- The definition of a lead is the person in charge or the person or thing in the first place.
- An example of lead is an actor with the starring role in a play.
- An example of lead is the first float in a parade.
- Lead is defined as a heavy, soft, flexible metal.
- An example of lead is the strips used to hold in the panes of a decorative window.
- An example of lead is the base of paints used in homes built before 1978.
- Lead means showing someone or something the way or how to do something.
- An example of lead is being the first car in a convoy.
- An example of lead is a partner guiding another through a dance.
The lead actress on stage.
transitive verbled, leading
- to show the way to, or direct the course of, by going before or along with; conduct; guide
- to show (the way) in this manner
- to mark the way for: lights to lead you there
- to guide, or cause to follow one, by physical contact, holding the hand, pulling a rope, etc.: to lead a horse by the bridle
- to conduct (water, steam, rope, etc.) in a certain direction, channel, or the like
- to guide or direct, as by persuasion or influence, to a course of action or thought: to lead pupils to think clearly
- to cause; prompt: trouble that led him to drink
- to be the head of; specif.,
- to proceed at the front of (a parade, etc.)
- to act as chief officer of; command the operations of (a military unit)
- to direct operations of (an expedition, etc.)
- to direct, conduct, or serve as the leader or conductor of (an orchestra, ballet, etc.)
- to be the first or foremost among; be at the head of: to lead one's class in grades
- to be ahead of by a specified margin
- to live; spend; pass: to lead a hard life
- to cause to live or spend: to lead someone a dog's life
- to aim a rifle, throw a ball, etc. just ahead of (a moving target or receiver)
- Card Games to begin the play with (a specified card or suit); lay down as the first card or suit of a hand or round
Origin of leadMiddle English leden ; from Old English lædan, causative of lithan, to travel, go, akin to German leiten: for Indo-European base see load
- to show the way by going before or along; act as guide
- to be led; submit to being led: said esp. of a horse
- to be or form a way (to, from, under, etc.); tend in a certain direction; go
- to come, or bring one, as a result: with to: one thing led to another, a cold can lead to pneumonia
- to be or go first; act as leader
- ☆ Boxing to aim a first blow or one designed to test an opponent's defense: to lead with a right jab
- Card Games to play the first card of a hand or round
- the part of director or leader; leadership: to take the lead in a project
- example: follow my lead
- first or front place; precedence: the horse in the lead
- the amount or distance that one is ahead: to hold a safe lead
- leash (sense )
- anything that leads or serves as a clue
- information that directs a salesperson to a potential customer, a source of new business, etc.
- a long, narrow, navigable passage in an ice pack or ice field
- the most important news story, as in a newspaper or telecast
- the opening words or paragraph of a news story, containing all the essential facts of the story
- ☆ Baseball a position taken by a base runner a short distance from his or her base in the direction of the next
- ☆ Boxing the act of leading, or the blow used
- Card Games the act or right of playing first, as in a hand, or the card or suit played
- Elec. a wire carrying current between two points in a circuit, between devices, etc.
- ☆ Mining a stratum of ore; lode, ledge, or vein
- Music the leading part or main melody in a harmonic composition
- Naut. the course of a rope
- the principal role, or a main role, in a play or other production
- the actor or actress who plays such a role
- to begin; start
- ☆ Baseball to be the first batter in the lineup or of an inning (sense )
- to conduct further
- to lure or tempt
lead someone a merry chase
lead up to
- to prepare the way for
- to approach (a subject) in a subtle or indirect way
lead with one's chin
- a heavy, soft, malleable, bluish-gray metallic chemical element used in batteries and in numerous alloys and compounds: symbol, Pb; at. no., 82
- anything made of this metal; specif.,
- a weight for measuring depth of water at sea, in a harbor, etc.: it is attached to a line and tossed over the side of a ship
- any of the strips of lead used to hold the individual panes in ornamental windows: usually used in pl.
