AskDefine | Define laurel

Dictionary Definition



1 any of various aromatic trees of the laurel family
2 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) [syn: Stan Laurel, Arthur Stanley Jefferson Laurel] [also: laurelling, laurelled]

User Contributed Dictionary



Old English lorel, laurer, lorer, Old French lorier, laurier, French laurier, (assumed) Late Latin Laurarius, from Latin laurus




  1. An evergreen shrub, of the genus Laurus (L. nobilis), having aromatic leaves of a lanceolate shape, with clusters of small, yellowish white flowers in their axils; -- called also sweet bay. The fruit is a purple berry. It is found about the Mediterranean, and was early used by the ancient Greeks to crown the victor in the games of Apollo. At a later period, academic honors were indicated by a crown of laurel, with the fruit. The leaves and tree yield an aromatic oil, used to flavor the bay water of commerce.
    Note: The name is extended to other plants which in some respect resemble the true laurel.
  2. A crown of laurel; hence, honor; distinction; fame; -- especially in the plural; as, to win laurels.
  3. An English gold coin made in 1619, and so called because the king's head on it was crowned with laurel

Derived terms


An evergreen shrub, of the genus Laurus
A crown of laurel

Extensive Definition

Laurel may refer to:


Lauraceae, the botanical laurel family, including:
  • Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis), the original true laurel that is the source of bay leaves used as a seasoning
  • California Laurel (Umbellularia californica), a related tree or large shrub
  • Camphor Laurel (Cinnamomum camphora), a natural source of camphor
  • True Cinnamon or Ceylon Cinnamon Cinnamomum verum, the inner bark of which is used as the spice cinnamon
Other unrelated plants:
  • Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), an evergreen cherry, often called just laurel in gardens
  • Great laurel (Rhododendron maximum), another shrub of the Appalachian mountains
  • Indian laurel, certain species of fig trees or banyans
  • New Zealand laurel (Corynocarpus laevigatus), former name for Karaka tree
  • Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), an evergreen shrub of the eastern United States highlands
  • Laurel sumac (Malosma laurina), an aromatic, evergreen shrub of the southern California and Baja California coastlands
  • Portugal laurel (Prunus lusitanica), also an evergreen cherry
  • Spotted laurel refers to variegated cultivars of the Aucuba Aucuba japonica


* A Laurel (LDS Church), a 16–18 year-old participant in the Young Women's program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Laurel Aitken (1927–2005), nicknamed the "Godfather of Ska"
  • Laurel Clark (1961–2003), astronaut and doctor who flew on the last flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia
  • Laurel Holloman, actress* José P. Laurel (1891–1959), former President of the Philippines
  • Stan Laurel (1890–1965), half of the comic duo of Laurel and Hardy


In Costa Rica:
In the Philippines:


laurel in German: Laurel
laurel in Spanish: Laurel (desambiguación)
laurel in French: Laurier
laurel in Dutch: Laurel
laurel in Japanese: ローレル
laurel in Portuguese: Louro (planta)
laurel in Russian: Лавр
laurel in Slovak: Laurel
laurel in Volapük: Laurel
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