leave Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “leave” in the English Dictionary

"leave" in British English

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uk   us   /liːv/ (left, left)
  • leave verb (GO AWAY)

A1 [I or T] to go away from someone or something, for a ​shorttime 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.

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  • 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 ​yourkeys on the ​table. Can I leave a ​message for Sue? Why don't you leave the ​kids with me on ​Friday?

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  • 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 ​muddymarks on the ​floor. [+ two objects] If I give you €50 that won't leave me enough ​cash to ​pay the ​bill. [+ obj + adj ] Far from ​improving things, the new ​law has left many ​peopleworse off (= they are now in a ​worsesituation) than before.B2 [T] If you leave something in a ​particularcondition, 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 ​windowopen. Leave ​yoursisteralone (= ​stopannoying 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 ​childrenwatchingtelevision. 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 ​hotwater 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 ​healthreasons. She left home (= ​stoppedliving with her ​parents) at 18. Could we leave that ​subject (= ​stopdiscussing that ​subject) for the ​moment and go on to the next ​item on the ​agenda?

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  • leave verb (END RELATIONSHIP)

B1 [T] to end a ​relationship with a ​husband, ​wife, or ​partner and ​stopliving 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 ​bookingtheirholiday till/to the last ​minute.
  • leave verb (AFTER DEATH)

[T] To leave a ​wife, ​husband, or other ​closefamilymember is to ​die while these ​familymembers 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.
  • leave verb (GIVE RESPONSIBILITY)

[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).


uk   us   /liːv/
  • leave noun (HOLIDAY)

C2 [U] timeallowed away from ​work for a ​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 formalpermission to be away from ​work or ​studies

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  • I haven't got any leave left.
  • He's on leave this ​week.
  • I get 25 ​daysannual leave.
  • I need to take some leave before the end of the ​year.
  • We were given an ​extra day's leave.
(Definition of leave from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"leave" in American English

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 us   /liv/ (past tense and past participle left  /left/ )
  • leave verb (GO AWAY)

[I/T] to go away from someone or something that ​stays in the same ​place: [I] I’ll be leaving ​tomorrow. [T] He left the ​house by the back ​door. [I/T] The ​bus leaves (the ​station) in five ​minutes. [I/T] If you leave a ​job, you ​stopworking at a ​place: [T] He left ​work in ​June. [I/T] If you leave ​home, you ​stopliving in ​yourparents’ ​home.
  • leave verb (NOT TAKE)

[T] to not take something with you: I ​mistakenly left my ​checkbook at ​home. Hurry up or you’ll get left behind the other ​hikers. [T] You can leave something ​somewhere for a ​purpose: I’ve left ​dinner for you on the ​stove. [T] If you leave something to someone, you have ​arranged for that ​person to ​receive it after you ​die: She left all her ​money to her ​children.
  • leave verb (CAUSE TO STAY)

[T] to ​allow or ​cause something to ​stay in a ​particularplace, ​position, or ​state: The ​dog left ​muddytracks on the ​carpet. He left a ​message for me at the ​office. Leave the ​windowopen. Her ​rudeness left us all ​speechless. He left the ​enginerunning. [T] If you leave some ​activity that ​involveswork, you ​wait before you do it: I’ll leave the ​cleaning for ​tomorrow.
  • leave verb (MAKE AVAILABLE)

[T] to make something ​available after some ​part has been taken or used: There are only four ​cookies – ​please leave one for me. Five from twelve leaves seven (= Seven is the ​result of taking five from twelve).left (over) If something is left (over), it was not ​previously used or ​eaten: There’s some ​pasta left over from ​dinner.
  • leave verb (GIVE RESPONSIBILITY)

[T] to ​allow someone to make a ​choice or ​decision about something, or to make someone ​responsible for something: Leave it to me – I’ll ​see what I can do. I’ll leave it up to you to ​choose the ​gift.

leavenoun [U]

 us   /liv/
  • leave noun [U] (VACATION)

timepermitted away from ​work, esp. for a ​medicalcondition or ​illness or for some other ​specialpurpose: maternity leave
  • leave noun [U] (PERMISSION)

fml permission to do something: He took it without my leave.
(Definition of leave from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"leave" in Business English

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leavenoun [U]

uk   us   /liːv/
WORKPLACE, HR a ​period of ​time that someone is ​allowed away from ​work for ​holiday, illness, or another ​special reason: take leave from sth I'm taking 5 days' ​unpaid leave from ​work to go to the wedding.be/go on leave from sth Benefits will need to be ​adjusted when an ​employee is on leave from their ​job. The ​appointee will be ​entitled to 38 days of annual leave. Higher maternity ​pay and a ​longer leave ​entitlement are likely ​outcomes of the ​review. adoption/bereavement/child-care leave educational/​medical leave paid/​unpaid leave
formal agreement or ​permission to do something: be given/granted leave to do sth She has been ​granted leave to remain in the country. No ​application should be ​issued without my leave.
be placed/put on leave WORKPLACE, HR to be told to take ​time away from ​work, usually because you have been ​accused of doing something wrong: The ​director of ​financialaid was recently ​placed on leave for ​acceptingconsultingfees from a ​loancompany.
leave to appeal LAW permission to ​formallyask for a ​legal or ​official decision to be ​changed: The ​defendant was given 14 days' leave to ​appeal against the decision.


uk   us   /liːv/ (past tense and past participle left /left/ )
[I, T] to go away from a ​place or a ​situation: I'm leaving ​work early this afternoon. What ​time does the bus leave? They left for Paris last night.
[I, T] to go away from a ​place permanently: She left her ​home country many ​years ago.
[I, T] to ​stopworking for an ​organization or ​company, or ​stopattending a school, university, etc. : She left to go to a ​rivalcompany. Ben Harris? He left about a month ago. How old were you when you left school?
[T] to not use all of something: Is there any ​money left in last year's ​budget?.
[T] to do something later that you could do immediately: He always leaves writing is ​reports till the very last moment. You should ​try to decide which ​tasks need to be done urgently and which ones can be left.
[T] to ​arrange for someone to receive something after you die: His aunt left him a lot of ​money. He left the ​house to this three children.
leave sb alone to ​stop speaking to or annoying someone: Leave me alone! I'm ​trying to ​work.
(Definition of leave from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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