Definition of lace in English:



  • 1[mass noun] A fine open fabric of cotton or silk, made by looping, twisting, or knitting thread in patterns and used especially for trimming garments.

    ‘a dress trimmed in white lace’
    [as modifier] ‘a lace collar’
    [count noun] ‘fine needlepoint laces’
    • ‘The young actor held a large white handkerchief trimmed with lace over his nose and mouth.’
    • ‘Some varieties have leaves reminiscent of lace or needlepoint.’
    • ‘If you prefer something more feminine, create fabric corsages with a strip of thin material such as lace or silk.’
    • ‘Some of these packets were made of lace, others of cotton.’
    • ‘Here's what you get when you mix luxurious silk with a lace trim and fine ribbon lacing.’
    • ‘The white silk and lace skirt hung low, leaving her midsection bare, and was flared slightly from the hips.’
    • ‘Italy's handcrafted products include fine laces, linens, glass, pottery, carved marble, leather, and gold and silver work.’
    • ‘She went for the white one which featured lace and silk, but had no veil.’
    • ‘This outfit may be completed by a hat of lace or other fine cloth.’
    • ‘On their wedding day, Elaine would wear white silk with lace.’
    • ‘Upon her bed was a gown of light blue silk trimmed with white lace and satin bows running from the neck to the waist.’
    • ‘The shapes are a lot more feminine, the fabrics - taffeta, silk and lace - are a lot more feminine, and there are more textures involved.’
    • ‘Her jeans and black shirt were replaced by a dress of blue velvet, cream silk and white lace.’
    • ‘Croft looked around, taking in the bright, sand-coloured walls, the cream drapes, the fine lace curtains about the windows.’
    • ‘I suspect some of the lace on sale is manufactured by Chinese peasants copying Burano-Venetian lace patterns.’
    • ‘Inside, the decor is New England simplicity: perfectly laundered white cotton curtains edged in lace, pine furniture and iron bedsteads.’
    • ‘While males worked as tailors of men's clothing, female slaves and freedwomen sewed dresses and made lace in the households and dressmaking establishments of the period.’
    • ‘She had dressed in a simple dark-blue dress with a white satin belt and lace collar.’
    • ‘The back had a beautiful train of both lace and silk, which trailed four feet behind her when she walked.’
    • ‘Maybe it was her exhaustion settling in, but the thick layers of silk and lace were as comforting as a pile of blankets fresh out of the dryer.’
    openwork, lacework, tatting, netting, net, tulle, meshwork, mesh, webbing
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    1. 1.1Braid used for trimming, especially on military dress uniforms.
      ‘his generals were covered with gold lace’
      • ‘The dress was full of lace and ribbons and was satiny.’
      • ‘Henceforth Bentham always wore his green coat with scarlet lapels, scarlet waistcoat with gold lace, and white breeches.’
      • ‘She was indeed a vision in powder blue silk, the bodice of the dress enhanced with lace and even more pearls.’
      • ‘There was gold lace down the seams on the sides of the arms showing skin.’
      • ‘Cindy had the decency to get dressed, at least, although she was dressed in a ridiculously glamorous dress with lace and frills.’
      • ‘Her thick dark hair is pulled back and straightened, and she wears a long sea-foam green dress covered in ivory lace.’
      • ‘She was a tall woman, dressed in a bright purple dress with lace, a dark blue shawl thrown about her shoulders and a black hat on her bright red hair.’
      • ‘I had worn a little blue velvet jacket with gold lace and now I clutched it possessively.’
      • ‘She sat before the organ wearing a simple black dress, no lace, no detail.’
      • ‘It had simple, white lace along the collar and at the ends of the elbow length sleeves.’
      • ‘She wore a white dress edged with lace and puffed sleeves, white shoes on her feet.’
      • ‘Gold lace became confined to flag officers in both dress and undress uniforms; captains wore it only in full dress.’
      • ‘Today, she had chosen a modest blue dress with tiny bits of lace at the bodice, sleeves, and hem.’
      • ‘The flashing gold epaulettes and gold lace on his 18th century naval uniform have been made by Wyedean Weaving.’
      • ‘The dress was tight at the waist and the bodice was decorated with black lace from the waistline up to the low neckline.’
  • 2A cord or leather strip passed through eyelets or hooks on opposite sides of a shoe or garment and then pulled tight and fastened.

