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Etymology 1[edit]

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 *lowh₃-tro- (that which is used for washing), from *lawe-, *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 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)

  1. The foam made by rapidly stirring soap and water.
  2. Foam from profuse sweating, as of a horse.
  3. A state of agitation.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

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)

  1. (transitive) To cover with lather.
  2. (transitive) To beat or whip.
  3. (intransitive) To form lather or froth, as a horse does when profusely sweating.
Derived terms[edit]