Where Did the Phrase “Rest on Your Laurels” Come From and What Does the Expression Mean?

The practice of using laurels to symbolize victory came from the ancient Greeks.

After winning on the battlefield, great warriors were crowned with a wreath of laurels, or bay leaves, to signify their supreme status during a victory parade.

Because the first Olympics consisted largely of war games, the champions were honored in the same manner, with a laurel, a crown of leaves.

To “rest on your laurels” means to quit while you’re ahead.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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