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  1. the skin of an animal, with the hair removed, prepared for use by tanning or a similar process designed to preserve it against decay and make it pliable or supple when dry.
  2. an article made of this material.
  3. stirrup leather.
  1. pertaining to, made of, or resembling leather: leather processing; leather upholstery.
  2. Slang. catering to or patronized by customers who typically wear leather clothing, often as a means of signaling interest in or preference for sadomasochistic sexual activity.
verb (used with object)
  1. to cover or furnish with leather.
  2. Informal. to beat with a leather strap.

Origin of leather

before 1000; Middle English lether, Old English lether- (in compounds); cognate with Dutch, German leder, Old Norse lethr, MIr lethar skin, leather, Welsh lledr, Middle Breton lezr leather
Related formsun·der·leath·er, nounun·leath·ered, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for leather


    1. a material consisting of the skin of an animal made smooth and flexible by tanning, removing the hair, etc
    2. (as modifier)leather goods Related adjectives: coriaceous, leathern
  1. (plural) leather clothes, esp as worn by motorcyclists
  2. the flap of a dog's ear
verb (tr)
  1. to cover with leather
  2. to whip with or as if with a leather strap

Word Origin

Old English lether- (in compound words); related to Old High German leder, Old Norse lethr-
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 leather


Old English leðer (in compounds only) "hide, skin, leather," from Proto-Germanic *lethran (cf. Old Norse leðr, Old Frisian lether, Old Saxon lethar, Middle Dutch, Dutch leder, Old High German ledar, German leder), from PIE *letro- "leather" (cf. Old Irish lethar, Welsh lledr, Breton lezr). As an adjective from early 14c.; it acquired a secondary sense of "sado-masochistic" 1980s, having achieved that status in homosexual jargon in the 1970s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with leather


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.