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lean - definition and synonyms


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verb lean pronunciation in British English /liːn/
Word Forms
present tense
present participleleaning
past tenseleaned or leant
past participleleaned or leant
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  1. 1
    [intransitive] to move your body so it is closer to or further from someone or something, for example by bending at the waist
    lean forward/back/towards/across etc:

    The other girl leaned forward to hear what was going on.

    I leaned over her shoulder to study the maps spread out on the table.

    Bigelow leaned across the desk and lowered his voice.

  2. 2
    [intransitive] to stand or be set at an angle against something for support instead of being upright

    Two of the walls lean slightly inwards.

    lean against:

    Corey leaned against the apple tree.

    lean on:

    He walked in, leaning heavily on a cane.

    1. a.
      [transitive] to put something at an angle against something for support
      lean something against something:

      John leaned his rake against the side of the barn.

  3. 3
    [intransitive] to tend to choose or support something
    lean towards/to/in favour of:

    She is leaning towards supporting military action.

    lean in the direction of something:

    The decision to increase the budget hasn’t been made, but the committee is leaning in that direction.

phrasal verbs



used to describe something which is done more carefully and over a longer period of time …

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the practice of giving birth in the presence of several friends and relatives

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