Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To show the way to by going in advance.
  • transitive v. To guide or direct in a course: lead a horse by the halter. See Synonyms at guide.
  • transitive v. To serve as a route for; take: The path led them to a cemetery.
  • transitive v. To be a channel or conduit for (water or electricity, for example).
  • transitive v. To guide the behavior or opinion of; induce: led us to believe otherwise.
  • transitive v. To direct the performance or activities of: lead an orchestra.
  • transitive v. To inspire the conduct of: led the nation in its crisis.
  • transitive v. To play a principal or guiding role in: lead a discussion; led the antiwar movement.
  • transitive v. To go or be at the head of: The queen led the procession. My name led the list.
  • transitive v. To be ahead of: led the runner-up by three strides.
  • transitive v. To be foremost in or among: led the field in nuclear research; led her teammates in free throws.
  • transitive v. To pass or go through; live: lead an independent life.
  • transitive v. To begin or open with, as in games: led an ace.
  • transitive v. To guide (a partner) in dancing.
  • transitive v. To aim in front of (a moving target).
  • transitive v. Sports To pass a ball or puck ahead of (a moving teammate) so that the player can receive the pass without changing direction or losing momentum.
  • intransitive v. To be first; be ahead.
  • intransitive v. To go first as a guide.
  • intransitive v. To act as commander, director, or guide.
  • intransitive v. To afford a passage, course, or route: a road that leads over the mountains; a door leading to the pantry.
  • intransitive v. To tend toward a certain goal or result: a remark that led to further discussion; policies that led to disaster.
  • intransitive v. To make the initial play, as in a game or contest.
  • intransitive v. To begin a presentation or an account in a given way: The announcer led with the day's top stories.
  • intransitive v. To guide a dance partner.
  • intransitive v. To start a dance step on a specified foot.
  • intransitive v. Baseball To advance a few paces away from one's base toward the next while the pitcher is in the delivery. Used of a base runner.
  • intransitive v. Sports To begin an attack in boxing with a specified hand or punch: led with a right to the body.
  • n. The first or foremost position.
  • n. One occupying such a position; a leader.
  • n. The initiative: took the lead in setting the pace of the project.
  • n. The margin by which one holds a position of advantage or superiority: held a lead of nine points at the half.
  • n. Information pointing toward a possible solution; a clue: followed a promising lead in the murder case.
  • n. An indication of potential opportunity; a tip: a good lead for a job.
  • n. Command; leadership: took over the lead of the company.
  • n. An example; a precedent: followed his sister's lead in running for office.
  • n. The principal role in a dramatic production.
  • n. The person playing such a role.
  • n. The introductory portion of a news story.
  • n. An important, usually prominently displayed news story.
  • n. Games The first play.
  • n. Games The prerogative or turn to make the first play: The lead passes to the player on the left.
  • n. Games A card played first in a round.
  • n. Baseball A position taken by a base runner away from one base in the direction of the next.
  • n. Sports A blow in boxing that begins a series or exchange of punches.
  • n. A leash.
  • n. Geology A deposit of gold ore in an old riverbed.
  • n. Geology See lode.
  • n. Electronics A conductor by which one circuit element is electrically connected to another.
  • n. Nautical The direction in which a line runs.
  • n. The distance aimed in front of a moving target.
  • n. A channel of open water created by a break in a mass of ice.
  • adj. First or foremost: the lead leg on a surfboard.
  • adj. Most important: the lead author of a research paper.
  • lead off To begin; start.
  • lead off Baseball To be the first batter in an inning.
  • lead on To keep in a state of expectation or hope; entice.
  • lead on To mislead; deceive.
  • idiom lead the way To show a course or route by going in advance.
  • idiom lead the way To be foremost in an endeavor or trend: The firm led the way in the application of new technology.
  • idiom lead up to To result in by a series of steps: events leading up to the coup.
  • idiom lead up to To proceed toward (a main topic) with preliminary remarks.
  • n. A soft, malleable, ductile, bluish-white, dense metallic element, extracted chiefly from galena and used in containers and pipes for corrosives, solder and type metal, bullets, radiation shielding, paints, and antiknock compounds. Atomic number 82; atomic weight 207.2; melting point 327.5°C; boiling point 1,744°C; specific gravity 11.35; valence 2, 4. See Table at element.
  • n. A lead weight suspended by a line, used to make soundings.
  • n. Bullets from or for firearms; shot: pumped the target full of lead.
  • n. Strips of lead used to hold the panes of a window.
  • n. Printing A thin strip of metal used to separate lines of type.
  • n. Chiefly British A flat roof covered with sheets of lead.
  • n. Any of various, often graphitic compositions used as the writing substance in pencils.
  • n. A thin stick of such material.
  • transitive v. To cover, line, weight, or fill with lead.
  • transitive v. Printing To provide space between (lines of type) with leads.
  • transitive v. To secure (window glass) with leads.
  • transitive v. To treat with lead or a lead compound: leaded gasoline; leaded paint.
  • idiom get the lead out Informal To start moving or move more rapidly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A heavy, pliable, inelastic metal element, having a bright, bluish color, but easily tarnished; both malleable and ductile, though with little tenacity. It is easily fusible, forms alloys with other metals, and is an ingredient of solder and type metal. Atomic number 82, symbol Pb (from Latin plumbum).
  • n. A plummet or mass of lead attached to a line, used in sounding depth at sea or (dated) to estimate velocity in knots.
  • n. A thin strip of type metal, used to separate lines of type in printing.
  • n. Vertical space in advance of a row or between rows of text. Also known as leading.
  • n. Sheets or plates of lead used as a covering for roofs.
  • n. A roof covered with lead sheets or terne plates.
