lead·​er | \ ˈlē-dər How to pronounce leader (audio) \

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
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 How to pronounce leaderless (audio) \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The rally was billed as a meeting between opposition leaders and their voters after signatures sponsoring several candidates were rejected by the Moscow election commission. Washington Post, "Protests in Moscow as opposition is excluded from elections," 14 July 2019 Megan Rapinoe, the co-captain of the champion U.S. women’s soccer team, is confidently and casually everyone’s current favorite athlete, leader, and lesbian. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "Martina Navratilova on Megan Rapinoe and the Trajectory of Gay Women in Sports," 13 July 2019 Also scheduled to speak are the film director Spike Lee, the New Age guru Deepak Chopra, the writer Malcolm Gladwell and business leaders like Mark Cuban. Corey Kilgannon, New York Times, "$399 for a Festival in Central Park? The Great Lawn Goes Capitalist," 13 July 2019 Despite the state's post-Katrina storm defenses, the governor urged residents and community leaders to be prepared. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "Tropical Storm Barry unloads strong winds and rain as it gets closer to landfall in Louisiana," 13 July 2019 Reece, a state and local leader for the Babe Ruth League youth program, serves as president of the Central Florida Bambino Buddy Ball League, which is designed for players with special needs. J.c. Carnahan, orlandosentinel.com, "George Clayton enters national hall of fame, Seminole County Sports adds six," 12 July 2019 Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Michael Bennet of Colorado; former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke; former housing secretary Julián Castro; Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; and spiritual leader and author Marianne Williamson. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Police Chief Alfonso Morales says undocumented immigrants in Wisconsin should have driver's licenses," 11 July 2019 Regular guests include local politicians, business leaders, and members of the Hoboken Police Department. CBS News, "Monthly feast is "breaking down barriers" in New Jersey community," 11 July 2019 Chaguan spent July 8th and 9th at the World Peace Forum, a conference attended by Chinese leaders and foreign grandees, hosted by Tsinghua University in Beijing. The Economist, "Few things worry China’s elite more than getting their kids into Harvard," 11 July 2019

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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Statistics for leader

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for leader

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

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More Definitions for leader



English Language Learners Definition of leader

: someone who guides other people
: someone or something that is ahead of others in a race or competition
: a powerful person who controls or influences what other people do : a person who leads a group, organization, country, etc.


lead·​er | \ ˈlē-dər How to pronounce leader (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on leader

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with leader

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for leader

Spanish Central: Translation of leader

Nglish: Translation of leader for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of leader for Arabic Speakers

Comments on leader

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characterized by aphorism

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