Definition of lave in English:



[WITH OBJECT]literary
  • 1 Wash:

    ‘she ran cold water in the basin, laving her face and hands’
    • ‘As one laved one's chest one could conjure up images of bowler hats on the coat rack, well-thumbed Police Gazettes, shoe polish and cigars.’
    1. 1.1 (of water) wash against or over (something):
      ‘the sea below laved the shore with small, agitated waves’
      • ‘He passes the time by visiting bathhouses, where he writhes in licentious congress soapy enough to lave his sins and conceal the nether regions forbade by Japanese censorship.’
      • ‘Took Nat to the beach, and as we approached the shore I caught the Most Holy Whiff, the perfume of fish and weeds and sun-laved water.’
      • ‘But in Salzburg, a land laved by mists and mountain air, all the star-power in the world fades away before the glory of Mozart, its most illustrious son.’


Old English lafian, from Latin lavare to wash; reinforced in Middle English by Old French laver.