[ leev ]
/ liv /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: leave / leaves / leaving / left on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), left, leav·ing.
verb (used without object), left, leav·ing.
to go away, depart, or set out: We leave for Europe tomorrow.
Verb Phrases
leave off,
  1. to desist from; cease; stop; abandon.
  2. to stop using or wearing: It had stopped raining, so we left off our coats.
  3. to omit: to leave a name off a list.
leave out, to omit; exclude: She left out an important detail in her account.
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Idioms about leave

    leave alone,
    1. Also let alone . to refrain from annoying or interfering with: Those kids wouldn't leave the dog alone, and he eventually turned on them.She finally shouted, “Leave me alone!” at the man who had been following her for several blocks.
    2. to allow or cause (someone) to be by himself or herself: Leave him alone—he wants to rest.They left me all alone, and I couldn’t figure out how to get back home.
    leave well enough alone. alone (def. 8).

Origin of leave

First recorded before 900; Middle English leven “to stop, cease, discontinue; abandon; allow; depart, leave,” Old English lǣfan “to leave; remain; have or be left remaining”; cognate with Old High German leiban (compare German bleiben “to remain”), Old Norse leifa “to leave, leave behind, leave (food) as a leftover, bequeath, abandon,” Gothic bilaibjan “to leave, leave behind, forsake”; see also lave2

usage note for leave

Leave is interchangeable with let when followed by alone with the sense “to refrain from annoying or interfering with”: Leave (or Let ) her alone and she will solve the problem easily. When he was left (or let ) alone without interruptions, the boy quickly assembled the apparatus. The use of leave alone for let alone in the sense “not to mention” is nonstandard: There wasn't any standing room, let (not leave ) alone a seat, so I missed the performance.
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.


leav·er, noun

Other definitions for leave (2 of 3)

[ leev ]
/ liv /

permission to do something: to beg leave to go elsewhere.
permission to be absent, as from work or military duty: The firm offers a maternity leave as part of its benefit program.
the time this permission lasts: 30 days' leave.
a parting; departure; farewell: He took his leave before the formal ceremonies began.We took leave of them after dinner.
Metallurgy. draft (def. 23).
Bowling. the pin or pins in upright position after the bowl of the first ball.

Origin of leave

First recorded before 900; Middle English leve, leave, leife “permission, permission to go, farewell,” Old English lēaf “permission, license”; akin to believe, furlough, lief

Other definitions for leave (3 of 3)

[ leev ]
/ liv /

verb (used without object), leaved, leav·ing.
to put forth leaves; leaf.

Origin of leave

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English leven, lefie, derivative of lef “leaf”; see leaf
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use leave in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for leave (1 of 3)

/ (liːv) /

verb leaves, leaving or left (mainly tr)

Derived forms of leave

leaver, noun

Word Origin for leave

Old English lǣfan; related to belīfan to be left as a remainder

British Dictionary definitions for leave (2 of 3)

/ (liːv) /


Word Origin for leave

Old English lēaf; related to alӯfan to permit, Middle High German loube permission

British Dictionary definitions for leave (3 of 3)

/ (liːv) /

verb leaves, leaving or leaved
(intr) to produce or grow leaves
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with leave


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