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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Leech \Leech\, n. [Cf. LG. leik, Icel. l[=i]k, Sw. lik boltrope, st[*a]ende liken the leeches.] (Naut.) The border or edge at the side of a sail. [Written also leach.]

Leech line, a line attached to the leech ropes of sails, passing up through blocks on the yards, to haul the leeches by.

Leech rope, that part of the boltrope to which the side of a sail is sewed.


Leech \Leech\, n. [OE. leche, l[ae]che, physician, AS. l[=ae]ce; akin to Fries. l[=e]tza, OHG. l[=a]hh[=i], Icel. l[ae]knari, Sw. l["a]kare, Dan. l[ae]ge, Goth. l[=e]keis, AS. l[=a]cnian to heal, Sw. l["a]ka, Dan. l[ae]ge, Icel. l[ae]kna, Goth. l[=e]kin[=o]n.]

  1. A physician or surgeon; a professor of the art of healing. [Written also leach.] [Archaic]

    Leech, heal thyself.
    --Wyclif (Luke iv. 23).

  2. (Zo["o]l.) Any one of numerous genera and species of annulose worms, belonging to the order Hirudinea, or Bdelloidea, esp. those species used in medicine, as Hirudo medicinalis of Europe, and allied species.

    Note: In the mouth of bloodsucking leeches are three convergent, serrated jaws, moved by strong muscles. By the motion of these jaws a stellate incision is made in the skin, through which the leech sucks blood till it is gorged, and then drops off. The stomach has large pouches on each side to hold the blood. The common large bloodsucking leech of America ( Macrobdella decora) is dark olive above, and red below, with black spots. Many kinds of leeches are parasitic on fishes; others feed upon worms and mollusks, and have no jaws for drawing blood. See Bdelloidea. Hirudinea, and Clepsine.

  3. (Surg.) A glass tube of peculiar construction, adapted for drawing blood from a scarified part by means of a vacuum.

    Horse leech, a less powerful European leech ( H[ae]mopis vorax), commonly attacking the membrane that lines the inside of the mouth and nostrils of animals that drink at pools where it lives.


Leech \Leech\, v. t. See Leach, v. t.


Leech \Leech\ (l[=e]ch), n. See 2d Leach.


Leech \Leech\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Leeched (l[=e]cht); p. pr. & vb. n. Leeching.]

  1. To treat as a surgeon; to doctor; as, to leech wounds.

  2. To bleed by the use of leeches.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"bloodsucking aquatic worm," from Old English læce (Kentish lyce), of unknown origin (with a cognate in Middle Dutch lake). Commonly regarded as a transferred use of leech (n.2), but the Old English forms suggest a distinct word, which has been assimilated to leech (n.2) by folk etymology [see OED]. Figuratively applied to human parasites since 1784.


obsolete for "physician," from Old English læce, probably from Old Danish læke, from Proto-Germanic *lekjaz "enchanter, one who speaks magic words; healer, physician" (cognates: Old Frisian letza, Old Saxon laki, Old Norse læknir, Old High German lahhi, Gothic lekeis "physician"), literally "one who counsels," perhaps connected with a root found in Celtic (compare Irish liaig "charmer, exorcist, physician") and Slavic (compare Serbo-Croatian lijekar, Polish lekarz), from PIE *lep-agi "conjurer," from root *leg- "to collect," with derivatives meaning "to speak" (see lecture (n.)).\n

\nFor sense development, compare Old Church Slavonic baliji "doctor," originally "conjurer," related to Serbo-Croatian bajati "enchant, conjure;" Old Church Slavonic vrači, Russian vrač "doctor," related to Serbo-Croatian vrač "sorcerer, fortune-teller." The form merged with leech (n.1) in Middle English, apparently by folk etymology. In 17c., leech usually was applied only to veterinary practitioners. The fourth finger of the hand, in Old English, was læcfinger, translating Latin digitus medicus, Greek daktylus iatrikos, supposedly because a vein from that finger stretches straight to the heart.


Etymology 1 n. 1 An aquatic blood-sucking annelid of class Hirudinea, especially (taxlink Hirudo medicinalis species noshow=1). 2 A person who derives profit from others in a parasitic fashion. 3 (context medicine dated English) A glass tube designed for drawing blood from a scarified part by means of a vacuum. vb. 1 (context transitive English) To apply a leech medicinally, so that it sucks blood from the patient. 2 (context transitive English) To drain (resources) without giving back. Etymology 2

n. 1 (context archaic English) A physician. 2 (context paganism Heathenry English) A healer. 3 (context medicine English) A glass tube adapted for drawing blood from a scarify part by means of a vacuum. Etymology 3

n. 1 (context nautical English) The vertical edge of a square sail. 2 (context nautical English) The aft edge of a triangular sail.

  1. n. carnivorous or bloodsucking aquatic or terrestrial worms typically having a sucker at each end [syn: bloodsucker, hirudinean]

  2. a follower who hangs around a host (without benefit to the host) in hope of gain or advantage [syn: parasite, sponge, sponger]


v. draw blood; "In the old days, doctors routinely bled patients as part of the treatment" [syn: bleed, phlebotomize, phlebotomise]

Leech (comics)

Leech is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Leech made his first appearance in Uncanny X-Men as a Morlock, a group of mutants whose deformities force them to live in the sewers under Manhattan. He is usually depicted as being around twelve years old (his exact age is unrevealed). He speaks in broken English and refers to himself in the third person.

