v. leaped or leapt (lĕpt, lēpt), leap·ing, leaps
a. To propel oneself quickly upward or a long way; spring or jump: The goat leaped over the wall. The salmon leapt across the barrier.
b. To move quickly or suddenly: leaped out of his chair to answer the door.
a. To change quickly or abruptly from one condition or subject to another: always leaping to conclusions.
b. To act quickly or impulsively: leaped at the opportunity to travel.
c. To enter eagerly into an activity; plunge: leapt into the project with both feet.
1. To propel oneself over: I couldn't leap the brook.
2. To cause to leap: She leapt her horse over the hurdle.
a. The act of leaping; a jump.
b. A place jumped over or from.
c. The distance cleared in a leap.
2. An abrupt or precipitous passage, shift, or transition: a leap from rags to riches.
To be readily noticed: The sign leapt out at us from the window.
by leaps and bounds
Very quickly: growing by leaps and bounds.
leap in the dark
An act whose consequences cannot be predicted.
leap of faith
The act or an instance of believing or trusting in something intangible or incapable of being proved.
[Middle English lepen, from Old English hlēapan.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.