Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “lean”

See all translations

lean

verb [I or T, usually + adv/prep] uk   /liːn/ (leaned or UK also leant, leaned or UK also leant) us  
B2 to (cause to) slope in one direction, or to move the top part of the body in a particular direction: She leaned forward and whispered something in my ear. I sat down next to Bernard, who leaned over to me and said "You're late." Lean your head back a little. That fence is leaning to the right.
More examples

lean

adjective uk   /liːn/ us  

lean adjective (NO FAT)

Lean meat has little fat. thin and healthy: lean and fit

lean adjective (NOT ENOUGH)

If a period of time is lean, there is not enough of something, especially money or food, at that time: It has been a particularly lean year for the education department.

lean adjective (EFFICIENT)

approving A lean company or organization does not use too many people or spend too much money, so that there is no waste: Nowadays even efficient, lean, well-run industries are failing.
(Definition of lean from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of lean?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “lean” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

glacial

made or left by a glacier

Word of the Day

Let’s celebrate! (words and phrases for parties)

by Kate Woodford,
December 17, 2014
​​​ With Christmas and New Year almost upon us, we thought it a good time to look at the language of parties and celebrations. First, let’s start with the word ‘party’ itself. To have or throw a party or, less commonly, to give a party is to arrange a party: We’re having a

Read More 

cinderella surgery noun

December 15, 2014
cosmetic surgery to the feet We have all heard of people having nose jobs, boob jobs and liposuction – but now a new trend growing in popularity in America: Cinderella surgery.

Read More