Definition of let in US English:

let

verb

  • 1with object and infinitive Not prevent or forbid; allow.

    ‘my boss let me leave early’
    ‘you mustn't let yourself get so involved’
    • ‘I was terribly disappointed that they didn't let me take it into the hospital with me.’
    • ‘Stop letting your hate consume you and go do something with your lives.’
    • ‘Stop letting self-consciousness hold you back.’
    • ‘The padding helps prevent soreness and lets you spend more time on the saddle.’
    • ‘He lets Katie boss him around.’
    • ‘The security people let them pass with hardly a glance at their documentation.’
    • ‘They just need to stay out of the way and let you and the boss go to work.’
    • ‘Two of the group's leaders are county-standard archers and the facility will let them pass on their skills.’
    • ‘Rachael decided that she wouldn't let what had happened earlier get to her.’
    • ‘It's our job to formulate a clear question and let the people decide.’
    • ‘But his boss won't let him leave - at least not until he completes one final contract.’
    • ‘We can't let a short term political imperative override long term economic factors.’
    • ‘As with everything else in the investment world, don't let greed and the desire for a quick buck overrule common sense.’
    • ‘He doesn't let his busy schedule prevent him from visiting Scotland regularly.’
    • ‘I stopped blaming myself for letting Tom treat me like that.’
    • ‘Oliver shows no signs of letting his early health problems hold him back, having played four games for Yorkshire under-11s cricket team already this season.’
    • ‘So, if your child has expressed interest in gardening, let them help you.’
    • ‘They provided us with tea and biscuits and let us wait in the day room.’
    • ‘In March, she let them sneak an early peek at the work in progress.’
    • ‘This book works because it brings together some of the best writers of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries and lets them speak for themselves.’
    allow, permit, give permission to, give leave to, authorize, sanction, grant, grant the right to, warrant, license, empower, enable, entitle
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object and adverbial of direction Allow to pass in a particular direction.
      ‘could you let the dog out?’
      ‘a tiny window that let in hardly any light’
      • ‘We sat in our car until just before 4pm when the traffic moved temporarily and someone let us in to the queue.’
      • ‘When they reached her room, Ryder let Harry and Corrie in, Harry setting the boxes down on the coffee table.’
      • ‘Until then, most politicians were fearful of letting journalists into their smoke-filled rooms or on their campaign trains.’
      • ‘I took a deep breath, letting it out with a shuddering sigh.’
      • ‘Torches lined the stairs, and an occasional stained-glass window let in some light.’
      • ‘I looked older than most teenagers and the doorman let me through without any hassle.’
      • ‘The pores also let water out while allowing in chemicals that help block decay.’
      • ‘An original sash window overlooking the front garden lets in plenty of light.’
      • ‘She opens the front door to let the cat in and the lock falls off in her hand.’
      • ‘His wife refused to let him in to the house.’
      • ‘On June 22, the woman was sitting in a chair when they appeared at her living room door, having let themselves in by the back door.’
      • ‘A bogus caller was stopped in his tracks by a brave elderly woman who refused to let him in.’
      • ‘So to help my trousers dry a little, I opened a window a couple of inches to let a bit of a breeze in.’
      • ‘He bicycled to the winery and opened up the doors to let in the softer morning air.’
      • ‘The following morning I'm woken up nice and early by the builders letting themselves in to the apartment.’
      • ‘The court heard the driver of the Volvo pulled out after a van stopped to let him across the road.’
      • ‘An eighty year old pensioner was tricked into letting a man into her home after he claimed he worked for the council and needed to measure her property last week.’
      • ‘He was going to let in his friend at the front door so they could visit another resident.’
      • ‘They let heat in but prevent it from getting out.’
      • ‘They let me through, I got on the bus to the plane, climbed on the plane and they shut the door behind me.’
      allow to go, permit to pass
      View synonyms
  • 2with object and infinitive Used in the imperative to formulate various expressions.

    allow, permit, give permission to, give leave to, authorize, sanction, grant, grant the right to, warrant, license, empower, enable, entitle
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1let us" or "let's Used as a polite way of making or responding to a suggestion, giving an instruction, or introducing a remark.
      ‘let's have a drink’
      ‘“Shall we go?” “Yes, let's.”’
      • ‘Finally, let's not forget that Bermuda is only one mile wide and surrounded by water.’
      • ‘This, let's not forget, is the man who only this week pretended to cut off part of his ear in a press conference.’
      • ‘If we are to talk of unity, let us talk of uniting people and not just territory.’
      • ‘Anyway, let's not live in the past - onward to the future.’
      • ‘Also let's not forget the traffic lights on the Salisbury road also creating major tailbacks.’
      • ‘If you ask me, let us forget two issues for the time being, one being money and the second being the name.’
      • ‘Well done to one and all, and let us hope that this occasion will be repeated many times in the future.’
      • ‘No doubt our political enemies will think they have got a scalp, but let us not forget that there is a human element to this.’
      • ‘But let us not think that the men of the family are the only ones to be interested in horses.’
      • ‘To enlarge on that point, let us suppose that we put a thousand liberal-arts graduates in a theatre.’
      • ‘That is a very important point, but let us put it aside and consider the merits of the direction.’
      • ‘Well, let us explore that, because it is quite an important suggestion which may or may not work.’
      • ‘In the name of my nephew, and all the other victims of this environment of fear, let us try to find common ground as a nation.’
      • ‘To illustrate, let us review some of the policies introduced in this chapter.’
      • ‘Please let us all strengthen the values of high moral standards, decency and caring before it is too late.’
      • ‘Before we scoff, let us consider the power of the celebrity for a moment.’
      • ‘Let the debate run, but as it does, let us have some truth and owning up to responsibility.’
      • ‘Yes, we do need democracy in Africa, but let us not use that as an excuse to deny life saving resources.’
      • ‘That is the plan for the day - let us see how close to plan it actually goes.’
      • ‘There is, let us remember, another occasion when we can give thanks and pay our respects to all lost loved ones.’
    2. 2.2let me" or "let us Used to make a polite offer of help.
      ‘“Here, let me,” offered Bruce’
      • ‘If you must continue with this project, then please let me help with the images.’
      • ‘Here, let me do your bow tie.’
      • ‘‘Here, let me,’ Emily said, coming to her aid.’
      • ‘You have plenty to do tonight. You have to get packed and such. Please, let me.’
    3. 2.3 Used to express one's strong desire for something to happen or be the case.
      ‘“Dear God,” Jessica prayed, “let him be all right.”’
      • ‘Please don't let them be right.’
      • ‘Let him soothe me, let him calm me, let his strong arms encircle me and protect me.’
      • ‘Every match I play, I still think ‘Oh my God, please let it end.’’
      • ‘Just let him be safe, he thought. That’s all I ask.’
      • ‘Every day we wake up, we pray please let today be the day we have the answers.’
    4. 2.4 Used as a way of expressing defiance or challenge.
      ‘if he wants to walk out, well let him!’
      • ‘However I was aware that we lived in a world where I can make up my own mind, so if I want to smoke then let me.’
      • ‘If some want to mount an eleventh-hour challenge, let them come out in the open.’
      • ‘If they want to have a genuinely scientific theory, let them propose a model that can be rigorously tested.’
      • ‘If they want a challenge, let them clean up the damage they have caused.’
      • ‘These parliamentarians who are against me, just let them try and take my statues or my park.’
      • ‘If he can do it better, let him!’
    5. 2.5 Used to express an assumption upon which a theory or calculation is to be based.
      ‘let A and B stand for X and Y respectively’
      • ‘Let x be the observed value of this statistic.’
      • ‘Let L be the earth's equator and let x be a point in the northern hemisphere.’
      • ‘Let the line equal to line AG be AD, and let DG be joined.’
  • 3British with object Allow someone to have the use of (a room or property) in return for regular payments; rent.

