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 From coast to coast there was general ennui about both the campaign and the candidates, and at various points in the contest both major parties seemed to be leaching support. David Shribman, Los Angeles Times, "Justin Trudeau wins tight Canadian election, but he’ll need a coalition to govern," 21 Oct. 2019 And the force the solvents can generate decreases as the beans are leached of their caffeine. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Turns Out Decaf Coffee Has Caffeine, Which Feels Like a Betrayal," 29 Aug. 2019 The situation was made worse because the city was slower than other places to address a flaw in a chemical compound that prevents lead from leaching into the water. Nick Corasaniti, New York Times, "Lead Crisis in Newark Grows, as Bottled Water Distribution Is Bungled," 14 Aug. 2019 Flint has been in the national spotlight for its water issues since 2014, after lead leached into the city's supply. Detroit Free Press Staff, Detroit Free Press, "Entire city of Flint under boil water advisory after main breaks," 8 Aug. 2019 Scientists are starting to better understand how specific pollutants, leached into the ocean from other materials, affect marine wildlife. Jenny Howard, National Geographic, "Marine pollution, explained," 2 Aug. 2019 During that time, state regulators failed to require the use of a chemical to prevent pipe corrosion, and lead leached into drinking water from aging lead service lines running to homes. Talal Ansari, WSJ, "Michigan Drops Charges in Flint Water Case as It Restarts Investigation," 13 June 2019 Hot water in contact with the pipes can leach more lead, so using cold water can reduce exposures. Dennis Pillion | Dpillion@al.com, al, "Lead alert issued for East Lauderdale drinking water," 12 Sep. 2019 The lead is leaching into the water from pipes and is not originating from the source water. Mike Catalini, BostonGlobe.com, "Newark to speed replacing of pipes blamed for lead in water," 26 Aug. 2019

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.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leached. Accessed 22 November 2019.

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with leach

Spanish Central: Translation of leach

Nglish: Translation of leach for Spanish Speakers

Comments on leach

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not agreeing with established beliefs

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