English Dictionary

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Definitions of lead

lead1 (liːd



Word forms:   leads,  leading or ,  led  (lɛd
  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



  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 ▶ 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: lead Lead is a soft, grey, heavy metal.lɛd NOUNmetal
  • Arabic: رَصَاصٌ
  • Brazilian Portuguese: chumbo
  • Chinese:
  • Croatian: olovo
  • Czech: olovo
  • Danish: bly
  • Dutch: loodmetaal
  • European Spanish: plomometal
  • Finnish: lyijy
  • French: plomb
  • German: Blei
  • Greek: μόλυβδος
  • Italian: piombo
  • Japanese: metal
  • Korean: 금속
  • Norwegian: bly
  • Polish: ołów
  • Portuguese: chumbo
  • Romanian: plumb
  • Russian: свинец
  • Spanish: plomo
  • Swedish: bly
  • Thai: ตะกั่ว
  • Turkish: kurşunmetal
  • Ukrainian: свинець
  • Vietnamese: chì
  • British English: 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 رَئِيسِيٌّ
  • Brazilian Portuguese: papel principalteatro
  • Chinese: 领衔主演
  • Croatian: glavna uloga
  • Czech: hlavní role
  • Danish: hovedrolle
  • Dutch: hoofdrol
  • European Spanish: papel principal
  • Finnish: pääosa
  • French: rôle principal
  • German: Hauptrolle
  • Greek: πρωταγωνιστής πρωταγωνίστρια
  • Italian: protagonista
  • Japanese: 主役in play/film
  • Korean: 주연
  • Norwegian: hovedrolle
  • Polish: główna rola
  • Portuguese: papel principalteatro
  • Romanian: personaj principal personaje principale
  • Russian: главная роль
  • Spanish: papel principal
  • Swedish: huvudroll
  • Thai: ตัวเอก
  • Turkish: başroloyun/film
  • Ukrainian: головна роль
  • Vietnamese: vai chính
  • British English: 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 صَحِيفَةٍ
  • Brazilian Portuguese: primeiro lugar
  • Chinese: 新闻头版
  • Croatian: vodstvo
  • Czech: vedeníčelo závodu
  • Danish: førerstillingincorrekt def
  • Dutch: aan kop
  • European Spanish: en cabeza
  • Finnish: pääuutinen
  • French: gros titre
  • German: Aufmacher Aufmacher
  • Greek: κορυφή
  • Italian: vantaggio
  • Japanese: トップ記事news story
  • Korean: 선두
  • Norwegian: hovedoppslag
  • Polish: streszczenie
  • Portuguese: informação
  • Romanian: în frunte
  • Russian: лидер
  • Spanish: delanteraestar en la primera posición
  • Swedish: förstasidesnyhet
  • Thai: ตำแหน่งนำ
  • Turkish: anahaber
  • Ukrainian: перше місце
  • Vietnamese: đứng đầu
  • British English: 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: يُقَيِّدُ
  • Brazilian Portuguese: conduzir
  • Chinese: 领导
  • Croatian: voditi
  • Czech: vést zavéstkoho kam
  • Danish: lede
  • Dutch: leiden
  • European Spanish: dirigir
  • Finnish: johtaa
  • French: mener
  • German: führen
  • Greek: καθοδηγώ
  • Italian: condurre
  • Japanese: 導く
  • Korean: 이끌다
  • Norwegian: lede
  • Polish: doprowadzić prowadzić
  • Portuguese: conduzir
  • Romanian: a conduce
  • Russian: вести
  • Spanish: guiarestar en la primera posición
  • Swedish: leda
  • Thai: นำ
  • Turkish: yol göstermek
  • Ukrainian: вести привести
  • Vietnamese: 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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