rest on (one's) laurels


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.

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

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

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

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

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