Definition of laches in US English:



  • Unreasonable delay in making an assertion or claim, such as asserting a right, claiming a privilege, or making an application for redress, which may result in refusal.

    • ‘Thus this Court must uphold the Probate Court's decision to find laches inapplicable to this action.’
    • ‘And the the Tacoma band lost its trademark claim on the basis of laches.’
    • ‘Those who thought that all concepts of laches and similar issue preclusions from the passage of time have been thoroughly excised from the law of paternity and child support now stand corrected.’
    • ‘This traditional function suggests that laches should be limited to cases in which no statute of limitations applies.’
    • ‘The defendant, therefore, argued that the Section 43(a) claim was barred by the doctrine of laches and that the Illinois Trademark and UDTPA claims were barred by the applicable statutes of limitations.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘slackness, negligence’): from Old French laschesse, from lasche ‘loose, lax’, based on Latin laxus. The current sense dates from the late 16th century.