• noun an opportunity for freeloading, a party, reception or other occasion when it is possible to enjoy oneself at someone else’s expense. The word refers to the rock and pop-music world, and probably postdates the verb form lig and the noun ligger.
  • verb to freeload, enjoy oneself at someone else’s expense. The word, coined in Britain in the early 1970s, refers to the activities of hangers-on, groupies, music journalists, etc., who attend receptions, parties, concerts, and other functions, usually financed by record companies. The origin of the word is obscure, it has been suggested that it is made up of the initials of ‘least important guest’ or is a blend of ‘linger’ and gig. Alternatively it may be an obscure vagrants’ term from a dialect survival of the Anglo-Saxon liegan, meaning ‘to lie’.

Origin & History of “lig”

The verb lig, meaning ‘freeload, sponge’, and its derivative ligger, achieved a particular prominence in late 20th-century British English. But in fact its roots go back far into the past. In origin it is simply a variant version of the verb lie ‘recline’. In Old English times this was licgan, and although in the mainstream language licgan became lie, liggen survived dialectally. The sense ‘lie about’ passed naturally into ‘lounge about lazily’, and apparently merged with another dialectal sense ‘steal’ to produce the word’s current meaning.