litter

\ \ [13] The word litter has come a long way semantically since it was born, from ‘bed’ to ‘rubbish scattered untidily’. It goes back ultimately to Latin lectusbed’, a distant relative of English lie and source of French litbed’ (which forms the final syllable of English coverlet [13], etymologically ‘bed-cover’).
\ \ From lectus was derived medieval Latin lectāria, which passed into English via Old French litiere and Anglo-Norman literebed’. This original sense was soon extended in English to a ‘portable conveyance or stretcher’, which still survives, just, as an archaism, but the word’s main modern sense, which first emerged fully in the 18th century, derives from the notion of scattering straw over the floor for bedding.
\ \ Cf.COVERLET

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • Litter — is waste disposed in the wrong place by unlawful human action and can vary in size of incident, occurrence or items. It can occur as small items like wrappers, large collections of waste or scatterings of litter dispersed around public places… …   Wikipedia

  • Litter — Lit ter (l[i^]t t[ e]r), n. [F. liti[ e]re, LL. lectaria, fr. L. lectus couch, bed. See {Lie} to be prostrated, and cf. {Coverlet}.] 1. A bed or stretcher so arranged that a person, esp. a sick or wounded person, may be easily carried in or upon… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Litter — Lit ter, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Littered} (l[i^]t t[ e]rd); p. pr. & vb. n. {Littering}.] 1. To supply with litter, as cattle; to cover with litter, as the floor of a stall. [1913 Webster] Tell them how they litter their jades. Bp. Hackett. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Litter — Lit ter (l[i^]t t[ e]r), v. i. 1. To be supplied with litter as bedding; to sleep or make one s bed in litter. [R.] [1913 Webster] The inn Where he and his horse littered. Habington. [1913 Webster] 2. To produce a litter. [1913 Webster] A desert …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • litter — [n1] mess, debris clutter, collateral, confusion, detritus, disarray, disorder, garbage, hash, hodgepodge, jumble, jungle, junk, mishmash, muck, muddle, offal, rash, refuse, rubbish, rummage, scattering, scramble, shuffle, trash, untidiness,… …   New thesaurus

  • litter — ► NOUN 1) rubbish left in an open or public place. 2) an untidy collection of things. 3) a number of young born to an animal at one time. 4) (also cat litter) granular absorbent material lining a tray for a cat to urinate and defecate in indoors …   English terms dictionary

  • litter — [lit′ər] n. [ME litere < OFr litiere < ML literia, lectaria < L lectus, a couch: see LIE1] 1. a framework having long horizontal shafts near the bottom and enclosing a couch on which a person can be carried 2. a stretcher for carrying… …   English World dictionary

  • litter — lit|ter1 [ˈlıtə US ər] n ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(waste)¦ 2¦(baby animals)¦ 3¦(for cat s toilet)¦ 4¦(forest)¦ 5 a litter of something 6¦(for animal s bed)¦ 7¦(bed)¦ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ [Date: 1300 1400; : Old French; Origin: litiere, from lit bed ] …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • litter — litterer, n. /lit euhr/, n. 1. objects strewn or scattered about; scattered rubbish. 2. a condition of disorder or untidiness: We were appalled at the litter of the room. 3. a number of young brought forth by a multiparous animal at one birth: a… …   Universalium

  • litter — {{Roman}}I.{{/Roman}} noun … OF LITTER ▪ pile VERB + LITTER ▪ drop, leave ▪ Please do not leave litter after your picnic. ▪ clean up …   Collocations dictionary

  • litter — 01. There is a lot of [litter] on the streets around the high school. 02. Please don t [litter]; put your garbage in the containers provided. 03. Anyone caught [littering] will be subject to a minimum fine of $50. 04. The floor was [littered]… …   Grammatical examples in English

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