View synonyms for leap


[ leep ]

verb (used without object)

, leaped or leapt [lept, leept], leap·ing.
  1. to spring through the air from one point or position to another; jump:

    to leap over a ditch.

    Synonyms: bound

  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 [lept, leept], 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.


/ liːp /


  1. intr to jump suddenly from one place to another
  2. introften foll byat to move or react quickly
  3. tr to jump over
  4. to come into prominence rapidly

    the 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

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Derived Forms

  • ˈleaper, noun

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Other Words From

  • leaper noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of leap1

First recorded before 900; Middle English lepen, Old English hlēapan “to leap, run”; cognate with German laufen, Old Norse hlaupa, Gothic hlaupan

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Word History and Origins

Origin of leap1

Old English hlēapan; related to Gothic hlaupan, German laufen

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Idioms and Phrases

  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.

More idioms and phrases containing leap

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

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Synonym Study

See jump.

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Example Sentences

With this deal, Ambani has taken a giant leap in the retail sector, leaving behind all domestic and international rivals, including Amazon, led by the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos.

From Quartz

Even if the available evidence matches both theories, one requires less of a leap.

Third baseman Yoan Moncada and starter Lucas Giolito took big leaps last season, while left fielder Eloy Jiménez and maybe even highly touted Cuban prospect Luis Robert seem poised to do the same this year.

The discovery of the new tetraquark is a huge leap forward, and is an indication that there are still many new exotic particles out there, waiting for someone to unveil them.

Normally we’re kind of chipping away at the problem as opposed to making such a giant leap forward.

Peter Christopherson made the leap to life on the bandstand and became a pioneer in the industrial music genre.

Another common prank was to spin the cannon in the direction of the major, causing him to leap out of the way.

Hot orange flames leap into the sky bringing with them the sickening, inescapable stench of death.

It was a small step in learning to stick to my guns, but a leap in my comprehension of phonetics.

But in this case the leap from the known to the unknown is extreme.

She would let him run about for a few moments and then she would leap upon him as if she had nearly lost him.

Suddenly his quick eye lit on something in the gravel path and his heart gave a great leap.

I sprang forward to leap after her, but hands grasped me and flung me back so violently that I fell down on the platform.

This had the effect of causing the fourth lion to break cover and leap upon a rock as the first had done.

Thus age and avarice can always over-leap barriers which, to the young and romantic, are insurmountable.


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More About Leap

What does leap mean?

To leap means to spring or jump from one point to another, as in Sophie leaped over the hole to avoid falling in. A leap is such a jump.

To leap also means to move or act suddenly, as in Santiago leapt out of the way of the dogs running toward him. This action, too, is a leap.

We use leap figuratively, as well. For example, we might call new software a leap forward in technology or say that a new band has leapt to the top of the charts. People often also leap to conclusions—that is, they make conclusions without hearing all the facts first. They are figuratively jumping over the facts to the conclusion.

We can use leap and jump to mean the same things, but there is a bit of a difference. In a leap, the place you land is different from the place you started, while a jump can be straight up and straight back down.

Leap appears in a few different idioms. If you’re doing something by leaps and bounds, it means you’re progressing quickly. A leap in the dark is an action with unknown consequences. A leap of faith is trusting in something that cannot be seen or proven. You might also say that your heart leapt into your throat, referring to the sensation in your throat when something scary happens.

The past tense of leap can be either leaped or leapt.

Example: The movable-type printing press was a great leap forward in technology.

Where does leap come from?

The first records of the term leap come from before the year 900. It comes from the Old English word hlēapan, meaning “to leap or run.”

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to leap?

  • leaper (noun)

What are some synonyms for leap?

What are some words that share a root or word element with leap?

What are some words that often get used in discussing leap?

How is leap used in real life?

Leap is a common word used to describe a physical or figurative jump.

Try using leap!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of leap?

A. bound
B. jump
C. decline
D. vault

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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




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