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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Laches \Lach"es\ (l[a^]sh"[e^]z), Lache \Lache\ (l[a^]sh), n. [OF. lachesse, fr. lache lax, indolent, F. l[^a]che, ultimately fr. L. laxus loose, lax. See Lax.] (Law) Neglect; negligence; remissness; neglect to do a thing at the proper time; especially, a delay in asserting a claim, sufficient to cause a person to lose the right to adjuducation of the claim by a court.

It ill became him to take advantage of such a laches with the eagerness of a shrewd attorney.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"negligence in performance of legal dute," 1570s, earlier simply "slackness, negligence, want of zeal" (late 14c.), from Anglo-French laches, Old French lachesse, from Old French lasche (Modern French lâche), verbal adjective from lascher, from Vulgar Latin *lascare, classical laxare, from laxus (see loose). Compare riches.


n. (context legal English) An unreasonable delay in bringing a claim allege a wrong, which means the person who waited shall not be permitted to seek an equitable remedy because the delay prejudiced the moving party. Sleeping on one's rights.

Laches (equity)

Laches (, , like "latches"; , ; Law French: "remissness", "dilatoriness," from Old French laschesse) refers to a lack of diligence and activity in making a legal claim, or moving forward with legal enforcement of a right, in particular with regard to equity; hence, it is an unreasonable delay that can be viewed as prejudicing the opposing [defending] party. When asserted in litigation, it is an equity defense, that is, a defense to a claim for an equitable remedy. The person invoking laches is asserting that an opposing party has "slept on its rights," and that, as a result of this delay, circumstances have changed, witnesses or evidence may have been lost or no longer available, etc., such that it is no longer a just resolution to grant the plaintiff's claim. Laches is associated with the maxim of equity, "Equity aids the vigilant, not the sleeping ones [that is, those who sleep on their rights]." Put another way, failure to assert one’s rights in a timely manner can result in a claim being barred by laches.

Laches (dialogue)

The Laches (; Greek: Λάχης) is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato. Participants in the discourse present competing definitions of the concept of courage.


Laches may refer to:

  • Laches (equity), an equitable principle in Anglo-American law
  • Laches (general) (c. 475 – 418 BC), an Athenian aristocrat
  • Laches (dialogue), a Socratic dialogue of Plato
  • Laches, Bogotá, a neighbourhood (barrio) in Bogotá, Colombia
  • Laches, the Lache people
Laches (general)

Laches (; ; c. 475 – 418 BCE) was an Athenian aristocrat (son of Melanopos) and general during the Peloponnesian War.

Usage examples of "laches".

Ben, if we delay any longer in initiating suit, we will be guilty of laches - that means sitting on our asses.

He unsnapped the wood laches on the bag, then lifted a gold watch from his vest pocket and clicked it open and looked at the time.