1

lead

play
verb \ˈlēd\

Definition of lead

led

play \ˈled\;

leading

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a :  to guide on a way especially by going in advance led the officers to his hiding placeb :  to direct on a course or in a direction a road leading the traveler to the heart of the cityc :  to serve as a channel for a pipe leads water to the house

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

  4. 3a (1) :  to direct the operations, activity, or performance of lead an orchestra (2) :  to have charge of lead a campaign (3) :  to suggest to (a witness) the answer desired by asking leading questions counsel is leading this witness, putting words in her mouth — Erle Stanley Gardnerb (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. 6a :  to aim in front of (a moving object) lead a duckb :  to pass a ball or puck just in front of (a moving teammate)

  8. intransitive verb
  9. 1a :  to guide someone or something along a way You lead and we'll follow.b :  to lie, run, or open in a specified place or direction path leads uphillc :  to guide a dance partner through the steps of a dance

  10. 2a :  to be first This state leads in population.b (1) :  begin, open will lead off with a Christmas story — Richard Bissell (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

or less commonly

lead one up the garden path

  1. :  hoodwink, deceive I'd rather he be disappointed with the truth rather than lead him down the garden path — Harold Robbins

lead and led

There is some persistent confusion about lead and led. Or, we should say, there is confusion about the leads and led. Lead is both a noun and a verb, as most people know. There are several unrelated nouns spelled lead: one most commonly refers to a metal (as in, "The paint was made with lead"), and the other most commonly refers to a position of advantage (as in, "Our team was in the lead"). The verb lead is pronounced /LEED/, with a long e; the noun that refers to a position or advantage is also pronounced /LEED/, with a long e; the noun that refers to the metal, however, is pronounced /LED/, with a short e. To this moderately convoluted situation, add the past tense and past participle of the verb lead, which is led and pronounced like the metal noun lead with a short e. The homophonic confusion leads to homographic confusion, and you will therefore occasionally see lead in constructions where led is called for (as in, “She lead the ducklings to safety” instead of “She led the ducklings to safety”). The correct past and past participle of lead is spelled led. If you aren’t sure whether to use led or lead as the verb in your sentence, try reading it aloud to yourself. If the verb is pronounced /LED/, use led.

Origin and Etymology 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

2

lead

play
noun \ˈlēd\

Definition of lead

  1. 1a (1) :  leadership look to the president for a unifying lead — D. W. Brogan (2) :  example, precedent followed the lead of the majority leader in votingb (1) :  position at the front :  vanguard The runner from Kenya was in the lead for most of the race. (2) :  initiative took the lead in fighting the measure (3) :  the act or privilege of playing first in a card game Your partner has the lead.; also :  the card or suit played first His lead was the ace.c :  a margin or measure of advantage or superiority or position in advance enjoys a good lead over all competitors

  2. 2 :  one that leads: such asa :  lode 2b :  a channel of water especially through a field of icec :  indication, clue The detectives had a few leads to follow.d :  a principal role in a dramatic production She was the romantic lead in the movie.; also :  one who plays such a rolee :  leash 1 train a dog to walk on a leadf (1) :  an introductory section of a news story :  lede edit the lead to grab the reader's attention (2) :  a news story of chief importance The story of his arrest was the lead in newspapers across the country.

  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 (see axial 2a) 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 The runner on first took a big lead.

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

leadless

play \ˈlēd-ləs\ adjective

Origin and Etymology of lead

see 1lead


First Known Use: 15th century


3

lead

play
adjective \ˈlēd\

Definition of lead

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

Examples of lead in a sentence

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

Origin and Etymology of lead

see 1lead


First Known Use: 1828


4

lead

play
noun, often attributive \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. 2a :  a plummet for sounding at seab leads plural, British :  a usually flat lead roofc leads plural :  lead framing for panes in windowsd :  a thin strip of metal used to separate lines of type in printing

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

  4. 4 :  bullets, projectiles

  5. 5 :  tetraethyl lead

leadless

play play \ˈled-ləs\ adjective

Origin and Etymology 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


5

lead

play
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 and Etymology of lead

see 4lead


First Known Use: 14th century

Other Building Terms


LEAD Defined for Kids

1

lead

play
verb \ˈlēd\

Definition of lead for Students

led

\ˈled\;

leading

  1. 1 :  to guide on a way often by going ahead You lead and we will follow.

  2. 2 :  to be at the head or front part of She led the parade.

  3. 3 :  to direct or guide the actions of lead an orchestra

  4. 4 :  to be best, first, or ahead The champs led by 15 points.

  5. 5 :  to go through :  live They lead a happy life.

  6. 6 :  to reach or go in a certain direction This road leads to town.


2

lead

play
noun

Definition of lead for Students

  1. 1 :  position at the front He took the lead.

  2. 2 :  the amount or distance that a person or thing is ahead The team had a ten point lead.

  3. 3 :  the main role in a movie or play

  4. 4 :  something serving as an indication or clue Police followed their only lead.

  5. 5 :  the first part of a news story


3

lead

play
noun \ˈled\

Definition of lead for Students

  1. 1 :  a heavy soft gray metallic element that is easily bent and shaped

  2. 2 :  a long thin piece of graphite used in pencils

  3. 3 :  ammunition a shower of lead


Medical Dictionary

1

lead

play
noun \ˈlēd\

Medical Definition of lead

  1. :  a flexible or solid insulated conductor connected to or leading out from an electrical device (as an electroencephalograph)


2

lead

play
noun , often attributive \ˈled\

Medical Definition of lead

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

  2. 2:  white lead

  3. 3:  tetraethyl lead


Law Dictionary

1

lead

transitive verb

Legal Definition of lead

led

leading

  1. :  to suggest the desired answer to (a witness) by asking leading questions


2

lead

noun

Legal Definition of lead

  1. :  something serving as a tip, indication, or clue the police have only one lead in the murder investigation



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