verb \ˈlēn\
leaned \ˈlēnd, chiefly British ˈlent\ lean·ing \ˈlē-niŋ\

Definition of LEAN

intransitive verb
a :  to incline, deviate, or bend from a vertical position
b :  to cast one's weight to one side for support
:  to rely for support or inspiration
:  to incline in opinion, taste, or desire <leaning toward a career in chemistry>
transitive verb
:  to cause to lean :  incline
lean on
:  to apply pressure to

Origin of LEAN

Middle English lenen, from Old English hleonian; akin to Old High German hlinēn to lean, Greek klinein, Latin clinare
First Known Use: before 12th century



Definition of LEAN

:  the act or an instance of leaning :  inclination

First Known Use of LEAN




: not having much fat on the body : physically thin, strong, and healthy

: containing little or no fat

: not having or producing much money, food, etc.

Full Definition of LEAN

a :  lacking or deficient in flesh
b :  containing little or no fat <lean meat>
:  lacking richness, sufficiency, or productiveness <lean profits> <the lean years>
:  deficient in an essential or important quality or ingredient: as
a of ore :  containing little valuable mineral
b :  low in combustible component —used especially of fuel mixtures
:  characterized by economy (as of style, expression, or operation)
lean·ly adverb
lean·ness \ˈlēn-nəs\ noun

Examples of LEAN

  1. She has a lean, athletic body.
  2. <all of the marathoners are extremely lean>

Origin of LEAN

Middle English lene, from Old English hlǣne
First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of LEAN

lean, spare, lank, lanky, gaunt, rawboned, scrawny, skinny mean thin because of an absence of excess flesh. lean stresses lack of fat and of curving contours <a lean racehorse>. spare suggests leanness from abstemious living or constant exercise <the gymnast's spare figure>. lank implies tallness as well as leanness <the lank legs of the heron>. lanky suggests awkwardness and loose-jointedness as well as thinness <a lanky youth, all arms and legs>. gaunt implies marked thinness or emaciation as from overwork or suffering <a prisoner's gaunt face>. rawboned suggests a large ungainly build without implying undernourishment <a rawboned farmer>. scrawny and skinny imply an extreme leanness that suggests deficient strength and vitality <a scrawny chicken> <skinny street urchins>.



Definition of LEAN

transitive verb
:  to make lean

First Known Use of LEAN

before 12th century



Definition of LEAN

:  the part of meat that consists principally of lean muscle

First Known Use of LEAN

15th century


biographical name \ˈlēn\

Definition of LEAN

Sir David 1908–1991 British film director


Next Word in the Dictionary: LeanderPrevious Word in the Dictionary: leamerAll Words Near: lean
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