Main definitions of leech in English

: leech1leech2leech3

leech1

noun

  • 1An aquatic or terrestrial annelid worm with suckers at both ends. Many species are bloodsucking parasites, especially of vertebrates, and others are predators.

    • ‘The rhynchobdellids are strictly aquatic leeches that have small, porelike mouths in the oral sucker.’
    • ‘Like people, leeches do not always draw blood first time, and some have to be coaxed into biting.’
    • ‘But some of these operations might have failed if leeches had not been reintroduced into the operating room.’
    • ‘You get well, the leech gets fed, and everyone lives happily ever after.’
    • ‘Ever since doctors were using leeches, policy makers have been leveraging the threat of a medical crisis as a tool to change our minds.’
    • ‘In the mid-1970s leeches revolutionized the live-bait business in nearby Minnesota and Wisconsin.’
    • ‘Tiger balm is great because it is easy to carry in your pocket, it's not messy and the leeches hate it.’
    • ‘He lay in his elaborately curtained bed dying of the fever and from the leeches the doctors attached to various parts of his body to suck his blood.’
    • ‘The leech is invaluable in microsurgery when faced with the difficulties of reattaching minute veins.’
    • ‘In 1833 alone, French doctors imported 41.5 million leeches - a measure of the prevalence of bleeding.’
    • ‘Most of the leeches found in our lakes are parasites feeding on the body fluids of fish.’
    • ‘It's a bit of a shame, especially as the leeches used for therapy sessions aren't your average leeches.’
    • ‘Once considered a symbol of the practices of medieval physicians, medical leeches have emerged as a useful component of certain modern therapeutic protocols.’
    • ‘While at rest, the medicinal leech lies under large objects on the shoreline, partially out of water.’
    • ‘For over 2000 years, leeches were needlessly applied for many ailments as an adjunct to blood letting.’
    • ‘At the turn of the century, health care seems to have come light years from the days of leeches, country-side doctors and a lack of remedies for ailments such as polio, rubella and the German measles.’
    • ‘The key to identification of leeches covers several features, including the number and placement of the eyes.’
    • ‘The study also shows that wild European medicinal leeches are at least three distinct species, not one.’
    • ‘And we don't get treated at the doctors with leeches anymore!’
    • ‘He says today's development economics is like eighteenth-century medicine, when doctors would use leeches to draw blood from their patients and half the time kill them in the process.’
  • 2A person who extorts profit from or sponges on others.

    ‘they are leeches feeding off the hardworking majority’
    • ‘Robby had always known that the business was filled with leeches and liars - confused, timid men and women whose only chance of achieving success was to latch onto someone who had been deemed successful by others.’
    • ‘These adversaries were leeches, cowards who feed on the weak and helpless.’
    parasite, clinger, barnacle, bloodsucker, cadger, passenger, layabout
    extortioner
    sycophant, toady, hanger-on, fawner, yes man
    scrounger, sponger, freeloader, ligger, junketeer
    mooch, moocher
    View synonyms

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • Habitually exploit or rely on.

    ‘he's leeching off the kindness of others’
    • ‘Piggybacking or leeching on timely news is common as well, making it harder still to have any lasting impact.’
    • ‘I've seen a few of the files on various torrent sites, they are being leeched on by the thousand.’
    • ‘What I was thinking of with Wyatt would be an ability to leech off anyone around him.’
    • ‘They are not to be manipulated or leeched off of for more than what they freely offer.’
    • ‘The main limitation I see is that society would not work if everyone leeched off it in this way.’
    • ‘If you want to leech off someone's Wi-fi to download the update, drive by my house and leech off mine.’
    • ‘Is there a simple way that I can monitor traffic to see if any neighbors are leeching off of my connection?’
    • ‘It does the same thing, but instead leeches off of political opinions and events.’
    • ‘Those people who operate these servers… are parasites leeching off the creativity of others.’

Origin

Old English lǣce, lȳce; related to Middle Dutch lake, lieke.

Pronunciation:

leech

/lēCH/

Main definitions of leech in English

: leech1leech2leech3

leech2

noun

Archaic
  • A doctor or healer.

Origin

Old English lǣce, of Germanic origin.

Pronunciation:

leech

/lēCH/

Main definitions of leech in English

: leech1leech2leech3

leech3

noun

Sailing
  • The after or leeward edge of a fore-and-aft sail, the leeward edge of a spinnaker, or a vertical edge of a square sail.

Origin

Late 15th century: probably of Scandinavian origin and related to Swedish lik, Danish lig, denoting a rope sewn round the edge of a sail to stop the canvas from tearing.

Pronunciation:

leech

/lēCH/