Leech (song)

"Leech" is the 14th maxi-single by the Japanese rock band, The Gazette. It was released on November 12, 2008 in two editions; the "Optical Impression" edition, "Auditory Impression" edition. The first includes the songs "Leech" and "Distorted Daytime"- it also includes a DVD containing the music video for the song "Leech". The second comes with a bonus track, "Hole".

Leech (computing)

In computing and specifically Internet, a leech is one who benefits, usually deliberately, from others' information or effort but does not offer anything in return, or makes only token offerings in an attempt to avoid being called a leech. In economics, this type of behavior is called "free riding" and is associated with the free rider problem.

Depending on context, leeching does not necessarily refer to illegal use of computer resources, but often instead to greedy use according to etiquette: to wit, using too much of what is freely given without contributing a reasonable amount back to the community that provides it.

The name derives from the leech, an animal that sucks blood and then tries to leave unnoticed. Other terms are used, such as "freeloader" and "sponge", but leech is the most common.

Leech (disambiguation)

Leech is a common name for the annelids comprising the subclass Hirudinea.

Leech may also refer to:

  • Leeching (medical), a form of bloodletting in medieval and early-modern medicine which used leeches
  • Leech (computing), in computing, someone who uses others' information or effort but does not provide any in return
  • The aft edge of a sail, which is referred to as a leech in sailing
  • Leech (comics), a fictional character in the X-Men universe
  • Leech lattice, in mathematics, a lattice Λ in R, discovered by John Leech
  • Leech (Masters of the Universe), a character from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
  • Leeches, an alternative name for pythiosis in horses
  • The 12th episode of the first season of Smallville
  • The Leech, a 1956 film
  • Leeches!, a 2003 film
  • Leech Creek, a stream in Wisconsin

Leeches are segmented worms that belong to the phylum Annelida and comprise the subclassHirudinea. Like the oligochaetes, such as earthworms, leeches share a clitellum and are hermaphrodites. Nevertheless, they differ from the oligochaetes in significant ways. For example, leeches do not have bristles and the external segmentation of their bodies does not correspond with the internal segmentation of their organs. Their bodies are much more solid as the spaces in their coelom are dense with connective tissues. They also have two suckers, one at each end.

The majority of leeches live in freshwater environments, while some species can be found in terrestrial and marine environments, as well. The best-known leeches, such as the medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, are hematophagous, feeding on vertebrate blood and invertebrate hemolymph. Most leech species, however, are predatory, feeding primarily by swallowing other invertebrates. Almost 700 species of leeches are currently recognized, of which some 100 are marine, 90 terrestrial and the remainder freshwater taxa.

Leeches, such as the Hirudo medicinalis, have been historically used in medicine to remove blood from patients. The practice of leeching can be traced to ancient India and Greece, and continued well into the 18th and 19th centuries in both Europe and North America. In modern times, leeches are used medically in procedures such as the reattachment of body parts and reconstructive and plastic surgeries and, in Germany, treating osteoarthritis.

Usage examples of "leech".

Once marry, and you join the noble army of foot-pads, leeches, vultures, paupers, gone coons, and babblers about brats--and I disown you.

They had carried nosegays of flowers and drunk powdered emeralds and applied leeches to the buboes, but all of those were worse than useless, and Dr.

And his father knew the plants of the marshlands Bed Straw and Ox Eye, Seedbox and Frog Fruit, Strangleweed and Dropwort and he knew the creatures of the Gulf waters blue crabs, grass shrimp, hermits, coquinas, sea anemones and sea leeches.

I was but merely saying that when we reach the lodge wherein I am making my headquarters in this principality, you will be provided all your immediate needsservants to bathe you, the services of my barber, who also happens to be a fair to middling leech, cupper, and drawer of teeth, clothing and accouterments commensurate with your true rank and station, and, do you give me your parole, weapons.

Wing Commander Dobbie got an answer to the letter he had written to Corporal Leech in hospital.

And, boy, did they know from tack downhaul, kicking strap, mainsheet, clew outhaul, topping lift, boom, tack, reefing points, leech, spreader, foresail hanks, shrouds, inner forestay, stanchion, toe rail, and fin keel!

Were not the hand of the leech fitter than that of the soldier to cure wounds, though less able to inflict them?

The Prince, the Earl of Mackworth, and two or three others stood silently watching as the worthy shaver and leecher, assisted by his apprentice and Gascoyne, washed and bathed the great gaping wound in the side, and bound it with linen bandages.

Egypt was good to the dead, preserving them for the future to study by leeching all the moisture from even protected tissue.

About him were golden limes, ginger in syrup, litchi nuts, pickled leeches.

Thing you have to remember, Tib, even when that one was Mimped to the gills, it never talked about its jobs, yeah there was a leech or two who Mimped with that one, trying to pry its mofo out of it but no go.

An exception had been made for her, but Myst often wondered if she was the only one who noticed Emma flinch and tremble, her big blue eyes glinting with apprehension whenever the coven shrieked and railed about killing leeches.

I could obey, but I can see that title is neither appropriate nor adequate, for any quacksalver with a jar of leeches considers himself a doctor.

Though cutting hair was his trade, Tordes also pulled teeth, applied leeches, and was well known for his expertise with pharmaceuticals and medicines.

Then, before the leech could properly attach itself to the fellow, the Archimandrite pulled it back and let it hang from his half-outstretched arm, where it swung and twisted muscularly with what felt for all the world like genuine frustration.