American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The dressed or tanned hide of an animal, usually with the hair removed.
- n. Any of various articles or parts made of dressed or tanned hide, such as a boot or strap.
- n. The flap of a dog's ear.
- v. To cover wholly or in part with the dressed or tanned hide of an animal.
- v. Informal To beat with a strap made of hide.
- adj. Made of, relating to, or resembling dressed or tanned animal hide.
- adj. Slang Of, relating to, or patronized by people who dress in leather clothing primarily to indicate a preference for sadomasochistic sex: leather types; a leather bar.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The tanned, tawed, or otherwise dressed skin of an animal; dressed hides or skins collectively. The peculiar character of leather is due to the chemical combination of tannin in the process of tanning, or of tannin and vegetable extractive matter (or else of some mineral or earthy base), with gelatin as contained in animal skin; its physical characteristics, such as flexibility, tensile strength, color, and durability, are more or less modified by the processes subsequent to the chemical, and included in the various operations of currying and dressing. In commercial and popular usance leather does not include skins dressed with the hair or fur on; such skins are usually distinguished by compounding the word skin with the name of the animal from which they are taken: as, sealskin, bearskin, otterskin, etc. In the untanned state skins valued for their fur, hair, or wool, and destined to be tawed and dressed for furriers' and analogous uses, are called
peltsor peltry. In England the term pelts is applied to all untanned skins. The term skin has also certain applications relating to leather which seem to follow no rule, but are sanctioned by general usage; thus, leathers made from the skins of kids, dogs, sheep, pigs, and calves, and in general from the skins of all small domestic and of many wild animals, are distinguished by the names of the animals: as, dogskin, sheepskin, pigskin, calfskin, buckskin, or deerskin. Buff-leather is an exception to this usage. (See buff, 2.) In general, leather made from skins of adult bovine domestic animals is called cowhide, and that made from skins of horses is called horsehide. The tanned skins of large animals, either wild or domestic, are distinguished by the word hide with the name of the animal from which the skin was taken prefixed, except when the skin has the fur or hair left upon it: as, rhinoceros-hide, hippopatamus-hide, buffalo-hide (tanned with hair removed); leopard-skin, buffalo-skin (tanned or tawed with hair or fur on). Leather made from the skins of alligators and aquatic animals is, however, generally called skinwith the name of the animal prefixed: as, alligator-skin, shark-skin, etc. (See also shagreen.) The outer side of the skin both before and after tanning is called the grain side, or simply the grain; the opposite side is called the flesh side.
- n. Human skin.
- n. A round piece, of tanned hide on the end of a fish-hook, designed to keep the bait from sliding up on the line.
- n. The loose hanging part of a dog's ear.
- n. Leather finished for use without artificial coloring, as that of which shoes are made for use in hot weather.
- n. Hence— Leather slightly colored, tinged red or yellowish-brown, for use in the same way.
- Consisting of leather; leathern: as, a leather glove.
- To furnish with leather; apply leather to; form into leather; tan.
- To beat or thrash with or as with a thong of leather.
- To beat; strike.
- n. In cricket, the ball.
- n. plural Wearing-apparel made of leather, as breeches, leggings, etc.
- n. One who wears ‘leathers.’
- n. A tough material produced from the skin of animals, by tanning or similar process, used e.g. for clothing.
- n. A piece of the above used for polishing.
- n. colloquial A cricket ball or football.
- n. clothing made from the skin of animals, often worn by motorcycle riders.
- n. baseball A good defensive play
- adj. Made of leather.
- adj. Referring to one who wears leather clothing (motorcycle jacket, chaps over 501 jeans, boots), especially as a sign of sadomasochistic homosexuality.
- v. To cover with leather.
- v. To strike forcefully.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The skin of an animal, or some part of such skin, with the hair removed, and tanned, tawed, or otherwise dressed for use; also, dressed hides, collectively.
- n. Ironical or Sportive The skin.
- v. Obs. or Colloq. To beat, as with a thong of leather.
- adj. Of, pertaining to or made of leather; consisting of leather.
- v. whip with a leather strap
- n. an animal skin made smooth and flexible by removing the hair and then tanning
- Old English leþer, from Proto-Germanic *leþran (compare West Frisian leare, Dutch leder, German Leder, Swedish läder), from Gaulish *letrom (compare Welsh lledr, Irish lethar), from pre-Celtic *péltrom, from Proto-Indo-European *pel- 'to beat'. More at anvil. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English lether, from Old English lether- (as in letherhose, leather pants). (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“But there's a much better sort of leather than that for Bible binding; I mean _shoe leather_.”
“I hoof it over to the platform as the second contestant, a black Elvis dressed all in leather, is singing “All Shook Up”.”
“Blue with blue, and brown with brown, but the leather is all brown – no blue leather here.”
“Plus, today, the balls are harder, they're wound tighter, and I'm sure the leather is a little thinner.”
“Also, I think I've seen their president in "leather" shoes stepping out of a vehicle with "leather" interior.”
“I don't think sexy Kate in leather is gonna make it past THOSE OLD BOYS!) and carrying the words BAD or DEVIL in the title is unworthy of consumption.”
“With her long blonde hair, micro-dresses that may incite the prurient to hope for an occasional fleeting glimpse of her underwear and photographs on her book jackets of her in leather dresses, arms akimbo, like a stern but voluptuous school mistress, she is not, as Mr. Moore wrote, “faux glam.””
“People had to eat stuff that they would never eat in normal life, like making soups of leather boots (because leather is of animal origin) or boiling the wallpaper because the glue with which they were attached to walls contained a bit of organic stuff.”
“Would that be in leather, Sheila or perhaps the prefered Whore-House Red?”
“Part two, which was shot just north of Dallas, finds Bruno appearing on a Jerry Springer - style talk show in leather pants, looking for Mr. Right.”
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