From Middle English lather, from Old English lēaþor (“a kind of niter used for soap, soda”), from Proto-Germanic *lauþrą (“that which is used for washing, soap”), from Proto-Indo-European *lówh₃trom (“that which is used for washing”), from *lewh₃-, *lowh₃- (“to wash, bathe”). Cognate with Swedish lödder (“lather, foam, froth, soap”), Icelandic löður (“foam, froth, a kind of niter used for soap”), Old Irish lóathar (“wash-basin”), Ancient Greek λουτρόν (loutrón, “a bath, wash-room”), Latin lavō (“I wash”), Albanian laj (“I wash”), Ancient Greek λούω (loúō). More at lye.
lather (countable and uncountable, plural lathers)
- (countable, uncountable) The foam made by rapidly stirring soap and water.
- (countable, uncountable) Foam from profuse sweating, as of a horse.
- (countable) A state of agitation.
foam of soap and water
- Bikol Central: subo (bcl)
- Bulgarian: сапунена пяна f (sapunena pjana)
- Catalan: sabonera (ca) f
- Mandarin: 泡沫兒 (zh), 泡沫儿 (zh) (pàomòr)
- Czech: mydliny f pl, mýdlová pěna f
- Dutch: sop (nl) n, zeepsop (nl) n, schuim (nl) n
- Esperanto: sapŝaŭmo
- Finnish: saippuavaahto (fi), vaahto (fi)
- French: mousse de savon f
- Galician: escuma (gl) f, espuma f
- German: Seifenschaum m, Schaum (de) m
- Hungarian: szappanhab (hu), hab (hu)
- Irish: sobal m
- Italian: schiuma di sapone f
- Japanese: 泡 (ja) (あわ, awa, あぶく, abuku), 泡沫 (ja) (ほうまつ, hōmatsu, うたかた, utakata)
- Korean: 비누 거품 (binu geopum)
- Macedonian: сапуница f (sapunica)
- Malayalam: പത (ml) (pata)
- Mongolian: хөөс (mn) (xöös)
- Norwegian: skum (no) n
- Ottoman Turkish: كوپوك (köpük)
- Persian: کف (fa) (kaf)
- Plautdietsch: Schum m
- Polish: piana mydlana f
- Portuguese: espuma (pt) f
- Russian: мы́льная пе́на f (mýlʹnaja péna)
- Cyrillic: сапу̀ница f
- Roman: sapùnica (sh) f
- Spanish: espuma de jabón f
- Swedish: lödder (sv)
- Telugu: నురగ (nuraga)
- Turkish: sabun köpürmek
- Welsh: trochion
- Westrobothnian: lø f
foam from profuse sweating
From Middle English *lethren, from Old English lēþrian, lȳþrian, *līeþrian (“to anoint, smear, lather”), from Old English lēaþor (“a kind of niter used for soap, soda”). See above.
lather (third-person singular simple present lathers, present participle lathering, simple past and past participle lathered)
- (transitive) To cover with lather.
The young woman lathered her breasts with lavender-scented soap.
- (transitive) To beat or whip.
- (intransitive) To form lather or froth, as a horse does when profusely sweating.
1997, Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin, transl., The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.; republished New York: Vintage Books, 1998, →ISBN, page 147:
I woke Corporal Honda to see to the horse. Heavily lathered and breathing hard, it had obviously come a long way at high speed.
to form lather or froth, as a horse does when profusely sweating