I. noun Etymology: Middle English levain, from Anglo-French levein, from Vulgar Latin *levamen, from Latin levare to raise — more at lever Date: 14th century 1. a. a substance (as yeast) used to produce fermentation in dough or a liquid; especially sourdough b. a material (as baking powder) used to produce a gas that lightens dough or batter 2. something that modifies or lightens II. transitive verb (leavened; leavening) Date: 15th century 1. to raise (as bread) with a leaven 2. to mingle or permeate with some modifying, alleviating, or vivifying element; especially lighten <
a sermon leavened with humor
Synonyms: see infuse

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

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  • Leaven — Leav en, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Leavened}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Leavening}.] 1. To make light by the action of leaven; to cause to ferment. [1913 Webster] A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. 1 Cor. v. 6. [1913 Webster] 2. To imbue; to infect; to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • leaven — ► NOUN 1) a substance, typically yeast, added to dough to make it ferment and rise. 2) an influence or quality that modifies or improves something: John s humour was the leaven of his charm. ► VERB 1) (usu. as adj. leavened) cause (dough or… …   English terms dictionary

  • Leaven — Leav en, n. [OE. levain, levein, F. levain, L. levamen alleviation, mitigation; but taken in the sense of, a raising, that which raises, fr. levare to raise. See {Lever}, n.] 1. Any substance that produces, or is designed to produce, fermentation …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • leaven — index determinant, imbue, penetrate, permeate Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • leaven — *infuse, imbue, inoculate, ingrain, suffuse Analogous words: temper, qualify, *moderate: *inform, animate, inspire: pervade, *permeate, impregnate, saturate: vivify, enliven, *quicken …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • leaven — [lev′ən] n. [ME levein < OFr levain < VL * levamen (in L, alleviation) < L levare, to make light, relieve, raise: see LEVER] 1. a) a small piece of fermenting dough put aside to be used for producing fermentation in a fresh batch of… …   English World dictionary

  • leaven — {{11}}leaven (n.) mid 14c., from O.Fr. levain leaven, sourdough (12c.), from L. levamen alleviation, mitigation, but used in V.L. in its literal sense of a means of lifting, something that raises, from levare to raise (see LEVER (Cf. lever)).… …   Etymology dictionary

  • leaven — Yeast, added to dough. In the Bible leaven had two incompatible significances: as fermented dough left over unbaked from a previous batch it was added to cause further fermentation. It could therefore be regarded either as a living substance… …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • leaven — I UK [ˈlev(ə)n] / US verb [transitive] Word forms leaven : present tense I/you/we/they leaven he/she/it leavens present participle leavening past tense leavened past participle leavened 1) literary to add something that makes a situation, story,… …   English dictionary

  • leaven — n. & v. n. 1 a substance added to dough to make it ferment and rise, esp. yeast, or fermenting dough reserved for the purpose. 2 a a pervasive transforming influence (cf. Matt. 13:33). b (foll. by of) a tinge or admixture of a specified quality.… …   Useful english dictionary

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