthur Conan Doyle, Hilda Wade, ch VIII
      Doolittle and myself waited. Colebrook kept on cautiously, squirming his long body in sinuous waves like a lizard's through the grass, and was soon lost to us. No snake could have been lither.

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English lither, lyther, luther, lithere, lidder, from Old English lȳþre (bad, wicked, base, mean, corrupt, wretched), from Proto-Germanic *lūþrijaz (neglected, dissolute, useless, bad), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)lew- (slack, limp). Related to Old English loþrung (delusion, rubbish, nonsense), Old English loddere (beggar), Dutch lodder (a wanton), Dutch loddering (drowsy, trifling, wanton), German lotterig (slovenly), German lüderlich (slovenly), German liederlich (dissolute). See litherly.

Alternative formsEdit



lither (comparative more lither, superlative most lither)

  1. (Can we clean up(+) this sense?) Bad; wicked; false; worthless; slothful; lazy.
    • 1592: William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 1
      Anon, from thy insulting tyranny,
      Coupled in bonds of perpetuity,
      Two Talbots, winged through the lither sky,
      In thy despite shall ’scape mortality.
    • 1653, Thomas Urquhart and Peter Antony Motteux (translators), François Rabelais (author), Gargantua (1534), chapter XL
      After the same manner a monk--I mean those lither, idle, lazy monks--doth not labour and work, as do the peasant and artificer; doth not ward and defend the country, as doth the man of war; cureth not the sick and diseased, as the physician doth; doth neither preach nor teach, as do the evangelical doctors and schoolmasters; doth not import commodities and things necessary for the commonwealth, as the merchant doth.
    • 1850, H. I. (translator), Reverand Thomas Harding, A.M. (editor), The Decades of Henry Bullinger, Minister of the Church of Zurich., Third Decade, The Parker Society, Great Britain, page 32
      Secondarily, let him which laboreth in his vocation be prompt and active; let him be watchful and able to abide labour; he must be no lither-back1, unapt, or slothful fellow. Whatever he doth, that let him do with faith2 and diligence.
    • 1920, Charles Whibley, Literary Portraits, Ayer Publishing, →ISBN, page 63
      Thus he sketched an education which might have befitted a great king, without a word of ribaldry or scorn, and in such a spirit as proves that he gravely condemned the lazy, lither system of the monasteries.
Derived termsEdit