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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.
Origin of 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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for lathe
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Why nadstow (hast thou not) pit the capul in the lathe (barn)?

    The Romance of Names Ernest Weekley
  • He also invented a lathe for cutting a perpetual screw in brass.

    The Printer Boy. William M. Thayer
  • A more useful kind is made just like a rotating brush, and has to be mounted on a lathe (Fig. 91).

    On Laboratory Arts Richard Threlfall
  • The prince was working at the lathe and after glancing round continued his work.

    War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
  • If the work is first centered and then straightened the bearing on the lathe center would be as shown in Fig. 29.

    Turning and Boring Franklin D. Jones
  • The lathe painted to look like iron is seen to be but a lathe.

    The Moon and Sixpence W. Somerset Maugham
  • The piece of iron which he was last employed in turning, lay on the lathe.

  • The stoppers are ground in on the lathe before the tubes are attached to the fall tubes.

    On Laboratory Arts Richard Threlfall
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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