lead·​er ˈlē-dər How to pronounce leader (audio)
: something that leads: such as
: a primary or terminal shoot of a plant
: tendon, sinew
the leaders in his wrists moved like baling wireDillon Anderson
leaders plural : dots or hyphens (as in an index) used to lead the eye horizontally : ellipsis sense 2
chiefly British : a newspaper editorial
: something for guiding fish into a trap
: a short length of material for attaching the end of a fishing line to a lure or hook
: something that ranks first
the leaders among communicable diseases
: a blank section at the beginning or end of a reel of film or recorded tape
: a person who leads: such as
: guide, conductor
The tour leader recommended several restaurants in the area.
: a person who directs a military force or unit
leaders of the army
: a person who has commanding authority or influence
a leader in the reform movement
: the principal officer of a British political party
: a party member chosen to manage party activities in a legislative body
the majority leader
: such a party member presiding over the whole legislative body when the party constitutes a majority
the leader of the House
: conductor sense c
the orchestra's leader
: a first or principal performer of a group
The concertmaster is the leader of the violin section.
: a horse placed in advance of the other horses of a team
leaderless adjective

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web And women leaders tend to be younger than their male counterparts. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, 9 Sep. 2023 In this photo provided Sept. 9 by the North Korean government, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, right, with his daughter, left, attends a paramilitary parade ceremony marking North Korea’s 75th founding anniversary in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Sept. 8. Kim Tong-Hyung, BostonGlobe.com, 9 Sep. 2023 At a Group of 20 economic summit in New Delhi, world leaders adopted a declaration that avoided openly condemning Russia for the war in Ukraine. David L. Stern, Washington Post, 9 Sep. 2023 Many other world leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin, have sent their condolences. Amarachi Orie, CNN, 9 Sep. 2023 The New York Times reported Monday that Kim plans to meet with Putin while both leaders attend the Eastern Economic Forum at Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, Russia. Fox News, 9 Sep. 2023 President Joe Biden greeted world leaders at the G20 summit in India, presidential hopefuls converged on Iowa for a football game, and Gov. Glenn Youngkin stumped for Republicans in Virginia. Fritz Farrow, ABC News, 9 Sep. 2023 Its senior leaders are still being prosecuted decades later for genocide and war crimes. Abigail Williams, NBC News, 9 Sep. 2023 First elected in the post-Tea Party wave of 2012, Meadows quickly established himself as a leader of a new generation of conservative Republicans on Capitol Hill. Kate Brumback The Associated Press, Arkansas Online, 9 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'leader.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near leader

Cite this Entry

“Leader.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leader. Accessed 26 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


lead·​er ˈlēd-ər How to pronounce leader (audio)
: something that leads: as
: a short line for attaching the end of a fishing line to a lure or hook
: a pipe for conducting fluid
: a person that leads: as
: a person in charge or in control : boss, chief
: a horse placed in front of the other horses of a team
leaderless adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on leader

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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