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Leach vs. Leech

Leach vs. leech are easily mixed up words. The spell-check application of most word processing programs won’t catch a mix-up of these two words. Spell-check looks for words that aren’t in its dictionary or words that resemble words in its dictionary but are potentially spelled wrong. But it isn’t perfect. Spell-check doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you intended to use or what word you meant, it can only judge by the words on the page. If you spelled all of the words correctly, it gives you a pass anyway. Additionally, autocorrect on mobile phones may suggest one word instead of the other and it would be easy to do since both of these words start with “l-e.”

The different definitions of leach vs. leech

Leach is a verb meaning to remove a substance by filtering it through water or other liquids. It also describes chemicals releasing decomposing trash into surrounding dirt and water supplies or chemicals in metal or plastic containers changing the items stored in those containers. There has been concern that BPA from canned or stored food has leached into food and drinking water products in recent times.

Leech is a noun meaning a dark-colored flatworm that feeds by sucking blood from the skin of another creature. Leeches live in swampy areas and salted waters.

It can also describe someone stealing money or taking credit that they didn’t earn or deserve.

Examples of Use:

The following sentence uses both words correctly:

Peter, an avid outdoorsman, was far more apprehensive about toxins leaching into his prepared food than facing leeches while he fished.

We have an entire section dedicated to similar sounding words with a variety of articles on homophones!

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By Connie Fisher

Connie Fisher is a freelance writer and editor specializing in business writing and marketing. She holds a bachelor's degree in media and journalism and has contributed to a slew of printed and online media, including Contra Costa Times, Daily American, the The Tri-Town News,, and many more.

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