Definition of leather in English:



  • 1[mass noun] A material made from the skin of an animal by tanning or a similar process.

    [as modifier] ‘a leather jacket’
    • ‘She notices how perfectly polished the leather car seats are, and how fitting this is for the car's last night.’
    • ‘She pulled back her long, black hair and tied it with the leather piece.’
    • ‘A piece of the leather bung which plugged one of these was still there, though the design I had seen on it the last time had disappeared.’
    • ‘This footwear also comes up with regal decorations like cloth of gold and velvet aside from the leather.’
    • ‘In the stables, hands fed and watered the horses, and groomed their white coats until they shone, and polished the tack until they see dull reflections in the leather.’
    • ‘You may also use chamois as an alternative to the leather pieces.’
    • ‘There were extra pieces of leather to fix broken saddles and reins with.’
    • ‘She wore what was then the fashion for women, a leather one piece outfit with detachable sleeves and pant legs.’
    • ‘But shining/polishing your shoes will make the leather last longer and look better.’
    • ‘Today, machines trim and cut the thickness and polish the leather.’
    • ‘On top of the frame is a saddle leather facing; one hide is used per seat.’
    • ‘Its latest collection presents a variety of leathers, suedes and fabrics.’
    • ‘The silver quality in her hair had kept it from being singed, but the leather piece holding it had been burned away.’
    • ‘The production of leather from animal hides was a time consuming and dreadfully smelly process.’
    • ‘The leather and cloth front seats were extremely comfortable and very supportive, especially for spirited driving.’
    • ‘She slumped back in the leather of the booth, and pushed a piece of hair behind her ear.’
    • ‘John hangs the leather on a plaiting hook and applies saddle dressing to the strands so that each one is individually stretched to assure a tight plait.’
    • ‘One bore a wolf's fang, the other a plain quartz piece on a leather thong.’
    • ‘Cabretta leather is still used, although man-made fibres and synthetic leathers are also available.’
    • ‘Within a few minutes he had lost his rhythm as the mare suddenly stopped short and he started bouncing uncomfortably on the tough leather of the saddle.’
    skin, hide
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Leather clothes, especially those worn by a motorcyclist.
      ‘he was dressed head to toe in black leathers’
      • ‘Maybe we need to find out a way to get Thrasher shirts over our leathers and then we will have a chance.’
      • ‘So, if you've ever had the notion to don the leathers and take to the open road Easy Rider-style like Denis Hopper, Peter Fonda or Jack Nicholson, make sure you give yourself a safe and skilful start and get yourself some lessons.’
      • ‘He was also always interested in motorcycles and could often be seen coming to the Royal Society of Medicine for meetings in his leathers and crash helmet.’
      • ‘The Avengers, by comparison, was a wonky, low-budget piece of whimsy distinguished by Diana Rigg in tight leathers and the kind of sexual innuendo you only needed in an era of tighter censorship.’
      • ‘I have already caused quite a stir by turning up in my leathers to appointments!’
      • ‘He was wearing a crash helmet and full leathers when his bike hit the metal chain.’
      • ‘Structured leathers and neoprene coats contrast with stretch mohair and fine cobweb knits to present a soft-military look.’
      • ‘She wears skin tight leathers and performs gymnastic twirls, capable of an Olympic gold.’
      • ‘He wore a red-and-black-checkered shirt and hunting leathers for pants.’
      • ‘I turned to face the speaker and blinked in surprise as I saw him standing there, dressed in his usual checked shirt and hunting leathers.’
      • ‘She has taken a tumble before, but the compulsory crash helmet, leathers and gloves prevented injuries.’
      • ‘Sometimes you just want to watch four people in tight black leathers whacking out two minute slabs of energetic thrash, and this they do perfectly.’
      • ‘Most are dressed in heavy black leathers and vintage race helmets, sporting tattoos and smoking up a storm.’
      • ‘He wears orange and black leathers with ‘Carpe Diem’ imprinted on the front.’
      • ‘They had leathers on and stood beside motorbikes.’
      • ‘Protective headgear and full motorcycle leathers are required to be worn to comply with race safety.’
      • ‘At most, she wore her fine leathers, suited for any Herald of the Steward, all crisp and well cut, and trimmed with fur for the winter, or made entirely of silk and linen for the summer.’
      • ‘The best thing for me used to be on Friday or Saturday night, when I put on my leathers, got on my Ducati 916 and went hurtling down the motorway at 180 mph.’
      • ‘He still looks cool in sunglasses and black leathers but the lack of emotion from his character, half-human, half-vampire or not, is becoming a major problem.’
      • ‘When I come back here why would I want to put my leathers on?’
  • 2A piece of leather as a polishing cloth.

