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)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from leave

Verb (1)

leaver noun

Synonyms for leave

Synonyms: Noun

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

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 This differs from our original Detox Dry Shampoo which is more 'heavy duty' and absorbs more oils, leaving hair with more texture and volume. Elizabeth Denton, Allure, "Drybar's New Clear Dry Shampoo Is the Residue-Free Formula We've All Been Waiting For," 11 Apr. 2019 In this new trailer, for example, fans see Scar demanding Simba leave Pride Rock never comes back, as well as Nala and Simba reuniting as adults. Sophia Caraballo, Woman's Day, "The New 'Lion King' Trailer Introduces the Villainous Scar," 10 Apr. 2019 Spain became the leading migrant entry route into Europe last year with over 57,000 unauthorized arrivals, after Italy essentially closed its borders to migrants leaving Libya. Amira El Masaiti, The Seattle Times, "Pope in Morocco: Walls, fear-mongering won’t stop migration," 31 Mar. 2019 There are no democratic senators left who voted against Toomey-Manchin. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Gun Violence Is a Women's Issue," 27 Mar. 2019 The directive would need to be implemented by all EU member states into their own national laws, leaving room for separate interpretations. Raf Casert, The Seattle Times, "EU parliament backs copyright bill targeting US tech giants," 27 Mar. 2019 It’s time, then, to cut short the vigil some purists have kept since Phoebe Philo left the building at Céline. Jessica Iredale, Town & Country, "When Did "Wearable" Become a Dirty Word in Fashion?," 27 Mar. 2019 Line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the two long sides; grease paper. Kate Merker, Country Living, "Chocolate-Matcha Swirl Pound Cake," 19 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The Mesa Police Department said Monday that the officers involved in the incident remain on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the department's internal investigation. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "No charges filed against Mesa police officers caught on video beating man," 28 Aug. 2018 Shortly before this meeting and while on leave, authorities say, Zhang had taken a trip to China with his family. Allyson Chiu, latimes.com, "Ex-Apple engineer arrested on his way to China, charged with stealing autonomous-car secrets," 11 July 2018 Labour laws that might help women, such as extended maternity leave, have limited scope given that only 5% of women work in formal salaried jobs. The Economist, "Culture and the labour market keep India’s women at home," 5 July 2018 Chobani offers men and women generous parental leave, as well: up to six weeks, at full pay, for all full-time employees. David Gelles, New York Times, "Chobani, the Greek Yogurt Maker, Reclaims Control of Its Finances," 28 June 2018 Another 122 have been put on leave, suspended or are facing investigations since December 2016. Jeff Green / Bloomberg, Time, "#MeToo Has Implicated 414 High-Profile Executives and Employees in 18 Months," 25 June 2018 Some families who have endured poor housing conditions to keep their children in school leave unsafe situations as soon as the last bell rings. Jeanne Houck, Cincinnati.com, "Bethany House needs donations for influx of homeless," 15 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about leave

Statistics for leave

Last Updated

18 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for leave

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

WORD OF THE DAY

having no equal

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!