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noun, plural leaves [leevz] .
one of the expanded, usually green organs borne by the stem of a plant.
any similar or corresponding lateral outgrowth of a stem.
a petal: a rose leaf.
leaves collectively; foliage.
Bibliography. a unit generally comprising two printed, blank, or illustrated pages of a book, one on each side.
a thin sheet of metal: silver leaf.
a lamina or layer.
a sliding, hinged, or detachable flat part, as of a door or tabletop.
a section of a drawbridge.
a single strip of metal in a leaf spring.
a tooth of a small gear wheel, as of a pinion.
Textiles. shaft ( def 14 ).
verb (used without object)
to put forth leaves.
to turn pages, especially quickly (usually followed by through ): to leaf through a book.
verb (used with object)
to thumb or turn, as the pages of a book or magazine, in a casual or cursory inspection of the contents.
in leaf, covered with foliage; having leaves: the pale green tint of the woods newly in leaf.
take a leaf out of/fromsomeone's book, to follow someone's example; imitate: Some countries that took a leaf out of American industry's book are now doing very well for themselves.
turn over a new leaf, to begin anew; make a fresh start: Every New Year's we make resolutions to turn over a new leaf.

before 900; Middle English leef, lef, Old English lēaf; cognate with Dutch loof, German Laub, Old Norse lauf, Gothic laufs

leafless, adjective
leaflike, adjective
unleaf, verb (used with object)
unleaflike, adjective


1 [leev]
verb (used with object), left, leaving.
to go out of or away from, as a place: to leave the house.
to depart from permanently; quit: to leave a job.
to let remain or have remaining behind after going, disappearing, ceasing, etc.: I left my wallet home. The wound left a scar.
to allow to remain in the same place, condition, etc.: Is there any coffee left?
to let stay or be as specified: to leave a door unlocked.
to let (a person or animal) remain in a position to do something without interference: We left him to his work.
to let (a thing) remain for action or decision: We left the details to the lawyer.
to give in charge; deposit; entrust: Leave the package with the receptionist. I left my name and phone number.
to stop; cease; give up: He left music to study law.
to disregard; neglect: We will leave this for the moment and concentrate on the major problem.
to give for use after one's death or departure: to leave all one's money to charity.
to have remaining after death: He leaves a wife and three children.
to have as a remainder after subtraction: 2 from 4 leaves 2.
Nonstandard. let1 ( defs 1, 2, 6 ).
verb (used without object), left, leaving.
to go away, depart, or set out: We leave for Europe tomorrow.
Verb phrases
leave alone. alone ( def 7 ).
leave off,
to desist from; cease; stop; abandon.
to stop using or wearing: It had stopped raining, so we left off our coats.
to omit: to leave a name off a list.
leave out, to omit; exclude: She left out an important detail in her account.

before 900; Middle English leven, Old English lǣfan (causative formation from base of lāf remainder; see lave2); cognate with Old High German leiban (compare German bleiben to remain), Old Norse leifa, Gothic -laibjan

leaver, noun

1, 2. abandon, forsake, desert; relinquish. 9. forbear, renounce. 10. ignore, forget. 11. bequeath, will; devise, transmit.

1, 2. join.

Leave is interchangeable with let when followed by alone with the sense “to refrain from annoying or interfering with”: Leave (or Let) her alone and she will solve the problem easily. When he was left (or let) alone without interruptions, the boy quickly assembled the apparatus. The use of leave alone for let alone in the sense “not to mention” is nonstandard: There wasn't any standing room, let (not leave) alone a seat, so I missed the performance.
Other substitutions of leave for let are generally regarded as nonstandard: Let (not Leave) us sit down and talk this over. Let (not Leave) her do it her own way. The police wouldn't let (not leave) us cross the barriers. See also let1.


2 [leev]
permission to do something: to beg leave to go elsewhere.
permission to be absent, as from work or military duty: The firm offers a maternity leave as part of its benefit program.
the time this permission lasts: 30 days' leave.
a parting; departure; farewell: He took his leave before the formal ceremonies began. We took leave of them after dinner.
Metallurgy, draft ( def 23 ).
Bowling. the pin or pins in upright position after the bowl of the first ball.

before 900; Middle English leve, Old English lēaf; akin to believe, furlough, lief

1–3. liberty. 2, 3. vacation, furlough.


3 [leev]
verb (used without object), leaved, leaving.
to put forth leaves; leaf.

1250–1300; Middle English leven, derivative of lef leaf

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
leaf (liːf)
n , pl leaves
1.  the main organ of photosynthesis and transpiration in higher plants, usually consisting of a flat green blade attached to the stem directly or by a stalkRelated: foliar, foliate
2.  foliage collectively
3.  in leaf (of shrubs, trees, etc) having a full complement of foliage leaves
4.  one of the sheets of paper in a book
5.  a hinged, sliding, or detachable part, such as an extension to a table
6.  metal in the form of a very thin flexible sheet: gold leaf
7.  a foil or thin strip of metal in a composite material; lamina
8.  short for leaf spring
9.  the inner or outer wall of a cavity wall
10.  a crop that is harvested in the form of leaves
11.  a metal strip forming one of the laminations in a leaf spring
12.  a slang word for marijuana
13.  take a leaf out of someone's book, take a leaf from someone's book to imitate someone, esp in one particular course of action
14.  turn over a new leaf to begin a new and improved course of behaviour
vb (when intr, usually foll by through)
15.  to turn (through pages, sheets, etc) cursorily
16.  (intr) (of plants) to produce leaves
Related: foliar, foliate
[Old English; related to Gothic laufs, Icelandic lauf]