    ‘they've let out their apartment’
    ‘homeowners will be able to let rooms to lodgers without having to pay tax’
    • ‘When one frees up the house - it is let to a public tenant.’
    • ‘Sisson said that professional letting agents will meet with potential tenants prior to letting the property.’
    • ‘If re-housed, these applicants could sell their property for a profit or let the property and receive a rental income from it.’
    • ‘Does a landlord, however, control premises which are let out to tenants?’
    • ‘It is as well to check the conditions of your mortgage before letting the property.’
    • ‘The event is aimed primarily at owners of empty properties in the private sector and visitors can get free advice on a range of topics linked to letting property.’
    • ‘The administration might even be letting rooms in the villages for the fall term.’
    • ‘Under the government's Rent a Room scheme, you can earn up to £4,250 tax free each tax year from letting a room in your home.’
    • ‘Income from letting French property must be declared to the French tax authorities by April 30 each year.’
    • ‘Essex County Council lets the site for a peppercorn rent.’
    • ‘She will take charge of letting the property in the future.’
    • ‘Even if your particular room has been let it is usually possible to stay in one of the others that is free.’
    • ‘All of the sites are currently let to strong tenants and are being sold by private treaty.’
    • ‘The council also wants to start targeting private landlords in a bid to encourage them to consider letting their properties to people receiving housing benefit.’
    • ‘She and the children want to move into our rather small house and let her property, thereby providing an income.’
    • ‘The government says such protection is no longer appropriate and discourages investors from letting properties.’
    • ‘Mr Bennett's business is mainly letting property to students.’
    • ‘Letters have been sent to solicitors and letting agents after police found people are letting properties for themselves then sub-letting them to prostitutes.’
    • ‘Almost all private landlords will only let properties on a shorthold tenancy, in order to protect their investment.’
    • ‘Since then he has purchased another three houses that he lets out to tenants.’
    rent out, let out, rent, lease, hire, hire out, loan, give on loan, sublet, sublease, farm out, contract, charge for the use of
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 Award (a contract for a particular project) to an applicant.
      ‘preliminary contracts were let and tunneling work started’
      • ‘The decision means tenders will now be let for the project, with work expected to begin in late February.’
      • ‘A contract was let unfairly and we contested it in front of a Federal judge.’
      • ‘In 1957 a contract was let to link the two sections and build a road from Closeburn Station to White Point.’
      • ‘Contracts were let for making bricks, burning lime and additional miners employed.’
      • ‘A contract has been let to Signway Supplies Ltd to replace 142 signs in and around the city.’
      • ‘I let contracts for the manufacture of parts, assembled the sets in my apartment, and sold them however I could.’
      • ‘The firm will be responsible for training staff and letting the operating contract and will give advice on waste systems engineering, policy and planning.’
      • ‘Construction contracts are to be let next year and the hub completed by the end of 2007.’
      • ‘A contract was let for 25 buildings across the state in a first round of construction.’
      • ‘Since letting that contract, the campus has used the method on four other retrofits with a combined value of $75 million.’
      • ‘These were then packaged into the contracts that would be let to the section design consultants.’
      • ‘The Government let the contract to an English firm.’
      • ‘The changes and delays in fund-raising and letting contracts pushed the opening to this summer.’
      • ‘The construction work was let under two building contracts.’
      • ‘They claim that the feed quality has changed since the contract was let.’

Phrases

  • let alone

    • Used to indicate that something is far less likely, possible, or suitable than something else already mentioned.

      ‘he was incapable of leading a bowling team, let alone a country’
      • ‘It gets so crowded here in high summer that there's often no room to sit down, let alone lay out a towel.’
      • ‘At the time he had no idea how to start a business, let alone find the financial backing to realise his dream.’
      • ‘I don't want to share the same room with her and the hounds, let alone a mortgage.’
      • ‘There is barely enough demand in Scotland to keep one film studio in business, let alone two.’
      • ‘He has the unenviable task of promoting a product that few want to think about, let alone buy.’
      • ‘He is suffering from a ghastly disease for which there is no treatment, let alone a cure.’
      • ‘There was a chance that he might not be able to breathe for himself or swallow, let alone walk or talk again.’
      • ‘After a long search he came to the conclusion that he cannot afford to rent a home in Epsom, let alone buy one.’
      • ‘Who on earth would be prepared, let alone equipped to take on such a challenge?’
      • ‘In Scotland we can have a range of weather conditions in one hour, let alone one day.’
  • let someone/something be

    • Stop disturbing or interfering with.

      ‘let him be—he knows what he wants’
      • ‘She has a wonderful acceptance of the world, of letting things be.’
      • ‘That includes recognizing without anxiety the sources of your tension and letting them be.’
      • ‘Not everybody is content with letting things be.’
      • ‘Nobody likes a control freak, so stop being a bossyboots and let things be.’
      • ‘He stopped frozen and let me be, which was the best choice he could have made.’
      • ‘Irritated, she turned to me at a noisy high school basketball game, complaining that I should let things be, stop applying words to our friends, stop seeking motives and positing consequences.’
  • let someone down gently

    • Seek to give someone bad news in a way that avoids causing them too much distress or humiliation.

      • ‘I had let him down gently and quietly so that the word wouldn't get to George.’
      • ‘She told me it would never happen between us, and she didn't let me down gently.’
      • ‘I think he was trying to let me down gently.’
      • ‘Sure, he's broken a bunch of hearts, but he's always let them down gently.’
      • ‘His editor let him down gently and swiftly changed the subject.’
      • ‘All the director can do is let you down gently, which he does.’
      • ‘I didn't want anyone to get hurt, so I tried to let her down gently.’
      • ‘Rather than letting Nicole down gently, it would only serve to raise her hopes even higher.’
      • ‘Is there a good way to let someone down gently when you're not interested?’
      • ‘Sophie called and let me down gently but I still wanted to scratch out her eyes.’
  • let something drop (or fall)

    • Casually reveal a piece of information.

