early 13c., from O.Fr. las "a net, noose, string" (Fr. lacs), from V.L. *lacium, from L. laqueum (nom. laqueus) "noose, snare" (It. laccio, Sp. lazo), a trapping and hunting term, probably from Italic base *laq- "to ensnare" (cf. L. lacere "to entice"). The "ornamental net pattern" meaning is first recorded 1555. Sense of "cord for tying" remains in shoelace. To lace coffee, etc., with a dash of liquor (1670s) was originally used of sugar, and comes via the notion of "to ornament or trim." Related: Laced. Laced mutton was "an old word for a whore" [Johnson]. As an adjective, lace-curtain "middle class" (or lower-class with middle-class pretensions) usually is used in reference to Irish-Americans.