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

Brandon Belt drew a leadoff walk against Luke Farrell and moved to second on a grounder. Mark Gonzales, chicagotribune.com, "Kris Bryant, Javier Baez hit HRs, Cubs-Giants tied at 4 in 12th," 11 July 2018 In the bottom of the second inning, Romano issued a leadoff walk to Jason Kipnis and gave up a double to Tyler Naquin. Bobby Nightengale, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati Reds score 7 runs in the 9th inning, stun Cleveland Indians for comeback win," 10 July 2018 His first mistake – a leadoff walk to Muncy in the second – was even erased via a pickoff, Lauer’s major league-leading ninth this year. Jeff Sanders, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Eric Lauer keeps rolling in win over Dodgers," 10 July 2018 Carlos Santana worked a leadoff walk in the fifth inning to finally give the Phillies a baserunner. Scott Lauber, Philly.com, "Aaron Nola picks up Phillies on the mound and at the plate in doubleheader split with Mets," 9 July 2018 The Astros battled back with a leadoff walk to pinch hitter Tony Kemp and a broken bat single to right by pinch hitter Gonzalez. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Yuli Gurriel's walkoff single sends Astros past White Sox," 5 July 2018 At the plate: Castellanos had a leadoff walk in the fourth and scored on an RBI single to left by John Hicks. George Sipple, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers rally comes up short in 7-5 loss to Texas Rangers," 5 July 2018 Rookie Nate Orf, pinch hitting for Guerra, drew a leadoff walk from Twins starter Jake Odorizzi to put a runner on base for the top of the order. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Eric Thames, strong pitching effort shut out Twins, 2-0," 3 July 2018 Frazier’s drive to right-center deflected off center fielder Lewis Brinson’s glove for a double, cashing in a leadoff walk to Cabrera. Craig Davis, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Mets cash in repeatedly with two-out runs to sink Straily, Marlins," 1 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Manager Terry Francona, whose bullpen is tattered, stayed with Kluber into the eighth even with Gregorius leading off. New York Times, "A Potential Pitching Showcase Melts Into a Rugged Yankees Win," 12 July 2018 In the seventh inning, manager Torey Lovullo sent Descalso to first base and handed the ball off to catcher Alex Avila, who fared much better in his two inning of work, giving up just one hit—a single to Ian Desmond to lead off the inning. Charlotte Carroll, SI.com, "Things Got Weird in the Rockies' Blowout Win Over the Diamondbacks," 11 July 2018 Miguel Andújar’s single off the glove of a diving Manny Machado put the tying run on to lead off the ninth, but closer Zach Britton left him on third base in a tense ninth inning. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Danny Valencia's three-run homer gives Orioles 5-4 win vs. Yankees, ending six-game slide," 9 July 2018 Trailing by one in the bottom of the seventh, Dass led off and promptly absorbed a pitch to get on base. Sam Dodge, latimes.com, "Newport Beach PONY All-Stars advance to sectional championship," 8 July 2018 The Red Sox broke ahead 3-0 in the fifth on the double by Devers, and sacrifice flies by Sandy Leon and Mookie Betts after Xander Bogaerts doubled leading off and Eduardo Nunez singled. Ken Powtak, courant.com, "Sale Strikes Out 13 In 7 Innings As Red Sox Shut Out Mariners," 24 June 2018 Reese got Florida’s first hit, leading off the fifth, and scored on Deacon Liput’s double that eluded first baseman Cameron Warren. Mike Malloy, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Gators earn 9-6 win over Texas Tech, extend run in CWS," 22 June 2018 Martin won the everyday center field job in spring training and has led off almost every game other than his brief stint on the disabled list for a hamstring injury. Jamie Samuelsen, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers: Blaine Hardy, Leonys Martin among biggest surprises," 18 June 2018 Pierce noted that most of the time Hamilton gets on base to lead off an inning, Texas usually ends up putting runs on the board. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Hamilton’s speed could be a boon for Longhorns at CWS," 15 June 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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Last Updated

11 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for leadoff

The first known use of leadoff was in 1806

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


the setting in which something occurs

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