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lean1

[leen]
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verb (used without object), leaned or (especially British) leant; lean·ing.
  1. to incline or bend from a vertical position: She leaned out the window.
  2. to incline, as in a particular direction; slant: The post leans to the left. The building leaned sharply before renovation.
  3. to incline in feeling, opinion, action, etc.: to lean toward socialism.
  4. to rest against or on something for support: to lean against a wall.
  5. to depend or rely (usually followed by on or upon): someone he could lean on in an emergency.
verb (used with object), leaned or (especially British) leant; lean·ing.
  1. to incline or bend: He leaned his head forward.
  2. to cause to lean or rest; prop: to lean a chair against the railing.
noun
  1. the act or state of leaning; inclination: The tower has a pronounced lean.
Verb Phrases
  1. lean in,
    1. to shift one's body weight forward or toward someone or something: He stood near home plate and leaned in for the pitch.
    2. to embrace risk, be assertive, etc., as to achieve the greatest level of success in the workplace: She really knows how to lean in—she'll have a corner office before long.
  2. lean on, Informal.
    1. to exert influence or pressure on in order to gain cooperation, maintain discipline, or the like: The state is leaning on the company to clean up its industrial wastes.
    2. to criticize, reprimand, or punish: I would have enjoyed school more if the teachers hadn't leaned on me so much.
Idioms
  1. lean over backward(s). bend1(def 21).

Origin of lean1

before 900; Middle English lenen, Old English hleonian, hlinian; cognate with G. lehnen; akin to Latin clīnāre to incline, Greek klī́nein

lean2

[leen]
adjective, lean·er, lean·est.
  1. (of persons or animals) without much flesh or fat; not plump or fat; thin: lean cattle.
  2. (of edible meat) containing little or no fat.
  3. lacking in richness, fullness, quantity, etc.; poor: a lean diet; lean years.
  4. spare; economical: a lean prose style.
  5. Automotive. (of a mixture in a fuel system) having a relatively low ratio of fuel to air (contrasted with rich).
  6. (of paint) having more pigment than oil.Compare fat(def 12).
  7. Nautical. (of a bow) having fine lines; sharp.
  8. Metallurgy. (of ore) having a low mineral content; low-grade.
noun
  1. the part of flesh that consists of muscle rather than fat.
  2. the lean part of anything.
  3. Typesetting. matter that is difficult to set because of complexity or intermixed fonts.Compare fat(def 23).

Origin of lean2

before 1000; Middle English lene, Old English hlǣne
Related formslean·ly, adverblean·ness, noun

Synonyms

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1. skinny, lank, lanky. See thin. 3. sparse, barren, unfruitful, jejune.

Antonyms

1, 2. fat. 3. fruitful.

Lean

[leen]
noun
  1. David,1908–91, British film director.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lean

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He thought, too, of the lean face and the peculiar, set eye of Dozier.

  • And now it comes back to me about the other one, the lean Andrew, his brother.

    Rico and Wiseli

    Johanna Spyri

  • And he chuckled and rubbed his lean hands together as I had so often seen him do.

  • The tall son of Hanover was lean of flesh, but gross in muscle.

    Thoroughbreds

    W. A. Fraser

  • I am lean and bony and I've got a beak where I should have a nose.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter


British Dictionary definitions for lean

lean1

verb leans, leaning, leaned or leant
  1. (foll by against, on, or upon) to rest or cause to rest against a support
  2. to incline or cause to incline from a vertical position
  3. (intr; foll by to or towards) to have or express a tendency or leaning
  4. lean over backwards informal to make a special effort, esp in order to please
noun
  1. the condition of inclining from a vertical position
See also lean on

Word Origin

Old English hleonian, hlinian; related to Old High German hlinēn, Latin clīnāre to incline

lean2

adjective
  1. (esp of a person or an animal) having no surplus flesh or bulk; not fat or plump
  2. not bulky or full
  3. (of meat) having little or no fat
  4. not rich, abundant, or satisfying
  5. (of a mixture of fuel and air) containing insufficient fuel and too much aira lean mixture
  6. (of printer's type) having a thin appearance
  7. (of a paint) containing relatively little oil
  8. (of an ore) not having a high mineral content
  9. (of concrete) made with a small amount of cement
noun
  1. the part of meat that contains little or no fat
Derived Formsleanly, adverbleanness, noun

Word Origin

Old English hlǣne, of Germanic origin

Lean

noun
  1. Sir David. 1908–91, English film director. His films include In Which We Serve (1942), Blithe Spirit (1945), Brief Encounter (1946), Great Expectations (1946), Oliver Twist (1948), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Dr Zhivago (1965), and A Passage to India (1984)
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 lean

v.

c.1200, from Old English hleonian "to bend, recline, lie down, rest," from Proto-Germanic *khlinen (cf. Old Saxon hlinon, Old Frisian lena, Middle Dutch lenen, Dutch leunen, Old High German hlinen, German lehnen "to lean"), from PIE root *klei- "to lean, to incline" (cf. Sanskrit srayati "leans," sritah "leaning;" Old Persian cay "to lean;" Lithuanian slyti "to slope," slieti "to lean;" Latin clinare "to lean, bend," clivus "declivity," inclinare "cause to bend," declinare "bend down, turn aside;" Greek klinein "to cause to slope, slant, incline;" Old Irish cloin "crooked, wrong;" Middle Irish cle, Welsh cledd "left," literally "slanting;" Welsh go-gledd "north," literally "left" -- for similar sense evolution, see Yemen, Benjamin, southpaw).

Meaning "to incline the body against something for support" is mid-13c. Figurative sense of "to trust for support" is from early 13c. Sense of "to lean toward mentally, to favor" is from late 14c. Related: Leaned; leaning. Colloquial lean on "put pressure on" (someone) is first recorded 1960.

adj.

"thin, spare, with little flesh or fat," c.1200, from Old English hlæne "lean, thin," possibly from hlænan "cause to lean or bend," from Proto-Germanic *khlainijan, which would connect it to Old English hleonian (see lean (v.)). But perhaps rather, according to OED, from a PIE *qloinio- (cf. Lithuanian klynas "scrap, fragment," Lettish kleins "feeble"). Extended and figurative senses from early 14c. The noun meaning "lean animals or persons" is from c.1200, from the adjective.

n.

"action or state of leaning," 1776, from lean (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper