Definition of laager in English:



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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They had captured the Boer laagers and set their ammunition dump alight.’
    • ‘We could see the town of Colesberg (President Kruger's birthplace), and all the Boer laagers around it.’
    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’
    • ‘Johannesburg is rapidly being surrounded by a laager of Eurotrash casinos.’
    • ‘He has returned to the laager, and chosen to travel the conservative route.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘What is instead being dangled in front of Ulster's Unionists is a retreat into the laager.’
    • ‘The second notion emphasises the traits that split America into hostile ethnic laagers and deny its essential multiculturalism.’


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


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