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

 

leaven

 noun
noun
BrE BrE//ˈlevn//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈlevn//
 
 
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[uncountable] a substance, especially yeast, that is added to bread before it is cooked to make it rise (figurative) A few jokes add leaven to a boring speech. Word Origin Middle English: from Old French levain, based on Latin levamen ‘relief’ (literally ‘means of raising’), from levare ‘to lift’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: leaven

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