verb (lets, letting; past and past participle let)
- 1 [with object and infinitive] Not prevent or forbid; allow: my boss let me leave early you mustn’t let yourself get so involvedMore example sentences
allow, permit, give permission to, give leave to, authorize, sanction, grant, grant the right to, warrant, license, empower, enable, entitle; assent to, consent to, agree to, acquiesce in, accede to, approve of, tolerate, countenance, suffer, brook, admit of, give one's blessing to, give assent to; cause, make• informal give the green light to, give the go-ahead to, give the thumbs up to, give someone/something the nod, say the magic word, OK
- He doesn't let his busy schedule prevent him from visiting Scotland regularly.
- The padding helps prevent soreness and lets you spend more time on the saddle.
- But his boss won't let him leave - at least not until he completes one final contract.
- 1.1 [with object and adverbial of direction] Allow to pass in a particular direction: could you let the dog out? a tiny window that let in hardly any lightMore example sentences
allow to go, permit to pass; make way for
- Torches lined the stairs, and an occasional stained-glass window let in some light.
- They let heat in but prevent it from getting out.
- The following morning I'm woken up nice and early by the builders letting themselves in to the apartment.
- 2.1 (let us or let's) Used as a polite way of making or responding to a suggestion, giving an instruction, or introducing a remark: let’s have a drink ‘Shall we go?’ ‘Yes, let.’More example sentences
- Also let's not forget the traffic lights on the Salisbury road also creating major tailbacks.
- This, let's not forget, is the man who only this week pretended to cut off part of his ear in a press conference.
- Finally, let's not forget that Bermuda is only one mile wide and surrounded by water.
- 2.2 (let me or let us) Used to make an offer of help: ‘Here, let me,’ offered BruceMore example sentences
- If you must continue with this project, then please let me help with the images.
- Here, let me do your bow tie.
- ‘Here, let me,’ Emily said, coming to her aid.
- 2.3Used to express one’s strong desire for something to happen or be the case: ‘Dear God,’ Jessica prayed, ‘let him be all right.’More example sentences
- Let him soothe me, let him calm me, let his strong arms encircle me and protect me.
- Every day we wake up, we pray please let today be the day we have the answers.
- Every match I play, I still think ‘Oh my God, please let it end.’
- 2.4Used as a way of expressing defiance or challenge: if he wants to walk out, well let him!More example sentences
- If they want a challenge, let them clean up the damage they have caused.
- If some want to mount an eleventh-hour challenge, let them come out in the open.
- However I was aware that we lived in a world where I can make up my own mind, so if I want to smoke then let me.
- 2.5Used to express an assumption upon which a theory or calculation is to be based: let A and B stand for X and Y respectivelyMore example sentences
- Let x be the observed value of this statistic.
- Let L be the earth's equator and let x be a point in the northern hemisphere.
- Let the line equal to line AG be AD, and let DG be joined.
- 3 [with object] chiefly British Allow someone to have the use of (a room or property) in return for regular payments: she let the flat to a tenant they’ve let out their houseMore example sentences
- Letters have been sent to solicitors and letting agents after police found people are letting properties for themselves then sub-letting them to prostitutes.
- The council also wants to start targeting private landlords in a bid to encourage them to consider letting their properties to people receiving housing benefit.
- She will take charge of letting the property in the future.
- 3.1Award (a contract for a project) to an applicant: preliminary contracts were let and tunnelling work startedMore example sentences
- The firm will be responsible for training staff and letting the operating contract and will give advice on waste systems engineering, policy and planning.
- The Government let the contract to an English firm.
- The changes and delays in fund-raising and letting contracts pushed the opening to this summer.
nounBritish Back to top
- 1A period during which a room or property is rented: I’ve taken a month’s let on the flatMore example sentences
- While short lets of a week, a month or six months cost substantially more, reductions are offered for a standard year-long contract.
- If you intend to let the property for short-term holiday lets, then the service will need to include changeovers and handover of the keys.
- Fully furnished, it is set up for holiday and short-term lets.
- 1.1A property available for rent: an unfurnished letMore example sentences
- He gave his support to preventing houses being bought as second homes or holiday lets.