      ‘from the things he let drop I think there was a woman in his life’
      • ‘From what I could gather from hints she let fall, she had been pushed down a staircase by her husband some years back.’
      • ‘The other day, while talking to a group of women at a public function, she let it drop that she had visited the Chief Minister.’
      • ‘After the cop had stopped the attractive and self-assured woman for speeding, she let it drop that her father was himself an officer, recently retired.’
      • ‘Some time ago, he let it fall that he thought the novel no longer had any life in it.’
      • ‘Some things he let drop during our conversation last night lead me to believe that his arm might be painful to him this morning.’
  • let fall

    • Draw (a perpendicular) from an outside point to a line.

      • ‘Their effects must be estimated by the length of perpendiculars let fall upon the lines of direction in a similar manner.’
      • ‘On the tangent PR produced let fall the perpendicular SY.’
      • ‘Let ABC be any triangle, and the angle at B one of its acute angles, and upon BC, one of the sides containing it, let fall the perpendicular.’
  • let fly

    • Attack, either physically or verbally.

      ‘the troops let fly with tear gas’
      • ‘The biggest reception, indeed a rapturous one, greeted the next speaker, who well and truly let fly.’
      • ‘It's written from the point of view of boisterous, bolshie Gemma; who when she learns Alice's parents are taking her away to Scotland, lets fly at Alice's mum Karen.’
      • ‘Handfuls of stones were loaded into our respective weapons, and as the first bird flew over, we let fly.’
      • ‘The man took the piece of rock he was given, whirled it in his sling, and let fly.’
      • ‘Once she has lured the audience into misjudging just how innocent she really is, she lets fly with more voracious comments.’
      • ‘The details are still blurry, but it seems that a couple of boar hunters let fly at the wolf for no particular reason except his wolfhood.’
      • ‘But he was only saving that for later in the speech - the fourth quarter, as it were - and then he let fly.’
      • ‘A furious Hayden let fly verbally at Jones, who had raised his hand in apology.’
      • ‘Today, he let fly at the Air Traffic Controllers' Association, saying they're overstating the danger.’
      • ‘Well, I verbally let fly, causing Daddy to come in and, thankfully, and fairly, he stuck up for me.’
      hurl, fling, throw, propel, pitch, lob, toss, launch, cast, shy, project, catapult, bowl
      lose one's temper with, lash out at, scold, criticize, condemn, chastise, chide, rant at, inveigh against, rail against, abuse, revile
      View synonyms
  • let oneself go

    • 1Act in an unrestrained or uninhibited way.

      ‘you need to unwind and let yourself go’
      • ‘It is so good to be able to go out at night and let myself go.’
      • ‘Some men can't handle a woman who really lets herself go.’
      • ‘Carl made her feel so good, so relaxed that she let herself go completely, losing herself in the moment.’
      • ‘By the end of the show there's not a person in the audience who hasn't just thought, ‘What the hell,’ and let themselves go.’
      • ‘The government seems uncomfortable about these ‘drink-fuelled scenes’, fearful of rowdy crowds of people letting themselves go.’
      • ‘Almost a quarter of men in London admitted completely letting themselves go and sobbing or bawling in the past month.’
      • ‘‘I think I am just not afraid of letting myself go in front of the children; whatever it takes, I will do it to make them learn,’ said Gemma.’
      • ‘Decadence is selfish - it means letting yourself go and not caring about others, not caring about tomorrow so you do whatever you want today.’
      • ‘The size of the audience at the event was ideal, as there was generally sufficient space on the dance floor to let yourself go, and plenty of places to sit if you needed to take a break.’
      • ‘I wish that everyone would let themselves go once in a while.’
    • 2Become careless or untidy in one's habits or appearance.

      ‘he's really let himself go since my mother died’
      • ‘Even though a well-chosen wardrobe can help make the most of your shape, you will never look your best if you have totally let yourself go.’
      • ‘Just because you get married and have children it does not mean you have to let yourself go.’
      • ‘After the disappointment of the Olympic trial I really let myself go, and my health went downhill very quickly.’’
      • ‘No wonder most of us meet a guy our own age, settle down and let ourselves go.’
      • ‘Let's speak plainly here, David, it looks as if you've been letting yourself go.’
      • ‘His condition before the fight in New York did not indicate a man building up muscular mass so much as a boxer letting himself go.’
      • ‘They find a guy and make an effort when they go on a date, and then once they get comfy with him and have kids they let themselves go.’
      • ‘You have to wait until you get married before you start letting yourself go.’
      • ‘He has let himself go, no longer caring about his appearance, or able to get up in the mornings.’
      • ‘But when he told me I was letting myself go because I wore a size 8, it stung so much I thought I might collapse with the weight of it.’
  • let someone/something go

    • 1Allow someone or something to escape or go free.

      ‘they let the hostages go’
      • ‘The gunman let Smith go and surrendered to the police around noon.’
      • ‘A hostage heard the gunmen shouting that they would release their captives if the security forces let them go.’
      • ‘The woman pleaded with the man to let her go, and eventually escaped after kicking him in the groin.’
      • ‘‘Whoever has him, please let him go and send him home to me,’ she said at the weekend.’
      • ‘Though agents say they are sure illegal aliens or drugs were here perhaps minutes earlier, there is nothing now, so they must let the men go.’
      • ‘After a trained release coordinator lets the birds go, they immediately fly back to the place where they're kept.’
      • ‘It only took me seven hours to talk the doctors into letting me go, and then they discharged me only when I threatened them with a lawsuit.’
      • ‘Scream help or fire, or anything that comes to mind until they let you go.’
      • ‘They let the dogs go, allowing them to go after my parents.’
      • ‘He produced a knife and forced her to remove her underwear, but when she repeatedly asked to be freed he panicked and let her go.’
      1. 1.1euphemistic Dismiss an employee.
        • ‘About 24 of the 100 employees at CBS Internet were let go in June.’
        • ‘The only protection people need in a tight labour market with skills shortages is to be so adaptable, trained and valuable that no employer would dare let them go or treat them badly.’
        • ‘And as Neil's report shows, you were not let go on good terms - you were fired.’
        • ‘Twenty workers still remained at the plant in the employ of the liquidator and it was unlikely they would be let go until after Christmas.’
        • ‘If you can't systematically advance on merit within business and the military, they let you go rather than allow you to sit and deteriorate in the same job.’
        • ‘On your side is the fact that, in most sectors, employers are increasingly realising that it's cheaper and more efficient to hold on to skilled people rather than let them go and train new employees.’
        • ‘He would hire employees, let them go when receivables dipped - and then hastily hire them back when the work flowed in again.’
        • ‘If a crew member wants to leave, it's usually better to let him go instead of hanging on to a disgruntled employee.’
        • ‘If an employee cannot fulfil his duties, the company can let him go even if the injury was due to factors outside the employee's control.’
        • ‘In the free market, people are let go because changes in productivity or markets have made it uneconomical for their company to employ them.’
        make redundant, dismiss, discharge, lay off, give notice to, pay off, remove, release
        View synonyms
    • 2Relinquish one's grip on someone or something.

