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verb \ˈlēd\

Definition of lead

led play \ˈled\ lead·ing

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to guide on a way especially by going in advance b :  to direct on a course or in a direction c :  to serve as a channel for <a pipe leads water to the house>

  3. 2 :  to go through :  live <lead a quiet life>

  4. 3 a (1) :  to direct the operations, activity, or performance of <lead an orchestra> (2) :  to have charge of <lead a campaign> (3) :  to ask (a witness) a question in a way that suggests what the answer should be :  to ask (a witness) a leading question b (1) :  to go at the head of <lead a parade> (2) :  to be first in or among <lead the league> (3) :  to have a margin over <led his opponent>

  5. 4 :  to bring to some conclusion or condition <led to believe otherwise>

  6. 5 :  to begin play with <lead trumps>

  7. 6 a :  to aim in front of (a moving object) <lead a duck> b :  to pass a ball or puck just in front of (a moving teammate)

  8. intransitive verb
  9. 1 a :  to guide someone or something along a way b :  to lie, run, or open in a specified place or direction <path leads uphill> c :  to guide a dance partner through the steps of a dance

  10. 2 a :  to be first b (1) :  begin, open (2) :  to play the first card of a trick, round, or game

  11. 3 :  to tend toward or have a result <study leading to a degree>

  12. 4 :  to direct the first of a series of blows at an opponent in boxing

lead one down the garden path also lead one up the garden path

Origin of lead

Middle English leden, from Old English lǣdan; akin to Old High German leiten to lead, Old English līthan to go

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of lead

guide, lead, steer, pilot, engineer mean to direct in a course or show the way to be followed. guide implies intimate knowledge of the way and of all its difficulties and dangers <guided the scouts through the cave>. lead implies showing the way and often keeping those that follow under control and in order <led his team to victory>. steer implies an ability to keep to a course and stresses the capacity of maneuvering correctly <steered the ship through a narrow channel>. pilot suggests guidance over a dangerous or complicated course <piloted the bill through the Senate>. engineer implies finding ways to avoid or overcome difficulties in achieving an end or carrying out a plan <engineered his son's election to the governorship>.



noun \ˈlēd\

Definition of lead

  1. 1 a (1) :  leadership (2) :  example, precedent b (1) :  position at the front :  vanguard (2) :  initiative (3) :  the act or privilege of playing first in a card game; also :  the card or suit played first c :  a margin or measure of advantage or superiority or position in advance

  2. 2 :  one that leads: as a :  lode 2 b :  a channel of water especially through a field of ice c :  indication, clue d :  a principal role in a dramatic production; also :  one who plays such a role e :  leash 1 f (1) :  an introductory section of a news story (2) :  a news story of chief importance

  3. 3 :  an insulated electrical conductor connected to an electrical device

  4. 4 :  the course of a rope from end to end

  5. 5 :  the amount of axial advance of a point accompanying a complete turn of a thread (as of a screw or worm)

  6. 6 :  a position taken by a base runner off a base toward the next

  7. 7 :  the first punch of a series or an exchange of punches in boxing

lead·less play \-ləs\ adjective

Origin of lead

(see 1lead)

First Known Use: 15th century

Rhymes with lead



adjective \ˈlēd\

Definition of lead

  1. :  acting or serving as a lead (see 2lead)or leader <a lead article>

Examples of lead

  1. <the lead diplomat is responsible for making policy for the entire embassy>

Origin of lead

(see 1lead)

First Known Use: 1828



noun \ˈled\

Definition of lead

  1. 1 :  a bluish-white soft malleable ductile plastic but inelastic heavy metallic element found mostly in combination and used especially in pipes, cable sheaths, batteries, solder, and shields against radioactivity — see element table

  2. 2 a :  a plummet for sounding at sea b plural British :  a usually flat lead roof c plural :  lead framing for panes in windows d :  a thin strip of metal used to separate lines of type in printing

  3. 3 a :  a thin stick of marking substance (as graphite) in or for a pencil b :  white lead

  4. 4 :  bullets, projectiles

  5. 5 :  tetraethyl lead

lead·lessplay play \-ləs\ adjective

Origin of lead

Middle English leed, from Old English lēad; akin to Middle High German lōt lead

First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Metals and Metallurgy Terms



verb \ˈled\

Definition of lead

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to cover, line, or weight with lead (see 4lead)

  3. 2 :  to fix (window glass) in position with leads

  4. 3 :  to put space between the lines of (typeset matter)

  5. 4 :  to treat or mix with lead or a lead compound <leaded gasoline>

Origin of lead

(see 4lead)

First Known Use: 14th century

Other Building Terms

Seen and Heard

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February 11, 2016

the holder of an office

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