[ let ]
See synonyms for: letletting on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object),let, let·ting.
  1. to allow or permit: If we let him escape, he'll lead us to the boss.

  2. to allow to pass, go, or come: The gap is too narrow to let the car through.

  1. 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.

  2. to contract or assign for performance, usually under a contract: They let work to a local carpenter for the repairs.

  3. to cause to; make: You must let her know the truth of your circumstances if you want to marry her.

  4. (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 Phrases
  1. let down,

    • 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.

  2. let in,

    • to admit.

    • to involve (a person) in something without their 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.

  1. let off,

    • 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.

  2. let on,

    • 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.

  3. let out,

    • 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).

  4. let up,

    • 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.

  5. let up on, to treat less severely; be more lenient with: He refused to let up on the boy until his grades improved.

Idioms about let

  1. let alone,

    • not to mention: He was too tired to walk, let alone run.

    • Also leave alone . to refrain from annoying or interfering with.

  2. let be,

    • to refrain from interference.

    • to refrain from interfering with.

  1. let go. go1 (def. 95).

  2. 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.

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

Origin of let

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”; see late

usage note For let

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.

Other words for let

Opposites for let

Other definitions for let (2 of 3)

[ 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.

Origin of let

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; see also late

Other definitions for -let (3 of 3)


  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).

Origin of -let

Middle English -let, -lette<Middle French -elet, equivalent to -el (<Latin -āle, neuter of -ālis-al1 (cf. bracelet) or <Latin -ellus diminutive suffix; cf. -elle, chaplet) + -et-et

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use let in a sentence

  • It was like his beautiful courtesy to call me in and introduce me to Blow instead of letting me go away.

  • The left heel followed like lightning, and the right paw also slipped, letting the bear again fall heavily on the ice below.

    The Giant of the North | R.M. Ballantyne
  • He looked up, half shutting his one funny eye, and cocking one ear up, and letting the other droop down.

    Squinty the Comical Pig | Richard Barnum
  • She had been walking alone with her arms hanging limp, letting her white skirts trail along the dewy path.

  • Val was a fool for letting his town house in the spring but of course we know he is one and must put up with it.

    Elster's Folly | Mrs. Henry Wood

British Dictionary definitions for let (1 of 3)


/ (lɛt) /

verblets, letting or let (tr; usually takes an infinitive without to or an implied infinitive)
  1. to permit; allow: she lets him roam around

  2. (imperative or dependent imperative)

    • used as an auxiliary to express a request, proposal, or command, or to convey a warning or threat: let's get on; just let me catch you here again!

    • (in mathematical or philosophical discourse) used as an auxiliary to express an assumption or hypothesis: let "a" equal "b"

    • used as an auxiliary to express resigned acceptance of the inevitable: let the worst happen

    • to allow the occupation of (accommodation) in return for rent

    • to assign (a contract for work)

  1. to allow or cause the movement of (something) in a specified direction: to let air out of a tyre

  2. Irish informal to utter: to let a cry

  3. let alone

    • (conjunction) much less; not to mention: I can't afford wine, let alone champagne

    • let be, leave alone or leave be to refrain from annoying or interfering with: let the poor cat alone

  4. let go See go 1 (def. 59)

  5. let loose

    • to set free

    • informal to make (a sound or remark) suddenly: he let loose a hollow laugh

    • informal to discharge (rounds) from a gun or guns: they let loose a couple of rounds of ammunition

  1. British the act of letting property or accommodation: the majority of new lets are covered by the rent regulations

Origin of let

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

British Dictionary definitions for let (2 of 3)


/ (lɛt) /

  1. an impediment or obstruction (esp in the phrase without let or hindrance)

  2. tennis squash

    • a minor infringement or obstruction of the ball, requiring a point to be replayed

    • the point so replayed

verblets, letting, letted or let
  1. (tr) archaic to hinder; impede

Origin of let

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

British Dictionary definitions for -let (3 of 3)


suffix forming nouns
  1. small or lesser: booklet; starlet

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

Origin of -let

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

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 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

also see:

  • 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.