\ ˈlēp How to pronounce leap (audio) \
leaped or leapt\ ˈlēpt How to pronounce leapt (audio) also  ˈlept How to pronounce leapt (audio) \; leaping\ ˈlē-​piŋ How to pronounce leaping (audio) \

Definition of leap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to spring free from or as if from the ground : jump leap over a fence a fish leaps out of the water
2a : to pass abruptly from one state or topic to another the difficult leap from college to the workplace
b : to act precipitately leaped at the chance

transitive verb

: to pass over by leaping leaped the wall



Definition of leap (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : an act of leaping : spring, bound
b(1) : a place leaped over or from
(2) : the distance covered by a leap
2a : a sudden passage or transition a great leap forward
b : a choice made in an area of ultimate concern a leap of faith
by leaps and bounds
: with extraordinary rapidity a town growing by leaps and bounds

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Other Words from leap


leaper \ ˈlē-​pər How to pronounce leaper (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for leap

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of leap in a Sentence

Verb The cat suddenly leaped into the air. Fish were leaping out of the water. He leaped off the bridge. The boys leaped over the stream. The horse leaped the stone wall. When the alarm went off, she leapt out of bed. Noun She made a graceful leap into the air. He ran and took a flying leap over the stream. He won the high jump with a leap of six feet. the leap from childhood to adulthood She has shown great leaps in ability. Technology has taken a great leap forward. It required a leap of the imagination to picture how the project would look when it was completed.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The graffiti images on the walls have a habit of leaping to life, especially the growling tiger invoked by the movie’s title and the characters’ dialogue. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: A grim fairy tale, ‘Tigers Are Not Afraid’ peers at war through a child’s eyes," 12 Sep. 2019 As firefighters mobilize, the Station fire moves up a hill after leaping Angeles Crest Highway. Sara Cardine, La Cañada Valley Sun, "10 years on, the Station fire remains burned into the minds of locals and fire officials," 21 Aug. 2019 Miller had a 19-yard touchdown run called back by holding, while Jalen Tolbert was ruled out of bounds in the end zone after leaping for a 30-yard pass from Johnson. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "Defense comes out ahead again in South Alabama’s second fall scrimmage," 14 Aug. 2019 Hopes of leaping into the world of same-day delivery are colliding with the lack of street signs, dominance of cash, threat of robbery and fear of knockoffs. Washington Post, "The ‘Amazon of Africa’ faces a big challenge: No addresses," 4 Aug. 2019 Back in 2015, video surfaced of TB12 leaping off what looked to be a much higher rocky ledge — much to the chagrin of a terrified Patriots Nation. Megan O’brien, BostonGlobe.com, "Video of Tom Brady and his daughter jumping off a waterfall even made The Rock queasy," 22 July 2019 Kayak or paddleboard alongside pods of leaping dolphins, and search for glowing bioluminescence on a snorkeling excursion after dark. National Geographic, "Baja and the Sea of Cortez High School Expedition," 17 June 2019 The novel ends with Andreas leaping into the sea off the coast of Croatia. Merve Emre, The New York Review of Books, "‘Dismembered, Relocated, Rearranged’," 6 June 2019 The Mariners finally got on the board in the fifth, when Encarnacion lined a single off a leaping Polanco’s glove at shortstop and the speedy Gordon scored from second base. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "Mariners pile up near-misses and milestones in 7-1 loss to Minnesota Twins," 17 May 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun New cast members have been known to join at the last minute, or even during the season as Jones did, and SNL still has a strong pool of writers who could easily make the leap to performing. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Saturday Night Live," 7 Sep. 2019 And there was still the question of whether quarterback Anthony Brown would make the leap into the leader the Eagles projected him to be in as a redshirt junior. Julian Benbow, BostonGlobe.com, "BC gets started with impressive win over Virginia Tech," 31 Aug. 2019 Shulaker, however, is optimistic that his team will be able to make that leap, estimating in the press release that commercial nanotube microprocessors could be available in less than five years. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Milestone Carbon-Nanotube Microchip Sends First Message: ‘Hello World!’," 30 Aug. 2019 Channeling courage and a personal dose of Rosie the Riveter, Basmayor made the leap and pursued a career in the skilled trades. Lowe’s, USA TODAY, "Building the next generation of skilled trades workers starts with women," 27 Aug. 2019 The idea was to try to make the leap into mainstream pop stardom. Ross Raihala, Twin Cities, "Stillwater native Jonah Marais and his boy band Why Don’t We earn screams at Grandstand," 23 Aug. 2019 But the way policymakers think about the transition to life beyond bars is changing, as is the number of people making that leap. The Economist, "In America, art is helping prisoners adapt to life outside," 22 Aug. 2019 Still, the public lashing couldn't have been easy to hear for Hollywood veteran Emma Watts, who is among a small cadre of Fox film executives who made the leap to Disney, and is the vice chairman of the 20th Century Fox label. Pamela Mcclintock, The Hollywood Reporter, "Disney Sets Course for Pared-Down 20th Century Fox Amid $170M Loss," 7 Aug. 2019 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is making the leap to the small screen. Anna Washenko, Ars Technica, "The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy," 25 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'leap.' 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 leap


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


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

History and Etymology for leap

Verb and Noun

Middle English lepen, from Old English hlēapan; akin to Old High German hlouffan to run

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Statistics for leap

Last Updated

5 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for leap

The first known use of leap was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for leap


How to pronounce leap (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of leap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to jump from a surface
: to jump over (something)
: to move quickly



English Language Learners Definition of leap (Entry 2 of 2)

: a long or high jump
: the distance that a person or animal jumps
: a great and sudden change, increase, or improvement


\ ˈlēp How to pronounce leap (audio) \
leaped or leapt\ ˈlēpt , ˈlept \; leaping\ ˈlē-​piŋ \

Kids Definition of leap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to jump or cause to jump from a surface Fish leaped out of the water.
2 : to move, act, or pass quickly He leaped out of bed.

Other Words from leap

leaper \ ˈlē-​pər \ noun



Kids Definition of leap (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of springing up or over : jump
2 : a place that is jumped over or from … Lizzie took the leap, stumbled … and fell.— Anna Sewell, Black Beauty
3 : the distance that is jumped a five foot leap

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More from Merriam-Webster on leap

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for leap

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with leap

Spanish Central: Translation of leap

Nglish: Translation of leap for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of leap for Arabic Speakers

Comments on leap

What made you want to look up leap? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a calculated move

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