leave 1 (lēv)
v. left (lĕft), leav·ing, leaves
1. To go out of or away from: not allowed to leave the room.
a. To go without taking or removing: left my book on the bus.
b. To omit or exclude: left out the funniest part of the story.
3. To have as a result, consequence, or remainder: The car left a trail of exhaust fumes. Two from eight leaves six.
4. To cause or allow to be or remain in a specified state: left the lights on.
a. To have remaining after death: left a young son.
b. To bequeath: left her money to charity.
6. To give over to another to control or act on: Leave all the details to us.
a. To abandon or forsake: leave home; left her husband.
b. To remove oneself from association with or participation in: left the navy for civilian life.
a. To give or deposit, as for use or information, upon one's departure or in one's absence: He left a note for you. Leave your name and address.
b. To cause or permit to be or remain: left myself plenty of time.
9. Nonstandard To allow or permit; let.
To set out or depart; go: When can you leave?
1. To stop; cease.
2. To stop doing or using.
To refrain from disturbing or interfering.
leave no stone unturned
To make every possible effort.
[Middle English leaven, from Old English lǣfan; see leip- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: In formal writing leave is not an acceptable substitute for let in the sense "to allow or permit." Thus in the following examples, only let should be used: Let me be. Let him go. Let us not quarrel. This use of leave is normally edited out of written prose but remains common in speech. · Leave alone is an acceptable substitute for let alone in the sense "to refrain from disturbing or interfering with." As far back as 1968, a majority of the Usage Panel approved the following example: Leave him alone, and he will produce. Some people feel that leave alone should mean simply "to depart from someone who remains in solitude," as in They were left alone in the wilderness. There is no harm in observing this restriction, but expecting it of others is unrealistic.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.