verb (used with object)

  1. to wash (clothes, linens, etc.).
  2. to wash and iron (clothes).
  3. Informal.
    1. to disguise the source of (illegal or secret funds or profits), usually by transmittal through a foreign bank or a complex network of intermediaries.
    2. to disguise the true nature of (a transaction, operation, or the like) by routing money or goods through one or more intermediaries.
  4. to remove embarrassing or unpleasant characteristics or elements from in order to make more acceptable: He’ll have to launder his image if he wants to run for office.

verb (used without object)

  1. to wash laundry.
  2. to undergo washing and ironing: The shirt didn’t launder well.


  1. (in ore dressing) a passage carrying products of intermediate grade and residue in water suspension.
  2. Metallurgy. a channel for conveying molten steel to a ladle.


  1. to wash, sometimes starch, and often also iron (clothes, linen, etc)
  2. (intr) to be capable of being laundered without shrinking, fading, etc
  3. (tr) to process (something acquired illegally) to make it appear respectable, esp to process illegally acquired funds through a legitimate business or to send them to a foreign bank for subsequent transfer to a home bank


  1. a water trough, esp one used for washing ore in mining

v.1660s, “to wash linen,” from noun launder “one who washes” (especially linen), mid-15c., a contraction of lavender, from Old French lavandier “washer, launderer,” from Medieval Latin lavandaria “a washer,” ultimately from Latin lavare “to wash” (see lave). Criminal banking sense first recorded 1961, from notion of making dirty money seem clean; brought to widespread use during U.S. Watergate scandal, 1973. Related: Laundered; laundering.

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