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Dog on a leash.
Surf leash.


From Middle English leesshe, leysche, lesshe, a variant of more original lease, from Middle English lees, leese, leece, lese, from Old French lesse (modern French laisse), from Latin laxa (thong, a loose cord), feminine form of laxus (loose); compare lax.



leash (plural leashes)

  1. A strap, cord or rope with which to restrain an animal, often a dog.
    • Shakespeare
      like a fawning greyhound in the leash
  2. A brace and a half; a tierce.
  3. A set of three; three creatures of any kind, especially greyhounds, foxes, bucks, and hares; hence, the number three in general.
    • 1597, Henry IV part 1, by Shakespeare
      Sirrah, I am sworn brother to a leash of drawers; and can call them all by their Christian names, as, Tom, Dick, and Francis.
    • 1663, Hudibras, by Samuel Butler, part 1, canto 1
      It had an odd promiscuous tone, / As if h' had talk'd three parts in one; / Which made some think, when he did gabble, / Th' had heard three labourers of Babel; / Or Cerberus himself pronounce / A leash of languages at once.
    • Ben Jonson
      [I] kept my chamber a leash of days.
    • Tennyson
      Then were I wealthier than a leash of kings.
  4. A string with a loop at the end for lifting warp threads, in a loom.
  5. (surfing) A leg rope.
    1980: Probably the idea was around before that, but the first photo of the leash in action was published that yearAs Years Roll By (1970's Retrospective), Drew Kampion, Surfing magazine, February 1980, page 43. Quoted at surfresearch.com.au glossary[1].


  • (strap or cord used to restrain a dog): lead



leash (third-person singular simple present leashes, present participle leashing, simple past and past participle leashed)

  1. To fasten or secure with a leash.
  2. (figuratively) to curb, restrain




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 The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.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 leash in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)