- Brit. sheets of lead used for covering a roof
- Printing a thin strip of type metal inserted to increase the space between lines of type
- a thin stick of graphite, used in pencils
Origin of leadMiddle English lede ; from Old English lead, akin to Dutch lood, German lot, plummet, probably ; from Celtic (as in Middle Irish luaide, lead) ; from Indo-European an unverified form ploud-, an unverified form pleud- ; from an unverified form pleu-, to flow ; from base an unverified form pel-, to flow, pour from source Classical Latin pluere, to rain, Old Irish lu-, to move
- to cover, line, weight, or fasten with lead or leads
- Ceramics to glaze (pottery) with a glaze made primarily of lead
- Printing to increase the space between (lines of type) by inserting thin strips of type metal
verbled led , lead·ing, leads
- To show the way to by going in advance: The host led us to our table. See Synonyms at guide.
- To guide or direct in a course: lead a horse by the halter.
- a. To serve as a route for; take: The path led them to a cemetery.b. To be a channel or conduit for (water or electricity, for example).
- To guide the behavior or opinion of; induce: led us to believe otherwise.
- a. To direct the performance or activities of: lead an orchestra.b. To inspire the conduct of: led the nation in its crisis.
- To play a principal or guiding role in: lead a discussion; led the antiwar movement.
- a. To go or be at the head of: The queen led the procession. My name led the list.b. To be ahead of: led the runner-up by three strides.c. To be foremost in or among: led the field in nuclear research; led her teammates in free throws.
- To pass or go through; live: lead an independent life.
- To begin or open with, as in games: led an ace.
- To guide (a partner) in dancing.
- a. To aim in front of (a moving target).b. Sports To pass a ball or puck ahead of (a moving teammate) so that the player can receive the pass without changing direction or losing speed.
- To be first; be ahead.
- To go first as a guide.
- To act as commander, director, or guide.
- To afford a passage, course, or route: a road that leads over the mountains; a door leading to the pantry.
- To tend toward a certain goal or result: a remark that led to further discussion; policies that led to disaster.
- To make the initial play, as in a game or contest.
- To begin a presentation or account in a given way: The announcer led with the day's top stories.
- a. To guide a dance partner.b. To start a dance step on a specified foot.
- Baseball To advance or stand a few paces away from one's base toward the next while the pitcher prepares to deliver a pitch. Used of a base runner.
- Sports To begin an attack in boxing with a specified hand or punch: led with a right to the body.
- a. The first or foremost position: a racer in the lead.b. One occupying such a position; a leader.c. The initiative: took the lead in setting the pace of the project.
- The margin by which one holds a position of advantage or superiority: held a lead of nine points at the half.
- a. Information pointing toward a possible solution; a clue: followed a promising lead in the murder case.b. An indication of potential opportunity; a tip: a good lead for a job.
- Command; leadership: took over the lead of the company.
- An example; a precedent: followed his sister's lead in running for office.
- a. The principal role in a dramatic production.b. The person playing such a role.
- a. The introductory portion of a news story, especially the first sentence.b. An important, usually prominently displayed news story.
- Games a. The first play.b. The prerogative or turn to make the first play: The lead passes to the player on the left.c. A card played first in a round.
- Baseball An amount of space that a base runner moves or stands away from one base in the direction of the next while the pitcher prepares to deliver a pitch.
- Sports A blow in boxing that begins a series or exchange of punches.
- A leash.
- Geology a. A deposit of gold ore in an old riverbed.b. See lode.
- Electronics A conductor by which one circuit element is electrically connected to another.
- Nautical The direction in which a line runs.
- The distance aimed in front of a moving target.
- A channel of open water created by a break in a mass of ice.
- First or foremost: the lead leg on a surfboard.
- Most important: the lead author of a research paper.
Origin of leadMiddle English leden, from Old English l&aemac;dan; see leit- in Indo-European roots.
- Symbol Pb A soft, malleable, ductile, bluish-white, dense metallic element, extracted chiefly from galena and used in containers and pipes for corrosives, solder and type metal, bullets, radiation shielding, paints, glass, storage batteries, and antiknock compounds. Atomic number 82; atomic weight 207.2; melting point 327.5°C; boiling point 1,749°C; specific gravity 11.35; valence 2, 4. See Periodic Table.
