left·​over | \ ˈleft-ˌō-vər How to pronounce leftover (audio) \

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

And order extra, because those beans make superb lunch leftovers. Nancy Ngo, Twin Cities, "Where there’s smoke, there are barbecue restaurants. Here are 10 new ones.," 4 July 2019 Finally, the label also scavenged scraps of couture fabrics that were sample swatches or leftovers (not enough to create full garments) and used them as design features. Kristen Bateman, Teen Vogue, "Schueller de Waal Turned Their Couture Week Show Into A Street Cleanup in The Name Of Fashion Therapy," 3 July 2019 Transform those Thanksgiving leftovers into a tasty, no-cook lunch — no utensils required! The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Turkey, Cranberry, and Brie Wraps," 2 July 2019 Keep your fridge below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and eat leftovers within three to four days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Holly Yan And Allen Kim, CNN, "What is listeria? Everything you need to know," 2 July 2019 Our meals are often based on what’s leftover or what’s been donated or bought on sale. Julia Turshen, Washington Post, "How cooking for charity made me a better cook at home," 1 July 2019 The best part: leftover grilled shrimp make excellent next-day shrimp tacos, or protein on a salad. Mareya Ibrahim, NBC News, "These shrimp skewers with chimichurri are the ultimate 'cook once, eat twice' recipe," 29 June 2019 Throughout the state, sheriffs concocted schemes to feed their prisoners as little as possible and found creative ways to stock their jail pantries with other folks’ rancid leftovers. al.com, "How many Alabama sheriffs are crooked? DOJ needs to give us an answer," 26 June 2019 Below the drinks are a variety of multipurpose bins to keep everything organized on the shelves, and glass food containers to store leftovers and ready-to-eat fruit and veggies. Hannah Chubb, PEOPLE.com, "Peek Inside Khloé Kardashian's Newly Organized Fridge — and Learn How to Recreate It Yourself," 19 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Kim Sunée has a new recipe this week for an easy one that uses leftover salmon and fried capers. Julia O'malley, Anchorage Daily News, "How Alaska eats: Tons of local seafood pasta-bilities," 7 June 2019 Top leftover pasta with bread crumbs and a drizzle of oil. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "How to Cook Anything with a Torch," 8 Feb. 2019 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

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

9 Jul 2019

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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 How to pronounce leftover (audio) \

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

Comments on leftover

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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