Definition of leap in English:



  • 1 Jump or spring a long way, to a great height, or with great force.

    ‘I leaped across the threshold’
    figurative ‘Fabia's heart leapt excitedly’
    • ‘Rushing for the ground I was forced to leap from the first floor to the concrete, just as the two duelists crashed past me, bringing the rest of the escape with them.’
    • ‘His heart leaped and he jumped out of his bed, ran across his room and slammed his door.’
    • ‘He must leap over branches the height of his head, and stoop under branches as low as his knee, without slowing or leaving a shaking branch behind.’
    • ‘I nodded, my heart leaping like an excited fish out of the water.’
    • ‘Still, my heart leapt as memories of my father and my childhood came flooding back.’
    • ‘His solution has been to drop to all fours and force rushers to leap or trip over him.’
    • ‘Dancers leap, spring, then are lofted through the air.’
    • ‘The next thing I knew, a sopping-wet golden retriever was leaping and bounding beside me as I gasped and my heart pounded into my throat.’
    • ‘As if he were a spring released, he leaped straight into the air.’
    • ‘So by rights we should be in the midst of spring, with lambs leaping, the smell of dew hanging in the air and the sight of rowers happily plodding home from the Cherwell.’
    • ‘On the night Joe died, they found the ladders partly pulled down, despite them normally being pushed up at a height only accessible by leaping up a nearby wall.’
    • ‘Leg and arm raised, he is shown at the apex of his celebration, seconds before his caddie leapt excitedly into his arms.’
    • ‘He jumped at the sound, his heart leaping into his throat until he realized that the scratchy call was coming from the tiny communicator attached to his vest.’
    • ‘He scanned the crowd and his heart leapt excitedly when he spotted her.’
    • ‘I have visions of the plant leaping upon passers-by and forcing them to eat its fruit.’
    • ‘A female guest was also seriously injured when she was forced to leap from a first floor widow to escape.’
    • ‘When the 27-year-old was forced to leap for his life, he bounced 50 yards down the road with other cars swerving to avoid him.’
    • ‘Icelanders are brought up to leap across waterfalls, spring through rivers, run down mountains, run up mountains.’
    • ‘James sprang, uncoiling, leaping from his perch toward his best friend.’
    • ‘Vicky's heart leaped nearly a mile, but she forced herself to remain cool.’
    jump over, jump, vault over, vault, spring over, bound over, hurdle, cross over, sail over, leapfrog, high jump, clear, negotiate
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    1. 1.1Move quickly and suddenly.
      ‘Polly leapt to her feet’
      • ‘He moved on, leaping from shell-hole to shell-hole, using the muddy craters for cover from the flying shrapnel.’
      • ‘Some motorists have even forced pedestrians to leap for safety.’
      • ‘He fell to the ground hard but leapt up as quickly as he could.’
      • ‘With that, he had leapt quickly forward and landed a quick punch to Cyrus's side that Cyrus couldn't quite follow.’
      • ‘Quickly, he leapt from bed and pushed a large bureau against the bathroom door.’
      • ‘Quickly I leapt to my feet and grabbed her before she even thought of doing something stupid.’
      • ‘Without a warning he springs into action, leaping towards a group of trees.’
      • ‘When certain all is well, he leaps quickly to his feet, but stumbles slightly, exhausted from the pain and effort of retaining dignity.’
      • ‘He quickly leapt into his bedroom and curled up on the bed.’
      • ‘The Concorde leaped forward with the other MIGs quickly following.’
      • ‘I didn't know what the feeling was, but suddenly he leapt forward and wrapped his arms around me, hugging me silently.’
      • ‘His enemies were coming on quickly now, leaping from tree to tree with a speed Matthew had previously thought them incapable of.’
      • ‘The figure suddenly leaped forward with determination and disappeared behind the shrubs.’
      • ‘It suddenly leapt forward at full gallop as if it had been stung, leaving white, surfing churns and spirals of water in its wake.’
      • ‘Suddenly he looked at me, leapt forward and grabbed me by the shoulder.’
      • ‘The door swung open before he could reach it, and he was forced to leap back to avoid having his nose broken for the second time.’
      • ‘She is constantly on the move, leaping up or squirming in her seat when she has a point to make, or a writer to quote.’
      • ‘Jack whirled on Juliet, who quickly leapt inside her dorm room.’
      • ‘I leapt to my feet, gathered my belongings and moved quickly towards the closing doors.’
      • ‘The surprised lord quickly leapt forward to catch his wife before she hurt her herself.’
      spring, jump, jump up, bound, dart
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    2. 1.2[with object]Jump across or over.
      ‘a coyote leaped the fence’
      • ‘The woman was sometimes caught or confronted on properties or in her victim's homes but always made a getaway, once through a hole in a hedge and on another occasion by leaping a fence.’
      • ‘If you don't have that momentum built up, sometimes you cannot leap the gap.’
      • ‘We heard raucous laughter and audible thuds as people leapt the fence into the yard.’
      • ‘He then leapt a fence and galloped over the hill deep into the field.’
      • ‘OK, you don't get to leap tall buildings in a single bound.’
      • ‘Now, they're called super shoplifters, and while they can't leap a building in a single bound, they probably could steal most of what was in it.’
      • ‘You think Superman is the only one who can leap tall buildings?’
      • ‘He said one of his heifers was so frightened by the choppers it leapt a five-foot wire fence and ran down a main road.’