      ‘Adam let go of the reins’
      figurative ‘you must let the past go’
      • ‘Finally we made it to my locker and she reluctantly let go of my arm.’
      • ‘William refused to let her go as his grip around her tightened.’
      • ‘On another occasion a traumatised child - a victim of shelling in the stunningly beautiful Neelam valley - lay on a bed in a military hospital and gripped my hand and would not let it go.’
      • ‘The dog Louis pulled on his leash at the sound of horses, and I let it go, allowing him to run ahead.’
      • ‘He let her go, half throwing her back against the sacks.’
      • ‘Blushing, Vicki reluctantly let go of his hand.’
      • ‘I let out a yell and tried to twist out of his grip, he let go and I fell with a thump.’
      • ‘She smiled to herself and loosed her grip on his arm, but she did not let it go.’
      • ‘She shivered slightly as his fingers gently gripped hers then slowly let go.’
      • ‘‘I love you too, baby,’ she said as she reluctantly let me go, allowing me to turn to my dad.’
      release, release one's hold on, loose one's hold on, loosen one's hold on, relinquish, unhand, surrender, give up
      View synonyms
  • let someone have it

    • informal Attack someone physically or verbally.

      ‘I really let him have it for worrying me so much’
      • ‘Go to the polls in a white hot rage and let them have it where it hurts.’
      • ‘The fighter draws a slug from a water bottle, swishes it round his mouth, fixes the kid with a grin and lets him have it, right between the eyes.’
      • ‘My amazement was strong enough to prompt me to exclaim to the woman sitting next to me, ‘Wow, they've really let him have it!’’
      • ‘She let him have it about his life of heavy drug use and womanizing.’
      • ‘I have been here before, so when his hand goes behind his back, I let him have it with several direct hits.’
      • ‘So he's going to hold back the wrath until he gets tired and then he's just gonna let us have it?’
      • ‘Excellent ministers, who have helped improve this country greatly over the past seven years, let me have it with both barrels.’
      • ‘They rang him up for an interview - and before they could put the phone down he let them have it with both barrels.’
      • ‘The men stand ready for him behind the door with a rolling pin, and when he gets home, they let him have it.’
      • ‘So I turned to this man, my boss, and let him have it.’
      attack, assault, beat, beat up, batter, thrash, pound, pummel, assail, set upon, fall upon, set about, strike at, let fly at, tear into, lash out at
      scold, rebuke, reprimand, reproach, reprove, admonish, remonstrate with, chastise, chide, upbraid, berate, take to task, pull up, castigate, lambaste, read someone the riot act, give someone a piece of one's mind, go on at, haul over the coals, criticize, censure
      View synonyms
  • let in (or out) the clutch

    • Engage (or release) the clutch of a vehicle by releasing pressure on (or applying it to) the clutch pedal.

      • ‘The driver gives them five seconds to find a seat, then pushes the gear handle and lets in the clutch.’
      • ‘I drop into first gear, let out the clutch, and enjoy the crawl.’
      • ‘I'd heard about bump starting and knew it involved pushing the scooter then jumping on and letting out the clutch.’
      • ‘The driver stood on the accelerator, let out the clutch and roared away with tyres screaming.’
      • ‘I don't know exactly what happened at the start - I just let out the clutch and suddenly the engine shut down.’
      • ‘My driver's ed consisted of getting in, starting the motor, and letting out the clutch.’
      • ‘We ran out of time and just took a shot, but the bike bogged when I let out the clutch.’
      • ‘Judy apparently had trouble driving a stick shift without bucking and stalling, and so she compensated by using a tremendous amount of gas each time she had to let out the clutch.’
  • let someone know

    • Inform someone.

      ‘let me know what you think of him’
      • ‘Keep letting us know how you feel about our performance and our responsiveness to you.’
      • ‘I should preface this by letting you know that my partner is American and that many of the people who support this project are too.’
      • ‘I couldn't tell if the remark was a question or if he was just letting me know he was informed.’
      • ‘Please let us know if you wish to be kept informed of events at the orchard.’
      • ‘Talk to her in a mature and calm manner, and ask why she's reading and deleting your e-mail without letting you know.’
      • ‘Thank you for letting me know in advance this question was coming.’
      • ‘The British Arts Council funds his mostly poetry press at a level of $150,000 per year and lets him know in advance what his funding level will be.’
      • ‘We still need members of the public to come forward and help us by letting us know who is committing the burglaries and who is storing the items.’
      • ‘If you have your own property website then please let us know and we can mention it in the coming weeks.’
      • ‘‘Communities must keep letting us know about problems if we are to stand a chance of beating this,’ he said.’
  • let someone/something loose

    • 1Release someone or something.

      ‘let the dog loose for a minute’
      • ‘Also, when animal shelters don't take every animal brought to the door, the risk is that it will be let loose on the street and perhaps be hit by a car, poisoned, tortured or maimed.’
      • ‘To add to the general excitement, a couple of tigers were let loose on the racetrack to be hunted!’
      • ‘On Saturday afternoon power boats were let loose from their moorings and on Sunday vandals did the same to canoes.’
      • ‘He also claimed any person walking a dog of a hunting breed in an area where there were known to be wild mammals could be open to prosecution if they let the dog loose.’
      • ‘When I lived more in the country, dogs were kept up and cats were let loose.’
      • ‘The infuriated chief took a photo of the scene as the illegal aliens were let loose and sent me a copy.’
      • ‘In this competition, dogs are let loose to chase a jack rabbit over desert terrain.’
      • ‘However, at least two dogs were let loose by spectators.’
      • ‘He stressed he was not criticising people who lived in the country but newcomers and visitors from urban areas, who kept their dogs cooped up and then thought they could let them loose as soon as they were in the countryside.’
      • ‘I'm not sure letting your four-month-old puppy loose in your average city dog park is that great an idea.’
      free, set free, unloose, turn loose, set loose, let go, release, liberate
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Allow someone freedom of action in a particular place or situation.
        ‘people are only let loose on the system once they have received sufficient training’
        • ‘And for the last 200 years they have been let loose on humanity to perpetuate the worst kind of injustices.’
        • ‘The staff spend an average of six months concentrating on backroom duties and learning the basics before they are let loose on the company's clients.’
        • ‘Something did need to be done, so the road planning idiots were let loose on this project, a department that I don't think has half a brain between them.’
        • ‘Before you can drive, you need to take a test for a licence, which gives you and others on the road the confidence that you have gained all skills and aptitudes required to let you loose on the road.’
        • ‘They have been let loose on the BBC archive to select their choice of rare recordings.’
        • ‘While their menfolk were at the convention, these elderly candy-floss haired ladies were let loose on Manhattan.’
        • ‘Long before any filmmaker is let loose on complicated things like working out which lens is best for what shot, they first have to enter the mind-boggling minefield of film financing.’
        • ‘Nowadays professional caddies at the world's leading courses undergo strenuous training and have to prove themselves to their caddie-masters before they are let loose on the paying public.’
        • ‘I really had a taste for racing by the time I was let loose on my final track challenge in a single-seat race car.’
        • ‘The first two years of study are similar to that of any other health care practitioner and thousands of hours of clinical practice are required before the student is let loose on the public.’
      2. 1.2Suddenly utter a sound or remark.
        ‘he let loose a stream of abuse’
        • ‘Once out in the narrow hall I let loose a cry of frustration.’
        • ‘She stiffened and then let loose a stream of abuse in a South Yorkshire accent.’
        • ‘Stunned, the CEO let loose a stream of expletives and walked out.’
        • ‘In one Michigan case, a man who let loose a stream of curses after falling out of a canoe in 1999 was convicted of violating a law against cursing in front of women and children.’
        • ‘Ducking his head, he rushes the door, letting loose a yell as he throws his body against it.’
        emit, give, burst out with, give forth, send forth
        View synonyms
  • let me see (or think)

