a chain, strap, etc., for controlling or leading a dog or other animal; lead.
check; curb; restraint: to keep one's temper in leash; a tight leash on one's subordinates.
Hunting. a brace and a half, as of foxes or hounds.

verb (used with object)

to secure, control, or restrain by or as if by a leash: to leash water power for industrial use.
to bind together by or as if by a leash; connect; link; associate.

Origin of leash

1250–1300; Middle English lesh, variant of lece, lese < Old French laisse. See lease1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for leash

Contemporary Examples of leash

Historical Examples of leash

  • As he came near, the girl could hold herself in leash no longer.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • He must have slipped his cousin's leash, for he was at the Nicaragua almost as soon as I was.

  • But not any known law, human or divine, could hold our thoughts in leash.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • She strained at the warps that held her like a greyhound at its leash.

  • Up to this time he had held his age back in the leash of an iron will.

    The Genius

    Margaret Horton Potter

British Dictionary definitions for leash



a line or rope used to walk or control a dog or other animal; lead
something resembling this in functionhe kept a tight leash on his emotions
hunting three of the same kind of animal, usually hounds, foxes, or hares
straining at the leash eagerly impatient to begin something


(tr) to control or secure by or as if by a leash

Word Origin for leash

C13: from Old French laisse, from laissier to loose (hence, to let a dog run on a leash), ultimately from Latin laxus lax
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 leash

"thong for holding a dog or hound," c.1300, from Old French laisse "hound's leash," from laissier "loosen," from Latin laxare, from laxus "loose" (see lax). Figurative sense attested from early 15c. The meaning "a set of three" is from early 14c., originally in sporting language.


"to attach to or with a leash," 1590s, from leash (n.). Related: Leashed; leashing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper