lead up to

phrasal verb

Definition of lead up to 

1 : to occur in the time that comes before (something) Many voters were still undecided in the days leading up to the election.

2 : to come before and help to cause (something) There was a series of errors leading up to the accident.

3 : to come before and help to introduce (something) a chapter leading up to the main topic of the book I had no idea what he was leading up to when he started talking about his father.

Learn More about lead up to

Share lead up to

Dictionary Entries near lead up to

lead tree


lead up

lead up to


lead water

lead with

Statistics for lead up to

Look-up Popularity

More from Merriam-Webster on lead up to

Nglish: Translation of lead up to for Spanish Speakers

Comments on lead up to

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


a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Dictionary Devil

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!