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



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


verb (2)
leaved; leaving

Definition of leave (Entry 3 of 3)

Other Words from leave

Verb (1)

leaver noun

Synonyms for leave

Synonyms: Noun

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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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That would allow those governments to leave some of their own river water in Lake Mead for everyone’s future. Brandon Loomis, The Arizona Republic, 7 May 2022 However, a Ukrainian commander inside the plant claimed Russians had broken their pledge to allow civilians to leave through the evacuation corridors. Alexandra Meeks, CNN, 6 May 2022 The idea, according to Ohio State, is to give athletes more incentive to stay on track for graduation and to provide more chances for athletes to leave Columbus with less debt or no debt. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, 5 May 2022 Mariupol has been under relentless bombardment for several weeks, but a break in the fighting in recent days has allowed a steady flow of people to leave. NBC News, 3 May 2022 With four months before Apple Watch Series 8 is expected to arrive, there’s time for more leaks to leave us better informed. David Phelan, Forbes, 2 May 2022 Nine months after the City Council adopted the new law allowing council members to designate areas as off-limits to homeless camps, permanent metal signs setting deadlines for all homeless people to leave have been posted at more than 100 locations. Los Angeles Times, 2 May 2022 The Good News: God intended for couples to leave their families and create whole new ones with each other. Elizabeth Berry, Woman's Day, 2 May 2022 The former lawyer was no longer directly calling for France to leave the European Union and abandon the euro currency. Ibtissem Guenfoud, ABC News, 25 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun To perfect her looks, Hues reaches for TGIN products, especially their rosewater leave-in conditioner. Vogue, 6 May 2022 And benefits have expanded to include longer paid leave for parents, more flexible schedules, backup childcare services, and even tutoring stipends. Chandra Steele, PCMAG, 4 May 2022 Many companies are improving benefits, such as parental leave, mental and physical health benefits and better training and development. Ken Sterling, Forbes, 3 May 2022 The Ventura County Star reported Monday that the officers were placed on administrative leave, a standard practice after a police shooting, and that their identities may be released along with body-camera footage of the incident. Christian Martinez, Los Angeles Times, 3 May 2022 Zaccagnini lives in Sweden, a country known for generous family-leave policies and a notable lack of financial upheavals. Sheelah Kolhatkar, The New Yorker, 2 May 2022 He was placed on administrative leave, which last month was extended into April. Brendan Morrow, The Week, 29 Apr. 2022 By 1987, the stress of working in the department contributed to Jackson’s going on disability leave, which would ultimately shrink his income. New York Times, 28 Apr. 2022 Clearly, not all leave-in conditioners are created equal. Lauren Dana, Glamour, 26 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of leave

Verb (1)

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


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


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

Learn More About leave

Time Traveler for leave

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for leave

Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Leave.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leave. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for leave


\ 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.



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.


transitive verb
left; leaving

Legal Definition of leave

More from Merriam-Webster on leave

Nglish: Translation of leave for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of leave for Arabic Speakers


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