noun lead·er \ ˈlē-dər \
|Updated on: 14 Aug 2018

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 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
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 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


play \ˈlē-dər-ləs\ adjective

Examples of leader in a Sentence

  1. The tour leader suggested several restaurants in the area.

  2. She was the leader for most of the race, but she eventually finished second.

  3. The class focused on the great religious leaders of the last century.

  4. the leader of an army

  5. a leader of the antiwar movement

  6. Some people are leaders, and some people are followers.

  7. The company has become a leader in developing new technology.

  8. the leader of a popular big band of the 1930s

  9. The Times attacked the government in a leader today.

Recent Examples of leader from the Web

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.

First Known Use of leader

14th century

in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Other Printing Terms

LEADER Defined for Kids


noun lead·er \ ˈlē-dər \

Definition of leader for Students

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


\-ˌship\ noun

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