Definition of leaf noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//liːf//
    ; NAmE NAmE//liːf//
    (pl. leaves
    BrE BrE//liːvz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//liːvz//
    Parts of a book, Plants
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  1. 1   [countable] a flat green part of a plant, growing from a stem or branch or from the root lettuce/cabbage/oak leaves The trees are just coming into leaf. the dead leaves of autumn/the fall CollocationsThe living worldAnimals animals mate/​breed/​reproduce/​feed (on something) fish/​amphibians swim/​spawn (= lay eggs) birds fly/​migrate/​nest/​sing insects crawl/​fly/​bite/​sting insects/​bees/​locusts swarm bees collect/​gather nectar/​pollen spiders spin/​weave a web snakes/​lizards shed their skins bears/​hedgehogs/​frogs hibernate insect larvae grow/​develop/​pupate an egg/​a chick/​a larva hatches attract/​find/​choose a mate produce/​release eggs/​sperm lay/​fertilize/​incubate/​hatch eggs inhabit a forest/​a reef/​the coast mark/​enter/​defend (a) territory stalk/​hunt/​capture/​catch/​kill preyPlants and fungi trees/​plants grow/​bloom/​blossom/​flower a seed germinates/​sprouts leaves/​buds/​roots/​shoots appear/​develop/​form flower buds swell/​open a fungus grows/​spreads/​colonizes something pollinate/​fertilize a flower/​plant produce/​release/​spread/​disperse pollen/​seeds/​spores produce/​bear fruit develop/​grow/​form roots/​shoots/​leaves provide/​supply/​absorb/​extract/​release nutrients perform/​increase/​reduce photosynthesisBacteria and viruses bacteria/​microbes/​viruses grow/​spread/​multiply bacteria/​microbes live/​thrive in/​on something bacteria/​microbes/​viruses evolve/​colonize something/​cause disease bacteria break something down/​convert something (into something) a virus enters/​invades something/​the body a virus mutates/​evolves/​replicates (itself) be infected with/​contaminated with/​exposed to a new strain of a virus/​drug-resistant bacteria contain/​carry/​harbour (especially US English) harbor bacteria/​a virus kill/​destroy/​eliminate harmful/​deadly bacteria see also bay leaf, fig leaf See related entries: Plants
  2. 2-leaf, -leafed, -leaved (in adjectives) having leaves of the type or number mentioned a four-leaf clover a broad-leaved plant
  3. 3[countable] a sheet of paper, especially a page in a book She carefully turned the leaves of the precious volume. see also flyleaf, loose-leaf, overleaf See related entries: Parts of a book
  4. 4[uncountable] metal, especially gold or silver, in the form of very thin sheets gold leaf
  5. 5[countable] a part of a table that can be lifted up or pulled into position in order to make the table bigger
  6. Word OriginOld English lēaf, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch loof and German Laub.Extra examples Deciduous trees shed their leaves in autumn. He picked a leaf from the basil plant and started to chew it. In the spring the plant began to put out new leaves. It was spring and the trees were coming into leaf. Spring arrived and the first green leaves began to appear. Stop trying to read tea leaves. The boys helped by raking the leaves in the yard. The corn was already ripening and the trees in full leaf. The ground was thick with dead leaves. The leaves rustled in the light breeze. The summer was over and the leaves were beginning to turn. This plant has beautifully variegated leaves. Throw the tea leaves on the flower bed. broad leaf plants dry leaves blowing in the wind the leaf litter on the forest floorIdioms
    take a leaf from/out of somebody’s book
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    to copy somebody’s behaviour and do things in the same way that they do, because they are successful
    to change your way of life to become a better, more responsible person
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: leaf