less common spelling of

1 : either vertical edge of a square sail

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


\ˈlēch \
leached; leaching; leaches

Definition of leach (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to dissolve out by the action of a percolating liquid leach out alkali from ashes

2 : to subject to the action of percolating (see percolate sense 1a) liquid (such as water) in order to separate the soluble components

3a : to remove (nutritive or harmful elements) from soil by percolation (see percolate sense 1a) soil leached of its salts by torrential rains

b : to draw out or remove as if by percolation all meaning has been leached from my life

intransitive verb

: to pass out or through by percolation Nutrients leached out of the soil with rainwater.

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Other Words from leach


leachability \ˌlē-chə-ˈbi-lə-tē \ noun
leachable \ˈlē-chə-bəl \ adjective
leacher noun

Examples of leach in a Sentence


Even a small amount of rain can leach the toxic material from the soil. Certain kinds of treated wood can leach chemicals into the soil. The chemical eventually leaches away from the soil.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That could include fertilizers and pesticides leaching into the reserves, Mr. Hallmann said, or insects drifting out of the reserves into nearby but inhospitable environs; however, the analysis doesn’t test these hypotheses. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "Why a Decline in Insects Should Bug You," 8 June 2018 Persistent and pervasive, they have been found to leach chemicals, choke wildlife, and turn up as litter everywhere from mountaintops to the Mariana Trench. Alex Wong, National Geographic, "The Race to Save Historic Plastic Artifacts," 31 May 2018 Floyd’s remediation plans submitted last February included test results on what’s in the coal-laden deposits and whether any toxins leached into groundwater and soil. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "An Indiana county is paying a steep price for burying toxic coal ash," 18 May 2018 Experts said the paint could have affected the tortoise in many ways, including disrupting his heat regulation and causing poisons to leach into his body, as well as destroying his natural camouflage protection. Steve Barrett, ajc, "Tortoise covered in red paint survives; man charged with dumping paint into burrow," 16 May 2018 Lead from old pipes leached into the water supply because corrosion-reducing phosphates were not added due to an incorrect reading of federal regulations. Rebecca Bratek, CBS News, "Local sorority raises $20,000 to help Flint's water crisis," 14 June 2018 The amount of metal the penny leaches out is enough to take care of the fungal spores, but is still low enough to not do any residual damage to your plants. David Oblas, Good Housekeeping, "13 Really Weird Things Organic Gardeners Do That Actually Work," 29 Mar. 2017 And the process of recycling — all that sorting, sifting, and separating — keeps hazardous materials such as mercury and lead out of landfills, preventing them from leaching into the surrounding ecosystem. Stacey Mckenna, Cincinnati.com, "Recycling is easier — and better for the environment — than you think," 5 July 2018 But plastics leach chemicals into the sand that can be picked up by marine animals and accumulated in tissues, even ending up in seafood. Author: Darryl Fears, Kate Furby, Anchorage Daily News, "A giant wave of plastic garbage could flood the US, a study says," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'leach.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of leach


1796, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for leach


leach vessel through which water is passed to extract lye

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Dictionary Entries near leach



Lea's oak


Leach's petrel


leach house

Statistics for leach

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Time Traveler for leach

The first known use of leach was in 1796

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More Definitions for leach



English Language Learners Definition of leach

: to remove (a chemical, a metal, etc.) from a substance by the action of a liquid passing through the substance : to release (a chemical, a metal, etc.) when a liquid passes through

of a chemical, a metal, etc. : to be removed from a substance by a liquid passing through the substance


leached; leaching

Kids Definition of leach

: to remove or remove from by the action of a liquid passing through a substance Water leaches minerals from soil. The soil was leached by the constant rain.

\ˈlēch \

Medical Definition of leach 

1 : to subject to the action of percolating liquid (as water) in order to separate the soluble components

2 : to dissolve out by the action of a percolating liquid

intransitive verb

: to pass out or through by percolation

Other Words from leach

leachability \ˌlē-chə-ˈbil-ət-ē \ noun plural -ties
leachable \ˈlē-chə-bəl \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on leach

See words that rhyme with leach

Spanish Central: Translation of leach

Nglish: Translation of leach for Spanish Speakers

Comments on leach

What made you want to look up leach? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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