    ‘brown shoes with laces’
    • ‘She began to unbuckle her sandals, as I loosened the laces on my shoes.’
    • ‘As she pulled at the laces of the tight whalebone corset, she gave a little gasp.’
    • ‘I saw several wrestlers in the corner already dressed in gym clothes, tying up the laces on their shoes.’
    • ‘He looked like any number of panhandlers that frequent the area; his clothes were stained, his shoes had no laces.’
    • ‘For increased efficiency, you may have a tendency to fasten your laces very tight.’
    • ‘Julius finished tying the laces on his second shoe, stood and turned to Yoshiro.’
    • ‘I'll set this straight once and for all: dress shoes don't necessarily require laces.’
    • ‘We don't need clean clothes or new laces in our shoes.’
    • ‘Pulling the laces tight, she frowns as she fumbles when trying to tie them.’
    • ‘She put on her brown Soda brand shoes with the beige laces.’
    • ‘I was wearing some old shoes and the laces are always coming undone.’
    • ‘Wyatt said he pulled the laces out of two pairs of shoes and he and Rattigan both tied her up.’
    • ‘These workers are everywhere in the streets, selling such things as candy, shoe laces, toys, fruits, gum, incense or belt buckles.’
    • ‘Don't try to compensate for a gaping shoe by tying the laces too tightly.’
    • ‘Pulling on some old black shoes and tying the laces, he ran down the stairs and barreled into his older sister.’
    • ‘I quickly put on my shoes without tying the laces.’
    • ‘Once at home, she changed quickly into her running clothes and shoes, tying the laces tight.’
    • ‘She found a thick leather vest and put it on top of the shirt, pulling the laces tight.’
    • ‘The women had been tied with shoe laces, the men with nylon rope, and plastic shopping bags were used to blindfold them.’
    • ‘He lingered in the doorway and waited as she hastily fastened the laces and tied the anklet around her heel.’
    shoelace, bootlace, shoestring, lacing, string, cord, thong, twine, tie
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  • 1Fasten or tighten (a shoe or garment) by tying the laces.

