verbled, 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 film, play, show, or other scripted 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.
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.
a. A deposit of gold ore in an old riverbed.
- 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.
Phrasal Verbs: lead off
- First or foremost: the lead leg on a surfboard.
- Most important: the lead author of a research paper.
To begin; start. Baseball
To be the first batter in an inning. lead on
To keep in a state of expectation or hope; entice.To mislead; deceive.
Origin of lead
Middle English leden from
Old English lǣdan
; see leit-
in Indo-European roots.
(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.
- (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 lÄ“ad (“lead"), from Proto-Germanic *laudÄ… (“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 lÃ³Ã° (“a plumb, weight"), Irish luaidhe (“lead"), Lithuanian liudÄ“ (“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.
- (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.
- 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 lÇ£dan (“to lead"), from Proto-Germanic *laidijanÄ… (“to cause one to go, lead"), causative of Proto-Germanic *lÄ«Ã¾anÄ… (“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 lÄ«Ã¾an (“to go, travel").