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1

leech

play
noun \ˈlēch\

Definition of leech

  1. 1 archaic :  physician, surgeon

  2. 2 [from its former use by physicians for bleeding patients] :  any of numerous carnivorous or bloodsucking usually freshwater annelid worms (class Hirudinea) that have typically a flattened lanceolate segmented body with a sucker at each end

  3. 3 :  a hanger-on who seeks advantage or gain

leechlike play \-ˌlīk\ adjective


Origin of leech

Middle English leche, from Old English lǣce; akin to Old High German lāhhi physician


First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of leech

parasite, sycophant, toady, leech, sponge mean a usually obsequious flatterer or self-seeker. parasite applies to one who clings to a person of wealth, power, or influence or is useless to society <a jet-setter with an entourage of parasites>. sycophant adds to this a strong suggestion of fawning, flattery, or adulation <a powerful prince surrounded by sycophants>. toady emphasizes the servility and snobbery of the self-seeker <cultivated leaders of society and became their toady>. leech stresses persistence in clinging to or bleeding another for one's own advantage <a leech living off his family and friends>. sponge stresses the parasitic laziness, dependence, and opportunism of the cadger <a shiftless sponge, always looking for a handout>.

Other Invertebrates (Except Insects) Terms


2

leech

verb

Definition of leech

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to bleed by the use of leeches

  3. 2 :  to drain the substance of :  exhaust

  4. intransitive verb
  5. :  to attach oneself to a person as a leech



1641

First Known Use of leech

1641


3

leech

noun \ˈlēch\

Definition of leech

  1. 1 :  either vertical edge of a square sail

  2. 2 :  the after edge of a fore-and-aft sail



Variants of leech

also leach \ˈlēch\

Origin of leech

Middle English leche; akin to Middle Low German līk boltrope


First Known Use: 15th century


LEECH Defined for Kids

leech

play
noun \ˈlēch\

Definition of leech for Students

  1. 1 :  a bloodsucking worm related to the earthworm

  2. 2 :  a person who stays around other people and uses them for personal gain



History for leech

Originally the English word leech meant “doctor.” Centuries ago doctors thought that a good way to cure sick people was to make them bleed. The blood of a sick person supposedly had harmful things in it that would flow away with the blood. To take bad blood out of sick people, early doctors often used little worms that suck blood. Leech, the word for a doctor, came to be used for these worms as well.



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