Leased vs least

Leased and least are two commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words leased and least, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Leased is the past tense of lease, which means to grant the use of property, goods, or services for a specific amount of time. The lessor or person who grants the lease retains ownership of the property, goods, or services but rents or lets the use of those things to the lessee for a specific period of time. The word leased is derived from the Old French word laissier, which means to let out. Related words are lease, leases, leasing.

Least is an adjective that describes something that is the smallest, the most unimportant, the lowest position or degree. Least is the antonym of most. The word least is derived from the Old English word læsest, which means the lowest in importance.

Examples

Kuterra Salmon, started by the ‘Namgis First Nation in 2013 to demonstrate that on-land fish farming was possible, has been leased to American investor Emergent Holdings for 15 years. (The North Island Gazette)

In pending litigation, heirs of the Carson families are claiming the county was leased the land and does not have full ownership. (The North Virginia Daily)

A longstanding feud over a wind-power project has boiled over into grisly violence, after at least 15 people were bludgeoned to death with stones and cement blocks, and some bodies were partly burned. (AP)

At least 106 people were shot in Chicago, 14 of them fatally, from midafternoon Friday through early Monday, according to authorities and Tribune data. (The Chicago Tribune)