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


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

More delicate flavors and ingredients that could easily be leached of flavor over high heat (herbs, mainly) need a cold steep, which can be done while the base cools in the fridge or in an ice bath. Washington Post, "How to create the ice cream of your dreams," 9 July 2019 Indeed, in damping down the narrative thrust of the story, Mr. Lang leached much of the passion from it. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "‘prisoner of the state’ Review: Stripping Away the Story," 12 June 2019 Other reasons for the rule include the fact that grass clippings leach phosphorus and nitrogen into streams and rivers which promotes the growth of algae and pollutes the water supply. Maia Anderson, Cincinnati.com, "NKY residents: Grass cuttings slippery when wet and can cause safety problems," 5 June 2019 According to court filings, pollutants leach from the ash into the groundwater and then enter the Cumberland River, a source of drinking water for Nashville. Washington Post, "Utility will remove coal ash from pits near Tennessee river," 13 June 2019 Untreated water leached lead from pipes and into Flint's homes and businesses while cost-cutting financial managers — appointed by Snyder — were running the city. David Eggert, chicagotribune.com, "Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's phone seized in Flint water investigation," 3 June 2019 At this point, the film’s visual palette will be leached of color and life; everything will be gray, black, coldly white. Daniel Mendelsohn, The New York Review of Books, "Ingmar Bergman, Novelist," 18 Apr. 2019 Excessive calcium levels When cancer damages a person’s bones, too much calcium can leach into their bloodstream, the NCI says. Korin Miller, SELF, "How Does Cancer Actually Kill Someone?," 15 Mar. 2019 Without it, water can leach heavy metals from pipes, solder, and other parts of an aging water system, carrying it directly to the faucets of the customers. Molly Rauch, Good Housekeeping, "When Your Water Poisons Your Children," 16 Feb. 2016

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 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

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