Definition of leash in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /lēSH/


1A strap or cord for restraining and guiding a dog or other animal.
Example sentences
  • If he hadn't been tangled in the animal's leash, he would never have inadvertently brought the girl here in the first place.
  • To a kid - or to sheltered adults who never stopped to look or smell or touch - any animal not on a leash counts.
  • 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.
lead, tether, rope, chain, restraint
1.1 Falconry A thong or string attached to the jesses of a hawk, used for tying it to a perch or a creance.
Example sentences
  • 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.
1.2A restraint: her bristling temper was kept on a leash the state needs to let business off the leash
More example sentences
  • Noise still rears an ugly head but, instead of relentlessly bashing away, it is under a leash and controlled.
  • 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.
  • 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.


[with object]
1Put a leash on (a dog).
Example sentences
  • Larger dogs may be taken on the T during off-peak hours and must be leashed and controlled at all times.
  • Pets are welcome throughout the remainder of the park including trails, but they must be leashed at all times.
  • The Fairfax County Park Authority has always welcomed leashed dogs in all of its parks.
put a/the leash on, put a/the lead on, tether, tie up, secure, restrain
1.1Restrain: his violence was barely leashed
More example sentences
  • 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.
curb, control, keep under control, check, restrain, hold back, suppress, rein in


strain at the leash

Be eager to begin or do something.
Example sentences
  • And perhaps the sight of their older married brothers straining at the leash is giving them pause.
  • You may think of soldiers as gung-ho types who strained at the leash last year to invade.
  • It was to get to that unheard of city I'd agitated and strained at the leash of Albany Park.
eager, impatient, anxious, enthusiastic
informal itching, dying


Middle English: from Old French lesse, laisse, from laissier in the specific sense 'let run on a slack lead' (see lease).

Words that rhyme with leash

babiche, Dalglish, fiche, Laois, niche, nouveau riche, pastiche, quiche, Rajneesh, schottische

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: leash

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.