Jump vs. leap



What's the difference between to jump and to leap?



To jump and to leap are very much the same and are often synonymous. The Collins COBUILD English Dictionary (HarperCollins, 1995) describes jump as being somewhat more frequent in usage than leap.

It describes jump this way: "If you jump, you bend your knees, push against the ground with your feet, and move quickly upwards into the air."

And it describes leap this way: "If you leap, you jump high in the air or jump a long distance."

These images come to mind with the verb jump:

  • little children jumping
  • athletes jumping high into the air
  • athletes jumping over a long stretch of ground
  • a person jumping out of a window
  • a parachutist jumping out of a plane

These images come to mind with the verb leap:

  • deer leaping
  • ballet dancers leaping

Some idioms with jump:

jump on the bandwagon
(join everybody else in support of a person or cause, not necessarily sincerely)
jump for joy
(be joyous, not necessarily jumping literally)
jump the gun
(start something before the expected time)
jump out of one's skin
(to be very surprised or shocked)

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