• synonyms


[lee, ley]
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  1. a tract of open ground, especially grassland; meadow.
  2. land used for a few years for pasture or for growing hay, then plowed over and replaced by another crop.
  3. a crop of hay on tillable land.
  1. untilled; fallow.
Also ley.

Origin of lea1

before 900; Middle English lege, lei, Old English lēah; cognate with Old High German lōh, dialectal Dutch loo (as in Waterloo), Latin lūcus


  1. a measure of yarn of varying quantity, for wool usually 80 yards (73 meters), cotton and silk 120 yards (110 meters), linen 300 yards (274 meters).
  2. Textiles.
    1. a unit length used to ascertain the linear density of yarns.
    2. a count or number representing units of linear measure per pound in linen or cotton yarn: a 20-lea yarn.

Origin of lea2

1350–1400; perhaps back formation from Middle English lese, variant of leash


[lee for 1; lee-uh for 2]
  1. Homer,1876–1912, U.S. soldier and author: adviser 1911–12 to Sun Yat-sen in China.
  2. a female given name, form of Leah or Lee.


  1. league.
  2. leather.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lea

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I went to Cincinnati, where I found orders to wait for Mr. Lea.


    Charles Godfrey Leland

  • Mr. Lea thought it might be worth some expense to investigate this Tennessee oil.


    Charles Godfrey Leland

  • But at last Mr. Lea came with a party of ladies and gentlemen.


    Charles Godfrey Leland

  • Hast thou heard the thrush, full-throated, call his mate across the lea?

    Sir Ludar

    Talbot Baines Reed

  • The head went flying over the lea, but it had no more words to speak.

British Dictionary definitions for lea


  1. poetic a meadow or field
  2. land that has been sown with grass seed

Word Origin

Old English lēah; related to German dialect loh thicket


  1. a unit for measuring lengths of yarn, usually taken as 80 yards for wool, 120 yards for cotton and silk, and 300 yards for linen
  2. a measure of yarn expressed as the length per unit weight, usually the number of leas per pound

Word Origin

C14: of uncertain origin


abbreviation for (in Britain)
  1. Local Education Authority
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for lea


Old English leah "open field, meadow, piece of untilled ground," earlier læch, recorded in place names, from Proto-Germanic *laukhaz (cf. Old High German loh "cluster of bushes," and probably also Flemish -loo, which forms the second element in Waterloo), from PIE *louquo- (cf. Sanskrit lokah "open space," Latin lucus "grove," Lithuanian laukas "open field"), perhaps from or related to *leuk- "to shine, be bright" (see light (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper