Old English lettan to hinder, from lætlate; related to Old Norse letja
let for learners of EnglishPowered by COBUILD (let)
language note: The form let is used in the present tense and is the past tense and past participle.
If you let something happen, you allow it to happen without doing anything to stop or prevent it. [V n inf] ⇒ People said we were interfering with nature, and that we should just let the animals die. [V n inf] ⇒ Thorne let him talk. [V n inf] ⇒ She let the door slam. [V pron-refl inf] ⇒ I can't let myself be distracted by those things.
If you let someone do something, you give them your permission to do it. [V n inf] ⇒ I love sweets but Mum doesn't let me have them very often. [V n inf] ⇒ The Americans won't let her leave the country. [V n prep/adv] ⇒ Visa or no visa, they won't let you into the country.
If you let someone into, out of, or through a place, you allow them to enter, leave, or go through it, for example by opening a door or making room for them. [V n prep/adv] ⇒ I had to get up at seven o'clock this morning to let them into the building because they had lost their keys. [V n prep/adv] ⇒ I let myself into the flat. [V n prep/adv] ⇒ I'd better go and let the dog out. [V n prep/adv] ⇒ The guards were removing a section of fencing to let it through.
You use let me when you are introducing something you want to say. [Vme inf] ⇒ Let me say it again. I despised Wade's life. [Vme inf] ⇒ Let me tell you what I saw last night. [Vme inf] ⇒ Let me explain why. [Vme inf] ⇒ Let me give you one quick example.
You use let me when you are offering politely to do something. [politeness] [Vme inf] ⇒ Let me take your coat. [Vme inf] ⇒ Let me get you something to drink.
You say let's or, in more formal English, let us, to direct the attention of the people you are talking to towards the subject that you want to consider next. [Vus inf] ⇒ Let's consider ways of making it easier. [Vus inf] ⇒ Let us look at these views in more detail.
You say let's or, in formal English, let us, when you are making a suggestion that involves both you and the person you are talking to, or when you are agreeing to a suggestion of this kind. [Vus inf] ⇒ I'm bored. Let's go home. [V's] ⇒ 'Shall we go in and have some supper?'—'Yes, let's.'
Someone in authority, such as a teacher, can use let's or, in more formal English, let us, in order to give a politeinstruction to another person or group of people. [politeness] [Vus inf] ⇒ Let's have some hush, please. [Vus inf] ⇒ 'Let us pray,' said the Methodist chaplain.
People often use let in expressions such as let me see or let me think when they are hesitating or thinking of what to say next. [vagueness] [V pron inf] ⇒ Now, let's see. Where did I leave my bag? [V pron inf] ⇒ 'How long you been living together then?'—'Erm, let me think. It's about four years now.'
You can use let to say that you do not care if someone does something, although you think it is unpleasant or wrong. [V n inf] ⇒ If he wants to do that, let him do it. [V n inf] ⇒ Let them talk about me; I'll be dead, anyway. [V n inf] ⇒ 'She'll kill you.'—'Let her try.'
You can use let when you are saying what you think someone should do, usually when they are behaving in a way that you think is unreasonable or wrong. [V n inf] ⇒ Let him get his own cup of tea. [V n inf] ⇒ If they value these data, let them pay for them.
You can use let when you are praying or hoping very much that something will happen. [V n inf] ⇒ Please God, let him telephone me.
You can use let to introduce an assumption on which you are going to base a theory, calculation, or story. [V n inf] ⇒ Let x equal 5 and y equal 3. [V n inf] ⇒ The new man in my life (let's call him Dave) had a very jealous ex-girlfriend.
If you let your house or land to someone, you allow them to use it in exchange for money that they pay you regularly. [mainly British] [V n + to] ⇒ She is thinking of letting her house to an American serviceman. [V n] ⇒ The reasons for letting a house, or part of one, are varied.
Let out means the same as let.rent out [V n P] ⇒ I couldn't sell the London flat, so I let it out to pay the mortgage. [VP n] ⇒ Home owners who have extra space available may want to let out a room.regional note: in AM, use rent
I let out my breath: I'd been unaware I'd been holding it in.Hugo Wilcken THE EXECUTIONI suppose there'd be some women there who'd let Boris put the hard word on'em.Jon Cleary YESTERDAY'S SHADOWJesus, I bet they don't let you take around the plate -'Bruce, I've turned over a new leaf.Jon Cleary YESTERDAY'S SHADOWSteere rested his hands beside him, relaxed his body, and let his thoughts run free.Lisa Scottoline ROUGH JUSTICE