Date: Tue May 7 00:01:09 EDT 2002
Subject: A.Word.A.Day--laches
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

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

Probably the most common use of this word is in law. A law
student told me it meant "sleeping on your rights" = waiting
too long to seek a legal remedy you may be entitled to.
I believe there is a French word "lachete" = cowardice,
going back to the days when you had to be ready to fight with a sword to get your rights.