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 Gensler served as the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission between 2009 and 2014 and played a leading role in President Obama’s financial reforms following the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act. Dan Kim, National Review, "SEC to Shareholders: Your Votes Don’t Count," 30 Apr. 2021 And, as India has a leading role in making vaccines for other nations, failing to to stop its spread there could endanger the vaccine rollout worldwide. Aditi Sangal, CNN, "India's Covid-19 crisis is a problem for the world," 29 Apr. 2021 Giuliani subsequently took on a leading role in disputing the election results on the Republican’s behalf. Michael R. Sisak, Time, "Federal Agents Raid Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani's Home and Office," 29 Apr. 2021 Three days after the 83-year-old was crowned the oldest acting Oscar winner ever for his performance in Florian Zeller's The Father, the Welsh performer landed a leading role opposite Salma Hayek in a sweet Instagram video celebrating the victory. Joey Nolfi, EW.com, "Salma Hayek dances with 'the king' Anthony Hopkins in sweet Oscars celebration video," 28 Apr. 2021 Giuliani subsequently took on a leading role in disputing the election results on the Republican’s behalf. Michael Balsamo, Anchorage Daily News, "Federal agents search Rudy Giuliani’s home and office in New York City," 28 Apr. 2021 Frances McDormand won another Best Actress Oscar for her leading role in Nomadland, and Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor for The Father. David Meyer, Fortune, "Welcome to Fortune Education," 26 Apr. 2021 McDormand's performance also earned her a Screen Actors Guild Awards nomination for outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role and a Golden Globe nod for best actress in a motion picture, drama. Dana Rose Falcone, PEOPLE.com, "Frances McDormand Jokes 2021 Oscars Should Have Had a 'Karaoke Bar' as She Wins Best Actress," 25 Apr. 2021 The Times’ film experts have predicted which movies will walk away with top prizes, with a lot of buzz around a potential win for Zhao for achievement in directing and Carey Mulligan for actress in a leading role. Los Angeles Times, "Oscars 2021: Here’s what to know about Sunday’s potentially historic ceremony," 23 Apr. 2021

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

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Leading.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leading. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for leading



English Language Learners Definition of leading

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

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