Definition of lather in English:



  • 1mass noun A frothy white mass of bubbles produced by soap, washing powder, etc. when mixed with water.

    ‘she rinsed off the lather and dried her hands’
    • ‘In a few seconds, she had worked up quite a bit of lather and took the large pitcher of water again and poured it over my hair.’
    • ‘Both the roots and leaves of the Soapwort contain saponin and when stirred in water produce a lather which may be used for washing.’
    • ‘She made such a splendid lather with the soap that she felt like she was practically wading in it.’
    • ‘She discarded the cloth and began working the girl's hair into a rich lather with scented soap.’
    • ‘The lather rinses from the hands easily, but gets into the crevices of the face and looks really disgusting.’
    • ‘A few squirts make plenty of lather and it rinses easily.’
    • ‘Scrub at the scalp, where the oils are concentrated, and let the lather rinse through the rest of your hair.’
    • ‘Lather up away from the running water so the lather isn't washed off.’
    • ‘Use soap and lather up for about 10 to 15 seconds (antibacterial soap isn't necessary - any soap will do).’
    • ‘However, I remember that it was almost impossible to get a lather with soap.’
    • ‘There was soap, and bath gel, even hot lather and a shaving razor.’
    • ‘I lather up soap in the shower and shave my head using that soap lather.’
    • ‘If you add a little green dishwashing detergent it will help when washing the blood out of clothes - but don't add too much, or you'll find bubbles and lather everywhere.’
    • ‘By the time she'd fully rinsed the lather off of her body, the shivers had become completely uncontrollable.’
    • ‘When rinsing out oil from your hair, add shampoo and work it into a lather before rinsing with water - otherwise you'll have to clean up a gooey mess.’
    • ‘Almost 60 per cent of water was wasted in washing of excess lather from the clothes.’
    • ‘After an hour, add enough shampoo to the hair to raise a mild lather, then add water and shampoo as normal.’
    • ‘It has the creamiest, frothiest, nicest lather and it makes your skin soft and smell delicious.’
    • ‘It affects the hardness and amount of lather in the soap, but can be drying to the skin.’
    • ‘He got the soap and began rubbing lather over her back.’
    foam, froth, suds, soapsuds, bubbles
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    1. 1.1 Heavy sweat visible on a horse's coat as a white foam.
      • ‘The horse's flanks were soaked, its face was white with lather where the bridle rubbed, and foamy spit flew from its mouth as it tossed its head.’
      • ‘She had ridden all day, blinded by her anger, and the horse, Bainín, was white with lather.’
      • ‘Their steeds were coated in lather, after their wild run weaving between the tall ancient trees of Nevermore's forest.’
      • ‘Sweat darkened her golden coat and made white foamy rings where the halter had rubbed the perspiration into lather.’
      • ‘White lather covered the horses' flanks and shoulders, but they tossed their heads energetically, eager to run so hard again - running was such fun for them!’
      • ‘Meadow's coat was a dull grey, covered with sweat, lather and blood.’
      sweat, perspiration, moisture
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  • 2a latherinformal A state of agitation or nervous excitement.

    ‘Dad had got into a right lather by the time I got home’
    • ‘If the regular season doesn't mean all that much, then it's kinda pointless to get in a lather over the preseason.’
    • ‘Yet the papers whipped themselves into a lather of indignation.’
    • ‘The prospect of a new tax on collectors has the secondary art market in a lather, pointing to the fast-falling chunk of sky heading their way.’
    • ‘At home, I don't generally get in a lather about pulpits; but I do here.’
    • ‘When I do get in a lather, it's never my fault: it's the cyclists and pedestrians who are selfish and inconsiderate, not me.’
    • ‘Householders in a terraced street are getting into a lather over the rights and wrongs of hanging laundry across the back alley.’
    • ‘Only cricket works itself into such a lather about statistics.’
    • ‘More years ago than I care to remember, we worked ourselves into a lather of indignation in student meetings over multinationals, looted funds and bribery in Africa.’
    • ‘My father returned to the town house in a lather, his jaw muscles spastic.’
    • ‘The racy programming has not just got audiences into a lather.’
    • ‘Most beauty companies work themselves into a lather trying to launch as many products as possible.’
    • ‘It was a scientific breakthrough that had a criminal in a lather.’
    • ‘The soaring profits had the financial press in a lather of excitement.’
    • ‘For years these people have worked themselves into a lather about threats to our sovereignty from bureaucrats in Brussels.’
    • ‘Who had worked himself up into a lather over the issue?’
    • ‘It was an unprecedented reaction to an evening out from Mike, so by the time we arrived on a Friday night in mid-May, I'd managed to work myself up into a lather of anticipation.’
    • ‘You save more lives that way, even if the wilfully ignorant of the chattering classes get into a lather because of it.’
    • ‘With freedom comes responsibility and the kind of disruption that currently has the recording, and to a lesser extent, film industries in such a lather.’
    • ‘We should all be working ourselves into a lather over that.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, it has helped add a bit more spice to the recent upsurge of rank and file militancy which has managed to send the mainstream press into such a lather.’
    panic, nervous state, state of agitation, state of anxiety, fluster, flutter, fret, fuss, frenzy, fever, pother
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  • 1Form or cause to form a lather.

