lau·​rel | \ ˈlȯr-əl How to pronounce laurel (audio) , ˈlär- \

Definition of laurel

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : an evergreen shrub or tree (Laurus nobilis of the family Lauraceae, the laurel family) of southern Europe with small yellow flowers, fruits that are ovoid blackish berries, and evergreen foliage once used by the ancient Greeks to crown victors in the Pythian games

called also bay, sweet bay

2 : a tree or shrub that resembles the true laurel especially : mountain laurel
3a : a crown of laurel awarded as an honor
b : a recognition of achievement : honor usually used in plural


laureled or laurelled; laureling or laurelling

Definition of laurel (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to deck or crown with laurel


biographical name
Lau·​rel | \ ˈlȯr-əl How to pronounce Laurel (audio) , ˈlär- \

Definition of Laurel (Entry 3 of 3)

Stan 1890–1965 born Arthur Stanley Jefferson British comic actor in U.S.

Illustration of laurel

Illustration of laurel


laurel 1

In the meaning defined above

Examples of laurel in a Sentence

Noun They enjoyed the laurels of their military victory. The player earned his laurels from years of hard work.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Avoid formulas made with mineral oil, which can lead to breakouts; sodium laurel sulfate, which can irritate skin around the eyes and has been linked to cancer and neurotoxicity; and diazolidinyl urea, which can cause red, irritated and itchy eyes. Shanon Maglente, Good Housekeeping, "How to Remove Stubborn Waterproof Mascara Without Losing Eyelashes," 3 June 2020 The style comes in chic, neutral colors like laurel olive, heather gray, and navy. Lindsey Olander, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Bike Shorts to Wear This Summer," 15 June 2020 Branching out to improve Rice is an example of an elite athlete who as a senior isn't resting on his laurels, his scholarships, his name. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Brenden Rice didn't want famous name to carry him as he became the ultimate team player at Hamilton," 12 Mar. 2020 In the Deep Forest Escape massage oil at The Allison in Newberg, Oregon. ALPINE ARNICA: In the Alpine Arnica Soothing Soak, along with basil, bay laurel, camphorous and rosemary, at Sun Valley Resort in Sun Valley, Idaho. Kate Wertheimer, Sunset Magazine, "The Ten Wellness Trends to Tune Into in 2020," 23 Jan. 2020 Herbs: Anise, basil, bay laurel, chive, dill, ginger, lemon balm, Mexican tarragon, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, sweet marjoram and thyme 6. Tom Maccubbin,, "August in the Garden," 27 July 2019 Some of you heard laurel, some of you heard yanny, but the most important thing to know is neither of these will matter by the end of the summer. Maeve Mcdermott, USA TODAY, "Read Jimmy Fallon's full Parkland graduation speech: 'Remember that it gets better'," 4 June 2018 Wreaths made of laurel leaves were used as prizes during the ancient Olympics in Greece. Iris Van Rynbach,, "Holiday welcome: Creating a distinctive holiday wreath," 19 Nov. 2019 Clearly, this is no time for GM Jason Licht and coach Bruce Arians to rest on their laurels. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Opinion: To support Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers should take these 7 steps in NFL offseason," 18 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'laurel.' 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 laurel


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1631, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for laurel


Middle English lorel, in part from Medieval Latin laureola spurge laurel (from Latin, laurel sprig), in part modification of Anglo-French lorer, from Old French lor laurel, from Latin laurus

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Time Traveler for laurel

Time Traveler

The first known use of laurel was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

13 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Laurel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for laurel


How to pronounce Laurel (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of laurel

: an evergreen tree or bush with shiny pointed leaves
: honor or fame given for some achievement


lau·​rel | \ ˈlȯr-əl How to pronounce laurel (audio) \

Kids Definition of laurel

1 : a small evergreen European tree with shiny pointed leaves used in ancient times to crown victors (as in sports)
2 : a tree or shrub (as the American mountain laurel ) that resembles the European laurel
3 : a crown of laurel used as a mark of honor

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