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

The rest of the Cavaliers, in kind, hibernated on their laurels. Jake Fischer,, "How David Griffin Rebuilt the Pelicans and His World," 1 Aug. 2019 Steve Aoki Played More Shows Than Any Other DJ Aoki, for his part, is not resting on his laurels. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Chainsmokers Dethrone Calvin Harris & 7 Other Surprises From Forbes' Richest DJs List 2019," 29 July 2019 Trustbusters on the other side of the Atlantic—who have already fined Google more than €8.2bn ($9.3bn) in recent years—are not resting on their laurels. The Economist, "The regulatory woes of Big Tech multiply," 25 July 2019 Not one to rest on her laurels, Lois Lowry never ceases to surprise. David Canfield,, "Exclusive: The Giver author Lois Lowry is going back in time for next book," 24 July 2019 The Kremlin’s resting on its laurels after winning the race into Earth’s orbit with Sputnik and Gagarin certainly played a role. Anatoly Zak, Popular Mechanics, "Why Didn't the Soviets Ever Make It to the Moon?," 22 July 2019 What was once a plain blue wall is now a large painting of Hussle gazing up at the clouds, Greek laurels and blue roses on either side of him. Dorany Pineda, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Across L.A., murals are a testament to Nipsey Hussle’s legacy," 14 July 2019 What was once a plain blue wall is now a large painting of Hussle gazing up at the clouds, Greek laurels and blue roses on either side of him. Dorany Pineda,, "Across L.A., murals are a testament to Nipsey Hussle’s legacy," 14 July 2019 Against the wall near the burbling koi pond, a laurel hedge stands in for the nonexistent lawn. Catherine Romano, WSJ, "A Yard With No Lawn But Plenty of Greenery," 12 July 2019

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

12 Aug 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

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


not constant or steady

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