land/fall on one's feet, feet(def 3).
    see how the land lies, to investigate in advance; inform oneself of the facts of a situation before acting: You should see how the land lies before making a formal proposal.Compare lay of the land.

Origin of land

before 900; Middle English (noun and v.), Old English (noun); cognate with Dutch, German, Old Norse, Gothic land; akin to Irish lann, Welsh llan church (orig. enclosure), Breton lann heath. See lawn1
Related formsland·like, adjectivere·land, verbun·der·land, noun




Edwin Herbert,1909–91, U.S. inventor and businessman: created the Polaroid camera.


a combining form of land: hinterland; lowland. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for land

Contemporary Examples of land

Historical Examples of land

  • It seems pleasant to be on land after being on shipboard so many weeks.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Land of the sunshine, the deep blue sky, and snow-topped hills!

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • His name was Cup and he too had inherited his land from a hundred other Cups who had gone before.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • Mesopotamia, therefore, meant a stretch of land "between the rivers."

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • Soon the news of his terrible deed spread throughout the land.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

British Dictionary definitions for land



the solid part of the surface of the earth as distinct from seas, lakes, etcRelated adjective: terrestrial
  1. ground, esp with reference to its use, quality, etc
  2. (in combination)land-grabber
rural or agricultural areas as contrasted with urban ones
farming as an occupation or way of life
  1. any tract of ground capable of being owned as property, together with any buildings on it, extending above and below the surface
  2. any hereditament, tenement, or other interest; realty
  1. a country, region, or area
  2. the people of a country, etc
a realm, sphere, or domain
economics the factor of production consisting of all natural resources
the unindented part of a grooved surface, esp one of the ridges inside a rifle bore
how the land lies the prevailing conditions or state of affairs


to transfer (something) or go from a ship or boat to the shoreland the cargo
(intr) to come to or touch shore
to come down or bring (something) down to earth after a flight or jump
to come or bring to some point, condition, or state
(tr) angling to retrieve (a hooked fish) from the water
(tr) informal to win or obtainto land a job
(tr) informal to deliver (a blow)
Derived Formslandless, adjectivelandlessness, noun

Word Origin for land

Old English; compare Old Norse, Gothic land, Old High German lant




Edwin Herbert. 1909–91, US inventor of the Polaroid Land camera



noun plural Länder (ˈlɛndər)

  1. any of the federal states of Germany
  2. any of the provinces of Austria
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 land

Old English land, lond, "ground, soil," also "definite portion of the earth's surface, home region of a person or a people, territory marked by political boundaries," from Proto-Germanic *landom (cf. Old Norse, Old Frisian Dutch, German, Gothic land), from PIE *lendh- "land, heath" (cf. Old Irish land, Middle Welsh llan "an open space," Welsh llan "enclosure, church," Breton lann "heath," source of French lande; Old Church Slavonic ledina "waste land, heath," Czech lada "fallow land").

Etymological evidence and Gothic use indicates the original sense was "a definite portion of the earth's surface owned by an individual or home of a nation." Meaning early extended to "solid surface of the earth," which had been the sense of the root of Modern English earth. Original sense of land in English is now mostly found under country. To take the lay of the land is a nautical expression. In the American English exclamation land's sakes (1846) land is a euphemism for Lord.


"to bring to land," early 13c., from land (n.). Originally of ships; of fish, in the angling sense, from 1610s; hence figurative sense of "to obtain" (a job, etc.), first recorded 1854. Of aircraft, attested from 1916. Related: Landed; landing.


"to make contact, to hit home" (of a blow, etc.), by 1881, perhaps altered from lend in a playful sense, or else an extension of land (v.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with land


In addition to the idioms beginning with land

  • land in
  • land on
  • land up

also see:

  • cloud-cuckoo land
  • fall (land) on one's feet
  • fat of the land
  • la-la land
  • lay of the land
  • never-never land
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.