Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun plural Sediment settling during fermentation, especially in wine; dregs.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A Middle English form of leash.
  • noun See lease.
  • noun plural See lee.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun plural Dregs. See 2d lee.
  • noun obsolete A leash.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The sediment that settles during fermentation of beverages, consisting of dead yeast and precipitated parts of the fruit.
  • noun sailing Plural form of lee.

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

  • noun the sediment from fermentation of an alcoholic beverage

Etymologies

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

[Middle English lies, pl. of lie, from Old French, from Medieval Latin lia, probably of Celtic origin; see legh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old French lies, from Medieval Latin liæ (plural of lias), from Gaulish *liga 'silt, sediment', akin to Welsh llai, Old Breton leh 'deposit, silt' (modern lec'hi 'lees').

Examples

  • Before dinner, we heard a powerful lecture on the environment by r. martin lees, and then not long after we ate, it was announced there was a singer in the room.

    Jimmy Demers: "Is This Really Happening?"

  • Before dinner, we heard a powerful lecture on the environment by r. martin lees, and then not long after we ate, it was announced there was a singer in the room.

    Jimmy Demers: "Is This Really Happening?"

  • This they either lick up or drink mixed with milk, and from its lees, that is the solid part, they make cakes and use them for food; for they have not many cattle, since the pastures there are by no means good.

    The History of Herodotus

  • Grape juice, when first expressed from its ruddy chalice, is impure and thick; it is left in vessels for a time till fermentation has done its work, and a thick sediment, called lees, has been precipitated to the bottom.

    GOD Will Make a Way

  • Grape juice, when first expressed from its ruddy chalice, is impure and thick; it is left in vessels for a time till fermentation has done its work, and a thick sediment, called lees, has been precipitated to the bottom.

    GOD Will Make a Way

  • This they either lick up or drink mixed with milk, and from its lees, that is the solid part, they make cakes and use them for food; for they have not many cattle, since the pastures there are by no means good.

    The history of Herodotus — Volume 1

  • He wrote that the animals were being fed waste by-products from a winery, known as lees, as

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • The effect of wealthy undisturbed ease ( "lees") on the ungodly is hardening: they become stupidly secure (compare Ps 55: 19; Am 6: 1).

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • The “passengers” were two strains of bacteria: lactic acid bacteria used in ordinary yogurt and a unique strain of Lactobacillus paracasei cultured from pickles preserved in the dregs of sake called sake lees, which is thought to enhance the body’s immunity to disease.

    Space Yogurt » Fanboy.com

  • It was applied to "lees" from the custom of allowing wine to stand on the lees that it might thereby be better preserved (Isa.

    Easton's Bible Dictionary

Comments

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  • I cannot rest from travel: I will drink

    Life to the lees: all times I have enjoyed

    Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those

    That loved me, and alone; on shore

    July 11, 2007

  • Evidently this means the crud at the bottom of a barrel of wine, sediment left over from fermentation. So essentially, to drink life to the lees you are "enjoying every last drop". It's funny how metaphors get recycled with new words.

    July 11, 2007

  • Very nice. There are often lees in a bottle of wine, too--especially old wine.

    July 11, 2007

  • It is Celtic in origin.

    October 20, 2009