1 /let/ verb past tense and past participle letpresent participle letting
1 ALLOW (transitive not in passive)
a) to allow someone to do something: I wanted to go out but my Dad wouldn't let me. | let sb do sth: She won't let her children play by the river. | Don't let your boss hear you say that. | let sb have sth (=give something to someone): I can let you have a copy of the report.
b) to allow something to happen: let sth do sth: Max let the door swing open. | She didn't let her anger show. | It'll drive you crazy if you let it.
-see can 1
2 let go to stop holding something: Let go! You're hurting me. | let go of: She wouldn't let go of the rope.
3 let sb go
a) to allow a person or animal to leave a place where they have been kept: They said they wouldn't let her go until her family paid the ransom.
b) a phrase meaning to dismiss someone from their job, used to avoid saying this directly: I'm afraid we're going to have to let you go.
4 let yourself go
a) to allow yourself to relax completely in a social situation, and not worry about what other people think
b) to take less care of your appearance than usual: She's really let herself go since her husband died.
5 let sth go for -2/$150 etc informal to sell something for a low price
6 let sb know to tell someone something: I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know as soon as possible. | let sb know if/whether: Let us know if you need any more information.
7 let alone used to say that because one thing does not happen or is not true etc, another thing cannot possibly happen or be true: The baby can't even crawl yet, let alone walk!
8 WISH literary used to express a wish that something will happen or will not happen: (not) let sb/sth do sth: Don't let him be the one who died, she prayed. | let there be: Let there be roses and sparkling champagne.
9 let yourself be bullied/imposed on etc to allow other people to treat you badly: Don't let yourself be pushed around.
10 never let a day/week go by without ... to do something every day or every week: I never let a day go by without phoning my mother.
11 ROOM/BUILDING (T) to allow someone to use a room or building in return for money every week or month; lease 2 (1): Interhome has over 20,000 houses to let across Europe. | let sth to sb: I've let my spare room to a Japanese student. | To Let BrE
/For Let AmE (=words on a sign outside a building to show that it is empty and can be rented) -compare hire 1 (1), rent 1 (3)
12 IMAGINE formal
a) let us suppose/say/imagine used to ask a reader or listener to imagine that something is true, as a way of helping them understand what you are talking about: Let us suppose that interest rates go up again. What effect will this have on the property market?
b) let sth be/equal/represent used in mathematics or science to mean that one thing can be imagined as representing another: Let angle A be 45º.
13 let sb alone also let sb be to stop annoying someone, or asking them things: Your mother's tired - let her alone!
14 let sth drop/rest to stop discussing something or trying to deal with something that has been annoying you or worrying you: He's apologized, so I think you should let it drop now.
15 let sth go/pass to decide not to react to something bad or annoying that someone has done or said: I know you didn't mean to offend her, so we'll let it pass this time..
16 let sth ride
a) if you let a situation ride, you let it continue for a time before deciding whether to take any action
b) if you let a remark that has annoyed you ride, you do not say anything about it
17 let drop/fall to say a piece of information as though by accident, although really you want someone to know about it: She decided that she would casually let drop the news about having the baby.
18 let slip to accidentally say a piece of information that you did not want someone to know
19 let yourself in for informal to do something that will cause you a lot of trouble: I don't think Carol realizes what she's letting herself in for.
20 let sb have it informal
a) to shout at someone because you are angry with them: Mrs Bates really let him have it for leaving the classroom early.
b) to hit or shoot someone
-see also: let fly fly 1 (20), let your hair down hair (5), let it all hang out hang 1, live and let live live 1 (28), let sth rip rip 1 (5)
21 let's used to suggest to someone that you and they should do something together: Come on, let's dance! | Right, let's get these plates washed. | Let's move on to the report itself: any comments? | let's not: Let's not talk about work now. | don't let's BrE: Don't let's quarrel.
-see propose
22 let's see
a) used to say that you are going to try to do something: let's see if/whether: Let's see if I can get the car to start.
b) used when pausing to remember something or find a piece of information: Now, let's see ... here it is: "Video recorder, good condition, -75". | Let's see, oh, I wanted to ask what you are doing next Wednesday.
c) used to ask someone to show you something: "Come on, let's see." "No, it's a secret!" | Let's see your new dress. | Right, let's see what you can do with that guitar!
23 let me see/think used when pausing to think of some information or think what to do next: You sent it to, um, let me see, ... Mike Toghill.
24 let me do sth
a) used to politely offer to do something for someone: Here, let me help you with those bags.
b) used to tell someone what you are going to do next: Let me just take your blood pressure. | Let me finish this typing then I'll make us some coffee.
