Definition of leap in English:

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Pronunciation: /lēp/

verb (past or past participle leaped /lēpt/ or chiefly British leapt /lept/)

[no object]
1Jump or spring a long way, to a great height, or with great force: I leaped across the threshold figurative Fabia’s heart leapt excitedly
More example sentences
  • He scanned the crowd and his heart leapt excitedly when he spotted her.
  • His heart leaped and he jumped out of his bed, ran across his room and slammed his door.
  • 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.
1.1Move quickly and suddenly: Polly leapt to her feet
More example sentences
  • With that, he had leapt quickly forward and landed a quick punch to Cyrus's side that Cyrus couldn't quite follow.
  • The surprised lord quickly leapt forward to catch his wife before she hurt her herself.
  • Quickly I leapt to my feet and grabbed her before she even thought of doing something stupid.
spring, jump, jump up, hop, bound
1.2 [with object] Jump across or over: a coyote leaped the fence
More example sentences
  • He then leapt a fence and galloped over the hill deep into the field.
  • We heard raucous laughter and audible thuds as people leapt the fence into the yard.
  • 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.
1.3Make a sudden rush to do something; act eagerly and suddenly: it was time for me to leap into action
More example sentences
  • Although some bird-lovers have leapt to their defence, there is an undeniably anti-social element among the pigeon fraternity.
  • But friends and colleagues leapt to his defence, insisting they had issued a public thank you for his rescue.
  • It's that sad old bunch of ex-something-or-others who have leapt to her defence in recent days.
rush, hurry, hasten
form hastily, reach hurriedly;
hurry to, hasten to, jump to, rush to
1.4 (leap at) Accept (an opportunity) eagerly: they leapt at the opportunity to combine fun with fund-raising
More example sentences
  • When asked by one of its key suppliers to develop their website, staff leapt at the chance.
  • When the university approached Uncle Sam about the idea of an alumni center, he leaped at the opportunity.
  • She leaped at the opportunity and became one of only two women investment bankers on a staff of 150.
accept eagerly, grasp (with both hands), grab, take advantage of, seize (on), jump at
1.5(Of a price or figure) increase dramatically: sales leaped 40 percent during the Christmas season
More example sentences
  • The money will help first-time buyers who have watched the asking prices of houses leap 14 per cent in the past 12 months.
  • High-end home prices have leapt 56 per cent in the past nine months.
  • Petrol stations in some cities are rationing diesel, with prices leaping on the black market, according to official reports.
increase rapidly, soar, rocket, skyrocket, shoot up, escalate
1.6 (leap out) (Especially of writing) be conspicuous; stand out: amid the notes, a couple of items leap out
More example sentences
  • There wasn't one that leapt out at me like with the A and B sets, and the CD didn't help too much.


1A forceful jump or quick movement: she came downstairs in a series of flying leaps
More example sentences
  • In a quick leap, he had jumped from the veranda and had sped off into the field after me.
  • In one quick, strong leap, her horse jumped, high, long & hard.
  • But secondly, this increasing resolution of the project is visible as a series of jumps or leaps.
jump, vault, spring, bound, hop, skip
1.1A dramatic increase in price, amount, etc. a leap of 75 percent in two years
More example sentences
  • It said a huge leap in coal prices and higher freight charges offset an increase in local power sales.
  • This article on energy policy shows that fuel shortages and price leaps are almost entirely created by government meddling.
  • When the whole chain works in sync, there can be a dramatic leap in the speed and efficiency of product development…
sudden rise, surge, upsurge, upswing, upturn
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
More example sentences
  • We passed whole aeons of evolutionary progress in great leaps, seemingly overnight.
  • 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.
1.3(In place names) a thing to be leaped over or from: Lover’s Leap
More example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without the benefit of experience.
  • The proposed re-denomination looks like a leap in the dark, and an exercise in futility that the nation can ill afford now.
  • 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.

by (or in) leaps and bounds

With startlingly rapid progress: productivity improved in leaps and bounds
More example sentences
  • Air travel is growing in leaps and bounds, and airlines and nations are investing in new aircraft to accommodate that growth.
  • 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.
  • ‘They focus on the limited - service, midscale segment, which is a great value proposition and is growing by leaps and bounds,’ he says.
rapidly, swiftly, quickly, speedily

leap to the eye (or to mind)

Be immediately apparent: one dire question leaped to our minds
More example sentences
  • The first thing that leaps to the eye from the Convention is the historical moment in which it was signed.
  • This makes the details leap to the eye and I'm looking forward to getting the base colors on.
  • This context of no context makes anything leap to the eye, as if its identity shines out of it.

leap to conclusions



Example sentences
  • They are good leapers and tree climbers.
  • A sap-sucking bug that coats plants with wads of foamy spit has been crowned the insect world's greatest leaper.


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.

Words that rhyme with leap

asleep, beep, bleep, cheap, cheep, creep, deep, heap, Jeep, keep, neap, neep, peep, reap, seep, sheep, skin-deep, sleep, steep, Streep, sweep, veep, weep

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: leap

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