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Blech. These are the grossest words.


[leek] /lik/
an unintended hole, crack, or the like, through which liquid, gas, light, etc., enters or escapes:
a leak in the roof.
an act or instance of leaking.
any means of unintended entrance or escape.
Electricity. the loss of current from a conductor, usually resulting from poor insulation.
a disclosure of secret, especially official, information, as to the news media, by an unnamed source.
verb (used without object)
to let a liquid, gas, light, etc., enter or escape, as through an unintended hole or crack:
The boat leaks.
to pass in or out in this manner, as liquid, gas, or light:
gas leaking from a pipe.
to become known unintentionally (usually followed by out):
The news leaked out.
to disclose secret, especially official, information anonymously, as to the news media:
The official revealed that he had leaked to the press in the hope of saving his own reputation.
verb (used with object)
to let (liquid, gas, light, etc.) enter or escape:
This camera leaks light.
to allow to become known, as information given out covertly:
to leak the news of the ambassador's visit.
take a leak, Slang: Vulgar. to urinate.
Origin of leak
late Middle English
1375-1425; 1955-60 for def 11; late Middle English leken < Old Norse leka to drip, leak; akin to Dutch lek, obsolete German lech leaky. See leach1
Related forms
leaker, noun
leakless, adjective
nonleaking, adjective
Can be confused
leak, leek. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for leak
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He thanked heaven for that as he tore away a boardlike piece of apparatus and jammed it over the leak in the jar.

  • The carpenter reported that the effect was to spring a leak forward.

    The Monitor and the Merrimac J. L. Worden et al.
  • Clearly there was a leak somewhere, and he must play the game warily until he discovered it.

    Larry Dexter's Great Search Howard R. Garis
  • She might tell Estelle, and then it would be sure to leak out.

  • In the course of the day the leak was stopped, the broken steps mended, and a new lock put on the door.

    The Factory Boy Madeline Leslie
British Dictionary definitions for leak


  1. a crack, hole, etc, that allows the accidental escape or entrance of fluid, light, etc
  2. such escaping or entering fluid, light, etc
spring a leak, to develop a leak
something resembling this in effect: a leak in the defence system
the loss of current from an electrical conductor because of faulty insulation, etc
a disclosure, often intentional, of secret information
the act or an instance of leaking
a slang word for urination See urination
to enter or escape or allow to enter or escape through a crack, hole, etc
when intr, often foll by out. to disclose (secret information), often intentionally, or (of secret information) to be disclosed
(intransitive) a slang word for urinate
Derived Forms
leaker, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Scandinavian; compare Old Norse leka to drip
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
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Word Origin and History for leak

"to let water in or out" [Johnson], late 14c., from Middle Dutch leken "to drip, to leak," or from Old Norse leka, both of them related to Old English leccan "to moisten" (which did not survive into Middle English), all from Proto-Germanic *lek- "deficiency" (cf. Old High German lecchen "to become dry," German lechzen "to be parched with thirst"), from PIE root *leg- "to dribble, trickle." The figurative meaning "come to be known in spite of efforts at concealment" dates from at least 1832; transitive sense first recorded 1859. Related: Leaked; leaking.


late 15c., from leak (v.) or Old Norse cognate leki. Sense of "revelation of secret information" is from 1950. Meaning "act of urination" is attested from 1934 ("Tropic of Cancer"); but the verb meaning "to piss" is from 1590s: "Why, you will allow vs ne're a Iourden, and then we leake in your Chimney." ["I Hen. IV," II.i.22]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for leak



  1. The divulgence or divulger of secret information: A famous leak was called Deep Throat (1873+)
  2. An act of urination; a PISS (1930s+)


  1. To give information to the press or other recipient secretly: Then the FCC report was ''leaked'' to the press (1859+)
  2. To urinate; piss: He said he had to leak; his back teeth were floating (1930s+)

Related Terms

take a leak

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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leak in Technology

With a qualifier, one of a class of resource-management bugs that occur when resources are not freed properly after operations on them are finished, so they effectively disappear (leak out). This leads to eventual exhaustion as new allocation requests come in.
One might refer to, say, a "window handle leak" in a window system.
See memory leak, fd leak.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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