- The Landmark Trust buys and restores interesting and historic building at risk, restores them and lets them out as holiday lets, so that the income can pay for their continued maintenance.
- Similar barns had been converted to holiday lets.
- Used to indicate that something is far less likely or suitable than something else already mentioned: he was incapable of leading a bowling team, let alone a countryMore example sentences
- I don't want to share the same room with her and the hounds, let alone a mortgage.
- Who on earth would be prepared, let alone equipped to take on such a challenge?
- At the time he had no idea how to start a business, let alone find the financial backing to realise his dream.
let someone/thing alone
- see alone.
let someone/thing be
- Stop interfering with someone or something: let him be—he knows what he wantsMore example sentences
- He stopped frozen and let me be, which was the best choice he could have made.
- Irritated, she turned to me at a noisy high school basketball game, complaining that I should let things be, stop applying words to our friends, stop seeking motives and positing consequences.
- Nobody likes a control freak, so stop being a bossyboots and let things be.
let someone down gently
- Seek to give someone bad news in a way that avoids causing them too much distress: she was content for him to take his time and let Celeste down gentlyMore example sentences
- His editor let him down gently and swiftly changed the subject.
- Is there a good way to let someone down gently when you're not interested?
- I think he was trying to let me down gently.
let something drop (or fall)
- Casually reveal a piece of information: from the things he let drop I think there was a woman in his lifeMore example sentences
- After the cop had stopped the attractive and self-assured woman for speeding, she let it drop that her father was himself an officer, recently retired.
- The other day, while talking to a group of women at a public function, she let it drop that she had visited the Chief Minister.
- Some time ago, he let it fall that he thought the novel no longer had any life in it.
- Geometry Draw (a perpendicular) from an outside point to a line.More example sentences
- On the tangent PR produced let fall the perpendicular SY.
- Let ABC be any triangle, and the angle at B one of its acute angles, and upon BC, one of the sides containing it, let fall the perpendicular.
- Their effects must be estimated by the length of perpendiculars let fall upon the lines of direction in a similar manner.
- Attack physically or verbally: Mary opened her mouth to let fly at JimMore example sentences
hurl, fling, throw, propel, pitch, lob, toss, launch, cast, shy, project, catapult, bowl; shoot, fire, blast, dischargerant at, inveigh against, rail against, abuse, revile; explode, burst out, erupt with anger, let someone have it, give free rein to one's emotions, keep nothing back, give vent to one's emotions• informal carpet, give someone a rocket, tear someone off a strip, tear into• rare excoriate
- Well, I verbally let fly, causing Daddy to come in and, thankfully, and fairly, he stuck up for me.
- A furious Hayden let fly verbally at Jones, who had raised his hand in apology.
- Handfuls of stones were loaded into our respective weapons, and as the first bird flew over, we let fly.
let oneself go
- 1Act in a relaxed or uninhibited way: you need to unwind and let yourself goMore example sentences
- Carl made her feel so good, so relaxed that she let herself go completely, losing herself in the moment.
- Decadence is selfish - it means letting yourself go and not caring about others, not caring about tomorrow so you do whatever you want today.
- The government seems uncomfortable about these ‘drink-fuelled scenes’, fearful of rowdy crowds of people letting themselves go.
- 2Become careless or untidy in one’s habits or appearance: he’s really let himself go since my mother diedMore example sentences
- He has let himself go, no longer caring about his appearance, or able to get up in the mornings.
- You have to wait until you get married before you start letting yourself go.
- Let's speak plainly here, David, it looks as if you've been letting yourself go.
let someone/thing go
- 1Allow someone or something to escape or go free: they let the hostages goMore example sentences
- They let the dogs go, allowing them to go after my parents.
- He produced a knife and forced her to remove her underwear, but when she repeatedly asked to be freed he panicked and let her go.
- The woman pleaded with the man to let her go, and eventually escaped after kicking him in the groin.
