Word Origin & History
1540s, laysy, of unknown origin. Replaced native slack, slothful, and idle as the main word expressing the notion of "averse to work." In 19c. thought to be from lay
(v.) as tipsy from tip. Skeat is responsible for the prevailing modern view that it probably comes from Low Ger.,
cf. M.L.G. laisch "weak, feeble, tired," modern Low Ger. läösig, early modern Du. leuzig, all of which may go back to the PIE root *(s)leg- "slack." According to Weekley, the -z- sound disqualifies a connection with Fr. lassé "tired" or Ger. lassig "lazy, weary, tired." A supposed dialectal meaning "naught, bad," if it is the original sense, may tie the word to O.N. lasenn "dilapidated," lasmøyrr "decrepit, fragile," root of Icelandic las-furða "ailing," las-leiki "ailment." Lazybones is first attested 1590s. Lazy Susan is from 1917.