verb (used with object), left, leav·ing.
verb (used without object), left, leav·ing.
- to desist from; cease; stop; abandon.
- to stop using or wearing: It had stopped raining, so we left off our coats.
- to omit: to leave a name off a list.
Origin of leave1
Synonyms for leave
Antonyms for leave
Other substitutions of leave for let are generally regarded as nonstandard: Let (not Leave ) us sit down and talk this over. Let (not Leave ) her do it her own way. The police wouldn't let (not leave ) us cross the barriers. See also let1.
verb (tr, adverb)
verb leaves, leaving or left (mainly tr)
- Also: let alone See let 1 (def. 7)
- to permit to stay or be alone
Word Origin for leave
Word Origin for leave
verb leaves, leaving or leaved
Old English læfan "to let remain; remain; have left; bequeath," from Proto-Germanic *laibijan (cf. Old Frisian leva "to leave," Old Saxon farlebid "left over"), causative of *liban "remain," (cf. Old English belifan, German bleiben, Gothic bileiban "to remain"), from root *laf- "remnant, what remains," from PIE *leip- "to stick, adhere;" also "fat."
The Germanic root has only the sense "remain, continue," which also is in Greek lipares "persevering, importunate." But this usually is regarded as a development from the primary PIE sense of "adhere, be sticky" (cf. Lithuanian lipti, Old Church Slavonic lipet "to adhere," Greek lipos "grease," Sanskrit rip-/lip- "to smear, adhere to." Seemingly contradictory meaning of "depart" (early 13c.) comes from notion of "to leave behind" (as in to leave the earth "to die;" to leave the field "retreat").
"permission," Old English leafe "leave, permission, license," dative and accusative of leaf "permission," from West Germanic *lauba (cf. Old Norse leyfi "permission," Old Saxon orlof, Old Frisian orlof, German Urlaub "leave of absence"), from PIE *leubh- "to care, desire, love, approve" (see love (n.)). Cognate with Old English lief "dear," the original idea being "approval resulting from pleasure." Cf. love, believe. In military sense, it is attested from 1771.
Omit, fail to include, as in This sentence doesn't make sense; a key word has been left out. [Late 1400s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with leave
- leave a bad taste in one's mouth
- leave alone
- leave a lot to be desired
- leave flat
- leave hanging
- leave holding the bag
- leave in the lurch
- leave no stone unturned
- leave off
- leave one cold
- leave open
- leave out
- leave out in the cold
- leave out of account
- leave someone alone
- leave someone in peace
- leave someone in the lurch
- leave someone to his or her resources
- leave the door open
- leave to someone's own devices
- leave to someone's tender mercies
- leave well enough alone
- leave without a leg to stand on
- leave word
- absent without leave
- (leave) high and dry
- (leave) out in the cold
- take it or leave it
- take leave of
- take one's leave
Also see underlet.