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laches (LACH-iz) noun

Negligence in the performance of a duty or claiming an opportunity, especially the failure to assert a legal claim in time, that makes it invalid.

[From Middle English lachesse, from Anglo French, from Middle French laschesse, from Old French lasche (slack), ultimately from Latin laxare (to loosen).]

When you admire the "lush" decor of an apartment, sign a "lease", simply "relax", or use a "laxative", you are employing the same hard-working Latin root "laxare". -Anu

"One court has ruled that where the board waited six months in filing suit against an unauthorized fence that this gave the owner of that fence the defense of laches - and thus the board could not enforce the covenants under those circumstances." Benny L. Kass, Drawing a Line Between Condo Design Changes and Tyranny, The Los Angeles Times, Nov 25, 1990.

This week's theme: terms from the world of law.


A free society is a place where it's safe to be unpopular. -Adlai Stevenson, statesman (1900-1965)

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