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  1. Also called lister plow middlebreaker, middlebuster. a plow with a double moldboard, used to prepare the ground for planting by producing furrows and ridges.
  2. Also called lister planter, lister drill. a lister plow fitted with attachments for dropping and covering seeds.

Origin of lister1

An Americanism dating back to 1885–90; list2 + -er1


  1. a person who makes or compiles a list, especially an appraiser or assessor.

Origin of lister2

First recorded in 1670–80; list1 + -er1


  1. Joseph, 1st Baron Lister of Lyme Re·gis [lahym ree-jis] /laɪm ˈri dʒɪs/, 1827–1912, English surgeon: founder of modern antiseptic surgery.


  1. a border or bordering strip, usually of cloth.
  2. a selvage.
  3. selvages collectively.
  4. a strip of cloth or other material.
  5. a strip or band of any kind.
  6. a stripe of color.
  7. a division of the hair or beard.
  8. one of the ridges or furrows of earth made by a lister.
  9. a strip of material, as bark or sapwood, to be trimmed from a board.
  10. fillet(def 6a).
  1. made of selvages or strips of cloth.
verb (used with object)
  1. to produce furrows and ridges on (land) with a lister.
  2. to prepare (ground) for planting by making ridges and furrows.
  3. to cut away a narrow strip of wood from the edge of (a stave, plank, etc.).
  4. Obsolete. to apply a border or edge to.

Origin of list2

before 900; Middle English lista, Old English līst border; cognate with Dutch lijst, German Leiste (Old High German līsta)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for lister


  1. US and Canadian agriculture a plough with a double mouldboard designed to throw soil to either side of a central furrowAlso called: lister plough, middlebreaker, middle buster

Word Origin

C19: from list ²


  1. Joseph, 1st Baron Lister. 1827–1912, British surgeon, who introduced the use of antiseptics


  1. an item-by-item record of names or things, usually written or printed one under the other
  2. computing a linearly ordered data structure
  3. be on the danger list to be in a critical medical or physical condition
  1. (tr) to make a list of
  2. (tr) to include in a list
  3. (tr) British to declare to be a listed building
  4. (tr) stock exchange to obtain an official quotation for (a security) so that it may be traded on the recognized market
  5. an archaic word for enlist
Derived Formslistable, adjective

Word Origin

C17: from French, ultimately related to list ²; compare Italian lista list of names (earlier: border, strip, as of paper), Old High German līsta border


  1. (esp of ships) to lean over or cause to lean over to one side
  1. the act or an instance of leaning to one side

Word Origin

C17: origin unknown


  1. a border or edging strip, esp of cloth
  2. a less common word for selvage
  3. a strip of bark, sapwood, etc, trimmed from a board or plank
  4. another word for fillet (def. 8)
  5. a strip, band, ridge or furrow
  6. agriculture a ridge in ploughed land formed by throwing two furrows together
verb (tr)
  1. to border with or as if with a list or lists
  2. agriculture to plough (land) so as to form lists
  3. to cut a list from (a board, plank, etc)
See also lists

Word Origin

Old English līst; related to Old High German līsta


  1. to be pleasing to (a person)
  2. (tr) to desire or choose
  1. a liking or desire

Word Origin

Old English lystan; related to Old High German lusten and Gothic lūston to desire


  1. an archaic or poetic word for listen

Word Origin

Old English hlystan; related to Old Norse hlusta
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for lister



"catalogue consisting of names in a row or series," c.1600, from Middle English liste "border, edging, stripe" (late 13c.), from Old French liste "border, band, row, group," also "strip of paper," or from Old Italian lista "border, strip of paper, list," both from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German lista "strip, border, list," Old Norse lista "border, selvage," Old English liste "border"), from Proto-Germanic *liston, from PIE *leizd- "border, band." The sense of "enumeration" is from strips of paper used as a sort of catalogue.



"tilt, lean," especially of a ship, 1880, earlier (1620s) lust, of unknown origin, perhaps an unexplained spelling variant of Middle English lysten "to please, desire, wish, like" (see list (v.4)) with a sense development from the notion of "leaning" toward what one desires (cf. incline). Related: Listed; listing. The noun in this sense is from 1630s.



"hear, hearken," now poetic or obsolete, from Old English hlystan "hear, hearken," from hlyst "hearing," from Proto-Germanic *khlustiz, from PIE *kleu- "to hear" (see listen). Related: Listed; listing.



"to put down in a list; to make a list of," 1610s, from list (n.1). Meaning "to place real estate on the market" is from 1904. Attested from c.1300 as "put an edge around," from list (n.2). Related: Listed; listing.



"to be pleased, desire" (archaic), mid-12c., lusten, listen "to please, desire," from Old English lystan "to please, cause pleasure or desire, provoke longing," from Proto-Germanic *lustijan (cf. Old Saxon lustian, Dutch lusten "to like, fancy," Old High German lusten, German lüsten, Old Norse lysta); from the root of lust (n.). Related: Listed; listing. As a noun, c.1200, from the verb. Somehow English has lost listy (adj.) "pleasant, willing (to do something); ready, quick" (mid-15c.).



"a narrow strip," Old English liste "border, hem, edge, strip," from Proto-Germanic *liston (cf. Old High German lista "strip, border, list," Old Norse lista "border, selvage,"German leiste), from PIE *leizd- "border, band" (see list (n.1)). The Germanic root also is the source of French liste, Italian lista. This was the source of archaic lists "place of combat," originally at the boundary of fields.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

lister in Medicine


  1. British surgeon who demonstrated in 1865 that carbolic acid was an effective antiseptic agent and introduced it to the surgical process.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

lister in Science


  1. British surgeon who, influenced by Pasteur's germ theory of disease, established in 1865 a system of antiseptic measures in hospitals to combat infections. His practices dramatically decreased the number by deaths caused by infection and were gradually adopted in hospitals throughout Europe.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with lister


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.