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You obviously don't know about Lettuce
(lts) Forms: 3-6 letus(e, 4-6 lettuse, 5 latewes, 5-6 letews, letuce,
6 let(t)yse, lettes(se, -is, -us, -uze, -yce, lectuse, lacteux, -use,
laictuce, Sc. lattouce, 6-7 lactuce, lettise, 6-8 lettice, 7 lectuce, 8
lattice, 6- lettuce. [ME. letuse, connected with OF. laituë (Cotgr.
laictuë, mod.F. laitue):lactca, f. lact-, lac milk, the name having
reference to the milky juice of the plant.
The exact origin of the Eng. word is uncertain. Prof. Skeat
conjectures that it may be a. OF. *letuse, *laituse:L. *lactcea, an
adjectival derivative of lactca. Palsgrave in 1530 gives lectus as a
Fr. form, and a vocabulary of c1475 (Wright-Wülcker 787) gives letusa
as the Latin equivalent of Eng. letuse; but the genuineness of these is
1. a. Any plant of the genus Lactuca; esp. Lactuca sativa or Garden
Lettuce, the leaves of which are much used as a salad; often collect.
in sing. for the plants or their leaves. wild lettuce: some plant of
this genus growing wild; spec. in England = L. Scariola and L. virosa;
in America = L. Canadensis. Also applied to various plants resembling
this genus. For cabbage, cos, hare, Indian, lamb's lettuce etc., see
the first member.
c1290 S. Eng. Leg. I. 18/598 A fair herbe, at men cleopez letuse.
a1300 Cursor M. 6079 Wit therf bred and letus wild. 1382 WYCLIF Exod.
xii. 8 Therf looves with wylde letuse. c1400 tr. Secreta Secret., Gov.
Lordsh. 73 Wylde letus at feldmen clepin skarioles. c1420 Pallad. on
Husb. II. 176 Letuce is to be sette in Ianyueer. c1483 CAXTON Dialogues
iv. 13 Yet ben in the gardynes..Letews, porselane. 1533 ELYOT Cast.
Helthe (1539) 39 Breade steped in white brothe, with sodden lettyse, or
cykorie, are good to be vsed. 1562 TURNER Herbal II. 26 Muche vse of
lettes hurteth the eysight. 1566 PAINTER Pal. Pleas. I. 39 When the
yong lactuse begin to growe, I cutte of the bitter and sower stalkes
from them. 1614 J. COOKE Greene's Tu Quoque L3b, Did I eate any Lettice
to supper last night, that I am so sleepie. 1633 JOHNSON Gerarde's
Herbal II. xxxviii. 309 The greater wilde Lettuce smelling of Opium.
1651-3 JER. TAYLOR Serm. for Year (1678) 108 A dish of Lettice and a
clear Fountain can cool all my Heat. 1671 H. M. tr. Erasm. Colloq. 100
It is very fine Broth which he is served up in; the Lettice are very
choyce ones. 1733 POPE Hor. Sat. II. i. 18 If your point be rest,
[take] Lettuce and cowslip-wine. 1760 J. LEE Introd. Bot. App. 317
Lettuce, Wild, Prenanthes. 1876 HARLEY Mat. Med. (ed. 6) 540 Lettuce
has glaucous vertical leaves.
b. slang (orig. U.S.). Money.
1929 Amer. Speech June 357 If you wish to boast of having a great
deal of money, you may speak of having..wads of it, or a wad of
lettuce, meaning a big roll of bills. 1932 J. DOS PASSOS 1919 57 He
still had more'n fifty iron men, quite a roll of lettuce for a guy like
him. 1967 WODEHOUSE Company for Henry v. 84 How are you fixed for
lettuce, Hank?.. Dough. Cash. Glue... Money. 1974 J. WAINWRIGHT Cause
for Killing 216 ‘They spend money, in Beirut...’ ‘Phoenicia Street,’
murmured Gantley. ‘Anything... Any out-of-this-world luxury. Any
service. Anything! You have the lettuce... Phoenicia Street can
c. = lettuce green.
1963 New Yorker 1 June 115 These shirts..in..cedar, lettuce, navy or
2. Proverb. like lips, like lettuce = ‘like has met its like’; an
echo of L. similem habent labra lactucam, an alleged saying of M.
Crassus, when he saw an ass eating thistles.
a1540 BARNES Wks. (1573) 189/1 No doubt the prouerbe is true, such
lippes such lectuse, such saintes such miracles. 1583 Leg. Bp. St.
Androis 433 Sic lipps, sic lattouce; lordis and lownes. 1587 FLEMING
Contn. Holinshed III. 1017/2 Like lips, like lettice, as is their cause
so are the rulers. 1589 GREENE Menaphon (Arb.) 92 He left such lettice
as were too fine for his lips. 1599 H. BUTTES Dyets Drie Dinner To
Rdrs., Here are Lettuses for euery mans lips. 1619 Pasquil's Palin.
(1877) 130 If he like not these Lettice, let him pull backe his lips.
1677 W. HUGHES Man of Sin III. iv. 140 Well, but the Lettice and the
Lips do well together.
3. attrib. and Comb., as lettuce-bed, -juice, -leaf, -seed;
lettuce-cabbage = cabbage-lettuce; lettuce green, a medium shade of
green; also attrib.; lettuce-opium = LACTUCARIUM; lettuce-water, a
decoction of lettuce.
1897 M. KINGSLEY W. Africa 380 The fierce currents of the wet
season..play great havoc with these *lettuce beds. 1731 Gentl. Mag. I.
408 Make Plantations of *Lettuce Cabbage for Winter use. 1897 Sears,
Roebuck Catal. 222/2 Delicate tintings of..lemon, *lettuce green,
scarlet. 1929 E. WILSON I thought of Daisy i. 3, I saw lettuce-green
cocktail glasses. 1970 Guardian 2 June 7/8 Mimosa, Lettuce Green,
Lavender Blue. 1971 D. BEATY Temple Tree 157 A lettuce-green shirt.
1832 Veg. Subst. Food 299 The narcotic property of *lettuce-juice has
been long familiarly known. c1540 Vicary's Anat. (1888) App. 227
Nightshade leaves, *lactuce leaves, henbayne leaves. 1816 A. DUNCAN in
Mem. Caled. Hortic. Soc. (1819) II. 312 A substance..which I have
denominated Lactucarium or *Lettuce Opium. 1577 MOUNTAINE Gardener's
Labyrinth II. 43 *Lettice seedes. 1683 SALMON Doron Med. III. 660 Oyl
of Lettice Seeds. 1713 DERHAM Phys.-Theol. 9 note, Some Lettice-Seed
being sown..in the open Air. 1836 J. M. GULLY Magendie's Formul. (ed.
2) 104 *Lettuce water 4 ounces.
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