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[lath -er] /ˈlæð ər/

foam or froth made by a detergent, especially soap, when stirred or rubbed in water, as by a brush used in shaving or by hands in washing.
foam or froth formed in profuse sweating, as on a horse.
Informal. a state of excitement, agitation, nervous tension, or the like:
He was in a lather over my delay.
verb (used without object)
to form a lather:
a soap that lathers well.
to become covered with lather, as a horse.
verb (used with object)
to apply lather to; cover with lather:
He lathered his face before shaving.
Informal. to beat or whip.
/ˈlɑːðə; ˈlæ-/
foam or froth formed by the action of soap or a detergent in water
foam formed by other liquid, such as the sweat of a horse
(informal) a state of agitation or excitement
to coat or become coated with lather
(intransitive) to form a lather

Old English lauþr “foam, washing soda,” from Proto-Germanic *lauþran (cf. Old Norse lauðr “washing soap, foam”), from PIE *loutro- (cf. Gaulish lautron, Old Irish loathar “bathing tub,” Greek louein “to bathe,” Latin lavere “to wash”), which is from root *leu(e)- “to wash” + instrumentative suffix *-tro-. The modern noun might be a 16c. redevelopment from the verb. Meaning “violent perspiration” (especially of horses) is from 1650s. Meaning “state of agitation” (such as induces sweating) is from 1839.

Old English laþran, from Proto-Germanic *lauþrjan (cf. Old Norse leyðra “to clean, wash;” see lather (n.)). Related: Lathered; lathering.


To hit; strike: He lathered the ball out of the park

Related Terms

in a lather

[1797+; fr the notion that frothy washing lather is produced by vigorous agitation or beating]
see: in a lather


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