Rest on one’s laurels

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To rest on one’s laurels means to be satisfied with one’s past accomplishments and not put forth any further efforts. In ancient Greece, the laurel was a plant that was sacred to the god Apollo. Laurel wreaths were awarded to the winning athletes in the Pythian games, held in honor of the god Apollo every four years. Later, laurel wreaths were awarded to signify other victories and honors, in Greece and Rome. The term rest on one’s laurels doesn’t appear until 1831, it is a phrase that denotes laziness and is not a compliment. Related phrases are rests on one’s laurels, rested on one’s laurels, resting on one’s laurels.


Republic of Ireland defender Ciaran Clark says his side will not rest on their laurels after earning a 1-1 draw with Bosnia & Herzegovina in the first leg of their Euro 2016 play-off. (The Belfast Telegraph)

It’s easily one of her best albums to date and another example of Madonna’s refusal to rest on her laurels. (The Huffington Post)

Knox could have been forgiven for resting on his laurels after claiming his first PGA Tour title and the first prize of €1,300,000 in Shanghai on Sunday, carding a final round of 68 to hold off the likes of world number one Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson (The Irish Times)

We cannot forget that equal rights should apply to more than just marriage; we cannot rest on our laurels when some in our society are still condemned to live in the shadows. (Newsday)

Fresh from her stupendous success this year, world tennis doubles champion Sania Mirza said she will not rest on this year’s laurels but will train hard to win more titles. (The New Indian Express)

Now, despite the years flying past, John McLaughlin looks about two decades younger than 73, and he remains one of those commendable artists who continues to search rather than resting on laurels. (The Sydney MOrning Herald)