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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 lavishes
Historical Examples
  • His sentimental vanity he lavishes upon himself—the animal in him on women.

    The Fighting Chance Robert W. Chambers
  • These are angels' delights which He lavishes upon the prodigal.

    The Romance of the Soul Lilian Staveley
  • But as long as he's goin' to welsh on us I hope he lavishes the eight-spot where it'll do him some good.

    Gullible's Travels, Etc. Ring W. Lardner
  • He lavishes on me a wealth of love that humbles me with a consciousness of my own demerits.

    Ernest Linwood Caroline Lee Hentz
  • Luckily, he is absent-minded and does not long remember the instructions which he lavishes.

    Our Friend the Dog Maurice Maeterlinck
  • Kneeling beside him Tosca lavishes tears and kisses upon him.

  • Cattaro, after all, is only a half-way house to Montenegro, and this is why Austria lavishes so many troops upon it.

    Through the Land of the Serb Mary Edith Durham
  • He borrows money right and left and lavishes it upon beggars.

  • At the same time she lavishes more caresses than usual upon Nero, who, not knowing what to make of it, looks very foolish indeed.

    Cats W. Gordon Stables
  • A man who lavishes his money in youth, becomes the slave of a guinea in old age.

    Contraband G. J. Whyte-Melville
British Dictionary definitions for lavishes


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 lavishes



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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