English Dictionary

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Definitions of lead

lead1 (liːd Pronunciation for lead1



Word forms:  leads,  leading,  led  (lɛd Pronunciation for
  1. to show the way to (an individual or a group) by going with or ahead   ⇒ lead the party into the garden
  2. to guide or be guided by holding, pulling, etc   ⇒ he led the horse by its reins
  3. (transitive) to cause to act, feel, think, or behave in a certain way; induce; influence   ⇒ he led me to believe that he would go
  4. (transitive) to phrase a question to (a witness) that tends to suggest the desired answer
  5. when intr, foll by to (of a road, route, etc) to serve as the means of reaching a place
  6. (transitive) to go ahead so as to indicate (esp in the phrase lead the way)
  7. to guide, control, or direct   ⇒ to lead an army
  8. (transitive) to direct the course of or conduct (water, a rope or wire, etc) along or as if along a channel
  9. to initiate the action of (something); have the principal part in (something)   ⇒ to lead a discussion
  10. to go at the head of or have the top position in (something)   ⇒ he leads his class in geography
  11. (intransitive) foll by with to have as the first or principal item   ⇒ the newspaper led with the royal birth
  12. (music)
    1. (British) to play first violin in (an orchestra)
    2. (intransitive) (of an instrument or voice) to be assigned an important entry in a piece of music
  13. to direct and guide (one's partner) in a dance
  14. (transitive)
    1. to pass or spend   ⇒ I lead a miserable life
    2. to cause to pass a life of a particular kind   ⇒ to lead a person a dog's life
  15. (intransitive) foll by to to tend (to) or result (in)   ⇒ this will only lead to misery
  16. to initiate a round of cards by putting down (the first card) or to have the right to do this   ⇒ she led a diamond
  17. (transitive) to aim at a point in front of (a moving target) in shooting, etc, in order to allow for the time of flight
  18. (intransitive) (boxing) to make an offensive blow, esp as one's habitual attacking punch   ⇒ southpaws lead with their right
  19. See lead astray

  20. See lead by the nose


    1. the first, foremost, or most prominent place
    2. (as modifier)   ⇒ lead singer
  1. example, precedence, or leadership   ⇒ the class followed the teacher's lead
  2. an advance or advantage held over others   ⇒ the runner had a lead of twenty yards
  3. anything that guides or directs; indication; clue
  4. another name for leash
  5. the act or prerogative of playing the first card in a round of cards or the card so played
  6. the principal role in a play, film, etc, or the person playing such a role
    1. the principal news story in a newspaper   ⇒ the scandal was the lead in the papers
    2. the opening paragraph of a news story
    3. (as modifier)   ⇒ lead story
  7. (music) an important entry assigned to one part usually at the beginning of a movement or section
  8. a wire, cable, or other conductor for making an electrical connection
  9. (boxing)
    1. one's habitual attacking punch
    2. a blow made with this
  10. (nautical) the direction in which a rope runs
  11. a deposit of metal or ore; lode
  12. the firing of a gun, missile, etc, ahead of a moving target to correct for the time of flight of the projectile

Word Origin

Old English lǣdan; related to līthan to travel, Old High German līdan to go


View thesaurus entry
= go in front (of), head, be in front, be at the head (of), walk in front (of)
= guide, conduct, steer, escort, precede, usher, pilot, show the way
= connect to, link, open onto
= be ahead (of), be first, exceed, be winning, excel, surpass, come first, transcend, outstrip, outdo, blaze a trail
= command, rule, govern, preside over, head, control, manage, direct, supervise, be in charge of, head up
= result in, cause, produce, contribute, generate, bring about, bring on, give rise to, conduce
= first place, winning position, primary position, vanguard, van
= advantage, start, advance, edge, margin, winning margin
= leading role, principal, protagonist, title role, star part, principal part

lead2 (lɛd Pronunciation for lead2



  1. a heavy toxic bluish-white metallic element that is highly malleable: occurs principally as galena and used in alloys, accumulators, cable sheaths, paints, and as a radiation shield. Symbol: Pb; atomic no: 82; atomic wt: 207.2; valency: 2 or 4; relative density: 11.35; melting pt: 327.502°C; boiling pt: 1750°C related adjectives plumbic plumbeous plumbous
  2. a lead weight suspended on a line used to take soundings of the depth of water
  3. See swing the lead

