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left1

[left]
See more synonyms for left on Thesaurus.com
adjective
  1. of, relating to, or located on or near the side of a person or thing that is turned toward the west when the subject is facing north (opposed to right).
  2. (often initial capital letter) of or belonging to the political Left; having liberal or radical views in politics.
  3. Mathematics. pertaining to an element of a set that has a given property when written on the left of an element or set of elements of the set: a left identity, as 1 in 1 ⋅ x = x.
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noun
  1. the left side or something that is on the left side.
  2. a turn toward the left: Make a left at the next corner.
  3. the Left,
    1. the complex of individuals or organized groups advocating liberal reform or revolutionary change in the social, political, or economic order.
    2. the position held by these people.Compare right(def 33a, b).
    3. left wing.
  4. (usually initial capital letter) Government.
    1. the part of a legislative assembly, especially in continental Europe, that is situated on the left side of the presiding officer and that is customarily assigned to members of the legislature who hold more radical and socialistic views than the rest of the members.
    2. the members of such an assembly who sit on the left.
  5. Boxing. a blow delivered by the left hand.
  6. Baseball. left field(def 1).
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adverb
  1. toward the left: She moved left on entering the room.
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Origin of left1

1125–75; 1935–40 for def 6; Middle English left, lift, luft, Old English left idle, weak, useless, Kentish form of lyft- (in lyftādl palsy); cognate with Dutch, Low German lucht; akin to Middle English libbe (modern dial. lib) to castrate, cognate with Dutch, Low German lubben

left2

[left]
verb
  1. simple past tense and past participle of leave1.
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Idioms
  1. get left,
    1. to be left stranded.
    2. to miss an opportunity, objective, etc.
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leave1

[leev]
verb (used with object), left, leav·ing.
  1. to go out of or away from, as a place: to leave the house.
  2. to depart from permanently; quit: to leave a job.
  3. to let remain or have remaining behind after going, disappearing, ceasing, etc.: I left my wallet home. The wound left a scar.
  4. to allow to remain in the same place, condition, etc.: Is there any coffee left?
  5. to let stay or be as specified: to leave a door unlocked.
  6. to let (a person or animal) remain in a position to do something without interference: We left him to his work.
  7. to let (a thing) remain for action or decision: We left the details to the lawyer.
  8. to give in charge; deposit; entrust: Leave the package with the receptionist. I left my name and phone number.
  9. to stop; cease; give up: He left music to study law.
  10. to disregard; neglect: We will leave this for the moment and concentrate on the major problem.
  11. to give for use after one's death or departure: to leave all one's money to charity.
  12. to have remaining after death: He leaves a wife and three children.
  13. to have as a remainder after subtraction: 2 from 4 leaves 2.
  14. Nonstandard. let1(defs 1, 2, 6).
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verb (used without object), left, leav·ing.
  1. to go away, depart, or set out: We leave for Europe tomorrow.
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Verb Phrases
  1. leave alone. alone(def 7).
  2. 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.
  3. leave out, to omit; exclude: She left out an important detail in her account.
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Origin of leave1

before 900; Middle English leven, Old English lǣfan (causative formation from base of lāf remainder; see lave2); cognate with Old High German leiban (compare German bleiben to remain), Old Norse leifa, Gothic -laibjan
Related formsleav·er, noun

Synonyms

See more synonyms for leave on Thesaurus.com
1, 2. abandon, forsake, desert; relinquish. 9. forbear, renounce. 10. ignore, forget. 11. bequeath, will; devise, transmit.

Antonyms

1, 2. join.

Usage note

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.

leave3

[leev]
verb (used without object), leaved, leav·ing.
  1. to put forth leaves; leaf.
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Origin of leave3

1250–1300; Middle English leven, derivative of lef leaf
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for left

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • She left me more composed and happy than I have been for many days.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • Pericles went to seek his son, and found him reclining on the couch where he had left him.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • You began to look bad as soon as you left off your breakfast.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • At the top was crimson, at the right hand blue, and at the left hand yellow.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • She gazed on his features as he slept; and was left to sorrow alone.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child


British Dictionary definitions for left

left1

adjective
  1. (usually prenominal) of or designating the side of something or someone that faces west when the front is turned towards the north
  2. (usually prenominal) worn on a left hand, foot, etc
  3. (sometimes capital) of or relating to the political or intellectual left
  4. (sometimes capital) radical or progressive, esp as compared to less radical or progressive groups, persons, etc
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adverb
  1. on or in the direction of the left
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noun
  1. a left side, direction, position, area, or partRelated adjectives: sinister, sinistral
  2. (often capital) the supporters or advocates of varying degrees of social, political, or economic change, reform, or revolution designed to promote the greater freedom, power, welfare, or comfort of the common people
  3. to the left radical in the methods, principles, etc, employed in striving to achieve such change
  4. boxing
    1. a blow with the left hand
    2. the left hand
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Word Origin

