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See also: Leap and LEAP


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  • enPR: lēp, IPA(key): /liːp/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːp

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English lepen, from Old English hlēapan, from Proto-West Germanic *hlaupan, from Proto-Germanic *hlaupaną. Doublet of lope, lowp, elope, gallop, galop, interlope, and loop.

Cognate with West Frisian ljeppe (to jump), Dutch lopen (to run; to walk), German laufen (to run; to walk), Danish løbe, Norwegian Bokmål løpe, from Proto-Indo-European *klewb- (to spring, stumble) (compare Lithuanian šlùbti ‘to become lame’, klùbti ‘to stumble’).


leap (third-person singular simple present leaps, present participle leaping, simple past leaped or leapt or (archaic) lept or (archaic) lope, past participle leaped or leapt or (archaic) lept or (archaic) lopen)

  1. (intransitive) To jump.
    • c. 1450, anonymous author, Merlin:
      It is grete nede a man to go bak to recouer the better his leep
    • 1600, anonymous author, The wisdome of Doctor Dodypoll, act 4:
      I, I defie thee: wert not thou next him when he leapt into the Riuer?
    • 1783, Hugh Blair, from the “Iliad” in Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, lecture 4, page 65
      Th’ infernal monarch rear’d his horrid head, Leapt from his throne, lest Neptune’s arm should lay His dark dominions open to the day.
    • 1999, Ai, Vice: New & Selected Poems, page 78
      It is better to leap into the void.
  2. (transitive) To pass over by a leap or jump.
    to leap a wall or a ditch
  3. (archaic, transitive) To copulate with (a female beast)
  4. (archaic) To copulate with (a human)
  5. (transitive) To cause to leap.
    to leap a horse across a ditch
Usage notes[edit]

The choice between leapt and leaped is often generally a matter of regional differences: leapt is preferred in British English whereas leaped is somewhat more common in American English (although this is not to say that leapt is not used in American English, especially in areas with historical ties to England). According to research by John Algeo (British or American English?, Cambridge, 2006), leapt is used 80% of the time in UK and 32% in the US.

Derived terms[edit]


leap (plural leaps)

  1. The act of leaping or jumping.
    He made a leap across the river.
    • 1692, Roger L’Estrange, “ (please specify the fable number.) (please specify the name of the fable.)”, in Fables, of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists: [], London: [] R[ichard] Sare, [], →OCLC:
      Leaps from one Extream to Another , are Unnatural Motions in the Course of our lives and Humours
    • 1877, Henry Sweet, A Handbook of Phonetics
      Changes of tone may proceed either by leaps or glides.
  2. The distance traversed by a leap or jump.
  3. A group of leopards.
    • 1970, The Calcutta Review[1], page 373:
      Manikanta returned to the palace riding on a royal tiger accompanied by a leap of leopards to the utter surprise of the inhabitants of Pantalam.
    • 2005 July 23, Next Windows to be named "Vista".[2]:
      I can see it now... a leap of Leopards eating the carcass of a Longhorn out in the Vista....
    • 2009, Cooper, The President's Dilemma: A Novel[3], page 131:
      Without the Chop Chop Chop Chop Cowville seems almost normal: no hover of helicopters, no leap of leopards.
    • 2017, Sandra Evans, This Is Not a Werewolf Story[4], page 22:
      I felt like the only one of my kind, and all around me were the other kids in their groups like herds of wildebeests and prides of lions and crashes of rhinos and unkindnesses of ravens and leaps of leopards and wrecks of sea hawks.
  4. (figuratively) A significant move forward.
    • 1969 July 20, Neil Armstrong, as he became the first man to step on the moon
      That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.
  5. (figuratively) A large step in reasoning, often one that is not justified by the facts.
    It's quite a leap to claim that those cloud formations are evidence of UFOs.
  6. (mining) A fault.
  7. Copulation with, or coverture of, a female beast.
    • 1865, British Farmer's Magazine, number 48, page 8:
      Much difference of opinion exists as to the number of bullings a cow should receive. Here, I think, good judgment should be used. If the bull is cool and quiet, and some time has intervened since he had his last cow, one good leap is better than more []
  8. (music) A passing from one note to another by an interval, especially by a long one, or by one including several other intermediate intervals.
  9. A salmon ladder.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


leap (not comparable)

  1. (calendar) Intercalary, bissextile.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for “leap”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.)

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English lep, from Old English lēap (basket), from Proto-West Germanic *laup, from Proto-Germanic *laupaz (container, basket). Cognate with Icelandic laupur (basket).

Alternative forms[edit]


leap (plural leaps)

  1. A trap or snare for fish, made from twigs; a weely.
  2. Half a bushel.
Derived terms[edit]


Old English[edit]


From Proto-West Germanic *laup, from Proto-Germanic *laupaz (container, basket), from Proto-Indo-European *lewbʰ-, *lewb- (to peel, break off, damage), from Proto-Indo-European *lew-, *lewH- (to cut, divide, separate, release). Cognate with Old Frisian lēpen (vessel, grain measure), Middle Low German lôp and lö̂pen (measuring vessel, small bushel, grain measure), Old Norse laupr (basket).



lēap m

  1. basket
  2. container, vessel
  3. (measurement) basketful
  4. a weel for catching fish; weely


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  • Middle English: lep, lepe, leep