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c.1300, lorrer, from Old French laurier (12c.), from Latin laurus "laurel tree," probably related to Greek daphne "laurel" (for change of d- to l- see lachrymose), probably from a pre-IE Mediterranean language. The change of second -r- to -l- after mid-14c. is by dissimilation. An emblem of victory or of distinction, hence the phrase to rest (originally repose) on one's laurels, first attested 1831.
city, Prince George's county, central Maryland, U.S., on the Patuxent River midway between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. The land was patented to Richard Snowden, who arrived about 1658 and founded the community. Montpelier Mansion (1783; Georgian), built by Thomas Snowden, is now owned by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. The town was named for the local laurel trees. After World War II the community experienced growth as a residential and industrial centre. The Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University is there. Laurel Park racecourse offers Thoroughbred racing and was the site of the annual Washington D.C. International horse race from 1952 until 1995, when the race was discontinued. The Patuxent Wildlife Research Center within Patuxent Research Refuge (southeast) is between Fort George G. Meade (an army base) and the National Agricultural Research Center. T. Howard Duckett (Rocky Gorge) Reservoir and Dam are immediately northwest. Inc. town, 1870. Pop. (1990) 19,438; (2000) 19,960.