Definition of leper in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈlɛpə/


1A person suffering from leprosy.
Example sentences
  • The group has already taken six lepers who could not be accommodated at Lukupa Leprosarium to Kawama Transit Centre.
  • In the early 1930s, the lepers and mentally ill were removed from Robben Island and all the buildings burnt down.
  • The saint and the leper embrace and the leper is miraculously healed, but the real miracle is the love that makes healing and transformation possible.
1.1A person who is shunned or rejected by others for moral or social reasons: the story made her out to be a social leper
More example sentences
  • Principals saw the girls as bad schoolyard influences and priests shunned them as moral lepers.
  • They already pay a significantly higher proportion of tax to non-smokers (one of the highest duty rates in the world), and they are seen as social lepers to many.
  • By Tuesday morning, she was a social leper.


Since the mid 20th century the word leper has increasingly been avoided because of the negative connotations of the sense 'person who is avoided or rejected by others'. Today it is preferable to use expressions such as person with leprosy or person with Hansen’s disease (another name for leprosy).


Late Middle English: probably from an attributive use of leper 'leprosy', from Old French lepre, via Latin from Greek lepra, feminine of lepros 'scaly', from lepos, lepis 'scale'.

Words that rhyme with leper

pepper, salt-and-pepper

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: leper

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