by leaps and bounds


verb (used without object), leaped or leapt, leaping.
to spring through the air from one point or position to another; jump: to leap over a ditch.
to move or act quickly or suddenly: to leap aside; She leaped at the opportunity.
to pass, come, rise, etc., as if with a jump: to leap to a conclusion; an idea that immediately leaped to mind.
verb (used with object), leaped or leapt, leaping.
to jump over: to leap a fence.
to pass over as if by a jump.
to cause to leap: to leap a horse.
a spring, jump, or bound; a light, springing movement.
the distance covered in a leap; distance jumped.
a place leaped or to be leaped over or from.
a sudden or abrupt transition: a successful leap from piano class to concert hall.
a sudden and decisive increase: a leap in the company's profits.
by leaps and bounds, very rapidly: We are progressing by leaps and bounds.
leap in the dark, an action of which the consequences are unknown: The experiment was a leap in the dark.
leap of faith, an act or instance of accepting or trusting in something that cannot readily be seen or proved.

before 900; Middle English lepen, Old English hlēapan to leap, run; cognate with German laufen, Old Norse hlaupa, Gothic hlaupan

leaper, noun

1. bound. See jump. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To by leaps and bounds
World English Dictionary
leap (liːp)
vb (often foll by at) , leaps, leaping, leapt, leaped
1.  (intr) to jump suddenly from one place to another
2.  to move or react quickly
3.  (tr) to jump over
4.  to come into prominence rapidly: the thought leapt into his mind
5.  (tr) to cause (an animal, esp a horse) to jump a barrier
6.  the act of jumping
7.  a spot from which a leap was or may be made
8.  the distance of a leap
9.  an abrupt change or increase
10.  music Also called (US and Canadian): skip a relatively large melodic interval, esp in a solo part
11.  a leap in the dark an action performed without knowledge of the consequences
12.  by leaps and bounds with unexpectedly rapid progress
[Old English hlēapan; related to Gothic hlaupan, German laufen]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

O.E. hleapan "to jump, run, leap" (class VII strong verb; past tense hleop, pp. hleapen), from P.Gmc. *khlaupan (cf. O.S. hlopan, O.N. hlaupa, O.Fris. hlapa, Du. lopen, Ger. laufen "to run," Goth. us-hlaupan "to jump up"), of uncertain origin, with no known cognates beyond Germanic. The noun is O.E.
hlyp (Anglian *hlep). Leap-frog, the children's game, is attested from 1590s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

by leaps and bounds

Rapidly, or in fast progress, as in The corn is growing by leaps and bounds, or School enrollment is increasing by leaps and bounds. This term is a redundancy, since leap and bound both mean "spring" or "jump," but the two words have been paired since Shakespeare's time and are still so used.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature