/lev"euhn/, n.
1. a substance, as yeast or baking powder, that causes fermentation and expansion of dough or batter.
2. fermented dough reserved for producing fermentation in a new batch of dough.
3. an element that produces an altering or transforming influence.
4. to add leaven to (dough or batter) and cause to rise.
5. to permeate with an altering or transforming element.
[1300-50; ME levain < AF, OF levain < VL *levamen, equiv. to L leva(re) to raise + -men deverbal n. suffix (prob. not continuous with L levamen means of alleviating, solace)]

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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

  • leaven — 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 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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