from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To remove soluble or other constituents from by the action of a percolating liquid.
  • transitive v. To empty; drain: "a world leached of pleasure, voided of meaning” ( Marilynne Robinson).
  • intransitive v. To be dissolved or passed out by a percolating liquid.
  • n. The act or process of leaching.
  • n. A porous, perforated, or sievelike vessel that holds material to be leached.
  • n. The substance through which a liquid is leached.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A quantity of wood ashes, through which water passes, and thus imbibes the alkali.
  • n. A tub or vat for leaching ashes, bark, etc.
  • n. Alternative spelling of leech.
  • v. To purge a soluble matter out of something by the action of a percolating fluid.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. See 3d leech.
  • n. A quantity of wood ashes, through which water passes, and thus imbibes the alkali.
  • n. A tub or vat for leaching ashes, bark, etc.
  • n. See leech, a physician.
  • intransitive v. To part with soluble constituents by percolation.
  • transitive v. To remove the soluble constituents from by subjecting to the action of percolating water or other liquid.
  • transitive v. To dissolve out; -- often used with out.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • See leech.
  • To wash or drain by percolation of water; treat by downward drainage: as, to make lye by leaching ashes (the most familiar use of the word); the rains leach a gravelly soil.
  • To remove by percolation; drain away: as, to leach the alkali from wood-ashes.
  • To cut into slices; slice.
  • To extract metal from (an ore) by subjecting it to chemical reagents which take the metal into solution.
  • n. A separation of lye, or alkali in solution, as from wood-ashes, by percolation of water.
  • n. The material used for leaching, as wood-ashes.—3. A deep tub with a spigot inserted in the bottom, used in making potash. It holds from 6 to 8 bushels of wood-ashes.
  • n. See leech.
  • n. A dish, of various kinds, served up in slices. It was sometimes a jelly flavored with spices.
  • n. Same as latch.
  • n. Same as leash.
  • n. A tank in which hot water is passed through ground bark to obtain tannin. Also latch.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. cause (a liquid) to leach or percolate
  • v. permeate or penetrate gradually
  • n. the process of leaching
  • v. remove substances from by a percolating liquid


From Middle English leche, leachate, from Old English *lece, muddy stream; akin to leccan, to moisten.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English leche ("leachate"), from Old English *lǣċ, *lǣċe ("muddy stream"), from Proto-Germanic *lēkijō (“a leak, drain, flow”), from Proto-Germanic *lēk-, *lak-, *likanan (“to leak, drain”), from Proto-Indo-European *leg(')- (“to leak”). Cognate with Old English leċċan ("to water, moisten"), Old English lacu ("stream, pool, pond"). More at leak, lake. (Wiktionary)


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