Definitions

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

  • n. An edible plant (Allium porrum) related to the onion and having a white, slender bulb and flat, dark-green leaves.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The vegetable Allium ampeloprasum variety porrum, of the lily family, having edible leaves and an onion-like bulb but with a milder flavour than the onion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A plant of the genus Allium (Allium Porrum), having broadly linear succulent leaves rising from a loose oblong cylindrical bulb. The flavor is stronger than that of the common onion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One of several species of the genus Allium; especially, a biennial culinary plant, Allium Porrum.
  • n. Polytelis barrabandi, a small parrot, green with a scarlet breast. Also called green-leek.

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

  • n. related to onions; white cylindrical bulb and flat dark-green leaves
  • n. plant having a large slender white bulb and flat overlapping dark green leaves; used in cooking; believed derived from the wild Allium ampeloprasum

Etymologies

Middle English lek, from Old English lēac.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old English lēac ("a garden herb, leek, onion, garlic"), from Proto-Germanic *laukan (“leek, onion”), from Proto-Indo-European *leug- (“to bend”). Cognate with Dutch look ("garlic, leek"), German Lauch ("leek, allium"), Swedish lök ("onion"), Icelandic laukur ("onion, leek, garlic"). See garlic. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Indeed, the leek is "l'emblème national du Pays de Galles" (national emblem for Wales)!

    poireau - French Word-A-Day

  • I know there is that emotive issue of it being one of our national emblems but hey, the leek is a national emblem of Wales and they don't seem to have any issues about eating it.

    Skippy Pie

  • The leek was a bit strong on the wine but great in texture.

    Archive 2009-05-01

  • When we say that the leek is the asparagus of the poor, that's not nice to the leek, the asparagus or the poor man.

    un poireau - French Word-A-Day

  • The leek was a favourite vegetable in Egypt, and is still largely cultivated there and in Palestine.

    Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • The leek was a bulbous vegetable resembling the onion.

    Smith's Bible Dictionary

  • Without the fowl, the above, which would then be merely called leek soup, is very good, and also economical.

    The Book of Household Management

  • I did this with herbs, with vegetables the leek was the most recent, with beans, with peas, with arugula and other greens, with almost everything I could lay my hands on.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Unlike the bulb that onion and garlic produces, the lower part of the leek is a tight bundle of leaves.

    Donna Young's Blog

  • Livia: I love the idea of leek fritters for Passover.

    The Clog

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Comments

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  • "I have a short but I hope sweet puzzle for you today. I wonder if any of you can explain the name of the following recipe which I found in Cassell's Dictionary of Cookery (1870's)?
    Gingerbread Leek (excellent)
    Mix thoroughly, one ounce and a half of ginger in one pound and a half of flour; add one pound and a quarter of sugar, and two ounces of peel, cut very fine. Melt together half a pound of butter, and a quarter of a pound of the best treacle. Stir these into the flour etc., flavour with three drops of essence of lemon, or more, if liked, and make the mixture into a smooth firm paste, with three eggs, well beaten. Roll out on a floured board, and cut the paste into fingers. Bake in a good oven for ten minutes. Store in a closely-covered tin box.
    The only idea I can come up with is that the name is derived from the medieval ‘leach’ or ‘leche’, referring to a dish which can be sliced. The definition of this word in the Oxford English Dictionary does include a reference to gingerbread:
    'A dish consisting of sliced meat, eggs, fruits, and spices in jelly or some other coagulating material. Often in adoptions of Anglo-Norman combinations, denoting particular varieties, e.g. leche frye compare Old French lechefroie, modern French lèchefrite, dripping-pan , damask leach, dugard leach, lumbard leach, purple leach, royal leach, etc. dry leach: a sort of cake or gingerbread, containing dates, etc. white leach: a gelatine of almonds.' "
    - The Old Foodie, 17 June 2011.

    June 18, 2011

  • Keel in reverse.

    November 3, 2007