Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To wash (clothes, for example).
  • transitive v. To wash, fold, and iron: shirts that were neatly laundered by the hotel staff.
  • transitive v. To disguise the source or nature of (illegal funds, for example) by channeling through an intermediate agent.
  • transitive v. To make more acceptable or presentable, sanitize: "The transcripts are, of course, laundered . . . unidentified larger chunks of conversation are reported missing throughout” ( Eliot Fremont-Smith).
  • intransitive v. To undergo washing in a specified way: This material launders well.
  • intransitive v. To wash or prepare laundry.
  • n. A trough or flume used in washing ore.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A washerwoman.
  • n. A trough used by miners to receive powdered ore from the box where it is beaten, or for carrying water to the stamps, or other apparatus for comminuting (sorting) the ore.
  • n. A gutter (for rainwater)
  • v. To wash; to wash, and to smooth with a flatiron or mangle; to wash and iron.
  • v. To lave; to wet.
  • v. To disguise the source of ill-gotten wealth by various means.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A washerwoman.
  • n. A trough used by miners to receive the powdered ore from the box where it is beaten, or for carrying water to the stamps, or other apparatus, for comminuting, or sorting, the ore.
  • transitive v. To wash, as clothes; to wash, and to smooth with a flatiron or mangle; to wash and iron.
  • transitive v. To lave; to wet.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who washes; a washerwoman or washerman.
  • n. A gutter or channel for conveying water; specifically, a channel or trough, generally made of wood, in which water is carried in any desired direction.
  • To wash and iron, as clothes; do up by washing, starching, and ironing: now used especially of laundry-work on a large scale.
  • To wet; wash.
  • To cover, as a metal, with a thin wash or film.

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

  • v. convert illegally obtained funds into legal ones
  • v. cleanse with a cleaning agent, such as soap, and water

Etymologies

From Middle English launder, lavender, launderer, from Old French lavandier, from Vulgar Latin *lavandārius, from Latin lavandāria, things to be washed, from lavanda, neuter pl. gerundive of lavāre, to wash; see leu(ə)- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Contracted from Middle English lavender, from Old French lavandiere, from Late Latin lavandena, from Latin lavō ("I wash"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • “I’ve been fighting the phrase launder the coffee,” Lew said.

    Kahawa

  • It's long been known that charity and philanthropic sector ventures can be used and abused as a way to clean wash aka launder and shuffle around money.

    Gambling911.com RSS News Feed

  • Angle agreed with Bachmann's claim that the Dems 'state aid package, which is meant to help cash-strapped states avert layoffs of teachers, cops and firefighters, is really a scheme designed to "launder" money for Dem campaigns via public employee unions.

    Reid ads quote Sharron Angle in her own words

  • And the way that that lawyer put it was that the center was set up almost to kind of launder economics.

    The Brothers Koch: Rich, Political And Playing To Win

  • Legal scholar David Smolin prefers to speak of"child laundering," a process by which "the current intercountry adoption system frequently takes children illegally from birth parents, and then uses the official processes of the adoption and legal systems to 'launder' them as 'legally' adopted children."

    John Feffer: The Baby Trade

  • Legal scholar David Smolin prefers to speak of "child laundering," a process by which "the current intercountry adoption system frequently takes children illegally from birth parents, and then uses the official processes of the adoption and legal systems to 'launder' them as 'legally' adopted children."

    John Feffer: The Baby Trade

  • Also, we cannot forget the people in our financial institutions who knowingly 'launder' (legitimatize) the ill-gotten gains of the criminals who engage in these activities.

    Drugs Should Be Legal

  • Finally, the agent tried to "launder" some money via a job I was doing-this person insisted that they were entitled to a percentage from another job I had gotten on my own.

    THINGS THEY DON'T TEACH YOU IN ART SCHOOL: Agents

  • With regard to True, the prosecution seems to be arguing that she conspired with Hecht and Medici to supply the Getty with artifacts that had been illegally unearthed and exported from Italy, and that she used the Fleischmans 'collection to "launder" antiquities, giving them a clean bill of provenience before bringing them to the museum.

    The Trial in Rome

  • DAVIS: Well, I think that it would depend on your definition of the word "launder," but let's let a jury decide, Ben.

    CNN Transcript Oct 2, 2005

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • When I have clothes to wash, I do laundry. I don't think I ever say "launder" as a verb, unless I'm referring to someone's ability or tendency to run illegal funds through a legitimate business.

    My understanding is western PA-Ohio folks also say warsh. I know this because someone I work with is from that area and in my job we frequently refer to George Warshington. *nerves grating*

    January 4, 2011

  • It may be necessary afterwards to do some ironing, which my fellow Baltimorons would pronounce earning.

    January 4, 2011

  • Washing. Though some of my Nebraska and Missouri relatives would say it as "warshing."

    January 4, 2011

  • Wordniks: Do you speak of "laundering" your clothes, or "washing" your clothes?

    January 4, 2011