led

1 of 2

past tense and past participle of lead

plural LEDs
: a semiconductor diode that emits light when a voltage is applied to it and that is used especially in electronic devices (as for an indicator light)

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When to Use Lead or Led

There is some persistent confusion about lead and led. Or, we should say, there is confusion about the leads and led. Lead is both a noun and a verb, as most people know. There are several unrelated nouns spelled lead: one most commonly refers to a metal (as in, "The paint was made with lead"), and the other most commonly refers to a position of advantage (as in, "Our team was in the lead"). The verb lead is pronounced /LEED/, with a long e; the noun that refers to a position or advantage is also pronounced /LEED/, with a long e; the noun that refers to the metal, however, is pronounced /LED/, with a short e. To this moderately convoluted situation, add the past tense and past participle of the verb lead, which is led and pronounced like the metal noun lead with a short e. The homophonic confusion leads to homographic confusion, and you will therefore occasionally see lead in constructions where led is called for (as in, “She lead the ducklings to safety” instead of “She led the ducklings to safety”). The correct past and past participle of lead is spelled led. If you aren’t sure whether to use led or lead as the verb in your sentence, try reading it aloud to yourself. If the verb is pronounced /LED/, use led.

Examples of led in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The bulk of Boise State’s capital expenses in FY ‘23 were for the purchase of new LED light fixtures at Albertsons Stadium and the replacement of the north video board in the stadium’s north end zone. Ron Counts, Idaho Statesman, 9 June 2024 This woven outdoor lantern has a water-resistant finish, includes LED bulbs that emit a warm glow, and is available in three sizes: 8, 12, and 16 inches tall. Bridget Degnan, Southern Living, 24 May 2024 In reality, according to Colorado Public Radio, Jiménez incorporated the effect with red LED flood lights as an homage to his father, who ran a neon sign shop during his formative years as an artist. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, 18 May 2024 Pure Garden Low-Voltage Solar-Powered LED Pathway Light, $41.07 (orig. Rachel Trujillo, Peoplemag, 18 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for led 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'led.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

light-emitting diode

First Known Use

Noun

1968, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of led was in 1968

Dictionary Entries Near led

Cite this Entry

“Led.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/led. Accessed 15 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

led

1 of 2

past and past participle of lead

LED

2 of 2 noun
: an electronic device that emits light when a voltage is applied to it
Etymology

Noun

light-emitting diode

Legal Definition

led

past and past participle of lead

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