Definitions

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

  • noun An evergreen tree (Laurus nobilis) of the Mediterranean region valued for its aromatic ovate leaves, used in cooking.
  • noun A shrub or tree, such as the mountain laurel, having a similar aroma or leaf shape.
  • noun A wreath of laurel conferred as a mark of honor in ancient times upon poets, heroes, and victors in athletic contests.
  • noun Honor and glory won for great achievement.
  • transitive verb To crown with laurel.
  • transitive verb To honor, especially with an award or 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 The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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).
  • noun The Victorian laurel, Pittosporum undulatum. Also called mock-orange.
  • noun A tree of the ginseng family, Polyscias elegans, yielding a light, soft wood. Also called white sycamore.
  • noun The American laurel.
  • noun The oleander.
  • noun The laurel-magnolia, Magnolia Virginiana.
  • noun The bay-tree or bay-laurel, Laurus nobilis. This is the true laurel of the ancients and the poets.
  • noun Any species of the genus Laurus.
  • noun Any one of many diverse plants whose leaves suggest those of the true laurel.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.

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

  • noun (Bot.) 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.
  • noun A crown of laurel; hence, honor; distinction; fame; -- especially in the plural.
  • noun An English gold coin made in 1619, and so called because the king's head on it was crowned with laurel.
  • noun water distilled from the fresh leaves of the cherry laurel, and containing prussic acid and other products carried over in the process.
  • noun Kalmia latifolia; called also calico bush. See under Mountain.
  • noun Umbellularia Californica.
  • noun (in England called laurel). See under Cherry.
  • noun the rosebay (Rhododendron maximum).
  • noun trailing arbutus.
  • noun the Laurelia Novæ Zelandiæ.
  • noun the Prunus Lusitanica.
  • noun the oleander. See Oleander.
  • noun a poisonous shrub, Kalmia angustifolia, smaller than the mountain laurel, and with smaller and redder flowers.
  • noun Daphne Laureola.
  • noun Prunus occidentalis.

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

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

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

  • noun 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)
  • noun (antiquity) a wreath of laurel foliage worn on the head as an emblem of victory
  • noun 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

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

    Field & Stream

  • 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?

  • 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?

  • 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?

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

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

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