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 (lôr′əl, lŏr′-)
1. An evergreen tree (Laurus nobilis) of the Mediterranean region valued for its aromatic ovate leaves, used in cooking. Also called bay5, bay laurel, sweet bay.
2. A shrub or tree, such as the mountain laurel, having a similar aroma or leaf shape.
3. often laurels
a. A wreath of laurel conferred as a mark of honor in ancient times upon poets, heroes, and victors in athletic contests.
b. Honor and glory won for great achievement.
tr.v. lau·reled, lau·rel·ing, lau·rels also lau·relled or lau·rel·ling
1. To crown with laurel.
2. To honor, especially with an award or prize.
rest on (one's) laurels
To rely on one's past achievements instead of working to maintain or advance one's status or reputation.

[Middle English, from Old French laureole, from Latin laureola, diminutive of laurea, laurel tree; see laureate.]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.laurels - a tangible symbol signifying approval or distinctionlaurels - a tangible symbol signifying approval or distinction; "an award for bravery"
trophy, prize - something given as a token of victory
aliyah - (Judaism) the honor of being called up to the reading desk in the synagogue to read from the Torah; "he was called on for an aliyah"
academic degree, degree - an award conferred by a college or university signifying that the recipient has satisfactorily completed a course of study; "he earned his degree at Princeton summa cum laude"
pennant, crown - the award given to the champion
cachet, seal of approval, seal - an indication of approved or superior status
citation, commendation - an official award (as for bravery or service) usually given as formal public statement
honorable mention, mention - an official recognition of merit; "although he didn't win the prize he did get special mention"
varsity letter, letter - an award earned by participation in a school sport; "he won letters in three sports"
laurel wreath, medal, decoration, ribbon, medallion, palm - an award for winning a championship or commemorating some other event
trophy - an award for success in war or hunting
symbol - an arbitrary sign (written or printed) that has acquired a conventional significance
Emmy - an annual award by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for outstanding achievements in television
Nobel prize - an annual award for outstanding contributions to chemistry or physics or physiology and medicine or literature or economics or peace
Academy Award, Oscar - an annual award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for achievements in motion picture production and performance
Prix de Rome - an annual prize awarded by the French government in a competition of painters and artists and sculptors and musicians and architects; the winner in each category receives support for a period of study in Rome
Prix Goncourt - an award given annually for contributions to French literature
2.laurels - the state of being honored
standing - social or financial or professional status or reputation; "of equal standing"; "a member in good standing"
glorification, glory - a state of high honor; "he valued glory above life itself"
fame, renown, celebrity - the state or quality of being widely honored and acclaimed
esteem, respect, regard - the condition of being honored (esteemed or respected or well regarded); "it is held in esteem"; "a man who has earned high regard"
reputation, repute - the state of being held in high esteem and honor
References in classic literature ?
and one listener was so thrilled by the tender invitation that she longed to say she did know the land, and would joyfully depart thither whenever he liked The song was considered a great success, and the singer retired covered with laurels.
The laurels at Maple Grove are in the same profusion as here, and stand very much in the same wayjust across the lawn; and I had a glimpse of a fine large tree, with a bench round it, which put me so exactly in mind
At the bottom was a sunk fence; its sole separation from lonely fields: a winding walk, bordered with laurels and terminating in a giant horse- chestnut, circled at the base by a seat, led down to the fence.
The most plausible and persistent of all the various inventors who snatched at Bell's laurels, was Elisha Gray.
About us neither had gained a footing; laburnums, pink mays, snowballs, and trees of arbor- vitae, rose out of laurels and hydrangeas, green and brilliant into the sunlight.
When we got to the land, which was not far, there, on the face of a cliff near the sea, we saw a great cave overhung with laurels.
Patience had in vain been recommended to them by reports of brilliant victories gained by France; laurels, however, were not meat and drink, and the people had for some time been in a state of discontent.
My uncle's gardener always says the soil here is better than his own, and so it appears from the growth of the laurels and evergreens in general.
Mazarin will spend a few of the millions he has put away; our gentlemen will perform prodigies of valor in their encounters with the proud Castilians, and many of them will return crowned with laurels, to be recrowned by us with myrtles.
Pinky's large ears had caught the sound of voices, and as the two broke through the laurels the men were hard at work, their eyes on Sophie's feet.
In this class, likewise, we must assign places to those who have encountered that worst of ill success, a higher fortune than their abilities could vindicate; writers, actors, painters, the pets of a day, but whose laurels wither unrenewed amid their hoary hair; politicians, whom some malicious contingency of affairs has thrust into conspicuous station, where, while the world stands gazing at them, the dreary consciousness of imbecility makes them curse their birth hour.
It was but man, I thought, who shed Laurels upon me: and the rush - The torrent of the chilly air Gurgled within my ear the crush Of empires - with the captive's prayer - The hum of suiters - and the tone Of flattery 'round a sovereign's throne.