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[leesh] /liʃ/
a chain, strap, etc., for controlling or leading a dog or other animal; lead.
check; curb; restraint:
to keep one's temper in leash; a tight leash on one's subordinates.
Hunting. a brace and a half, as of foxes or hounds.
verb (used with object)
to secure, control, or restrain by or as if by a leash:
to leash water power for industrial use.
to bind together by or as if by a leash; connect; link; associate.
Origin of leash
1250-1300; Middle English lesh, variant of lece, lese < Old French laisse. See lease1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for leash
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But what the alcohol would do would be to cut the leash of constraint and dig up every strong passion among them.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • As he came near, the girl could hold herself in leash no longer.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Moving figures, harsh voices, together with the half strangled barks of dogs held in leash startled the seated campers.

    The Boy Scouts of Lenox Frank V. Webster
  • I am a man not to be held in the leash of an adventure like this; but she held me.

    The Lure of the Mask Harold MacGrath
  • Janey, holding herself on the leash, as it were, keeping herself back from springing upon him like a hound.

    Phoebe, Junior Mrs [Margaret] Oliphant
  • He spoke calmly, in the repressed voice of a man who holds "passion in a leash."

    We Two Edna Lyall
  • Again Rowlett's anger blazed, and his self-control slipped its leash.

    The Roof Tree Charles Neville Buck
British Dictionary definitions for leash


a line or rope used to walk or control a dog or other animal; lead
something resembling this in function: he kept a tight leash on his emotions
(hunting) three of the same kind of animal, usually hounds, foxes, or hares
straining at the leash, eagerly impatient to begin something
(transitive) to control or secure by or as if by a leash
Word Origin
C13: from Old French laisse, from laissier to loose (hence, to let a dog run on a leash), ultimately from Latin laxuslax
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 leash

"thong for holding a dog or hound," c.1300, from Old French laisse "hound's leash," from laissier "loosen," from Latin laxare, from laxus "loose" (see lax). Figurative sense attested from early 15c. The meaning "a set of three" is from early 14c., originally in sporting language.


"to attach to or with a leash," 1590s, from leash (n.). Related: Leashed; leashing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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