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 Just maybe leave it behind when traveling, especially by air. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 20 May 2022 Other people leave negative comments to trip you up. Graydon Mckee, Forbes, 20 May 2022 Top players will leave the Wave, even as the franchise tries to attract fans and outperform the dismal track record of NWSL expansion teams. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 May 2022 All of the details of the big day can easily leave any bride feeling flustered. Vogue, 20 May 2022 The creams leave your skin feeling silky smooth, without the need of a razor or wax strip. Audrey Noble, Harper's BAZAAR, 20 May 2022 Complexities in packaging needs and our waste management systems leave no clear singular answer in regard to packaging that is less environmentally damaging. Katie Becker, Allure, 20 May 2022 The three included daily meals — with menu items like lobster rolls and Maine blueberry pie — will leave your crew’s bellies happy and full. Karen Cicero, Good Housekeeping, 19 May 2022 Without chances to recover from the past two years, more people will leave, and the staffing crisis will deepen. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 18 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The 911 dispatcher who spoke with Rogers was put on administrative leave Monday, Erie County officials said. Michelle Watson And Travis Caldwell, CNN, 20 May 2022 The employees have been put on administrative leave, according to the statement from the agency’s chief spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi. BostonGlobe.com, 20 May 2022 The employees have been put on administrative leave, according to the statement from the agency’s chief spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi. Peter Hermann And Min Joo Kim, Anchorage Daily News, 20 May 2022 The employee is now on administrative leave while the district investigates. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, 20 May 2022 The officer has been placed on administrative leave, according to Robinson. Drake Bentley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 20 May 2022 The veteran police officer who fired shots at the woman will be placed on administrative leave following the bureau's investigation. Brook Endale, The Enquirer, 20 May 2022 The unnamed dispatcher was placed on administrative leave Monday following comments Tops Friendly Market assistant office manager Latisha Rogers made regarding the 911 call. Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone, 19 May 2022 In January, the board said he had been put on administrative leave pending an independent investigation commissioned by its legal firm, Shipman & Goodwin. Don Stacom, Hartford Courant, 17 May 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

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Leave.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leave. Accessed 24 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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