25 let's say used to ask someone to imagine something in order to discuss it or understand it better: OK, you buy an object - let's say a bicycle - for $100. How much interest would you have to pay? | let's say (that): Let's say you did fail your exams, you could retake them, couldn't you?
26 let's just say used to say that you are not going to tell someone all the details about something: "So who did it?" "Let's just say it wasn't anyone in this family."
27 let him/them etc
a) used to say that you do not care whether someone does something or not: Let her tell everyone, then - I don't care. | Well, if he wants to go and kill himself, let him!
b) used to say that someone else should do something instead of you: Let them clear up the mess, it's their fault.
28 let's hope used to say that you hope something will happen, so that there will not be problems: Let's just hope he got your letter in time.
29 let's face it/let's be honest used to say that you must accept an unpleasant fact: Let's face it, Ben, no one's going to lend us any more money.
30 let well (enough) alone to not try to change a situation, because you may make it worse: He's happier now - I'd let well enough alone if I were you.
31 let me tell you! used to emphasize that a feeling you had was very strong: I was pretty surprised, let me tell you!
32 I'll/we'll let it go at that used to tell someone that you will not punish or criticize them any more for something bad they have done: Well you've missed your favorite program so we'll let it go at that.
let sb/sth down phrasal verb (T)
1 to make someone feel disappointed because you have not behaved well or not done what you said you would do: I'm counting on you to support me - don't let me down! | let sb down badly: She felt badly let down by her friends.
a) to give something to someone who is in a lower place than you are: Let down a rope so that I can climb up.
b) to move something that is on a string, rope etc downwards: Let the basket down gently.
3 let your hair down informal to relax and enjoy yourself, especially after working hard: The Christmas party gives everyone a chance to let their hair down.
4 BrE to allow the air to escape from something so that it loses its shape and firmness: Someone's let my tyres down!
5 let the side down BrE informal to cause embarrassment or disappointment to your friends, family, team etc, for example by not behaving as they expect you to behave
6 let sb down lightly to give someone bad news in a way that will not upset them too much
7 to make a piece of clothing longer: I'm going to let down this old dress for my daughter.
let sb/sth in phrasal verb (T)
1 to open the door of a room, building etc so that someone can come in: I unlocked the door and let him in. | My mother let herself in.
2 to allow light, water, air etc to enter a place: The windows don't let in much light.
3 let sb in on to tell someone about a secret plan, idea etc, and trust them not to tell other people
let sb/sth into sth phrasal verb (T)
1 to allow someone to come into a room or building: Who let you into my office?
2 let sb into a secret to tell someone something secret or private
3 be let into technical if something such as a window or a decoration is let into a wall, brick etc, it is placed so that it is level with the surface it is in
let sb/sth off phrasal verb (T)
1 to not make someone do a piece of work which they should be doing: Since you practised the piano yesterday, I'll let you off today. | let sb off sth: She let her son off his chores.
2 to not punish someone: I'll let you off this time, but don't do it again. | let sb off with sth: The judge let two of the three prisoners off with only a reprimand. | let sb off lightly (=give someone a less serious punishment than they deserve)
a) to fire a gun
b) to make a bomb or firework explode
-see also: let sb off the hook hook 1 (4), let off steam steam 1 (4) let on phrasal verb (I, T) informal to tell someone something that was meant to be a secret: I think he knows more about it than he's letting on. | let on (that): Don't let on that I told you. | let on who/why/how etc: You mustn't let on who gave it to us. let out phrasal verb
1 (transitive let someone out) to allow someone to leave a room, building etc: Let the dog out, will you? | He was in a high-security jail and would probably never be let out. | let sb out of sth: Quietly, I let myself out of her apartment.
2 (transitive let something out) to allow light, water, air etc to leave a place: Close the door, you're letting all the heat out.
3 let out a scream/cry/roar etc to make a sound, especially a loud sound: She let out a sudden scream.
4 (transitive let something out) to make a piece of clothing wider or looser, especially because the person it belongs to has become fatter
5 (transitive let something out) especially BrE to allow someone to use a room, building etc in exchange for money
-see hire 1
6 (I) AmE if a school, film etc lets out, it ends, so that the people attending it can leave: What time does the play let out?
-see also: let the cat out of the bag cat (2) let up phrasal verb (I)
1 if something, such as bad weather or an unpleasant situation, lets up, it stops or becomes less serious: When do you think this rain will let up?
2 not let up if someone does something without letting up, they do it continuously, especially in an annoying way: I wish you'd stop nagging! You just never let up, do you?
2 noun
1 (C) BrE
a) a period during which a house or flat is rented to someone; rent 1 (1): a long let
b) a house or flat that can be rented
2 without let or hindrance law happening freely without being prevented in any way

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.


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