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 Health experts and political leaders have warned that the nationwide protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd could cause a catastrophic setback for controlling COVID-19 in the U.S., as cities and states continue efforts to reopen. NBC News, "Gov. Cuomo says Western New York to move to Phase 2 reopening Tuesday," 1 June 2020 It can be heard in the voices of college students and seasoned activists, of religious leaders and law enforcement, of civic directors and politicians. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "After nights of protest, Louisville is hurting. Where does the city go from here?," 31 May 2020 After the protests escalated over the weekend, local leaders and business owners are readying for more chaos to come. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "DC leaders and business owners prepare for third night of George Floyd protests with extra protections," 31 May 2020 An Emergency Call Robert Potts, 91, once flew America’s leaders around the globe. ProPublica, "Nursing Homes Fought Federal Emergency Plan Requirements for Years. Now, They’re Coronavirus Hot Spots.," 31 May 2020 The charges followed several days of mounting calls by civil-rights leaders and others for Mr. Chauvin to be criminally charged. WSJ, "Photos: Protesters Clash With Police Across U.S. Over Death of George Floyd," 30 May 2020 But this has been pushed out until 2021 because of the impact of Covid-19 and the need for leaders to focus on saving lives. Faizel Ismail, Quartz Africa, "A post-Covid-19 economic reality can kickstart Africa’s free trade area," 30 May 2020 Community leaders and public officials in Ohio and the Greater Cincinnati have weighed in on the incident and its aftermath. Ian Mckenzie, Cincinnati.com, "Ohio and Cincinnati officials, activist react to George Floyd death," 29 May 2020 The official death rate in America is about the same as in the European Union—which also has excess deaths, but has less erratic leaders and universal health care. The Economist, "The American way How the world’s most powerful country is handling covid-19," 28 May 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

4 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Leader.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leader. Accessed 4 Jun. 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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