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leaven

leav·en / ˈlevən/ • n. a substance, typically yeast, that is added to dough to make it ferment and rise. ∎  dough that is reserved from an earlier batch in order to start a later one fermenting. ∎ fig. a pervasive influence that modifies something or transforms it for the better: they acted as an intellectual leaven to the warriors who dominated the city. • v. [tr.] 1. [usu. as adj.] (leavened) cause (dough or bread) to ferment and rise by adding leaven: leavened breads are forbidden during Passover. 2. permeate and modify or transform (something) for the better: the proceedings should be leavened by humor [as n.] (leavening) companies of militia volunteers with a leavening of regular soldiers.

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Leaven

Leaven (Heb., ḥamez). Raising agent forbidden to Jews during the season of Passover—hence this is sometimes called the festival of unleavened bread. Leaven must necessarily come from the preceding year's harvest, but the festival looks forward, in absolute trust in God, to the new year. The search for leaven (bedikat ḥamez) is based on the injunction in Exodus 12. 15 ff., to ‘eliminate leaven from your houses’.

In the New Testament, leaven is a likeness of the potential for growth in the kingdom (Matthew 13. 33); but equally it is an illustration of the speed with which evil and corruption spread (1 Corinthians 5. 8; Luke 12. 1). Leavened vs. unleavened bread for the eucharist became a matter of dispute between the E. and the W. Churches: see AZYMITES.

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leaven

leaven (lĕv´ən), agent used to raise bread or other flour foods. Physical leavens include water vapor, which is released as steam at high temperatures (as in popovers), and air, which is incorporated by beating. Chemical leaven (baking powder and baking soda) and biological leavens (yeasts and certain bacteria) raise the mixture by the formation of carbon dioxide gas, which is expanded by heat. Some of the earliest leavens were barm, a yeast of fermenting malt liquor, and sourdough, a portion saved from a mass of dough as a starter for the next batch.

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leaven

leaven in figurative use, a pervasive influence that modifies something or transforms it for the better, as in Matthew 13:33. Although the term is now used to denote a force for good, it was originally used also to warn against bad influences, as in Matthew 16:6.
of the same leaven of the same sort or character.

See also old leaven.

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leaven

leaven substance added to dough to produce fermentation. XIV. ME. levain — (O)F. :- Gallo—Rom. use of L. levāmen lit. ‘means of raising’, only in sense ‘alleviation, relief’, f. levāre lighten, relieve, raise (cf. LEVITY).
Hence vb. XV.

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leaven

leaven Yeast, or a piece of dough kept to ferment the next batch.

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leaven

leaven •Melanchthon •lengthen, strengthen •Nathan •Elizabethan, Ethan •Phaethon • python • leviathan •Jonathan • marathon • earthen •Carmarthen • leathern • heathen •northern • southern • burthen •Avon, Cavan, cavern, raven, tavern •Caernarfon, Dungarvan, Javan •Wilhelmshaven • Tórshavn •Bevan, Devon, eleven, Evan, heaven, leaven, Pleven, seven, Severn •Hesvan •craven, graven, haven, maven, shaven, Stratford-upon-Avon •even, Sivan, Steven •driven, forgiven, given, misgiven, Niven, riven, shriven, thriven •silvern, sylvan •Godgiven • Sullivan •enliven, Ivan, liven •cloven, interwoven, woven •Beethoven • Eindhoven • proven •coven, govern, misgovern, oven, sloven •cordovan • Donovan • Quechuan •Bronwen • Iowan

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