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Noun. From Middle English lī̆stlī̆ste (band, stripe; hem, selvage; border, edge, rim; list, specification; barriers enclosing area for jousting, etc.), from Old English līste (hem, edge, strip), or Old French listelistre (border; band; strip of paper; list), or Medieval Latin lista, all from Proto-Germanic *līstǭ (band, strip; hem, selvage; border, edge), possibly from Proto-Indo-European *leys- (to trace, track). The word is cognate with Dutch lijst (list)Finnish lista ((informal) list; batten)Galician lista (band, strip; list)German Leiste (ledge; (heraldry) bar)Icelandic listalistiItalian lista (list; strip)Portuguese lista (list)Spanish lista (list, roll; stripe)Swedish lista (list).

The etymology of the (archaic) Art; craft; cunning; skill. From Middle English listliste (ability, cleverness, cunning, skill; adroitness, dexterity; stratagem, trick; device, design, token), from Old English list (art, craft; cleverness, cunning, experience, skill), from Proto-Germanic *listiz (art, craft), from Proto-Indo-European *leys-*leyǝs- (furrow, trace, track, trail). The word is cognate with Dutch list (artifice, guile, sleight; ruse, strategem)German List (cunning, guile; ploy, ruse, trick)Low German list (artifice, cunning; prudence, wisdom)Icelandic list (art)Saterland Frisian list (cunning, knowledge)Scots list (art, craft, skill; cunning)Swedish list (art; cunning, guile, wile; ruse, trick; stealth), and possibly Spanish listo (clever). It is also related to learnlore.

Verb. From Middle English listenlistlistelestelesten (to choose, desire, wish (to do something)), from Old English lystan, from Proto-Germanic *lustijaną, from Proto-Germanic *lustuz (pleasure). The word is cognate with Danish lyste (to desire, feel like, want)Dutch lusten (to appreciate, like; to lust)Faroese lysta (to desire)Old Norse lyste (to desire; to lust)Old High German lusten (modern German gelüsten and lüsten).

The noun sense is from the verb, or from Middle English listlistelestleste (desire, wish; craving, longing; enjoyment, joy, pleasure), which is derived from Middle English listenlist (verb).


  • enPR: lĭst, IPA(key)/lɪst/


list (plural lists)

  1. A strip of fabric, especially from the edge of a piece of cloth.
  2. Material used for cloth selvage.
  3. A register or roll of paper consisting of a compilation or enumeration of a set of possible items; the compilation or enumeration itself. [from 1600]
  4. (in the plural, historical) The barriers or palisades used to fence off a space for jousting or tilting tournaments.
  5. (in the plural, military, historical) The scene of a military contest; the ground or field of combat; an enclosed space that serves as a battlefield; the site of a pitched battle.
  6. (computing, programming) A codified representation of a list used to store data or in processing; especially, in the Lisp programming language, a data structure consisting of a sequence of zero or more items.
  7. (architecture) A little square moulding; a fillet or listel.
  8. (carpentry) A narrow strip of wood, especially sapwood, cut from the edge of a board or plank.
  9. (ropemaking) A piece of woollen cloth with which the yarns are grasped by a worker.
  10. (tin-plate manufacture) The first thin coating of tin; a wire-like rim of tin left on an edge of the plate after it is coated.
  11. (obsolete) A stripe.
  12. (obsolete) A boundary or limit; a border.


list (third-person singular simple present listspresent participle listingsimple past and past participle listed)

  1. (transitive, archaic) To be pleasing to.
  2. (transitive, archaic) To desire, like, or wish (to do something).
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