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


plans to lead off the news conference with a prepared statement

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Leading the charge offensively was four-year leadoff hitter Makayla Tsagalis. Steve Reaven, chicagotribune.com, "Hersey softball raises the bar as talented senior class leads the way," 8 June 2019 The Astros' leadoff hitter in the second and third innings reached second base with less than two outs. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros suffer embarrassing blowout loss to Mariners," 6 June 2019 His biggest difficulties came against Tampa leadoff hitter Yorvis Torrealba, the son of former major leaguer Yorvit Torrealba, who went 4-for-5 for the Spartans. Derrick Tuskan, San Diego Union-Tribune, "UC San Diego loses 7-2 to Tampa in NCAA Division II national championship series," 5 June 2019 Holt is the prototypical leadoff hitter, a left-handed batter with speed who gets on base. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers selections in the MLB draft, rounds 3-10," 4 June 2019 Before a game-deciding fourth inning, Cole had not permitted a leadoff man aboard. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Rare rough showing from Astros results in loss to Rays," 29 June 2018 For the third time this series, the Orioles let a single turn into a double, and left fielder Trey Mancini’s slow throw into second base in the sixth inning, put the leadoff man in scoring position. Eduardo A. Encina, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles' fielding flops north of the border not in the error column but still costly," 10 June 2018 When reliever Edubray Ramos walked the leadoff man, Kapler turned to Dominguez, who hadn’t pitched in four days. Scott Lauber, Philly.com, "J.P. Crawford rejoins Phillies, but playing time at shortstop isn't guaranteed," 6 June 2018 Yes, Fiers had approached the third time through the order, was over 100 pitches and walked the leadoff man in the sixth inning. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers thoughts: Scouting Casey Mize; Liriano on trade block?," 21 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Christian Vazquez, whose throwing error in the eighth put the tying run on third, led off the ninth with a ground-rule double to center. Doug Alden, courant.com, "Betts’ bases-loaded walk gives Red Sox 4-3 win over Rangers," 13 June 2019 The Leissner guilty plea is the biggest black eye for a Goldman partner since 1989, when executive Robert Freeman was led off the trading floor in handcuffs, later convicted of a crime related to insider trading. Bradley Hope, WSJ, "Justice Department Charges Ex-Goldman Bankers in Malaysia 1MDB Scandal," 1 Nov. 2018 Newport Harbor scored two more unearned runs in the third as Ben Ricketts, who walked and scored in the first, led off with a single, went to second on a bad pickoff throw, to third when Brooks Francis reached on an error, and home on a wild pitch. Scott French, latimes.com, "Newport Harbor PONY All-Stars drop District opener," 29 June 2018 Kris Bryant gets a day off against Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani, with Tommy La Stella playing third and leading off for the second time. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "Kris Bryant, Albert Almora Jr. not in lineup as Cubs try to end 2-game skid against Reds," 23 June 2018 Joseph is starting for the Orioles, playing first base and leading off. Josh Land, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles on deck: Corban Joseph recalled, is starting for Davis; plus what to watch Friday vs. Marlins," 15 June 2018 Jankowski could start in center field and lead off Wednesday against the right-handed Marquez. Kevin Acee, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Padres notes: Carlos Asuaje moving to third for a time in Triple-A; Myers in June?," 14 May 2018 There was also confusion in the second inning after Adrian Gonzalez singled to start the inning since the Reds seemingly thought Bruce should have led off the inning. Matt Ehalt, USA TODAY, "Mets bat out of order in first inning against Reds, go on to lose 2-1 in 10 innings," 9 May 2018 Sophomore third baseman Baylor Smith led off the fourth for Blanco with a single. David Hinojosa, ExpressNews.com, "Blanco rallies past Van Alstyne and into the 3A state-title game," 7 June 2019

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

Statistics for leadoff

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for leadoff

The first known use of leadoff was in 1806

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on leadoff

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 take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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