French leave


: an informal, hasty, or secret departure
But as I was certain I should not be allowed to leave the enclosure, my only plan was to take French leave and slip out when nobody was watching …Robert Louis Stevenson
The best sign that a husband is not about to take French Leave is a clear demonstration that he still loves his wife …John O'Sullivan
In the middle of the world premiere of his latest film, "Seklusyon," at the Galaxy Cinemas last Sunday, filmmaker Erik Matti had to take a French leave and rushed to another event …Bayani San Diego, Jr.

Word History


from an 18th century French custom of leaving a reception without taking leave of the host or hostess

First Known Use

1748, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of French leave was in 1748

Dictionary Entries Near French leave

Cite this Entry

“French leave.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

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