leave

verb (1)
\ ˈlēv How to pronounce leave (audio) \
left\ ˈleft How to pronounce left (audio) \; leaving

Definition of leave

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1a(1) : bequeath, devise left a fortune to his son
(2) : to have remaining after one's death leaves a widow and two children
b : to cause to remain as a trace or aftereffect oil leaves a stain the wound left an ugly scar
2a : to cause or allow to be or remain in a specified condition leave the door open his manner left me cold
b : to fail to include or take along left the notes at home the movie leaves a lot out
c : to have as a remainder 4 from 7 leaves 3
d : to permit to be or remain subject to another's action or control just leave everything to me
e : let
f : to cause or allow to be or remain available leave room for expansion left myself an out
3a : to go away from : depart leave the room
b : desert, abandon left his wife
c : to terminate association with : withdraw from left school before graduation
4 : to put, deposit, or deliver before or in the process of departing I left a package for you leave a message

intransitive verb

: set out, depart left for the office at eight sharp
leave alone
: to refrain from bothering, disturbing, or using Leave him alone while he's doing his homework.

leave

noun

Definition of leave (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : permission to do something
b : authorized especially extended absence from duty or employment
2 : an act of leaving : departure

leave

verb (2)
leaved; leaving

Definition of leave (Entry 3 of 3)

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Other Words from leave

Verb (1)

leaver noun

Synonyms for leave

Synonyms: Noun

break, holiday [chiefly British], hols [British], recess, vacation

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Leave vs. Let: Usage Guide

Verb (1)

Leave (sense 2e) with the infinitive but without to leave it be is a mostly spoken idiom used in writing especially for humorous effect. It is not often criticized in British English, but American commentators, adhering to an opinion first expressed in 1881, still dislike it.

Examples of leave in a Sentence

Noun

He took an unpaid leave from work. The soldiers were given a two-month leave for the holidays. He took a few months' leave to care for his sick mother. Our professor is on leave this semester. She is on leave from her law firm. a soldier on military leave I beg leave to differ with you, sir. He was found guilty but was granted leave to appeal against the verdict.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Nancy left the show in 2002, and the couple had their now-14-year-old son John in 2004. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "Here’s Why You Probably Recognize Steve Carell's Wife Nancy," 7 May 2019 The discovery left a particular impression on Robert J. Woods, the intelligence gathering team’s commander. Alex Hollings, Popular Mechanics, "Why the F-14 Tomcat Is Such a Badass Plane," 3 May 2019 The season two finale left fans in a MAJOR cliffhanger as Monse, Cesar, Jamal, and Ruby were kidnapped by some mysterious figures in a van. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Everything We Know About "On My Block" Season 3," 30 Apr. 2019 Now, place right hand on floor directly under your shoulders, then left hand, and push up to return to a high plank position. SELF, "Plank and Twist Strength Workout," 28 Apr. 2019 Many of these women left the traditional workforce after having their kids and are cobbling together a new entrepreneurial career alongside a new sense of self. Lauren Smith Brody, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Invisible Nannies of Instagram," 17 Apr. 2019 Previously, the background blurring feature left the background in place, letting participants wonder at what that vague pile of stuff behind you might be. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft Teams taps AI to boost new background, whiteboarding features," 19 Mar. 2019 Another way to look at these gender differences is to compare men and women who leave the labor force. Anna North, Vox, "You’ve heard that women make 80 cents to men’s dollar. It’s much worse than that.," 2 Apr. 2019 Abrams wrote the script with Chris Terrio after the original director, Colin Trevorrow, left the project over creative differences in September 2017. Adam Schubak, Popular Mechanics, "Everything We Know So Far About 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'," 12 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Serious leave-no-trace campers can also find the right-size Snow Peak to meet their cooking needs. Paige Szmodis, Popular Mechanics, "The 10 Best Portable Fire Pits to Build a Campfire Anywhere," 6 May 2019 Standard paternity leave in the U.K. is one or two weeks. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "When It Comes to Paternity Leave, Prince Harry Will Reportedly Follow in Prince William's Footsteps," 28 Apr. 2019 There has been much discussion about how much maternity and paternity leave that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry plan—or don’t plan—to take. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle's Maternity Leave Is “Likely to be Longer” Than Three Months," 26 Apr. 2019 As a law partner at New York's Boies, Schiller & Flexner (yes, the same that has represented Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos), Kirsten Gillibrand realized the firm didn't have a maternity leave policy. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Women Candidates Have Fun Hobbies Too, They Just Don't Get to Talk About Them," 4 Apr. 2019 In October 2016, the Odyssey board of trustees placed Bugbee on paid administrative leave. Kathleen Megan, courant.com, "Former Odyssey Principal Surrenders Educator Certificate Following State Investigation," 10 July 2018 The trooper or troopers who fired their weapons were placed on mandatory 72-hour administrative leave. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Copper Center man dies in trooper-involved shooting during domestic-violence call," 6 July 2018 Christmas break, counseling and rejuggling courses and workload (and some unpaid leave on the horizon) have helped somewhat. Carolyn Hax, The Seattle Times, "She feels like a stay-at-home mom stuck in a career woman’s body," 29 Mar. 2019 Universal primary care is also on her to-do list, as are paid family and medical leave, raising the minimum wage, and improving the public education system. Jill Filipovic, Harper's BAZAAR, "Your State-by-State Guide to Women Running in the Midterms," 31 Oct. 2018

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

Verb (1)

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

Noun

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

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for leave

Verb (1)

Middle English leven, from Old English lǣfan; akin to Old High German verleiben to leave, Old English belīfan to be left over, and perhaps to Lithuanian lipti to adhere, Greek lipos grease, fat

Noun

Middle English leve, from Old English lēaf; akin to Middle High German loube permission, Old English alȳfan to allow — more at believe

Verb (2)

Middle English leven, from leef leaf

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Statistics for leave

Last Updated

16 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for leave

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

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More Definitions for leave

leave

noun

English Language Learners Definition of leave

: a period of time when someone has special permission to be away from a job or from military service
formal : permission to do something

leave

verb
\ ˈlēv How to pronounce leave (audio) \
left\ ˈleft \; leaving

Kids Definition of leave

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to go away from Please leave the room.
2 : to cause to remain behind on purpose or without meaning to Oh, no, I left my mittens at school. Leave your money at home.
3 : to cause or allow to be or remain in a certain condition Leave the door open.
4 : to cause to remain as a trace, mark, or sign The cut left a scar.
5 : to have as a remainder Taking 7 from 10 leaves 3.
6 : to allow to be under another's control Leave everything to me.
7 : to cause to be available Leave room for dessert.
8 : to give by will She left property to the children.
9 : to give up He left school before graduating.
10 : deliver sense 1 She left the package on the way home.

leave

noun

Kids Definition of leave (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : permitted absence from duty or work The soldiers were off on leave.
2 : the act of going away and saying good-bye I had to take leave of a friend.
3 : permission I asked leave to speak.
left; leaving

Legal Definition of leave

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More from Merriam-Webster on leave

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with leave

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for leave

Spanish Central: Translation of leave

Nglish: Translation of leave for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of leave for Arabic Speakers

Comments on leave

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