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From Middle English lether, from Old English leþer ‎(leather), from Proto-Germanic *leþrą ‎(leather), from Proto-Indo-European *létrom ‎(leather). Cognate with West Frisian leare ‎(leather), Low German Ledder ‎(leather), Dutch leder, leer ‎(leather), German Leder ‎(leather), Danish læder ‎(leather), Swedish läder ‎(leather), Icelandic leður ‎(leather). The Celtic forms (Welsh lledr, Old Irish lethar) ultimately derive from the Germanic.



leather ‎(countable and uncountable, plural leathers)

  1. A tough material produced from the skin of animals, by tanning or similar process, used e.g. for clothing.
  2. A piece of the above used for polishing.
  3. (colloquial) A cricket ball or football.
  4. (plural: leathers) clothing made from the skin of animals, often worn by motorcycle riders.
  5. (baseball) A good defensive play
    Jones showed good leather to snare that liner.
  6. (dated, humorous) The skin.


(types of leather): chagrin, cordovan, cordwain, galuchat, maroquin, morocco, morocco leather, shagreen, sharkskin, taw



leather ‎(not comparable)

  1. Made of leather.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 2, in The Celebrity:
      Sunning himself on the board steps, I saw for the first time Mr. Farquhar Fenelon Cooke. [] A silver snaffle on a heavy leather watch guard which connected the pockets of his corduroy waistcoat, together with a huge gold stirrup in his Ascot tie, sufficiently proclaimed his tastes.
  2. Referring to one who wears leather clothing (motorcycle jacket, chaps over 501 jeans, boots), especially as a sign of sadomasochistic homosexuality.



leather ‎(third-person singular simple present leathers, present participle leathering, simple past and past participle leathered)

  1. To cover with leather.
  2. To strike forcefully.
    He leathered the ball all the way down the street.
  3. To beat with a leather belt or strap.
    • 1806, Andrew Kippis, The New Annual Register:
      My father was very angry with me— -he took and leathered ( beat) me, because I ran away from my school ; for I did run away from my school ; he took and tied me up on a Sunday morning, leathered me a Friday night, and Saturday night : I was stripped naked when he leathered me on Friday night, and Saturday; my father told me to strip myself, and he leathered me, it was with a whip; but I do not know where he got the whip; he tied me with my arms extended so -- (spreading out her arms to their extremity, as if they were to be nailed upon a cross) -- My legs were tied too -- I was at the bottom of the dresser.
    • 2005, H. Salisbury, Betrayed, ISBN 0595341055, page 4:
      My father was furious with me and reached for the strap. He brutally leathered me with it before sending me to bed for the night.
    • 2011, Agnes Owens, Agnes Owens: The Complete Novellas, ISBN 0857901397:
      Anyway, bums were always on view in our family, getting leathered with a heavy belt.

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