There are 2 main definitions of laurel in English:

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laurel 1

Pronunciation: /ˈlɒr(ə)l/


1Any of a number of shrubs and other plants with dark green glossy leaves, in particular:
Example sentences
  • The sweeping drive of the Coach Road to Milnerfield were planted with laurel, yew and holly, still surviving today.
  • Rich in Native American and pioneer history, the Appalachian Highlands boast an amazing plant diversity - from laurel to flowering dogwood - and more than 200 different kinds of birds.
  • We found the netting, and added a cluster of potted hebes and one further laurel to our plant collection, along with three huge plastic sacks of compost and mulch.
2An aromatic evergreen shrub related to the bay tree, several kinds of which form forests in tropical and warm countries.
  • Family Lauraceae: many genera and species.
Example sentences
  • With the doors and windows sealed, the air should be purified by sprinkling perfumes and scents and by burning aromatic woods such as laurel, myrtle, rosemary and cypress.
  • Something about paper walls, I think, about archery, and a good deal about evergreen laurel, myrtle and wild camellia.
  • Covering an area of 4,330 square metres with a lawn in front and a garden behind, the building is surrounded by evergreen camphor laurels.
3 (usually laurels) The foliage of the bay tree woven into a wreath or crown and worn on the head as an emblem of victory or mark of honour in classical times: figurative Mansell became only the seventh Briton to wear the champion’s laurels
More example sentences
  • A year later, the king was crowned with the laurels of victory at Fontenoy.
  • Dressed in togas, crowned with laurel wreaths, they re-enacted ancient ceremonies, of which feasting was one.
  • When she mounted the podium to accept her latest gold medal, she was crowned with a laurel wreath as the tournament committee adopted an Athens-style celebratory theme.
3.1Honour or praise for an achievement: she has rightly won laurels for this brilliantly perceptive first novel
More example sentences
  • ‘I would be more than happy if some latent talent is spotted in this event and would go on to win laurels at the highest level,’ was his observation on the occasion.
  • Over the years, he has won several laurels competing in international events in Japan, Australia, and the United States.
  • The club members participated in many inter-school competitions and won laurels to the school.

verb (laurels, laurelling, laurelled; US laurels, laureling, laureled)

[with object]
Honour by adorning with a laurel or presenting with an award: they banish our anger forever when they laurel the graves of our dead (as adjective laurelled or laureled) she is also one of science fiction’s most laureled writers
More example sentences
  • From the Telegraph to the Guardian, from the Mail to the Mirror, he was laurelled in admiring headlines.
  • Reaction in the press was generally of intense respect: at eighty-one his was a long and ultimately laurelled literary career.
  • Pre-race coverage of the Boston Marathon begins at 9 AM and will continue live (on some channel or the other) until the men's and women's winners are duly laureled.



look to one's laurels

Be careful not to lose one’s superior position to a rival: they’re very good players—we’ll have to look to our laurels
More example sentences
  • When he suggested that the Silent Majority should look to their laurels in regard to opposing the so-called Racial Justice group, he couldn't have got it more right.
  • He has made professional spin doctors look to their laurels.
  • Now is the time for the councils to look to their laurels.

rest on one's laurels

Be so satisfied with what one has already done or achieved that one makes no further effort: with TV sports coverage becoming increasingly competitive, the BBC should beware of resting on its laurels
More example sentences
  • He has experienced more adventure than most of us enjoy in a lifetime but he is not resting on his laurels and is already planning further adventures.
  • He is not resting on his laurels and has already begun working for further improvement.
  • We cannot rest on our laurels after the efforts of the weekend.


Middle English lorer, from Old French lorier, from Provençal laurier, from earlier laur, from Latin laurus.

Words that rhyme with laurel

amoral, Balmoral, coral, immoral, moral, quarrel, sorel, sorrel

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: laurel

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There are 2 main definitions of laurel in English:

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Laurel 2

Pronunciation: /ˈlôrəl/ Pronunciation: /ˈlär-/

Entry from US English dictionary

A city in central Maryland, between Washington, DC, and Baltimore; population 22,329 (est. 2008).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Lau·rel

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