verb (used without object), leaned or (especially British) leant; lean·ing.
verb (used with object), leaned or (especially British) leant; lean·ing.
- to shift one's body weight forward or toward someone or something: He stood near home plate and leaned in for the pitch.
- 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.
- 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.
- to criticize, reprimand, or punish: I would have enjoyed school more if the teachers hadn't leaned on me so much.
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Idioms for lean
Origin of lean1
Words nearby lean
Definition for lean (2 of 3)
adjective, lean·er, lean·est.
Origin of lean2
SYNONYMS FOR lean
OTHER WORDS FROM leanlean·ly, adverblean·ness, noun
Definition for lean (3 of 3)
ABOUT THIS WORD
What else does lean mean?
Content warning: this article contains references to drug abuse.
In slang, lean is a term for prescription-strength cough syrup mixed with soft drinks and candy. It’s also known by such other names as purple drank or sizzurp.
Where does lean come from?
The term lean, and the practice of drinking it, originated in Houston, Texas, during the late 1980s and 1990s. It was first popularized by the influential producer DJ Screw, who frequently rhymed the words codeine and lean in his music, the resulting intoxication making him slump over (“lean back”). DJ Screw passed away from a codeine overdose in late 2000.
In the mid-2000s, mainstream hip-hop artists like Lil Wayne, Three 6 Mafia, and Gucci Mane helped popularize lean by rapping about the practice of mixing cough syrup and soda.
Lean is glamorized as a relaxing, even euphoria-inducing homemade beverage due to the effect of opiates present in prescription-strength cough syrup. The trend of sippin’ (on) lean has spawned countless hip-hop songs, mixtape titles, and entire album concepts.
How is lean used in real life?
Lean is known as a party beverage and has been described as part of hip-hop and youth culture. According to the lyric website Genius, lean was referenced in over 30% of all hip-hop songs that reached the Billboard Top 100 in 2017.
Rapper Lil Wayne has detailed his unhealthy relationship with lean in numerous songs, most notably in “I Feel Like Dying” from a 2007 mixtape. One music journalist described Wayne’s vivid description of codeine dependency as “torture cloaked in sheer bliss.”
Lean has been named as a cause of death for multiple prominent figures in hip-hop, including A$AP Yams, Pimp C, Big Moe, and several others.
More examples of lean:
“I sip codeine / It makes a southside player lean / Steady stackin green, steady sippin’ codeine
—DJ Screw, “Sippin Codeine” (song), 1996
“Don’t drink lean kids, don’t drink lean. I don’t think it should be a drug that’s glorified. It’s liquid heroin, it’s an opiate.”
—Danny Brown, TimWestWoodTv (YouTube), April 2014
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
Example sentences from the Web for lean
In 2012, as a 10th grader, Lean says he recorded his first legitimate song, “Hurt.”
The trio formed the Sad Boys collective, with Sherm and Gud on production and Lean manning the mic.
“We broke off shortly after because we were more ambitious,” says Lean.
Our squadron doctor was lean, well muscled, square jawed and blond.
Fully 88 percent of us either identify outright or lean to a party, 47 percent Democrat and 41 percent Republican.
"'Cause if I lean back against the cushion my feet won't touch the stool," she said.Daisy's Work|Joanna H. (Joanna Hooe) Mathews
His dark, scowling face and lean body still bore a military air.Police Your Planet|Lester del Rey
Naturally she was disposed to lean upon her grandfather, but he utterly failed her.The Frontiersmen|Charles Egbert Craddock
Richard Wagner made a living, during four lean years, arranging Italian opera arias for the cornet.Damn!|Henry Louis Mencken
Slightly to one side, the sleek line of a British cruiser was visible, and beyond it a trio of lean, wolfish destroyers.The Caves of Fear|John Blaine