“I’ve come to bring Harry to his aunt and uncle. They’re the only family he has left now.”

-- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling.

OALD says leave somebody is to have family remaining after your death (OALD, leave #10). But the case’s subject is not Harry’s parents but Harry. Can Harry, who lived, be the subject of ‘leave’?

1 Answer 1


That's not the meaning of left in this sentence, though I can understand your confusion. Left here is not a form of leave; rather it is equivalent to remaining (all that is left). That would be definition #7 from your link:

leave 7. be left [transitive] to remain to be used, sold, etc

Is there any coffee left?

How many tickets do you have left?

So in this case, they're discussing Harry's family. Some people might have a lot of living family members, but Harry does not. He used to have parents, but he doesn't any longer. So if you take the family he was born with and subtract the family members who died, you're left with the family he has left or the family (members) that are remaning: the Dursleys.

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