[lath, lahth]
noun, plural laths [lathz, laths, lahthz, lahths] .
a thin, narrow strip of wood, used with other strips to form latticework, a backing for plaster or stucco, a support for slates and other roofing materials, etc.
a group or quantity of such strips.
work consisting of such strips.
wire mesh or the like used in place of wooden laths as a backing for plasterwork.
a thin, narrow, flat piece of wood used for any purpose.
verb (used with object)
to cover or line with laths.

before 1000; Middle English la(th)the; replacing Middle English latt, Old English lætt; cognate with German Latte, Dutch lat

lathlike, adjective

lath, lathe. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
lath (lɑːθ)
n , pl laths
1.  one of several thin narrow strips of wood used to provide a supporting framework for plaster, tiles, etc
2.  expanded sheet metal, wire mesh, etc, used to provide backing for plaster or rendering
3.  any thin strip of wood
4.  (tr) to attach laths to (a ceiling, roof, floor, etc)
[Old English lætt; related to Dutch lat, Old High German latta]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. *laððe, variant of lætt "lath," apparently from P.Gmc. *laþþo (cf. O.N. latta, M.Du., Ger. latte "lath," M.H.G. lade "plank," which is source of Ger. Laden "counter," hence, "shop").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


any material fastened to the structural members of a building to provide a base for plaster. Lath can be of wood, metal, gypsum, or insulated board. In older residential buildings, narrow wood strips were generally used.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
In summer, you can replace the cover with shade cloth or lath, creating a
  nursery for cuttings.
It is rarely complete, and constantly tempts the imagination to flights in
  brick and dreams in lath and plaster.
Horizontal cracks are often caused by lath movement.
Lath provided a means of holding the plaster in place.
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