lead·er | \ˈlē-dər \

Definition of leader 

1 : something that leads: such as

a : a primary or terminal shoot of a plant

b : tendon, sinew the leaders in his wrists moved like baling wire— Dillon Anderson

c leaders plural : dots or hyphens (as in an index) used to lead the eye horizontally : ellipsis sense 2

d chiefly British : a newspaper editorial

e(1) : something for guiding fish into a trap

(2) : a short length of material for attaching the end of a fishing line to a lure or hook

f : loss leader

g : something that ranks first the leaders among communicable diseases

h : a blank section at the beginning or end of a reel of film or recorded tape

2 : a person who leads: such as

a : guide, conductor The tour leader recommended several restaurants in the area.

b(1) : a person who directs a military force or unit leaders of the army

(2) : a person who has commanding authority or influence a leader in the reform movement

c(1) : the principal officer of a British political party

(2) : a party member chosen to manage party activities in a legislative body the majority leader

(3) : such a party member presiding over the whole legislative body when the party constitutes a majority the leader of the House

d(1) : conductor sense c the orchestra's leader

(2) : a first or principal performer of a group The concertmaster is the leader of the violin section.

3 : a horse placed in advance of the other horses of a team

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Other Words from leader

leaderless \ˈlē-dər-ləs \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for leader


bellwether, pacemaker, pacer, pacesetter, trendsetter


follower, imitator

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Examples of leader in a Sentence

The tour leader suggested several restaurants in the area. She was the leader for most of the race, but she eventually finished second. The class focused on the great religious leaders of the last century. the leader of an army a leader of the antiwar movement Some people are leaders, and some people are followers. The company has become a leader in developing new technology. the leader of a popular big band of the 1930s The Times attacked the government in a leader today.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Perhaps Republican leaders have written off the 190th District as hopeless, since 87 percent of the voters there are Democrats, just 4 percent are Republicans, and 9 percent are independents or members of smaller political parties. Chris Brennan, Philly.com, "Nancy Pelosi pals around with convicted tax dodger at Dems fundraiser in Philly," 13 July 2018 Republican leaders, such as House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have approached the issue cautiously ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm elections. Michael Collins, USA TODAY, "Senators blast Trump's 'reckless' tariffs, warn of impact on farmers, businesses," 12 July 2018 Under intense criticism, including from Republican leaders, Trump signed an executive order last month halting family separations. Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express-News, "Unmarked vans, security fences: family reunification proceeds behind curtain of secrecy," 12 July 2018 But what is most striking about this survey is the lack of a broadly popular Republican leader from the present era. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Poll: Barack Obama Was the Greatest President of Our Lifetime," 11 July 2018 As his latest remarks filtered back to the United States, even some Republican congressional leaders criticized the president for his slams against Germany and other allies, though others defended him. Eli Stokols, latimes.com, "Trump disrupts NATO summit with blasts at allies, especially Germany, and new defense spending demands," 11 July 2018 Republican leaders in Florida have cited various reasons for opposing this step. Phil Galewitz And David Smiley, miamiherald, "In Florida, mid-term elections hold little hope for Medicaid expansion," 6 July 2018 Tan boosts China’s clear emergence as a global leader with the looming presence of the World Expo – proof that the world now comes to China with both money and manpower. Terry Hong, The Christian Science Monitor, "'What We Were Promised' depicts post-Mao China in a deft debut novel set in Shanghai," 13 July 2018 The limits on Kushner's intelligence access could complicate his ability to manage a portfolio that includes meeting with foreign leaders on Trump's behalf and crafting a Middle East peace plan. Carol D. Leonnig, Anchorage Daily News, "Limits still remain on security clearance for Trump son-in-law Kushner," 13 July 2018

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

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First Known Use of leader

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Phrases Related to leader

born/natural leader

Statistics for leader

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for leader

The first known use of leader was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for leader


lead·er | \ˈlē-dər \

Kids Definition of leader

: someone or something that leads or is able to lead a political leader

Other Words from leader

leadership \-ˌship \ noun

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