  • n. A thin cylinder of black lead or plumbago (graphite) used in pencils.
  • n. Bullets; ammunition.
  • v. To cover, fill, or affect with lead; as, continuous firing leads the grooves of a rifle.
  • v. To place leads between the lines of; as, to lead a page; leaded matter.
  • v. To guide or conduct with the hand, or by means of some physical contact connection; as, a father leads a child; a jockey leads a horse with a halter; a dog leads a blind man.
  • v. To guide or conduct in a certain course, or to a certain place or end, by making the way known; to show the way, especially by going with or going in advance of, to lead a pupil; to guide somebody somewhere or to bring somebody somewhere by means of instructions. Hence, figuratively: To direct; to counsel; to instruct; as, to lead a traveler.
  • v. To conduct or direct with authority; to have direction or charge of; as, to lead an army, an exploring party, or a search; to lead a political party; to command, especially a military or business unit
  • v. To go or to be in advance of; to precede; hence, to be foremost or chief among; as, the big sloop led the fleet of yachts; the Guards led the attack; Demosthenes leads the orators of all ages.
  • v. To draw or direct by influence, whether good or bad; to prevail on; to induce; to entice; to allure; as, to lead one to espouse a righteous cause.
  • v. To guide or conduct oneself in, through, or along (a certain course); hence, to proceed in the way of; to follow the path or course of; to pass; to spend. Also, to cause (one) to proceed or follow in (a certain course).
  • v. To begin a game, round, or trick, with; as, to lead trumps
  • v. To guide or conduct, as by accompanying, going before, showing, influencing, directing with authority, etc.; to have precedence or preeminence; to be first or chief; — used in most of the senses of the transitive verb.
  • v. To be ahead of others, e.g., in a race
  • v. To have the highest interim score in a game
  • v. To be more advanced in technology or business than others
  • v. To tend or reach in a certain direction, or to a certain place; as, the path leads to the mill; gambling leads to other vices.
  • v. To lead off or out, to go first; to begin.
  • v. To produce.
  • v. To step off base and move towards the next base.
  • v. To aim in front of a moving target, in order that the shot may hit the target as it passes.
  • n. The act of leading or conducting; guidance; direction, course; as, to take the lead; to be under the lead of another.
  • n. Precedence; advance position; also, the measure of precedence; as, the white horse had the lead; a lead of a boat’s length, or of half a second; the state of being ahead in a race; the highest score in a game in an incomplete game.
  • n. a metallic wire for electrical devices and equipments
  • n. When a runner steps away from a base while waiting for the pitch to be thrown
  • n. (cards and dominoes) The act or right of playing first in a game or round; the card suit, or piece, so played; as, your partner has the lead.
  • n. A channel of open water in an ice field.
  • n. A lode.
  • n. The course of a rope from end to end.
  • n. A rope, leather strap, or similar device with which to lead an animal; a leash
  • n. In a steam engine, The width of port opening which is uncovered by the valve, for the admission or release of steam, at the instant when the piston is at end of its stroke.
  • n. charging lead
  • n. The distance of haul, as from a cutting to an embankment.
  • n. The action of a tooth, as a tooth of a wheel, in impelling another tooth or a pallet. — Claudias Saunier
  • n. Hypothesis that has not been pursued
  • n. Information obtained by a detective or police officer that allows him or her to discover further details about a crime or incident.
  • n. Potential opportunity for a sale or transaction, a potential customer.
  • n. Information obtained by a news reporter about an issue or subject that allows him or her to discover more details.
  • n. The player who throws the first two rocks for a team.
  • n. A teaser; a lead in; the start of a newspaper column, telling who, what, when, where, why and how. (Sometimes spelled as lede for this usage to avoid ambiguity.)
  • n. An important news story that appears on the front page of a newspaper or at the beginning of a news broadcast
  • n. The axial distance a screw thread travels in one revolution. It is equal to the pitch times the number of starts.
  • n. In a barbershop quartet, the person who sings the melody, usually the second tenor
  • adj. Foremost.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One of the elements, a heavy, pliable, inelastic metal, having a bright, bluish color, but easily tarnished. It is both malleable and ductile, though with little tenacity, and is used for tubes, sheets, bullets, etc. Its specific gravity is 11.37. It is easily fusible (melting point 327.5° C), forms alloys with other metals, and is an ingredient of solder and type metal. Atomic number 82. Atomic weight, 207.2. Symbol Pb (L. Plumbum). It is chiefly obtained from the mineral galena, lead sulphide.
  • n. An article made of lead or an alloy of lead.
  • n. A plummet or mass of lead, used in sounding at sea.
  • n. A thin strip of type metal, used to separate lines of type in printing.
  • n. Sheets or plates of lead used as a covering for roofs; hence, pl., a roof covered with lead sheets or terne plates.
  • n. A small cylinder of black lead or graphite, used in pencils.
  • transitive v. To cover, fill, or affect with lead.
  • transitive v. To place leads between the lines of
  • transitive v. To guide or conduct with the hand, or by means of some physical contact or connection
  • transitive v. To guide or conduct in a certain course, or to a certain place or end, by making the way known; to show the way, esp. by going with or going in advance of.
  • transitive v. To conduct or direct with authority; to have direction or charge of
  • transitive v. To go or to be in advance of; to precede; hence, to be foremost or chief among
  • transitive v. To draw or direct by influence, whether good or bad; to prevail on; to induce; to entice; to allure.
  • transitive v. To guide or conduct one's self in, through, or along (a certain course); hence, to proceed in the way of; to follow the path or course of; to pass; to spend. Also, to cause (one) to proceed or follow in (a certain course).
  • transitive v. To begin a game, round, or trick, with
