let alone. alone(def 8).
    let be,
    1. to refrain from interference.
    2. to refrain from interfering with.
    let go. go1(def 93).
    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.

Origin of let

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

Synonym study

1. See allow.

Antonyms for let

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. See also leave1.




(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 let

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for letting

Contemporary Examples of letting

Historical Examples of letting

  • She was hardly thinking—only letting thoughts and feelings come and go.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • They are not any the less mine because I am letting other people have a chance to enjoy them.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • But this time, instead of letting her draw away, he put out his arms and caught her to him.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • We are letting this world progress and roll right on past us without a struggle.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • It was the liberation of his inner life, the letting out of his soul into the wide world.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for letting



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)
  1. 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!
  2. (in mathematical or philosophical discourse) used as an auxiliary to express an assumption or hypothesislet "a" equal "b"
  3. used as an auxiliary to express resigned acceptance of the inevitablelet the worst happen
  1. to allow the occupation of (accommodation) in return for rent
  2. 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
let alone
  1. (conjunction)much less; not to mentionI can't afford wine, let alone champagne
  2. let be, leave alone or leave beto refrain from annoying or interfering withlet the poor cat alone
let go See go 1 (def. 59)
let loose
  1. to set free
  2. informalto make (a sound or remark) suddenlyhe let loose a hollow laugh
  3. informalto 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




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



Old English lætan "to allow to remain; let go, leave, depart from; leave undone; to allow; bequeath," also "to rent" (class VII strong verb; past tense let, past participle læten), from Proto-Germanic *letan (cf. Old Saxon latan, Old Frisian leta, Dutch laten, German lassen, Gothic letan "to leave, let"), from PIE *le- "to let go, slacken" (cf. Latin lassus "faint, weary," Lithuanian leisti "to let, to let loose;" see lenient). If that derivation is correct, the primary sense would be "let go through weariness, neglect."

Of blood, from late Old English. To let (something) slip originally (1520s) was a reference to hounds on a leash; figurative use from 1540s. To let (someone) off "allow to go unpunished" is from 1814. To let on "reveal, divulge" is from 1725; to let up "cease, stop" is from 1787. Let alone "not to mention" is from 1812.



"stoppage, obstruction" (obsolete unless in legal contracts), late 12c., from archaic verb letten "to hinder," from Old English lettan "hinder, delay," from Proto-Germanic *latjanan (cf. Old Saxon lettian "to hinder," Old Norse letja "to hold back," Old High German lezzen "to stop, check," Gothic latjan "to hinder, make late," Old English læt "sluggish, slow, late"); see late.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with letting


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.