• synonyms


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.
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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.
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  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.
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  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.
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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


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

Examples from the Web for leaper

Historical Examples

  • Leaper the Locust cried, while Kiddie Katydid echoed the word.

    The Tale of Kiddie Katydid

    Arthur Scott Bailey

  • Furthermore, he was enough like Kiddie and Leaper to be a cousin of either one of them.

    The Tale of Kiddie Katydid

    Arthur Scott Bailey

  • He aspired to be the best wrestler, runner and leaper in school.

  • These can be easily knocked away, leaving yawning gaps defying any leaper.

    Life on a Mediaeval Barony

    William Stearns Davis

  • Kiddie Katydid and Leaper the Locust quarreled so loudly that they soon drew a crowd around them.

    The Tale of Kiddie Katydid

    Arthur Scott Bailey

British Dictionary definitions for leaper


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
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  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 Formsleaper, noun

Word Origin

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 leaper



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.

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with leaper


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.

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