I UK [liːv] / US [lɪv] verb
Word forms "leave":
present tense I/you/we/they leave he/she/it leaves present participle leaving past tense left UK [left] / US past participle left
a) [intransitive/transitive] to go away from a place

We left London at three in the afternoon.

Your plane leaves in ten minutes.

If they leave after lunch, they should arrive by dark.

We have to leave within the hour in order to be on time.

The ship left before dawn.

They left by the back door.

leave for:

She leaves for work at 7.30 every morning.

b) to go away from a place and allow someone to continue doing something there
leave someone to something:

I'll leave you to your crossword puzzle.

leave someone to do something:

I'll leave you to get on with your book.

a) [intransitive/transitive] to leave a place permanently

She left her home town for the bright lights of New York.

leave home:

He didn't leave home until he was 24.

b) to leave a person permanently because a relationship has ended

The kids were devastated when Ben left.

His wife has threatened to leave him.

3) [intransitive/transitive] to stop working for an organization or going to school or college

He decided to leave the company after 15 years.

At 16 he left school in order to work and support his family.

I'm leaving at the end of the month.

4) [transitive] to put something somewhere, especially in a place where it will stay

Leave your things by the door.

I'll only be a minute so I'll leave my coat on.

Massage the conditioner into your hair and leave it in for a few minutes.

a) to put something in a place and forget to take it away with you

I left my homework on the bus.

b) to put a message somewhere for someone else to receive later

Chris left a message on your answerphone.

I'll leave a note for Leigh.

c) to produce a mark that remains after you have gone

Wherever ants go, they leave a chemical trail for other ants to follow.

5) [transitive] to arrange for someone to stay in a place or with a particular person

I don't want to leave my mother at home on her own.

leave someone with someone:

She left the children with a friend for the afternoon.

6) [transitive] to produce a situation, especially a bad one, that continues after you have gone

The previous government left the economy in ruins.

The storm left 50,000 homes without power.

7) [transitive] to make someone feel a particular emotion or have a particular opinion

His betrayal left her heartbroken.

leave someone with something:

I was left with the impression that she wasn't being quite honest.

leave someone fuming/wondering etc:

Kate's sudden departure left us all wondering what was going to happen.

a) [transitive] to not do something, especially because you prefer to do it later or so that someone else can do it

Leave the dishes and do them in the morning.

leave something to someone:

Don't worry – just leave everything to me.

leave someone to it:

"I think I can manage OK now." "Fine. I'll leave you to it then."

b) to not make a decision and let someone else make it

Leave questions of guilt or innocence for the jury to decide.

9) [transitive, often passive] to not use something

I hope you've left enough hot water for me to have a shower.

How much time is there left?

have something left:

We don't have much money left.

a) to not eat or drink something

You've left half your dinner – didn't you like it?

leave someone something/something for someone:

Leave some cake for the rest of us!

b) to not use an area of something
leave a space/gap:

Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front.

a) [transitive] to give something to someone before you go away

Leave your pager number with me, and I'll call you if there's a change.

b) to give something to someone after you die, in a will
leave something to someone:

She left her jewels to her favourite niece.

leave someone something:

He left her all his money.

11) [transitive] formal to have close family members who continue to live after you die

He leaves a wife, a daughter, and three sons.

12) [transitive] to make an amount remain after taking some away

8 minus 5 leaves 3

leave someone/something hanging — to fail to solve a difficult situation, or to let someone remain in a difficult situation without solving it

It was obvious that this issue could not just be left hanging.

leave a lot/much to be desired — to be of a very low quality or standard

I feel the quality of some of our policemen leaves a lot to be desired.

leave someone/something standing — to be so much better than someone or something that they cannot possibly reach the same standard or level

leave something to chance/fate — to not try to change the way that something is developing or happening

They planned for every possibility and left nothing to chance.

Phrasal verbs:
II UK [liːv] / US [lɪv] noun [uncountable] **
1) a period of time away from your job or from the armed forces

Tony, who had been granted leave, was home for several weeks.

You are entitled to six weeks' annual leave.

on leave (= away from your job or the armed forces):

I met her while I was on leave.

2) formal permission
leave to do something:

You've been granted leave to appeal against the decision.

absent without leave:

Sanchez was absent without leave from Fort Liley.

by someone's leave (= with someone's permission):

By your leave, I'll see to the arrangements immediately.

Verbs frequently used with leave as the object ▪  give, grant, obtain, request, seek

maternity/paternity/parental leave — a period of time away from a job because you or your partner has just had a baby

She worries that if she takes time off for maternity leave her career will suffer.


English dictionary. 2014.

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