Word Origin & History
O.E. losian "be lost, perish," from los "destruction, loss," from P.Gmc. *lausa (cf. O.N. los "the breaking up of an army"), from PIE base *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart, untie, separate" (cf. Skt. lunati "cuts, cuts off," lavitram "sickle;" Gk. lyein "to loosen, untie, slacken," lysus "a loosening;"
L. luere "to loose, release, atone for"). Replaced related leosan (a class II strong verb whose pp. loren survives in forlorn
and love-lorn), from P.Gmc. *leusanan (cf. O.H.G. virliosan, Ger. verlieren, O.Fris. urliasa, Goth. fraliusan "to lose"). Transitive sense of "to part with accidentally" is from c.1200. Meaning "to be defeated" (in a game, etc.) is from 1530s. To lose (one's) mind "become insane" is attested from c.1500. To lose out "fail" is 1858, Amer.Eng.
"defeated" (c.1300), "wasted, spent in vain," c.1500; also "no longer to be found" (1526), from the pp. of lose
(q.v.). Lost Cause in ref. to the Southern U.S. bid for independence is from the title of E.A. Pollard's history of the CSA and the rebellion (1866). Lost Generation
in ref. to the period 1914-18 first attested 1926 in Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises," where he credits it to Gertrude Stein.