    no object ‘soap will not lather in hard water’
    • ‘I thought that friction would figure in to it somewhere, given that soap only lathers when stirred up by whatever means.’
    • ‘When heated and rubbed on gold, it lathers and removes dirt.’
    • ‘Remove shower cap and work copious amounts of shampoo through your hair before wetting, then lather well.’
    • ‘Channing believed that the hardness of the city's well water made cleaning almost impossible to accomplish, since soap would not lather with water that contained impurities.’
    • ‘It smells good but doesn't lather thickly.’
    • ‘Bouncing Bet has long been used as a cleaning agent because the roots contain saponin, which lathers with water.’
    • ‘Its rotten having to wash in salt water as the soap won't lather in the slightest although it is supposed to be salt water soap.’
    1. 1.1with object Rub soap on to (the body) until a lather is produced.
      ‘she was lathering herself languidly beneath the shower’
      • ‘She squirted herself a generous amount of shampoo and began lathering her hair with it.’
      • ‘Plunging her hands into the warm water and lathering them with soap, she began to scrub her face.’
      • ‘Jess stepped into the shower and went straight for the soap, beginning to lather it over her body; a feeling of cleanliness washed over her almost immediately.’
      • ‘Lost to the sensation of her touch, he closed his eyes and rested as she lathered his body and then rinsed it.’
      • ‘Within one hand she lathered her body in preparation.’
      • ‘Slowly, she lathered her body with the softly scented soap, watching as the water washed it away in rivulets down her arms.’
      • ‘She grabbed the soap cake and began lathering it over her body.’
      • ‘Kieran had seized on the soap and was lathering away.’
      • ‘After cutting his beard as close as she dared, she lathered his face and shaved it clean, as she'd often done for her father.’
      • ‘She reached for her shampoo and lathered her hair with it.’
      • ‘The hot water felt so soothing while she bathed herself and lathered soap over her body.’
      • ‘He reached for the small bottle of shampoo and proceeded to wash his hair, then took the soap and lathered himself, again luxuriating in taking the time for himself, something he rarely did.’
    2. 1.2be/become lathered (of a horse) be or become covered with sweat.
      ‘his horse was lathered up by the end of the day’
      • ‘The horse was lathered in sweat, nostrils flaring, gulping for breath.’
      • ‘The horse was lathered with sweat, but still had more left.’
      • ‘The horses of the dozen riders were lathered, as they galloped across the drawbridge and into the fortress.’
  • 2lather something withwith object Cover something with liberal amounts of (a substance)

    ‘she lathered a slice of toast with butter’
    • ‘On Sunday night after giving Leta a bath I lathered her chubby legs and belly with that lotion and I was instantly reminded of the hospital and the time I spent there.’
    • ‘I lathered my own toothbrush with toothpaste and shoved it my mouth.’
    • ‘I haven't been this burnt since my cousin Alice and I lathered our bellies with baby oil and lay out on the trampoline.’
    • ‘My prawn puri was similarly good: four disks of non-greasy flatbread lathered with beautifully creamy coriander-infused sauce and succulent prawns the size of a ping-pong ball.’
    • ‘His golden hair wasn't lathered with gel, but rather stuck out in messy clumps, urging girls to run their fingers through the shiny tresses.’
    • ‘The second I sat in it, she began lathering my face with foundation.’
    1. 2.1 Spread (a substance) thickly or liberally.
      ‘we lathered the cream on our scones’
      • ‘Grabbing the lotion from my bag I started to lather it on.’
      • ‘She advised that I take a stroll into the centre of town where such epicurean delights as sausage suppers lathered in curry sauce were to be had.’
      • ‘Sweaty kids lathered in sunscreen jump in, clouding up the water.’
      • ‘‘Good for you, you made a funny,’ I said, lathering the comment in sarcasm.’
      • ‘Uncle Jack was lathering himself with soap, even his bald head.’
      • ‘My body had been lathered in oil, so that my skin glistened in the sun, like the short gold sword I was using.’
      • ‘The film features naked women lathering themselves with motor oil.’
      • ‘I pulled out a bottle of sunblock from my bag and unscrewed the cap, beginning to lather it on.’
      • ‘The donkey enclosure - which you could enter and pat the donkeys - was lathered in warning signs that the donkeys could bite, kick, butt, etc.’
      • ‘I arrived in Muker at 7am, the sun was out, so I lathered myself in sun cream so as not to get burned, ten minutes later the rain had washed all the sun cream off again.’
      • ‘Clothes are bought with men in mind, makeup is lathered on every morning for fear we might meet ‘an eligible’.’
      • ‘Finally she burst through the surface and took the oils and scrubs and lathered her body with them.’
      • ‘It also provides a pretext for lathering government funding on promotions which can only benefit the ruling party.’
      • ‘Allyson turned to face her mother and her mother began lathering on the mascara.’
      • ‘The mask was multi-layered and began with a smothering of vitamin H cream followed by a generous lathering of oil containing vitamins A, D and E.’
      • ‘His cliches come lathered in irony, layered in meaning.’
      smear, daub, plaster, slather, lather, apply, put
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  • 3informal with object Thrash (someone)

    ‘my mother caught me by the back of the neck and lathered me up the steps’
    hit, beat, flog, whip, horsewhip, scourge, lash, flagellate, flail, strap, birch, cane, belt, leather
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Old English læthor (denoting washing soda or its froth), lēthran (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse lauthr (noun), from an Indo-European root shared by Greek loutron ‘bath’.