- to spring through the air from one point or position to another; jump: to leap over a ditch.
- to move or act quickly or suddenly: to leap aside; She leaped at the opportunity.
- to pass, come, rise, etc., as if with a jump: to leap to a conclusion; an idea that immediately leaped to mind.
- to jump over: to leap a fence.
- to pass over as if by a jump.
- to cause to leap: to leap a horse.
- a spring, jump, or bound; a light, springing movement.
- the distance covered in a leap; distance jumped.
- a place leaped or to be leaped over or from.
- a sudden or abrupt transition: a successful leap from piano class to concert hall.
- a sudden and decisive increase: a leap in the company's profits.
- by leaps and bounds, very rapidly: We are progressing by leaps and bounds.
- leap in the dark, an action of which the consequences are unknown: The experiment was a leap in the dark.
- leap of faith, an act or instance of accepting or trusting in something that cannot readily be seen or proved.
Origin of leap
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- (intr) to jump suddenly from one place to another
- (intr often foll by at) to move or react quickly
- (tr) to jump over
- to come into prominence rapidlythe thought leapt into his mind
- (tr) to cause (an animal, esp a horse) to jump a barrier
- the act of jumping
- a spot from which a leap was or may be made
- the distance of a leap
- an abrupt change or increase
- Also called (US and Canadian): skip music a relatively large melodic interval, esp in a solo part
- a leap in the dark an action performed without knowledge of the consequences
- by leaps and bounds with unexpectedly rapid progress
Word Origin and History for by leaps and bounds
c.1200, from Old English hliep, hlyp (West Saxon), *hlep (Mercian, Northumbrian) "a leap, bound, spring, sudden movement; thing to leap from;" common Germanic (cf. Old Frisian hlep, Dutch loop, Old High German hlouf, German lauf); from the root of leap (v.). Leaps has been paired with bounds since at least 1720.
c.1200, from Old English hleapan "to jump, run, leap" (class VII strong verb; past tense hleop, past participle hleapen), from Proto-Germanic *khlaupan (cf. Old Saxon hlopan, Old Norse hlaupa, Old Frisian hlapa, Dutch lopen, Old High German hlouffan, German laufen "to run," Gothic us-hlaupan "to jump up"), of uncertain origin, with no known cognates beyond Germanic. Leap-frog, the children's game, is attested by that name from 1590s; figurative use by 1704.
First loke and aftirward lepe [proverb recorded from mid-15c.]
Related: Leaped; leaping.
Idioms and Phrases with by leaps and bounds
by leaps and bounds
Rapidly, or in fast progress, as in The corn is growing by leaps and bounds, or School enrollment is increasing by leaps and bounds. This term is a redundancy, since leap and bound both mean “spring” or “jump,” but the two words have been paired since Shakespeare's time and are still so used.