less common spelling of

1 : either vertical edge of a square sail
2 : the after edge of a fore-and-aft sail


\ ˈlēch How to pronounce leach (audio) \
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 How to pronounce leachability (audio) \ noun
leachable \ ˈlē-​chə-​bəl How to pronounce leachable (audio) \ adjective
leacher noun

Examples of leach in a Sentence

Verb 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 The Active jacket allows for full range of motion in the heaviest downpours, with a contoured hood and double wrist cuffs to prevent water from leaching in, all in a super-lightweight package. The Editors, Field & Stream, "The Best Fishing Gear of 2020," 26 Feb. 2020 The Flint River water was not treated with corrosion controls, which caused lead to leach from joints, pipes and fixtures, causing a spike in toxic lead levels in the blood of Flint children and other residents. Kristi Tanner, Detroit Free Press, "Proposed $10M fund would help Michigan homeowners, landlords remove lead," 6 Feb. 2020 This metal occurs naturally in Earth’s crust and is thought to have leached into the oceans in greater concentrations after sea level rise covered more land. Ian Randall, Science | AAAS, "The real ‘paleo diet’ may have been full of toxic metals," 14 Feb. 2020 The operator of the trans-Alaska pipeline has removed 326 barrels of oily water at the Valdez Marine Terminal after a mix of water and oil leached under snow and into the water near a small-boat harbor at the terminal. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Oily water leaks into Port Valdez from pipeline terminal, Alyeska says," 14 Apr. 2020 Sparkling in the dim orange of first light is a ring of frost building on the glass, leaching most of the moisture from my bald, exposed head. Ben Romans, Outdoor Life, "Want to Catch a Muskie on a Fly Rod? Never Give Up," 13 Mar. 2020 Multilingual signs warned of radiation: ponds glowed green, and a fenced off Soviet-era chemical weapons dump leached dangerous chemicals into the ground below. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "Veteran illness from post-9/11 service at secret Uzbek base inadequately addressed, lawmakers say," 8 Mar. 2020 Running water has scoured channels, chiseled cliffs and leached precious minerals from the volcanic and sedimentary rocks, thus attracting miners and ranchers to this otherwise desolate land 30 miles west of Phoenix. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "Don't be put off by the unimpressive beginning. This AZ hike leads to dramatic red rocks," 19 Dec. 2019 The contamination leached from a hillside below the EPS company's building about a year after the completion of a nearly $1.5 million federal cleanup at the site. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, "Property owner blamed for green ooze on I-696 left barrels strewn on Thumb land," 9 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for leach

Time Traveler

The first known use of leach was in 1796

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Statistics for leach

Cite this Entry

“Leach.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leach. Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for leach


How to pronounce leach (audio)

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 How to pronounce leach (audio) \

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 How to pronounce leachability (audio) \ noun, plural leachabilities
leachable \ ˈlē-​chə-​bəl How to pronounce leachable (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on leach

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for leach

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with leach

Spanish Central: Translation of leach

Nglish: Translation of leach for Spanish Speakers

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