  • intransitive v. To guide or conduct, as by accompanying, going before, showing, influencing, directing with authority, etc.; to have precedence or preëminence; to be first or chief; -- used in most of the senses of lead, v. t.
  • intransitive v. To tend or reach in a certain direction, or to a certain place
  • n. The act of leading or conducting; guidance; direction
  • n. Precedence; advance position; also, the measure of precedence
  • n. The act or right of playing first in a game or round; the card suit, or piece, so played.
  • n. An open way in an ice field.
  • n. A lode.
  • n. The course of a rope from end to end.
  • n. The width of port opening which is uncovered by the valve, for the admission or release of steam, at the instant when the piston is at end of its stroke.
  • n. the distance of haul, as from a cutting to an embankment.
  • n. The action of a tooth, as a tooth of a wheel, in impelling another tooth or a pallet.
  • n.
  • n. The announcement by one voice part of a theme to be repeated by the other parts.
  • n. A mark or a short passage in one voice part, as of a canon, serving as a cue for the entrance of others.
  • n. In an internal-combustion engine, the distance, measured in actual length of piston stroke or the corresponding angular displacement of the crank, of the piston from the end of the compression stroke when ignition takes place; -- called in full lead of the ignition. When ignition takes place during the working stroke the corresponding distance from the commencement of the stroke is called negative lead.
  • n. The excess above a right angle in the angle between two consecutive cranks, as of a compound engine, on the same shaft.
  • n. In spiral screw threads, worm wheels, or the like, the amount of advance of any point in the spiral for a complete turn.
  • n.
  • n. The angle between the line joining the brushes of a continuous-current dynamo and the diameter symmetrical between the poles.
  • n. The advance of the current phase in an alternating circuit beyond that of the electromotive force producing it.
  • n. A role for a leading man or leading woman; also, one who plays such a role.
  • n. The first story in a newspaper or broadcast news program.
  • n. an electrical conductor, typically as an insulated wire or cable, connecting an electrical device to another device or to a power source, such as a conductor conveying electricity from a dynamo.
  • n. the distance a runner on base advances from one base toward the next before the pitch.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To go before as a guide; guide the steps or movements of; precede or accompany in order to show the way to; conduct: as, to lead the blind; a star led the three wise men to Bethlehem.
  • To be at the head of; direct or control the movements or actions of; command: as, to lead an army or an expedition; to lead a mutiny.
  • Specifically, in music:
  • To conduct or direct, as a band, orchestra, or chorus.
  • To act as a principal performer in, as an orchestra or chorus: said of the principal first violin, of the principal soprano, etc.
  • To go before or in advance of; take the lead of or in; go or be first in: as, the gray horse leads them all; he leads his class in mathematics; to lead the dance.
  • To cause to go or act; draw on; induce; influence: as, to lead one astray; this leads me to refuse.
  • To conduct in a way or course; draw or guide in a mode of acting or thinking: as, to lead a stream of water through a field for irrigation; to lead one's thoughts into new channels.
  • To draw out; live through; pass: said of manner of life: as, to lead an idle life.
  • To draw or drag into: cause to proceed in: as, he led his pursuers a hard chase.
  • To act as a guide in; show by going before.
  • To drive, as horses.
  • To transport or carry, as in a cart or other conveyance.
  • In card-playing, to commence a round or trick with: as, to lead a heart or a trump.
  • To go before as a guide; act as a guide; show the way by going along with or in advance; take the lead.
  • To be in advance; be first; have precedence or power of direction: as, to lead in a race or in battle.
  • To serve for direction or guidance; have a direction or tendency; tend: as, this road leads to the river; gaming leads to other vices.
  • In card-playing, to play the first card of a round or trick.
  • To be led; be guided, conducted, or turned in a given way.
  • n. The position of a guide or leader; guidance; direction; instruction; hence, the condition of being first or foremost; precedence: as, to be in the lead; to take the lead of a party; to have a clear lead in a game; to give one a lead in hunting.
  • n. A following.
  • n. That which leads or guides; that which is followed, as an example, a clue, or a passage-way: as, to follow the lead of a speculator; to find a lead out of a difficulty.
  • n. In mining, a lode. See lode, n.
  • n. The right of playing the first card in a round or trick; the suit or card so played.
  • n. The course of a running rope from end to end: as, a clear lead.
  • n. In engineering, the average distance required to be traveled to remove the earth of an excavation to form an embankment.
  • n. In electricity:
  • n. The angle between the plane through the lines of contact of the brushes or collectors of a dynamo or electric motor with the commutator and the transverse plane bisecting the magnetic field.
  • n. A conductor conveying electricity from the source to the place where it is to be used.
  • n. In a steam-engine, an arrangement of the valve or valves and the ports of a cylinder by which the steam is admitted in front of the piston or allowed to escape from behind it a little before the end of the stroke.
  • n. In music:
  • n. The enunciation by one voice-part of the subject or theme of a thematic composition before the entrance of the other parts.
  • n. A cue or short passage in one voice-part on which the entrance of others depends.
  • n. Chemical symbol, Pb; atomic weight, 206.9. One of the useful metals, remarkable for its softness and durability.
  • n. A plummet or mass of lead attached to a graduated line, used in sounding at sea.
  • n. In printing, a thin strip of type-metal (sometimes of brass), used to increase the space between lines of composed types.
  • n. A small stick of black-lead or plumbago used in pencils.
  • n. plural Sheets or plates of lead used for covering roofs: sometimes used as a singular for a flat roof covered with lead.

