1. An item used to identify something or someone, as a small piece of paper or cloth attached to an article to designate its origin, owner, contents, use, or destination.
2. A descriptive term; an epithet.
3. A distinctive name or trademark identifying a product or manufacturer, especially a recording company.
4. Architecture A molding over a door or window; a dripstone.
5. Heraldry A figure in a field consisting of a narrow horizontal bar with several pendants.
6. Chemistry See tracer.
tr.v. la·beled, la·bel·ing, la·bels or la·belled or la·bel·ling
1. To attach a label to: labeled the jars before storing them.
2. To identify or designate with a descriptive term; describe or classify: "He missed two crucial penalty kicks ... and was labeled a loser by the previously loyal British press" (Phil Ball).
3. Chemistry To add a tracer to (a compound).
[Middle English, ornamental strip of cloth, from Old French, probably of Germanic origin.]
label·er, label·ler n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.