To rest on your laurels

to rest on your laurels meaning

Photo credit: Christopher Robbins/Thinkstock

OK, this is not something I (over)heard today, but I used it in the previous post and thought it was worth digging into.

To rest on your laurels‘ means to be satisfied with your achievements and do nothing to achieve more (MacMillan Dictionary). There’s a synonym ‘to be complacent‘.

This phrase also has perfectly-matching equivalents in French (s’endormez sur ses lauriers), German (sich auf den Lorbeeren ausruhen) and Russian (почивать на лаврах). Unfortunately, I haven’t yet got round to other languages.

Here are some examples of how it’s used:

– Absence of a headline tragedy does not indicate an absence of problems, of course, and about the worst thing we could do is rest on our laurels (The Economist).

– For brands, complacency will be fatal. “Never rest on your laurels” will take on a new urgency as we realise more than ever that we don’t know what is coming round the corner (The Economist)

– The scientists can’t rest on their laurels forever though. The pressure will be on to deliver new discoveries, solve new mysteries – maybe even come up with another particle? (BBC)

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