- Also called bay, sweet bay. a small European evergreen tree, Laurus nobilis, of the laurel family, having dark, glossy green leaves.Compare laurel family.
- any tree of the genus Laurus.
- any of various similar trees or shrubs, as the mountain laurel or the great rhododendron.
- the foliage of the laurel as an emblem of victory or distinction.
- a branch or wreath of laurel foliage.
- Usually laurels. honor won, as for achievement in a field or activity.
- to adorn or wreathe with laurel.
- to honor with marks of distinction.
- look to one's laurels, to be alert to the possibility of being excelled or surpassed: New developments in the industry are forcing long-established firms to look to their laurels.
- rest on one's laurels, to be content with one's past or present honors, achievements, etc.: He retired at the peak of his career and is resting on his laurels.
Origin of laurel
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- StanArthur Stanley Jefferson, 1890–1965, U.S. motion-picture actor and comedian, born in England.
- a city in SE Mississippi.
- a town in central Maryland.
- a female given name.
Examples from the Web for laurel
So when my wife and I moved to Laurel Canyon I spent my first year working night and day on the show.The Story Behind Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance Smile
January 3, 2015
Did McCarthy invent the portrayal of violence in fiction, or should that laurel go to Homer?Compliments Are Nice, but Enough With the Cormac McCarthy Comparisons
October 21, 2014
If Pat Roberts lived in Dodge City, why did he travel 1,400 miles out of his way to purchase his car in Laurel, Maryland?There's No Place Like Home For Kansas Senator Pat Roberts
May 12, 2014
But no laurel wreaths waited for Marina on the day of her victory.Marina Rikhvanova’s Quest To Save Russia’s Lake Baikal
November 9, 2013
One artist, Edgardo Aragón from Oaxaca, tries to capture that in an exhibition at the Laurel Gitlen Gallery.Mexico’s Dark Past and Present
June 21, 2013
It was twined of Olympic olive leaves and Apollo's own laurel.Buried Cities, Part 2
She stood at the entrance to the laurel grove and peered a little forward.The Avenger
E. Phillips Oppenheim
The said branch is usually styled a laurel branch, but why I know not.The Coinages of the Channel Islands
He held a sprig of laurel in his hand during the time he was confined in the pillory.Bygone Punishments
It was a crisis when there was a fair opening for new candidates for the laurel.The Poetical Works of William Collins
- Also called: bay, true laurel any lauraceous tree of the genus Laurus, such as the bay tree (see bay 4) and L. canariensis, of the Canary Islands and Azores
- any lauraceous plant
- short for cherry laurel, mountain laurel
- spurge laurel a European thymelaeaceous evergreen shrub, Daphne laureola, with glossy leaves and small green flowers
- spotted laurel or Japan laurel an evergreen cornaceous shrub, Aucuba japonica, of S and SE Asia, the female of which has yellow-spotted leaves
- (plural) a wreath of true laurel, worn on the head as an emblem of victory or honour in classical times
- (plural) honour, distinction, or fame
- look to one's laurels to be on guard against one's rivals
- rest on one's laurels to be satisfied with distinction won by past achievements and cease to strive for further achievements
- (tr) to crown with laurels
Word Origin and History for laurel
c.1300, lorrer, from Old French laurier (12c.), from Latin laurus "laurel tree," probably related to Greek daphne "laurel" (for change of d- to l- see lachrymose), probably from a pre-IE Mediterranean language. The change of second -r- to -l- after mid-14c. is by dissimilation. An emblem of victory or of distinction, hence the phrase to rest (originally repose) on one's laurels, first attested 1831.