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  1. a den or resting place of a wild animal: The cougar retired to its lair.
  2. a secluded or hidden place, especially a secret retreat or base of operations; a hideout or hideaway: a pirate's lair.
  3. British. a place in which to lie or rest; a bed.
verb (used with object)
  1. to place in a lair.
  2. to serve as a lair for.
verb (used without object)
  1. to go to, lie in, or have a lair.

Origin of lair1

before 900; Middle English leir, Old English leger; cognate with Dutch, Old High German leger bed, camp; akin to lie2


  1. British Dialect. mud; mire.
verb (used without object)
  1. Scot. to sink or stick in mud or mire.

Origin of lair2

1250–1300; v. use of Middle English lair clay, mire < Old Norse leir clay, loam
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for laired

Historical Examples

  • Some Scotsmen were stricken down; some, not knowing the ground, laired, and lost their horses.

    The History of the Reformation of Religion in Scotland

    John Knox

  • About the feet of the colossi I could make out the creeping forms of beasts that laired in the once proud works of men.

  • The jaguar is not far distant, “laired” in the secret depths of the impenetrable jungle.

    The Rifle Rangers

    Captain Mayne Reid

  • For two days he had laired and rested, sleeping much, in the wildest and most inaccessible precincts of the Kennan Ranch.

  • Nob Hill arose, like any medieval castle, from the mess and ruck of common life that denned and laired at its base.

British Dictionary definitions for laired


  1. the resting place of a wild animal
  2. informal a place of seclusion or hiding
  3. an enclosure or shed for farm animals
  4. Scot the ground for a grave in a cemetery
  1. (intr) (esp of a wild animal) to retreat to or rest in a lair
  2. (tr) to drive or place (an animal) in a lair

Word Origin

Old English leger; related to lie ² and Old High German leger bed


noun, verb
  1. a Scot word for mire

Word Origin

from Old Norse leir mud


  1. a flashy man who shows off
  1. (intr; foll by up or around) to behave or dress like a lair

Word Origin

perhaps from leer
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

Word Origin and History for laired



Old English leger "bed, couch, grave; act or place of lying down," from Proto-Germanic *legraz (cf. Old Norse legr "grave," also "nuptials" ("a lying down"); Old Frisian leger "situation," Old Saxon legar "bed," Middle Dutch legher "act or place of lying down," Dutch leger "bed, camp," Old High German legar "bed, a lying down," German Lager "bed, lair, camp, storehouse," Gothic ligrs "place of lying"), from PIE *legh- "to lie, lay" (see lie (v.2)). Meaning "animal's den" is from early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper