LATHE, (i) A mechanical appliance in which material is held and rotated against a tool for cutting, scraping, polishing or other purpose (see TOOLS). This word is of obscure origin. It may be a modified form of " lath," for in an early form of lathe the rotation is given by a treadle or spring lath attached to the ceiling. The New English Dictionary points out a possible source of the word in Dan. lad, meaning apparently a supporting framework, found in the name of the turning-lathe, drejelad, and also in savelad, saw-bench, vaeverlad, loom, etc. (2) One of five, formerly six, districts containing three or more hundreds, into which the county of Kent was divided. Though the division survives, it no longer serves any administrative purpose. It was formerly a judicial division, the court of the lathe being superior to that of the hundred. In this it differs from the rape (q.v.) of Sussex, which was a. geographical rather than an administrative division. In O. Eng. the word was lags, the origin of which is doubtful. The New English Dictionary considers it almost certainly identical with O. Norse lad, landed possessions, territory, with a possible association in meaning with such words as lei, court, motlaeafta, attendance at a meeting or moot, or with Mod. Dan. laegd, a division of the country for military purposes.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)