laun·​der | \ˈlȯn-dər, ˈlän-\
laundered; laundering\ˈlȯn-​d(ə-​)riŋ, ˈlän-​ \

Definition of launder 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to wash (something, such as clothing) in water

2 : to make ready for use by washing and ironing a freshly laundered shirt

3 : to transfer (illegally obtained money or investments) through an outside party to conceal the true source

4 : sanitize sense 2 laundered language

intransitive verb

: to wash or wash and iron clothing or household linens



Definition of launder (Entry 2 of 2)

: trough especially : a box conduit conveying particulate material suspended in water in ore dressing

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Other Words from launder


launderer \ˈlȯn-​dər-​ər, ˈlän-​ \ noun

Examples of launder in a Sentence


He used a phony business to launder money from drug dealing. had to launder the quarterback's off-the-cuff's remarks before they could be quoted in the newspaper

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In an unrelated case, Guzman has pleaded not guilty to charges that his cartel laundered billions of dollars and oversaw a ruthless campaign of murders and kidnappings. ___ Follow Michael Balsamo on Twitter at . Michael Balsamo, Fox News, "Authorities say they've busted large Mexico-to-US drug ring," 9 Aug. 2018 The United States Justice Department said that at least $4.5 billion from 1MDB was laundered through American financial institutions and misspent by Mr. Najib, his family and associates. Austin Ramzy, New York Times, "Malaysia’s Ex-Leader, Najib Razak, Is Charged in Corruption Inquiry," 3 July 2018 Manafort, who was indicted in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, has pleaded not guilty in D.C. district court to conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money and making false statements, among other charges. Tessa Berenson, Time, "Paul Manafort Chastised by Federal Judge for Breaking Gag Order," 8 Mar. 2018 Bickers allegedly laundered the money through her home, cars, jet skis and other luxury purchases. J. Scott Trubey, ajc, "Atlanta bribery evidence against Mitzi Bickers includes recordings," 10 July 2018 The Financial Action Task Force—an international group that monitors money laundering worldwide—avoided a decision to return Iran to its blacklist of countries not doing enough to combat money laundering. Tom Keatinge, Time, "Another Death Knell for the Iran Nuclear Deal," 4 July 2018 Among the 11 people from the Cincinnati-area charged in a drug and money-laundering conspiracy, is a man who prosecutors say used a Green Township home to distribute drugs. Kevin Grasha,, "11 charged in massive drug, money-laundering conspiracy," 25 June 2018 Gal Vallerius pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to launder money. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Dark Web vendor “OxyMonster” turns out to be a Frenchman with luscious beard," 13 June 2018 Manafort had been under home detention since he was charged Oct. 27 in what prosecutors allege is a broad conspiracy to launder more than $30 million over a decade of undisclosed lobbying for a pro-Russian former politician and party in Ukraine. Washington Post, "Manafort seeks release from jail as trial looms," 26 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Sure enough, NAPS is now a means by which Navy launders underqualified athletes into the Naval Academy. Joe Nocera, New York Times, "Navy Opens a Back Door, and In Come Athletes and Victories," 9 Dec. 2016

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

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First Known Use of launder


1664, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1667, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for launder


Middle English launder, noun


Middle English, launderer, from Anglo-French lavandere, from Medieval Latin lavandarius, from Latin lavandus, gerundive of lavare to wash — more at lye

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Statistics for launder

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for launder

The first known use of launder was in 1664

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More Definitions for launder



English Language Learners Definition of launder

: to make (clothes, towels, sheets, etc.) ready for use by washing, drying, and ironing them

: to put (money that you got by doing something illegal) into a business or bank account in order to hide where it really came from


laun·​der | \ˈlȯn-dər \
laundered; laundering

Kids Definition of launder

: to wash or wash and iron clothes or household linens

Other Words from launder

launderer noun


transitive verb

Legal Definition of launder 

: to transfer (money or instruments deriving from illegal activity) so as to conceal the true nature and source launder money through an offshore account

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More from Merriam-Webster on launder

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with launder

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for launder

Spanish Central: Translation of launder

Nglish: Translation of launder for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of launder for Arabic Speakers

Comments on launder

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


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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