    • Used when one is pausing, trying to remember something, or considering one's next words.

      ‘now let me see, where did I put it?’
      • ‘Of course, it may just be paranoia on my part, but I prefer to call it - er, let me think - interconnectedness.’
      • ‘Um. Well let me think… I was wearing… oh, that stupid frilly dress that my father used to make me wear on special occasions.’
      • ‘For that reason, I haven't gone to visit my blood family on Thanksgiving for, let me think - at least seven years.’
      • ‘Okay, there must be something good I can mention… let me think… oh yeah, Jackson and I spent a lot of time today building Lego marble runs under the roar of the air conditioning and that was fun.’
      • ‘What seemed like an impulsive, friendly thing to do at one moment became, in the space of - oh, let me think, about ten seconds - the worst, most inappropriate and downright clumsy action ever.’
      • ‘‘Yes, I could see that could be a problem,’ Isabella admitted. ‘Hm, let me think.’’
      • ‘He is going to be electronically monitored for - let me think - for one year.’
      • ‘Um, how to explain this without encouraging the wrong sort of search engine referrals… let me think.’
      • ‘You first came here, into our parts - let me think - when was it?’
      • ‘Yesterday… now let me think, oh yes, I recall now though it seems some time ago.’
  • let me tell you

    • Used to emphasize a statement.

      ‘let me tell you, I was very scared!’
      • ‘We had to drive all the way back to Montreal, and let me tell you, that was the most silent trip anyone has ever been on.’
      • ‘They seem to really understand customer service over here, let me tell you.’
      • ‘I have seen it in advance, and let me tell you, it's one of the great war movies ever made.’
      • ‘Our first album is coming out soon, and let me tell you, that one is going to be really different.’
      • ‘There's no better way to capture an idea than to get it down on paper, let me tell you.’
      • ‘I've been in hibernation for a while, and let me tell you, deep sleep is refreshing.’
      • ‘It'll be nice to have some time off from the work environment though, let me tell you!’
      • ‘But let me tell you, when work is needed, they know how to work hard.’
      • ‘I have freed myself from its grasp - and let me tell you, it feels good.’
      • ‘Well, let me tell you, if I lose this contract after all the work that I'm having to do, then they will be making a mistake.’
  • let's face it (or let's be honest)

    • informal Used to convey that one must be realistic about an unwelcome fact or situation.

      ‘let's be honest, your taste in men is famously bad’
      • ‘Anyway, let's face it, we all know that cigarettes are bad for your health.’
      • ‘I'm not going to put in any spoilers although - let's face it - we all know what's going to happen.’
      • ‘But let's be honest here: athletes must think about their associations before acting ridiculously.’
      • ‘And let's face it, when you've had as many birthdays as she's had, they don't mean so much anyway.’
      • ‘But, let's face it, not everyone is a writer or an artist, or even wants to be.’
      • ‘Well, let's face it, she's a lot better looking than some of the football experts on our British television screens.’
      • ‘I believe in public servants being rewarded for the jobs they do because, let's face it, it's work no one else wants.’
      • ‘They are the sort of people we should be listening to because, let's face it, their opinions matter.’
      • ‘And let's face it, I'm never likely to produce a great work of English literature.’
      • ‘He is a guy who, let's face it, did not have to take a lie detector test at all.’
  • let's pretend

    • A game or set of circumstances in which one behaves as though a fictional or unreal situation were a real one.

      • ‘Sometimes, since we lived close to each other, we would go to Anna's house and play let's pretend.’
      • ‘Tournaments such as the World Cup and European Championship will soon join international rugby as another giant round of let's pretend.’
      • ‘But standing in a parking lot today I suddenly felt home, and everything I'd experienced since I left felt like a big game of let's pretend.’
      • ‘Of course his repentance is another game of let's pretend, momentarily seeming true under the spell of Handel's music.’
      • ‘Everyone knows that theatre is a world of let's pretend.’
  • let's say (or let us say)

    • Used as a way of introducing a hypothetical or possible situation.

      ‘let's say we agreed to go our separate ways’
      • ‘So let's say there are 10 places, those 10 places go only to the very best students.’
      • ‘For example, let's say that a young inventor is trying futilely to build a time machine in his garage.’
      • ‘Let's say there had been drugs, let's say there had been a shooting and two students were killed.’
      • ‘Have you ever watched a teenage girl get ready to go out, let's say to a wedding?’
      • ‘So it's a little bit different from reading, let's say, a scholarly journal.’
      • ‘So let's say that we have about 2.5m children in one parent families.’
      • ‘The money they collect from corruption will be placed in banks as term deposits, let's say for just one month.’
      • ‘For example, let's say that an individual begins setting money aside for a new car.’
      • ‘Let's say that an investigator stumbled upon this and was blackmailed into resigning.’
      • ‘Going just slightly faster than you, let's say at 105 kmph, I overtake you in my car.’
  • to let

    • (of a room or property) available for rent.

      • ‘There was no sign that indicated that the house was to let.’
      • ‘He had heard that she had a flat to let.’
      • ‘She knew the house was to let and believed that the two men were probable tenants.’
      • ‘If you have a room to let in a London house share or flat share you can advertise your flatshare for free.’
  • let it drop (or rest)

    • Say or do no more about a matter or problem.

