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See more synonyms for lave on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), laved, lav·ing.
  1. to wash; bathe.
  2. (of a river, sea, etc.) to flow along, against, or past; wash.
  3. Obsolete. to ladle; pour or dip with a ladle.
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verb (used without object), laved, lav·ing.
  1. Archaic. to bathe.
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Origin of lave1

before 900; Middle English laven, partly < Old French laver < Latin lavāre to wash; partly representing Old English lafian to pour water on, wash, itself perhaps < Latin lavāre
Related formsun·laved, adjectiveun·lav·ing, adjective


noun Scot.
  1. the remainder; the rest.
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Origin of lave2

before 1000; Middle English (Scots); Old English lāf; cognate with Old High German leiba, Old Norse leif, Gothic laiba; akin to leave1


adjective British.
  1. (of ears) large and drooping.
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Origin of lave3

1350–1400; Middle English; special use of lave1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

bathe, float, bath, sponge, slosh, imbue, soak, swab, cleanse, douse, wet, bubble, soap, shine, moisten, hose, scrub, launder, scour, lap

Examples from the Web for lave

Historical Examples

  • I lave that to whoever has it, Honor: 'tis enough for me, I see what you do—and that's what I go by.

    Tales And Novels, Volume 8 (of 10)

    Maria Edgeworth

  • Plase your honour, I being the lady, expicted I'd get lave to swear first.

  • Burn the steak he will if I lave him with it, and Moike knows the sort of a bed he makes.

  • I want him to get into the state in which he can look at her an' lave her alone!

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • The door's open, and you've my lave; may be we 'll do as well without you, as we're like to do with you.

British Dictionary definitions for lave


  1. an archaic word for wash
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Word Origin

Old English lafian, perhaps from Latin lavāre to wash
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

Word Origin and History for lave


c.1200, from Old English gelafian "wash by pouring, pour (water)," possibly an early English or West Germanic borrowing (cf. Dutch laven, German laben) of Latin lavare "to wash," or its Old French descendant, laver. Latin lavare is from PIE *leu(e)- "to wash" (cf. Latin luere "to wash," Greek louein "to wash, bathe," Old Irish loathar "basin," Breton laouer "trough," Old English leaþor "lather").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper