One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An edible seaweed with thin flat fronds of a reddish-purple and green color that becomes black when dry. Laver typically grows on exposed shores, but in Japan it is cultivated in estuaries.
Porphyra umbilicaulis, division Rhodophyta
- ‘I had had no idea how it would turn out, but laver and cream went well, to my surprise - although I am sure that, without yuzu-kosho, it would have tasted too dull.’
- ‘Modern laver farming in Japan was established and mass production became possible.’
- ‘Pacific shrimp and asparagus salad and the cold soba with quail's eggs and sea laver can be found at the Asian specialities' corner.’
- ‘The recipe calls for minced pork and prawn spread on a nori (sheet of dried laver seaweed), deep-fried, and then brushed with soy sauce-based sweet sauce.’
- ‘The best known are the cockles of the Glamorgan sands and laver, edible seaweed that is gathered around the south and west coasts.’
Late Old English (as the name of a water plant mentioned by Pliny), from Latin. The current sense dates from the early 17th century.
1A basin or similar container used for washing oneself.
- ‘Hand washing was sometimes done at a laver or built-in basin in a recess in the hall entrance, with a projecting trough.’
- ‘For although a circular water container would not be unusual, this basin of water could easily have been called simply a basin or laver, as was the case with the simpler original.’
- 1.1 (in biblical use) a large brass bowl for the ritual ablutions of Jewish priests.
- ‘Before presenting themselves to God, the priests of the temple washed themselves in a laver located in the temple.’
- ‘Then made he ten lavers of brass: one laver contained forty baths: and every laver was four cubits: and upon every one of the ten bases one laver.’
- ‘Bunyan said of the things with which one could commit idolatry when binding God with them, the laver and Table, that by the free grace of God, ‘Here's such as helpeth Man's Salvation.’’
- ‘This name ‘sea’ for the laver parallels the name of the laver which was set up in Babylonian temples and called apsu, the word for the water surrounding and under the earth.’’
- ‘He made also bases, and lavers made he upon the bases; One sea, and twelve oxen under it.’
Middle English: from Old French laveoir, from late Latin lavatorium ‘place for washing’ (see lavatory).
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