Definitions

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

  • n. A Mediterranean evergreen tree (Laurus nobilis) having aromatic, simple leaves and small blackish berries. Also called bay5, bay laurel, sweet bay.
  • n. A shrub or tree, such as the mountain laurel, having a similar aroma or leaf shape.
  • n. A wreath of laurel conferred as a mark of honor in ancient times upon poets, heroes, and victors in athletic contests. Often used in the plural.
  • n. Honor and glory won for great achievement. Often used in the plural.
  • transitive v. To crown with laurel.
  • transitive v. To honor, especially with an award or a prize.
  • idiom rest on (one's) laurels To rely on one's past achievements instead of working to maintain or advance one's status or reputation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An evergreen shrub, of the genus Laurus, having aromatic leaves of a lanceolate shape, with clusters of small, yellowish white flowers in their axils.
  • n. A crown of laurel.
  • n. honor, distinction, fame.
  • n. An English gold coin made in 1619, and so called because the king's head on it was crowned with laurel

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An evergreen shrub, of the genus Laurus (Laurus nobilis), having aromatic leaves of a lanceolate shape, with clusters of small, yellowish white flowers in their axils; -- called also sweet bay.
  • n. A crown of laurel; hence, honor; distinction; fame; -- especially in the plural.
  • n. An English gold coin made in 1619, and so called because the king's head on it was crowned with laurel.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The bay-tree or bay-laurel, Laurus nobilis. This is the true laurel of the ancients and the poets.
  • n. Any species of the genus Laurus.
  • n. Any one of many diverse plants whose leaves suggest those of the true laurel.
  • n. A crown of laurel; hence, honors acquired; claims to or tokens of distinction or glory: often in the plural: as, to win laurels in battle.
  • n. An English gold coin worth 20 shillings, or about 5 dollars, first issued in 1619 by James I.: so called because the head of the king was wreathed with laurel, and not crowned, as on earlier English coins. It was also called broad, unite, and jacobus. See cut under broad, n.
  • n. A salmon which has remained in fresh water during the summer.
  • Pertaining to or consisting of laurel: as, a laurel wreath.
  • To crown with, or as with, laurel as a distinction.
  • n. In Porto Rico, Mexico, and Central America, a name applied to many species of Ocoted, Damburneya, and allied genera of Lauraceæ; especially, in Porto Rico, to Ocotea fœniculacea, O. floribunda, Damburneya Sintenisii (Nectandra Sintenisii of Mez), D. Krugii (Nectandra Krugii of Mez), and D. coriacea (Nectandra coriacea of Grisebach).
  • n. The Victorian laurel, Pittosporum undulatum. Also called mock-orange.
  • n. A tree of the ginseng family, Polyscias elegans, yielding a light, soft wood. Also called white sycamore.
  • n. The American laurel.
  • n. The oleander.
  • n. The laurel-magnolia, Magnolia Virginiana.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. United States slapstick comedian (born in England) who played the scatterbrained and often tearful member of the Laurel and Hardy duo who made many films (1890-1965)
  • n. (antiquity) a wreath of laurel foliage worn on the head as an emblem of victory
  • n. any of various aromatic trees of the laurel family

Etymologies

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

Middle English, from Old French laureole, from Latin laureola, diminutive of laurea, laurel tree; see laureate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English lorrer, Anglo-Norman lorer, from Old French lorier, from lor, from Latin laurus ("laurel").

Examples

  • The laurel tree was his personal emblem, as the word laurel and the Latin version of his name, Laurentius, had the same root.

    The Poet Prince

  • Upon enquiring our way he kindly volunteered to take us across what he called the laurel swamp and the old mill dam: which he said would be impossible without a guide.

    Military reminiscences of Gen. Wm. R. Boggs, C.S.A.,

  • I do not think the need of revisal of our present scientific classification could be more clearly demonstrated than by the fact that laurels and roses are confused, even by Dr. Lindley, in the mind of his feminine readers; the English word laurel, in the index to his first volume of Ladies 'Botany, referring them to the cherries, under which the common laurel is placed as' Prunus Laurocerasus, 'while the true laurel,' Laurus nobilis, 'must be found in the index of the second volume, under the Latin form' Laurus. '

    Proserpina, Volume 1 Studies Of Wayside Flowers

  • I could tell that they were seeing the rod flick and spooking even when I was up against mountain laurel on the bank.

    The Quickest Way to Lose Your Rod?

  • Further up, a stream jumped and tumbled over and between mossy rocks, its sounds muffled by the banks of rhododendron and mountain laurel that clustered round it.

    The Bread of Ruth’s Unhappiness « A Fly in Amber

  • The firing direction points only to impassible tangles of mountain laurel and hummocky swamp behind my earth filled 55 gallon drums for backstop.

    Guns = "Unhealthy" Lifestyle?

  • This is from the 2008 season, after tracking a bear for three hours across various ridges and thick mountain laurel patches.

    Field & Stream

  • (In the picture you can also see my little Kalmia mountain laurel ‘Minuet.’)

    Bravo! Love my Encore Azaleas « Sugar Creek Gardens’ Blog

  • One morning, just at daylight, she was sitting on a hillside under a huge mountain laurel, and heard something breathing .... it was a doe on the other side of the laurel!

    Risky Business

  • Per your ridiculous scenario, I'd choose a sweet evening tea of mountain laurel (abundant outside my door) with fond embrace of the children you'd torture if you could get hold of them, whisperings of "I Love You" – more than life itself.

    Carry-Over Thread

Comments

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  • "An English gold coin worth 20 shillings, or about 5 dollars, first issued in 1619 by James I.: so called because the head of the king was wreathed with laurel, and not crowned, as on earlier English coins. It was also called broad, unite, and jacobus. See cut under broad, n."

    - The Century Dictionary

    June 28, 2010