      • ‘We are certainly not going to let it rest until we get an answer, and an answer we can accept.’
      • ‘Sam didn't know whether to push the issue or let it rest.’
      • ‘He had written to the local MP about the situation and residents would not let it rest.’
      • ‘In the same defiant way, she decided not to let it rest when she was prescribed a drug she was convinced was inappropriate.’
      • ‘Either do something about the situation or let it rest.’
      • ‘‘I just want what is mine. I'm not going to let it rest,’ he said.’
      • ‘But if the situation is in check, we say let it rest.’
      • ‘But James was not prepared to let it rest there, and went on to insist on publishing novels and poems.’
      • ‘It has upset everybody, we just can't let it rest.’
      • ‘I'm hoping the prosecution will let it rest now.’
  • let it go (or pass)

    • Choose not to react to an action or remark.

      ‘the decision worried us, but we let it go’
      • ‘If there is a chance to bring it up, then do it by all means; but if there is no opportunity, then let it pass.’
      • ‘He should have remarked on this, but let it pass.’
      • ‘Well, okay, that wasn't routine, but let it pass.’
      • ‘I thought about telling you that, on the basis of my own extensive research; but I let it pass, believing my conclusions to be less than riveting.’
      • ‘I'm not sure what the Guardian and BBC would say about a scheme for which only white males qualified, but let it pass.’
      • ‘I told him over and over again: you're crossing the limit, let it pass.’
      • ‘Actually, it was a couple of days back, but let it pass.’
      • ‘Most of the time I either don't notice or I'm of a mood to let it pass.’
      • ‘A Chinese boy was bitten by his neighbour's dog but his parents just let it pass because they thought the boy was not seriously injured.’
      • ‘This sounds a bit like staring to me, but I let it pass.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • let down

    • (of an aircraft or a pilot) descend before making a landing.

      • ‘It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and I was letting down over the Adriatic heading southward.’
      • ‘Within the hour, we were letting down for a landing at Casablanca on the Atlantic coast of Morocco.’
  • let someone down

    • 1Fail to support or help someone as they had hoped or expected.

      • ‘I will not fail you, I will not disappoint you and I will not let you down.’
      • ‘Is someone letting you down or failing to get a job done on time?’
      • ‘Girlfriends support you when the man in your life lets you down.’
      • ‘Any lecturer whose courses fail to attract adequate numbers of students is made to feel not only that he is in some way deficient but also that he is letting down his colleagues.’
      • ‘I had a daughter to support, and I couldn't let her down.’
      • ‘Ken had been her best friend and she'd let him down.’
      • ‘She did absolutely nothing to assist me and failed to keep appointments, letting down the local community.’
      • ‘From a personal standpoint, I wouldn't mind down-sizing, but I worry about the vendors, the clients, and especially the employees I'd be letting down.’
      • ‘Half of 14-year-olds can't write or add up properly and the schools inspectorate said failing schools were letting down children of the poor.’
      • ‘We feel frustrated and completely let down by this Government, and that is why we are planning this rally.’
      fail, fail to support, fall short of expectation
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Have a detrimental effect on the overall quality or success of someone or something.
        ‘the whole machine is let down by the tacky keyboard’
        • ‘We've been working on the areas that have been letting us down and I'm hoping that as the weeks go by we get better and better.’
        • ‘A bit young and reckless, his positional play and defensive qualities occasionally let him down at the very top level.’
        • ‘The sound quality let them down massively, but they still managed to do well at warming up the audience.’
        • ‘The north west has a wonderful range of historic buildings, but so often they are let down by the poor quality of the public spaces around them.’
        • ‘An excellent cast is let down by an uninspired script and a collection of unimpressive bad guys.’
        • ‘The quality of the competition apart, what let things down was the abysmal and partisan television coverage.’
        • ‘The vegetable samosas were pronounced okay, with a greasy exterior letting down the contents.’
        • ‘However, smaller airports were let down by the quality of their facilities, such as shops and food outlets.’
        • ‘But what really lets this collection down is not the quality of the songs - everything about their tunes is well considered and slickly executed - but the production.’
        • ‘It was a disappointing finish and we were let down by lapses in concentration’
  • let something down

    • 1Lower something slowly or in stages.

      ‘they let down a basket on a chain’
      • ‘He was busy with the ropes, letting down just two yards of sail from the spar attached to the top of the mast.’
      • ‘The sides of my hut can be let down on a pulley, so I can watch the sun go down through the trees from the comfort of my hammock chair.’
      • ‘Everyone who had a weapon slowly let it down.’
      • ‘As soon as the nets were let down, a bottle flew onto the outfield - right opposite the nets, out of the expensive seats.’
      • ‘After everything settled down, I slowly let my arm down.’
      • ‘The man let his hand down slowly, still looking at the woman.’
      • ‘I tied one end of the cord to the basket and let the basket down slowly to Mr. Webster's level.’
      • ‘You have to let the rig down very slowly.’
    • 2Make a garment longer by lowering the hem.

      • ‘I bought a used dress and I need to let the skirt down about an inch.’
      • ‘I do not own a pair of trousers that I have not had to let the hem down on.’
      • ‘When you let the hem down, the nice bright unfaded material now exposed tends to show up just how faded the rest of the garment has become.’
      lengthen, make longer
      View synonyms
  • let someone in

    • Admit someone to a room, building, or area.

      ‘I had to wake up my roommate to let me in’
      • ‘When she let them in the men held her in the kitchen while they ransacked all the rooms in the house.’
      • ‘So the driver rings the door bell and is let in.’
      • ‘"Come on in," She chirped cheerily, stepping aside to let us in.’
      • ‘I was to let myself in the basement around back.’
      • ‘He'll shut up once you let him in.’
      • ‘The prime minister has warned other Arab nations to be wary of who they let in.’
      • ‘Obviously, there's been some overt mention of Iraq and chemical weapons - letting U.N. inspectors in and so on.’
      • ‘He was standing outside the Pemberley gate, waiting patiently for the guard to let him in.’
      • ‘Just what is the problem with letting in these boat people?’
      • ‘In Australia country towns are already dying, in part because they are unwilling to let in strangers.’
      allow to enter, allow in, admit, take in, open the door to, grant entrance to, give access to, allow entry to, permit entry to, give right of entry to
      View synonyms
  • let oneself in for

    • Involve oneself in (something likely to be difficult or unpleasant)

      ‘I didn't know what I was letting myself in for’
      • ‘Do you know what you're letting yourself in for?’
      • ‘I don't think any of us knew what we were letting ourselves in for.’
      • ‘It's a very competitive market out there and I think that artists have to be aware of what they are letting themselves in for and not to be intimidated by it.’
      • ‘You know exactly what you're letting yourself in for.’
      • ‘I don't think some of them realised what they were letting themselves in for.’
      • ‘I remember thinking: ‘What am I letting myself in for?’’
      • ‘They knew about the plans and they should have ensured housebuyers knew what they were letting themselves in for.’
      • ‘I do hope they know what they will be letting themselves in for if they ask the city council to place traffic obstacles in their streets.’
      • ‘I didn't really know what I was letting myself in for.’
      • ‘I want to talk a little about the reality of post-graduate work for people who are considering it because I think you should know what you're letting yourself in for.’
  • let someone in on/into

