Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of leave
Meaning of leave by Wiktionary Dictionary



    • ( UK, US ) IPA: /liːv/, X-SAMPA: /li:v/
    • Rhymes: -iːv

    Etymology 1

    From Middle English leven, from Old English lǣfan ( “to leave” ), from Proto-Germanic *laibijanan ( “to let stay, leave” ), causative of Proto-Germanic *lībanan ( “to stay, remain” ). Cognate with Old Frisian lēva ( “to leave” ), Old High German leiban ( “to leave” ), Old Norse leifa ( “leave over” ), lifna ( “to be left” ) ( > Danish levne ). More at lave, belive .


    leave ( third-person singular simple present leaves present participle leaving, simple past and past participle left )

    1. ( transitive ) To cause or allow ( something ) to remain as available; to refrain from taking ( something ) away; to stop short of consuming or otherwise depleting ( something ) entirely .
      I left my car at home and took a bus to work .
      The ants did not leave so much as a crumb of bread .
      There's not much food left, we'd better go to the shops .
    2. ( transitive ) To transfer possession of after death .
      When my father died, he left me the house .
    3. ( transitive ) To give ( something ) to someone; to deliver ( something ) to a repository; to deposit .
      I'll leave the car in the station so you can pick it up there .
    4. ( transitive ) To transfer responsibility or attention of ( something ) ( to someone ); to stop being concerned with .
      Can't we just leave this to the experts?
    5. ( transitive ) To depart from; to end one's connection or affiliation with .
      I left the country and I left my wife .
    6. ( transitive ) To end one's membership in ( a group ); to terminate one's affiliation with ( an organization ); to stop participating in ( a project ) .
      I left the band .
    7. ( intransitive ) To depart; to go away from a certain place or state .
      I think you'd better leave .
    8. ( intransitive, obsolete ) To remain ( behind ); to stay.
      • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book VII:
        And by myssefortune Sir Bors smote Sir Launcelot thorow the shylde into the syde, and the speare brake and the hede leffte stylle in the syde .
    9. ( transitive, archaic ) To stop, desist from; to "leave off" ( + noun / gerund ).
    Derived terms


    leave ( plural: leaves )

    1. ( cricket ) The action of the batsman not attempting to play at the ball .
    2. ( billiards ) The arrangement of balls in play that remains after a shot is made ( which determines whether the next shooter — who may be either the same player, or an opponenthas good options, or only poor ones ).

    Etymology 2

    From Middle English leve, from Old English lēaf ( “permission, privilege” ), from Proto-Germanic *laubō, *lauban ( “permission, privilege, favour, worth” ), from Proto-Indo-European *leubʰ- ( “to love, hold dear” ). Cognate with obsolete German Laube ( “permission” ), Swedish lov ( “permission” ), Icelandic leyfi ( “permission” ). Related to Dutch verlof, German Erlaubnis. See also love .


    leave ( uncountable )

    1. Permission to be absent; time away from one's work .
      I've been given three weeks' leave by my boss .
    2. ( dated or law ) Permission .
      Might I beg leave to accompany you?
      The applicant now seeks leave to appeal and, if leave be granted, to appeal against these sentences .
    3. ( dated ) Farewell, departure .
      I took my leave of the gentleman without a backward glance .
    Derived terms

    Etymology 3

    From Middle English leven, from Old English līefan ( “to allow, grant, concede; believe, trust, confide in” ), from Proto-Germanic *laubijanan ( “to allow, praise” ), from Proto-Indo-European *leubʰ- ( “to love, hold dear” ). Cognate with German lauben ( “to allow, believe” ), Icelandic leyfa ( “to allow” ) .

    Etymology 4

    From Middle English leven, from lef ( “leaf” ). More at leaf .


    leave ( third-person singular simple present leaves present participle leaving, simple past and past participle left )

    1. ( intransitive, rare ) To produce leaves or foliage.[1]
      • 1868, Edward Fitzgerald, The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, 2nd edition:
        Each Morn a thousand Roses brings, you say:
        Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?

