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[med-l] /ˈmɛd l/
a flat piece of metal, often a disk but sometimes a cross, star, or other form, usually bearing an inscription or design, issued to commemorate a person, action, or event, or given as a reward for bravery, merit, or the like:
a gold medal for the best swimmer.
a similar object bearing a religious image, as of a saint:
a Saint Christopher's medal.
verb (used with object), medaled, medaling or (especially British) medalled, medalling.
to decorate or honor with a medal.
verb (used without object), medaled, medaling or (especially British) medalled, medalling.
to receive a medal, especially in a sporting event:
He medaled in three of four races.
Origin of medal
1580-90; earlier medaille < Middle French < Italian medaglia copper coin worth a halfpenny < Vulgar Latin *medalia, variant (by dissimilation) of Late Latin mediālia, noun use of neuter plural (taken as feminine singular) of mediālis medial
Related forms
unmedaled, adjective
unmedalled, adjective
Can be confused
medal, meddle, metal, mettle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for medal


a small flat piece of metal bearing an inscription or image, given as an award or commemoration of some outstanding action, event, etc
verb -als, -alling, -alled (US) -als, -aling, -aled
(transitive) to honour with a medal
(intransitive) (informal) (in sport) to win a medal
Derived Forms
medallic (mɪˈdælɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C16: from French médaille, probably from Italian medaglia, ultimately from Latin metallummetal
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 medal

1580s, from Middle French médaille (15c.), from Italian medaglia "a medal," according to OED from Vulgar Latin *metallea (moneta) "metal (coin)," from Latin metallum (see metal). The other theory [Klein, Barnhart, Watkins] is that medaglia originally meant "coin worth half a denarius," and is from Vulgar Latin *medalia, from Late Latin medialia "little halves," neuter plural of medialis "of the middle" (see medial (adj.)). Originally a trinket or charm; as a reward for merit, proficiency, etc., attested from 1751.


1845, "stamped onto a medal," from medal (n.). From 1857 as "to award (someone or something) a medal;" intransitive sense is 20c. Related: Medaled; medalled; medaling; medalling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for medal



To win a medal: Flo-Jo medaled in the 100meter (1980s+ Sports)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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