- a. Any of various, often graphitic compositions used as the writing substance in pencils.b. A thin stick of such material.
- Bullets from or for firearms; shot: pumped the target full of lead.
- A lead weight suspended by a line, used to make soundings.
- Printing A thin strip of metal used to separate lines of type.
- leadsa. Strips of lead used to hold the panes of a window.b. Chiefly British A flat roof covered with sheets of lead.
transitive verblead·ed, lead·ing, leads
- To cover, line, weight, or fill with lead.
- Printing To provide space between (lines of type) with leads.
- To secure (window glass) with leads.
- To treat with lead or a lead compound: leaded gasoline; leaded paint.
Origin of leadMiddle English led, from Old English lēad, probably of Celtic origin.
(countable and uncountable, plural leads)
- (uncountable) A heavy, pliable, inelastic metal element, having a bright, bluish color, but easily tarnished; both malleable and ductile, though with little tenacity. It is easily fusible, forms alloys with other metals, and is an ingredient of solder and type metal. Atomic number 82, symbol Pb (from Latin plumbum).
- (countable) A plummet or mass of lead attached to a line, used in sounding depth at sea or (dated) to estimate velocity in knots.
- A thin strip of type metal, used to separate lines of type in printing.
- (uncountable, typography) Vertical space in advance of a row or between rows of text. Also known as leading.
- This copy has too much lead; I prefer less space between the lines.
- Sheets or plates of lead used as a covering for roofs.
- (plural leads) A roof covered with lead sheets or terne plates.
- I would have the tower two stories, and goodly leads upon the top. — Bacon
- (countable) A thin cylinder of black lead or plumbago (graphite) used in pencils.
- (slang) Bullets; ammunition.
- They filled him full of lead.
(third-person singular simple present leads, present participle leading, simple past and past participle leaded)
- To cover, fill, or affect with lead; as, continuous firing leads the grooves of a rifle.
- (printing) To place leads between the lines of; as, to lead a page; leaded matter.
Note carefully these two senses are verbs derived from the noun referring to the metallic element, and are unrelated to the heteronym defined below under #Etymology 2.
From Middle English leed, from Old English lēad (“lead”), from Proto-Germanic *laudą (“lead”), from Proto-Indo-European *lAudh- (“lead”). Cognate with Scots leid, lede (“lead”), North Frisian lud, luad (“lead”), West Frisian lead (“lead”), Dutch lood (“lead”), German Lot (“solder, plummet, sounding line”), Swedish lod (“lead”), Icelandic lóð (“a plumb, weight”), Irish luaidhe (“lead”), Lithuanian liudē (“plumb, plummet, plumbline”).
Alternative etymology suggests the possibility that Proto-Germanic *laudan may derive from Proto-Celtic *loudhom, from an assumed Proto-Italo-Celtic *ploudhom, from Proto-Indo-European *plou(d)- (“to flow”). If so, then cognate with Latin plumbum (“lead”). More at flow.
(third-person singular simple present leads, present participle leading, simple past and past participle led)
- To guide or conduct with the hand, or by means of some physical contact connection; as, a father leads a child; a jockey leads a horse with a halter; a dog leads a blind man.
- To guide or conduct in a certain course, or to a certain place or end, by making the way known; to show the way, especially by going with or going in advance of, to lead a pupil; to guide somebody somewhere or to bring somebody somewhere by means of.instructions. Hence, figuratively: To direct; to counsel; to instruct; as, to lead a traveler.
- To conduct or direct with authority; to have direction or charge of; as, to lead an army, an exploring party, or a search; to lead a political party; to command, especially a military or business unit.
- To go or to be in advance of; to precede; hence, to be foremost or chief among; as, the big sloop led the fleet of yachts; the Guards led the attack; Demosthenes leads the orators of all ages.
- To draw or direct by influence, whether good or bad; to prevail on; to induce; to entice; to allure; as, to lead one to espouse a righteous cause.
