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From Middle English leisir, from Anglo-Norman leisir, variant of Old French loisir (to enjoy oneself) (Modern French loisir survives as a noun), substantive use of a verb, from Latin licēre (be permitted). Displaced native Middle English lethe (leisure) (from Old English liþian "to unloose, release", compare Old English līþung "permission"), Middle English tom, toom "leisure" (from Old Norse tōm "leisure, ease", compare Old English tōm "free from").



leisure (countable and uncountable, plural leisures)

  1. Freedom provided by the cessation of activities.
  2. Free time, time free from work or duties.
    • Sir W. Temple
      The desire of leisure is much more natural than of business and care.
    • 1811, Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, chapter 11
      Little had Mrs. Dashwood or her daughters imagined when they first came into Devonshire, that so many engagements would arise to occupy their time as shortly presented themselves, or that they should have such frequent invitations and such constant visitors as to leave them little leisure for serious employment.
    • 1908, William David Ross (translator), Aristotle, Metaphysics
      This is why the mathematical arts were founded in Egypt; for there the priestly caste was allowed to be at leisure.
  3. Time at one's command, free from engagement; convenient opportunity; hence, convenience; ease.
    • Dryden
      He sighed, and had no leisure more to say.

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