laurel

[lawr-uhl, lor-]
||

noun

verb (used with object), lau·reled, lau·rel·ing or (especially British) lau·relled, lau·rel·ling.

to adorn or wreathe with laurel.
to honor with marks of distinction.

Nearby words

  1. lauraldehyde,
  2. laurasia,
  3. laurate,
  4. laureate,
  5. laureen,
  6. laurel and hardy,
  7. laurel cherry,
  8. laurel family,
  9. laurel oak,
  10. lauren

Idioms

    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

1250–1300; dissimilated variant of Middle English laurer, earlier lorer < Anglo-French; Old French lorier bay tree, equivalent to lor bay, laurel (< Latin laurus) + -ier -ier2; see -er2

SYNONYMS FOR laurel
Related formsun·lau·reled, adjectiveun·lau·relled, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for look to one's laurels

laurel

noun

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
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

verb -rels, -relling or -relled or US -rels, -reling or -reled

(tr) to crown with laurels

Word Origin for laurel

C13 lorer, from Old French lorier laurel tree, ultimately from Latin laurus

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 look to one's laurels

laurel

n.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with look to one's laurels

look to one's laurels

Protect one's preeminent reputation or position, especially against a threat of being surpassed. For example, Your opponent's done very well in the practice, so you'd better look to your laurels in the actual game. This idiom alludes to laurels as the traditional material for making a victor's crown. [Late 1800s]

laurel

see look to one's laurels; rest on one's laurels.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.