- To guide or conduct oneself in, through, or along (a certain course); hence, to proceed in the way of; to follow the path or course of; to pass; to spend. Also, to cause (one) to proceed or follow in (a certain course).
- The evidence leads me to believe he is guilty.
- (card games, dominoes) To begin a game, round, or trick, with; as, to lead trumps.
- He led the ace of spades.
- (intransitive) To guide or conduct, as by accompanying, going before, showing, influencing, directing with authority, etc.; to have precedence or preeminence; to be first or chief; — used in most of the senses of the transitive verb.
- (intransitive) To be ahead of others, e.g., in a race.
- (intransitive) To have the highest interim score in a game.
- (intransitive) To be more advanced in technology or business than others.
- (intransitive) To tend or reach in a certain direction, or to a certain place; as, the path leads to the mill; gambling leads to other vices.
- (intransitive) To lead off or out, to go first; to begin.
- To produce.
- The shock led to a change in his behaviour.
- (baseball) To step off base and move towards the next base.
- The batter always leads off base.
- (shooting) To aim in front of a moving target, in order that the shot may hit the target as it passes.
(countable and uncountable, plural leads)
- (uncountable) The act of leading or conducting; guidance; direction, course; as, to take the lead; to be under the lead of another.
- At the time I speak of, and having a momentary lead. . . I am sure I did my country important service. — Edmund Burke
- (uncountable) Precedence; advance position; also, the measure of precedence; as, the white horse had the lead; a lead of a boat’s length, or of half a second; the state of being ahead in a race; the highest score in a game in an incomplete game.
- (countable) a metallic wire for electrical devices and equipments
- (baseball) When a runner steps away from a base while waiting for the pitch to be thrown
- The runner took his lead from first.
- (uncountable) (cards and dominoes) The act or right of playing first in a game or round; the card suit, or piece, so played; as, your partner has the lead.
- (countable) A channel of open water in an ice field.
- (countable, mining) A lode.
- (nautical) The course of a rope from end to end.
- A rope, leather strap, or similar device with which to lead an animal; a leash
- In a steam engine, The width of port opening which is uncovered by the valve, for the admission or release of steam, at the instant when the piston is at end of its stroke.
- Usage note: When used alone it means outside lead, or lead for the admission of steam. Inside lead refers to the release or exhaust.
- charging lead
- (civil engineering) The distance of haul, as from a cutting to an embankment.
- (horology) The action of a tooth, as a tooth of a wheel, in impelling another tooth or a pallet. — Claudias Saunier
- Hypothesis that has not been pursued
- The investigation stalled when all leads turned out to be dead ends.
- Information obtained by a detective or police officer that allows him or her to discover further details about a crime or incident.
- (marketing) Potential opportunity for a sale or transaction, a potential customer.
- Joe is a great addition to our sales team, he has numerous leads in the paper industry.
- Information obtained by a news reporter about an issue or subject that allows him or her to discover more details.
- (curling) The player who throws the first two rocks for a team.
- (newspapers) A teaser; a lead in; the start of a newspaper column, telling who, what, when, where, why and how. (Sometimes spelled as lede for this usage to avoid ambiguity.)
- An important news story that appears on the front page of a newspaper or at the beginning of a news broadcast
- (engineering) The axial distance a screw thread travels in one revolution. It is equal to the pitch times the number of starts.
- (music) In a barbershop quartet, the person who sings the melody, usually the second tenor
Note that these noun (attributive) uses are all derived from the verb, not the chemical element in #Etymology 1.
- (not comparable) Foremost.
- The contestants are all tied; no one has the lead position.
From Middle English leden, from Old English lǣdan (“to lead”), from Proto-Germanic *laidijaną (“to cause one to go, lead”), causative of Proto-Germanic *līþaną (“to go”), from Proto-Indo-European *leit-, *leith- (“to leave, die”). Cognate with West Frisian liede (“to lead”), Dutch leiden (“to lead”), German leiten (“to lead”), Danish lede (“to lead”), Swedish leda (“to lead”). Related to Old English līþan (“to go, travel”).