Leaning is a type of posture achieved by sloping into and allowing one’s weight to be partially or fully supported by another person, object, or surface. Leaning is something one might do when tired, bored, or desiring a break from standing, as an expression of affection or a nonverbal request for attention from someone, or in the case of injury, particularly an injury that would interfere with one’s ability to stand on one’s own. Leaning can be dangerous if the object or person being leaned onto is not prepared, stable, or strong enough to support the person leaning onto it, and thus can result in falling.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa leans due to its early construction on soft and shifting soil; this ultimately destabilized the tower’s foundations. By the time the builders got to the construction of the third story in 1178, the structure began to lean.
To lean in is to embrace and to wholeheartedly experience and respond to something with perseverance and determination. It can also mean to take new opportunities with confidence and little hesitation.
A lean-to is an addition to an existing building, as its rafters lean against another wall. Free standing lean-to structures often times serve the purpose of shelters; they have only three walls and a single-pitched roof.