One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Wash.‘she ran cold water in the basin, laving her face and hands’
wash, cleanse, wipe, sponge, scrub, mop, rinse, scour, swab, hose down, sluice, sluice down, flush, polish, disinfectView synonyms
- ‘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 (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.
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