Formerly, a part or division of a county among the Anglo-Saxons. at present it consists of four or five hundreds, and is confined to the county of Kent.

Alternative forms: lath.

Origin: AS.laeth. Of. Uncertain origin.

1. A granary; a barn.

2. <machinery> A machine for turning, that is, for shaping articles of wood, metal, or other material, by causing them to revolve while acted upon by a cutting tool. "turning" here is in the sense of cutting while turning. Turn 6 and turning 4, in this dict.

3. The movable swing frame of a loom, carrying the reed for separating the warp threads and beating up the weft; called also lay and batten. Blanchard lathe, a lathe for turning irregular forms after a given pattern, as lasts, gunstocks, and the like. Drill lathe, or Speed lathe, a small lathe which, from its high speed, is adapted for drilling; a hand lathe. Engine lathe, a turning lathe in which the cutting tool has an automatic feed; used chiefly for turning and boring metals, cutting screws, etc. Foot lathe, a lathe which is driven by a treadle worked by the foot. Geometric lathe. See Geometric Hand lathe, a lathe operated by hand; a power turning lathe without an automatic feed for the tool. Slide lathe, an engine lathe. Throw lathe, a small lathe worked by one hand, while the cutting tool is held in the other.

Origin: OE. Lathe a granary; akin to G. Lade a chest, Icel. Hlatha a storehouse, barn; but cf. Also Icel. Loth a smith's lathe. Senses 2 and 3 are perh. Of the same origin as lathe a granary, the original meaning being, a frame to hold something. If so, the word is from an older form of E. Lade to load. See Lade to load.

(01 Mar 1998)