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English definition of “leave”


verb uk   /liːv/ (left, left) us  

leave verb (GO AWAY)

A1 [I or T] to go away from someone or something, for a short time or permanently: I'll be leaving at five o'clock tomorrow. He left the house by the back door. She left the group of people she was with and came over to speak to us. The bus leaves in five minutes.

leave verb (NOT TAKE)

A2 [T] to not take something or someone with you when you go, either intentionally or by accident: Hey, you've left your keys on the table. Can I leave a message for Sue? Why don't you leave the kids with me on Friday?

leave verb (REMAIN)

A2 If something leaves something else, a part or effect of it stays after it has gone or been used: His shoes left muddy marks on the floor. [+ two objects] If I give you £10 that won't leave me enough cash to pay the bill. [+ obj + adj ] Far from improving things, the new law has left many people worse off (= they are now in a worse situation) than before. B2 [T] If you leave something in a particular condition you do not touch it, move it, or act to change it in any way, so that it stays in the same condition: Leave that chair where it is. He left most of his dinner (= did not eat much of it). [+ obj + adj ] The family were left (= became and continued to be) homeless. I'll have to go back - I think I've left the iron on. You can leave the window open. Leave your sister alone (= stop annoying her). C1 [T + obj + -ing verb ] If you leave something or someone doing something, he, she, or it is still doing it when you go away: I left the children watching television. He left the engine running.

leave verb (NOT USE ALL)

A2 [T] to not eat or use all of something: They'd eaten all the cake, but they'd left some sandwiches. Are there any cookies left? There's some food left over from the party. Make sure you leave enough hot water for the rest of us.

leave verb (STOP)

A1 [T] to stop doing something, or to leave a place because you have finished an activity: Many children leave school at 16. He left work in June for health reasons. She left home (= stopped living with her parents) at 18. Could we leave that subject (= stop discussing that subject) for the moment and go on to the next item on the agenda?


B1 [T] to end a relationship with a husband, wife, or partner and stop living with them: I'll never leave you. She left her husband for a younger man.

leave verb (WAIT)

C2 [T] If you leave (doing) something, you wait before you do it: I'll leave these letters till Monday (= write them on Monday). Don't leave it too late (= don't wait too long to do it). [+ -ing verb] They left booking their holiday till/to the last minute.

leave verb (AFTER DEATH)

[T] To leave a wife, husband, or other close family member is to die while these family members are still alive: He left a wife and two children. C2 [+ two objects] If you leave something that you own to someone, you say they should receive it when you die: He left his nieces all his money./He left all his money to his nieces.


[T] to allow someone to make a choice or decision about something, or to make someone responsible for something: I left the decision (up) to her. [+ to infinitive] I left it to her to make the decision. Leave it (= the problem) with me, I'll see what I can do. I'll leave it to chance (= wait and see what happens without planning).


noun uk   /liːv/ us  

leave noun (HOLIDAY)

C2 [U] time allowed away from work for holiday or illness: How much annual/paid leave do you get? She's (gone) on leave (= holiday). I've asked if I can take a week's unpaid leave. leave of absence formal permission to be away from work or studies

leave noun (PERMISSION)

[U] formal permission or agreement: He did it without (my) leave. [+ to infinitive] Did you get leave to do that?

leave noun (GOODBYE)

take leave to say goodbye: He decided the time had come to take leave of his home town.
(Definition of leave from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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