    ‘he put the shoes on and laced them up’
    • ‘I situated myself down on the arm of the couch, now fully dressed as I laced my sneakers up.’
    • ‘The comparison is ridiculous, and at the moment he couldn't lace Hall's boots.’
    • ‘He rose with a groan the next morning and pulled his clothes back on, lacing his shoes with some difficulty.’
    • ‘One afternoon as I woke up from a nap, I looked at the watch, laced my shoes in a hurry and ran to the bus-stop.’
    • ‘She quickly finished lacing her shoes and looked outside and saw the town as it normally was at dawn.’
    • ‘I gave him a look from where I sat on the bed, lacing my sneakers.’
    • ‘He zipped his black duffel bag and laced his boots.’
    • ‘He was just finishing lacing his boots when Luken awoke.’
    • ‘I laced my skates and stepped forth with ankles wobbling and feet that felt bound.’
    • ‘Marshall was lacing his shoes when his brother came in and jumped onto the end of his bed.’
    • ‘Instead, I laced my running shoes and slipped some shorts over a pair of leggings.’
    • ‘The way shoes are laced can prevent specific problems.’
    • ‘He straightened, and I knelt down and placed his foot in the shoe and laced it up, and did the same to the other.’
    • ‘She laced her tennis shoes, all the while glaring at Roger.’
    • ‘He didn't respond, and she looked over to see him lacing his boots.’
    • ‘‘That was around the time we first met too,’ he said as he finished lacing his skates, slowly standing up.’
    • ‘Soldiers laced their boots in any way they liked.’
    • ‘As she finished lacing the tall boots and fastening the large belt buckle, she felt strangely different, unfamiliar even to herself.’
    • ‘Entering, she found her brother in the parlor lacing his shoes.’
    • ‘Do you lace your boots all the way to the top loop?’
    fasten, do up, tie up, secure
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    1. 1.1Tighten a laced corset around the waist of.
      ‘Rosina laced her up tight to show off her neat waist’
    2. 1.2Fasten someone into (a garment) by tightening the laces.
      ‘she couldn't breathe, laced into this frock’
      • ‘I needed two people to lace me into the thing.’
      • ‘After giving him full instructions on how to lace me into it, I was blindfolded and I heard him unlock the door to one of our unused rooms into which he led me.’
      • ‘Moira decided to put on one of her corsets too, so I helped lace her into a full-length cream satin-covered Victorian corset with lace edging and the most beautiful ribbon garters, six of them in all.’
      • ‘It fastened down the back, and matron had to lace me into it for each performance.’
      • ‘It took her governess and maid about half an hour to lace her into them.’
      • ‘As soon as I can buy some I will have my husband lace me into it and take pictures on our new camera.’
      • ‘She gets out a piece of string and somehow laces me into it.’
      • ‘And thanks to you and Jon both for helping lace me into that medieval dress.’
      • ‘The Widow is a corset which the young Edmund is required to lace her into.’
      • ‘This corset was largely a favor to Jeff, who was sick of having to lace me into things.’
      • ‘I have a steel-boned underbust corset that I can wear for you too, or I can bring it along for you to lace me into.’
      • ‘Have someone lace you into the corset rather than trying to get into it with the laces loosened.’
      • ‘It took two of us to lace her into that corset and we helped with her veil.’
      • ‘There's a lot of lacing in it; it takes quite a while to lace me into it in the mornings.’
      • ‘I would love to meet her and lace her into an exquisite Lace Embrace corset.’
      • ‘If my black thigh high, lace up boots are requested, the client will be expected to lace me into them at the beginning of the session.’
      • ‘It is quite likely that she will lace you into a corset.’
      • ‘Finally, about 4 years ago I got up enough nerve to allow a salesgirl to lace me into a corset for the first time.’
      • ‘‘Take a deep breath’ says Elise, and she proceeds to lace me into the corset.’
      • ‘Next, a scruffy-looking student enthusiastically volunteered to lace him into a straightjacket and secure him with padlocks and chains.’
    3. 1.3[no object](of a garment or shoe) be fastened by means of laces.
      ‘the shoes laced at the front’
      • ‘I also had my knee length combat boots that laced up in the front.’
      • ‘A shoe that laces will allow for adjustment across this area.’
      • ‘The bodice laced up in the front with cream-colored ribbon, which tied off at the waist.’
  • 2 Entwine (things, especially fingers) together.

    ‘she laced her fingers together’
    • ‘The commander laced his fingers together, resting his hands on his stomach as he tilted his head and stared at the wall.’
    • ‘He grabbed my other hand and laced our fingers together and smiled down at me.’
    • ‘She stopped biting her nails and laced her fingers together behind her head, relaxing.’
    • ‘He brought both hands over his head and laced his fingers together.’
    • ‘He rested his elbows on the arms of it and laced his fingers together, looking at me over the top of his reading glasses.’
    • ‘Jade chuckled, taking my hands and lacing our fingers together.’
    • ‘Steve raises both arms above his head, laces his fingers together and leans back into the cradle they've made.’
    • ‘She took a deep breath and pressed her palms together, lacing her fingers and closing her eyes.’
    • ‘Subjects laced their fingers together and placed their hands at the back of their head.’
    • ‘Cordelia took his hands in hers and laced their fingers together.’
    • ‘He laced his fingers together under his head and crossed his legs, looking at her.’
    • ‘I laced my fingers together, sighing and looking down at the glittering, clear, ashtray in the middle of our table.’
    • ‘She closed her eyes and pressed her hands together, lacing her fingers.’
    • ‘Cris grinned at her and hopped up onto the couch, lacing his fingers together as he winked.’
    • ‘He pulled his arm back, laced his fingers together, and propped his chin on them.’
    • ‘Place your hands behind your head for support, but don't lace your fingers together.’
    • ‘Jordan reached for her hand and laced their fingers together.’
    • ‘She leaned forward, lacing her fingers together and resting her chin on them.’
    • ‘You have the option of lacing your fingers together behind your head or putting your arms on the floor beside your body.’
    • ‘I moved closer to him and took his hand in mine, lacing our fingers together.’
    entwine, intertwine, twine, entangle, interweave, interlink, link
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    1. 2.1Pass a lace or cord through (a hole)
      ‘he laced the twine through the eyelets and pulled it tight’
      • ‘You want to make this long enough so that you don't run out of thread before you are done lacing it through the body twice.’
      • ‘Make a twisted cord or use a ribbon, and lace it through the eyelets.’
      • ‘She tied her pocket closed with jute twine by lacing it through holes she punched in the corners.’
      • ‘When finished with the length you want, take the strands off the bobbins and lace them through the holes in the edge of the pouch, two strands per side.’
      • ‘Pull hard on the laces when you lace them through the holes.’
      • ‘You could take black satin ribbon and lace it through the big stitches for extra effect.’
      • ‘Running decklines through the loops of these device requires the kayak operator to unlash the decklines and lace them through the loops, then re-lash the lines.’
  • 3Add an ingredient, especially alcohol, to (a drink or dish) to enhance its flavour or strength.

