laurel

1 of 2

noun

lau·​rel ˈlȯr-əl How to pronounce laurel (audio)
ˈlär-
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
3
a
: a crown of laurel awarded as an honor
b
: a recognition of achievement : honor
usually used in plural

Illustration of laurel

Illustration of laurel
  • laurel 1

laurel

2 of 2

verb

laureled or laurelled; laureling or laurelling

transitive verb

: to deck or crown with laurel

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
Among her many laurels are a Guggenheim fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts awards for painting and sculpture, and a spate of honorary doctorates. Margalit Fox, New York Times, 13 Apr. 2024 Explore See latest videos, charts and news This week, Pharrell and Miley conjure new (old) magic, Cardi B is not resting on her laurels, and Charli XCX wants to go back to the trucker-hat era. Jason Lipshutz, Billboard, 1 Mar. 2024 Along the way up, admire pretty plants such as laurel sumac, California buckwheat and prickly pear cactus. Maura Fox, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Mar. 2024 That is because the Marlins spent the offseason resting on their laurels instead of trying to get better, even though the laurels of being swept out in the wild-card round in two games were hardly comfy enough to rest on. Greg Cote, Miami Herald, 19 Feb. 2024 Moments showcasing those relationships were imperative to making a biopic that didn’t completely rest on the laurels of Marley’s staggering cultural cachet. Kyle Denis, Billboard, 17 Feb. 2024 Never content to rest on his meaty laurels, Othman is adamant that Pincho will always compete with a brand new item. Connie Ogle, Miami Herald, 26 Feb. 2024 Although the Grammys are still a couple of days away, Victoria Monét came out a winner on Thursday night as the music industry elite gathered to toast the singer-songwriter’s career and long-deserved laurels. Thania Garcia, Variety, 2 Feb. 2024 The team also wanted to graft fresh aspects to the story rather than rest on their laurels. Christopher Cruz, Rolling Stone, 26 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'laurel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1631, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near laurel

Cite this Entry

“Laurel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/laurel. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

laurel

noun
lau·​rel
ˈlȯr-əl,
ˈlär-
1
: an evergreen shrub or tree of southern Europe related to the sassafras and cinnamon with shiny pointed leaves used by the ancient Greeks to crown victors in various contests
2
: a tree or shrub (as a mountain laurel) that resembles the true laurel
3
a
: a crown of laurel
b
: honor entry 1 sense 1, fame
usually used in plural

Biographical Definition

Laurel

biographical name

Lau·​rel ˈlȯr-əl How to pronounce Laurel (audio)
ˈlär-
Stan 1890–1965 born Arthur Stanley Jefferson British comic actor in U.S.

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