View synonyms for let



[ let ]

verb (used with object)

, let, let·ting.
  1. to allow or permit:

    If we let him escape, he'll lead us to the boss.

    Synonyms: concede, suffer

    Antonyms: prevent

  2. to allow to pass, go, or come:

    The gap is too narrow to let the car through.

  3. to grant the occupancy or use of (land, buildings, rooms, space, etc., or movable property) for rent or hire (sometimes followed by out ):

    The family lets out their spare room in the summer for extra money.

    Synonyms: hire, sublet, rent, lease

  4. to contract or assign for performance, usually under a contract:

    They let work to a local carpenter for the repairs.

  5. to cause to; make:

    You must let her know the truth of your circumstances if you want to marry her.

  6. (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.
  1. to be rented or leased:

    The apartment lets for $250 per week.


  1. British. a lease.

verb phrase

    1. to slacken; diminish; abate:

      This heat wave should let up by the end of the week.

    2. to cease; stop:

      The rain let up for a few hours.

    1. to divulge; make known.
    2. to release from confinement, restraint, etc.
    3. to enlarge (a garment).
    4. to terminate; be finished; end:

      When does the university let out for the summer?

    5. to make (a let-out fur or pelt).
  1. to treat less severely; be more lenient with:

    He refused to let up on the boy until his grades improved.

    1. to admit.
    2. to involve (a person) in something without their knowledge or permission:

      to let someone in for a loss.

    3. 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.

    4. Also let in on. to share a secret with; permit to participate in.
    1. to reveal one's true feelings:

      She was terrified at the prospect, but didn't let on.

    2. to pretend:

      They let on that they didn't care about not being invited, but I could tell that they were hurt.

    1. to release by exploding.
    2. to free from duty or responsibility; excuse.
    3. to allow to go with little or no punishment; pardon:

      The judge let off the youthful offender with a reprimand.

    1. to disappoint; fail.
    2. to betray; desert.
    3. to slacken; abate:

      We were too near success to let down in our efforts.

    4. to allow to descend slowly; lower.
    5. Aeronautics. (of an airplane) to descend from a higher to a lower altitude preparatory to making an approach and landing or a similar maneuver.



[ let ]


  1. (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.
  2. Chiefly Law. an impediment or obstacle:

    to act without let or hindrance.

verb (used with object)

, let·ted or let, let·ting.
  1. Archaic. to hinder, prevent, or obstruct.


  1. 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 ).



suffix forming nouns

  1. small or lesser



  2. an article of attire or ornament worn on a specified part of the body




/ lɛt /


  1. an impediment or obstruction (esp in the phrase without let or hindrance )
  2. tennis squash
    1. a minor infringement or obstruction of the ball, requiring a point to be replayed
    2. the point so replayed


  1. archaic.
    tr to hinder; impede



/ lɛt /


  1. to permit; allow

    she lets him roam around

  2. imperative or dependent imperative
    1. used as an auxiliary to express a request, proposal, or command, or to convey a warning or threat

      just let me catch you here again!

      let's get on

    2. (in mathematical or philosophical discourse) used as an auxiliary to express an assumption or hypothesis

      let "a" equal "b"

    3. used as an auxiliary to express resigned acceptance of the inevitable

      let the worst happen

    1. to allow the occupation of (accommodation) in return for rent
    2. to assign (a contract for work)
  3. to allow or cause the movement of (something) in a specified direction

    to let air out of a tyre

  4. informal.
    to utter

    to let a cry

  5. let alone
    1. conjunction much less; not to mention

      I can't afford wine, let alone champagne

    2. to refrain from annoying or interfering with

      let the poor cat alone

  6. let go
    See go 1
  7. let loose
    1. to set free
    2. to make (a sound or remark) suddenly

      he let loose a hollow laugh

    3. to discharge (rounds) from a gun or guns

      they let loose a couple of rounds of ammunition


  1. the act of letting property or accommodation

    the majority of new lets are covered by the rent regulations

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Usage Note

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. leave 1.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of let1

First recorded 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”; late

Origin of let2

First recorded before 900; Middle English verb letten, Old English lettan, derivative of læt “slow, tardy”; cognate with Old Norse letja “to hinder”; noun derivative of the verb; late

Origin of let3

Middle English -let, -lette < Middle French -elet, equivalent to -el (< Latin -āle, neuter of -ālis -al 1 ( bracelet ) or < Latin -ellus diminutive suffix; -elle, chaplet ) + -et -et

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Word History and Origins

Origin of let1

from Old French -elet, from Latin -āle, neuter of adj suffix -ālis or from Latin -ellus, diminutive suffix

Origin of let2

Old English lettan to hinder, from læt late ; related to Old Norse letja

Origin of let3

Old English lǣtan to permit; related to Gothic lētan, German lassen

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. let alone,
    1. not to mention:

      He was too tired to walk, let alone run.

    2. Also leave alone. to refrain from annoying or interfering with.
  2. let be,
    1. to refrain from interference.
    2. to refrain from interfering with.
  3. let someone have it, Informal. to attack or assault, as by striking, shooting, or rebuking:

    The gunman threatened to let the teller have it if he didn't move fast.

  4. let well enough alone. alone ( def 8 ).

More idioms and phrases containing let

  • blow (let) off steam
  • give (let) someone have his or her head
  • (let someone) have it
  • live and let live
  • leave

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Example Sentences

For example, if you’re selling for a shoe brand, you might describe the shoe versus let’s say the model, if that’s the core message you’re trying to convey from the image.

It’s always a let down when a movie doesn’t live up to your expectations.

Entries in the Let’s Learn About series present a mini lesson on a topic.

So as long as I can convince physicians that they should prescribe this drug, then I’m going to invest in this, rather than investing in let’s say something extraordinarily risky, which has enormous potential upside from a public health standpoint.

So we have built an algorithm in our economy, which is clearly wrong, just like Facebook’s focus on let’s show people things that are more engaging, turned out to be wrong.

This entire ordeal reeks of bureaucratic overreach being bandied about in the name of “let-us-save-the-children” politics.

Uh, what part of last-team-to-let-Tim-Tebow-go are you not understanding, non-believers?

The White House just had to scratch it out with a real strategy and a never-let-go attitude.

The jukebox blasts “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” by the 5th Dimension.

Beyond that, Wallace spoke openly about his struggles with depression well before we entered the let-it-all-hang-out culture.

Further, why not sub-let the flat to any of your own friends who can afford to give you a few guineas a week for it?

Mr. O'Connell was, in fact, "a middle man;" he rented extensive lands, and sub-let at a very large profit.

Burmans love it, and no feast is complete without it, indeed a packet of let-pet is an invitation to something festive.

At one place it is let-pet, or pickled tea, though the plant from which the stuff is made is not really a tea-plant.

All was serene and lovely on the surface, however, with many won't-you-let-me's and please-do-now's on both sides.


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When To Use

What are other ways to say let?

To let someone do something or let something happen is to allow or permit it. How is let used differently from allow and permit? Learn more on

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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