1 of 2


plural lean-tos ˈlēn-ˌtüz How to pronounce lean-to (audio)
: a wing or extension of a building having a lean-to roof
: a rough shed or shelter with a lean-to roof


2 of 2


: having only one slope or pitch
a lean-to roof
see roof illustration

Examples of lean-to in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Places to Stay Campgrounds Visitors looking to camp have their choice between two campgrounds on Mount Desert Island, one campground on the Schoodic Peninsula, and five lean-to shelters on Isle au Haut. Jacqueline Dole, Travel + Leisure, 29 Mar. 2024 History buffs probably won’t be the only ones fascinated as the movie slows down to show how Crockett constructs a lean-to shelter in the wilderness while recovering from his injuries, and later manages to coax a wild horse to become his replacement mount. Joe Leydon, Variety, 8 Mar. 2024 The effect, when the glass doors are fully open, is that of a luxurious lean-to. Tim McKeough, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Feb. 2024 Lean-to sheds feature one sloping roof; because of their design, the back of lean-to sheds can be attached to existing structures, such as a garage, to save on building costs. Adrienne Jordan, Better Homes & Gardens, 3 Feb. 2024 The sheriff said at the time that personal belongings, including survival books and tarps, were found at the scene, as well as a lean-to built from local logs over a firepit. Chris Pandolfo, Fox News, 1 Sep. 2023 Set back beneath a lean-to roof are a bath and areas for prep and storage. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 15 Aug. 2023 For The Boston Globe Officials estimate that there are about 140 people on the street today and about 35 structures — traditional camping tents, lean-tos made of tarps, and other ramshackle forms of shelter. Danny McDonald, BostonGlobe.com, 2 July 2023 Thatch the lean-to with slabs of bark or leafy or pine-needle branches, weaving them into the framework. Keith McCafferty, Field & Stream, 29 June 2023
No one quite knows how—imagine trying to arrange several Volvos in a lean-to shape in a time before the wheel—or why. Josh Condon, Robb Report, 5 Mar. 2023

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

Word History

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1649, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lean-to was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near lean-to

Cite this Entry

“Lean-to.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lean-to. Accessed 29 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
plural lean-tos
: a wing of a building having a lean-to roof
: a rough shed or shelter having a lean-to roof


2 of 2 adjective
: having only one slope or pitch
lean-to roof

More from Merriam-Webster on lean-to

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