laurel

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ground laurel

A creeping wildflower with pink and white flowers and evergreen leaves. The plant is also known as the "Mayflower" and the "trailing arbutus," and it is found throughout eastern North America. It just doesn't feel like spring until I see the ground laurel start to bloom in our backyard.
See also: ground, laurel

look to (one's) laurels

To actively maintain one's favorable position when faced with competition. ("Laurels" are achievements or honors.) If John wants to maintain his lead in the triathlon, he's going to have to look to his laurels. Sure, the recruiter likes you, but there are many good candidates for this job, so you better look to your laurels.
See also: laurel, look

rest on (one's) laurels

To stop putting in effort, trying to innovate, or working to advance one's career or status and instead rely on one's past achievements or accolades to remain relevant or successful. I know your first novel was a smash success, if you just rest on your laurels you're going to fade into obscurity. The company has rested on their laurels from their smartphone design for the past decade, and they've now been surpassed by smaller companies doing much more interesting and innovative stuff.
See also: laurel, on, rest

look to one's laurels

Fig. to take care not to lower or diminish one's reputation or position, especially in relation to that of someone else potentially better. With the arrival of the new member of the football team, James will have to look to his laurels to remain as the highest scorer. The older members of the team will have to look to their laurels when the new players arrive.
See also: laurel, look

rest on one's laurels

Fig. to stop trying because one is satisfied with one's past achievements. Despite our success, this is no time to rest on our laurels. We rested on our laurels too long. Our competitors took away a lot of our business.
See also: laurel, on, rest

look to one's laurels

Protect one's preeminent reputation or position, especially against a threat of being surpassed. For example, Your opponent's done very well in the practice, so you'd better look to your laurels in the actual game . This idiom alludes to laurels as the traditional material for making a victor's crown. [Late 1800s]
See also: laurel, look

rest on one's laurels

Rely on one's past achievements, especially as a way of avoiding the work needed to advance one's status. For example, Now that Julian's in his eighties, he's decided to rest on his laurels and let some of the younger agents do the work . This term alludes to the crown of laurels awarded in ancient times for a spectacular achievement. [Late 1800s]
See also: laurel, on, rest

look to your laurels

If you say that someone should look to their laurels, you mean that they should continue to work hard to remain successful, especially when someone else is starting to compete with them. Note: In ancient Greece, the laurel or bay tree was associated with the god Apollo. The winning competitors in the Pythian games, which were held in honour of Apollo, were given crowns or wreaths of laurel. With so many promising young tennis players around, the 25-year-old champion must now look to his laurels. The establishment of new technology across Europe will force them to look to their laurels.
See also: laurel, look

not rest on your laurels

COMMON If someone does not rest on their laurels, they continue working hard to make sure that they continue to be successful rather than relying on the success they have already had. Note: In ancient Greece, the laurel or bay tree was associated with the god Apollo. The winning competitors in the Pythian games, which were held in honour of Apollo, were given crowns or wreaths of laurel. We will not rest on our laurels. There is still much to be done. He never rested on his laurels but continually evolved as an artist. Note: People sometimes say that a person or organization rests on their laurels. The trouble with all successful restaurants is their tendency to rest on their laurels.
See also: laurel, not, on, rest

look to your laurels

be careful not to lose your superior position to a rival.
See also: laurel, look

rest on your laurels

be so satisfied with what you have already done or achieved that you make no further effort.
In ancient Greece, a wreath made of bay-tree (laurel) leaves was awarded as a mark of distinction and, in particular, to victors at the Pythian Games held at Delphi.
See also: laurel, on, rest

look to your ˈlaurels

do something to protect your good position or reputation from competition by others: He thinks he’s the best in the class but there’s a new girl who is very good. He’s going to have to look to his laurels.
See also: laurel, look

ˌrest on your ˈlaurels

(usually disapproving) be satisfied with the success you have already gained and so no longer try to improve your position, etc: I know you got a very good degree from Oxford but what are you going to do with your life now? You can’t rest on your laurels for ever, you know.Laurel leaves were used in Roman times to make a crown for the winner of a race or competition.
See also: laurel, on, rest

rest on (one's) laurels

To rely on one's past achievements instead of working to maintain or advance one's status or reputation.
See also: laurel, on, rest

rest on one's laurels

To stop participating because of satisfaction with past achievements. The ancient Greeks crowned their victorious athletes and poets with wreaths made from the laurel bush, as did the Romans to honor their triumphant generals. People who have in their own estimation been sufficiently successful and retire from whatever endeavor they were successful in are said to be resting on their laurels.
See also: laurel, on, rest