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)

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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 Kepler, mostly from the leadoff spot, hit .252 with a .336 on-base percentage and added 36 home runs while manning right field, then replacing Buxton in center. Betsy Helfand, Twin Cities, "Twins exploring opportunities to lock in more of the young core," 16 Oct. 2019 Getting Schwarber out of the leadoff spot was a start. Mark Gonzales, chicagotribune.com, "Is Kyle Schwarber staying or going? 3 questions about the Cubs left fielder heading into 2020.," 11 Oct. 2019 Providing a combination of power and speed in the leadoff spot, Blackmon set career highs in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, home runs, triples and runs batted in. Joe Nguyen, The Denver Post, "Rockies’ best single seasons at each position during the 2010s," 2 Oct. 2019 Shortstop Amed Rosario took over the leadoff spot by going 9 for 11 in the last two games here, including 5 for 6 on Thursday. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "The Mets Get Their Swagger Back," 16 Aug. 2019 Filling in for Springer in the leadoff spot, Jose Altuve pounced on Lambert's first pitch for his 18th home run. Hunter Atkins, Houston Chronicle, "Yuli Gurriel explodes for 8 RBIs as Astros romp past Rockies," 7 Aug. 2019 Villar, who went 0-for-5 in the leadoff spot in the first two games of the series, was hitless in his first three at-bats before leaving the bases loaded with a chopper back to the mound trailing 4-2 in the seventh inning. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles’ Chris Davis and Jonathan Villar leave them stranded in 5-2 loss to Diamondbacks," 24 July 2019 Hitting in the leadoff spot for the ninth time this season, Jones ripped an opposite-field triple in the third inning. Dana Gauruder, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers provide more of the same in return home, lose 5-3 to Rangers," 25 June 2019 Braden Bishop was 2 for 4 with four RBI from the leadoff spot, and Kyle Seager was 2 for 5 with three RBI. Seattle Times Staff, The Seattle Times, "Rainiers pound out 22 hits, 18 runs to beat Aces," 19 May 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Soto made a dynamic World Series debut in the Nationals’ 5-4 victory in Game 1 on Tuesday, clubbing an opposite-field homer and lashing a two-run double to left to help build an early lead off Gerrit Cole. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "Nationals’ Juan Soto Goes From Tiniest Stage to Biggest," 22 Oct. 2019 After the Astros took a 1-0 lead on James Paxton in the top of the first, LeMahieu led off the bottom of the inning with a home run to left field. BostonGlobe.com, "NEW YORK — Justin Verlander could win his second Cy Young Award this season after winning 21 games and striking out 300 for the Houston Astros.," 19 Oct. 2019 Fans erupted after a replay review changed Edwin Encarnación's infield hit leading off the eighth to a groundout. Scott Orgera, Houston Chronicle, "Astros' Josh Reddick: Yankees fans 'disrespectful' for throwing debris," 15 Oct. 2019 Scherzer didn’t allow a hit until Paul Goldschmidt led off the seventh inning with a single that left fielder Juan Soto played conservatively with a one-run lead. Jay Cohen, The Denver Post, "Scherzer no-hit try into 7th, Nats top Cards, lead NLCS 2-0," 12 Oct. 2019 The Mariners took a 2-1 lead when Dylan Moore led off off the Seattle sixth with a no-doubter to left for his eighth home run of the year. John Fay, Cincinnati.com, "Amir Garrett gives up a two-run homer as the Cincinnati Reds fall to Seattle Mariners 4-3," 11 Sep. 2019 While Hendriks struck out Jordy Mercer leading off the bottom of the seventh, the K will actually go to Josh Harrison considering he was supposed to be batting but got released by the Tigers last month. Jane Mccauley, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers lose 'at home,' then beat A's on the road in extra innings," 6 Sep. 2019 Meadows homered off Buddy Boshers (0-3) leading off the seventh for a 5-4 lead and added an RBI double in the eighth against Ryan Tepera. Mark Didtler, orlandosentinel.com, "Austin Meadows helps wild card-leading Rays beat Blue Jays 6-4," 5 Sep. 2019 Mark Cahna delivered back-to-back home runs in the first inning to give the A’s a 3-1 lead off Yankees starter Domingo German. Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News, "Homer Bailey delivers solid start in Oakland Athletics win over New York Yankees," 20 Aug. 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.

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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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Time Traveler for leadoff

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The first known use of leadoff was in 1806

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Statistics for leadoff

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Leadoff.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leads%20off. Accessed 22 November 2019.

More from Merriam-Webster on leadoff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for leadoff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with leadoff

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