from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An item used to identify something or someone, as a small piece of paper or cloth attached to an article to designate its origin, owner, contents, use, or destination.
  • noun A descriptive term; an epithet.
  • noun A distinctive name or trademark identifying a product or manufacturer, especially a recording company.
  • noun Architecture A molding over a door or window; a dripstone.
  • noun Heraldry A figure in a field consisting of a narrow horizontal bar with several pendants.
  • transitive verb To attach a label to.
  • transitive verb To identify or designate with a descriptive term; describe or classify.
  • transitive verb Chemistry To add a tracer to (a compound).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In botany, same as labellum, 1.
  • To affix a label to; mark with a label: as, to label a package to be despatched by express.
  • To designate or describe by or on a label; characterize by inscription: as, the bottle was labeled poison.
  • To set forth or describe in a label (in the legal sense).
  • In architecture, to furnish with labels or hood-moldings. See label, n., 7.
  • noun A small loosely hanging flap; specifically, a pendant like a broad ribbon hanging from a head-dress; a lappet.
  • noun In heraldry:
  • noun One of the ribbons that hang down from a miter or the electoral crown. See infula, 3 .
  • noun A fillet resembling a barrulet with three or more pendent drops or points, which were originally straight with parallel sides, but are now usually shaped like a dovetail.
  • noun A slip of paper or any other material, bearing a name, title, address, or the like, affixed to something to indicate its nature, contents, ownership, destination, or other particulars.
  • noun A narrow slip of parchment or paper, or a ribbon of silk, affixed to a diploma, deed, or other formal writing, to hold the appended seal.
  • noun In law, a paper annexed to a will by way of addition, as a codicil.
  • noun A small reserved space in a work of art, or the like, forming a panel or cartouche, used for containing a name, monogram, or other mark for identification.
  • noun In medieval architecture, a projecting tablet or molding over a door or window. See dripstone, Also called label-molding.
  • noun A long, thin brass rule, with a small sight at one end and a centerhole at the other, commonly used with a tangent line on the edge of a circumferentor, to take altitudes, etc.
  • noun Border; verge; marge.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To affix a label to; to mark with a name, etc..
  • transitive verb rare To affix in or on a label.
  • noun obsolete A tassel.
  • noun A slip of silk, paper, parchment, etc., affixed to anything, and indicating, usually by an inscription, the contents, ownership, destination, etc..
  • noun A slip of ribbon, parchment, etc., attached to a document to hold the appended seal; also, the seal.
  • noun A writing annexed by way of addition, as a codicil added to a will.
  • noun (Her.) A barrulet, or, rarely, a bendlet, with pendants, or points, usually three, especially used as a mark of cadency to distinguish an eldest or only son while his father is still living.
  • noun A brass rule with sights, formerly used, in connection with a circumferentor, to take altitudes.
  • noun (Gothic Arch.) The name now generally given to the projecting molding by the sides, and over the tops, of openings in mediæval architecture. It always has a square form, as in the illustration.
  • noun In mediæval art, the representation of a band or scroll containing an inscription.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A small ticket or sign giving information about something to which it is attached or intended to be attached.
  • noun A name given to something or someone to categorise them as part of a particular social group.
  • noun A company that sells records.
  • noun computing A user-defined alias for a numerical designation, the reverse of an enumeration.
  • noun computing A named place in source code that can be jumped to using a GOTO or equivalent construct.
  • verb transitive To put a label (a ticket or sign) on (something).
  • verb transitive To give a label to (someone or something) in order to categorise that person or thing.

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

  • verb assign a label to; designate with a label
  • verb pronounce judgment on
  • noun an identifying or descriptive marker that is attached to an object
  • noun trade name of a company that produces musical recordings
  • verb distinguish (as a compound or molecule) by introducing a labeled atom
  • verb attach a tag or label to
  • noun a radioactive isotope that is used in a compound in order to trace the mechanism of a chemical reaction
  • verb distinguish (an element or atom) by using a radioactive isotope or an isotope of unusual mass for tracing through chemical reactions


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

[Middle English, ornamental strip of cloth, from Old French, probably of Germanic origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English label ("narrow band, strip of cloth"), from Old French label, lambel (Modern French: lambeau), from Old Frankish *labba (“torn piece of cloth”), from Proto-Germanic *lappōn, *lappô (“cloth stuff, rag, scraps, flap, dewlap, lobe, rabbit ear”), from Proto-Indo-European *leb- (“blade”). Cognate with Old High German lappa ("rag, piece of cloth"), Old English læppa ("skirt, flap of a garment"). More at lap.


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  • Then I was labelled: a plastic strap was snapped round my wrist and inside its waterproof sheath was my name and number and what I was in for - colotomy.

    - Peter Reading, C, 1984

    August 2, 2008