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 The canyon is home to many native plants used by the Chumash and other Indigenous peoples, including white sage, coastal sagebrush, yerba santa, matilija poppy and California bay laurel. Jeanette Marantosstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 2022 Adjacent Portuguese laurel and juniper were not affected. oregonlive, 26 Feb. 2022 Indian laurel ficus, a small tree that can be trimmed to resemble shrubs, will provide shade for teachers’ cars in the parking lot. Zayna Syed, The Arizona Republic, 7 Mar. 2022 The flip side is adorned with fleurs-de-lys, laurel leaves and eggs—symbols of rebirth often found in Dalí’s works. Paige Reddinger, Robb Report, 6 Dec. 2021 Salicylic acid can be too harsh for dry skin, as can parabens, sodium laurel sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, and some types of alcohol. Rachel Nussbaum,, 17 Jan. 2022 Samuel picked up another laurel, for music, along with collaborators Kid Cudi and Jay-Z. Michael Ordoña, Los Angeles Times, 17 Jan. 2022 Readers are in store for plenty of surprises, until the laurel of deductive success is awarded to Detective Galileo. Tom Nolan, WSJ, 14 Jan. 2022 Other surprises are hidden within tomb C’s wall paintings: lush garlands that appear to hang from the columns, ancient ritualistic dishes and vases beside flaring candelabras, and what appear to be laurel bushes. Julia Buckley, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Jan. 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

4 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Laurel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 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.


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