lead 1 of 3

as in to go
to be positioned along a certain course or in a certain direction this old road leads to an abandoned quarry

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as in principal
the person who has the most important role in a play, movie, or TV show the actor's career has really taken off since he became the lead in that prime-time drama

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Antonyms & Near Antonyms

as in distance
the space or amount of space between two points, lines, surfaces, or objects the runner maintained a lead of several meters all the way around the track

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as in tip
a piece of advice or useful information especially from an expert my sister got a lead on the job opening from her neighbor, who is the human resources director for the company

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Synonym Chooser

How does the verb lead contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of lead are engineer, guide, pilot, and steer. While all these words mean "to direct in a course or show the way to be followed," lead implies showing the way and often keeping those that follow under control and in order.

led his team to victory

When is engineer a more appropriate choice than lead?

The words engineer and lead can be used in similar contexts, but engineer implies finding ways to avoid or overcome difficulties in achieving an end or carrying out a plan.

engineered his son's election to the governorship

When might guide be a better fit than lead?

While in some cases nearly identical to lead, guide implies intimate knowledge of the way and of all its difficulties and dangers.

guided the scouts through the cave

When would pilot be a good substitute for lead?

The words pilot and lead are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, pilot suggests guidance over a dangerous or complicated course.

piloted the bill through the Senate

In what contexts can steer take the place of lead?

In some situations, the words steer and lead are roughly equivalent. However, steer implies an ability to keep to a course and stresses the capacity of maneuvering correctly.

steered the ship through a narrow channel

Thesaurus Entries Near lead

Cite this Entry

“Lead.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/lead. Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

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