Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
be in a lather
To be very nervous, distressed, or upset. Sam is in a lather because she doesn't think her job interview went well. I told mom that we'll get there on time, but she's still in a lather about us leaving behind schedule.
get into a lather
To be very nervous, distressed, or upset. Don't get into a lather just because you don't think your job interview went well. I told Mom that we'll get there on time, but she's gotten into a lather about us leaving behind schedule.
1. To cover someone, something, or oneself with a lather or foam, typically from soap. In this form, a noun or pronoun can be used between "lather" and "up." Make sure you lather your hair up really thoroughly to wash out any excess dye. Our dog never sits still when we try to lather him up for his bath. To save on water, I always turn the shower off while I lather up.
2. To produce a thick volume of suds when vigorously rubbed or mixed together. I always hate washing with shower soap that doesn't lather up—I just don't feel like it gets me clean! Once the mixture lathers up, apply it evenly across the entire area of the stain.
3. To cover someone, something, or oneself with sunscreen. Make sure you lather the kids up before they go down to the beach. A lot of people forget to lather up when they go skiing because it's typically cold out, but the sun is even more dangerous out on the slopes!
4. Of a horse, to produce a lot of sweat that develops into a foam, used to cool the horse down in the heat or after strenuous activity. By the end of the long ride, I was covered in dust and my horse was well lathered up.
in a lather
Very nervous, distressed, or upset. Sam is in a lather because she doesn't think her job interview went well. I told Mom that we'll get there on time, but she's still in a lather about us leaving behind schedule.
work (oneself) into a lather
To become very nervous, distressed, or upset. Don't work yourself into a lather just because you don't think your job interview went well. I told Mom that we'll get there on time, but she's worked herself into a lather about us leaving behind schedule.
1. Totally covered in some liquid or foamy substance, such as soap suds or cream. Everyone in the bachelorette party was busy getting lathered up in fake tan ahead of the night out on the town. Make sure the kids are lathered in sun block before you let them go out on the beach.
2. slang Drunk. The flight attendant was fired for getting lathered in the middle of a flight. Tom kept buying us rounds of drinks, so we stayed pretty lathered up the whole night.
*in a lather
Fig. flustered; excited and agitated. (*Typically: be ~; get [into] ~.) Now, calm down. Don't be in a lather. I always get in a lather when I'm late. I get into a lather easily.
lather something up
to apply thick soapsuds to something, such as part of the body or all of it. He lathered his face up in preparation for shaving. He lathered up his face.
1. [for a horse] to develop a foam of sweat from working very hard. The horses lathered up heavily during the race. Don't let your horse lather up!
2. [for soap] to develop thick suds when rubbed in water. This soap won't lather up, even when I rub it hard. When the soap lathers up, spread the lather on your face and rub.
3. and lather oneself up [for one] to apply soap lather to one's body. He will spend a few minutes lathering himself up before he rinses. He lathered up and then shaved.
work oneself (up) into a latherand work oneself (up) into a sweat
1. and work up a sweat Lit. to work very hard and sweat very much. (In the way that a horse works up a lather.) Don't work yourself up into a lather. We don't need to finish this today. I worked myself into a sweat getting this stuff ready.
2. . Fig. to get excited or angry. (An elaboration of work oneself up to something.) Now, now, don't work yourself up into a lather. He had worked himself into such a sweat, I was afraid he would have a stroke.
in a lather
Also, in a state. Agitated and anxious, as in Don't get yourself in a lather over this, or She was in a state over the flight cancellation. The first term alludes to the frothy sweat of a horse, the second to an upset state of mind. [Early 1800s] For a synonym, see in a stew.
in a latherINFORMAL
If someone is in a lather, they are very angry, worried or upset about something. `Brenda!' she shouted, in a great lather. `It's happened again!' Note: You can also say that someone gets into a lather or works themselves up into a lather. What's she getting into a lather about now? You have spent the past six months worrying and working yourself up into a lather over situations which are really none of your business. Note: When horses get very hot, the sweat on their coats sometimes forms a foamy substance called lather.
get into a ˈlather,
work yourself into a ˈlather(British English, informal) get anxious or angry about something, especially when it is not necessary: Look, don’t worry! There’s no point getting yourself into a lather over this!The idiom originally described the heavy sweat that you can see on the coat of a horse that has run very hard as a mass of white bubbles, like lather, the bubbles produced by mixing soap with water.
in a ˈlather(British English, informal) in a nervous, angry or excited state: What’s going on? Chris has just come rushing into my office all in a lather, saying something about a lost report.
1. To cover some surface with lather or foam: He lathered up his chin and shaved the stubble. She lathered her hair up with the new shampoo.
2. To produce or become filled or covered with lather or foam: This shaving cream lathers up as soon as you put it on your skin.
mod. alcohol intoxicated. The two brothers sat there and got lathered.
work oneself (up) into a lather
1. tv. to work very hard and sweat very much. (In the way that a horse works up a lather.) Don’t work yourself up into a lather. We don’t need to finish this today.
2. tv. to get excited or angry. (An elaboration of work oneself up to something.) Now, now, don’t work yourself up into a lather.