lead·​off | \ ˈlēd-ˌȯf How to pronounce leadoff (audio) \

Definition of leadoff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a beginning or leading action
2 : one that leads off

lead off

\ ˈlēd- How to pronounce lead off (audio) \
led off; leading off; leads off

Definition of lead off (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: begin also : to come on or perform first

transitive verb

1 : to make a start on : open
2 : to bat first for a baseball team in (an inning)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from leadoff


leadoff adjective

Examples of leadoff in a Sentence

Verb plans to lead off the news conference with a prepared statement
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Nowhere are the stakes higher for Mr. Biden than in Iowa, the leadoff caucus state where Mr. Biden will return for a four-day swing on Wednesday. Katie Glueck, New York Times, "The Many Ways That Joe Biden Trips Over His Own Tongue," 30 Oct. 2019 Buttigieg is campaigning aggressively in Iowa, where Warren recently edged Biden in the race for the leadoff caucuses. oregonlive, "Who won October’s Democratic presidential debate? Vote here," 16 Oct. 2019 Adames bobbled Gurriel's leadoff grounder to shortstop, then bounced the thorw to first. baltimoresun.com, "Gerrit Cole fans 15, Alex Bregman homers as Astros top Rays, 3-1," 6 Oct. 2019 Crawford batted leadoff for the first time in 1,151 major-league starts. Henry Schulman, SFChronicle.com, "Giants win on Jaylin Davis’ walkoff homer after another fine night for Jeff Samardzija," 25 Sep. 2019 Ben Chapman: The New York Yankees outfielder who played at Birmingham’s Phillips High became the first player to bat for the American League in an All-Star Game, hitting leadoff on July 6, 1933, at Comiskey Park in Chicago. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Alabama 200: State’s sports history littered with amazing, memorable moments," 27 Nov. 2019 The left-handed-hitting Akiyama, 31, could upgrade the Cubs’ leadoff and center-field spots. Mark Gonzales, chicagotribune.com, "Cubs are showing interest in a pair of Far East free agents: Korean pitcher Kwang-Hyun Kim and Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama," 21 Nov. 2019 The Yankees get Betts to hit leadoff and play center field for a World Series contender — plus a year to convince him to sign a long-term deal. BostonGlobe.com, "SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — It’s a story that was never confirmed and never will be now that so many years have passed. But at some point in the late 1940s, Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey and Yankees owner Dan Topping supposedly agreed over drinks one night in Manhattan to swap Ted Williams for Joe DiMaggio.," 13 Nov. 2019 Woodlands picked up two insurance runs in the top of the seventh as Alexa Vandoff had a leadoff triple to left field and Chelsea Smith followed with an RBI single for a 4-2 lead. Gary Curreri, sun-sentinel.com, "Woodlands Middle Mustangs win county softball championship," 1 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Luis Gonzalez walks it off for the Arizona Diamondbacks (2001) The comeback against the game's best reliever of all time, New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, began when Mark Grace led off the ninth with a single up the middle. Christopher Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "Game 7 moments worth revisiting before Astros-Nationals World Series wraps up," 30 Oct. 2019 After Urshela led off the ninth inning with a single, LaMahieu faced closer Roberto Osuna with one out. Los Angeles Times, "Jose Altuve’s walk-off home run sends Astros past Yankees and into World Series," 19 Oct. 2019 Bauer did not give up a hit until Kyle Lewis led off the Seattle fifth with a home run. John Fay, Cincinnati.com, "Amir Garrett gives up a two-run homer as the Cincinnati Reds fall to Seattle Mariners 4-3," 11 Sep. 2019 After left fielder Mike Yastrzemski led off the inning with a triple and second baseman Scooter Gennett followed with a RBI single, the Giants loaded the bases and brought the go-ahead run to the plate. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Giants suffer rare loss in Madison Bumgarner start, can’t complete sweep," 18 Aug. 2019 Salmon Cascades is a great spot to watch fish spawn in the fall, while trails lead off to Mink Lake, Sol Duc Falls, and the secluded Seven Lakes Basin. National Geographic, "A guide to Olympic National Park," 18 Apr. 2019 Soto made a dynamic World Series debut in the Nationals’ 5-4 victory in Game 1 on Tuesday, clubbing an opposite-field homer and lashing a two-run double to left to help build an early lead off Gerrit Cole. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "Nationals’ Juan Soto Goes From Tiniest Stage to Biggest," 22 Oct. 2019 After the Astros took a 1-0 lead on James Paxton in the top of the first, LeMahieu led off the bottom of the inning with a home run to left field. BostonGlobe.com, "NEW YORK — Justin Verlander could win his second Cy Young Award this season after winning 21 games and striking out 300 for the Houston Astros.," 19 Oct. 2019 Fans erupted after a replay review changed Edwin Encarnación's infield hit leading off the eighth to a groundout. Scott Orgera, Houston Chronicle, "Astros' Josh Reddick: Yankees fans 'disrespectful' for throwing debris," 15 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'leadoff.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of leadoff


circa 1886, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1806, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about leadoff

Time Traveler for leadoff

Time Traveler

The first known use of leadoff was in 1806

See more words from the same year

Statistics for leadoff

Last Updated

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Leadoff.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lead%20off?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=l&file=leadof02. Accessed 7 December 2019.

More from Merriam-Webster on leadoff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for leadoff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with leadoff

Comments on leadoff

What made you want to look up leadoff? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the study of flags

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!