English edit

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Etymology edit

From Latin labrum (lip) +‎ -et; modelled on anklet, bracelet, etc. Sometimes incorrectly assumed to be of French origin.

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): (in anthropology) /ˈleɪbɹɨt/, (in the fashion industry, as pseudo-French) /lɒˈbreɪ/

Noun edit

labret (plural labrets)

  1. A body piercing consisting of an adornment attached to the lip. [from 1843]
    Synonyms: Mao, (informal) tongue pillar
    • 1889, Henry Colley March, “The Meaning of Ornament; or its Archæology and its Psychology”, in Transactions of the Lancashire and Chesire Antiquarian Society, volume 7, page 162:
      Purchas, speaking of the use of a labret by certain Mexicans, makes Peter Martyr say “that he doth not remember that he ever saw so filthy and ugly a sight, []
    • 1993, Hilary Stewart, Looking at Totem Poles, page 41:
      The labret was an ornament worn in a perforation through the lower lip, In the north, labrets were oval in shape, generally made of wood or stone, times inlaid with small flat pieces of shell or bone. The wearing of a labret signified high rank.
    • 2003, John R. Swanton, Tlingit Myths and Texts, page 115:
      Raven wore a labret at that time set with abalone shell which was formerly very valuable, and it is from him that high-caste people afterward used those.
    • 2007, Margo DeMello, “Labrets”, entry in Encyclopedia of Body Adornment, page 175,
      A labret is a piercing that is attached below the lower lip, above the chin.
      Also known as the “Mao” (because it looks like the mole above Mao Zedong's chin), the jewelry used in the labret is usually a labret stud, which of a metal shaft with a simple round stud protruding from the face; it is attached inside of the lip with a flat piece of backing metal.

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Verb edit


  1. second-person plural subjunctive I of labern