One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A liberty that extends around a castle, abbey, or similar, usually for about a league.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in William Lambarde (1536–1601), antiquary and lawyer. From Anglo-Norman loee, luwé, louee, Anglo-Norman and Middle French liué (Middle French, French lieue) league, liberty extending for about a league outside a town from post-classical Latin leucata, leugata measure of distance, league, area of jurisdiction extending one league around a town from leuca + classical Latin -āta.
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