verb (used with object), lau·reled, lau·rel·ing or (especially British) lau·relled, lau·rel·ling.
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Idioms for laurel
Origin of laurel
OTHER WORDS FROM laurelun·lau·reled, adjectiveun·lau·relled, adjective
Words nearby laurel
Definition for laurel (2 of 2)
What does laurel mean?
A laurel is a type of tree with dark, glossy green leaves. In Ancient Greece and Rome, laurel leaves were used to make wreaths that were worn on a person’s head to symbolize victory—like that leaf crown that Caesar is always wearing in statues. Today, we use the word laurels to mean honors.
When used this way, it is almost always plural.
Example: After a 50-year career, I have many laurels, but I’m most proud of my beautiful family.
Where does laurel come from?
Laurel has been used in English for the name of a tree since at least the 1300s. The word ultimately derives from laurus, which was the name of the tree in Latin.
In terms of trees, laurel most commonly refers to the species Laurus nobilis, also called true laurel, bay laurel, or sweet bay laurel. Notably, the leaves of the bay laurel, called bay leaves, are used in cooking to flavor dishes. But there are many other trees that can be called laurels. The laurel family includes the avocado tree and the tree whose bark gives us cinnamon.
However, it was the leaves of the true laurel that were used in ancient times to make wreaths worn as a sign of triumph. The practice started with Greek mythology. Long story short: the nymph Daphne got turned into a laurel tree, so the god Apollo turned it into an evergreen and made a wreath out of its leaves to honor her. The laurel wreath became associated with poets and eventually became a symbol of victory—ancient Olympians were honored with leaf crowns. It is still used as a symbol on flags and crests (much like how the olive branch is used as a symbol of peace). Today, we use laurels to mean “honors,” especially for an achievement in a particular field or activity, as in There are few laurels that she has not achieved in the literary world. Less commonly, laurel can be used as a verb meaning “to crown with laurels” or “to honor.”
Someone who has been honored in a certain way is sometimes called a laureate, as in poet laureate and Nobel laureate. Laurel is often used in the phrase rest on one’s laurels, meaning “to rely on one’s past accomplishments and honors without continuing to try to perform at a high level.” Another idiom, look to one’s laurels, means “to be on guard against one’s rivals.”
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What are some other forms related to laurel?
- unlaureled (adjective)
What are some synonyms for laurel?
What are some words that share a root or word element with laurel?
What are some words that often get used in discussing laurel?
How is laurel used in real life?
Laurels are honors, and they are often discussed in the context of the awards someone has won over a distinguished career. There are many different trees that can be called laurel, but the word most often refers to the bay laurel.
101 congratulations to all our CWG champions.Your hard work & various sacrifices have brought laurels to our nation.U make us proud!!!
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) October 15, 2010
Some actors are content to rest on their laurels. Well, I’m here to tell you:
I. Don’t. Have. Any. Laurels.
— (((Josh Malina))) (@JoshMalina) November 28, 2019
Oh how I miss those mountains, when the laurels are in bloom. And the southern stars are dancing ‘round the North Carolina Moon
— Scotty McCreery (@ScottyMcCreery) July 24, 2014
Try using laurel!
True or False?
Laurel wreaths are no longer used as a symbol of victory.
How to use laurel in a sentence
From CEOs to journalists to politicians, this year’s class of Fortune’s 40 Under 40 is an incredible group of innovators who refuse to rest on their laurels.The advice that helped this year’s 40 under 40 find their own path|kdunn6|September 3, 2020|Fortune
This is a time in history where companies cannot rest on their laurels or make empty promises when it comes to embracing and cultivating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace.Deep Dive: How companies and their employees are facing the future of work|Digiday|September 1, 2020|Digiday
He’s a mechanical engineer at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.
For the early stage DTC startups who are seeing higher-than-expected sales growth, they are not resting on their laurels either.As headwinds emerge, DTC brands bet on early growth to carry them through the rest of the year|Anna Hensel|July 27, 2020|Digiday
The Twins didn’t rest on their offseason laurels, adding the likes of Josh Donaldson, Kenta Maeda and Homer Bailey without losing too much of note.Baseball Will Be Weird This Year. But The Astros And Yankees Are Favorites In The American League … Again.|Neil Paine (firstname.lastname@example.org)|July 21, 2020|FiveThirtyEight
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|Robert Ward|January 3, 2015|DAILY BEAST
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|William Giraldi|October 21, 2014|DAILY BEAST
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|Ben Jacobs|May 12, 2014|DAILY BEAST
But no laurel wreaths waited for Marina on the day of her victory.Marina Rikhvanova’s Quest To Save Russia’s Lake Baikal|Anna Nemtsova|November 9, 2013|DAILY BEAST
One artist, Edgardo Aragón from Oaxaca, tries to capture that in an exhibition at the Laurel Gitlen Gallery.
He went out into the garden, and the rustling of the laurel-bushes frightened him.Kipling Stories and Poems Every Child Should Know, Book II|Rudyard Kipling
Burn the male olive-branch and the pine twig and juniper, and let the blazing laurel crackle amid the hearth.The Religion of Ancient Rome|Cyril Bailey
The composer was recalled fifteen times and presented with a laurel wreath.The Life & Letters of Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky|Modeste Tchaikovsky
Nothing was to be thought of but a frame for this—olive, bay, laurel, everything appropriate to the conqueror.The Daisy Chain|Charlotte Yonge
They could hear bird calling bird far within, among the myrtles and laurel hedges.God Wills It!|William Stearns Davis
British Dictionary definitions for laurel
verb -rels, -relling or -relled or US -rels, -reling or -reled
Word Origin for laurel
Idioms and Phrases with laurel
see look to one's laurels; rest on one's laurels.