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

Grover estimates up to 200 people were active in the Minutemen, breaking up Nazi meetings and even attempting to bomb German American Bund leader Fritz Kuhn’s car. Eric Ginsburg, Teen Vogue, "American Nazis and Nazi Sympathizers Have Been Around Since the 1930’s," 26 Nov. 2018 In multiple states, Republican leaders engaged in increasingly blatant attempts to suppress voters, the vast majority of whom were people of color. Bree Newsome, SELF, "The 2018 Midterm Elections Proved That Change Must Happen from the Ground Up," 15 Nov. 2018 Next: The team is working to bring this dashboard to more locations, according to former project leader Idriss Ait-Bouziad’s presentation of the work at an MSF conference last year. Mallory Locklear, Discover Magazine, "With Big Data and Predictive Analytics, Scientists Are Getting Smarter About Outbreaks," 8 Nov. 2018 Ketterer is a pediatric mental health care nurse and part-time worship leader with six children, five of whom were adopted from foster care. Megan Friedman, Good Housekeeping, "‘America’s Got Talent’ Standout Michael Ketterer Has Been Arrested for Domestic Violence," 21 Sep. 2018 That's important because Ford appears to be significantly behind the market leaders: Waymo (which is aiming to launch a commercial service this year) and GM's Cruise (aiming to launch in 2019). Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Walmart agrees to work with Ford on self-driving grocery delivery pilot," 14 Nov. 2018 Lyft’s bikes and scooters team is still taking shape; its July deal to buy the U.S. bike-share leader, Motivate, still hasn’t closed. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Trump’s first post-midterms move: Dump Attorney General Jeff Sessions," 8 Nov. 2018 That’s the assessment from an arms control think tank, which believes China’s leaders are leaning toward basing their nuclear weapons at sea to prevent their destruction in a surprise attack. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China Is Building More Nuclear-Armed Submarines," 24 Oct. 2018 Wardlow also blasted Ellison for his association with Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader, who has drawn controversy for his repeated anti-Semitic comments. Fox News, "Ellison forced to fend off assault allegations in tense debate with GOP rival," 22 Oct. 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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Statistics for leader

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

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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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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

What made you want to look up leader? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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