lead·​off | \ ˈlēd-ˌȯf \

Definition of leadoff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

lead off

\ ˈlēd- \

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)

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Other Words from leadoff


leadoff adjective

Examples of leadoff in a Sentence


plans to lead off the news conference with a prepared statement

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Four of the Dodgers’ nine starters were replaced by players off the bench Tuesday, including their leadoff and No. Brian Costa, WSJ, "Red Sox Manager Alex Cora Is Hitting on Every Move," 24 Oct. 2018 George Springer rolled a single, the first leadoff man to reach on an otherwise anemic offensive evening. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros held scoreless in loss to A's," 10 July 2018 Following Mike Zunino’s leadoff double to start the bottom of the seventh, Dee Gordon pulled a fly ball to right field that bounced off the top of the wall and over for his fourth homer of the season. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "It’s a celebration at Safeco Field, but visiting A’s enjoy all the fun of making playoffs," 24 Sep. 2018 Oakland took advantage in the ninth with a leadoff double followed by a single to bring in the eventual game-winning run. George Stoia, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers lose big lead, fall to Oakland Athletics, 9-7," 26 June 2018 Miller, regularly clocked at 95-mph on his two-seam fastball, nearly pulled a Houdini-like escape in the third after giving up a leadoff double to Straily. Harvey Fialkov, azcentral, "Diamondbacks' Shelby Miller remains positive after rough return against Marlins," 25 June 2018 Trailing by two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Scott Schebler opened with a leadoff double to center field. Bobby Nightengale, Cincinnati.com, "Scooter Gennett, Eugenio Suarez back-to-back homers lift Cincinnati Reds to win vs. Tigers," 20 June 2018 After a leadoff double by Bailey Rassol, a sacrifice bunt got her to third base. Dan Shulman, BostonGlobe.com, "Norton softball reaches D2 South semifinals after dramatic walkoff win," 12 June 2018 Adam Cimber struck out the side in the fifth, Kirby Yates recorded pushed through two scoreless innings and Brad Hand converted his first six-out save since 2014 despite Ozzie Albies’ leadoff double to start the eighth. Jeff Sanders, sandiegouniontribune.com, "'Pen up to task as Padres take series from Braves," 6 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Through eight innings, Rays pitchers had faced the minimum number of batters, a streak that was spoiled when Devin Mesoraco singled leading off the ninth. Wallace Matthews, New York Times, "Woeful Mets Flirt With Being No-Hit, but Settle for a Loss," 8 July 2018 Verlander retired the first six batters with four strikeouts before Narvaez led off the third with a drive into the alley in right field that reached the wall on one bounce. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Yuli Gurriel's walkoff single sends Astros past White Sox," 5 July 2018 Then José Peraza led off the bottom half of the frame with a homer, Thames misplayed a ball in the gap one batter later, and Eugenio Suárez doubled him in with two outs to give Cincinnati a 2-0 lead. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 6, Reds 4: Aguilar, Thames power comeback victory," 28 June 2018 Through two innings, the Diamondbacks dented him for three runs, and then Paul Goldschmidt led off the third with a single. Matthew Defranks, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Dan Straily paces Marlins on mound, at plate in win over Diamondbacks," 26 June 2018 The Drum and Bugle Corps leads off, the battalion marches on, the bugle calls, the bayonets are fixed. Steve Hendrix, Washington Post, "Precision, patriotism and a new stage for a beloved Marine tradition," 11 June 2018 The special guests of the Fox Valley Orchestra, The Illinois Brass Band, will lead off the evening with selections from the stage and movies, organizers said. Joy Davis, Aurora Beacon-News, "Summer Pops Concert to be held at Paramount in Aurora," 31 May 2018 More: Mercy softball holds off Holy Cross in Sixth Region semifinals The next inning, the Eagles doubled their lead off a base hit by Blake Bonn up the middle. Steve Bittenbender, The Courier-Journal, "Bullitt East beats North Bullitt in Sixth Region baseball semifinals," 30 May 2018 Truex started slowing snipping bits of Busch's lead off over the last 40 laps, but even if the race had dragged out another 40 laps into overtime, Truex still didn't have enough pure speed to overtake the No. 18. Brendan Marks, charlotteobserver, "Kyle Busch celebrates 'dream come true' at 600, eclipses Earnhardt, Petty ... everyone | Charlotte Observer," 28 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of leadoff


circa 1886, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1806, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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Statistics for leadoff

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for leadoff

The first known use of leadoff was in 1806

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


to express emotion in a dramatic way

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