1 of 2


: something that leads up to or prepares the way for something else

lead up

2 of 2


led up; leading up; leads up

intransitive verb

: to prepare the way
: to make a gradual or indirect approach to a topic

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
In the aftermath of their disastrous 2022 season, the Rams will continue to make strategic and cost-cutting roster moves in the lead-up to the NFL draft on April 27-29. Los Angeles Times, 27 Feb. 2023 Although the 2024 city preference broadly rests with President Joe Biden, the lead-up to the party's decision is full of intraparty jockeying. Alisa Wiersema, ABC News, 24 Feb. 2023 The lead-up to Sunday’s fight in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, between Tommy Fury and Jake Paul looks as if it were ripped out of boxing’s oldest playbook. Kevin Draper, New York Times, 24 Feb. 2023 The president's various appearances were, in part, a conspicuous lead-up to both his annual speech, as well as what's expected to be the launch of his re-election campaign in the coming weeks. Rafi Schwartz, The Week, 7 Feb. 2023
The conveyor lifts were moved to the former location of Burns lift and lead up the mountain. Julie Jag, The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 Dec. 2022 Wooden stairs with carved detailing on the balustrade lead up three stories high. Dodai Stewart, New York Times, 20 Dec. 2022 Ally Love and Hannah Corbin lead up the Barre content for the platform that is upbeat, engaging and growing. Good Housekeeping, 19 Sep. 2022 California State Parks began construction this week on 30 new bicycle turnouts on winding roads that lead up the 3,849 foot-high mountain that rises in central Contra Costa County and is a mecca for Bay Area cyclists. Annie Vainshtein, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 July 2022 The blue-and-white blazed trail leads across three footbridges past a knoll overlooking the mill pond, then bends left to lead up the hill to a lovely cascade and 30-foot waterfall. Hartford Courant, 8 Apr. 2022 Pac-12 South lead up for grabs in Salt Lake City 4. Emily Horos, The Arizona Republic, 5 June 2021 While the property will not open until 2023, this lead up gives travelers plenty of time to plan their trip to San Francisco. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, 28 Apr. 2021 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use


1942, in the meaning defined above


1861, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of lead-up was in 1861

Dictionary Entries Near lead-up

Cite this Entry

“Lead-up.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lead-up. Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition

lead up

: to make a gradual approach to a topic
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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