Viviette shredded an apple blossom that had fallen into her lap.

Hester threw herself on her knees, and buried her face in her mother's lap.

Harriet sat with her hands in her lap and listened while Tillie poured out her story.

In Sidney's lap lay a small pasteboard box, punched with many holes.

His maiden looked up from her mother's lap where she wept for him, and fled shrieking.

Angelique had listened to all this calmly, with her hands listlessly clasped in her lap.

Something connected with the package of letters in your lap?

She drew the smiling doll into her lap and smoothed its dress absently.

He put the box of chocolates in her lap, and opened the programme and handed it to her.

The amiable Mr. Cross allowed the foot to be raised into the boy's lap.


Old English læppa (plural læppan) "skirt or flap of a garment," from Proto-Germanic *lapp- (cf. Old Frisian lappa, Old Saxon lappo, Middle Dutch lappe, Dutch lap, Old High German lappa, German Lappen "rag, shred," Old Norse leppr "patch, rag"), from PIE root *leb- "be loose, hang down."

Sense of "lower part of a shirt" led to that of "upper legs of seated person" (c.1300). Used figuratively ("bosom, breast") from late 14c.; e.g. lap of luxury, first recorded 1802. From 15c.-In 17c. the word (often in plural) was a euphemism for "female pudendum," but this is not the source of lap dance, which is first recorded 1993.

That this is pleasure and not torment for the client is something survivors of the late 20c. will have to explain to their youngers.



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Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.