- 1.1 • euphemistic Dismiss an employee: I was upset about letting him go, but he assured me he’d easily get another jobMore example sentences
make redundant, dismiss, discharge, lay off, give notice to, pay off, remove, release• informal sack, give someone the sack, fire, give someone their cards, give someone their marching orders, send packing, give someone the boot, give someone the bullet, give someone the push, give someone the (old) heave-ho, boot out, axe
- About 24 of the 100 employees at CBS Internet were let go in June.
- On your side is the fact that, in most sectors, employers are increasingly realising that it's cheaper and more efficient to hold on to skilled people rather than let them go and train new employees.
- He would hire employees, let them go when receivables dipped - and then hastily hire them back when the work flowed in again.
- 2 (also let go or let go of) Relinquish one’s grip on someone or something: Adam let go of the reins • figurative you must let the past goMore example sentences
- William refused to let her go as his grip around her tightened.
- She shivered slightly as his fingers gently gripped hers then slowly let go.
- I let out a yell and tried to twist out of his grip, he let go and I fell with a thump.
let someone have it
- • informal Attack someone physically or verbally: I really let him have it for worrying me so muchMore example sentences
attack, assault, beat, beat up, batter, thrash, pound, pummel, assail, set upon, fall upon, set about, strike at, let fly at, tear into, lash out at• informal jump, paste, do over, work over, knock about/around, rough up, lay into, lace into, sail into, pitch into, get stuck into, beat the living daylights out ofBritish • informal have a go at, duff someone upNorth American • informal beat up on, light intoscold, rebuke, reprimand, reproach, reprove, admonish, remonstrate with, chastise, chide, upbraid, berate, take to task, pull up, castigate, lambaste, read someone the Riot Act, give someone a piece of one's mind, go on at, haul over the coals, criticize, censure• informal tell off, give someone a talking-to, give someone a telling-off, dress down, give someone a dressing-down, give someone an earful, give someone a roasting, give someone a rocket, give someone a rollicking, rap, rap over the knuckles, slap someone's wrist, send someone away with a flea in their ear, bawl out, give someone hell, come down on, blow up, pitch into, lay into, lace into, give someone a caning, put on the mat, slap down, blast, rag, keelhaulBritish • informal tick off, have a go at, carpet, monster, give someone a mouthful, tear someone off a strip, give someone what for, give someone some stick, wig, give someone a wigging, give someone a row, rowNorth American • informal chew out, ream out, take to the woodshedBritish • vulgar slang bollock, give someone a bollockingNorth American • vulgar slang chew someone's ass, ream someone's ass• dated call down, rate, give someone a rating, trim
- The fighter draws a slug from a water bottle, swishes it round his mouth, fixes the kid with a grin and lets him have it, right between the eyes.
- So he's going to hold back the wrath until he gets tired and then he's just gonna let us have it?
- They rang him up for an interview - and before they could put the phone down he let them have it with both barrels.
let in (or out) the clutch
- Engage (or release) the clutch of a vehicle by releasing pressure on (or applying it to) the clutch pedal.More example sentences
- I drop into first gear, let out the clutch, and enjoy the crawl.
- The driver stood on the accelerator, let out the clutch and roared away with tyres screaming.
- My driver's ed consisted of getting in, starting the motor, and letting out the clutch.
let something drop (or rest)
- Say or do no more about a matter: you should let it drop, love, it’s more trouble than it’s worthMore example sentences
- We are certainly not going to let it rest until we get an answer, and an answer we can accept.
- But if the situation is in check, we say let it rest.
- ‘I just want what is mine. I'm not going to let it rest,’ he said.
let something go (or pass)
- Choose not to react to an action or remark: the decision worried us, but we let it goMore example sentences
- He should have remarked on this, but let it pass.
- If there is a chance to bring it up, then do it by all means; but if there is no opportunity, then let it pass.
- Well, okay, that wasn't routine, but let it pass.
let someone know
- Inform someone: let me know what you think of himMore example sentences
- ‘Communities must keep letting us know about problems if we are to stand a chance of beating this,’ he said.
- Keep letting us know how you feel about our performance and our responsiveness to you.
- If you have your own property website then please let us know and we can mention it in the coming weeks.
let someone/thing loose
- Release someone or something: let the dog loose for a minuteMore example sentences
- However, at least two dogs were let loose by spectators.