Old English left idle, weak, variant of lyft- (in lyftādl palsy, literally: left-disease); related to Middle Dutch lucht left

left2

verb
  1. the past tense and past participle of leave 1
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leave1

verb leaves, leaving or left (mainly tr)
  1. (also intr) to go or depart (from a person or place)
  2. to cause to remain behind, often by mistake, in a placehe often leaves his keys in his coat
  3. to cause to be or remain in a specified statepaying the bill left him penniless
  4. to renounce or abandonto leave a political movement
  5. to refrain from consuming or doing somethingthe things we have left undone
  6. to result in; causechildhood problems often leave emotional scars
  7. to allow to be or remain subject to another person or thingleave the past to look after itself
  8. to entrust or commitleave the shopping to her
  9. to submit in place of one's personal appearancewill you leave your name and address?
  10. to pass in a specified directionflying out of the country, we left the cliffs on our left
  11. to be survived by (members of one's family)he leaves a wife and two children
  12. to bequeath or devisehe left his investments to his children
  13. (tr) to have as a remainder37 – 14 leaves 23
  14. not standard to permit; let
  15. leave be informal to leave undisturbed
  16. leave go or leave hold of not standard to stop holding
  17. leave it at that informal to take a matter no further
  18. leave much to be desired to be very unsatisfactory
  19. leave someone alone
    1. Also: let alone See let 1 (def. 7)
    2. to permit to stay or be alone
  20. leave someone to himself not to control or direct someone
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Derived Formsleaver, noun

Word Origin

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

leave2

noun
  1. permission to do somethinghe was granted leave to speak
  2. by your leave or with your leave with your permission
  3. permission to be absent, as from a place of work or dutyleave of absence
  4. the duration of such absenceten days' leave
  5. a farewell or departure (esp in the phrase take (one's) leave)
  6. on leave officially excused from work or duty
  7. take leave to say farewell (to)
  8. take leave of one's senses to go mad or become irrational
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Word Origin

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

leave3

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

adj.

c.1200, from Kentish and northern English form of Old English lyft- "weak, foolish" (cf. lyft-adl "lameness, paralysis," East Frisian luf, Dutch dialectal loof "weak, worthless"). It emerged 13c. as "opposite of right" (the left being usually the weaker hand), a derived sense also found in cognate Middle Dutch and Low German luchter, luft. But German link, Dutch linker "left" are from Old High German slinc and Middle Dutch slink "left," related to Old English slincan "crawl," Swedish linka "limp," slinka "dangle."

Replaced Old English winestra, literally "friendlier," a euphemism used superstitiously to avoid invoking the unlucky forces connected with the left side (see sinister). The Kentish word itself may have been originally a taboo replacement, if instead it represents PIE root *laiwo-, meaning "considered conspicuous" (represented in Greek laios, Latin laevus, and Russian levyi). Greek also uses a euphemism for "left," aristeros "the better one" (cf. also Avestan vairyastara- "to the left," from vairya- "desirable"). But Lithuanian kairys "left" and Lettish kreilis "left hand" derive from a root that yields words for "twisted, crooked."

As an adverb from early 14c. As a noun from c.1200. Political sense arose from members of a legislative body assigned to the left side of a chamber, first attested in English 1837 (by Carlyle, in reference to the French Revolution), probably a loan-translation of French la gauche (1791), said to have originated during the seating of the French National Assembly in 1789 in which the nobility took the seats on the President's right and left the Third Estate to sit on the left. Became general in U.S. and British political speech c.1900.

Used since at least c.1600 in various senses of "irregular, illicit;" earlier proverbial sense was "opposite of what is expressed" (mid-15c.). Phrase out in left field "out of touch with pertinent realities" is attested from 1944, from the baseball fielding position that tends to be far removed from the play. To have two left feet "be clumsy" is attested by 1902. The Left Bank of Paris (left bank of the River Seine, as you face downstream) has been associated with intellectual and artistic culture since at least 1893.

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v.

past tense and past participle of leave (v.).

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leave

v.

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").

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leave

n.

"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with left

left

In addition to the idioms beginning with left

  • left field
  • left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing, the
  • left wing

also see:

  • hang a left
  • out in left field
  • right and left
  • take up where one left off
  • two left feet
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leave

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

also see:

  • 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.

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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.