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leave - definition and synonyms


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verb leave pronunciation in British English /liːv/
Word Forms
present tense
present participleleaving
past tenseleft
past participleleft
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  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to go away from a place
    We left London at three in the afternoon.
    Your plane leaves in ten minutes.
    If they leave after lunch, they should arrive by dark.
    We have to leave within the hour in order to be on time.
    The ship left before dawn.
    They left by the back door.
    leave for: She leaves for work at 7.30 every morning.
    1. a.
      to go away from a place and allow someone to continue doing something there
      leave someone to something: I’ll leave you to your crossword puzzle.
      leave someone to do something: I’ll leave you to get on with your book.
  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] to leave a place permanently
    She left her home town for the bright lights of New York.
    leave home: He didn’t leave home until he was 24.
    1. a.
      to leave a person permanently because a relationship has ended
      The kids were devastated when Ben left.
      His wife has threatened to leave him.
  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] to stop working for an organization or going to school or college
    He decided to leave the company after 15 years.
    At 16 he left school in order to work and support his family.
    I’m leaving at the end of the month.
  4. 4
    [transitive] to put something somewhere, especially in a place where it will stay
    Leave your things by the door.
    I’ll only be a minute so I’ll leave my coat on.
    Massage the conditioner into your hair and leave it in for a few minutes.
    1. b.
      to put a message somewhere for someone else to receive later
      Chris left a message on your answerphone.
      I’ll leave a note for Leigh.
    2. c.
      to produce a mark that remains after you have gone
      Wherever ants go, they leave a chemical trail for other ants to follow.
  5. 5
    [transitive] to arrange for someone to stay in a place or with a particular person
    I don’t want to leave my mother at home on her own.
    leave someone with someone: She left the children with a friend for the afternoon.
  6. 6
    [transitive] to produce a situation, especially a bad one, that continues after you have gone
    The previous government left the economy in ruins.
    The storm left 50,000 homes without power.
  7. 7
    [transitive] to make someone feel a particular emotion or have a particular opinion
    His betrayal left her heartbroken.
    leave someone with something: I was left with the impression that she wasn’t being quite honest.
    leave someone fuming/wondering etc: Kate’s sudden departure left us all wondering what was going to happen.
  8. 8
    [transitive] to not do something, especially because you prefer to do it later or so that someone else can do it
    Leave the dishes and do them in the morning.
    leave something to someone: Don’t worry – just leave everything to me.
    leave someone to it: ‘I think I can manage OK now.’ ‘Fine. I’ll leave you to it then.’
  9. 9
    [transitive] [often passive] to not use something
    I hope you’ve left enough hot water for me to have a shower.
    How much time is there left?
    have something left: We don’t have much money left.
    1. a.
      to not eat or drink something
      You’ve left half your dinner – didn’t you like it?
      leave someone something/something for someone: Leave some cake for the rest of us!
    2. b.
      to not use an area of something
      leave a space/gap: Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front.
  10. 10
    [transitive] to give something to someone before you go away
    Leave your pager number with me, and I’ll call you if there’s a change.
    1. a.
      to give something to someone after you die, in a will
      leave something to someone: She left her jewels to her favourite niece.
      leave someone something: He left her all his money.
  11. 11
    [transitive] formal to have close family members who continue to live after you die
    He leaves a wife, a daughter, and three sons.
  12. 12
    [transitive] to make an amount remain after taking some away
    8 minus 5 leaves 3



a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

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an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

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