    • Allow someone to know or share (something secret or confidential)

      ‘I'll let you into a secret’
      • ‘Friday afternoons were a nightmare until a colleague let me into the secret of the computer room.’
      • ‘If you've set yourself a New Year's resolution of getting fitter and healthier, I'll let you in on a little secret.’
      • ‘At the start of this article, I'd promised to let you in on the secret of how to be fashionable.’
      • ‘He deliberately let Dave in on a company secret, making him swear he wouldn't tell a soul.’
      • ‘The thing is - I'll let you into a little secret - I wasn't always this glamorous and fabulous.’
      • ‘He speaks directly to his audience, letting us in on great secrets - not as though we are sitting in his class, but like we ran in to him at the video store.’
      • ‘Ned lets Lyn in on his secret, because he wants her to make him a costume.’
      • ‘I wanted her to let me in on all her secrets.’
      • ‘I'm going to let you into the secret of their new romance.’
      • ‘Although working hard and getting the grades in high school is a necessity, I'm going to let you in on a little secret.’
      include, count in, admit
      View synonyms
  • let something into

    • Set something back into (the surface to which it is fixed), so that it does not project from it.

      ‘the basin is partly let into the wall’
      • ‘Metal plates, hinges, and other pieces of hardware look best if let into the surface of the wood.’
      • ‘Two stone plaques are let into the wall on either side of the entrance.’
  • let someone off

    • 1Punish someone lightly or not at all for a misdemeanor or offense.

      ‘he was let off with a warning’
      • ‘But his brother lets him off without punishment, and Prince John does attain the throne after his brother's death.’
      • ‘It may have been better to discipline him for his repeated misdemeanours rather than let him off.’
      • ‘The cop let him off without issuing a warning.’
      • ‘Never had her father let her off this lightly for something so severe.’
      • ‘He limped over and thanked us for letting him off lightly.’
      • ‘He has destroyed our lives but he has been let off lightly.’
      • ‘I was beginning to regret letting him off so lightly before.’
      • ‘Thanks very much for letting me off with a caution.’
      • ‘Is there any concern that this is going to be seen as basically letting him off lightly?’
      • ‘He failed a drugs test in 1988, but the result was attributed to ginseng tea, and he was let off without punishment.’
      • ‘A sympathetic judge lets her off with a fine and a reprimand and she goes driving off on a high ready to tilt at windmills once more.’
      • ‘In the end she was let off and told not to forget the L-plates in future.’
      • ‘To find someone has been let off with meaningless punishments like community service orders and not even banned from keeping animals for life breaks our hearts.’
      pardon, forgive, grant an amnesty to, amnesty
      View synonyms
    • 2Excuse someone from a task or obligation.

      ‘he let me off work for the day’
      • ‘If you come up with an excuse, a doctor's note might let you off.’
      • ‘Her father would regularly let her off school to accompany him on fishing excursions.’
      • ‘He felt pity for the young man and let him off for the rest of the day.’
      • ‘The last words addressed to me were ‘I'll let you off tomorrow.’’
      • ‘I just had to make a simple excuse of overwhelming studies, confusion and stress, and I was let off.’
      • ‘The Council should let us off for this special occasion during the tournament.’
      excuse from, relieve from, exempt from, spare from
      View synonyms
  • let something off

    • Cause a gun, firework, or bomb to fire or explode.

      • ‘Will the idiots who let fireworks off all year ever stop to think of the upset they cause?’
      • ‘Monday's explosion occurred minutes after firecrackers had been let off during a religious ceremony in the area.’
      • ‘When he played Carnegie Hall in 1971 a stink bomb was let off.’
      • ‘Explosive devices were let off in Paris, and celebrities were threatened with letter-bombs if they didn't contribute to the cause.’
      • ‘Already kids are letting off fireworks and collecting old tyres for their Halloween bonfires.’
      • ‘Thousands of fireworks were let off in the castle grounds at the stroke of midnight to mark the start of the New Year.’
      • ‘Do not waste flares or smokes by letting them off when there's no boat in sight - no-one will see them.’
      • ‘Everyone let out a great cheer, and fireworks were let off.’
      • ‘Some people enjoy fireworks but animals don't and can become terrified when fireworks are let off.’
      • ‘Police can also slap £80 on-the-spot fines on anyone letting fireworks off in the street.’
      detonate, discharge, explode, set off, fire off
      View synonyms
  • let on

    • 1Reveal or divulge information to someone.

      ‘she knows a lot more than she lets on’
      with clause ‘I never let on that he made me feel anxious’
      • ‘So you've let it slip that you know more about me than you originally let on.’
      • ‘She said it in the tone of that made me believe that she knew a lot more than she was letting on.’
      • ‘All this was having a bigger affect on him than he was letting on because he tightened his grip on me; desperately searching for the comfort he was deprived of all those years ago.’
      • ‘Though they talked back and forth about many subjects, neither of them really let on any information about themselves.’
      • ‘She said: ‘I will be demanding to know whether the school knows more about gang problems than it is letting on to the governors.’’
      • ‘I answered simply, without letting on a lot of information.’
      • ‘The note had obviously affected him more than he let on.’
      • ‘If the reporter knew this, he wasn't letting on.’
      • ‘I just have the feeling they know so much more than they're letting on.’
      • ‘I don't think they realised it was as dangerous, but they knew a whole lot more about it than they were letting on.’
      • ‘She was more affected by her break up with Logan than she let on.’
      • ‘I felt like he had more information then he was letting on.’
      • ‘They believe there's more to the young man's death than police are letting on.’
      • ‘Something wasn't right here and she knew Noah held more information than he was letting on.’
      reveal, make known, tell, disclose, mention, divulge, let out, let slip, give away, leak, proclaim, blurt out, expose, bring to light, uncover, make public
      View synonyms
    • 2Pretend.

      with clause ‘they all let on that they didn't hear me’
      • ‘I once liked Rosie, but she let on she was a different person then.’
      • ‘Serious things have happened and it's no good people letting on that they didn't.’
      • ‘Now he's letting on he finds them bewildering, and he's supposed to be Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism!’
      • ‘They would rig up all sorts of stuff in his room and make noises behind his bed and he would be lying there terrified while they all let on they were asleep.’
      pretend, feign, affect, make out, make believe, simulate, fake
      View synonyms
  • let out

    • (of lessons at school, a meeting, or an entertainment) finish, so that those attending are able to leave.

