1 of 2


: a contract by which one conveys real estate, equipment, or facilities for a specified term and for a specified rent
took out a five-year lease on the house
also : the act of such conveyance or the term for which it is made
: a piece of land or property that is leased
: a continuance or opportunity for continuance
a new lease on life


2 of 2


leased; leasing

transitive verb

: to grant by lease
: to hold under a lease
leasable adjective
Choose the Right Synonym for lease

hire, let, lease, rent, charter mean to engage or grant for use at a price.

hire and let, strictly speaking, are complementary terms, hire implying the act of engaging or taking for use and let the granting of use.

we hired a car for the summer
decided to let the cottage to a young couple

lease strictly implies a letting under the terms of a contract but is often applied to hiring on a lease.

the diplomat leased an apartment for a year

rent stresses the payment of money for the full use of property and may imply either hiring or letting.

instead of buying a house, they decided to rent
will not rent to families with children

charter applies to the hiring or letting of a vehicle usually for exclusive use.

charter a bus to go to the game

Example Sentences

Noun They took out a five-year lease on the house. We hold leases on both of our cars. Verb She leases a red convertible. I have leased this house for the last four years. We leased the house to a young married couple.
Recent Examples on the Web
Each lease is for an initial 10 years and subject to renewal or extension. Becky Bohrer, ajc, 11 Mar. 2023 The lease was up and the owner wants to sell the building, Kirshenbaum says. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, 8 Mar. 2023 Hunter Biden also said the lease was under his company name Rosemont Seneca in a 2017 email exchange with the House of Sweden recovered from his laptop and confirmed by the Swedish government, according to the Washington Post. Sudiksha Kochi, USA TODAY, 1 Mar. 2023 The lease with Folk School of Fayetteville is for $1 annually for two years. Stacy Ryburn, Arkansas Online, 28 Feb. 2023 Its 15-year lease was the largest in the city’s history at the time. Erin Griffith, New York Times, 25 Feb. 2023 The lease is for an initial seven-month term, with two one-year extension options. San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Feb. 2023 The lease is a welcome addition to a downtown where vacant office space is rising amid downsizings in the aftermath of the pandemic. Staff, Hartford Courant, 5 Feb. 2023 However, the agency had declined to approve that deal because the ground lease was an unapproved management contract and therefore void. Mark Maremont, WSJ, 7 Dec. 2022
But such restrictions do not apply to subsidized renters, giving landlords incentive to lease to them. Dalton Bennett, Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2023 The Archdiocese would lease the property next to the church to the developer for the hotel, which would provide a financial benefit for the church, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller told the city in 2019. Madison Iszler, San Antonio Express-News, 15 Feb. 2023 The family members – who purchased the Carrie Cerino’s property Dec. 9 for $500,000 under the company name MAHA Laxmi 8922 Inc. – plans to own and operate a party center there and lease the restaurant space to a restaurateur. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, 30 Dec. 2022 The city owns the land and will lease it to the football club and to the housing development team, which includes Related Companies and Sterling Equities, which is partly controlled by by the Wilpon family, the former Mets owners. Karen Matthews, Fortune, 16 Nov. 2022 Dubbed the Landlord Incentive Program, the initiative offers cash to property owners who agree to lease units to tenants who are transitioning out of homelessness. Andrew Brinker,, 10 Feb. 2023 Opponents of large solar installations frequently argue that solar farms will take away valuable food production when farmers decide to stop tilling and instead lease their land to a power company. Karl Ebert, Journal Sentinel, 2 Feb. 2023 In 2021, Atlanta residents called in at least 17 hours of public comment as the City Council weighed whether to lease 85 acres of the forested land to the Atlanta Police Foundation for the training center. Char Adams, NBC News, 26 Jan. 2023 The Downtown Development Authority, which owns the riverside park at the busy corner of Andrews Avenue and East Las Olas Boulevard, is scheduled to vote on a deal to lease the land to SRC at a Feb. 9 board meeting. Ben Crandell, Sun Sentinel, 23 Jan. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lease.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History



Middle English les, from Anglo-French, from lesser


Anglo-French lesser, laisser, lescher to leave, hand over, lease, from Latin laxare to loosen, from laxus slack — more at slack

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of lease was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near lease

Cite this Entry

“Lease.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: an agreement to hand over real estate for a period of time usually for a specified rent
also : the act of leasing real estate
: property that is leased


2 of 2 verb
leased; leasing
: to grant by lease : let
: to hold under a lease

Legal Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a contract by which an owner of property conveys exclusive possession, control, use, or enjoyment of it for a specified rent and a specified term after which the property reverts to the owner
also : the act of such conveyance or the term for which it is made see also sublease compare easement, license, security interest at interest sense 1, tenancy

Note: Article 2A of the Uniform Commercial Code, which governs leases where adopted, defines lease as “a transfer of the right to possession and use of goods for a term in return for consideration.”

building lease
: ground lease in this entry
consumer lease
: a lease made by a lessor regularly engaged in the selling or leasing of a product to a lessee who is leasing the product primarily for his or her personal or household use
finance lease
: a lease in which the lessor acquires goods from a supplier in accordance with the specifications of the lessee

Note: Under section 2A-103 of the Uniform Commercial Code, before the lessor signs the lease or the lease becomes effective, the lessee must receive a copy of or approve of the contract by which the goods were acquired or must receive a statement of terms (as warranties, disclaimers, and liquidated damages) relating to the contract or notification of where such information can be obtained.

ground lease
: a lease of land usually for a long term in consideration of the payment of rent and with the agreement that the lessee build or improve a structure on the land

called also building lease

mineral lease
: a lease granting the right to work a mine and extract the minerals or other valuable deposits from it under prescribed conditions (as of time, price, or royalties)

called also mining lease

net lease
: a lease requiring the lessee to assume all operation expenses (as for maintenance, insurance, and taxes) in addition to the payment of rent
operating lease
: a lease of property and especially equipment for a term which is shorter than the property's useful life and in which the lessor is responsible for certain expenses (as taxes)
perpetual lease \ pər-​ˈpe-​chu̇-​wəl-​ \
: a lease renewable forever at the lessee's option
proprietary lease
: a lease used to convey to a member of a cooperative the exclusive possession of a residential unit
true lease
: a lease that resembles a security agreement but retains the attributes of a lease
: property and especially real property that is leased
in the civil law of Louisiana : a contract by which a person provides labor or services for a price


2 of 2 verb
leased; leasing

transitive verb

: to grant by lease to another
leases mopeds to tourists
: to hold under a lease
a company leasing a fleet of cars for its executives

intransitive verb

: to be under a lease or subject to a lease
the vacation house leases for $500 a week
: to grant property by a lease
have leased to students in the past

History and Etymology for lease


Anglo-French les, from lesser to grant by lease, from Old French laisser to let go, from Latin laxare to loosen, from laxus slack

More from Merriam-Webster on lease

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