Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


verb \ˈlās\

Simple Definition of lace

  • : to pull a lace through the holes of (a shoe, boot, etc.)

  • : to be tied or fastened with a lace

  • : to add a small amount of a powerful substance (such as alcohol, a drug, or a poison) to (something, such as a drink)

Full Definition of lace


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to draw together the edges of by or as if by a lace passed through eyelets <laces her fingers behind her head>

  3. 2 :  to draw or pass (as a lace) through something (as eyelets)

  4. 3 :  to confine or compress by tightening laces of a garment

  5. 4 a :  to adorn with or as if with lace <the surrounding countryside was laced with villages and hamlets — L. C. Heinemann> b :  to mark with streaks of color

  6. 5 :  beat, lash

  7. 6 a :  to add a dash of liquor to b :  to add something to impart pungency, savor, or zest to <a sauce laced with garlic> <conversation laced with sarcasm> c :  to adulterate with a substance <laced a guard's coffee with a sedative>

  8. intransitive verb
  9. 1 :  to admit of being tied or fastened with a lace

  10. 2 :  to make a verbal attack —usually used with into <his boss laced into him for being late>

lac·er noun

Examples of lace

  1. a dress that laces in the back

  2. <the gardener laced the shoots of ivy around the trellis to direct their growth>

Origin of lace

Middle English, from Anglo-French lacer, from Latin laqueare to ensnare, from laqueus

First Known Use: 13th century




Simple Definition of lace

  • : a cord or string used for tying or holding things together

  • : a very thin and light cloth made with patterns of holes

Full Definition of lace

  1. 1 :  a cord or string used for drawing together two edges (as of a garment or a shoe)

  2. 2 :  an ornamental braid for trimming coats or uniforms

  3. 3 :  an openwork usually figured fabric made of thread or yarn and used for trimmings, household coverings, and entire garments

laced play \ˈlāst\ adjective
lace·less play \ˈlās-ləs\ adjective
lace·like play \ˈlās-ˌlīk\ adjective

Examples of lace

  1. I need new laces for these shoes.

  2. She wore lace on her wedding gown.

Origin of lace

Middle English, from Anglo-French lace, laz, from Latin laqueus snare

First Known Use: 14th century

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up lace? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 11, 2016

the holder of an office

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

100 pounds 2.2 pounds 16.96 pounds 196.5 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.