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


They enjoyed the laurels of their military victory. The player earned his laurels from years of hard work.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Herbs: Anise, basil, bay laurel, chive, dill, ginger, lemon balm, Mexican tarragon, mint, oregano, sage, sweet marjoram and thyme. Tom Maccubbin,, "July in the garden," 30 June 2018 Fat Head's could have sat on its laurels with its famed Hop JuJu, but instead tapped Blood Orange Hop JuJu. Marc Bona,, "Winter Warmer Fest packs in beer-loving crowd, many brewers," 4 Mar. 2018 Animations and basic assets were reused, obviously, but the design team clearly didn't rest on its laurels. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Smash Bros. Ultimate review: The best fighting game on any Nintendo system," 6 Dec. 2018 The Bruins can’t simply rest on those laurels, especially with teams like Baylor, Washington and LSU all owning wins over tournament locks, too. Michael Beller,, "Bubble Watch: Lots at Stake for Fringe Teams in Final Regular Season, Conference Tourney Games," 27 Feb. 2018 The Pro-4X, with its protective skid plates and locking differential, takes those laurels. Al Haas,, "Nissan offers up a pricey, muscular pickup," 20 Feb. 2018 Not one to rest on her laurels, Hearst is back with a brand new bag, the Patsy. Kerry Pieri, Harper's BAZAAR, "Gabriela Hearst Has a Brand New It Bag—and It'll Make Your Grandma Proud," 27 Sep. 2018 Every detail here screams out for attention—the bees that adorn Napoleon’s cloak; his laurel-wreath crown; the ivory spheres on each side of his throne. Benjamin Shull, WSJ, "Portraiture as Propaganda," 17 Aug. 2018 An Apollonian laurel wreath, the ultimate symbol of victory and honor? Stephen Metcalf, The Atlantic, "Jean-Michel Basquiat Is Still an Enigma," 24 June 2018

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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Statistics for laurel

Last Updated

20 May 2019

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Time Traveler for laurel

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

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More Definitions for laurel



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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More from Merriam-Webster on laurel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with laurel

Spanish Central: Translation of laurel

Nglish: Translation of laurel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of laurel for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about laurel

Comments on laurel

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using a distributed computer network

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