We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out moreJump to Main NavigationJump to Content
  • Text size: A
  • A

labret, n.

Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: Formed within English, by derivation. Etymons: labrum n.1, -et suffix1.
Etymology: < labr- (in labrum n.1) + -et suffix1.

  A small piece of shell, bone, stone, etc., inserted into or close to the lip as an ornament in some cultures; (now also) a metal stud, spike, or ring worn through or close to the lip as a body piercing.

1831   F. W. Beechey Narr. Voy. to Pacific I. 263   All the men had labrets, and both sexes had their teeth much worn down.
1857   A. Armstrong Personal Narr. Discov. N.W. Passage vii. 193   In the Esquimaux..we observed the lower lip perforated in the males, for the admission of labrets or lip ornaments.
1884   J. G. Bourke Snake Dance Moquis xxii. 243   They do not tattoo, do not use nose-rings or labrets.
1956   E. Gunther tr. A. Krause Tlingit Indians iii. 64   The Aleuts..saw in the labret worn by the Tlingit women a resemblance to the wooden dishes used at home.
1996   Guardian 16 Dec. i. 2/1   Carly's labret, a shiny metal spike sticking straight up from her chin, bobs up and down, gleaming, with every word.
2008   J. Hayes Precious Blood 237   Tall guy, hair cropped short, black eyelets in both his ears, a black labret.

1831—2008(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, March 2017).

In other dictionaries: