Definition of lathe in English:



  • A machine for shaping wood, metal, or other material by means of a rotating drive which turns the piece being worked on against changeable cutting tools.

    • ‘A woodturner needs a lathe and some basic tools.’
    • ‘Industrial accidents, too, are common, especially to people using high-speed machinery such as grinders, drills, saws, lathes or milling machines without adequate eye protection.’
    • ‘After leaving school at 14, he worked in an engineering workshop where he learnt to use a metal lathe and other equipment.’
    • ‘He had a workshop with a lathe and other tools, where he used to go to commune in spirit with the horny handed sons of toil.’
    • ‘I take the bulk away with a wood lathe tool, take it down and smooth it out with clay tools, and buff it with a rubber pad.’
    • ‘For example, around 1750 Antoine Thiout introduced the innovation of equipping a lathe with a screw drive.’
    • ‘He built his own tools - lathes and presses - mixed his inks, shaped the spheres, and printed all of his own maps, probably relying on increasingly available atlases.’
    • ‘When Jonathan was 12, he started turning wood on a lathe.’
    • ‘Other aluminum bearing applications are in heavy tooling, such as boring mills, presses, lathes, milling machines, and grinding mills, and as hydraulic pump bushings.’
    • ‘He will turn wood on a lathe and tend the museum's medieval garden, which has plants for household, culinary and medicinal use.’
    • ‘In addition to the belt-driven machines, there is an electric lathe and an electric drill press.’
    • ‘Since he was interested in tools, we showed him a simple lathe (a tool he had wished he could use) in a glass case at the Science Museum in London.’
    • ‘Veneer is made by placing a cut log on a giant lathe and then rotating it against a cutter.’
    • ‘Visitors were also shown vases that were cast from the same material and turned on a wood lathe.’
    • ‘Across the alley three men sat on the floor in an open room beside lathes and other machine shop equipment, each one busily manufacturing a gun.’
    • ‘His huge wind-measuring instrument with its giant dials had a room of its own and there was another for his tools and lathes.’
    • ‘You notice the lathe and the other tools first, crafted down to each groove and handle.’
    • ‘The lathe has a material feed mechanism and will turn out cases as long as it has rod to feed.’
    • ‘In middle school, I also took wood shop and eventually became obsessed with the wood lathe.’
    • ‘High Schools of the day offered some pretty good metal working programs in classrooms outfitted with lathes, milling machines and shapers.’


[with object]
  • Shape with a lathe.

    ‘I have lathed metal in a machine shop’
    • ‘The mandapa remained a square, though it was now distinguished by circular columns, the shafts of which had been lathed and thus acquired a number of parallel knife-edges.’
    • ‘The place wasn't wealthy: the plates were rough lathed wood, grease from meals soaked into it.’


Middle English: probably from Old Danish lad ‘structure, frame’, perhaps from Old Norse hlath ‘pile, heap’, related to hlatha (see lade).