      • ‘He leapt the fence, his toe claws pushing off from the top rail.’
      • ‘As if sensing death they fought hard not to be caught, one beast even leaping the thorny fence.’
      • ‘Bart is determined to leap a gorge on his skateboard after witnessing the death-defying stunts of a real daredevil.’
      jump over, jump, vault over, vault, spring over, bound over, hurdle, cross over, sail over, leapfrog, high jump, clear, negotiate
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    3. 1.3Make a sudden rush to do something; act eagerly and suddenly.
      ‘it was time for me to leap into action’
      • ‘But friends and colleagues leapt to his defence, insisting they had issued a public thank you for his rescue.’
      • ‘Others, though, have leapt to his defence, claiming the gainsayers just don't get it.’
      • ‘He threatened a punch but didn't throw it as Fenway security quickly leapt in.’
      • ‘Although some bird-lovers have leapt to their defence, there is an undeniably anti-social element among the pigeon fraternity.’
      • ‘Instantly, the legionnaires in the room leapt to his defence, blades glittering in the light.’
      • ‘A gang which tried to mug a Selby woman in broad daylight was thwarted when her dog leapt to her defence.’
      • ‘It's that sad old bunch of ex-something-or-others who have leapt to her defence in recent days.’
      • ‘Sponsors were eagerly poised to leap forwards to support chess.’
      • ‘All his cabinet colleagues have leapt to his defence over the problems he has recently faced.’
      rush, hurry, hasten, hurtle
      arrive at hastily, reach hurriedly, come to overhastily, form hastily, hurry, hasten, jump, rush, reach
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    4. 1.4Accept (an opportunity) eagerly.
      ‘they leapt at the opportunity to combine fun with fund-raising’
      • ‘When industrial palynology was in its infancy he leaped at a chance for retraining as a palynologist at Amoco's Tulsa Research Center.’
      • ‘Frankly, if I were Sir Alex, I'd be leaping at the chance to sell a creaking derelict to my fiercest rivals for nearly £7m.’
      • ‘No doubt he also leapt at the reportedly very large but undisclosed sum of money.’
      • ‘When the university approached Uncle Sam about the idea of an alumni center, he leaped at the opportunity.’
      • ‘Instead, as they were in the midst of an ad slump and eager to get their hands on big tranches of money, they leapt at the arrangement.’
      • ‘She leaped at the opportunity and became one of only two women investment bankers on a staff of 150.’
      • ‘The country leapt at the chance to buy into a pack of lies.’
      • ‘When asked by one of its key suppliers to develop their website, staff leapt at the chance.’
      accept eagerly, grasp, grasp with both hands, grab, take advantage of, snatch, jump at, pounce on
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    5. 1.5(of a price or figure) increase dramatically.
      ‘sales leaped 40 percent during the Christmas season’
      • ‘It said sales leapt 30 per cent in the second quarter.’
      • ‘Petrol stations in some cities are rationing diesel, with prices leaping on the black market, according to official reports.’
      • ‘But motorists may wonder why the price of petrol leaps up so quickly when the crude oil it comes from was sold when the price was much lower.’
      • ‘Gross profit margins leaped in the three months to 9.8 per cent from 2.9 per cent.’
      • ‘However, he added, sales leaped dramatically in December and also this past spring.’
      • ‘Flat prices consolidated in the second quarter of this year after leaping 25 per cent in the first quarter.’
      • ‘The stock had leapt 20 per cent in the previous week based on rumours of a find.’
      • ‘Fares on some routes would leap to their price ceiling, or 25 per cent above the reference price.’
      • ‘The number of fatal road accidents in North Yorkshire leapt dramatically last year, according to new figures.’
      • ‘As one small example I note that wholesale gas prices leapt recently, which may well mean higher bills for us all in the summer.’
      • ‘If problems hit, spot shortages could develop and prices could leap again.’
      • ‘The money will help first-time buyers who have watched the asking prices of houses leap 14 per cent in the past 12 months.’
      • ‘Beer prices may have leapt somewhat since the Velvet Revolution of 1989, but you're still going to get plenty of hangovers per pound.’
      • ‘It expects sales to leap 175 per cent for 2004 compared with the year before.’
      • ‘Market prices leap up every day as the uncertainty of the airport opening and supplies coming in increases.’
      • ‘Wholesale gas prices leapt fivefold over the past few weeks and wholesale electricity prices have increased 150 per cent as a result.’
      • ‘There is no shortage of examples of share prices leaping suspiciously before a bid.’
      • ‘High-end home prices have leapt 56 per cent in the past nine months.’
      • ‘The figures for war-related deaths, and child deaths in particular, leapt dramatically in the 1980s.’
      • ‘His earnings have leapt dramatically from £3m to £33.5m in the year to September 30.’
      increase rapidly, soar, rocket, skyrocket, shoot up, escalate, mount, surge, spiral, grow rapidly, rise rapidly
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    6. 1.6(especially of writing) be conspicuous; stand out.
      ‘amid the notes, a couple of items leap out’
      • ‘There wasn't one that leapt out at me like with the A and B sets, and the CD didn't help too much.’
      be noticeable, be noticed, be visible, be seen, be obvious, be conspicuous, stick out, be striking, be distinctive, be prominent, attract attention, catch the eye, leap out, show up
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  • 1A forceful jump or quick movement.

