Mag leech

Leech

[leech]
noun
Margaret, 1893–1974, U.S. historian, novelist, and biographer.
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World English Dictionary
leech1 (liːtʃ)
 
n
1.  horseleech See also medicinal leech any annelid worm of the class Hirudinea, which have a sucker at each end of the body and feed on the blood or tissues of other animals
2.  a person who clings to or preys on another person
3.  a.  an archaic word for physician
 b.  (in combination): leechcraft
4.  cling like a leech to cling or adhere persistently to something
 
vb
5.  (tr) to use leeches to suck the blood of (a person), as a method of medical treatment
 
[Old English lǣce, lœce; related to Middle Dutch lieke]
 
'leechlike1
 
adj

leech or leach2 (liːtʃ)
 
n
nautical the after edge of a fore-and-aft sail or either of the vertical edges of a squaresail
 
[C15: of Germanic origin; compare Dutch lijk]
 
leach or leach2
 
n
 
[C15: of Germanic origin; compare Dutch lijk]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

leech
"bloodsucking aquatic worm," from O.E. læce (Kentish lyce), of unknown origin (with a cognate in M.Du. lake). Commonly regarded as a transf. use of leech (2), but the O.E. forms suggest a distinct word, which has been assimilated to leech (2) by folk etymology. Figuratively
applied to human parasites since 1784.

leech
obsolete for "physician," from O.E. læce, from O.Dan. læke, from P.Gmc. *lælijaz "healer, physician" (cf. O.N. læknir, O.H.G. lahhi, Goth. lekeis "physician"), lit. "one who counsels," perhaps connected with a root found in Celt. (cf. Ir. liaig "charmer, exorcist, physician")
and/or Slavic (cf. Serbo-Croatian lijekar), with an original sense of "speak, talk, whisper, conjurer." The form and sense merged with leech (1) in M.E. by folk etymology. In 17c., leech usually was applied only to veterinary practitioners. The third finger of the hand, in O.E., was læcfinger, translating L. digitus medicus, Gk. daktylus iatrikos, supposedly because a vein from that finger stretches straight to the heart.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

leech 1 (lēch)
n.
Any of various chiefly aquatic bloodsucking or carnivorous annelid worms of the class Hirudinea, one species of which (Hirudo medicinalis) was formerly used by physicians to bleed patients. v. leeched, leech·ing, leech·es
To bleed with leeches.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Synonyms
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