- He also claimed any person walking a dog of a hunting breed in an area where there were known to be wild mammals could be open to prosecution if they let the dog loose.
- In this competition, dogs are let loose to chase a jack rabbit over desert terrain.
- Allow someone freedom of action in a particular place or situation: Ellen was laughing like a child let loose in a sweet shopMore example sentences
- And for the last 200 years they have been let loose on humanity to perpetuate the worst kind of injustices.
- Nowadays professional caddies at the world's leading courses undergo strenuous training and have to prove themselves to their caddie-masters before they are let loose on the paying public.
- The staff spend an average of six months concentrating on backroom duties and learning the basics before they are let loose on the company's clients.
- Suddenly utter a sound or remark: he let loose a stream of abuseMore example sentences
- Stunned, the CEO let loose a stream of expletives and walked out.
- She stiffened and then let loose a stream of abuse in a South Yorkshire accent.
- In one Michigan case, a man who let loose a stream of curses after falling out of a canoe in 1999 was convicted of violating a law against cursing in front of women and children.
let me see (or think)
- Used when one is trying to remember something or considering one’s next words: now let me see, where did I put it?More example sentences
- Okay, there must be something good I can mention… let me think… oh yeah, Jackson and I spent a lot of time today building Lego marble runs under the roar of the air conditioning and that was fun.
- What seemed like an impulsive, friendly thing to do at one moment became, in the space of - oh, let me think, about ten seconds - the worst, most inappropriate and downright clumsy action ever.
- You first came here, into our parts - let me think - when was it?
let me tell you
- Used to emphasize a statement: let me tell you, I was very scared!More example sentences
- I have freed myself from its grasp - and let me tell you, it feels good.
- They seem to really understand customer service over here, let me tell you.
- But let me tell you, when work is needed, they know how to work hard.
- see steam.
- see rip1.
let's face it (or let's be honest)
- • informal Used to convey that one must be realistic about an unwelcome fact or situation: let’s be honest, your taste in men is famously badMore example sentences
- But let's be honest here: athletes must think about their associations before acting ridiculously.
- He is a guy who, let's face it, did not have to take a lie detector test at all.
- Anyway, let's face it, we all know that cigarettes are bad for your health.
- see slip1.
- A game or situation in which one behaves as though a fictional or unreal situation is a real one: a crazy and possibly dangerous game of let’s pretendMore example sentences
- But standing in a parking lot today I suddenly felt home, and everything I'd experienced since I left felt like a big game of let's pretend.
- Of course his repentance is another game of let's pretend, momentarily seeming true under the spell of Handel's music.
- Everyone knows that theatre is a world of let's pretend.
let's say (or let us say)
- Used as a way of introducing a hypothetical situation: let’s say we agreed to go our separate waysMore example sentences
- Let's say there had been drugs, let's say there had been a shooting and two students were killed.
- So it's a little bit different from reading, let's say, a scholarly journal.
- So let's say that we have about 2.5m children in one parent families.
- (Of a room or property) available for rent: holiday homes for sale or to letMore example sentences
- She knew the house was to let and believed that the two men were probable tenants.
- There was no sign that indicated that the house was to let.
- He had heard that she had a flat to let.
- (Of an aircraft or a pilot) descend prior to making a landing: over the harbour, I started to let downMore example sentences
- Within the hour, we were letting down for a landing at Casablanca on the Atlantic coast of Morocco.
- It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and I was letting down over the Adriatic heading southward.
let someone down
- Fail to support or help someone as they had hoped: if I let him down now, I knew he’d never trust me againMore example sentences
- Is someone letting you down or failing to get a job done on time?
- Ken had been her best friend and she'd let him down.
- Girlfriends support you when the man in your life lets you down.
- (let someone/thing down) Have a detrimental effect on the overall quality or success of someone or something: the whole machine is let down by the tacky keyboardMore example sentences
- The north west has a wonderful range of historic buildings, but so often they are let down by the poor quality of the public spaces around them.
- However, smaller airports were let down by the quality of their facilities, such as shops and food outlets.
