rest on one's laurels


Rely on one's past achievements, especially as a way of avoiding the work needed to advance one's status. For example, Now that Julian's in his eighties, he's decided to rest on his laurels and let some of the younger agents do the work. This term alludes to the crown of laurels awarded in ancient times for a spectacular achievement. [Late 1800s]

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