noun, plural leaves [leevz] /livz/.

  1. one of the expanded, usually green organs borne by the stem of a plant.
  2. any similar or corresponding lateral outgrowth of a stem.
  3. a petal: a rose leaf.
  4. leaves collectively; foliage.
  5. Bibliography. a unit generally comprising two printed, blank, or illustrated pages of a book, one on each side.
  6. a thin sheet of metal: silver leaf.
  7. a lamina or layer.
  8. a sliding, hinged, or detachable flat part, as of a door or tabletop.
  9. a section of a drawbridge.
  10. a single strip of metal in a leaf spring.
  11. a tooth of a small gear wheel, as of a pinion.
  12. leaf fat.
  13. Textiles. shaft(def 14).

verb (used without object)

  1. to put forth leaves.
  2. to turn pages, especially quickly (usually followed by through): to leaf through a book.

verb (used with object)

  1. to thumb or turn, as the pages of a book or magazine, in a casual or cursory inspection of the contents.


  1. in leaf, covered with foliage; having leaves: the pale green tint of the woods newly in leaf.
  2. take a leaf out of/fromsomeone’s book, to follow someone’s example; imitate: Some countries that took a leaf out of American industry’s book are now doing very well for themselves.
  3. turn over a new leaf, to begin anew; make a fresh start: Every New Year’s we make resolutions to turn over a new leaf.

noun plural leaves (liːvz)

  1. the main organ of photosynthesis and transpiration in higher plants, usually consisting of a flat green blade attached to the stem directly or by a stalkRelated adjectives: foliar, foliate
  2. foliage collectively
  3. in leaf (of shrubs, trees, etc) having a full complement of foliage leaves
  4. one of the sheets of paper in a book
  5. a hinged, sliding, or detachable part, such as an extension to a table
  6. metal in the form of a very thin flexible sheetgold leaf
  7. a foil or thin strip of metal in a composite material; lamina
  8. short for leaf spring
  9. the inner or outer wall of a cavity wall
  10. a crop that is harvested in the form of leaves
  11. a metal strip forming one of the laminations in a leaf spring
  12. a slang word for marijuana
  13. take a leaf out of someone’s book or take a leaf from someone’s book to imitate someone, esp in one particular course of action
  14. turn over a new leaf to begin a new and improved course of behaviour


  1. (when intr, usually foll by through) to turn (through pages, sheets, etc) cursorily
  2. (intr) (of plants) to produce leaves

v.“to turn over (the pages of a book),” 1660s, from leaf (n.). The notion of a book page also is in the phrase to turn over a (new) leaf (1570s). Related: Leafed; leaved; leafing. n.Old English leaf “leaf of a plant; page of a book,” from Proto-Germanic *laubaz (cf. Old Saxon lof, Old Norse lauf, Old Frisian laf, Dutch loof, Old High German loub, German Laub “foliage, leaves,” Gothic lauf), perhaps from PIE *leup- “to peel off, break off” (cf. Lithuanian luobas, Old Church Slavonic lubu “bark, rind”). Extended 15c. to very thin sheets of metal (especially gold). Meaning “hinged flap on the side of a table” is from 1550s.

  1. An appendage growing from the stem of a plant. Leaves are extremely variable in form and function according to species. For example, the needles of pine trees, the spines of cacti, and the bright red parts of the poinsettia plant are all leaves modified for different purposes. However, most leaves are flat and green and adapted to capturing sunlight and carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. They consist of an outer tissue layer (the epidermis) through which water and gases are exchanged, a spongy inner layer of cells that contain chloroplasts, and veins that supply water and minerals and carry out food. Some leaves are simple, while others are compound, consisting of multiple leaflets. The flat part of the leaf, the blade, is often attached to the stem by a leafstalk.

In addition to the idiom beginning with leaf

  • leaf through
  • also see:

  • quake in one’s boots (like a leaf)
  • take a leaf out of someone’s book
  • turn over a new leaf
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