lep·​er ˈle-pər How to pronounce leper (audio)
: a person affected with leprosy
: a person shunned for moral or social reasons

Examples of leper in a Sentence

was treated as a leper after she leveled unpopular criticism of the beloved star
Recent Examples on the Web Once a Wampanoag fishing ground, the island was the site of a natural history school headed by Louis Agassiz in the late 19th century, a leper colony in the early 20th, a juvenile rehabilitation center for troubled boys until 2011, and most recently, a residential drug rehabilitation center. Maliya Ellis, BostonGlobe.com, 2 July 2023 The backdrop to the story is India’s struggle for independence, and the supporting cast includes native and Western physicians, surgeons, estate owners, a leper colony, and an elephant. Denise Davidson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 May 2023 Metastatic bone cancer has been discovered in Egyptian tombs, in a Portuguese necropolis, in a prehistoric grave in the Tennessee River Valley and in a leper skeleton from a medieval cemetery in England. George Johnson, Discover Magazine, 30 July 2013 The actual purpose of a quarantine has always been, not to sequester diseased individuals indefinitely—as in the case of leper colonies and tuberculosis sanatoriums—but to detain persons whose exposure to a communicable disease was uncertain to evaluate their health. A. Roger Ekirch, WSJ, 16 July 2021 Jesus never charged a leper a co-pay! David Marchesephoto Illustration By Bráulio Amado, New York Times, 28 Dec. 2020 The son of God walks on water; Jesus heals a leper and banishes moneylenders from the temple; Lazarus rises from the dead; camels, goats, sheep and horses stride up and down the carpeted aisles. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 21 Oct. 2022 After only four doses over three days, Sheskin’s patient saw his lesions almost completely heal, all the more miraculous since the primary treatment for leprosy back then was simply to shunt sufferers into lives of isolation in leper colonies. Christian Millman, Discover Magazine, 23 Oct. 2019 The film follows the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893 and the banishment of many Native Hawaiians to a leper colony. Chris Bieri, Anchorage Daily News, 2 Dec. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'leper.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from lepre leprosy, from Late Latin lepra, from Greek, from lepein to peel; perhaps akin to Lithuanian lopas piece, scrap

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of leper was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near leper

Cite this Entry

“Leper.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leper. Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


lep·​er ˈlep-ər How to pronounce leper (audio)
: a person who has leprosy

Medical Definition


lep·​er ˈlep-ər How to pronounce leper (audio)
: an individual affected with leprosy

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