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

Definition of laurel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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 2)

transitive verb

: to deck or crown with laurel

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 To screen off the front of the home, the Heliotrope team constructed a solid cedar fence that separates the street from the garden, which is replete with a heritage Photinia and a hedge of English laurel that provide privacy. Kristin Scharkey, Sunset Magazine, 13 July 2022 In ancient Greece, athletes, musicians and poets were presented with a crown of laurel leaves—a tree associated with Apollo and Zeus and considered to be sacred. Brian H. Robb, Forbes, 15 June 2022 Cardinal Gibbons Swimming and Diving Head Coach Jonah Turner said Curzan's national laurel is well deserved. Douglas Clark Usa Today Ventures Events, USA TODAY, 5 Aug. 2022 Choose at least one smaller tree, like elderberry, California black walnut or laurel, plus berry-rich shrubs like toyon and low-growing or groundcover plants like mugwort to grow under and around the oak tree. Los Angeles Times, 3 Aug. 2022 The Azores archipelago is renowned for its spectacular natural beauty, and the island of Terceira is no exception, offering scenic cliffside vista points, lush laurel forests, and lengthy hiking trails for visitors to explore. Jared Ranahan, Forbes, 31 July 2022 The subject is clearly classical (the standing figure wears a laurel wreath). Washington Post, 1 June 2022 The temptation to rest on one’s laurels affects everyone, but competitors, hungry for their own laurel crowns, do not rest or quit. Brian H. Robb, Forbes, 15 June 2022 And one super cool part of being here is access to the third release of Eagle Rock Brewery’s popular Local Source beer, a lager infused with three plants native to Southern California — woolly bluecurls, black sage and California bay laurel. Jeanette Marantosstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 7 June 2022 See More

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.

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

7 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Laurel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for laurel


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

Laurel biographical name

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

Definition of Laurel

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

More from Merriam-Webster on laurel

Nglish: Translation of laurel for Spanish Speakers

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


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