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[lav-ish] /ˈlæv ɪʃ/
expended, bestowed, or occurring in profusion:
lavish spending.
using or giving in great amounts; prodigal (often followed by of):
lavish of his time; lavish of affection.
verb (used with object)
to expend or give in great amounts or without limit:
to lavish gifts on a person.
Origin of lavish
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English lavas profusion (noun), profuse (adj.) < Middle French lavasse downpour of rain, derivative of laver to wash < Latin lavāre
Related forms
lavisher, noun
lavishly, adverb
lavishness, noun
overlavish, adjective
overlavishly, adverb
overlavishness, noun
unlavish, adjective
unlavished, adjective
1, 2. unstinted, extravagant, wasteful, improvident; generous, openhanded. Lavish, prodigal, profuse refer to that which exists in abundance and is poured out copiously. Lavish suggests (sometimes excessive) generosity and openhandedness: lavish hospitality; much too lavish. Prodigal suggests wastefulness, improvidence, and reckless impatience of restraint: a prodigal extravagance. Profuse emphasizes abundance, but may suggest overemotionalism, exaggeration, or the like: profuse thanks, compliments, apologies. 3. heap, pour; waste, squander, dissipate.
1, 2. niggardly. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for lavish
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Was there one gift showered by the lavish bounty of God which had not fallen on the chosen of fortune?

    Side Lights James Runciman
  • In the twenty-three years of his life, every gift that money could lavish had been his.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • The most lavish user of butter will discover that it is no hardship to go without it when in camp.

    Packing and Portaging Dillon Wallace
  • But the peasant is not lavish, and, for whole weeks, he did not bring back a sou.

  • They were lavish entertainers, these Daltons, and it was here that Washington came during a visit to Newburyport.

    Historic Homes Mary H. Northend
British Dictionary definitions for lavish


prolific, abundant, or profuse
generous; unstinting; liberal
extravagant; prodigal; wasteful: lavish expenditure
(transitive) to give, expend, or apply abundantly, generously, or in profusion
Derived Forms
lavisher, noun
lavishly, adverb
lavishment, noun
lavishness, noun
Word Origin
C15: adj use of lavas profusion, from Old French lavasse torrent, from Latin lavāre to wash
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for lavish

mid-15c., from Middle French lavasse (n.) "torrent of rain, deluge," from Old French lavache, from laver "to wash," from Latin lavare "to wash" (see lave). Related: Lavishly.


1540s, from lavish (adj.). Related: Lavished; lavishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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