laurel

Laurel \Lau"rel\, n. [OE. lorel, laurer, lorer, OF. lorier, laurier, F. laurier, (assumed) LL. Laurarius, fr. L. laurus.] 1. (Bot.) An evergreen shrub, of the genus {Laurus} ({Laurus nobilis}), having aromatic leaves of a lanceolate shape, with clusters of small, yellowish white flowers in their axils; -- called also {sweet bay}. Note: 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. [1913 Webster] Note: The name is extended to other plants which in some respect resemble the true laurel. See Phrases, below. [1913 Webster] 2. A crown of laurel; hence, honor; distinction; fame; -- especially in the plural; as, to win laurels. [1913 Webster] 3. An English gold coin made in 1619, and so called because the king's head on it was crowned with laurel. [1913 Webster] {Laurel water}, water distilled from the fresh leaves of the cherry laurel, and containing prussic acid and other products carried over in the process. [1913 Webster] {American laurel}, or {Mountain laurel}, {Kalmia latifolia}; called also {calico bush}. See under {Mountain}. {California laurel}, {Umbellularia Californica}. {Cherry laurel} (in England called {laurel}). See under {Cherry}. {Great laurel}, the rosebay ({Rhododendron maximum}). {Ground laurel}, trailing arbutus. {New Zealand laurel}, the {Laurelia Nov[ae] Zelandi[ae]}. {Portugal laurel}, the {Prunus Lusitanica}. {Rose laurel}, the oleander. See {Oleander}. {Sheep laurel}, a poisonous shrub, {Kalmia angustifolia}, smaller than the mountain laurel, and with smaller and redder flowers. {Spurge laurel}, {Daphne Laureola}. {West Indian laurel}, {Prunus occidentalis}. [1913 Webster]