      ‘his classes let out at noon’
      • ‘The last screening of the film festival let out at 7:30 p.m.’
      • ‘School begins at seven and lets out at two thirty.’
      • ‘What time does class let out?’
      • ‘It was raining in true Florida fashion the day after the schools were let out.’
  • let someone out

    • Release someone from obligation or suspicion.

      ‘they've started looking for motives—that lets me out’
      • ‘Clearly if you were the average poor boy who got drafted and sent into the active force, they weren't going to let you out before you had completed your obligation.’
      • ‘We had to give them 10,000 dollars just so they'd let us out of our contract.’
      • ‘The Principal told me they were only going to hire the music teacher and one other teacher besides himself so that let me out.’
      • ‘Be polite and keep your lip zipped and they'll usually let you out and tell you to disappear.’
      • ‘The player we have been looking at has had problems with his club letting him out.’
      release, liberate, free, set free, let go, discharge
      View synonyms
  • let something out

    • 1Utter a sound or cry.

      ‘he let out a sigh of happiness’
      • ‘As soon as the door opened, both the parents let out gasps of horror.’
      • ‘He bends to the right to reach for the water glass on his night stand and lets out a muted whine of terror.’
      • ‘The guard let out a pained groan before going down for the count.’
      • ‘She shifts in her chair, blinks several times and lets out a tiny laugh, her mouth in a crooked sneer.’
      • ‘I throw myself onto the other bed, letting out a long sigh of weariness and relief.’
      • ‘My mom let out a gasp when she saw the box sitting on my desk.’
      • ‘She snuggled her body next to mine a little bit more and closed her eyes, letting out a little sigh.’
      • ‘Shaw starts fumbling and, for the first time, lets out an audible grunt of effort.’
      • ‘He coasted all the way down, letting out a whoop of glee as he picked up speed.’
      • ‘I rushed forward and ran into his arms, letting out a scream as he spun me around.’
      utter, emit, give vent to, produce, give, issue, express, air, voice, verbalize, release, pour out, come out with
      View synonyms
    • 2Make a garment looser or larger, typically by adjusting a seam.

      • ‘The dress can easily be taken in at the bust, but there is no room to let the dress out.’
      • ‘You can let the shoulder seam out or take it in at the princess seam.’
      • ‘I had to let the waist out in all my pants.’
      • ‘Those jeans have been let out so often you don't look like you're wearing jeans that fit.’
      • ‘The extra cloth will allow your tailor to let the trousers out up to 3 inches at the waist.’
    • 3Reveal a piece of information.

      with clause ‘she let out that he'd given her a ride home’
      • ‘She let the information out that Kevin already knew about the baby.’
      • ‘During the heated argument, she let out that she had cancer and walked away.’
      • ‘How could he exchange words with that man without letting out that he was in love with his wife?’
      • ‘Some Congressmen began letting out that they would rather save the government even if the nuclear deal was to be sacrificed.’
      • ‘No one had any idea if his injuries were serious or not, since the doctors were not letting any information out.’
      reveal, make known, tell, disclose, mention, divulge, let slip, give away, let it be known, leak, blurt out, expose, bring to light, uncover, make public, blab
      View synonyms
  • let up

    • 1(of something undesirable) become less intense or severe.

      ‘the rain's letting up—it'll be clear soon’
      • ‘Instead of letting up, the snow squalls intensified.’
      • ‘The pain in my side had let up a little bit, thank goodness.’
      • ‘The corruption scandal dogging the Victoria Police Force is showing no sign of letting up.’
      • ‘The rain had let up a little bit.’
      • ‘The rain had let up a bit and now we were left to walk through a light drizzle and thick, mountain fog.’
      • ‘The storm did not let up at all throughout the rest of the day or the entirety of the night.’
      • ‘At this point the violence shows no sign of letting up.’
      • ‘Over the last six years there has been a 46 per cent hike in the numbers seeking advice on the subject - and the problem shows no sign of letting up.’
      • ‘The cold weather in the state had not let up one bit.’
      • ‘However, on December 27, the region was blanketed by an intense winter storm that showed no signs of letting up.’
      abate, lessen, decrease, diminish, subside, moderate, decline, relent, slacken, die down, die off, ease, ease off, tail off, taper off, drop away, drop off, peter out
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Relax one's efforts.
        ‘she was so far ahead that she could afford to let up a bit’
        • ‘I've always believed that success lies in driving yourself hard and not letting up until you've reached a goal.’
        • ‘You could see once he made the lead, he let up a little bit.’
        • ‘Microsoft and Sony aren't letting up in their efforts either.’
        • ‘After yesterday's rest day a lot of riders were feeling good but there were times that some of us were wondering if people would ever let up, even a bit.’
        • ‘Neither side has shown any sign of letting up.’
        • ‘The police are not letting up in their search for the suspect.’
        • ‘Our main priority is getting promoted and finishing the season on a high, but that doesn't mean we will be letting up one bit tomorrow.’
        • ‘They practice intensely and study with purpose - and they don't let up in the offseason.’
        • ‘Sylvia holds the title of the longest serving active volunteer, and shows no sign of letting up.’
        • ‘It is now more than two months after the cubs were born, the zoo authorities are not letting up their constant vigil regarding the health indicators of these three frisky cubs.’
        relax one's efforts, relax, ease off, ease up, do less, slow down
        View synonyms
      2. 1.2Treat or deal with in a more lenient manner.
        ‘she didn't let up on Cunningham’
        • ‘Now, that he's participated in a debate, and the reviews ranged from pretty good to OK, do you think they'll let up on him at all?’
        • ‘When are the elderly going to let up on the youngsters of today?’
        • ‘Billy never lets up on Cal, and Cal soaks it up.’
        • ‘His little brother would never let up on him until he wrestled the truth out of him somehow.’
        • ‘Rebecca said, ‘He's not going to let up on me until I cave in, right?’’
        • ‘His superlative show in both playoffs and World Series in 2002 finally forced the media to let up on him.’
        • ‘We are not going to let up on the government until things are done.’
        • ‘This is a constant problem and we will not let up on those who break the law.’
        • ‘She lets up on Felicia but starts complaining about her year-old marriage, which is much harder than she thought it would be.’
        • ‘I do think, however, that you should let up on your guy a little - the more you pressure him, the more difficult it will be.’
        treat less severely, be more lenient with, be kinder to
        View synonyms

Origin

Old English lǣtan ‘leave behind, leave out’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch laten and German lassen, also to late.

Pronunciation

let

/lɛt//let/

verb

[with object]archaic
  • Hinder.

    ‘pray you let us not; we fain would greet our mother’
    • ‘If God be with a work, who is he that will let or impede it?’
    • ‘As Jesus Christ hath appointed a regular government and discipline in his Church, no law of any commonwealth should interfere with, let, or hinder, the due exercise thereof, among the voluntary members of any denomination of Christians, according to their own profession and belief.’
    • ‘Pray you let us not; We fain would greet our mother.’