LYE (O. Eng. Hag, cf. Dutch loog, Ger. Lauge, from the root meaning to wash, see in Lat. lavare, and Eng. " lather," froth of soap and water, and " laundry "), the name given to the solution of alkaline salts obtained by leaching or lixiviating wood ashes with water, and sometimes to a solution of a caustic alkali. Lixiviation (Lat. lixivium, lye, /*'*, ashes) is the action of separating, by the percolation of water, a soluble from an insoluble substance. " Leaching," the native English term for this process, is from " leach," to water, the root probably being the same as in " lake."
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)