Pronunciation Verb

leave (leaves, present participle leaving; past and past participle left)

  1. (transitive) To have a consequence or remnant.
    1. To cause or allow (something) to remain as available; to refrain from taking (something) away; to stop short of consuming or otherwise depleting (something) entirely.
      I left my car at home and took a bus to work.  The ants did not leave so much as a crumb of bread.  There's not much food left. We'd better go to the shops.
    2. To cause, to result in.
      The lightning left her dazzled for several minutes.  Infantile paralysis left him lame for the rest of his life.
    3. (transitive) To put; to place; to deposit; to deliver, with a sense of withdrawing oneself.
      Leave your hat in the hall.  We should leave the legal matters to lawyers.  I left my sewing and went to the window to watch the falling snow.
      • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Matthew 5:24 ↗:
        Leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy way.
      • c. 1596, William Shakespeare, “The Life and Death of King Iohn”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act IV, scene iii]:
        The foot / That leaves the print of blood where'er it walks.
  2. To depart; to separate from.
    1. To let be or do without interference.
      I left him to his reflections.  I leave my hearers to judge.
    2. (transitive) To depart from; to end one's connection or affiliation with.
      I left the country and I left my wife.
    3. (transitive) To end one's membership in (a group); to terminate one's affiliation with (an organization); to stop participating in (a project).
      • 2018, The Independent, "Brexit: Theresa May 'not bluffing' in threat to leave EU without a deal, Tory minister Liam Fox says"
        If we were to leave, the economic impact on a number of European countries would be severe.
      I left the band.
    4. (intransitive) To depart; to go away from a certain place or state.
      I think you'd better leave.
  3. To transfer something.
    1. (transitive) To transfer possession of after death.
      When my father died, he left me the house.
    2. (transitive) To give (something) to someone; to deliver (something) to a repository; to deposit.
      I'll leave the car in the station so you can pick it up there.
    3. (transitive) To transfer responsibility or attention of (something) (to someone); to stop being concerned with.
      Can't we just leave this to the experts?
  4. (intransitive, obsolete) To remain (behind); to stay.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, [http://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/cme/MaloryWks2/1:20.11?rgn=div2;view=fulltext chapter xj], in Le Morte Darthur, book XVIII:
      And whanne sire launcelot sawe them fare soo / he gat a spere in his hand / and there encountred with hym al attones syr bors sir Ector and sire Lyonel / and alle they thre smote hym atte ones with their speres / […] / and by mysfortune sir bors smote syre launcelot thurgh the shelde in to the syde / and the spere brake / and the hede lefte stylle in his syde
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter II, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314 ↗, page 0147 ↗:
      Carried somehow, somewhither, for some reason, on these surging floods, were these travelers, […]. Even such a boat as the Mount Vernon offered a total deck space so cramped as to leave secrecy or privacy well out of the question, even had the motley and democratic assemblage of passengers been disposed to accord either.
  5. (transitive, archaic) To stop, desist from; to "leave off" (+ noun / gerund).
    • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Gospel of Luke V:
      When he had leeft speakynge, he sayde vnto Simon: Cary vs into the depe, and lett slippe thy nette to make a draught.
    • 1716 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, The Basset-Table. An Eclogue.
      Now leave Complaining, and begin your Tea.