See more synonyms for leap on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object), leaped or leapt, leap·ing.
  1. to spring through the air from one point or position to another; jump: to leap over a ditch.
  2. to move or act quickly or suddenly: to leap aside; She leaped at the opportunity.
  3. to pass, come, rise, etc., as if with a jump: to leap to a conclusion; an idea that immediately leaped to mind.
verb (used with object), leaped or leapt, leap·ing.
  1. to jump over: to leap a fence.
  2. to pass over as if by a jump.
  3. to cause to leap: to leap a horse.
  1. a spring, jump, or bound; a light, springing movement.
  2. the distance covered in a leap; distance jumped.
  3. a place leaped or to be leaped over or from.
  4. a sudden or abrupt transition: a successful leap from piano class to concert hall.
  5. a sudden and decisive increase: a leap in the company's profits.
  1. by leaps and bounds, very rapidly: We are progressing by leaps and bounds.
  2. leap in the dark, an action of which the consequences are unknown: The experiment was a leap in the dark.
  3. leap of faith, an act or instance of accepting or trusting in something that cannot readily be seen or proved.

Origin of leap

before 900; Middle English lepen, Old English hlēapan to leap, run; cognate with German laufen, Old Norse hlaupa, Gothic hlaupan
Related formsleap·er, noun

Synonyms for leap

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1. bound. See jump.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for leap

Contemporary Examples of leap

Historical Examples of leap

  • Again we take a leap of about twenty years, and alight in the midst of the Revolution.

    Old News

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • He had but to say to me, 'Leap into the water,' and I would not have stopped to pull off my coat.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • He was throwing back the robe to leap from the sleigh when the figure reached him.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • Kirkwood rose, balancing himself against the leap and sway of the boat.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • Tired and weighted, she dared not try the leap; she skirted around.

    Johnny Bear

    E. T. Seton

British Dictionary definitions for leap


verb leaps, leaping, leapt or leaped
  1. (intr) to jump suddenly from one place to another
  2. (intr often foll by at) to move or react quickly
  3. (tr) to jump over
  4. to come into prominence rapidlythe thought leapt into his mind
  5. (tr) to cause (an animal, esp a horse) to jump a barrier
  1. the act of jumping
  2. a spot from which a leap was or may be made
  3. the distance of a leap
  4. an abrupt change or increase
  5. Also called (US and Canadian): skip music a relatively large melodic interval, esp in a solo part
  6. a leap in the dark an action performed without knowledge of the consequences
  7. by leaps and bounds with unexpectedly rapid progress
Derived Formsleaper, noun

Word Origin for leap

Old English hlēapan; related to Gothic hlaupan, German laufen
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 leap

c.1200, from Old English hleapan "to jump, run, leap" (class VII strong verb; past tense hleop, past participle hleapen), from Proto-Germanic *khlaupan (cf. Old Saxon hlopan, Old Norse hlaupa, Old Frisian hlapa, Dutch lopen, Old High German hlouffan, German laufen "to run," Gothic us-hlaupan "to jump up"), of uncertain origin, with no known cognates beyond Germanic. Leap-frog, the children's game, is attested by that name from 1590s; figurative use by 1704.

First loke and aftirward lepe [proverb recorded from mid-15c.]

Related: Leaped; leaping.


c.1200, from Old English hliep, hlyp (West Saxon), *hlep (Mercian, Northumbrian) "a leap, bound, spring, sudden movement; thing to leap from;" common Germanic (cf. Old Frisian hlep, Dutch loop, Old High German hlouf, German lauf); from the root of leap (v.). Leaps has been paired with bounds since at least 1720.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with leap


In addition to the idioms beginning with leap

  • leap in the dark
  • leap of faith

also see:

  • by leaps and bounds
  • look before you leap
  • quantum leap

Also see underjump.

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