leave

Definitions

General English

Cricket

  • verb (of the ball) to move sharply away from the batsman, going towards the off-side from an initially straighter line
    Citation ‘Fraser beat him [Lara] with a near yorker then, at 347, got a ball to lift and leave him’ (Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Daily Telegraph 19 April 1994)
    Citation ‘When the bowlers … got the ball to leave him outside the off-stump, he went up on his toes and cut it with the full swing of the bat’ (Purandare 2005)

Information & Library Science

  • noun a period of time when somebody is absent from their job or study

Law

  • noun permission to do something
  • noun a permitted period of being away from work.
  • verb to go away from somewhere or someone
  • verb to give property to someone when you die

Military

  • verb to go away without something

Origin & History of “leave”

English has two distinct words leave. The noun, meaning ‘permission’, comes from a prehistoric west Germanic *laubā, which was derived from a root meaning ‘pleasure, approval’ (other English words from the same source include believe and love). It passed semantically through ‘be well disposed to’ to ‘trust’ (a sense preserved in the related believe, and also in the cognate German glauben ‘believe’), and from there to ‘permit’.

The verb leave ‘go away’ comes from a prehistoric Germanic *laibjan ‘remain’. It has been speculated that this is related ultimately to various Indo-European words for ‘sticky substances’ or ‘stickiness’ (Sanskrit lipta- ‘sticky’, for instance, and Greek lípos ‘grease’, source of English lipid (20th c.)), and that its underlying meaning is ‘remaining stuck’, hence ‘staying in a place’. The sense ‘remain’ survived into English, but it died out in the 16th century, leaving as its legacy the secondary causative sense ‘cause to remain’. The apparently opposite sense ‘go away’, which emerged in the 13th century, arose from viewing the action of the verb from the point of view of the person doing the leaving rather than of the thing being left. The related German bleiben, which incorporates the prefix bi-, still retains the sense ‘remain’. Other related English words, distant and close respectively, are eclipse and eleven.
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