See also: Leaf


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.
  2. (transitive) To divide (a vegetable) into separate leaves.
    The lettuce in our burgers is 100% hand-leafed.


Derived terms


See also

Further reading


  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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