From Middle English lenen (“to lean”), from Old English hleonian, hlinian (“to lean, recline, lie down, rest”), from Proto-Germanic *hlinjaną (“to lean, incline”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱley-. Cognate via Proto-Germanic with Middle Dutch leunen (“to lean”), German lehnen (“to lean”); via Proto-Indo-European with climate, cline.
- To incline, deviate, or bend, from a vertical position; to be in a position thus inclining or deviating.
- a leaning column
- She leaned out of the window.
- To incline in opinion or desire; to conform in conduct; with to, toward, etc.
- I'm leaning towards voting Conservative in the next election.
- To rest or rely, for support, comfort, etc.; with on, upon, or against.
- To hang outwards.
- To press against.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.
lean (plural leans)
- (of an object taller than its width and depth) An inclination away from the vertical.
- The trees had various leans toward gaps in the canopy.
- (inclination away from vertical): tilt
From Middle English lene (“lean”), from Old English hlǣne (“lean”), (cognate with Low German leen), perhaps from hlǣnan (“to cause to lean (due to hunger or lack of food)”), from Proto-Germanic *hlainijaną (“to cause to lean”). If so, then related to Old English hlinian, hleonian (“to lean”).
- (of a person or animal) Slim; not fleshy.
- (of meat) Having little fat.
- lean steak cuts
- Having little extra or little to spare; scanty; meagre.
- Having a low proportion or concentration of a desired substance or ingredient.
- (printing, archaic) Of a character which prevents the compositor from earning the usual wages; opposed to fat.
- lean copy, matter, or type
- (business) Efficient, economic, frugal, agile, slimmed-down; pertaining to the modern industrial principles of "lean manufacturing"
- lean management
- lean manufacturing
- Alcoa is now a lean and agile enterprise, after having split last year into two entities.
- Meat with no fat on it.
- (Can we date this quote?) Traditional rhyme
- Jack Sprat would eat no fat, / His wife would eat no lean.
- (Can we date this quote?) Traditional rhyme
- To thin out (a fuel-air mixture): to reduce the fuel flow into the mixture so that there is more air or oxygen.
- 2002 July, Tom Benenson, “Can Your Engine Run Too Lean?”, in Flying, volume 129, number 7, ISSN 0015-4806, page 73:
- Even the Pilot's Operating Handbooks (POH) for our training airplanes add to our paranoia with their insistence that we not lean the mixture until we're above 5000 feet density altitude.
Probably from the verb to lean (see etymology 1 above), supposedly because consumption of the intoxicating beverage causes one to "lean".
- (slang, US) A recreational drug based on codeine-laced promethazine cough syrup, popular in the hip hop community in the southeastern United States.
- 2005, Jordan Houston, Darnell Carlton, Paul Beauregard, Premro Smith, Marlon Goodwin, David Brown, and Willie Hutchinson (lyrics), “Stay Fly”, in Most Known Unknown, Sony BMG, performed by Three 6 Mafia (featuring Young Buck, 8 Ball, and MJG):
- Eyes real tight 'cause I'm chokin' the creep; vision messed up 'cause I'm drinkin' the lean.
- lean in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
- lean in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
From Old Irish lenaid (“stays, sticks (to), follows”), from Proto-Celtic *linati (“stick”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)ley- (“slimy”); compare Latin linō (“anoint”), līmus (“mud, slime”), Sanskrit लिनाति (lināti, “sticks, stays”).
* Indirect relative
† Archaic or dialect form
- Alternative verbal noun: leanacht (Cois Fharraige)
- "lean" in Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla, An Gúm, 1977, by Niall Ó Dónaill.
- C. Marstrander, E. G. Quin et al., editors (1913–76), “lenaid”, in Dictionary of the Irish Language: Based Mainly on Old and Middle Irish Materials, Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, ISBN 9780901714299
From Proto-Germanic *launą, from a suffixed form of Proto-Indo-European *leh₂w- (“catch, plunder, profit”). Cognate with Old Frisian lān, Old Saxon lōn, Dutch loon, Old High German lōn (German Lohn), Old Norse laun (Swedish lön), Gothic 𐌻𐌰𐌿𐌽 (laun). The Indo-European root is also the source of Ancient Greek λεία (leía) (from *λαϝία), Latin lucrum, Old Church Slavonic ловъ (lovŭ) (Russian лов (lov)), Old Irish lóg, Lithuanian lãvinti.
- "Heard weorc is his āgen lēan," cwæþ se hlāford tō þām þēowe.
- "Hard work is its own reward," said the master to the slave.
From Old Irish lenaid (“stays, sticks (to), follows”), from Proto-Celtic *linati (“stick”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)ley- (“slimy”); compare Latin linō (“anoint”), Sanskrit लिनाति (lināti, “sticks, stays”).
- Second-person plural (ustedes) imperative form of leer.
- Second-person plural (ustedes) present subjunctive form of leer.
- Third-person plural (ellos, ellas, also used with ustedes?) present subjunctive form of leer.