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lye

[lahy] /laɪ/
noun, Chemistry
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
900
before 900; Middle English lie, ley, Old English lēag; cognate with Dutch loog, German Lauge lye, Old Norse laug warm bath. See lave1
Can be confused
lie, lye.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for lye

lye

/laɪ/
noun
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
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for lye
n.

Old English læg, leag "lye," from Proto-Germanic *laugo (cf. Middle Dutch loghe, Dutch loog, Old High German louga, German Lauge "lye"), from PIE root *leue- "to wash" (see lave). The substance was formerly used in place of soap, hence Old High German luhhen "to wash," Old Norse laug "hot bath, hot spring," Danish lørdag, Swedish lördag "Saturday," literally "washing-day." Chamber-lye in early Modern English was the name for urine used as a detergent.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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lye in Science
lye
  (lī)   
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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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