leave

1 of 3

verb (1)

left ˈleft How to pronounce leave (audio) ; leaving

transitive verb

1
a(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
2
a
: 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
3
a
: 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
leaver noun
Leave vs. Let: Usage Guide

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.

leave

2 of 3

noun

1
a
: permission to do something
b
: authorized especially extended absence from duty or employment
2
: an act of leaving : departure

leave

3 of 3

verb (2)

leaved; leaving
Phrases
leave alone
: to refrain from bothering, disturbing, or using
Leave him alone while he's doing his homework.

Example Sentences

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
For believing in me that much to leave you with me. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, 28 Nov. 2022 Just rake some into a portion of the yard and leave them over winter. Karl Schneider, The Indianapolis Star, 28 Nov. 2022 This is a different USC team than the one that left Utah heartbroken, one that presumably wouldn’t leave itself in position for a bad penalty or two to impact the final outcome. Los Angeles Times, 28 Nov. 2022 Frozen leftovers need to be thawed before cooking – but don't just leave them to thaw on the counter, Mayo Clinic notes. Wyatte Grantham-philips, USA TODAY, 27 Nov. 2022 Stover will go inside the defensive end and leave him to get to the #3 linebacker. Lance Reisland, cleveland, 25 Nov. 2022 And my co-founder was preparing to go on maternity leave herself. Hanna Wu, Quartz, 25 Nov. 2022 People can also shallowly bury birds or just leave them where they’re found in the wild. oregonlive, 23 Nov. 2022 When the game is over, please remove all dirty socks and clothing and leave them on the basement clothing rack, also known as the Peloton your parents bought last June. Jason Gay, WSJ, 22 Nov. 2022
Noun
The offices were previously on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation. Michelle Watson, CNN, 28 Nov. 2022 Gibbons was placed on administrative leave in March, just four months after he was appointed Wayland’s police chief. Nick Stoico, BostonGlobe.com, 26 Nov. 2022 Green said Hunsucker was on administrative leave and under investigation after being accused of misconduct at the time of his arrest, WSOC-TV reported. Christine Pelisek, Peoplemag, 25 Nov. 2022 Constable Nathan Wallace, who made the complaint and interviewed both Markovich and Clark, asked Clark to put himself on administrative leave and to accept counseling. Joseph Darius Jaafari, The Arizona Republic, 23 Nov. 2022 According to the records, James Bartelme was placed on administrative leave on September 8, relating to a single allegation of abuse that occurred in 1990 and 1991 in Superior. Laura Schulte, Journal Sentinel, 23 Nov. 2022 Running backs coach James Saxon was placed on administrative leave after he was charged with two counts of domestic battery. CBS News, 23 Nov. 2022 The District has full confidence in the investigation results and the employee is no longer on administrative leave. Arkansas Online, 18 Nov. 2022 The city placed Pargas, who was running the department during the shooting because the chief, Daniel Rodriguez, was out of town, on administrative leave in July following a damning report from lawmakers on the police response. Jake Bleiberg, USA TODAY, 18 Nov. 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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Cite this Entry

“Leave.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leave. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

leave 1 of 3

verb

left ˈleft How to pronounce leave (audio) ; leaving
1
a
: to give by will : bequeath
left a fortune to his daughter
b
: to have remaining after one's death
leaves a widow and two children
c
: to cause to remain as a trace or aftereffect
oil leaves a stain
also : to cause to remain behind
leave your money at home
2
a
: to cause or allow to be or remain in a specified condition
leave the door open
b
: to fail to include or take along
left my notes at home
the movie leaves a lot out
c
: to have as a remainder
taking 4 from 7 leaves 3
d
: to permit to be or remain subject to another's action or control
just leave everything to me
f
: to cause or allow to be or remain available
leave room for more
3
a
: to go away from : depart
leave the room
b
: desert sense 2
left his wife
c
: to terminate association with : withdraw from
left school before graduation
4
: to put, deposit, or deliver especially before or in the process of departing
left a package on your doorstep
leave alone
: to refrain from bothering, disturbing, or using
leave him alone

leave

2 of 3

noun

1
b
: authorized absence from duty or employment
2
: an act of leaving

leave

3 of 3

verb

leaved; leaving

Legal Definition

left; leaving

More from Merriam-Webster on leave

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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