He thought, too, of the lean face and the peculiar, set eye of Dozier.

And now it comes back to me about the other one, the lean Andrew, his brother.

And he chuckled and rubbed his lean hands together as I had so often seen him do.

The tall son of Hanover was lean of flesh, but gross in muscle.

I am lean and bony and I've got a beak where I should have a nose.

And now they're trying to lean it up a—there's some more puffs of smoke—it's guns!

He knew the power in her lean, muscular arms, the strength in her narrow shoulders.

He looked at them critically and replied: "Certainly they are lean."

His mental perturbation was due to the lean look of his bank balance.

Take six pounds of the lean of fresh beef, cut from the bone.


c.1200, from Old English hleonian "to bend, recline, lie down, rest," from Proto-Germanic *khlinen (cf. Old Saxon hlinon, Old Frisian lena, Middle Dutch lenen, Dutch leunen, Old High German hlinen, German lehnen "to lean"), from PIE root *klei- "to lean, to incline" (cf. Sanskrit srayati "leans," sritah "leaning;" Old Persian cay "to lean;" Lithuanian slyti "to slope," slieti "to lean;" Latin clinare "to lean, bend," clivus "declivity," inclinare "cause to bend," declinare "bend down, turn aside;" Greek klinein "to cause to slope, slant, incline;" Old Irish cloin "crooked, wrong;" Middle Irish cle, Welsh cledd "left," literally "slanting;" Welsh go-gledd "north," literally "left" -- for similar sense evolution, see Yemen, Benjamin, southpaw).

Meaning "to incline the body against something for support" is mid-13c. Figurative sense of "to trust for support" is from early 13c. Sense of "to lean toward mentally, to favor" is from late 14c. Related: Leaned; leaning. Colloquial lean on "put pressure on" (someone) is first recorded 1960.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.