Definition of laager in US English:



  • 1South African historical A camp or encampment formed by a circle of wagons.

    • ‘They had captured the Boer laagers and set their ammunition dump alight.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We could see the town of Colesberg (President Kruger's birthplace), and all the Boer laagers around it.’
    • ‘His armies were infantry and dragoon based, using wagon laagers mounted with light cannons to protect against cavalry charges.’
    • ‘The trekkers then rounded up all the cattle in sight and returned triumphantly to their laagers.’
    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The second notion emphasises the traits that split America into hostile ethnic laagers and deny its essential multiculturalism.’
    • ‘Johannesburg is rapidly being surrounded by a laager of Eurotrash casinos.’
    • ‘What is instead being dangled in front of Ulster's Unionists is a retreat into the laager.’
    • ‘He has returned to the laager, and chosen to travel the conservative route.’


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

    • ‘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 Mediterranean was sighted for the first time and we laagered on the edge of the Sinai desert.’
      • ‘But by dusk both Divisions had crossed, and laagered that night 2 miles north of the Amatikulu.’
      • ‘The commando laagered on the ridge, from which they ventured down the Opathe Gorge on 27 December 1838 to raid livestock.’
      • ‘Here in the dark the squadron laagered and passed an uncomfortable night constantly on the alert in expectation of a German counter attack.’
      • ‘Chelmsford deliberately did not entrench or laager, determined to show that his troops could face Zulus in the open.’


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