A leaf
leaves (plural form)


From Middle English leef, from Old English lēaf, from Proto-Germanic *laubą(leaf) (compare West Frisian leaf, Low German Loov, Dutch loof, German Laub, Danish løv, Swedish löv, Norwegian Nynorsk lauv), from Proto-Indo-European *lewbʰ-(leaf, rind) [1] (compare Irish luibh(herb), Latin liber(bast; book), Lithuanian lúoba(bark), Albanian labë(rind), Latvian luba(plank, board), Russian луб(lub, bast)).



leaf (plural leaves)

  1. The usually green and flat organ that represents the most prominent feature of most vegetative plants.
    • 2013 May-June, William E. Conner, “An Acoustic Arms Race”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 3, page 206-7:
      Earless ghost swift moths become “invisible” to echolocating bats by forming mating clusters close (less than half a meter) above vegetation and effectively blending into the clutter of echoes that the bat receives from the leaves and stems around them.
  2. Anything resembling the leaf of a plant.
  3. A sheet of any substance beaten or rolled until very thin.
    gold leaf
  4. A sheet of a book, magazine, etc (consisting of two pages, one on each face of the leaf).
  5. (in the plural) Tea leaves.
  6. A flat section used to extend the size of a table.
  7. A moveable panel, e.g. of a bridge or door, originally one that hinged but now also applied to other forms of movement.
    The train car has one single-leaf and two double-leaf doors per side.
  8. (botany) A foliage leaf or any of the many and often considerably different structures it can specialise into.
  9. (computing, mathematics) In a tree, a node that has no descendants.
    • 2011, John Mongan, Noah Kindler, Eric Giguère, Programming Interviews Exposed
      The algorithm pops the stack to obtain a new current node when there are no more children (when it reaches a leaf).
  10. The layer of fat supporting the kidneys of a pig, leaf fat.
  11. One of the teeth of a pinion, especially when small.


  • (moveable panel of a bridge or door): stile

Derived terms



leaf (third-person singular simple present leafs, present participle leafing, simple past and past participle leafed)

  1. ( intransitive) To produce leaves; put forth foliage.


Derived terms


See also


  1. ^ De Vaan, Michiel (2008) Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 7), Leiden, Boston: Brill, page 337


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