lead·​ing | \ ˈlē-diŋ How to pronounce leading (audio) \

Definition of leading

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : coming or ranking first : foremost
2 : exercising leadership
3 : providing direction or guidance a leading question
4 : given most prominent display the leading story


lead·​ing | \ ˈle-diŋ How to pronounce leading (audio) \
plural leadings

Definition of leading (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a covering or framework of lead repaired the leading in the church's stained glass windows
2 typography : the distance between a pair of adjacent lines in composed text increased the leading after the header a leading of 6 points

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Examples of leading in a Sentence

Adjective a leading topic of conversation Their family played a leading part in the settlement of the town. the leading role in a major Hollywood movie a leading citizen of the town She's one of the leading authorities on the stock market.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Awards will be presented in the leading categories, with the winners and other guests appearing from home in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lynette Rice, EW.com, "Daytime Emmys 2020: And the nominees are...," 21 May 2020 Then the husband of a woman in accounts management in the Covington, Ky., office tested positive, leading managers to presume she was infected. Lisa Rein, BostonGlobe.com, "Taxpayers face long delays as backlogged IRS struggles to open mail, answer phones," 20 May 2020 Despite the backlash over virus management, Japan has seen the fewest confirmed Covid-19 infections and deaths of any Group of Seven leading democracy. Jon Herskovitz, Bloomberg.com, "Support for Japan’s Abe at Two-Year Low Over Virus, Prosecutor Bill," 19 May 2020 The administration has called for states to reopen and businesses to resume where appropriate, leading governors, business owners, and customers to contend with many of the same employee safety issues. Katherine Doyle, Washington Examiner, "Top White House staffers are working from home as West Wing coronavirus fears build," 18 May 2020 Democrats want a $915 billion budget bailout for states and cities, and the leading lobbyist is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Should Florida Bail Out New York?," 17 May 2020 The gesture was a partnership between the Brewers, Wahlburgers, Hy-Vee Inc. and Crescent Capital, a leading alternative asset management firm which Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio co-founded in 1991 and serves as managing partner of today. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "With team president David Stearns on hand, Brewers continue their outreach during pandemic," 14 May 2020 Dave Greenfield, the keyboardist of the Stranglers, a band that rose to prominence in Britain’s 1970s punk rock scene while sparring, and sometimes brawling, with several of its leading figures, died on Sunday. Iliana Magra, New York Times, "Dave Greenfield, Keyboardist of the Stranglers, Dies at 71," 7 May 2020 One state, Utah, will allow graduates of its leading law schools to practice law in the state, supervised by an attorney for the first few months, without taking the exam. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus and the law: California suspends bar exam this summer," 27 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'leading.' 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 leading


1597, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for leading

Time Traveler

The first known use of leading was in the 15th century

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Statistics for leading

Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Leading.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leading. Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for leading


How to pronounce leading (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of leading

: having great importance, influence, or success
: most important

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Comments on leading

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