laches

noun la·ches \ ˈla-chəz , ˈlā- \

Definition of laches

plural laches
:negligence in the observance of duty or opportunity; specifically :undue delay in asserting a legal right or privilege

Recent Examples of laches from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'laches.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of laches

Middle English lachesse, from Anglo-French laschesce, from lasche lax, ultimately from Latin laxare to loosen — more at lease


Law Dictionary

laches

noun la·ches \ ˈla-chəz, ˈlā-, -shəz \

legal Definition of laches

plural laches
1 :undue delay in asserting a right or privilege — compare statute of limitations
2 a :a doctrine permitting dismissal of a suit because a plaintiff's unreasonable delay in asserting a right or privilege has been detrimental to the defendant's ability to make a defense (as by resulting in the unavailability of witnesses or evidence)
  • a suit barred by laches
b :an affirmative defense based on this doctrine

Origin and Etymology of laches

Anglo-French lachesce laschesce negligence, from Old French lasche lax, ultimately from Latin laxare to loosen, from laxus slack


Learn More about laches


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to praise usually to excess

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!