L: The Letter of Love and Learning

Lay my arms before the legs of this sweet lass of France

Love's Labour's Lost W. Shakespeare

When pronouncing the letter L, the lips part and the tongue becomes highly visible as it embraces the roof of the mouth to produce the distinctively musical sound that is responsible for lullaby, lilt, la-la-la, lyrical, and languid. Perhaps this is why the letter L has become the flagship letter of some of the most important elements of human existence: life, liberty, love, learning, and lust. As the initial letter of lip-licking, leering, lascivious, loyalty, like, and Luna (the Roman goddess of the moon), this lyrically pronounced letter is a lifelong member of the romance and passion letter group: M, V, R and S.

The L was originally a hieroglyphic symbol of an oxgoad -- a tool used to control cattle -- and its sense of authority is felt in the many words describing the judicial system; legal, legislation, legitimacy, and law all of which are derived from the Latin word lex. Its learned qualities are further reinforced by the words linguistic, literacy, lecture, language, logic, legible, laud, lexicon, license and library.

When DC Comics introduced Superman to the world in 1938, they symbolized his commitment to truth, justice, and the American way by surrounding and imbuing him with the letter L; his birth name was Kal-El, his girlfriends were Lois Lane and Lana Lang, and his arch-nemesis Lex Luthor.

Lacking that aggressive edge, it’s hardly surprising that L people are at the very bottom of the list when it comes to professional sports and the medical profession, but as a measure of their laid-back popularity, are more likely than most to have a successful political career.