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. Doublet of laisse.
leash (plural leashes)
- A strap, cord or rope with which to restrain an animal, often a dog.
- Synonym: lead
- 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned:
- A stout woman upholstered in velvet, her flabby cheeks too much massaged, swirled by with her poodle straining at its leash
- c. 1608–1609 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Coriolanus”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene vi]:
- like a fawning greyhound in the leash
- A brace and a half; a tierce.
- A set of three animals (especially greyhounds, foxes, bucks, and hares;)
- A group of three
- c. 1597 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The First Part of Henry the Fourth, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, (please specify the act number in uppercase Roman numerals, and the scene number in lowercase Roman numerals):
- Sirrah, I am sworn brother to a leash of drawers; and can call them all by their Christian names, as, Tom, Dick, and Francis.
- 1609 December (first performance), Benjamin Jonson [i.e., Ben Jonson], “Epicoene, or The Silent Woman. A Comœdie. […]”, in The Workes of Ben Jonson (First Folio), London: […] Will[iam] Stansby, published 1616, →OCLC, (please specify the act number in uppercase Roman numerals, and the scene number in lowercase Roman numerals):
- [I] kept my chamber a leash of days.
- 1662, [Samuel Butler], “[The First Part of Hudibras]”, in Hudibras. The First and Second Parts. […], London: […] John Martyn and Henry Herringman, […], published 1678, →OCLC; republished in A[lfred] R[ayney] Waller, editor, Hudibras: Written in the Time of the Late Wars, Cambridge: University Press, 1905, →OCLC, 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.
- 1874, Alfred Tennyson, “Gareth and Lynette”, in Idylls of the King (The Works of Alfred Tennyson; V), cabinet edition, London: Henry S. King & Co., […], →OCLC, page 39:
- An I could climb and lay my hand upon it, / Then were I wealthier than a leash of kings.
- A string with a loop at the end for lifting warp threads, in a loom.
- (surfing) A leg rope.
- 1980 February, Drew Kampion, “As Years Roll By (1970's Retrospective”, in Surfing, page 43:
- Probably the idea was around before that, but the first photo of the leash in action was published that year
leash (third-person singular simple present leashes, present participle leashing, simple past and past participle leashed)
- To fasten or secure with a leash.
- (figuratively) to curb, restrain
- 1919, Boris Sidis, The Source and Aim of Human Progress:
- Man is brow-beaten, leashed, muzzled, masked, and lashed by boards and councils, by leagues and societies, by church and state.
- unleash (verb)
- “leash”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
- “leash”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, launched 2000.
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, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.)
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