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 Wells Fargo on Monday announced that chairwoman Elizabeth Duke and another board member have resigned after House Democrats claimed the bank's leaders didn't react appropriately to its 2016 fake account scandal. Nihal Krishan, Washington Examiner, "Wells Fargo chairwoman resigns days before facing scrutiny from House panel," 9 Mar. 2020 Stanford, with its international reputation, will be closely watched as other university leaders grapple with how best to fight the outbreak. Susan Svrluga, BostonGlobe.com, "Stanford, others switch to online classes amid coronavirus fears," 9 Mar. 2020 Democratic leaders have harshly criticized the administration's handling of the crisis and called on Republicans to expand paid sick leave, unemployment insurance and medical testing as the virus disrupts workplaces across the country. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, "Trump and top Republicans scramble to contain economic impact of coronavirus," 9 Mar. 2020 The Cavaliers picked on Louisville’s redshirt senior leader on that end of the court Saturday, as Kihei Clark kept finding his way to the rim. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Progress report: Where each Louisville basketball player can improve during March Madness," 9 Mar. 2020 Additionally, school leaders will monitor for students with symptoms. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "What Indianapolis-area schools are saying about the coronavirus in Indiana," 9 Mar. 2020 Money: Say Yes and community leaders estimate that Say Yes Cleveland needs $125 million to provide scholarships over 25 years. Patrick O'donnell, cleveland, "Say Yes to Education to update public on eventful first year," 9 Mar. 2020 Her character is inspired partly by Black Diamond, a real Liberian rebel leader. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In Milwaukee Repertory Theater's 'Eclipsed,' women try to survive Liberian civil war," 7 Mar. 2020 More than a century ago, the holiday was created by socialist movement leaders impatient for equality for women. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "The roots of International Women’s Day are more radical than you think," 5 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for leader

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for leader

Last Updated

12 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Leader.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leader. Accessed 6 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for leader


How to pronounce leader (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for leader

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with leader

Spanish Central: Translation of leader

Nglish: Translation of leader for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of leader for Arabic Speakers

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