    ‘she came downstairs in a series of flying leaps’
    • ‘He took a running leap and jumped onto the cot, sending it crashing to the ground.’
    • ‘When he changed the hanging method, they would take flying leaps from nearby trees and land on the feeder (most of the time).’
    • ‘The 23-year-old began her assault on the overnight leader with the best leap in the long jump, 6.61 metres.’
    • ‘It's all here - ridiculous sound effects, frankly unfeasible flying leaps, slow motion sequences.’
    • ‘But with war came a quick leap from the frying pan into the fire.’
    • ‘His second medal came when he won bronze in the junior triple jump with a leap of 11.67m.’
    • ‘In one quick, strong leap, her horse jumped, high, long & hard.’
    • ‘With a quick wink and a leap, he flew over the river to my side.’
    • ‘Once again, at the mention of said dizzy-eyed shooting guard, my heart made a dramatic leap, causing me to nearly fall out of my chair.’
    • ‘He made a quick leap for the wall, falling short several feet before crawling forward on his hands and knees.’
    • ‘He runs in the 4.4 range and has a 37-inch vertical leap.’
    • ‘She took a flying leap from there outside and into the grass, which is where I grabbed her.’
    • ‘He ran a brilliant 300 metres and was a well placed 4th in the long jump with a best leap of 3.36 metres.’
    • ‘But secondly, this increasing resolution of the project is visible as a series of jumps or leaps.’
    • ‘Making a mighty leap, he jumps up onto a light post, grasping it with one arm while he hurls the bronze rat into San Francisco Bay with the other, as far as he can heave it.’
    • ‘The leaps and jumps were high and spectacular to watch, yet the dancers made it appear effortless.’
    • ‘I took a giant leap and managed to jump a little before Gary since he took two steps before leaving ground.’
    • ‘In a quick leap, he had jumped from the veranda and had sped off into the field after me.’
    • ‘Increasing your vertical leap on the court extends way past the weight room.’
    • ‘With a quick leap, she landed on the stairs and ran up them hurriedly.’
    jump, vault, spring, bound, hop, skip
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    1. 1.1A dramatic increase in price, amount, etc.
      ‘a leap of 75 percent in two years’
      • ‘That was a sharp leap from the 21 percent who didn't vote in 1995.’
      • ‘In 2000 it claimed a 53 percent leap in profits to $2.27 billion.’
      • ‘It said a huge leap in coal prices and higher freight charges offset an increase in local power sales.’
      • ‘The leap in price was daunting, and we hemmed and hawed for a year before saying okay, let's buy.’
      • ‘Subsequent annual and interim figures go a long way to explain the massive share price leap.’
      • ‘It credits wallboard pricing for the leap in revenue.’
      • ‘Manchester city centre had already bucked the national trend for a drop in sales in the run up to Christmas and has also shown a leap in the amount of cash hitting the tills.’
      • ‘Last year it was rated as the city with the biggest leap in house prices in the UK during the previous five years.’
      • ‘A leap in price, reflecting recent good news at the company, could occur if its offer is taken off the table.’
      • ‘This price leap was the result of huge public subsides, amounting to over £16 billion, and the fact that the network was flogged off at around a quarter of its real value.’
      • ‘When the whole chain works in sync, there can be a dramatic leap in the speed and efficiency of product development…’
      • ‘This article on energy policy shows that fuel shortages and price leaps are almost entirely created by government meddling.’
      • ‘Tighter cost control and increased fees resulted in a 14.5 percent leap in profits to $1.46 billion.’