leave1 (liːv)
vb , leaves, leaving, left
1.  (also intr) to go or depart (from a person or place)
2.  to cause to remain behind, often by mistake, in a place: he often leaves his keys in his coat
3.  to cause to be or remain in a specified state: paying the bill left him penniless
4.  to renounce or abandon: to leave a political movement
5.  to refrain from consuming or doing something: the things we have left undone
6.  to result in; cause: childhood problems often leave emotional scars
7.  to allow to be or remain subject to another person or thing: leave the past to look after itself
8.  to entrust or commit: leave the shopping to her
9.  to submit in place of one's personal appearance: will you leave your name and address?
10.  to pass in a specified direction: flying out of the country, we left the cliffs on our left
11.  to be survived by (members of one's family): he leaves a wife and two children
12.  to bequeath or devise: he left his investments to his children
13.  (tr) to have as a remainder: 37 -- 14 leaves 23
14.  not standard to permit; let
15.  informal leave be to leave undisturbed
16.  not standard leave go, leave hold of to stop holding
17.  informal leave it at that to take a matter no further
18.  leave much to be desired to be very unsatisfactory
19.  leave someone alone
 a.  See let Also: let alone
 b.  to permit to stay or be alone
20.  leave someone to himself not to control or direct someone
[Old English lǣfan; related to belīfan to be left as a remainder]

leave2 (liːv)
1.  permission to do something: he was granted leave to speak
2.  by your leave, with your leave with your permission
3.  permission to be absent, as from a place of work or duty: leave of absence
4.  the duration of such absence: ten days' leave
5.  a farewell or departure (esp in the phrase take (one's) leave)
6.  on leave officially excused from work or duty
7.  take leave to say farewell (to)
8.  take leave of one's senses to go mad or become irrational
[Old English lēaf; related to alӯfan to permit, Middle High German loube permission]

leave3 (liːv)
vb , leaves, leaving, leaved
(intr) to produce or grow leaves

leaves (liːvz)
the plural of leaf

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

O.E. leaf "leaf of a plant, page of a book," from P.Gmc. *laubaz (cf. O.S. lof, O.N. lauf, O.Fris. laf, Du. loof, O.H.G. loub, Ger. Laub, Goth. lauf), perhaps from PIE *leup- "to peel off, break off" (cf. Lith. luobas, O.C.S. lubu "bark, rind"). Extended 15c. to very thin sheets of metal (esp. gold).
Meaning "hinged flap on the side of a table" is from 1550s. The verb meaning "to turn over (the pages of a book)" is from 1660s; the sense of a book page is that in the phrase to turn over a (new) leaf (1570s).

O.E. læfan "to let remain, remain, bequeath," from P.Gmc. *laibijan (cf. O.Fris. leva "to leave," O.S. farlebid "left over"), causative of *liban "remain," (cf. O.E. belifan, Ger. bleiben, Goth. bileiban "to remain"), from root *laf- "remnant, what remains" (see life,
live), from PIE *lip-/*leip-. The Gmc. root has only the sense "remain, continue," which also is in Gk. lipares "persevering, importunate." But this usually is regarded as a development from the primary PIE sense of "adhere, be sticky" (cf. Lith. lipti, O.C.S. lipet "to adhere," Gk. lipos "grease," Skt. rip-/lip- "to smear, adhere to." Seemingly contradictory meaning of "depart" (early 13c.) comes from notion of "to leave behind" (as in to leave the earth "to die;" to leave the field "retreat").

"permission," O.E. leafe, dat./acc. of leaf "permission," from W.Gmc. *lauba, cognate with O.E. lief "dear," the original idea being "approval resulting from pleasure." See also love, believe. In military sense, it is attested from 1771.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
leaf   (lēf)  Pronunciation Key 

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An appendage growing from the stem of a plant. Leaves are extremely variable in form and function according to species. For example, the needles of pine trees, the spines of cacti, and the bright red parts of the poinsettia plant are all leaves modified for different purposes. However, most leaves are flat and green and adapted to capturing sunlight and carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. They consist of an outer tissue layer (the epidermis) through which water and gases are exchanged, a spongy inner layer of cells that contain chloroplasts, and veins that supply water and minerals and carry out food. Some leaves are simple, while others are compound, consisting of multiple leaflets. The flat part of the leaf, the blade, is often attached to the stem by a leafstalk.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Computing Dictionary

leaves definition


The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Bible Dictionary

Leaf definition

of a tree. The olive-leaf mentioned Gen. 8:11. The barren fig-tree had nothing but leaves (Matt. 21:19; Mark 11:13). The oak-leaf is mentioned Isa. 1:30; 6:13. There are numerous allusions to leaves, their flourishing, their decay, and their restoration (Lev. 26:36; Isa. 34:4; Jer. 8:13; Dan. 4:12, 14, 21; Mark 11:13; 13:28). The fresh leaf is a symbol of prosperity (Ps. 1:3; Jer. 17:8; Ezek. 47:12); the faded, of decay (Job 13:25; Isa. 1:30; 64:6; Jer. 8:13). Leaf of a door (1 Kings 6:34), the valve of a folding door. Leaf of a book (Jer. 36:23), perhaps a fold of a roll.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
Boil the cabbage whole in a large pot of water for three to five minutes, or
  until the leaves turn bright green.
It leaves a really bad impression, especially the bold.
After raking leaves in the fall, put them to good use with leaf composting.
Depending on where you live, you may still have a few tenacious leaves hanging
  onto their trees.
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