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The foliage of the bay tree woven into a wreath or crown and worn on the head as an emblem of victory or mark of honour in classical times. The word is often found in the plural, as in look to one's laurels, be concerned about losing one's pre-eminence, and rest on one's laurels, cease to strive for further glory.

In classical times (as recorded by Pliny), laurel was believed to avert lightning.

Laurel may also be used in numismatics to designate an English gold coin, first coined in 1619, on which the sovereign's head was shown with a wreath of laurel.

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