1. a person who has been honored for achieving distinction in a particular field or with a particular award: a Nobel laureate.
  2. poet laureate.


  1. deserving or having special recognition for achievement, as for poetry (often used immediately after the noun that is modified): poet laureate; conjurer laureate.
  2. having special distinction or recognition in a field: the laureate men of science.
  3. crowned or decked with laurel as a mark of honor.
  4. consisting of or resembling laurel, as a wreath or crown.

adjective (usually immediately postpositive)

  1. literary crowned with laurel leaves as a sign of honour
  2. archaic made of laurel


  1. short for poet laureate
  2. a person honoured with an award for art or sciencea Nobel laureate
  3. rare a person honoured with the laurel crown or wreath

adj.late 14c., from Latin laureatus “crowned with laurels,” from laurea “laurel crown” (emblematic of victory or distinction in poetry), from fem. of laureus “of laurel,” from laurus “laurel.” Laureat poete first found in “Canterbury Tales” (form with the noun before the adjective, in imitation of Latin word order, is from c.1400 in English); the first official one was probably Ben Jonson (1638), though the first recorded one was Dryden (1668). Extended to Nobel prize winners, 1947. As a noun, 1520s, from the adjective. Related: Laureateship.

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