- The sound quality let them down massively, but they still managed to do well at warming up the audience.
let something down
- 1Lower something slowly: they let down a basket on a chainMore example sentences
- I tied one end of the cord to the basket and let the basket down slowly to Mr. Webster's level.
- After everything settled down, I slowly let my arm down.
- The man let his hand down slowly, still looking at the woman.
- 2Make a garment longer by lowering the hem: I put on a skirt which Sylvie had let down for meMore example sentences
lengthen, make longer
- I do not own a pair of trousers that I have not had to let the hem down on.
- I bought a used dress and I need to let the skirt down about an inch.
- When you let the hem down, the nice bright unfaded material now exposed tends to show up just how faded the rest of the garment has become.
- 3British Deflate a tyre: the driver was still in the cab, so I couldn’t let the tyres downMore example sentences
- She told the court her car tyres had been let down on the day she found the note.
- The van was well and truly stuck, and even tried and tested methods of removal including letting the tyres down failed.
- I could let their tyres down and spray paint their vehicles with anarchist slogans.
let someone in
- Admit someone to a room, building, or area: I had to wake up my flatmate Veronica to let me inMore example sentences
- He was standing outside the Pemberley gate, waiting patiently for the guard to let him in.
- He'll shut up once you let him in.
- "Come on in," She chirped cheerily, stepping aside to let us in.
let oneself in for
- • informal Involve oneself in (something likely to be difficult or unpleasant): I didn’t know what I was letting myself in forMore example sentences
- Do you know what you're letting yourself in for?
- I want to talk a little about the reality of post-graduate work for people who are considering it because I think you should know what you're letting yourself in for.
- You know exactly what you're letting yourself in for.
let someone in on/into
- Allow someone to know or share (something secret): I’ll let you into a secret I wish someone would let me in on the jokeMore example sentences
- I wanted her to let me in on all her secrets.
- He speaks directly to his audience, letting us in on great secrets - not as though we are sitting in his class, but like we ran in to him at the video store.
- Ned lets Lyn in on his secret, because he wants her to make him a costume.
let something into
- Set something back into (the surface to which it is fixed), so that it does not project: the basin is partly let into the wallMore example sentences
- Two stone plaques are let into the wall on either side of the entrance.
- Metal plates, hinges, and other pieces of hardware look best if let into the surface of the wood.
let someone off
- 1Punish someone lightly or not at all for a misdemeanour or offence: he was let off with a cautionMore example sentences
pardon, forgive, grant an amnesty to, amnesty; release, discharge; deal leniently with, be lenient on/to, be merciful to, show mercy to, have mercy on; acquit, absolve, exonerate, clear, exculpate, vindicate; let bygones be bygones, bear no malice, harbour no grudge, bury the hatchet
- He limped over and thanked us for letting him off lightly.
- Is there any concern that this is going to be seen as basically letting him off lightly?
- It may have been better to discipline him for his repeated misdemeanours rather than let him off.
- 2Excuse someone from a task or obligation: he let me off work for the dayMore example sentences
- If you come up with an excuse, a doctor's note might let you off.
- I just had to make a simple excuse of overwhelming studies, confusion and stress, and I was let off.
- The last words addressed to me were ‘I'll let you off tomorrow.’
let something off
- Cause a gun, firework, or bomb to fire or explode.More example sentences
- Thousands of fireworks were let off in the castle grounds at the stroke of midnight to mark the start of the New Year.
- Some people enjoy fireworks but animals don't and can become terrified when fireworks are let off.
- When he played Carnegie Hall in 1971 a stink bomb was let off.
let on • informal
- 1Reveal information: she knows a lot more than she lets onMore example sentences
- I felt like he had more information then he was letting on.
- I answered simply, without letting on a lot of information.
- Something wasn't right here and she knew Noah held more information than he was letting on.
- 2Pretend: [with clause]: they all let on they didn’t hear meMore example sentences
- Now he's letting on he finds them bewildering, and he's supposed to be Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism!
- Serious things have happened and it's no good people letting on that they didn't.
- I once liked Rosie, but she let on she was a different person then.
