A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Lazy

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1180

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1180

Lázy. adj. [This word is derived by a correspondent, with great probability, from a l'aise, French; but it is however Teutonick: lijser in Danish, and losigh in Dutch, have the same meaning; and Spelman gives this account of the word: Dividebantur antiqui Saxones, ut testatur Nithardus, in tres ordines; Edhilingos, Frilingos & Lazzos; hoc est nobiles, ingenuos & serviles: quam & nos distinctionem diu retinuimus. Sed Ricardo autem secundo pars servorum maxima se in libertatem vindicavit; sic ut hodie apud Anglos rarior inveniatur servus, qui mancipium dicitur. Restat nihilominus antiquæ appellationis commemoratio. Ignavos enim hodie lazie dicimus.]

  1. Idle; sluggish; unwilling to work.

    Our soldiers, like the night-owl's lazy flight,
    Or like a lazy thrasher with a flail,
    Fall gently down, as if they struck their friends.
    Shakesp.

    Wicked condemned men will ever live like rogues, and not fall to work, but be lazy, and spend victuals. Bacon.

    Whose lazy waters without motion lay. Roscommon.

    The lazy glutton safe at home will keep,
    Indulge his sloth, and batten with his sleep.
    Dryden.

    Like Eastern kings a lazy state they keep,
    And close confin'd in their own palace sleep.
    Pope.

    What amazing stupidity is it, for men to be negligent of salvation themselves? to sit down lazy and unactive. Rogers.

  2. Slow; tedious.

    The ordinary method for recruiting their armies, was now too dull and lazy an expedient to resist this torrent. Clarendon.

Sources: Bacon, Francis (396) · Clarendon, Edward (73) · Dillon, Wentworth (Roscommon) (31) · Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 3 (39) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Rogers, John (38) · Spelman, Henry (4)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Lazy." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 5, 2012. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=5006.


  1. Rough translation of the Spelman quote:

    “The ancient Saxons were divided up, according to Nithard, into three classes: Edhilingi, Filingi & Lazzi, or nobles, free-born, and slaves; we have long since upheld that distinction. But Richard II set free most of the slaves; that is why today among the English the slave, which is said to be a possession, is much harder to find. Nevertheless the memory of the old term remains. That is to say, today we call the idle lazie.”

  2. Brandi on March 27th, 2011 at 11:07 pm

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