rest on one's laurels


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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, but if you just rest on your laurels, you're going to fade into obscurity. The company has rested on their laurels from their device 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

rest on one's laurels, to

To be satisfied with one’s achievement, by implication enough so as not to expend further effort. The term, dating from the mid-nineteenth century, alludes to the wreaths of laurel leaves used to crown the winner of athletic contests in ancient Greek and Roman times; the laurel today remains a symbol of victory. Emanuel Deutsch wrote, “Let them rest on their laurels for a while” (Literary Remains, 1874).
See also: on, rest, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

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
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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