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1. Literally, a clover with four leaves instead of the usual three, traditionally thought to be a good-luck charm due to its rarity. You found a four-leaf clover and you saw a shooting star? Wow, you must be really lucky today!
2. By extension, any person or thing that is considered a bringer of good fortune. The new kicker has been something of a four-leaf clover for the team, as they've won every game since he signed with them.
See also: clover
quake like a leaf
To tremble violently with fear or nervousness. My brother is so strong and scary-looking that he leaves people quaking like a leaf when he threatens them. I was quaking like a leaf when I went up to deliver my speech.
take a leaf from (someone's) book
To do something in the way someone else would do it; to behave or act like someone else. I think I'm going to take a leaf from your book and start going for a run first thing in the morning. Our youngest son was always very placid as a baby, but now that he's getting older, he's begun taking a leaf from our older boy's book.
Something used to hide an embarrassing or shameful problem. In the Bible, Adam and Eve used fig leaves to conceal their genitals after they became ashamed of their nakedness. Gary used humor as a fig leaf to conceal the fact that he was struggling with depression.
Covered in leaves. In the summer, I love seeing all the beautiful trees in leaf.
See also: leaf
shake like an aspen leaf
To tremble. Aspen leaves have long, flat stalks that are easily blown by the wind. I may seem confident when I'm leading a training seminar, but I'm really shaking like an aspen leaf most of the time. It's so cold in here that the poor girl is shaking like an aspen leaf.
shake like a leaf
To tremble violently with fear or nervousness. My brother is so strong and scary looking that he leaves people shaking like a leaf when he threatens them. I was shaking like a leaf when I went up to deliver my speech in front of all those people.
take a leaf out of (one's) book
To do something in the way someone else would do it; to behave or act like someone else. I think I'm going to take a leaf out of your book and start going for a run first thing in the morning.
[for a plant] to open its leaf buds. Most of the bushes leaf out in mid-April. The trees leafed out early this year.
take a leaf out of someone's bookand take a page from someone's book
Fig. to behave or to do something in a way that someone else would. When you act like that, you're taking a leaf out of your sister's book, and I don't like it! You had better do it your way. Don't take a leaf out of my book. I don't do it well.
thumb through somethingand leaf through something
to look through a book, magazine, or newspaper, without reading it carefully. I've only thumbed through this book, but it looks very interesting. I leafed through a magazine while waiting to see the doctor.
turn over a new leaf
Fig. to begin again, fresh; to reform and begin again. (Fig. on turning to a fresh page. The leaf is a page—a fresh, clean page.) I have made a mess of my life. I'll turn over a new leaf and hope to do better. Why don't you turn over a new leaf and surprise everyone with your good characteristics?
Turn pages, as in browsing or searching for something. For example, There she sat, leafing through the various catalogs. This expression employs leaf in the sense of "turn over the leaves of a book," a usage dating from the mid-1600s.
quake in one's boots
Also, shake in one's boots; quake or shake like a leaf . Tremble with fear, as in The very thought of a hurricane blowing in makes me quake in my boots. Both quake and shake here mean "tremble." These idioms were preceded by the alliterative phrase shake in one's shoes in the late 1800s. The idioms with leaf allude to trembling leaves, as in He was shaking like a leaf when the exams were handed back. A similar expression was used by Chaucer, who put it as quake like an aspen leaf, a particularly apt comparison since aspen leaves have flattened stems that cause the leaves to quiver in the gentlest breeze.
take a leaf out of someone's book
Imitate or follow someone's example, as in Harriet took a leaf out of her mother's book and began to keep track of how much money she was spending on food . This idiom alludes to tearing a page from a book. [c. 1800]
turn over a new leaf
Make a fresh start, change one's conduct or attitude for the better, as in He promised the teacher he would turn over a new leaf and behave himself in class. This expression alludes to turning the page of a book to a new page. [Early 1500s]
a fig leaf
Something which is intended to hide an embarrassing or awkward situation can be called a fig leaf. The Code of Practice must be enforced, or else it is just a meaningless fig leaf. He said that retaining Stewart in a creative role was a `generous fig leaf that the company gave her'. Note: According to the Bible, when Adam and Eve ate the apple in the Garden of Eden, they realized that they were naked and felt ashamed, so they covered their genitals with fig leaves. (Genesis 3:7)
be shaking like a leaf
COMMON If someone is shaking like a leaf, their body is shaking a lot, usually because they are very frightened. Note: The `leaf' in the last two expressions is a page of a book. I didn't think about the danger at the time. Afterwards I was shaking like a leaf.
take a leaf out of someone's bookor
take a leaf from someone's book
COMMON If you take a leaf out of someone's book or take a leaf from their book, you copy them, usually because they were successful when they acted in that way. Note: The `leaf' in the last two expressions is a page of a book. Hollywood celebs should take a leaf out of Michael Douglas's book and make sure their websites are interesting and attractive. You're working too hard. Take a leaf from my book and relax!
turn over a new leaf
COMMON If someone has turned over a new leaf, they have started to behave in a better way than before. Note: The `leaf' in the last two expressions is a page of a book. While Eddie has turned over a new leaf, his brother can still be spotted in the bars along Sunset Strip. Both men have agreed to turn over a new leaf in their relations with each other. Compare with turn the page.
shake (or tremble) like a leaftremble greatly, especially from fear.
take a leaf out of someone's bookclosely imitate or emulate someone in a particular way.
1999 London Student Maybe the other colleges should take a leaf out of Imperial's book and try pub games instead of sports.
turn over a new leafimprove your conduct or performance.
The leaf referred to here is a page of a book. The phrase has been used in this metaphorical sense since the 16th century, and while it now always means ‘change for the better’, it could previously also mean just ‘change’ or even ‘change for the worse’.
take a leaf out of somebody’s ˈbookfollow somebody’s example because you admire them and their way of doing something: If you’re having difficulty with the children, take a leaf out of Sandra’s book. She knows how to control them.
Leaf is an old word for a page.
turn over a new ˈleafchange your way of behaving and start a better life: This is a new project to help ex-prisoners turn over a new leaf.
shake like a ˈjelly/ˈleaf(informal) shake with fear; be very afraid or nervous: Before I went into the exam room I was shaking like a leaf.
To go through some reading material quickly or superficially, turning from page to page, as in searching or browsing: On Sunday mornings, I leaf through the newspaper while eating breakfast.
To go through some reading material quickly or superficially, turning from page to page with or as if with the thumb: I thumbed through the directory for my dentist's phone number.
n. cocaine. (Sometimes with the. Cocaine is extracted from the leaves of the coca plant.) The entire shipment of leaf was seized by the feds.
take a leaf from (someone)
To use (someone) as an example.
take a leaf from/out of (someone's) book
To use (someone) as an example.