  4. lead weights or shot, as used in cartridges, fishing lines, etc
  5. a thin grooved strip of lead for holding small panes of glass or pieces of stained glass
  6. (plural)
    1. thin sheets or strips of lead used as a roof covering
    2. a flat or low-pitched roof covered with such sheets
  7. (printing) a thin strip of type metal used for spacing between lines of hot-metal type Compare reglet (sense 2)
    1. graphite or a mixture containing graphite, clay, etc, used for drawing
    2. a thin stick of this material, esp the core of a pencil
  8. (modifier) of, consisting of, relating to, or containing lead
  9. See go down like a lead balloon

verb (transitive)

  1. to fill or treat with lead
  2. to surround, cover, or secure with lead or leads
  3. (printing) to space (type) by use of leads

Derived Forms

ˈleadless adjective
ˈleady adjective

Word Origin

Old English; related to Dutch lood, German Lot

Translations for 'lead'

  • British English: leadPronunciation for lead Lead is a soft, grey, heavy metal.lɛd NOUNmetal
  • Arabic: رَصَاصٌPronunciation for رَصَاصٌ
  • Brazilian Portuguese: chumboPronunciation for chumbo
  • Chinese: Pronunciation for 铅
  • Croatian: olovoPronunciation for olovo
  • Czech: olovoPronunciation for olovo
  • Danish: blyPronunciation for bly
  • Dutch: loodPronunciation for loodmetaal
  • European Spanish: plomoPronunciation for plomometal
  • Finnish: lyijyPronunciation for lyijy
  • French: plombPronunciation for plomb
  • German: BleiPronunciation for Blei
  • Greek: μόλυβδοςPronunciation for μόλυβδος
  • Italian: piomboPronunciation for piombo
  • Japanese: Pronunciation for 鉛metal
  • Korean: Pronunciation for 납금속
  • Norwegian: blyPronunciation for bly
  • Polish: ołówPronunciation for ołów
  • Portuguese: chumboPronunciation for chumbo
  • Romanian: plumb
  • Russian: свинецPronunciation for свинец
  • Spanish: plomoPronunciation for plomo
  • Swedish: blyPronunciation for bly
  • Thai: ตะกั่วPronunciation for ตะกั่ว
  • Turkish: kurşunPronunciation for kurşunmetal
  • Ukrainian: свинець
  • Vietnamese: chìPronunciation for chì
  • British English: leadPronunciation for lead The lead in a play, film, or show is the most important role in it.She recently played the lead in a film.liːd NOUNin a play or film
  • Arabic: دَوْرٌ رَئِيسِيٌّPronunciation for دَوْرٌ رَئِيسِيٌّ
  • Brazilian Portuguese: papel principalPronunciation for papel principalteatro
  • Chinese: 领衔主演Pronunciation for 领衔主演
  • Croatian: glavna ulogaPronunciation for glavna uloga
  • Czech: hlavní rolePronunciation for hlavní role
  • Danish: hovedrollePronunciation for hovedrolle
  • Dutch: hoofdrolPronunciation for hoofdrol
  • European Spanish: papel principalPronunciation for papel principal
  • Finnish: pääosaPronunciation for pääosa
  • French: rôle principalPronunciation for rôle principal
  • German: HauptrollePronunciation for Hauptrolle
  • Greek: πρωταγωνιστήςPronunciation for πρωταγωνιστής πρωταγωνίστρια
  • Italian: protagonistaPronunciation for protagonista
  • Japanese: 主役Pronunciation for 主役in play/film
  • Korean: 주연Pronunciation for 주연
  • Norwegian: hovedrollePronunciation for hovedrolle
  • Polish: główna rolaPronunciation for główna rola
  • Portuguese: papel principalPronunciation for papel principalteatro
  • Romanian: personaj principal personaje principale
  • Russian: главная рольPronunciation for главная роль
  • Spanish: papel principalPronunciation for papel principal
  • Swedish: huvudrollPronunciation for huvudroll
