Bosworth Toller's


Dictionary online


  • noun [ masculinefeminineneuter ]
Dictionary links
lác, generally neuter, but occasionally feminine [v. Shrn. pp. 3-4], or masculine, as in the compound lyb-lác q. v. The idea which lies at the root of the various meanings of this and of the next word seems to be that of motion. Thus lácan and Icel. leika are used to describe the motion of a vessel riding on the waves, the flight of a bird as it rises and falls in the air, the flickering, wavering motion of flame, and the like; while Gothic laikan renders σκιρτâν in Luke i. 41, 44; vi. 23. From this idea of activity we pass to that of games, playing, dancing &c. ; and so Gothic laiks = χoρόs in Luke xv. 25; in Icel., where the meaning play, sport is the prevailing one (see also compounds in which leik- occurs), leikr is used of dancing, athletics, various games, music, as in strengleikr, leika = to play, to lake in the dialect of the North of England. In O. H. Ger. the application is generally to music, leih, leich = modus, modulus, carmen versus, but in rang-leih = wrestling the meaning is similar to the Icelandic (see Grff. ii. 152-3.) And just as plega is used, by itself or in its compounds, of war and battle, so in the Icelandic poetry we have
Wright's OE grammar
Hildar leikr, sverða leikr = battle (see Cl. and Vig. Dict. p. 382, col. 2), and in English lác could be applied in the same way. But in the latter language the more frequent meanings are those of offering, gift, and to connect these with the preceding ones Grimm notes the association of dancing and playing with offerings and sacrifices. From this special, meaning of offering the more general one of gift, present might easily come. To quote his words 'Das wort (lác) scheint einer wurzel mit dem goth. laiks (saltatio) ahd. leih (ludus, modus) altn. leikr, ursprünglich also tanz and spiel, die das oper begleiteten, allmählich die gabe selbst zu bezeichnen,' D. M. 35. The passages which follow will shew the English use of the word.
battle, struggle
Show examples
  • Wíga unlæt láces

    a warrior not slow to fight (referring to death which was approaching Guthlac),

      Exon. 47 b; Th. 164, 5; Gú. 1007.
an offering, sacrifice, oblation
Show examples
  • Gode onsægdnesse tó beranne ðæs hálgan láces

    ad offerendas Domino victimas sacræ oblationis,

      Bd. 4, 22; S. 592, 26.
  • Hí him sculon láces lof lustum bringan

    sacrificent sacrificium laudis,

      Ps. Th. 106, 21.
  • Ic ðé láces lof lustum secge

    tibi sacrificabo hostiam laudis,

      115, 7.
  • Ic ðé lustum láce cwéme

    voluntarie sacrificabo tibi,

      53, 6.
  • And bærnon uppan ðam weofode drihtne tó láce

    adolebuntque super altare in oblationem domino,

      Lev. 3, 5.
  • Offrian tó láce

    to offer as a sacrifice,

      Ælfc. T. Grn. 4, 27.
  • Hie drihtne lác begen brohton

    they both brought an offering to the Lord,

      Cd. 47; Th. 60, 2; Gen. 975.
  • Se rinc Gode lác onsægde,

      85; Th. 107, 21; Gen. 1792.
  • Onbleót ðæt lác Gode,

      142; Th. 177, 21; Gen. 2933.
  • Ðú scealt blótan sunu, and leófes lác forbærnan, and mé lác bebeódan,

      138; Th. 173, 9; Gen. 2858.
  • Ðú ðínne lác offrige,

      Homl. Skt. 7, 119.
  • Þurh lác ðære hálwendan onsægdnesse

    per oblationem hostiæ salutaris,

      Bd. 4, 22; S. 592, 22.
  • Mára is allum cwicum lácum and sægdnissum

    majus est holocaustomatibus et sacrificiis,

      Mk. Skt. Rush 12, 33.
  • Ǽnig ðæra þinga ðe gedwolgodum tó lácum betǽht biþ

    any thing that is appointed to false gods for sacrifices,

      Swt. A. S. Rdr. 105, 30.
  • Nemme hé lufige mid lácum ðone ðe gescóp heofon and eorþan

    unless by offerings he shew his love to him that created heaven and earth,

      Exon. 67 a; Th. 249, 13; Jul. 111.
  • Mid háligra lofsanga lácum cóman

    with offerings of holy hymns they came,

      Blickl. Homl. 207, 9.
  • Gode lác onsægdon,

      201, 13: Guthl. 20; Gdwin 32, 13.
  • On ðám lácum geleáfsumra

    fidelium oblationibus,

      Bd. 1, 27; S. 488, 38.
  • Geoffrode lác

    obtulit holocausta,

      Gen. 8, 20.
  • Genimaþ eów lác and ingangaþ on his wíctúnas

    tollite hostias et introite in atria ejus,

      Ps. Th. 95, 8.
  • Seó cwén Sabæ geseah ða lác ðe man Gode offrode

    the queen of Sheba saw the offerings that were made to God,

      Homl. Th. ii. 584, 16.
  • Hé fræt fíftýne men and óðer swylc út offerede láðlícu lác

    he (Grendel) devoured fifteen men and as many bore away, horrid sacrifices,

      Beo. Th. 3172; B. 1584.
a gift, present, grace, favour, service; a present or
offering of words, a message
Show examples
  • Lác


