What does old letch mean




verb (used with object)

to dissolve out soluble constituents from (ashes, soil, etc.) by percolation.

to cause (water or other liquid) to percolate through something.

verb (used without object)

(of ashes, soil, etc.) to undergo the action of percolating water.

to percolate, as water.


the act or process of leaching.

a product or solution obtained by leaching; leachate.

the material leached.

a vessel for use in leaching.

Words nearby leach

le touquet, le vau, lea, lea-rig, lea., leach, leachate, leaching, leachy, leacock, lead

Origin of leach


1425–75;late Middle Englishleche leachate, infusion, probably Old English*læc(e), *lec(e), akin to leccan to wet, moisten, causative of leak


leach·a·ble, adjectiveleach·a·bil·i·ty, nounleach·er, nounun·leached, adjective

Definition for leach (2 of 3)




Definition for leach (3 of 3)


or leach


either of the lateral edges of a square sail.

the after edge of a fore-and-aft sail.

Origin of leech


1480–90; earlier lek, leche, lyche; akin to Dutchlijk leech, Old Norselīk nautical term of uncertain meaning

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for leach

  • Leach ran an ad teasing Margolies about her Clinton connection, dismissing the first family of Democratic politics as old news.

    What Democratic Revolt? Moderate Cruises in PA-13 Primary|David Freedlander|May 21, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • Leach was active in several moderate groups during his 30 years in the House, losing his bid for reelection in 2006.

    The Incredible Shrinking GOP Moderates|Eleanor Clift|July 29, 2011|DAILY BEAST

  • But through trial and error, Leach and his co-founder Randy Crochet, a real estate investor, improved the product.

    The Healthiest Fast Food Chain|Joshua Robinson|November 2, 2010|DAILY BEAST

  • Nevertheless, he faced Lefty Leach like a chap exuding confidence from every pore.

    The New Boys at Oakdale|Morgan Scott

  • If this account be correct, the genus proposed by Leach will include the typical species of Scalaria, such as S. pretiosa.

    A Conchological Manual|George Brettingham Sowerby

  • It did not go on for a couple of days, but Mrs. Leach lived through that night in the same semi-comatose state.

    Tomaso's Fortune and Other Stories|Henry Seton Merriman

  • At the period in which the schools referred to by Mr. Leach were flourishing, scepticism in religious matters was prevalent.

    Education in England in the Middle Ages|Albert William Parry

  • At the close of the repast, Mr Leach commissioned me to distribute 1lb.

    Adventures and Recollections|Bill o'th' Hoylus End

British Dictionary definitions for leach (1 of 5)



to remove or be removed from a substance by a percolating liquid

to lose or cause to lose soluble substances by the action of a percolating liquid

another word for percolate (def. 1), percolate (def. 2)


the act or process of leaching

a substance that is leached or the constituents removed by leaching

a porous vessel for leaching

Derived forms of leach

leacher, noun

Word Origin for leach

C17: variant of obsolete letch to wet, perhaps from Old English leccan to water; related to leak

British Dictionary definitions for leach (2 of 5)



a variant spelling of leech 2

British Dictionary definitions for leach (3 of 5)



Bernard (Howell). 1887–1979, British potter, born in Hong Kong

British Dictionary definitions for leach (4 of 5)



any annelid worm of the class Hirudinea, which have a sucker at each end of the body and feed on the blood or tissues of other animalsSee also horseleech, medicinal leech

a person who clings to or preys on another person

  1. an archaic word for physician
  2. (in combination)leechcraft

cling like a leechto cling or adhere persistently to something


(tr)to use leeches to suck the blood of (a person), as a method of medical treatment

Derived forms of leech

leechlike, adjective

Word Origin for leech

Old English lǣce, lœce; related to Middle Dutch lieke

British Dictionary definitions for leach (5 of 5)




nauticalthe after edge of a fore-and-aft sail or either of the vertical edges of a squaresail

Word Origin for leech

C15: of Germanic origin; compare Dutch lijk

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medical definitions for leach



Any of various chiefly aquatic bloodsucking or carnivorous annelid worms of the class Hirudinea, one species of which (Hirudo medicinalis) was formerly used by physicians to bleed patients.


To bleed with leeches.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.