leech
Pronunciation
  • (British, America) enPR: lēch, IPA: /liːtʃ/
Noun

leech (plural leeches)

  1. An aquatic blood-sucking annelid of class Hirudinea, especially Hirudo medicinalis.
    • 2003, William W. Johnstone, The Last Of The Dog Team, page 195
      The leech on his leg had swelled to more than five inches long, puffed and swollen on his blood.
  2. (figuratively) A person who derives profit from others in a parasitic fashion.
    • 2000, Ray Garmon, The Man Who Just Didn't Care, page 20
      'Wrecked his body and his mind, no use to hisself or his family or nobody, just a leech on society'.
    • 2006, D. L. Harman, A State of Nine One One, page 106
      At this point, I felt this man was a leech. I suspected that he had spent a lifetime living off the good will of women that he met.
  3. (medicine, dated) A glass tube designed for drawing blood from damaged tissue by means of a vacuum.
Synonyms Translations Translations Verb

leech (leeches, present participle leeching; past and past participle leeched)

  1. (transitive) To apply a leech medicinally, so that it sucks blood from the patient.
    • 2003, George R.R. Martin, A Storm of Swords
      The poppy made him sleep and while he slept they leeched him to drain off the bad blood.
  2. (transitive) To drain (resources) without giving back.
    Bert leeched hundreds of files from the BBS, but never uploaded anything in return.
    • 1992, AfricAsia 2 (1): 12
      Guinea is also blocking Strasser's efforts to stop illegal fishing in Sierra Leone's territorial waters and the smuggling of gold and diamonds, which leech hundreds of millions of dollars from the country's economy.
Synonyms
  • (to drain resources) drain
Translations
  • German: (download) saugen, (download, colloquial) leechen
Noun

leech (plural leeches)

  1. (archaic) A physician.
    • 1590, The Faerie Queene, by Edmund Spenserː
      Many skillful leeches him abide to salve his hurts.
    • 1610, Bolton, Armoriesː ↗
      The word Physitian we do vulgarly abuse (as we doe very many other(s)) for a Leech , or Medicus.
    • 1610, Bolton, Armories ↗ː
      As if an expert leech must needs be expert in the physicks (that is, in those speculations which concerne the workes of nature) the nearest word to fall with our tongue, yet not farre from the thing, was physitian.
    • 1663, Hudibras, by Samuel Butler, part 1, canto 2
      Thus virtuous Orsin was endued / With learning, conduct, fortitude / Incomparable; and as the prince / Of poets, Homer, sung long since, / A skilful leech is better far, / Than half a hundred men of war [...]
    • 1807, George Crabbeː
      Can this proud leech, with all his boasted skill, / Amend the soul or body, wit or will?
    • 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter:a Romance ↗, page 141
      For the sake of the minister’s health, and to enable the leech to gather plants with healing balm in them, they took long walks on the seashore or in the forest; mingling various talk with the plash and murmur of the waves, and the solemn wind anthem among in treetops.
    • 1992, Hilary Mantel, A Place of Greater Safety, Harper Perennial 2007, p. 11:
      He coughed sputum stained with blood, and a scraping, crackling noise came from his chest, quite audible to anyone in the room. ‘Lungs possibly not too good,’ the leech said.
  2. (paganism, Heathenry) A healer.
    • 1900, Augustus Henry Keane, Man, Past and Present, The University Press (Cambridge)
      Their functions are threefold, those of the medicine-man (the leech, or healer by supernatural means); of the soothsayer (the prophet through communion with the invisible world); and of the priest, especially in his capacity as exorcist
    • 1996, Swain Wodening, “Scandinavian Craft Lesson 6: Runic Divination”, Theod Magazine 3 (4)
      In ancient times runesters were a specialized class separate from that of the witch or ordinary spell caster (much as the other specialists such as the leech or healer and the seithkona were different from a witch), and even today many believe it takes years of training to become adept at using the runes in spell work.
    • 2003, Brian Froud and Ari Berk, The Runes of Elfland, Pavillion Books, ISBN 1 86205 647 1, page 22
      "Leech?" "Not another doctor".
    • 2004, Runic John, The Book of Seidr, Capall Bann Publishing, ISBN 186163 229 0, page 282
      There are many kinds of "Leech" or "healer" as there are healing techniques, some are more powerful than others and some are very specific to certain illnesses and complaints; some use potions and unguents, others crystals and stones, others galdr and some work their healing from within the hidden realms themselves.
Synonyms Translations Verb

leech (leeches, present participle leeching; past and past participle leeched)

  1. (archaic, rare) To treat, cure or heal.
    • 1564, Accounts of Louth Corporalː
      Paid for leeching.. my horses very sick.
    • 1566–74, Accounts of the Treasurer of Scotlandː
      To one man (that) broke his leg in Strivelin … Item to the man that leecheth him.
    • 1850, Blackieː
      A disease that none may leech.
Synonyms Noun

leech (plural leeches)

  1. (nautical) The vertical edge of a square sail.
    • 1984, Sven Donaldson, A Sailor's Guide to Sails, page 130
      To help combat these problems, almost all sailmakers trim the leeches of their headsails to a hollow or concave profile and enclose a LEECHLINE within the leech tabling.
  2. (nautical) The aft edge of a triangular sail.
    • 2004, Gary Jobson, Gary Jobson's Championship Sailing, page 176
      Trim the leech of the jib parallel to the main by watching the slot between the mainsail and the jib.
Translations
  • Italian: balumina

Leech
Proper noun
  1. Surname derived from the profession leech, a former word for a physician.



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