[ let ]
/ lɛt /
verb (used with object), let, let·ting.
to allow or permit: to let him escape.
to allow to pass, go, or come: to let us through.
to grant the occupancy or use of (land, buildings, rooms, space, etc., or movable property) for rent or hire (sometimes followed by out).
to contract or assign for performance, usually under a contract: to let work to a carpenter.
to cause to; make: to let one know the truth.
(used in the imperative as an auxiliary expressive of a request, command, warning, suggestion, etc.): Let me see. Let us go. Just let them try it!
verb (used without object), let, let·ting.
to admit of being rented or leased: The apartment lets for $100 per week.
British. a lease.
- to disappoint; fail.
- to betray; desert.
- to slacken; abate: We were too near success to let down in our efforts.
- to allow to descend slowly; lower.
- Aeronautics. (of an airplane) to descend from a higher to a lower altitude preparatory to making an approach and landing or a similar maneuver.
- to admit.
- to involve (a person) in without his or her knowledge or permission: to let someone in for a loss.
- Also let into. to insert into the surface of (a wall or the like) as a permanent addition: to let a plaque into a wall.
- Also let in on. to share a secret with; permit to participate in.
- to release by exploding.
- to free from duty or responsibility; excuse.
- to allow to go with little or no punishment; pardon: The judge let off the youthful offender with a reprimand.
- to reveal one's true feelings: She was terrified at the prospect, but didn't let on.
- to pretend: They let on that they didn't care about not being invited, but I could tell that they were hurt.
- to divulge; make known.
- to release from confinement, restraint, etc.
- to enlarge (a garment).
- to terminate; be finished; end: When does the university let out for the summer?
- to make (a let-out fur or pelt).
- to slacken; diminish; abate: This heat wave should let up by the end of the week.
- to cease; stop: The rain let up for a few hours.
let up on, to treat less severely; be more lenient with: He refused to let up on the boy until his grades improved.
Let’s vs. LetsIn the comments of our Word Fact post about the difference between affect and effect, Carolyn K. wrote: Please, please, please, I beg you to do Lets vs. Let’s. Every sports team’s media/PR department does it wrong, and it drives me absolutely out of my mind! This lets us address another great topic, since these terms are often confused—let’s figure it out! Lets without an …
Don’t Let This Word Of The Day Quiz Gorgonize YouWe’re positive you’re already ducky, duckies. But this quiz isn’t nocent, so give it a shot! Tell us your favorite word from this week below (and share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter)! If the quiz doesn’t display, please try opening in the Chrome browser.
Origin of let1
before 900; Middle English leten, Old English lǣtan; cognate with Dutch laten, German lassen, Old Norse lāta, Gothic lētan; akin to Greek lēdeîn to be weary, Latin lassus tired. See late
SYNONYMS FOR let
1. See allow.
Let us is used in all varieties of speech and writing to introduce a suggestion or a request: Let us consider all the facts before deciding. The contracted form let's occurs mostly in informal speech and writing: Let's go. Let's not think about that right now. Perhaps because let's has come to be felt as a word in its own right rather than as the contraction of let us, it is often followed in informal speech and writing by redundant or appositional pronouns: Let's us plan a picnic. Let's you and I (or me ) get together tomorrow. Both Let's you and me and Let's you and I occur in the relaxed speech of educated speakers. The former conforms to the traditional rules of grammar; the latter, nonetheless, occurs more frequently. See also leave1.
Definition for let (2 of 4)
[ let ]
/ lɛt /
(in tennis, badminton, etc.) any play that is voided and must be replayed, especially a service that hits the net and drops into the proper part of the opponent's court.
Chiefly Law. an impediment or obstacle: to act without let or hindrance.
verb (used with object), let·ted or let, let·ting.
Archaic. to hinder, prevent, or obstruct.
Origin of let2
before 900; Middle English letten (v.), lette (noun; derivative of the v.), Old English lettan (v.), derivative of læt slow, tardy, late; cognate with Old Norse letja to hinder
Definition for let (3 of 4)
a diminutive suffix attached to nouns (booklet; piglet; ringlet), and, by extraction from bracelet, a suffix denoting a band, piece of jewelry, or article of clothing worn on the part of the body specified by the noun (anklet; wristlet).
Definition for let (4 of 4)
[ lets ]
/ lɛts /
contraction of let us.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for let (1 of 4)
/ (lɛt) /
verb lets, letting or let (tr; usually takes an infinitive without to or an implied infinitive)
to permit; allowshe lets him roam around
(imperative or dependent imperative)
- used as an auxiliary to express a request, proposal, or command, or to convey a warning or threatlet's get on; just let me catch you here again!
- (in mathematical or philosophical discourse) used as an auxiliary to express an assumption or hypothesislet "a" equal "b"
- used as an auxiliary to express resigned acceptance of the inevitablelet the worst happen
- to allow the occupation of (accommodation) in return for rent
- to assign (a contract for work)
to allow or cause the movement of (something) in a specified directionto let air out of a tyre
Irish informal to utterto let a cry
- (conjunction) much less; not to mentionI can't afford wine, let alone champagne
- let be, leave alone or leave be to refrain from annoying or interfering withlet the poor cat alone
let go See go 1 (def. 59)
- to set free
- informal to make (a sound or remark) suddenlyhe let loose a hollow laugh
- informal to discharge (rounds) from a gun or gunsthey let loose a couple of rounds of ammunition
British the act of letting property or accommodationthe majority of new lets are covered by the rent regulations
Word Origin for let
Old English lǣtan to permit; related to Gothic lētan, German lassen
British Dictionary definitions for let (2 of 4)
/ (lɛt) /
an impediment or obstruction (esp in the phrase without let or hindrance)
- a minor infringement or obstruction of the ball, requiring a point to be replayed
- the point so replayed
verb lets, letting, letted or let
(tr) archaic to hinder; impede
Word Origin for let
Old English lettan to hinder, from læt late; related to Old Norse letja
British Dictionary definitions for let (3 of 4)
suffix forming nouns
small or lesserbooklet; starlet
an article of attire or ornament worn on a specified part of the bodyanklet
Word Origin for -let
from Old French -elet, from Latin -āle, neuter of adj suffix -ālis or from Latin -ellus, diminutive suffix
British Dictionary definitions for let (4 of 4)
/ (lɛts) /
let us: used to express a suggestion, command, etc, by the speaker to himself and his hearers
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
Idioms and Phrases with let
In addition to the idioms beginning with let
- let alone
- let be
- let bygones be bygones
- let daylight through or into
- let down
- let down easy
- let down one's hair
- let drop
- let fly
- let go
- let grass grow
- let in on
- let it all hang out
- let it lay
- let it rip
- let me see
- let off
- let off steam
- let on
- let oneself go
- let one's hair down
- let out
- let ride
- let sleeping dogs lie
- let slide
- let slip
- let someone
- let someone down
- let someone have it
- let the cat out of the bag
- let the chips fall where they may
- let the grass grow under one's feet
- let the side down
- let up
- let well enough alone
- blow (let) off steam
- give (let) someone have his or her head
- (let someone) have it
- live and let live
Also see underleave.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.