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From Middle English leche (leachate), from Old English *lǣċ, *lǣċe (muddy stream), from Proto-Germanic *lēkijō (a leak, drain, flow), from Proto-Germanic *lēk-, *lak-, *likaną (to leak, drain), from Proto-Indo-European *leg(')- (to leak). Cognate with Old English leċċan (to water, moisten), Old English lacu (stream, pool, pond). More at leak, lake.



leach (plural leaches)

  1. A quantity of wood ashes, through which water passes, and thus imbibes the alkali.
  2. A tub or vat for leaching ashes, bark, etc.
    • 1894, Robert Barr, In the Midst of Alarms, ch. 7:
      "This is the leach," said Kitty, pointing to a large, yellowish, upright wooden cylinder, which rested on some slanting boards, down the surface of which ran a brownish liquid that dripped into a trough.
  3. (nautical) Alternative spelling of leech


leach (third-person singular simple present leaches, present participle leaching, simple past and past participle leached)

  1. (transitive) To purge a soluble matter out of something by the action of a percolating fluid.
    Heavy rainfall can leach out minerals important for plant growth from the soil.
  2. (intransitive) To part with soluble constituents by percolation.

Usage notes[edit]

Do not confuse this verb with the verb leech.

Derived terms[edit]