- North American (Of lessons at school, a meeting, or an entertainment) finish, so that those attending are able to leave: his classes let out at noonMore example sentences
- School begins at seven and lets out at two thirty.
- The last screening of the film festival let out at 7:30 p.m.
- What time does class let out?
let someone out
- Release someone from obligation or suspicion: they’ve started looking for motives—that lets me outMore example sentences
- Clearly if you were the average poor boy who got drafted and sent into the active force, they weren't going to let you out before you had completed your obligation.
- The player we have been looking at has had problems with his club letting him out.
- Be polite and keep your lip zipped and they'll usually let you out and tell you to disappear.
let something out
- 1Utter a sound or cry: he let out a sigh of happinessMore example sentences
- My mom let out a gasp when she saw the box sitting on my desk.
- As soon as the door opened, both the parents let out gasps of horror.
- The guard let out a pained groan before going down for the count.
- 2Make a garment looser or larger, typically by adjusting a seam: the dress is too tight—perhaps it could be let outMore example sentences
- You can let the shoulder seam out or take it in at the princess seam.
- Those jeans have been let out so often you don't look like you're wearing jeans that fit.
- I had to let the waist out in all my pants.
- 3Reveal information: [with clause]: she let out that he’d given her a lift homeMore example sentences
- No one had any idea if his injuries were serious or not, since the doctors were not letting any information out.
- She let the information out that Kevin already knew about the baby.
- How could he exchange words with that man without letting out that he was in love with his wife?
let up • informal
- (Of something undesirable) become less intense: the rain’s letting up—it’ll be clear soonMore example sentences
- Instead of letting up, the snow squalls intensified.
- However, on December 27, the region was blanketed by an intense winter storm that showed no signs of letting up.
- The rain had let up a little bit.
- Relax one’s efforts: she was so far ahead she could afford to let up a bitMore example sentences
- Our main priority is getting promoted and finishing the season on a high, but that doesn't mean we will be letting up one bit tomorrow.
- After yesterday's rest day a lot of riders were feeling good but there were times that some of us were wondering if people would ever let up, even a bit.
- You could see once he made the lead, he let up a little bit.
- (let up on) • informal Treat in a more lenient manner: she didn’t let up on CunninghamMore example sentences
- She lets up on Felicia but starts complaining about her year-old marriage, which is much harder than she thought it would be.
- We are not going to let up on the government until things are done.
- This is a constant problem and we will not let up on those who break the law.
Old English lǣtan 'leave behind, leave out', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch laten and German lassen, also to late.
- (In racket sports) a circumstance under which a service is nullified and has to be taken again, especially (in tennis) when the ball clips the top of the net and falls within bounds: he was obstructed and asked for a letMore example sentences
- In a first game that lasted nearly 30 minutes, she maintained her composure through a series of lets, strokes, and no lets.
- I believe I have a very good understanding of lets and strokes.
- If you encounter interference and then play the ball, you have no right to a let.
verb (lets, letting; past and past participle letted or let)[with object] • archaic Back to top
- Hinder: pray you let us not; we fain would greet our motherMore example sentences
- As Jesus Christ hath appointed a regular government and discipline in his Church, no law of any commonwealth should interfere with, let, or hinder, the due exercise thereof, among the voluntary members of any denomination of Christians, according to their own profession and belief.
- Pray you let us not; We fain would greet our mother.
- If God be with a work, who is he that will let or impede it?
play a let
- (In tennis, squash, etc.) play a point again because the ball or one of the players has been obstructed.More example sentences
- The umpire played a let, as ballboys and girls scurried around reassembling Miss Whatley's paperwork.
- If there is a disagreement between you and your opponent about a let/stroke/no let situation, play a let.
- When he accidentally hit Joey with the ball, Nick was very apologetic and sportingly played a let.
without let or hindrance
- • formal Without obstruction or impediment: rats scurried about the house without let or hindranceMore example sentences
- The law must take its course on this matter, without let or hindrance.
- The reality is, of course, that for every ‘bad apple’ who ended up in court, there were countless more going about their dread business without let or hindrance.
- The oil would continue to flow without let or hindrance - and it did.
Old English lettan 'hinder', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch letten, also to late.