Definition of leisure in English:



  • 1Free time.

    • ‘In this relatively short book he takes the leisure which retirement is said to offer to give us a very readable examination of Methodism based on his years of research.’
    • ‘This is true; but the leisure is something that must be paid for.’
    • ‘After his trial and brief imprisonment for corruption he took no further part in public life so had the leisure in which to enjoy the purest of pleasures.’
    • ‘Usually the leisure consists of snorkeling, night club jaunts and ample free time spent with other American youths.’
    • ‘Income has generally been considered more important than free time, and consumption better than having more leisure.’
    • ‘However, her high efficiency and friendliness has not brought her the leisure and happiness she expected.’
    free time, spare time, spare moments, time to spare, idle hours, time off, freedom, holiday, breathing space, breathing spell, respite, relief, ease, peace, quiet
    recreation, relaxation, inactivity, amusement, entertainment, pleasure, diversion, distraction, fun, games, fun and games
    time to kill, r and r
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Use of free time for enjoyment.
      ‘increased opportunities for leisure’
      [as modifier] ‘leisure activities’
      • ‘Well-paid jobs and thriving firms mean there is more money to be spent locally in the shops, in the area's cafes and restaurants, on leisure activities.’
      • ‘The findings show a clear preference for undertaking leisure activities outdoors and in the countryside as part of a healthy lifestyle.’
      • ‘In addition, we typically devote one class per week to recreation and leisure activities.’
      • ‘Recreational and leisure activities used to be two separate entities.’
      • ‘But a lack of facilities in their local areas was identified as the main reason young people did not take part in sports and leisure activities.’
      • ‘I take enjoyment and satisfaction from my work, my family and leisure activities.’
      • ‘Making room for relaxation and enjoyment of leisure activities is vital for all of us.’
      • ‘Outside the job there's little time for leisure activities, but Marurai maintains a passion for reading.’
      • ‘They are used for river patrols and leisure activities.’
      • ‘Attitudes towards leisure activities also reflected the strength of the family unit - although this varied according to demographics.’
      • ‘Not a Day Goes By seems especially targeted toward black women looking for an entertaining leisure read.’
      • ‘Friesen, 65, said Tuesday it seemed like the right time to retire and spend more time on leisure activities as well as some charity work.’
      • ‘Campaigning youngsters are demanding more leisure activities and increased police patrols in the borough to clamp down on rowdy youths.’
      • ‘Sir Henry Royce belittled leisure activities such as golf and tennis.’
      • ‘But they share a commitment to communal living, group and individual therapy, and shared domestic and leisure activities.’
      • ‘He volunteered much of his own time and effort to the provision of recreation and leisure opportunities for the aged and disabled in our community.’
      • ‘Sport and leisure activities are the main focus today.’
      • ‘Ian Templeton, the headmaster of Glenalmond College in Perthshire said the access to leisure facilities and activities at many schools was hard to put a price on.’
      • ‘Navigation classes aimed at the leisure boating sector are commencing in October in the Sailing Club in Dunmore East.’
      • ‘She said that instead of looking to build a new leisure pool the money could better spent on a larger facility.’
      free time, spare time, spare moments, time to spare, idle hours, time off, freedom, holiday, breathing space, breathing spell, respite, relief, ease, peace, quiet
      recreation, relaxation, inactivity, amusement, entertainment, pleasure, diversion, distraction, fun, games, fun and games
      time to kill, r and r
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Opportunity afforded by free time to do something.
      ‘writers with enough leisure to practice their art’
      • ‘What ever the case, astronauts will not have the leisure to admire the view, 400 km above the Earth.’
      • ‘But only they had the leisure and resources to shoulder such duties.’
      • ‘It is not often I have the leisure to idle my time away here.’
      • ‘We have to remind ourselves that we may not have the leisure to do this later.’
      • ‘Many of us live in a forgiving environment where people have the leisure to explore ways of changing their very selves, at the physical, social and spiritual levels.’
      • ‘For a few days he would have the leisure for tasks such as gathering food and organizing, before another round of observations began.’
      • ‘Recycling materials for use later was one of those issues taken up by people who had the leisure to think about such matters.’
      • ‘Now in her senior year she had the leisure to take it easy.’


  • at leisure

    • 1Not occupied; free.

      ‘the rest of the day can be spent at leisure’
      • ‘Day three can be spent at leisure.’
      unoccupied, not at work, not working, not busy, not tied up, between appointments, off duty, off work, off, on holiday, on leave
      View synonyms
    • 2In an unhurried manner.

