Definition of leash in US English:



  • 1A strap or cord for restraining and guiding a dog or other animal.

    • ‘To a kid - or to sheltered adults who never stopped to look or smell or touch - any animal not on a leash counts.’
    • ‘Watching the eager young tiger straining at its leash - a frayed piece of twine that threatens to snap at any moment - seems an apt metaphor for its owner.’
    • ‘His collar was spiked all around, with the exception of a ring in the very front, to which a leash was attached.’
    • ‘Daniel came back, holding two leashes with harnesses attached.’
    • ‘Since the leash is going to take the full stress of the impact, it's wise to have a new one with no nicks or weak spots.’
    • ‘All in place and connected, I unclipped my camera from its leash and descended the line.’
    • ‘The cat wears a leash and seems oddly at home with this arrangement.’
    • ‘She was being led on a leash attached to a leather collar around her neck.’
    • ‘Worse still was the sight of Malaysian bears being led around by a leash which was passed through a ring through their lips.’
    • ‘For slow-drying paints, keep pets on a leash and string up some caution ribbons or hang wet-paint signs to warn people.’
    • ‘He was leading by the leash a stalwart black pig.’
    • ‘He finally yielded to her demands and followed her like a whipped puppy, the leash firmly attached to his collar.’
    • ‘When I got in the backyard I untied Shadow from his leash and put the leash in the shed.’
    • ‘With all my equipment safely attached to leashes, nothing was lost.’
    • ‘The love of her life was Rajah, a Bengal tiger acquired as a tiny cub and reared by hand, walking on a leash and living an almost human existence.’
    • ‘Those cotter pins can be tough to keep track of when you're cold and tired; they should be attached with a wire leash.’
    • ‘If he hadn't been tangled in the animal's leash, he would never have inadvertently brought the girl here in the first place.’
    • ‘In fact many of the regulars at the store were surprised or rather taken aback when customers walked in with their animals on a leash.’
    • ‘The beast was anxious, tugging at the leash and belting a horrendous whine into the air.’
    • ‘He tugged and found himself to also be tied to a short leash attached to the wall.’
    lead, rein, tether, rope, cord, chain, line, strap
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    1. 1.1Falconry A thong or string attached to the jesses of a hawk, used for tying it to a perch or a creance.
      • ‘If you time-travelled any one of Ghengis Khan's myriad falconers into a modern hawking set-up he'd be more than familiar with the leashes, jesses and other falconry ‘furniture’ still used.’
    2. 1.2 A restraint.
      ‘her bristling temper was kept on a leash’
      ‘the state needs to let business off the leash’
      • ‘I've trained so long, but yet I was kept on a leash.’
      • ‘You guys are so strait-laced, but you go crazy when you're let off your leashes.’
      • ‘Noise still rears an ugly head but, instead of relentlessly bashing away, it is under a leash and controlled.’
      • ‘All songs are on a midtempo leash as this pack of Swedes lead them into dark, uncharted places.’
      • ‘The intelligence apparatus was let off the leash and told to get ‘results,’ which it has been doing with extraordinary relish.’
      • ‘The director doesn't give her much of a leash in this tightly wound story, but that suits the subject and the actress perfectly well.’
      • ‘They may be knee-deep in paisley but always keep the songs on a leash and never rely too much on nostalgic trappings.’
      • ‘Had they taken the leash off, or rather the muzzle, two weeks ago, maybe the opinion polls might not consequently have been so cast-iron.’
      • ‘And they were not disappointed as Woods shot a sparkling seven under par 65 without ever being off the leash.’
      • ‘I hope the bureaucrats let it off the leash soon.’
      • ‘A prohibition on taking deposits in local currency, strict capital requirements and a lid on opening branches are keeping foreign giants on a tight leash.’
      • ‘A supine Congress like the present one is rapidly eroding the American founding fathers' vision of a legislature keeping the executive branch on a tight leash.’
      • ‘Perhaps he has matured or perhaps he's on a short leash.’
      • ‘The pestering problem of ‘protected teachers’ can be tackled only if the unaided sector is put on a leash.’
      • ‘It could use the threat of revolutions to keep the countries that remain in its orbit on a leash, but that would not be effective, he said.’
      • ‘But if he never lets his characters off the leash, he leaves them a vast space in which to roam, giving the film a dramatic structure that's radically open and formless.’
      • ‘It's little wonder that tourists are kept on a short leash.’
      control, restraint, check, curb, rein, hold, discipline
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[with object]
  • 1Put a leash on (a dog).

    • ‘The plurality of such first exterior posts may be selectively used for leashing a dog at any one of a plurality of locations.’
    • ‘This is in line with the practice adopted in countries such as Singapore and Ireland where leashing control is imposed on specified large dog breeds.’
    • ‘The strongest reaction (milling, fleeing) occurred when the sheep saw a human with a leashed dog.’
    • ‘The Leashed Tracking Dog License authorizes qualified individuals to use certified leashed tracking dogs to track and find dead, wounded or injured big game.’
    • ‘The Fairfax County Park Authority has always welcomed leashed dogs in all of its parks.’
    • ‘Larger dogs may be taken on the T during off-peak hours and must be leashed and controlled at all times.’
    • ‘So what is the proper restraint for your pooch and what is the best way to go about leashing your dog, whether fido is an adult dog who has been on a leash for years or a rascally little puppy that is still chewing on the leash as you try to take him out for his morning walk.’
    • ‘Pets are welcome throughout the remainder of the park including trails, but they must be leashed at all times.’
    put a leash on, put a lead on, fasten, hitch up, tether, tie up, secure, bind, fetter
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    1. 1.1 Restrain.
      ‘his violence was barely leashed’
      • ‘The security moms are panting with barely leashed desire.’
      • ‘Angela Lansbury's 1962 villain was an ice queen but Meryl Streep turns her into a barely leashed neurotic who escalates hissy fits into diatribes.’
      • ‘His touch is that curious blend of tenderness and leashed violence that is the hallmark of a genuine man.’
      • ‘I wasn't sure I was comfortable being so close to him with something so powerful barely leashed inside me.’
      • ‘She shrank back in her seat, taken aback by the tightly leashed violence in his tone.’
      curb, control, keep under control, check, restrain, hold back, suppress
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  • strain at the leash

    • Be eager to begin or do something.

      • ‘Openly I have been able to do this for the most part, but inwardly I have often strained at the leash.’
      • ‘You may think of soldiers as gung-ho types who strained at the leash last year to invade.’
      • ‘And perhaps the sight of their older married brothers straining at the leash is giving them pause.’
      • ‘They are straining at the leash though, and would give anything to be allowed to go up for a crack at them.’
      • ‘In the United States, when the corporate-owned media sense profits, they strain at the leash to sell the line better.’
      • ‘The creative energies and the entrepreneurial spirit of the Indian people was straining at the leash.’
      • ‘I'm straining at the leash to find out the final release date so that I can test the new portal site.’
      • ‘It was to get to that unheard of city I'd agitated and strained at the leash of Albany Park.’
      • ‘I have customers straining at the leash to include mobile content in their offerings to their customers.’
      • ‘Great Britain did not actively strain at the leash to build and rule and empire, but let the responsibilities and territories of the British Empire develop in a free market manner.’
      eager, impatient, anxious, enthusiastic
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Middle English: from Old French lesse, laisse, from laissier in the specific sense ‘let run on a slack lead’ (see lease).