Try Our Apps


Famous Last Words


[lahy] /laɪ/
noun, Chemistry.
a highly concentrated, aqueous solution of potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide.
any solution resulting from leaching, percolation, or the like.
Origin of lye
before 900; Middle English lie, ley, Old English lēag; cognate with Dutch loog, German Lauge lye, Old Norse laug warm bath. See lave1
Can be confused
lie, lye. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for lyes
Historical Examples
  • Fama enim grescit eundo, even unto incredible wonders and miracles, or rather fictions, and lyes.

    Spadacrene Anglica Edmund Deane
  • You are a foole: She lyes, Madam, women marry husbands,To lye with other men.

    The Fatal Dowry Philip Massinger
  • If the lyes always run high in glycerine it is an indication that it is not all being obtained.

    Soap-Making Manual E. G. Thomssen
  • I list not to write any lyes, but that which I write, is as true as strange.

  • At this place he dyed and lyes ☞ buryed at Wilton, but no memoriall of him—vide the Register.

  • I knowe the best of ye, by the lyes ye writ of me, got not the price of a good hat to cover your brainless heds.

  • In the testing of lyes one which is graduated from 0° to 50° B. is usually employed.

    Soap-Making Manual E. G. Thomssen
  • Again allow the lyes to settle and put aside a sample of the lye for comparison.

    Soap-Making Manual E. G. Thomssen
  • Allow the lyes to settle and with an inverted pipette draw off the lyes into a test tube or bottle.

    Soap-Making Manual E. G. Thomssen
  • When the lyes are treated right no cloudiness should develop either upon adding ammonia or the dilute acid.

    Soap-Making Manual E. G. Thomssen
British Dictionary definitions for lyes


any solution obtained by leaching, such as the caustic solution obtained by leaching wood ash
a concentrated solution of sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide
Word Origin
Old English lēag; related to Middle Dutch lōghe, Old Norse laug bath, Latin lavāre to wash
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for lyes



Old English læg, leag "lye," from Proto-Germanic *laugo (cf. Middle Dutch loghe, Dutch loog, Old High German louga, German Lauge "lye"), from PIE root *leue- "to wash" (see lave). The substance was formerly used in place of soap, hence Old High German luhhen "to wash," Old Norse laug "hot bath, hot spring," Danish lørdag, Swedish lördag "Saturday," literally "washing-day." Chamber-lye in early Modern English was the name for urine used as a detergent.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
lyes in Science
A strong alkaline solution or solid of potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide, made by allowing water to wash through wood ashes. It is used to make soap and drain and oven cleaners. Chemical formula: KOH or NaOH.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for lye

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for lyes

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for lyes