[ lahy ]

  1. a highly concentrated, aqueous solution of potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide.

  2. any solution resulting from leaching, percolation, or the like.

Origin of lye

First recorded before 900; Middle English lie, ley, Old English lēag; cognate with Dutch loog, German Lauge “lye,” Old Norse laug “warm bath”; see lave1

Words that may be confused with lye

Words Nearby lye Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use lye in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for lye


/ (laɪ) /

  1. any solution obtained by leaching, such as the caustic solution obtained by leaching wood ash

  2. a concentrated solution of sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide

Origin of lye

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

Scientific definitions for lye


[ ]

  1. 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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.