    ‘coffee laced with brandy’
    • ‘It may arise where the accused is drugged by others or his drink is laced with alcohol.’
    • ‘‘Or he may still be asleep,’ Kevin replied, a hint of annoyance and irritation lacing his voice.’
    • ‘When I was ill, our butler caught Charles lacing my tea with some sort of substance.’
    • ‘Many more women, and gay men, find their drinks laced with a whole host of other illegal and prescription drugs or alcohol.’
    • ‘His voice was laced with danger and intent to hurt.’
    • ‘His voice was laced with desperation as he blacked out, his arm dropping.’
    • ‘Yes, we have all tried the good old brandy, laced with honey to cure the common cold and sore throat, but this was a new discovery for me.’
    • ‘The tea is laced with lotus seeds and 2 red dates.’
    • ‘Their streets were grimy and gritty, awash in alcohol and laced with drugs.’
    • ‘‘Shoot the kid,’ he commanded, though his voice was laced slightly with fear.’
    • ‘Tabu does full justice to the spirit of Lady Macbeth; scheming, greedy, manipulative, yet not stonehearted enough to drink wine laced with blood.’
    • ‘Her voice was laced with as much bitter anger as she dared use.’
    • ‘He described how he drugged Jaruwan in her room by serving her a drink laced with a sedative.’
    • ‘Marcey's usual strong voice was laced with uneasiness.’
    • ‘Since when has a harmless serving of milk been laced with alcohol?’
    • ‘At least 137 people have died in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi after drinking an alcoholic brew laced with methanol.’
    • ‘The 33-year-old woman drank the Valkanov vodka - laced with methanol - which was probably brewed in a home-made still.’
    • ‘Noah had calmed down after a couple of drinks, mainly coffee laced with alcohol.’
    • ‘This pasta dish is laced with vibrant colour and wonderful flavour.’
    • ‘The thread of disbelief in his voice was laced with a subtle smear of sympathy.’
    flavour, blend, fortify, strengthen, stiffen, season, imbue, infuse, enrich, enliven, liven up
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    1. 3.1Give (something) a large amount or degree of a feature or quality.
      ‘the script is laced with expletives’
      ‘his voice was laced with derision’

Phrasal Verbs

  • lace into

    • Attack verbally or physically.

      ‘Brady laced into his teammates for playing with a lack of passion’
      • ‘One group he laces into is the Royal Society - its astronomers, physicists, and mathematicians.’
      set upon, fall on, attack, assault, assail, beat, thrash, tear into, turn on, set about, lash out at, round on, drub, thump, batter, hammer, pummel, hit out at, strike out at, weigh into, belabour
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Middle English: from Old French laz, las (noun), lacier (verb), based on Latin laqueus noose (also an early sense in English). Compare with lasso.