Dog on a leash.
Surf leash.


From Middle English leesshe, leysche, lesshe, a variant of more original lease, from Middle English lees, leese, leece, lese, from Old French lesse (modern French laisse), from Latin laxa (thong, a loose cord), feminine form of laxus (loose); compare lax. Doublet of laisse.



leash (plural leashes)

  1. A strap, cord or rope with which to restrain an animal, often a dog.
    Synonym: lead
    • 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned:
      A stout woman upholstered in velvet, her flabby cheeks too much massaged, swirled by with her poodle straining at its leash
    • c. 1605-1610, William Shakespeare, Coriolanus, Act I, Scene 6
      like a fawning greyhound in the leash
  2. A brace and a half; a tierce.
  3. A set of three animals (especially greyhounds, foxes, bucks, and hares;)
  4. A group of three
    • 1597, Henry IV part 1, by Shakespeare
      Sirrah, I am sworn brother to a leash of drawers; and can call them all by their Christian names, as, Tom, Dick, and Francis.
    • 1663, Hudibras, by Samuel Butler, part 1, canto 1
      It had an odd promiscuous tone, / As if h' had talk'd three parts in one; / Which made some think, when he did gabble, / Th' had heard three labourers of Babel; / Or Cerberus himself pronounce / A leash of languages at once.
    • [I] kept my chamber a leash of days.
    • ?, Alfred Tennyson, Gareth and Lynette
      Then were I wealthier than a leash of kings.
  5. A string with a loop at the end for lifting warp threads, in a loom.
  6. (surfing) A leg rope.
    • 1980 February, Drew Kampion, “As Years Roll By (1970's Retrospective”, in Surfing magazine, page 43:
      Probably the idea was around before that, but the first photo of the leash in action was published that year



leash (third-person singular simple present leashes, present participle leashing, simple past and past participle leashed)

  1. To fasten or secure with a leash.
  2. (figuratively) to curb, restrain




Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for leash in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)