left·​over | \ ˈleft-ˌō-vər \

Definition of leftover

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that remains unused or unconsumed especially : leftover food served at a later meal usually used in plural
2 : an anachronistic survival : vestige



Definition of leftover (Entry 2 of 2)

: not consumed or used leftover food leftover space

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Synonyms for leftover

Synonyms: Noun

end, fag end, oddment, remainder, remnant, scrap, stub

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Examples of leftover in a Sentence


Are we having leftovers again? The law is a leftover from earlier times.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Don’t sweat it, Kramer says: The aesthetic of abundance is always a hit, and there’s no shame in packing up the leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. S.pellegrino®, Bon Appetit, "A Beach Picnic, L.A. Chef–Style," 25 June 2018 Cook once and eat the leftovers for another night with little food preparation. Joan Salge Blake, BostonGlobe.com, "Food waste is killing the planet. Restaurants are stepping up. Will you?," 30 Apr. 2018 The battery gets all the leftover space in a smartphone. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Don’t buy a 5G smartphone—at least, not for a while," 14 Dec. 2018 Refrigerate the mixture for an hour (have some of the leftover stout in the meantime!). ELLE Decor, "This Holiday Party Is Anything But Traditional—And We're Obsessed," 30 Nov. 2018 Chances are, your fridge will be full of leftover turkey and stuffing the day after Thanksgiving. Suzannah Weiss, Teen Vogue, "8 Black Friday 2018 Food Deals," 21 Nov. 2018 Again, Turshen thinks up more than 125 recipes and 20 menu ideas that creatively take advantage of pesky leftovers—more necessary than ever over the holidays. Marley Marius, Vogue, "11 Cookbooks for Every Foodie on Your List," 15 Nov. 2018 The late Stephen Hawking thought the itty-bitty objects would rapidly lose mass and evaporate, but perhaps leftover particles would persist. Adam Hadhazy, Discover Magazine, "Scientists Hunt for A Seeming Paradox: A Magnet With Only One Pole," 13 Nov. 2018 Then, the team found a slowly expanding ring of gas inside the clouds of the supernova leftovers. Doris Elin Salazar, Space.com, "'Lonely' Neutron Star Looks Fabulous in This New Close-Up," 31 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In the other case, dead alien microbes are decomposing and their leftover organic material is floating to the surface. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "Saturn's Moon Enceladus Is Spewing Complex Organic Molecules Into Space," 27 June 2018 For her entrance look, Trinity paired the ensemble with a choker and fiberglass earrings, making a bracelet from leftover zip tie material just before walking into the workroom herself. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "From Runway to Red Carpet to RuPaul’s Drag Race: How Trinity The Tuck Paid Homage to Sarah Paulson’s Prada Look," 13 Dec. 2018 Carve 2 oval eyes, then cut 2 smaller circles from leftover rind for pupils. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "50+ Creative Pumpkin Carving Ideas for Halloween," 25 July 2018 And if the child tax credit reduces your tax bill to zero, the IRS may even send you up to $1,400 of that leftover credit per child , Harrison notes. Tina Orem, The Seattle Times, "How to make the most of the child tax credit this year," 28 Nov. 2018 Well, the rush of Black Friday and Cyber Monday has mostly subsided, but there are still a handful of leftover offers worth noting. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Dealmaster: Get a $100 Apple App Store and iTunes gift card for $85," 28 Nov. 2018 Between leftover makeup and dead skin cells, our pillowcases collect a lot more gunk than any of us would like to think. Rachel Nussbaum, Glamour, "14 Glamour Editors on the Skin Care Tips That Changed Their Complexions," 9 Oct. 2018 And there are few restrictions on how leftover funds are used. Fredreka Schouten, USA TODAY, "A record $107 million was raised for Trump’s inauguration. So where did it all go? No one will say.," 18 Jan. 2018 Of the 500 quarries in the United States, some look obviously dangerous (abandoned mines containing leftover construction equipment and machinery, for instance) but others resemble scenic lakes surrounded by cliffs. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Woman's Day, "Mom Warns About the Hidden Dangers of Jumping into Quarries After Losing Son," 1 Aug. 2016

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


1866, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1864, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for leftover

Last Updated

22 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for leftover

The first known use of leftover was in 1864

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More Definitions for leftover



English Language Learners Definition of leftover

: food that has not been finished at a meal and that is often served at another meal
: a thing that remains after something is finished or ended


left·​over | \ ˈleft-ˌō-vər \

Kids Definition of leftover

: something (as food) left over We had leftovers for supper.

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More from Merriam-Webster on leftover

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with leftover

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for leftover

Spanish Central: Translation of leftover

Nglish: Translation of leftover for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of leftover for Arabic Speakers

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