  • Thai: ตัวเอกPronunciation for ตัวเอก
  • Turkish: başrolPronunciation for başroloyun/film
  • Ukrainian: головна роль
  • Vietnamese: vai chínhPronunciation for vai chính
  • British English: leadPronunciation for lead If you are in the lead in a race or competition, you are winning.Our team was in the lead after ten minutes.liːd NOUNin a race or competition
  • Arabic: مَقَالٌ رَئِيسِيٌّ فِي صَحِيفَةٍPronunciation for مَقَالٌ رَئِيسِيٌّ فِي صَحِيفَةٍ
  • Brazilian Portuguese: primeiro lugarPronunciation for primeiro lugar
  • Chinese: 新闻头版Pronunciation for 新闻头版
  • Croatian: vodstvoPronunciation for vodstvo
  • Czech: vedeníPronunciation for vedeníčelo závodu
  • Danish: førerstillingPronunciation for førerstillingincorrekt def
  • Dutch: aan kopPronunciation for aan kop
  • European Spanish: en cabezaPronunciation for en cabeza
  • Finnish: pääuutinenPronunciation for pääuutinen
  • French: gros titrePronunciation for gros titre
  • German: AufmacherPronunciation for Aufmacher Aufmacher
  • Greek: κορυφήPronunciation for κορυφή
  • Italian: vantaggio Pronunciation for vantaggio
  • Japanese: トップ記事Pronunciation for トップ記事news story
  • Korean: 선두Pronunciation for 선두
  • Norwegian: hovedoppslagPronunciation for hovedoppslag
  • Polish: streszczeniePronunciation for streszczenie
  • Portuguese: informaçãoPronunciation for informação
  • Romanian: în frunte
  • Russian: лидерPronunciation for лидер
  • Spanish: delanteraPronunciation for delanteraestar en la primera posición
  • Swedish: förstasidesnyhetPronunciation for förstasidesnyhet
  • Thai: ตำแหน่งนำPronunciation for ตำแหน่งนำ
  • Turkish: anaPronunciation for anahaber
  • Ukrainian: перше місце
  • Vietnamese: đứng đầuPronunciation for đứng đầu
  • British English: leadPronunciation for lead If you lead someone to a place, you take them there.I took his hand and started to lead him into the house.liːd VERB
  • Arabic: يُقَيِّدُPronunciation for يُقَيِّدُ
  • Brazilian Portuguese: conduzirPronunciation for conduzir
  • Chinese: 领导Pronunciation for 领导
  • Croatian: voditiPronunciation for voditi
  • Czech: véstPronunciation for vést zavéstkoho kam
  • Danish: ledePronunciation for lede
  • Dutch: leidenPronunciation for leiden
  • European Spanish: dirigirPronunciation for dirigir
  • Finnish: johtaaPronunciation for johtaa
  • French: menerPronunciation for mener
  • German: führenPronunciation for führen
  • Greek: καθοδηγώPronunciation for καθοδηγώ
  • Italian: condurrePronunciation for condurre
  • Japanese: 導くPronunciation for 導く
  • Korean: 이끌다Pronunciation for 이끌다
  • Norwegian: ledePronunciation for lede
  • Polish: doprowadzićPronunciation for doprowadzić prowadzić
  • Portuguese: conduzirPronunciation for conduzir
  • Romanian: a conduce
  • Russian: вестиPronunciation for вести
  • Spanish: guiarPronunciation for guiarestar en la primera posición
  • Swedish: ledaPronunciation for leda
  • Thai: นำPronunciation for นำ
  • Turkish: yol göstermekPronunciation for yol göstermek
  • Ukrainian: вести привести
  • Vietnamese: dẫnPronunciation for dẫn

Example Sentences Including 'lead'

Inexplicably, the Kariens sent their infantry to lead the attack.
Jennifer Fallon TREASON KEEP (2001)
The dog continued, yanked the lead tight, walked back huffily, looked at their feet.
In each pack there was a tin containing fishing line, a selection of hooks and some split lead weights.
Mark Burnell CHAMELEON (2002)


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