[ leen ]
See synonyms for lean on Thesaurus.com
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.

  1. to incline in feeling, opinion, action, etc.: to lean toward socialism.

  2. to rest against or on something for support: to lean against a wall.

  3. 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.

  1. the act or state of leaning; inclination: The tower has a pronounced lean.

Verb Phrases
  1. lean in,

    • to shift one's body weight forward or toward someone or something: Because Don was whispering, I had to lean in so I could hear him.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.

  2. lean on, Informal.

    • 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.

Idioms about lean

  1. lean over backward(s). bend1 (def. 21).

Origin of lean

First recorded before 900; Middle English lenen, Old English hleonian, hlinian; cognate with German lehnen; akin to Greek klī́nein, Latin -clīnāre “to incline

Words Nearby lean

Other definitions for lean (2 of 3)

[ 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.

  1. lacking in richness, fullness, quantity, etc.; poor: a lean diet; lean years.

  2. spare; economical: a lean prose style.

  3. Automotive. (of a mixture in a fuel system) having a relatively low ratio of fuel to air (contrasted with rich).

  4. (of paint) having more pigment than oil.: Compare fat (def. 12).

  5. Nautical. (of a bow) having fine lines; sharp.

  6. Metallurgy. (of ore) having a low mineral content; low-grade.

  1. the part of flesh that consists of muscle rather than fat.

  2. the lean part of anything.

  1. Typesetting. matter that is difficult to set because of complexity or intermixed fonts.: Compare fat (def. 23).

Origin of lean

First recorded before 1000; Middle English lene, lein(e), Old English hlǣne

synonym study For lean

1. See thin.

Other words for lean

Opposites for lean

Other words from lean

  • leanly, adverb
  • leanness, noun

Other definitions for Lean (3 of 3)

[ leen ]

  1. David, 1908–91, British film director.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use lean in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for lean (1 of 3)


/ (liːn) /

verbleans, 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

  1. (intr; foll by to or towards) to have or express a tendency or leaning

  2. lean over backwards informal to make a special effort, esp in order to please

  1. the condition of inclining from a vertical position

Origin of lean

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

British Dictionary definitions for lean (2 of 3)


/ (liːn) /

  1. (esp of a person or an animal) having no surplus flesh or bulk; not fat or plump

  2. not bulky or full

  1. (of meat) having little or no fat

  2. not rich, abundant, or satisfying

  3. (of a mixture of fuel and air) containing insufficient fuel and too much air: a lean mixture

  4. (of printer's type) having a thin appearance

  5. (of a paint) containing relatively little oil

  6. (of an ore) not having a high mineral content

  7. (of concrete) made with a small amount of cement

  1. the part of meat that contains little or no fat

Origin of lean

Old English hlǣne, of Germanic origin

Derived forms of lean

  • leanly, adverb
  • leanness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for Lean (3 of 3)


/ (liːn) /

  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)

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