      • ‘This is a leap of 47 per cent in the region on the previous year - double the national increase of 23.5 per cent.’
      • ‘But the most incredible leap in prices has to be that of prawns: the same restaurant offered prawns at 99c each!’
      • ‘These companies have been short-listed from 567 entries from around the North West, a leap of 81 per cent on last year.’
      • ‘No fewer than 196 national teams are competing for the right to play in Japan and Korea; a dramatic leap from the original 13.’
      • ‘2003 was a fantastic season for you, making huge leaps in the rankings; can you pinpoint what caused this dramatic leap?’
      • ‘Sudden leaps in profits led to large tax liabilities, and Uncle Sam reared his ugly head.’
      • ‘Price rises were inevitable, given the leap in fuel costs, driver pay increases and higher insurance.’
      sudden rise, rapid increase, escalation, soaring, surge, upsurge, upswing, upturn
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    2. 1.2A sudden, abrupt change or transition.
      ‘it doesn't take a great leap of imagination to recognize that you have held an important leadership role’
      • ‘That's the leap of imagination that's necessary for faith - or even for a fully informed discussion of faith, even if one does not have faith oneself.’
      • ‘Grand schemes, wild ideas, crazy notions, and intuitive leaps of imagination are, of course, encouraged and fertilized.’
      • ‘It now requires a leap of the imagination to see any recovery across the Euro-zone as a whole this year.’
      • ‘Who else in the online fanfic-writing community has taken such a bold leap of imagination while remaining completely true to the spirit of the film series?’
      • ‘There is some hyperbole in this, but the leap of imagination was certainly enormous.’
      • ‘In other places, regional networks facilitate the leap into the future.’
      • ‘More mainstream retailers found the checkout system difficult to replicate and, Miles said, worried that most shoppers were not ready for such a leap.’
      • ‘It necessitates a little leap of the imagination to find the sensitive soul buried within this solid, expensively suited figure.’
      • ‘Graduating to a locker may have represented an evolutionary leap, but I've never gotten over missing the cloakroom.’
      • ‘We passed whole aeons of evolutionary progress in great leaps, seemingly overnight.’
      • ‘The advent of mobile phones was heralded as a big leap in communication technology.’
      • ‘Then the administration cancelled an agreement requiring automobile companies to make the leap to more fuel-efficient vehicles.’
      • ‘Small papers across the country are teeming with ambitious young reporters hoping one day to make the leap to major dailies.’
      • ‘It doesn't require a great leap of imagination to detect what Barbra Streisand, Janis Joplin, Carly Simon and his second wife, Rita Coolidge, saw in him.’
      • ‘By the end of last summer, I was doing so well I decided to make the leap and sell designer clothes full time.’
      • ‘Science has made monumental leaps forward in technology.’
      • ‘They want to see things happen and change, but not in terms of great leaps forward.’
      • ‘I have a mind regularly praised by colleagues for its bold leaps of the imagination.’
      • ‘It wasn't such a leap from Super Ball to Super Bowl.’
      • ‘It's a big leap for South African soccer, especially with teams that are struggling for sponsorship.’
      change, move, passage, transformation, conversion, adaptation, adjustment, alteration, changeover, metamorphosis
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    3. 1.3(in place names) a thing to be leaped over or from.
      ‘Lover's Leap’
      • ‘If you've been to Lover's Leap, you'll understand what I'm talking about.’