      Ælfc. Gr. 9, 22; Som. 12, 14.
  • Lác munus vel


      Ælfc. Gl. 35; Som. 62, 77; Wrt. Voc. 28, 55.
  • Lác elogia, i.e. munus, Wrt. Voc. ii. 143, 19: 29, 24: xenium, donum, Hpt. Gl. 496:


  • Gúþlác se nama ys on rómánisc

    belli munus,

      Guthl. 2; Gdwin 10, 23.
  • Leóht wé geseóþ láce lumen videmus muneris, Hymn. Surt. 43, 17, Behátenre fæderes láce

    promisso Patris munere,

      95, 27.
  • Láce

    eulogiæ, benedictionis,

      Hpt. Gl. 496.
  • Tóforan ðære cynclícan láce ðe hé hire geaf,

      Homl. Th. ii. 584, 31.
  • Sende tó láce

    sent it as a present,

      Elen. Kmbl. 2398; El. 1200.
  • Hé ðære mægeþ sceolde láce (acc. fem.?) gelǽdan láþspel tó sóþ

    he to the maiden must bring the message, the grievous tale too true,

      Exon. 52 a; Th. 182, 28; Gú. 1317.
  • Tíd is ðæt ðú fére and ða ǽrendu eal biþence ófestum lǽde swá ic ðé ǽr bibeád lác tó leófre time is that thou go and think about those errands [cf. Th. 173, 24 sqq. where Guthlac speaks of his burial], with speed bring, as I before bid thee [cf. Th. 172, 31 sqq],

    the message to my dear sister,

    51 b;
      Th. 179, 35; Gú.1272.
  • Heó lác weorðade ðe hire brungen wæs

    she honoured the gift [the nails of the cross] that was brought her,

      Elen. Kmbl. 2272; El. 1137.
  • Cwæþ hé his sylfes suna syllan wolde ... Hie ða lác hraðe þégon tó þance

    he said he would give his own son ... They that gift soon accepted thankfully,

      Andr. Kmbl. 2224; An. 1113.
  • Ða hálgan þrýnesse georne biddan ðæt heó ðæt lác ðæt hie þurh ðone hálgan heáhengel ǽrest æteówde mannum wundorlíc tácn ðæt hie ðæt mannum tó fylgenne oncýðde

    earnestly to entreat the holy Trinity that the grace of shewing by the holy archangel a wondrous token to men, that that it would make known to men for their guidance,

      Blickl. Homl. 205, 30.
  • Ðonne onfóþ hí from Gode máran méde ðonne hí from ǽnigum óðrum lácum dón

    then shall they receive from God greater reward than they do from any other gifts,

      45. 34.
  • Him lácum cwémaþ

    dona adducent,

      Ps. Th. 72, 10.
  • Lácum, þeódgestreónum,

      Beo. Th. 86; B. 43.
  • Him eorla hleó gesealde máþmas xii.hét hine mid ðæm lácum leóde secean,

      3740; B. 1868.
  • Culufre gewát fleógan eft mid lácum hire (

    the olive branch

      Cd. 72; Th. 88, 28; Gen. 1472.
  • Hí geopenodon heora hordfatu and him lác geoffrodon gold and récels and myrram

    they opened their treasures, and presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh

    [Mt. 2, 11], Homl. Th i. 78, 27.
  • Lác gifan. Exon. 100 b; Th. 380,

      2; Rä. 1, 1.
  • Bringan lác and luftácen

    to bring gifts and love-tokens,

      Beo. Th. 3730; B. 1863.
  • Lǽc


      Ps. Spl. T. 14, 6.
Show examples
  • Heofendlícere láe [ = heofenlícere láce]

    cælestis medicinæ,

      Hpt. Gl. 415, 36.
  • Lác


      507, 77.
  • Lác


[Laym.1st MS. lac, 2nd MS. lock gift: Orm. lac a sacrifice, offering Gen. a. Ex. loac; Piers P. laik a game.]
Similar entries
v. ag-, ǽfen-, beadu-, berne-, brýd-, cwic-, feoht-, freó-, ge-, hǽmed-, heaðu-, lyb-, mæsse-, reáf-, sǽ-, scín-, wed-, wíf-, wíte-lác. It also occurs in proper names, e.g. Gúþ-lác, Hyge-lác.
Linked entries
v.  lǽc freó-lác.
Full form


  • lác, n.