    See also

    1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed .
    • leave in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
    • leave in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913


Explanation of leave by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. leave unchanged or undisturbed or refrain from taking

    2. leave it as is
      leave the young fawn alone
      leave the flowers that you see in the park behind
    3. be survived by after one's death

    4. leave behind unintentionally

    5. go and leave behind, either intentionally or by neglect or forgetfulness

    6. go away from a place

    7. At what time does your train leave?
      She didn't leave until midnight
      The ship leaves at midnight
    8. move out of or depart from

    9. leave the room
    10. leave or give by will after one's death

    11. transmit ( knowledge or skills )

    12. leave your name and address here
    13. put into the care or protection of someone

    14. leave your child in the nurse's care
    15. remove oneself from an association with or participation in

    16. She wants to leave
    17. have as a result or residue

    18. make a possibility or provide opportunity for

    19. This leaves no room for improvement
      leave lots of time for the trip
    20. act or be so as to become in a specified state

    21. have left or have as a remainder

    22. 19 minus 8 leaves 11
    1. the act of departing politely

    2. he took his leave
    3. permission to do something

    4. she was granted leave to speak
    5. the period of time during which you are absent from work or duty

    6. a ten day's leave to visit his mother

    Definition of leave by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Leave v. i. [imp. & p. p. Leaved ; p. pr. & vb. n. Leaving] To send out leaves; to leaf; -- often with out. G. Fletcher.

    2. Leave, v. t. [See Levy.] To raise; to levy. [Obs.]

      An army strong she leaved. Spenser.

    3. Leave, n. [OE. leve, leave, AS. leáf; akin to leóf pleasing, dear, E. lief, D. oorlof leave, G. arlaub, and erlauben to permit, Icel. leyfi. √124. See Lief.]
      1. Liberty granted by which restraint or illegality is removed; permission; allowance; license.

      David earnestly asked leave of me. 1 Sam. xx. 6.

      No friend has leave to bear away the dead. Dryden.

      2. The act of leaving or departing; a formal parting; a leaving; farewell; adieu; -- used chiefly in the phrase, to take leave, i. e., literally, to take permission to go.

      A double blessing is a'double grace;

      Occasion smiles upon a second leave. Shak.

      And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren. Acts xviii. 18.

      French leave. See under French.

      Syn. -- See Liberty.

    4. Leave, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Left ( lĕft ); p. pr. & vb. n. Leaving.] [OE. leven, AS. lfan, fr. lāf remnant, heritage; akin to lifian, libban, to live, orig., to remain; cf. belīfan to remain, G. bleiben, Goth. bileiban. √119. See Live, v.]
      1. To withdraw one's self from; to go away from; to depart from; as, “to leave the house”.

      Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife. Gen. ii. 24.

      2. To let remain unremoved or undone; to let stay or continue, in distinction from what is removed or changed.

      If grape gatherers come to thee, would they not leave some gleaning grapes ? Jer. xlix. 9.

      These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Matt. xxiii. 23.

      Besides it leaveth a suspicion, as if more might be said than is expressed. Bacon.

      3. To cease from; to desist from; to abstain from.

      Now leave complaining and begin your tea. Pope.

      4. To desert; to abandon; to forsake; hence, to give up; to relinquish.

      Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. Mark x. 28.

      The heresies that men do leave. Shak.

      5. To let be or do without interference; as, “I left him to his reflections; I leave my hearers to judge.”

      I will leave you now to your gossiplike humor. Shak.

      6. To put; to place; to deposit; to deliver; to commit; to submit -- with a sense of withdrawing one's self from; as, “leave your hat in the hall; we left our cards; to leave the matter to arbitrators.”

      Leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy way. Matt. v. 24.

      The foot

      That leaves the print of blood where'er it walks. Shak.

      7. To have remaining at death; hence, to bequeath; as, “he left a large estate; he left a good name; he left a legacy to his niece.”

      8. to cause to be; -- followed by an adjective or adverb describing a state or condition; as, “the losses due to fire leave me penniless; The cost of defending himself left Bill Clinton with a mountain of lawyers' bills”.

      To leave alone. To leave in solitude. To desist or refrain from having to do with; as, “to leave dangerous chemicals alone”. -- To leave off. To desist from; to forbear; to stop; as, “to leave off work at six o'clock”. To cease wearing or using; to omit to put in the usual position; as, “to leave off a garment; to leave off the tablecloth”. To forsake; as, “to leave off a bad habit”. -- To leave out, to omit; as, “to leave out a word or name in writing”. -- To leave to one's self, to let ( one ) be alone; to cease caring for ( one ).

      Syn>- To quit; depart from; forsake; abandon; relinquish; deliver; bequeath; give up; forego; resign; surrender; forbear. See Quit.

    5. Leave v. i.
      1. To depart; to set out. [Colloq.]

      By the time I left for Scotland. Carlyle.

      2. To cease; to desist; to leave off. “He . . . began at the eldest, and left at the youngest.” Gen. xliv. 12.

      To leave off, to cease; to desist; to stop.

      Leave off, and for another summons wait. Roscommon.