Contents

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Middle English levain, a borrowing from Old French, from Late Latin levāmen, instead of levamentum, ultimately from Latin levō (I raise).

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

leaven (plural leavens)

  1. Any agent used to make dough rise or to have a similar effect on baked goods.
  2. (figuratively) Anything that makes a general assimilating change in the mass.
    • Bible, Luke xii. 1
      Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

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TranslationsEdit

VerbEdit

leaven (third-person singular simple present leavens, present participle leavening, simple past and past participle leavened)

  1. (transitive) To add a leavening agent.
  2. (transitive) To cause to rise by fermentation.
  3. (transitive, figuratively) To temper an action or decision.
    • 1992, Rudolf M. Schuster, The Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of North America: East of the Hundredth Meridian, volume V, page vii
      With fresh material, taxonomic conclusions are leavened by recognition that the material examined reflects the site it occupied; a herbarium packet gives one only a small fraction of the data desirable for sound conclusions. Herbarium material does not, indeed, allow one to extrapolate safely: what you see is what you get []
  4. (transitive, figuratively) To imbue; to infect; to vitiate.
    • 1649, John Milton, Eikonoklastes, London: 1756, p. 30,[1]
      With these and the like deceivable doctrines, he levens also his prayer.
    • 1716, Thomas Browne, Christian Morals, 2nd edition edited by Samuel Johnson, London: J. Payne, 1756, Part I, p. 7,[2]
      [] pursue virtue virtuously: leven not good actions, nor render virtues disputable. Stain not fair acts with foul intentions []
  5. To rise or become larger. (Can we add an example for this sense?)

Alternative formsEdit

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See alsoEdit