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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.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
He quietly raised his forehead from his arm and looked between the masking stems of the laurels, instinctively closing his right hand about the stock of his rifle.
On one side of the house stood the stable, on the other an alley or cloister of laurels led to the larger garden behind.
He could exhibit laurels. They were insignificant; still, in a district where laurels were infrequent, they might shine.
The immense egotism of youth forced me on my own path, but (cry of the human always!) had I known--if I had known--I would many times have bartered my poor laurels for the privilege, such as Tinsley and Herrera possess, of having aided him in his monumental researches.
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.
- 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.
Finally he saw the whole scheme complete, the bomb-shell thrown, France hysterically casting laurels upon the man who had brought her unexpected peace.
Pride flattered him so agreeably, that his mind perhaps enjoyed perfect happiness; but this was only momentary: Sophia soon returned to his imagination, and allayed the joy of his triumph with no less bitter pangs than a good-natured general must feel, when he surveys the bleeding heaps, at the price of whose blood he hath purchased his laurels; for thousands of tender ideas lay murdered before our conqueror.
A certain gentleman"--he pointed at Crane's back--"won't drive in, but will wait a little short of the front gate, behind the laurels. Have you still the keys of the house?"
Jupiter chose the oak, Venus the myrtle, Apollo the laurel, Cybele the pine, and Hercules the poplar.
But when the goddesses had brought him up, a god oft hymned, then began he to wander continually through the woody coombes, thickly wreathed with ivy and laurel. And the Nymphs followed in his train with him for their leader; and the boundless forest was filled with their outcry.
The line ran through the forest, among the rocks and laurel thickets, the men fifteen or twenty paces apart, all in concealment and under injunction of strict silence and unremitting vigilance.