      ‘the poems were left for others to read at leisure’
      • ‘Delicious breads, oils, cheeses, dips, local and organic produce will be on offer - everyone is invited to come along and browse through the fair at leisure.’
      • ‘Its camera can be used to photograph diagrams on the board, its recording feature can be utilised by students to record teachers' lectures and review them at leisure.’
      • ‘The messages, which I could read at leisure, were mostly short but sweet, and comforting words were used that are not always easy to say face to face.’
      • ‘I wrote it mainly to make sure that the basic idea is recorded somewhere so that later when I sit to rewrite it at leisure, I will have a little more than just the basic idea in mind.’
      • ‘The beautiful setting commands a panoramic view of Dungarvan Bay with Cruachán behind and there will be refreshments available which can be taken at leisure in most pleasant surroundings.’
      • ‘For one thing, you have the time and opportunity to read it and think about it in total freedom and at leisure.’
      • ‘Whether as a bedtime story, or as a novel to read at leisure, its pages will enthral any reader with a taste for adventure.’
      • ‘Not least of these is the opportunity to cruise at leisure for miles and miles, reading a book on deck, taking charge at the helm or lazily watching the passing countryside.’
      • ‘Said a shocked Mr Gupta: ‘The burglars had a good time in our house and must have worked at leisure.’’
      • ‘I intend to go through it at leisure, like you do an Archie comic.’
  • at one's leisure

    • At one's ease or convenience.

      • ‘The site looks promising and we ask you to give it a try at your leisure.’
      • ‘This enabled people to wander through at their leisure and view the school as a whole.’
      • ‘Those who love to take a stroll can do so at their leisure in the city's famous Botanical Garden, which celebrates its 150th anniversary next month.’
      • ‘While many seasoned walkers did the ten mile trek many others did the shorter 3 mile walk enjoying the scenery at their leisure.’
      • ‘My methodology is extremely crude; I'm sure others can pick holes in it at their leisure.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, you can stop or start a comic book at your leisure.’
      • ‘The island offers a treasure trove of beautiful ancient temples, stunning scenery and golden windswept beaches for discovery at your leisure.’
      • ‘But it seems to be the ideal country to tour at your leisure.’
      • ‘You meanwhile can stagger home at your leisure.’
      • ‘Buying something online is fun because you can browse and pick and choose at your leisure, then have it delivered to your door.’
      at your convenience, when it suits you, in your own time, in your own good time, when you can fit it in, without need for haste, without haste, unhurriedly, without hurry, when you get round to it, when you want to
      in due course
      View synonyms
  • lady (or man or gentleman) of leisure

    • A woman or man of independent means or whose time is free from obligations to others.

      • ‘But although that is now on hold, she has no plans of becoming a lady of leisure.’
      • ‘Mr Tung is a wealthy gentleman of leisure with a very large townhouse.’
      • ‘The rest of the time, players appear to be gentlemen of leisure.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the reality of gentry-class women's lives often failed to conform to the image of the lady of leisure.’
      • ‘The drag queen in this film is no lady of leisure.’
      • ‘They are men of leisure, going on a voyage down the Thames River from Kingston to Oxford.’
      • ‘This move, however, had only increased their resentment of her, as they saw it as an attempt to act the part of the charitable lady of leisure.’
      • ‘We are not, in this day and age a place for the polishing of young men of leisure into gentlemanly ways.’
      • ‘Yes, he was a busy man with his hardware business and now he's a busy man of leisure.’
      • ‘On the other hand, I think I'd be a really good lady of leisure.’
  • leisure class

    • A social class that is independently wealthy or has much leisure.

      • ‘He tends to portray high earners as bad guys, the unproductive leisure class.’
      • ‘Certainly, the image casts him as a member of the leisure class who maintains ‘an air of kindly patronage’ toward his lower-class visitor.’
      • ‘The country has developed more of a leisure class.’
      • ‘Inverting a familiar social Darwinist argument, Veblen contended that the leisure class retarded social progress by sheltering itself from the economic forces that encouraged adaption.’
      • ‘The French make up the leisure class, along with local elected officials (among them a number of Creoles descended from planters), merchants, and salaried workers.’
      • ‘They became a new and crucial leisure class, the focus of every advertiser's lust, every merchant's greed.’
      • ‘Woodcraft offered a virile form of recreation that distanced the urbanite from a leisure class that hired guides for their wilderness trips or spent their vacations in effeminate mountain resorts.’
      • ‘There is a thriving leisure class, which has given way to a class of well-off entertainers - dancers, acrobats, singers and other such performers in addition to the usual street variety.’
      • ‘Mass-produced objects had a ‘sameness’ to them, and because they were mass-produced they were by definition ‘perceived as being common and it is this commonness that the leisure class objected to.’’
      • ‘Veblen's study of the leisure class, moreover, showed how the pecuniary values of the leisure class created a ‘capitalist hegemony,’ to use Edgell's term, by influencing the values of all other members of society.’


Middle English: from Old French leisir, based on Latin licere be allowed.