Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

lave

play
noun \ˈlāv\

Definition of lave

chiefly dialect

  1. :  something that is left :  residue



Origin and Etymology of lave

Middle English (northern dialect), from Old English lāf; akin to Old English belīfan to remain — more at leave


First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Dialect Terms


2

lave

verb

Definition of lave

laved

laving

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  wash, bathe b :  to flow along or against

  3. 2 :  pour

  4. intransitive verb
  5. archaic :  to wash oneself :  bathe



Examples of lave in a sentence

  1. <the cold water from the stream gently laved her burned fingers>



Did You Know?

Lave is a simple, monosyllabic word that magically makes the mundane act of washing poetic. Shakespeare used it in The Taming of the Shrew, when Gremio assured the father of his beloved Bianca that she would have "basins and ewers to lave her dainty hands." And in Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop, Nell "laved her hands and face, and cooled her feet before setting forth to walk again." The poetry of "lave" is also heard when describing water washing against the shore, as in our example sentence, or even the pouring of water: "He … laved a few cool drops upon his brow" (John Lockhart, Reginald Dalton). Before washing our hands of "lave," we'll tell you its etymology: it, as well as "lavatory," comes from Latin lavare, meaning "to wash."

Origin and Etymology of lave

Middle English, from Old English lafian, from Latin lavare


First Known Use: before 12th century


Learn More about lave


Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to criticize in a loud and angry way

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

confounded-person

Which is a synonym of indolent?

melancholy frenetic lazy philistine
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