Definition of lap noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//læp//
    ; NAmE NAmE//læp//
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  1. 1[usually singular] the top part of your legs that forms a flat surface when you are sitting down There's only one seat so you'll have to sit on my lap. She sat with her hands in her lap.
  2. 2one journey from the beginning to the end of a track used for running, etc. the fastest lap on record She has completed six laps. He was overtaken on the final lap. to do a lap of honour (= go around the track again to celebrate winning) (North American English) to do a victory lap
  3. 3a section of a journey, or of a piece of work, etc. They're off on the first lap of their round-the-world tour. We've nearly finished. We're on the last lap.
  4. Word Originnoun sense 1 Old English læppa, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch lap, German Lappen ‘piece of cloth’. The word originally denoted a fold or flap of a garment (compare with lapel), later specifically one that could be used as a pocket or pouch, or the front of a skirt when held up to carry something (Middle English), hence the area between the waist and knees as a place where a child could be nursed or an object held. noun senses 2 to 3 Middle English (as a verb in the sense ‘coil, fold, or wrap’): from the noun lap sense (1). The current senses date from the mid 19th cent.Extra examples He took a quick lap around the empty rink. He tripped and fell on the final lap. He was swimming laps in the pool. I skated a victory lap around the rink. The fastest lap was completed at 208 mph. The silver medallist joined the winner in a lap of honour. The winner did a lap of honour/​honor. an indoor heated lap pool Alonso was leading at the end of lap five. He immediately set the fastest lap of the race. The 800m is two laps of the track.Idioms
    drop/dump something in somebody’s lap
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    (informal) to make something the responsibility of another person They dropped the problem firmly back in my lap.
    something drops/falls into somebody’s lap
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    somebody has the opportunity to do something pleasant without having made any effort My dream job just fell into my lap.
    if the result of something is in the lap of the gods, you do not know what will happen because it depends on luck or things you cannot control in easy, comfortable conditions, and enjoying the advantages of being rich We spent two weeks in the hotel living in the lap of luxury.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: lap