  • a leap in the dark

    • A daring step or enterprise whose consequences are unpredictable.

      • ‘But the plan does seem like a leap in the dark - radical measures taken because they might work, not because there is solid reason to believe that they will work.’
      • ‘All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without the benefit of experience.’
      • ‘But it's not merely a leap in the dark.’
      • ‘The proposed re-denomination looks like a leap in the dark, and an exercise in futility that the nation can ill afford now.’
  • by (or in) leaps and bounds

    • With startlingly rapid progress.

      ‘productivity improved in leaps and bounds’
      • ‘Yellowstone Regional Airport continues to grow in leaps and bounds.’
      • ‘‘They focus on the limited - service, midscale segment, which is a great value proposition and is growing by leaps and bounds,’ he says.’
      • ‘The trade in human kidneys has grown by leaps and bounds among the poor.’
      • ‘The use of electronic earmuffs has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years.’
      • ‘His career has already progressed in leaps and bounds and, after just four seasons of first-class cricket, he has gathered 138 wickets in 32 matches at an inexpensive 19.48 runs apiece.’
      • ‘Air travel is growing in leaps and bounds, and airlines and nations are investing in new aircraft to accommodate that growth.’
      rapidly, swiftly, quickly, speedily, at an amazing rate, exponentially
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  • leap to the eye (or to mind)

    • Be immediately apparent.

      ‘one dire question leaped to our minds’
      • ‘Even if one were to desist from reading too deeply between the frames, one conclusion leaps to the eye.’
      • ‘This makes the details leap to the eye and I'm looking forward to getting the base colors on.’
      • ‘This construction is a bold undertaking; its necessity leaps to the eye as soon as you look at a European road map.’
      • ‘As I worked through the spreadsheet, I realized that many problems that were nearly invisible in verbal formulations leapt to the eye when I had to work the numbers.’
      • ‘The line of Joseph's paper, which is written in French, leaps to the eye of any French illiterate instantly.’
      • ‘The first thing that leaps to the eye is word selection which, in places, is very far from the academic standards.’
      • ‘This context of no context makes anything leap to the eye, as if its identity shines out of it.’
      • ‘They did not leap to the eye and arrest the pedestrian's progress.’
      • ‘The first thing that leaps to the eye from the Convention is the historical moment in which it was signed.’
      • ‘When the hunt is up and the quarry is in sight, the most unsuspected evidence leaps to the eye.’
  • leap to conclusions


Old English hlēapan (verb), hlȳp (noun), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch lopen, German laufen (verb), and Dutch loop, German Lauf (noun), all meaning run also to lope.