9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[leek] /lik/
an unintended hole, crack, or the like, through which liquid, gas, light, etc., enters or escapes:
a leak in the roof.
an act or instance of leaking.
any means of unintended entrance or escape.
Electricity. the loss of current from a conductor, usually resulting from poor insulation.
a disclosure of secret, especially official, information, as to the news media, by an unnamed source.
verb (used without object)
to let a liquid, gas, light, etc., enter or escape, as through an unintended hole or crack:
The boat leaks.
to pass in or out in this manner, as liquid, gas, or light:
gas leaking from a pipe.
to become known unintentionally (usually followed by out):
The news leaked out.
to disclose secret, especially official, information anonymously, as to the news media:
The official revealed that he had leaked to the press in the hope of saving his own reputation.
verb (used with object)
to let (liquid, gas, light, etc.) enter or escape:
This camera leaks light.
to allow to become known, as information given out covertly:
to leak the news of the ambassador's visit.
take a leak, Slang: Vulgar. to urinate.
Origin of leak
late Middle English
1375-1425; 1955-60 for def 11; late Middle English leken < Old Norse leka to drip, leak; akin to Dutch lek, obsolete German lech leaky. See leach1
Related forms
leaker, noun
leakless, adjective
nonleaking, adjective
Can be confused
leak, leek. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for leaking
  • As alcohol is lighter than water, the leaking barrels would have filled the hold with noxious fumes.
  • But for now, with the oil still leaking and the problems with the clean-up anything but resolved, it is simply beside the point.
  • The first is through the more or less straightforward leaking of information that will prompt a negative story.
  • He looked up toward the ceiling, at a thin bar of light leaking though the shades from the street lamp outside.
  • Other special design elements were created to prevent water from leaking from the clear plastic tubes.
  • The leaking electrons can also react with oxygen directly to produce destructive molecules called free radicals.
  • Pressure at that depth keeps the gas dissolved and prevents it from leaking into the atmosphere.
  • The outer shell of egg prevents nuclear fluid from leaking and provides extra stability.
  • Replacing the original concrete structure now degrading and leaking.
  • How about using microwaves to cauterise leaking blood vessels.
British Dictionary definitions for leaking


  1. a crack, hole, etc, that allows the accidental escape or entrance of fluid, light, etc
  2. such escaping or entering fluid, light, etc
spring a leak, to develop a leak
something resembling this in effect: a leak in the defence system
the loss of current from an electrical conductor because of faulty insulation, etc
a disclosure, often intentional, of secret information
the act or an instance of leaking
a slang word for urination See urination
to enter or escape or allow to enter or escape through a crack, hole, etc
when intr, often foll by out. to disclose (secret information), often intentionally, or (of secret information) to be disclosed
(intransitive) a slang word for urinate
Derived Forms
leaker, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Scandinavian; compare Old Norse leka to drip
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for leaking



"to let water in or out" [Johnson], late 14c., from Middle Dutch leken "to drip, to leak," or from Old Norse leka, both of them related to Old English leccan "to moisten" (which did not survive into Middle English), all from Proto-Germanic *lek- "deficiency" (cf. Old High German lecchen "to become dry," German lechzen "to be parched with thirst"), from PIE root *leg- "to dribble, trickle." The figurative meaning "come to be known in spite of efforts at concealment" dates from at least 1832; transitive sense first recorded 1859. Related: Leaked; leaking.


late 15c., from leak (v.) or Old Norse cognate leki. Sense of "revelation of secret information" is from 1950. Meaning "act of urination" is attested from 1934 ("Tropic of Cancer"); but the verb meaning "to piss" is from 1590s: "Why, you will allow vs ne're a Iourden, and then we leake in your Chimney." ["I Hen. IV," II.i.22]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for leaking


  1. The divulgence or divulger of secret information: A famous leak was called Deep Throat (1873+)
  2. An act of urination; a PISS (1930s+)
  1. To give information to the press or other recipient secretly: Then the FCC report was ''leaked'' to the press (1859+)
  2. To urinate; piss: He said he had to leak; his back teeth were floating (1930s+)
Related Terms

take a leak

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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