Etymologies

Middle English leden, from Old English lǣdan; see leit- in Indo-European roots.
Middle English led, from Old English lēad, probably of Celtic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English leed, from Old English lēad ("lead"), from Proto-Germanic *laudan (“lead”), from Proto-Indo-European *lAudh- (“lead”). Cognate with Scots leid, lede ("lead"), North Frisian lud, luad ("lead"), West Frisian lead ("lead"), Dutch lood ("lead"), German Lot ("solder, plummet, sounding line"), Swedish lod ("lead"), Icelandic lóð ("a plumb, weight"), Irish luaidhe ("lead"), Lithuanian liudē ("plumb, plummet, plumbline"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "lead" in Hungarian means: to pass on / to give away

    August 7, 2012

  • Homography!

    July 19, 2010

  • "Edgington was awake, writing a 10,000-page love letter to Peg.
    'Still up?' I said.
    'No,' he said. 'It went down an hour ago.'
    ...
    I pulled myself wearily under the blankets. (Hadn't I better rephrase that?) I fell asleep leaving sexually frustrated Edgington trying to work it out in writing. He certainly had a lot of lead in his pencil."
    - Spike Milligan, 'Mussolini: My Part In His Downfall.'

    April 19, 2009

  • Pb; chemical element. Also, introductory piece (say, for a news story).

    November 22, 2007

  • rhymes with red - a heavy metal
    rhymes with reed - to go in front, or to command

    March 27, 2007

  • "Mister Calamy, the lead if you please!" (Midshipman Hollom, "Master and Commander")

    February 21, 2007