verb (used without object), leaped or leapt, leap·ing.
- to spring through the air from one point or position to another; jump: to leap over a ditch.
- to move or act quickly or suddenly: to leap aside; She leaped at the opportunity.
- to pass, come, rise, etc., as if with a jump: to leap to a conclusion; an idea that immediately leaped to mind.
verb (used with object), leaped or leapt, leap·ing.
- to jump over: to leap a fence.
- to pass over as if by a jump.
- to cause to leap: to leap a horse.
- a spring, jump, or bound; a light, springing movement.
- the distance covered in a leap; distance jumped.
- a place leaped or to be leaped over or from.
- a sudden or abrupt transition: a successful leap from piano class to concert hall.
- a sudden and decisive increase: a leap in the company’s profits.
- by leaps and bounds, very rapidly: We are progressing by leaps and bounds.
- leap in the dark, an action of which the consequences are unknown: The experiment was a leap in the dark.
- leap of faith, an act or instance of accepting or trusting in something that cannot readily be seen or proved.
verb leaps, leaping, leapt or leaped
- (intr) to jump suddenly from one place to another
- (intr often foll by at) to move or react quickly
- (tr) to jump over
- to come into prominence rapidlythe thought leapt into his mind
- (tr) to cause (an animal, esp a horse) to jump a barrier
- the act of jumping
- a spot from which a leap was or may be made
- the distance of a leap
- an abrupt change or increase
- Also called (US and Canadian): skip music a relatively large melodic interval, esp in a solo part
- a leap in the dark an action performed without knowledge of the consequences
- by leaps and bounds with unexpectedly rapid progress
n.c.1200, from Old English hliep, hlyp (West Saxon), *hlep (Mercian, Northumbrian) “a leap, bound, spring, sudden movement; thing to leap from;” common Germanic (cf. Old Frisian hlep, Dutch loop, Old High German hlouf, German lauf); from the root of leap (v.). Leaps has been paired with bounds since at least 1720. v.c.1200, from Old English hleapan “to jump, run, leap” (class VII strong verb; past tense hleop, past participle hleapen), from Proto-Germanic *khlaupan (cf. Old Saxon hlopan, Old Norse hlaupa, Old Frisian hlapa, Dutch lopen, Old High German hlouffan, German laufen “to run,” Gothic us-hlaupan “to jump up”), of uncertain origin, with no known cognates beyond Germanic. Leap-frog, the children’s game, is attested by that name from 1590s; figurative use by 1704. First loke and aftirward lepe [proverb recorded from mid-15c.] Related: Leaped; leaping. In addition to the idioms beginning with leap
Also see underjump.