leaf

1 of 2

noun

plural leaves ˈlēvz How to pronounce leaf (audio) also leafs ˈlēfs How to pronounce leaf (audio)
often attributive
1
a(1)
: a lateral (see lateral entry 1 sense 2) outgrowth from a plant stem that is typically a flattened expanded variably shaped greenish organ, constitutes a unit of the foliage, and functions primarily in food manufacture by photosynthesis
(2)
: a modified leaf (such as a bract or sepal) primarily engaged in functions other than food manufacture
b(1)
: foliage
trees in full leaf
(2)
: the leaves of a plant as an article of commerce
2
: something suggestive of a leaf: such as
a
: a part of a book or folded sheet containing a page on each side
b(1)
: a part (as of window shutters, folding doors, or gates) that slides or is hinged
(2)
: the movable parts of a table top
added a leaf to the table to accommodate more people
c(1)
: a thin sheet or plate of any substance : lamina
(2)
: metal (such as gold or silver) in sheets usually thinner than foil
(3)
: one of the plates of a leaf spring
leafless adjective
leaflike adjective

Illustration of leaf

Illustration of leaf
  • 1 needle-shaped
  • 2 linear
  • 3 lanceolate
  • 4 elliptical
  • 5 ensiform
  • 6 oblong
  • 7 oblanceolate with acuminate tip
  • 8 ovate with acute tip
  • 9 obovate
  • 10 spatulate
  • 11 fiddle-shaped
  • 12 cuneate
  • 13 deltoid
  • 14 cordate
  • 15 reniform
  • 16 orbiculate
  • 17 runcinate
  • 18 lyrate
  • 19 peltate
  • 20 hastate
  • 21 sagittate
  • 22 odd-pinnate
  • 23 abruptly pinnate
  • 24 trifoliolate
  • 25 26 palmate

leaf

2 of 2

verb

leafed; leafing; leafs

intransitive verb

1
: to shoot out or produce leaves
will leaf out in spring
2
: to turn over pages especially to browse or skim
leaf through a book

transitive verb

: to turn over the pages of

Examples of leaf in a Sentence

Noun I heard the rustle of the autumn leaves. a pile of dead leaves The trees drop their leaves in the fall, and new leaves grow again in the spring. The trees have not yet come into leaf. Verb we must have spent hours leafing through wallpaper books before we found something we both liked
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Pro tip: The farm also has fresh asparagus and heirloom leaf lettuce available through early May. Heidi Finley, Charlotte Observer, 5 Apr. 2024 The additional ingredients, like organic aloe vera, rosemary leaf extract, penetrate deep down to help relieve tightness and aching. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 3 Apr. 2024 In the middle of the drink was a mint leaf in the shape of a heart. Souvankham Thammavongsa, The New Yorker, 1 Apr. 2024 The leaves consist of one large and one small leaf that look the same, just different sizes. Melinda Myers, Journal Sentinel, 22 Mar. 2024 With the most recent Costco stock lists including towering topical varieties such as Majesty Palm and White Bird of Paradise at 6-8 feet and only $27.99, there have also been reports of fiddle leaf figs ranging from $15-$50. Kristin Guy, Sunset Magazine, 20 Mar. 2024 The manager shared personal updates on Facebook along with information about his job, such as news about leaf pickups and whether Port Huron residents are allowed to have chickens. USA TODAY, 15 Mar. 2024 The vegan formula is made from 90 percent pure aloe leaf juice, which is good for combating redness and rehydrating dry skin. Barbara Bellesi Zito, Travel + Leisure, 15 Mar. 2024 Experience a full English tea service with unlimited samplings of loose leaf tea, handmade tea sandwiches, nut-free scones and sweets, served on vintage dinnerware. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, 10 Mar. 2024
Verb
Symptoms in the foliage itself include yellow or reddish blotches discoloring the leaf and sometimes leaf wrinkling. Miri Talabac, Baltimore Sun, 24 Aug. 2023 Furthermore, hyaluronic acid deeply moisturizes, and aloe leaf soothes. ELLE, 31 July 2023 Hebes are very prone to leaf damage from both over- and under-watering which can also damage the roots. oregonlive, 26 Jan. 2023 Instead, nature is found in the quiet moments: the blue scrub jay flitting from leaf to leaf outside your kitchen window; the water that makes up most of our bodies and responds to the lunar pull; the breath of air filling your lungs that was once rain. Los Angeles Times, 3 Nov. 2022 Such a cacophony means that the reader keeps having to leaf back to make sense of the storyline. Ruth Margalit, The New York Review of Books, 30 Mar. 2023 Don’t ever leaf me. Travel + Leisure Editors, Travel + Leisure, 25 Jan. 2023 Don't leaf me! Kelly O'Sullivan and Blair Donovan, Country Living, 18 July 2022 The trees should leaf out normally. oregonlive, 11 June 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'leaf.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English leef, from Old English lēaf; akin to Old High German loub leaf

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb

1611, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of leaf was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near leaf

Cite this Entry

“Leaf.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leaf. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

leaf

1 of 2 noun
plural leaves ˈlēvz How to pronounce leaf (audio)
1
a
: one of the green usually flat parts that grow from a stem or twig of a plant and that function mainly in making food by photosynthesis
b
: foliage
trees in full leaf
2
a
: a part of a book or folded sheet containing a page on each side
b
: a part (as of window shutters) that slides or is hinged
c
: the movable or additional part of a table top
d
: a thin sheet (as of metal)
leafless adjective
leaflike adjective

leaf

2 of 2 verb
1
: to produce leaves
2
: to turn the pages of a book

Medical Definition

leaf

noun
: a thin layer or sheet of tissue
the anterior leaf of the coronary ligament

More from Merriam-Webster on leaf

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