lead·​off | \ ˈlēd-ˌȯf How to pronounce leadoff (audio) \

Definition of leadoff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a beginning or leading action
2 : one that leads off

lead off

\ ˈlēd- How to pronounce lead off (audio) \
led off; leading off; leads off

Definition of lead off (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: begin also : to come on or perform first

transitive verb

1 : to make a start on : open
2 : to bat first for a baseball team in (an inning)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from leadoff


leadoff adjective

Examples of leadoff in a Sentence

Verb plans to lead off the news conference with a prepared statement
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Kellan Bernier stepped up at the leadoff spot and led the team in batting average, hits and runs scored. Alex Kushel, sun-sentinel.com, "Cobras take championship in debut season," 10 Dec. 2020 More important, the switch-hitting Happ stabilized the leadoff spot for the first time since Dexter Fowler departed in free agency after the 2016 season. Mark Gonzales, chicagotribune.com, "Could the Chicago Cubs expand their trade possibilities? A look at what Willson Contreras, Kyle Hendricks, Ian Happ and Yu Darvish might net them.," 7 Nov. 2020 Finally, on May 24, Hinch slotted Springer into the leadoff spot. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, "How the 2021 Detroit Tigers could look like the 2015 Astros under AJ Hinch," 7 Nov. 2020 Acuña doubled and scored three times from the leadoff spot, snapping an 0-for-18 slide. Mike Fitzpatrick, Star Tribune, "Braves blow out Mets 15-2, inch closer to NL East crown," 19 Sep. 2020 Trade acquisition Tommy La Stella, manning Semien’s usual leadoff spot Sunday, doubled and singled in his first two at-bats and was driven in both times by Matt Olson singles. Matt Kawahara, SFChronicle.com, "A’s lose 5-3 to Padres as Matt Chapman exits mid-game," 6 Sep. 2020 The Rangers shook up their lineup on Wednesday, moving Choo down to third to put rookie Leody Taveras in the leadoff spot. Kristie Rieken, Houston Chronicle, "Michael Brantley homers early, Astros hold on for win over Texas," 2 Sep. 2020 Woodward said he wasn’t wedded to the idea of Taveras in the leadoff spot. Evan Grant, Dallas News, "‘A dream come true': Leody Taveras gets first major league hit as Rangers snap eight-game skid vs. Athletics," 25 Aug. 2020 Aaron Hicks, moved to leadoff in LeMahieu’s absence, had an RBI double in the second inning on a ball that was headed for first baseman Michael Chavis but hit the base and bounded into right field. Ronald Blum, courant.com, "Happ, Ford lead Yankees to 9th straight win over Red Sox," 16 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Kepler's groundout extended the lead to 2-0 after Jake Cave tripled to lead off the second inning. Sarah Trotto, Star Tribune, "Kepler homers and Twins beat Cubs and Darvish 4-0," 20 Sep. 2020 The Twins sent the Tigers down 1-2-3 in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings until Candelario reached on a single to center field to lead off the seventh against closer Taylor Rogers. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Back-to-back HRs doom Matthew Boyd, Detroit Tigers in 2-0 loss in Game 1 to Twins," 4 Sep. 2020 The Loons’ 2-0 lead off the dominant left foot of Emanuel Reynoso in the first 66 minutes vanished in those final minutes when the Sounders scored three times, including Gustav Svensson’s winner in the third minute of second-half stoppage. Jerry Zgoda, Star Tribune, "Minnesota United collapses in final 18 minutes, falls to Sounders in Western final," 7 Dec. 2020 Auburn jumps out to an 11-2 lead off of baskets from four different players. Giana Han, al, "Live updates: Auburn plays South Alabama in its home-opener," 5 Dec. 2020 Mr Freeze briefly held the lead off the final turn before Bodexpress rallied past. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Bodexpress finds stride at Churchill Downs, wins Grade 1 Clark at 11-1 odds," 27 Nov. 2020 Kansas City took an early lead off Brewers starter Adrian Houser as the first three batters of the game all scored. Steve Megargee, Star Tribune, "Nottingham's slam helps Brewers rally to beat Royals 9-5," 18 Sep. 2020 Jackie’s Warrior, the 9-10 favorite who was undefeated in four previous starts, briefly took the lead off the final turn but faded to fourth. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Juvenile winner Essential Quality gives Louisville's Brad Cox reason to dream about Derby," 6 Nov. 2020 Penny Pritzker, the billionaire commerce secretary under President Barack Obama, would lead off with an overview of Mr. Biden’s plans. Jim Tankersley, New York Times, "The Quiet Architect of Biden’s Plan to Rescue the Economy," 2 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'leadoff.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of leadoff


circa 1886, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1806, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about leadoff

Time Traveler for leadoff

Time Traveler

The first known use of leadoff was in 1806

See more words from the same year

Statistics for leadoff

Last Updated

26 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Leadoff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leadoff. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on leadoff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for leadoff

Comments on leadoff

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!