Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Negligence or undue delay in asserting a legal right or privilege.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Legal doctrine that a person who waits too long to bring a claim alleging a wrong shall not be permitted to seek an equitable remedy because the delay prejudiced the moving party. Sleeping on one's rights.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Neglect; negligence; remissness; neglect to do a thing at the proper time; especially, a delay in asserting a claim, sufficient to cause a person to lose the right to adjuducation of the claim by a court.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Negligence; remissness; inexcusable delay; neglect to do a thing at the proper time.
  • In law, remissness in asserting or enforcing a right, or neglect prejudicing some right of the person chargeable with it.
  • n. A genus of spiders: same as Lachesis, a name preoccupied in herpetology.

Etymologies

Middle English, slackness, negligence, from Anglo-Norman lachesse, laches, from Old French laschesse, from lasche, loose, remiss; see lush1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French lâches ("remissness, slackness"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And finally, the en banc Sixth Circuit rejected Secretary Brunner's arguments that the GOP had been guilty of "laches" - an equitable doctrine which basically says that if you've been tardy in asserting your rights, you may have forfeited them.

    Hugh Hewitt's TownHall Blog

  • Though there’s a public interest in avoiding false advertising, that can’t swallow the rule that laches is available in Lanham Act cases.

    Out of joint: duelling supplements denied summary judgment

  • Legally known as laches, things that are ignored on purpose.

    A New Year's Resolution for ALL Presidential Candidates

  • This is a concept called "laches" in legalese; the team was established in 1967, the case brought in 1992, and it had dragged on until now, 2009, for 17 years.

    Would you take a stand?

  • I found an interesting take at the Election Law website which said the legal term 'laches' should apply to this case, so looked up that term:

    Poll: Nevada Dems Value Change Over Experience

  • By letting it continue to happen without litigation they are giving up their rights through equitable principles such as laches and perhaps even some statutes of limitations.

    A Shot Across the Bow

  • It is likewise the subject of one of the smaller tales in Lane's _Arabian Nights_; but here I must remark, that the Eastern version is decidedly more ingenious than the later ones, inasmuch as it exculpates the keeper of the deposit from the "laches" of which in the other cases she was decidedly guilty.

    Notes and Queries, Number 39, July 27, 1850

  • But most U.S. courts begin their "laches" analyses by looking to the most analogous statute of limitations, which probably just brings Russia back to civil RICO's four-year limit.

    FORTUNE Features

  • I think this because of any number of discussions I’ve had on this board and others about fetal development, legal concepts such as laches, and so on.

    Do they really believe that abortion is murder?

  • Perrigo argued that the public interest counseled against finding laches.

    Archive 2009-09-01

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Comments

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  • from Middlemarch, of course, since it has to do with duty. Farebrother is the one suffering from laches. This is just a few paragraphs from the excellent sentence, "But Duty has a trick of behaving unexpectedly--something like a heavy friend whom we have amiably asked to visit us, and who breaks his leg within our gates."

    October 1, 2007