English Thesaurus
(verb) 
Definition
to show the way to (an individual or a group) by going with or ahead
Tom was leading, a rifle slung over his back.
Synonyms
go in front (of)
,
head
The parson, heading the procession, had just turned right.
,
be in front
,
be at the head (of)
,
walk in front (of)
(verb) 
Definition
to guide or be guided by physical means
He led him into the house.
Synonyms
guide
She took the bewildered man by the arm and guided him out.
,
conduct
He asked if he might conduct us to the ball.
,
steer
Nick steered them into the nearest seats.
,
escort
I escorted him to the door.
,
precede
Alice preceded them from the room.
,
usher
They were quickly ushered away.
,
pilot
Local fishermen piloted the boats.
,
show the way
(verb) 
Definition
(of a road or way) to be the means of reaching a place
the doors that led to the yard
Synonyms
connect to
, ,
open onto
(verb) 
Definition
to go at the head of or have the top position in (something)
So far she leads by five games to two.
Synonyms
be ahead (of)
,
be first
,
exceed
His performance exceeded all expectations.
,
be winning
,
excel
Few dancers have excelled her in virtuosity.
,
surpass
He was determined to surpass the achievements of his older brothers.
,
come first
,
transcend
issues like EU membership that transcend party loyalty
,
outstrip
In recent years demand has outstripped supply.
,
outdo
Both sides have tried to outdo each other.
,
blaze a trail
(verb) 
Definition
to have the principal part in (something)
He led the country between 1949 and 1984.
Synonyms
command
the French general who commands the UN troops in the region
,
rule
the feudal lord who ruled this land
,
govern
They go to the polls on Friday to choose the people they want to govern their country.
,
preside over
,
head
He heads the department's Office of Civil Rights.
,
control
He now controls the largest retail development empire in southern California.
You should not let other people control you.
,
manage
Within two years, he was managing the store.
,
direct
She will direct day-to-day operations.
,
supervise
One of his jobs was supervising the dining room.
,
be in charge of
,
head up
(verb) 
Definition
to pass or spend
She led a normal happy life with her sister and brother.
Synonyms
live
We can start living a normal life again now.
,
have
He might be having a heart attack.
,
spend
We spent the night in a hotel.
,
experience
couples who have experienced the trauma of divorce
,
pass
The children passed the time playing in the streets.
,
undergo
New recruits have been undergoing training in recent weeks.
(verb) 
A pay rise will only lead to job cuts.
Synonyms
result in
,
cause
I don't want to cause any trouble.
,
produce
Cooking with spices produces a wonderful smell.
, ,
generate
The minister said the reforms would generate new jobs.
,
bring about
,
bring on
,
give rise to
,
(verb) 
Definition
to influence someone to act, think, or behave in a certain way
It was not as straightforward as we were led to believe.
Synonyms
,
prompt
The recession has prompted consumers to cut back on buying cars.
,
persuade
the event which persuaded the United States to enter the war
,
move
The hearings moved me to come up with these suggestions.
, ,
influence
The conference influenced us to launch the campaign.
,
motivate
His hard work was motivated by a need to achieve.
, ,
induce
I would do anything to induce them to stay.
,
incline
the factors which incline us towards particular beliefs
,
dispose
theologies which dispose their adherents to fanaticism
(noun) 
Definition
the first or most prominent place
The Social Democrats are still in the lead in the opinion polls.
Synonyms
first place
,
winning position
,
primary position
,
vanguard
Students have been in the vanguard of revolutionary change.
,
van
(noun) 
Definition
an advantage over others
He now has a lead of 30 points.
Synonyms
advantage
Men still have an economic position of advantage over women.
, , ,
edge
This could give them the edge over their oppponents.
,
margin
These islands are on the margins of human habitation.
,
winning margin
(noun) 
Definition
example or leadership
the need for the president to give a moral lead
Synonyms
example
This piece is a perfect example of symphonic construction.
,
direction
The house was built under the direction of his partner.
,
leadership
What most people want to see is determined, decisive action and firm leadership.
,
guidance
They improve their performance under the guidance of professional coaches.
,
model
the Chinese model of economic reform
,
pattern
the ideal pattern of a good society
(noun) 
Definition
an indication
The inquiry team is following up possible leads.
Synonyms
clue
Scientists have discovered a clue that may unlock the puzzle.
a vital clue to the killer's identity
,
tip
A good tip is to buy the most expensive lens you can afford.
,
suggestion
that fashionably faint suggestion of a tan
,
trace
Wash them in cold water to remove all traces of sand.
,
hint
I'd dropped a hint about having an exhibition of his work.
,
guide
Our only guide was the stars overhead.
,
indication
He gave no indication that he was ready to compromise.
,
pointer
Sunday's elections should be a pointer to the public mood.
,
tip-off
He was arrested after a tip-off to police by a member of the public.
(noun) 
Definition
the principal role in a play, film, or other production, or the person playing such a role
Two dancers from the Bolshoi Ballet dance the leads.
Synonyms
leading role
,
principal
soloists and principals of The Scottish Ballet orchestra
,
protagonist
the protagonist of J.D. Salinger's novel
,
title role
,
star part
,
principal part
(noun) 
Definition
a length of leather, nylon, or chain used to walk or control a dog
He came out with a little dog on a lead.
Synonyms
leash
All dogs should be on a leash.
,
line
No one seems able to pursue a line of inquiry far enough to get an answer.
,
cord
The door had been tied shut with a length of nylon cord.
, ,
tether
The eagle sat on a tether, looking fierce.
(adjective) 
Definition
acting as a leader or lead
Cossiga's reaction is the lead story in the Italian press.
Synonyms
main
My main concern now is to protect the children.
,
prime
Political stability is a prime concern.
,
top
I need to have the top people in this company work together.
,
leading
Britain's future as a leading industrial nation depends on investment.
,
first
The first priority for development is to defeat inflation.
,
head
I had the head man out from the gas company.
,
chief
Financial stress is acknowledged as a chief reason for divorce.
The job went to one of his chief rivals.
,
premier
the country's premier opera company
,
primary
His primary aim in life is to be happy.
,
most important
,
principal
Their principal concern is that of winning the next election.
,
foremost
He was one of the world's foremost scholars.

Phrasal verbs

See lead off

Additional synonyms

in the sense of chief
Financial stress is acknowledged as a chief reason for divorce.The job went to one of his chief rivals.
Synonyms
highest,
key,
most important,
big-time (informal),
major league (informal),
in the sense of conduce
in the sense of conduct
Definition
to accompany and guide (people or a party)
He asked if he might conduct us to the ball.

related words

related adjectives plumbeousplumbic

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Video: pronunciation of 'lead'

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Thesaurus for lead from the Collins English Thesaurus
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