Etymology
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laurel (n.)
mid-14c. variant of lorrer (c. 1300), from Old French laurier, lorier "bay tree, laurel tree" (12c.), from Latin laurus "laurel tree," which is probably related to Greek daphne "laurel" (for change of d- to l- see lachrymose), which is probably from a pre-IE Mediterranean language.

The second -r- changed to -l- in late Middle English by dissimilation. An emblem of victory or of distinction, hence the phrase to rest (originally repose) on one's laurels, first attested 1831. Related: Laurine (adj.).
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Daphne 

fem. proper name, from Greek daphne "laurel, bay tree;" in mythology the name of a nymph, daughter of the river Peneus, metamorphosed into a laurel by Gaia to save her from being ravished as she was pursued by Apollo. The word probably is related to Latin laurus (see laurel).

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laureate (adj.)
"crowned with laurels" (as a mark of distinction), late 14c., earliest reference is to poetic distinction, 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" (see laurel (n.)).

Laureat poete is first found in "Canterbury Tales" (in reference to Petrarch -- Fraunceys Petrak); it also was used in Middle English of Aesop and, by early 15c., of Chaucer. Inverted form poet laureate, in imitation of Latin word order, is from c. 1400 in English); the first official one probably was Ben Jonson (1638), though the first recorded one was Dryden (1668). Extended 1947 to Nobel prize winners. As a noun, 1520s, from the adjective or from a mistaken reading of poet laureate. Related: Laureateship (1732), laureation.
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Laurence 
masc. proper name, from Old French Lorenz (French Laurent), from Latin Laurentius, literally "of Laurentum," a maritime town in Latium, the name of which means literally "town of bay trees," from laurus (see laurel). The Italian form is Lorenzo.

A popular given name in the Middle Ages, as a surname it is attested in England from mid-12c. Larkin is a pet-form, along with Larry. For some reason, the name at least since 18c. has been the personification of indolence (compare German der faule Lenz "Lazy Lawrence"). But in Scotland, the pet form Lowrie has been used for "a fox" (c. 1500), also for "a crafty person" (1560s). Lawrence is the Law- in the surname Lawson, and a diminutive pet form is preserved in the surname Lowery/Laurie, etc.
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verbena (n.)
genus of plants, the vervain, 1560s, from Latin verbena "leaves or twigs of olive, myrtle, laurel, or other sacred plants employed in religious ceremonies," from PIE *werbh- "to turn, bend" (source also of Lithuanian virbas "twig, branch, scion, rod"), from root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend."
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Masonite 

1926, proprietary name of a type of fiberboard, by Mason Fibre Company, Laurel, Mississippi, U.S., and named for  William H. Mason (1877-1940), protege of Edison, who patented the process of making it. Earlier (1840) as a word in mineralogy for a type of chloritoid; the name honors Owen Mason of Providence, R.I., a collector who first brought the mineral to the attention of geologists.

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oleander (n.)

"rose bay," a poisonous evergreen Mediterranean shrub, late 14c., oleaster, from Medieval Latin oleander, a word of uncertain origin, probably altered (by influence of Latin olea "olive tree") from Late Latin lorandrum, from Latin rhododendron (see rhododendron), which was itself altered by influence of Latin laurea "laurel," on resemblance of leaves. This round-about etymology is supported by the French word for it, laurier rose.

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reverberation (n.)

late 14c., reverberacioun, "reflection of light or heat, repercussion of air," from Old French reverberacion "great flash of light; intense quality" and directly from Medieval Latin reverberationem (nominative reverberatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin reverberare "beat back, strike back, repel, cause to rebound." This is from from re- "back" (see re-) + verberare "to strike, to beat," from verber "whip, lash, rod," related to verbena "leaves and branches of laurel" (from *werb- "to turn, bend," from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend"). The sense of "an echo" is attested from 1620s.

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rhabdomancy (n.)

1640s, "dowsing, use of a divining rod" (especially to find things hidden in the earth, ores or underground water), with -mancy "divination by means of" (from Greek manteia "divination, oracle") + Greek rhabdos "rod, wand; magic wand; fishing rod; spear-shaft; a staff of office; a rod for chastisement; twig, stick." Greek rhabdos is from PIE *wer- (2), base of roots meaning "to turn, bend" (source also of Lithuanian virbas "twig, branch, scion, rod," Latin verbena "leaves and branches of laurel").

The Greek noun was used to represent Roman fasces. Related: Rhabdomantic; rhabdomancer.

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bay (n.4)

laurel shrub (Laurus nobilis, source of the bay-leaf), late 14c., but meaning originally only the berry, from Old French baie (12c.) "berry, seed," from Latin baca, bacca "berry, fruit of a tree or shrub, nut" (source also of Spanish baya, Old Spanish bacca, Italian bacca "a berry"), a word of uncertain origin. De Vaan writes that connection with Greek Bakhos "Bacchus" is difficult, as the Greek word probably was borrowed from an Asian language. Some linguists compare Berber *bqa "blackberry, mulberry," and suggest a common borrowing from a lost Mediterranean language.

Extension of the word to the shrub itself is from 1520s. The leaves or sprigs were woven as wreaths for conquerors or poets, hence "honorary crown or garland bestowed as a prize for victory or excellence" (1560s). Bay-leaf is from 1630s. Bay-berry (1570s) was coined after the sense of the original word had shifted to the tree.

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