Leaven definition

lĕvən
An agent, such as yeast, that causes batter or dough to rise, especially by fermentation.
noun
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An element, influence, or agent that works subtly to lighten, enliven, or modify a whole.
noun
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To add a rising agent to.
verb
2
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To cause to rise, especially by fermentation.
verb
2
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To pervade with a lightening, enlivening, or modifying influence.
verb
2
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To make (batter or dough) rise before or during baking by means of a leavening agent.
verb
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To spread through, causing a gradual change.
verb
1
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noun
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A small piece of fermenting dough put aside to be used for producing fermentation in a fresh batch of dough.
noun
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Any agent used to make dough rise or to have a similar effect on baked goods.
noun
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(figuratively) Anything that makes a general assimilating (especially a corrupting) change in the mass.
noun
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To add a leavening agent.
verb
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To cause to rise by fermentation.
verb
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(figuratively) To temper an action or decision.
verb
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To imbue; to infect; to vitiate.
verb
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
leaven
Plural:
leavens

Origin of leaven

  • Middle English from Old French levain from Vulgar Latin levāmen from Latin levāre to raise legwh- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Middle English levain, from Old French, from Late Latin levamen, instead of levamentum, ultimately from Latin levō (“I raise").

    From Wiktionary