Definition of leash in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /liːʃ/


1A dog’s lead.
Example sentences
  • In this experiment with dogs, each dog was led on a leash from a starting point along a straight path in a large field with no distinguishing landmarks and was shown a piece of food.
  • First, practice with your dog on the leash or teaching lead.
  • They were fastened in their kennels with leashes and couldn't get out.
lead, rein, tether, rope, cord, chain, line, strap;
archaic lyam
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.
control, restraint, check, curb, rein, hold, discipline
2 Hunting rare A group of three animals such as hounds, hawks, or foxes: I saw a leash of foxes killed without a run
More example sentences
  • We at one time had but a leash of hounds to carry on the scent.
  • I killed four brace of partridges, a wild duck, and a leash of hares.
  • The hounds moved on to Ashby pasture where they found a leash of foxes.


[with object]
1Put a leash on (a dog): he called Azor to heel so that he could leash him
More 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 leash on, put a lead on, fasten, hitch up, tether, tie up, secure, bind, fetter;
confine, 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


strain at the leash

Be eager to begin or do something: by this time we were straining at the leash to get away
More 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, gagging


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
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.