Definition of leather in US English:



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

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

  • 3

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


[with object]British
  • 1Beat or thrash (someone)

    ‘he caught me and leathered me black and blue’
    • ‘I only had the knife to scare him in case he got me and gave me a leathering.’
    • ‘One young lad from Northampton takes me out as I'm about to play the ball and I absolutely leather him before an almighty fight breaks out and I'm sent to the sin-bin.’
    • ‘I had one fight last year where the judges scored it against me 1-0 after we'd been leathering each other for five rounds.’
    • ‘He lured them into a more secluded area and threatened to leather them if they tried to escape.’
    • ‘Despite being unable to breathe properly or see clearly, Arthur then absolutely leathered his Polish quarter-final opponent.’
    • ‘Prior to the legalisation of lifting, the lineout was a jungle, and a prime opportunity for forwards to leather each other without the referee ever being able to see.’
    • ‘I got him down and I was going to leather him.’
    beat, strap, belt, thrash, flog, whip, lash, scourge, horsewhip, birch, cane, strike, hit, clout, batter, spank
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Strike or kick (a ball) very hard.
      ‘neither woman is famed for her finesse—both prefer to leather the ball for all they are worth’
      • ‘Kolinko's weak punch lands at the feet of Milan Baros, who leathers it home from 12 yards.’
      • ‘Ballack danced through to the edge of the box and absolutely leathered it towards goal.’
      • ‘Set a revised target of 144 off 22 overs, the Bears were over-eager to leather the ball around the park, rather than rely on a regular flow of singles to keep the scoreboard ticking.’
      • ‘Just four minutes on, City goalkeeper Alan Fettis could only watch as Astafjevs leathered an exquisitely-angled 25-yard cross-shot high into the net.’
      • ‘If the noise then was loud, it was even louder just before half time when Rooney leathered the ball past the Croat keeper and it was truly game on.’
      • ‘Ibrahimovic killed Wilhelmsson's cross six yards out, and as it sat up he absolutely leathered it towards goal, but Hislop stood tall and managed to beat it away.’
      • ‘Paul Lambert leathered a low effort wide of the post.’
      • ‘We had a howling gale at our backs in the first half and we decided to show everybody how we could play football instead of leathering it down the other end.’
      • ‘Two minutes from time an unlikely hero emerged in the form of Allan Johnson, who leathered the winner for Wanderers.’
      • ‘Hartson can leather the ball goalwards as though he means to kill it one minute, and then gently cushion it into the path of a teammate the next as though handing over a baby.’
      • ‘This time the winger's shot angled across Marshall's dive and rebounded off his left-hand post before being leathered behind.’
      • ‘He leathers his second long-range effort of the night wide.’
      • ‘Tomas Rosicky leathers it goalwards from 20 yards, but he'll need to do better to beat former Crystal Palace custodian Aleksandrs Kolinko.’
      • ‘Albion's ace day was capped late on when Andy Battersby leathered a 25-yard screamer into the Sutton net for Albion's fourth goal.’
      • ‘Even in that third set, Sharapova was leathering winners from impossible situations and simply refusing to go away.’
      • ‘Deep in the heart of the fourth set, Ferrero drew himself up to his full height and started leathering that forehand again.’


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