1. A horizontal projection forming a narrow shelf on a wall.
2. A cut or projection forming a shelf on a cliff or rock wall.
3. An underwater ridge or rock shelf.
4. A level of rock-bearing ore; a vein.
[Middle English, crossbar, probably from leggen, to lay, from Old English lecgan; see legh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.