[ lap ]
/ læp /

noun, plural Lapps, (especially collectively) Lapp.

Also called Lap·land·er [lap-lan-der, -luhn-]. /ˈlæpˌlæn dər, -lən-/. Sami (def. 1).
Also called Lap·pish [lap-ish] /ˈlæp ɪʃ/ . Sami (def. 2).



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Origin of Lapp

First recorded in 1855–60; origin uncertain; possibly from Old Swedish lapper “piece” (the Sami were so poor that they had to patch their clothes); or originally a term of contempt; compare Middle High German lappe “simpleton”; perhaps of Finnish origin; compare Finnish lappalainen “Lapp,”Lappi “Lapland” (meaning “northern wilderness”)

usage note for Lapp

Though Lapp, Laplander, and Lappish are still in use, the people themselves consider these terms to be offensive. They use the name Sami. The reason for the perceived offensiveness of these terms is their possible etymology from an Old Swedish word meaning “piece or patch,” alluding to the patched clothes that the impoverished Sami wore in the past. Lapland is still the acceptable name for the region inhabited by the Sami, though the Sami call it Sapmi. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for Lapp

British Dictionary definitions for Lapp

/ (læp) /


a member of a nomadic people living chiefly in N Scandinavia and the Kola Peninsula of Russia
the language of this people, belonging to the Finno-Ugric family


of or relating to this people or their language

usage for Lapp

The indigenous people of Lapland prefer to be called Sami, although Lapp is still in widespread use
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