  • 3

    short for stirrup leather
    • ‘With a round to go of the 4190-metre journey, the leathers holding her right stirrup iron came loose and dangled under the horse's belly for almost 2000m.’
    • ‘Far from his California base, Meteor Storm seemed unfazed by the coastal change as he galloped along confidently in fourth, with Javier Castellano in the leathers, as Wild Buddy set the early pace.’
    • ‘Strap leathers are common and inspired from English saddles.’
    • ‘MyDynamo, with Jody Petty in the leathers, took the immediate lead and repelled all challengers as he sailed with finesse and precision over the first two miles of National fences.’
    • ‘She was reluctant to leave but headed off into the darkness, reins fastened to the saddle and stirrups run up the leathers.’


  • 1 Beat or thrash (someone)

    ‘he caught me and leathered me black and blue’
    ‘go, before you get a leathering’
    • ‘I only had the knife to scare him in case he got me and gave me a leathering.’
    • ‘He lured them into a more secluded area and threatened to leather them if they tried to escape.’
    • ‘I had one fight last year where the judges scored it against me 1-0 after we'd been leathering each other for five rounds.’
    • ‘One young lad from Northampton takes me out as I'm about to play the ball and I absolutely leather him before an almighty fight breaks out and I'm sent to the sin-bin.’
    • ‘Despite being unable to breathe properly or see clearly, Arthur then absolutely leathered his Polish quarter-final opponent.’
    • ‘Prior to the legalisation of lifting, the lineout was a jungle, and a prime opportunity for forwards to leather each other without the referee ever being able to see.’
    • ‘I got him down and I was going to leather him.’
    beat, strap, belt, thrash, flog, whip, lash, scourge, horsewhip, birch, cane, strike, hit, clout, batter, spank
    wallop, whack, tan someone's hide, give someone a hiding, give someone a good hiding, lather
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Strike or kick (a ball) very hard.
      ‘Carlos took his customary 20-metre sprint up to the ball and leathered it’
      • ‘Paul Lambert leathered a low effort wide of the post.’
      • ‘Two minutes from time an unlikely hero emerged in the form of Allan Johnson, who leathered the winner for Wanderers.’
      • ‘Set a revised target of 144 off 22 overs, the Bears were over-eager to leather the ball around the park, rather than rely on a regular flow of singles to keep the scoreboard ticking.’
      • ‘Even in that third set, Sharapova was leathering winners from impossible situations and simply refusing to go away.’
      • ‘If the noise then was loud, it was even louder just before half time when Rooney leathered the ball past the Croat keeper and it was truly game on.’
      • ‘He leathers his second long-range effort of the night wide.’
      • ‘Deep in the heart of the fourth set, Ferrero drew himself up to his full height and started leathering that forehand again.’
      • ‘Kolinko's weak punch lands at the feet of Milan Baros, who leathers it home from 12 yards.’
      • ‘This time the winger's shot angled across Marshall's dive and rebounded off his left-hand post before being leathered behind.’
      • ‘Albion's ace day was capped late on when Andy Battersby leathered a 25-yard screamer into the Sutton net for Albion's fourth goal.’
      • ‘Ibrahimovic killed Wilhelmsson's cross six yards out, and as it sat up he absolutely leathered it towards goal, but Hislop stood tall and managed to beat it away.’
      • ‘We had a howling gale at our backs in the first half and we decided to show everybody how we could play football instead of leathering it down the other end.’
      • ‘Ballack danced through to the edge of the box and absolutely leathered it towards goal.’
      • ‘Hartson can leather the ball goalwards as though he means to kill it one minute, and then gently cushion it into the path of a teammate the next as though handing over a baby.’
      • ‘Tomas Rosicky leathers it goalwards from 20 yards, but he'll need to do better to beat former Crystal Palace custodian Aleksandrs Kolinko.’
      • ‘Just four minutes on, City goalkeeper Alan Fettis could only watch as Astafjevs leathered an exquisitely-angled 25-yard cross-shot high into the net.’


Old English lether, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch leer and German Leder, from an Indo-European root shared by Irish leathar and Welsh lledr.