Definition of laager in English:



  • 1South African historical An encampment formed by a circle of wagons.

    • ‘The trekkers then rounded up all the cattle in sight and returned triumphantly to their laagers.’
    • ‘They had captured the Boer laagers and set their ammunition dump alight.’
    • ‘His armies were infantry and dragoon based, using wagon laagers mounted with light cannons to protect against cavalry charges.’
    • ‘We could see the town of Colesberg (President Kruger's birthplace), and all the Boer laagers around it.’
    • ‘Every morning my brother and I had our horses fetched from the grazing-ground and rode out to visit neighbouring camps and laagers, eager to see all that we could.’
    camp, military camp, bivouac, cantonment, barracks, base, station, post
    View synonyms
  • 2An entrenched position or viewpoint that is defended against opponents.

    ‘an educational laager, isolated from the outside world’
    • ‘The second notion emphasises the traits that split America into hostile ethnic laagers and deny its essential multiculturalism.’
    • ‘So when there's talk of a fourth commercial TV network, as we have now, the wagons are turned, the laager is formed and the pre-emptive arrows fired in the general direction of the intruders.’
    • ‘What is instead being dangled in front of Ulster's Unionists is a retreat into the laager.’
    • ‘Johannesburg is rapidly being surrounded by a laager of Eurotrash casinos.’
    • ‘He has returned to the laager, and chosen to travel the conservative route.’


[with object]South African
  • 1Form (vehicles) into a laager.

    ‘Van Rensburg's wagons were not laagered, but scattered about’
    • ‘It was simply impossible to observe, even though we laagered several vehicles to shield us from the wind.’
    1. 1.1no object Make camp.
      ‘the troops crossed the river to laager for the night’
      • ‘The commando laagered on the ridge, from which they ventured down the Opathe Gorge on 27 December 1838 to raid livestock.’
      • ‘But by dusk both Divisions had crossed, and laagered that night 2 miles north of the Amatikulu.’
      • ‘Chelmsford deliberately did not entrench or laager, determined to show that his troops could face Zulus in the open.’
      • ‘Here in the dark the squadron laagered and passed an uncomfortable night constantly on the alert in expectation of a German counter attack.’
      • ‘The Mediterranean was sighted for the first time and we laagered on the edge of the Sinai desert.’


South African Dutch, from Dutch leger, lager ‘camp’. Compare with lager, lair, and leaguer.