See more synonyms for lees on Thesaurus.com


  1. protective shelter: The lee of the rock gave us some protection against the storm.
  2. the side or part that is sheltered or turned away from the wind: We erected our huts under the lee of the mountain.
  3. Chiefly Nautical. the quarter or region toward which the wind blows.
  1. pertaining to, situated in, or moving toward the lee.
  1. by the lee, Nautical. accidentally against what should be the lee side of a sail: Careless steering brought the wind by the lee.
  2. under the lee, Nautical. to leeward.

Origin of lee

before 900; Middle English; Old English hlēo(w) shelter, cognate with Old Frisian hli, hly, Old Saxon hleo, Old Norse hlé


  1. Usually lees. the insoluble matter that settles from a liquid, especially from wine; sediment; dregs.

Origin of lee

1350–1400; Middle English lie < Middle French < Medieval Latin lia, probably < Gaulish *lig(j)a; compare Old Irish lige bed, akin to Old English gelege bed. See lie2


  1. Ann,1736–84, British mystic: founder of Shaker sect in U.S.
  2. Charles,1731–82, American Revolutionary general, born in England.
  3. Doris Em·rick [em-rik] /ˈɛm rɪk/, 1905–1986, U.S. painter.
  4. Fitz·hugh [fits-hyoo or, often, -yoo; fits-hyoo or, often, -yoo] /ˈfɪtsˌhyu or, often, -ˌyu; fɪtsˈhyu or, often, -ˈyu/, 1835–1905, U.S. general and statesman (grandson of Henry Lee; nephew of Robert E. Lee).
  5. Francis Light·foot [lahyt-foo t] /ˈlaɪtˌfʊt/, 1734–97, American Revolutionary statesman (brother of Richard H. Lee).
  6. Gypsy RoseRose Louise Hovick, 1914–70, U.S. entertainer.
  7. Harper,born 1926, U.S. novelist.
  8. HenryLight-Horse Harry, 1756–1818, American Revolutionary general (father of Robert E. Lee).
  9. Kuan Yew [kwahn yoo] /kwɑn yu/, 1923–2015, Singapore political leader: prime minister 1959–90.
  10. Man·fred Bennington [man-frid] /ˈmæn frɪd/, Ellery Queen, 1905–71, U.S. mystery writer, in collaboration with Frederic Dannay.
  11. Richard Henry,1732–94, American Revolutionary statesman (brother of Francis L. Lee).
  12. Robert E(dward),1807–70, U.S. soldier and educator: Confederate general in the American Civil War (son of Henry Lee).
  13. Sir Sidney,1859–1926, English biographer and critic.
  14. SpikeShelton Jackson Lee, born 1957, U.S. film director, screenwriter, and actor.
  15. Tsung-Dao [dzoo ng-dou] /ˈdzʊŋˈdaʊ/, born 1926, Chinese physicist in the U.S.: Nobel Prize 1957.
  16. a town in W Massachusetts: resort.
  17. a male or female given name.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for lees

dregs, residue

Examples from the Web for lees

Contemporary Examples of lees

Historical Examples of lees

  • What work would they make with your Shakespears, Otways, and Lees?

  • She had tasted the lees of this on her arrival; in the darkness, after failure, they intoxicated her.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • The lees of twenty ducats shabby in his fist told her how near the peril was.

    Little Novels of Italy

    Maurice Henry Hewlett

  • To her service he had dedicated the lees of his life and the ripeness of his knowledge.

    The God of Love

    Justin Huntly McCarthy

  • If the wine boil over, put to it the lees of red wine, and that will cure it.

British Dictionary definitions for lees


pl n
  1. the sediment from an alcoholic drink

Word Origin for lees

C14: plural of obsolete lee, from Old French, probably from Celtic; compare Irish lige bed


  1. a river in SW Republic of Ireland, flowing east into Cork Harbour. Length: about 80 km (50 miles)


  1. Ang (æŋ). born 1954, Taiwanese film director; his films include Sense and Sensibility (1995), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Brokeback Mountain (2005), and Life of Pi (2012)
  2. Bruce, original name Lee Yuen Kam . 1940–73, US film actor and kung fu expert who starred in such films as Enter the Dragon (1973)
  3. Gypsy Rose, original name Rose Louise Hovick . 1914–70, US striptease and burlesque artiste, who appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies (1936) and in films
  4. Laurie (ˈlɒrɪ). 1914–97, British poet and writer, best known for the autobiographical Cider with Rosie (1959)
  5. Richard Henry. 1732–94, American Revolutionary statesman, who moved the resolution in favour of American independence (1776)
  6. Robert E (dward). 1807–70, American general; commander-in-chief of the Confederate armies in the Civil War
  7. Spike, real name Shelton Jackson Lee. born 1957, US film director: his films include She's Gotta Have It (1985), Malcolm X (1992), and the documentary When the Leeves Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2008)
  8. T (sung) -D (ao) (tsuːŋ daʊ). born 1926, US physicist, born in China. With Yang he disproved the principle that that parity is always conserved and shared the Nobel prize for physics in 1957


  1. a sheltered part or side; the side away from the direction from which the wind is blowing
  2. by the lee nautical so that the wind is blowing on the wrong side of the sail
  3. under the lee nautical towards the lee
  1. (prenominal) nautical on, at, or towards the side or part away from the windon a lee shore Compare weather (def. 5)

Word Origin for lee

Old English hlēow shelter; related to Old Norse hle
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 lees

late 14c., from Old French lies, plural of lie "sediment," probably from Celtic (cf. Old Irish lige "a bed, a lying"), from PIE root *legh- "to lie" (see lie (v.2)).



Old English hleo "shelter, cover, defense, protection," from Proto-Germanic *khlewaz (cf. Old Norse hle, Danish , Old Saxon hleo, Dutch lij "lee, shelter"). No known cognates outside Germanic; original sense uncertain and might have been "warm" (cf. German lau "tepid," Old Norse hly "shelter, warmth"), which might link it to PIE *kele- (1) "warm." As an adjective, 1510s, from the noun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper