From Middle English leche (“leachate; sluggish stream”), from Old English *lǣċ, *lǣċe (“muddy stream”), from Proto-Germanic *lēkijō (“a leak, drain, flow”) (compare Proto-Germanic *lekaną (“to leak, drain”)), from Proto-Indo-European *leǵ- (“to leak”).
leach (plural leaches)
- A quantity of wood ashes, through which water passes, and thus imbibes the alkali.
- A tub or vat for leaching ashes, bark, etc.
- 1894, Robert Barr, chapter 7, in In the Midst of Alarms:
- "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.
- (nautical) Alternative spelling of .
- A jelly-like sweetmeat popular in the fifteenth century.
- 1670, Hannah Woolley, “To make Leach and to colour it”, in The Queen-like Closet, Or, Rich Cabinet:
- (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.
- 2014 April 21, Mary Keen, “You can still teach an old gardener new tricks: Even the hardiest of us gardeners occasionally learn useful new techniques [print version: Gardening is always ready to teach even the hardiest of us a few new tricks, 19 April 2014]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Gardening), page G7:
- [T]he very wet winter will have washed much of the goodness out of the soil. Homemade compost and the load of manure we get from a friendly farmer may not be enough to compensate for what has leached from the ground.
- (intransitive) To part with soluble constituents by percolation.
- The gangue was leached to recover minerals left behind by the original technology.
- (figurative, intransitive) To bleed, seep.
- 2007, Andrew Shanken, “The Sublime "Jackass"”, in Places, volume 19:
- A more generic geography, one where the suburb uneasily abuts the commercial and industrial, or leaches out to a nonurban frontier.
Do not confuse this verb with the verb leech.