From Middle English lather, from Old English lēaþor (“a kind of nitre used for soap, soda”), from Proto-West Germanic *lauþr, from Proto-Germanic *lauþrą (“that which is used for washing, soap”), from Proto-Indo-European *lówh₃trom (“that which is used for washing”), from *lewh₃-, *lowh₃- (“to wash, bathe”). Cognate with Swedish lödder (“lather, foam, froth, soap”), Icelandic löður (“foam, froth, a kind of niter used for soap”), Old Irish lóathar (“wash-basin”), Ancient Greek λουτρόν (loutrón, “a bath, wash-room”), Latin lavō (“I wash”), Albanian laj (“I wash”), Ancient Greek λούω (loúō). More at lye.
lather (countable and uncountable, plural lathers)
- (countable, uncountable) The foam made by rapidly stirring soap and water.
- Synonyms: suds, soap suds
- (countable, uncountable) Foam from profuse sweating, as of a horse.
- (countable) A state of agitation.
foam of soap and water
- Bikol Central: subo (bcl)
- Bulgarian: сапунена пяна f (sapunena pjana)
- Catalan: sabonera (ca) f
- Mandarin: 泡沫兒／泡沫儿 (zh) (pàomòr)
- Czech: mydliny f pl, mýdlová pěna f
- Dutch: sop (nl) n, zeepsop (nl) n, schuim (nl) n
- Esperanto: sapŝaŭmo
- Finnish: saippuavaahto (fi), vaahto (fi)
- French: mousse de savon f
- Galician: escuma (gl) f, espuma f
- German: Seifenschaum m, Schaum (de) m
- Hungarian: szappanhab (hu), hab (hu)
- Ingrian: muilanvaahto
- Irish: sobal m
- Italian: schiuma di sapone f
- Japanese: 泡 (ja) (あわ, awa, あぶく, abuku), 泡沫 (ja) (ほうまつ, hōmatsu, うたかた, utakata)
- Korean: 비누 거품 (binu geopum)
- Macedonian: сапуница f (sapunica)
- Malayalam: പത (ml) (pata)
- Mongolian: хөөс (mn) (xöös)
- Norwegian: skum (no) n
- Ottoman Turkish: كوپوك (köpük)
- Persian: کف (fa) (kaf)
- Plautdietsch: Schum m
- Polish: piana mydlana f
- Portuguese: espuma (pt) f
- Russian: мы́льная пе́на f (mýlʹnaja péna)
- Cyrillic: сапу̀ница f
- Roman: sapùnica (sh) f
- Spanish: espuma de jabón f
- Swedish: lödder (sv)
- Telugu: నురగ (nuraga)
- Turkish: sabun köpürmek
- Ukrainian: мильна піна f (mylʹna pina)
- Welsh: trochion
foam from profuse sweating
From Middle English *lethren, from Old English lēþrian, lȳþrian, *līeþrian (“to anoint, smear, lather”), from Old English lēaþor (“a kind of niter used for soap, soda”). See above.
lather (third-person singular simple present lathers, present participle lathering, simple past and past participle lathered)
- (transitive) To cover with lather.
The young woman lathered her breasts with lavender-scented soap.
- (transitive) To beat or whip.
- (intransitive) To form lather or froth, as a horse does when profusely sweating.
1997, Haruki Murakami, translated by Jay Rubin, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.; republished New York: Vintage Books, 1998, →ISBN, page 147:
I woke Corporal Honda to see to the horse. Heavily lathered and breathing hard, it had obviously come a long way at high speed.
to cover with lather
- Bulgarian: насапунисвам (nasapunisvam)
- Catalan: ensabonar (ca)
- Czech: namydlit
- Dutch: inzepen (nl), soppen (nl)
- Finnish: vaahdottaa (fi), saippuoida (fi)
- French: savonner (fr)
- Galician: enxaboar (gl)
- German: einschäumen (de)
- Hungarian: szappanoz (hu), beszappanoz (hu)
- Italian: insaponare (it)
- Macedonian: насапунува (nasapunuva)
- Polish: mydlić (pl) impf, namydlać impf, namydlić pf
- Portuguese: ensaboar (pt)
- Russian: мы́лить (ru) (mýlitʹ), намы́лить (ru) (namýlitʹ)
- Cyrillic: сапуњати, насапуњати
- Roman: sapunjati, nasapunjati
- Spanish: enjabonar (es)
- Turkish: sabunlamak (tr)
- Ukrainian: милити (mylyty), намилити (namylyty)
- Welsh: seboni (cy), trochioni; golchi (cy)
to form lather or froth, as a horse does when profusely sweating