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[leyth] /leɪð/
a machine for use in working wood, metal, etc., that holds the material and rotates it about a horizontal axis against a tool that shapes it.
verb (used with object), lathed, lathing.
to cut, shape, or otherwise treat on a lathe.
1300-50; Middle English: frame, stand, lathe; compare Old Norse hlath stack (see lade), Danish -lad in væverlad weaver's batten, savelad saw bench
Can be confused
lath, lathe. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for lathe
  • The carpenter shop features a hand cranked fly-wheel for lathe operation.
  • They always left the chuck key in the lathe head or the drill press.
  • Model workers were rewarded with free trips-a week in the sun for a lathe operator or a ditch digger.
  • Each pick would appear to have been hand-turned on a tiny lathe, and then cured and tempered.
  • They are relatively tall and stand on bases with sinuous, elegant moldings that look as if they had been turned on a lathe.
  • When they invented the lathe, tables legs became what they were.
  • He started a cutting-tool firm with a borrowed lathe and a loan from a local butcher.
  • Today vocational ed--or career tech, as it's commonly called--more often involves a computer mouse than a lathe.
British Dictionary definitions for lathe


a machine for shaping, boring, facing, or cutting a screw thread in metal, wood, etc, in which the workpiece is turned about a horizontal axis against a fixed tool
(transitive) to shape, bore, or cut a screw thread in or on (a workpiece) on a lathe
Word Origin
perhaps C15 lath a support, of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Danish lad lathe, Old English hlæd heap


(Brit, history) any of the former administrative divisions of Kent
Word Origin
Old English læth district
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 lathe

"machine for turning," early 14c., of uncertain origin, probably from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish drejelad "turning-lathe," Old Norse hlaða "pile of shavings under a lathe," related to hlaða "to load, lade").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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