Nearby words

  1. leaky,
  2. leal,
  3. lealty,
  4. leamington,
  5. leamington spa,
  6. lean and hungry look,
  7. lean on,
  8. lean over backwards,
  9. lean-burn,
  10. lean-faced


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

Origin of lean

before 900; Middle English lenen, Old English hleonian, hlinian; cognate with G. lehnen; akin to Latin clīnāre to incline, Greek klī́nein Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for lean on

lean on

verb (intr, preposition)

Also: lean upon to depend on for advice, support, etc
informal to exert pressure on (someone), as by threats or intimidation


/ (liːn) /


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)


/ (liːn) /

verb leans, leaning, leaned or leant

(foll by against, on, or upon) to rest or cause to rest against a support
to incline or cause to incline from a vertical position
(intr; foll by to or towards) to have or express a tendency or leaning
lean over backwards informal to make a special effort, esp in order to please


the condition of inclining from a vertical position
See also lean on

Word Origin for lean

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


/ (liːn) /



the part of meat that contains little or no fat
Derived Formsleanly, adverbleanness, noun

Word Origin for lean

Old English hlǣne, of Germanic origin

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 on
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with lean on

lean on


Rely on, depend on, as in He's leaning on me for help. [Mid-1400s]


Exert pressure on one, especially to obtain something or make one do something against his or her will. For example, The gangsters were leaning on local storekeepers to pay them protection money. [Colloquial; mid-1900s]

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