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[leyth] /leɪð/
a machine for use in working wood, metal, etc., that holds the material and rotates it about a horizontal axis against a tool that shapes it.
verb (used with object), lathed, lathing.
to cut, shape, or otherwise treat on a lathe.
Origin of lathe
1300-50; Middle English: frame, stand, lathe; compare Old Norse hlath stack (see lade), Danish -lad in væverlad weaver's batten, savelad saw bench
Can be confused
lath, lathe. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for lathe
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A full complement of men worked at every lathe, table, drill or saw.

    The Cruise of the Dry Dock T. S. Stribling
  • The lathe painted to look like iron is seen to be but a lathe.

    The Moon and Sixpence W. Somerset Maugham
  • A lathe tool, if merely hardened, would be useless for that purpose.

  • The arc of the curved end depends on the kind of lathe and the size of the work.

  • The stoppers are ground in on the lathe before the tubes are attached to the fall tubes.

    On Laboratory Arts Richard Threlfall
  • The lathe is run as for turning brass of the same diameter as the tool.

    On Laboratory Arts Richard Threlfall
  • The tool is generally rotated in the lathe and the lens held against it.

    On Laboratory Arts Richard Threlfall
  • In the pipes are valves, turned on a lathe, and set (where the pipes are connected with the cylinders).

British Dictionary definitions for lathe


a machine for shaping, boring, facing, or cutting a screw thread in metal, wood, etc, in which the workpiece is turned about a horizontal axis against a fixed tool
(transitive) to shape, bore, or cut a screw thread in or on (a workpiece) on a lathe
Word Origin
perhaps C15 lath a support, of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Danish lad lathe, Old English hlæd heap


(Brit, history) any of the former administrative divisions of Kent
Word Origin
Old English læth district
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 lathe

"machine for turning," early 14c., of uncertain origin, probably from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish drejelad "turning-lathe," Old Norse hlaða "pile of shavings under a lathe," related to hlaða "to load, lade").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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