1. a small flat or folded sheet of printed matter, as an advertisement or notice, usually intended for free distribution.
  2. one of the separate blades or divisions of a compound leaf.
  3. a small leaflike part or structure.
  4. a small or young leaf.
verb (used with object), leaf·let·ed or leaf·let·ted, leaf·let·ing or leaf·let·ting.
  1. to distribute leaflets or handbills to or among: Campaign workers leafleted shoppers at the mall.
verb (used without object), leaf·let·ed or leaf·let·ted, leaf·let·ing or leaf·let·ting.
  1. to distribute leaflets.

Origin of leaflet

First recorded in 1780–90; leaf + -let
Related formsleaf·let·er, leaf·let·ter, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for leafletter


  1. a printed and usually folded sheet of paper for distribution, usually free and containing advertising material or information about a political party, charity, etc
  2. any of the subdivisions of a compound leaf such as a fern leaf
  3. (loosely) any small leaf or leaflike part
  1. to distribute printed leaflets (to)they leafleted every flat in the area
Derived Formsleafleter, noun
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 leafletter



1787 as a term in botany; 1867 as a term in printing and publication; diminutive of leaf (n.)

A newspaperman asked the British authorities for a copy of the leaflets distributed in Germany by British airplanes. According to the London Daily Herald, his request was refused with the following answer: "Copies are not given out, as they might fall into enemy hands." ["The Living Age" magazine, Sept. 1939-Feb. 1940]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

leafletter in Science


  1. A small leaf or leaflike part, especially one of the blades or divisions of a compound leaf.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.