From Middle English lukewarme (“lukewarm, tepid”), equivalent to luke (“lukewarm”) + warm. First element believed to be an alteration of Middle English lew (“tepid”) (> English dialectal lew), from Old English hlēow (“warm, sunny”), from Proto-Germanic *hliwjaz, *hlēwaz, *hlūmaz, *hleumaz (“warm”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱal(w)e-, *ḱel(w)e-, *k(')lēw- (“warm, hot”). Cognate with Dutch lauw (“tepid”), German lauwarm (“lukewarm”), Faroese lýggjur (“warm”), Swedish ljum (“lukewarm”), ljummen (“lukewarm”) and ly (“warm”), Danish lummer (“muggy”), Danish and Norwegian lunken (“tepid”), Swedish dialectal ljummen (“lukewarm”).
- Rhymes: -ɔː(r)m
- (UK) IPA(key): /ˌluːkˈwɔːm/
- (US) IPA(key): /ˌlukˈwɔɹm/, /ˈluk.wɔɹm/
Audio (US) (file)
lukewarm (not comparable)
- (temperature) Between warm and cool.
Wash it in lukewarm water.
My curry is lukewarm.
- (social) Not very enthusiastic (about a proposal or an idea).
The suggestion met with only a lukewarm response.
1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 10, in The Celebrity:
- The skipper Mr. Cooke had hired at Far Harbor was a God-fearing man with a luke warm interest in his new billet and employer, and had only been prevailed upon to take charge of the yacht after the offer of an emolument equal to half a year's sea pay of an ensign in the navy.
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