Definition of lace in English:

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Pronunciation: /lās/


1A fine open fabric, typically one of cotton or silk, made by looping, twisting, or knitting thread in patterns and used especially for trimming garments.
Example sentences
  • Here's what you get when you mix luxurious silk with a lace trim and fine ribbon lacing.
  • Her jeans and black shirt were replaced by a dress of blue velvet, cream silk and white lace.
  • Upon her bed was a gown of light blue silk trimmed with white lace and satin bows running from the neck to the waist.
1.1Braid used for trimming, especially on military dress uniforms.
Example sentences
  • There was gold lace down the seams on the sides of the arms showing skin.
  • She sat before the organ wearing a simple black dress, no lace, no detail.
  • I had worn a little blue velvet jacket with gold lace and now I clutched it possessively.
2 (usually laces) A cord or leather strip passed through eyelets or hooks on opposite sides of a shoe or garment and then pulled tight and fastened.
Example sentences
  • She found a thick leather vest and put it on top of the shirt, pulling the laces tight.
  • Wyatt said he pulled the laces out of two pairs of shoes and he and Rattigan both tied her up.
  • As she pulled at the laces of the tight whalebone corset, she gave a little gasp.


[with object]
1Fasten or tighten (a shoe or garment) by tying its laces: he put the shoes on and laced them up
More example sentences
  • Marshall was lacing his shoes when his brother came in and jumped onto the end of his bed.
  • I situated myself down on the arm of the couch, now fully dressed as I laced my sneakers up.
  • She quickly finished lacing her shoes and looked outside and saw the town as it normally was at dawn.
fasten, do up, tie up, secure, knot
1.1 (lace someone into) Fasten someone into (a garment) by tightening the laces: Morris laced Bill and David into boxing gloves
More example sentences
  • The Widow is a corset which the young Edmund is required to lace her into.
  • I have a steel-boned underbust corset that I can wear for you too, or I can bring it along for you to lace me into.
  • Next, a scruffy-looking student enthusiastically volunteered to lace him into a straightjacket and secure him with padlocks and chains.
1.2 (lace something through) Pass a lace or cord through (a hole).
Example sentences
  • She tied her pocket closed with jute twine by lacing it through holes she punched in the corners.
  • You could take black satin ribbon and lace it through the big stitches for extra effect.
  • Running decklines through the loops of these device requires the kayak operator to unlash the decklines and lace them through the loops, then re-lash the lines.
1.3Compress the waist of (someone) with a laced corset: Rosina laced her up tight to show off her neat, pretty waist
1.4 [no object] (Of a garment or shoe) be fastened by means of laces: the shoes laced at the front
More example sentences
  • A shoe that laces will allow for adjustment across this area.
  • I also had my knee length combat boots that laced up in the front.
  • The bodice laced up in the front with cream-colored ribbon, which tied off at the waist.
2Entwine or tangle (things, especially fingers) together: he laced his fingers together and sat back
More example sentences
  • Subjects laced their fingers together and placed their hands at the back of their head.
  • Cris grinned at her and hopped up onto the couch, lacing his fingers together as he winked.
  • He laced his fingers together under his head and crossed his legs, looking at her.
entwine, intertwine, twine, entangle, interweave, link;
braid, plait
3 (usually be laced with) Add an ingredient, especially alcohol, to (a drink or dish) to enhance its flavor or strength: he gave us coffee laced with brandy figurative his voice was laced with derision
More example sentences
  • It may arise where the accused is drugged by others or his drink is laced with alcohol.
  • When I was ill, our butler caught Charles lacing my tea with some sort of substance.
  • Noah had calmed down after a couple of drinks, mainly coffee laced with alcohol.
flavor, mix (in), blend, fortify, strengthen, stiffen, season, spice (up), enrich, liven up;
doctor, adulterate
informal spike
4Hit (something, especially a baseball) hard: he laced a double down the first-base line
More example sentences
  • But Bernie Williams further tormented Millar by lacing another double down the rightfield line, scoring two runs, both charged to Schilling's room.
  • Gary Sheffield led off, lacing a double down the leftfield line, and Hideki Matsui followed with a broken-bat single up the middle.
  • You can bring in a pitcher that has faced a guy who has gotten just one hit off him in 12 at-bats and the guy laces a double down the line.

Phrasal verbs

lace into

informal Assail or tackle (something): Marion laced into her opponent with a blistering criticism
More example sentences
  • One group he laces into is the Royal Society - its astronomers, physicists, and mathematicians.


Middle English: from Old French laz, las (noun), lacier (verb), based on Latin laqueus 'noose' (also an early sense in English). Compare with lasso.

  • This comes from Latin laqueus ‘noose’ which was also found as an early sense in English and is still the basic sense of the Spanish-American equivalent, lasso (mid 18th century). The fine openwork fabric of looping threads was known as lace from the middle of the 16th century. The verb lace, to mean ‘fortify’ and ‘flavour’ as in to lace a drink, is from the late 17th century. Lacerate (Late Middle English) is unrelated, coming from Latin lacerare ‘to mangle, tear’.

Words that rhyme with lace

abase, ace, apace, backspace, base, bass, brace, case, chase, dace, efface, embrace, encase, enchase, enlace, face, grace, interlace, interspace, in-your-face, mace, misplace, outface, outpace, pace, place, plaice, race, space, Thrace, trace, upper case

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: lace

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