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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective When Mark Rylance, the genius actor of Bridge of Spies and Broadway's Jerusalem, commits to a leading role, attention must be paid. Joshua Rothkopf, EW.com, 13 May 2022 Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba praised Germany’s response to the war with Russia during his visit to Berlin on Thursday, saying that the country had now taken a leading role following tensions in Berlin-Kyiv relations. NBC News, 12 May 2022 Stokes was unable to commit to future seasons because of her leading role in Netflix's Lockwood & Co., and the scheduling of filming both were in conflict. Emily Burack, Town & Country, 12 May 2022 Who—the leading role in a beloved UK BBC television series. Priya Sippy, Quartz, 9 May 2022 Meanwhile, Kate Winslet gets her first ever BAFTA TV nomination for her leading role in Mare of Easttown. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 May 2022 Jill Biden’s trip to this region comes at a high-stakes moment in American foreign policy, as the U.S. plays a leading role in the military conflict and global humanitarian response. Washington Post, 8 May 2022 That may be why so much of this story, despite the dedication of Vartolomei in the leading role, feels punitive and pinched. The New Yorker, 6 May 2022 As Providence gears up to provide reparations to Black residents for centuries of injustices, city officials are looking beyond the city’s leading role in the Colonial transatlantic slave trade. Philip Marcelo, Chicago Tribune, 6 May 2022 See More

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.

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

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Dictionary Entries Near leading



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Statistics for leading

Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Leading.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leading. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on leading

Nglish: Translation of leading for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of leading for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about leading


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