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[lach-iz] /ˈlætʃ ɪz/
noun, (used with a singular verb) Law.
failure to do something at the proper time, especially such delay as will bar a party from bringing a legal proceeding.
Origin of laches
1325-75; Middle English lachesse < Anglo-French, variant of Middle French laschesse, derivative of Old French lasche slack (< Gmc); see -ice Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for laches
Historical Examples
  • In the Charmides, as also in the laches, he is described as middle-aged; in the Lysis he is advanced in years.

    Lysis Plato
  • I particularly observed how superior he was to laches in presence of mind.

    Symposium Plato
  • laches thinks that he knows this: 'He is courageous who remains at his post.'

    Laches Plato
  • laches is very willing, and is quite sure that he knows what courage is, if he could only tell.

    Laches Plato
  • laches derides this; and Socrates enquires, 'What sort of intelligence?'

    Laches Plato
  • laches draws the inference that the courageous man is either a soothsayer or a god.

    Laches Plato
  • They are richer in the externals of the scene; the laches has more play and development of character.

    Laches Plato
  • I will tell you, Nicias and laches, even at the risk of being tedious, how we came to think of this.

    Laches Plato
  • But laches may take a different view; and I shall be very glad to hear what he has to say.

    Laches Plato
  • Nothing could enfeeble that, it seemed heroic, and covered all other laches.

    Pickwickian Studies Percy Fitzgerald
British Dictionary definitions for laches


(law) negligence or unreasonable delay in pursuing a legal remedy
Word Origin
C14 lachesse, via Old French lasche slack, from Latin laxuslax
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for laches

"negligence in performance of legal dute," 1570s, earlier simply "slackness, negligence, want of zeal," late 14c., from Anglo-French laches, Old French lachesse, from Old French lasche (Modern French lâche), verbal adj. from lascher, from Vulgar Latin *lascare, classical laxare, from laxus (see loose). Cf. riches.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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