View synonyms for lead



[ leed ]

verb (used with object)

, led, lead·ing.
  1. to go before or with to show the way; conduct or escort:

    to lead a group on a cross-country hike.

    Synonyms: precede, guide, accompany

    Antonyms: follow

  2. to conduct by holding and guiding:

    to lead a horse by a rope.

  3. to influence or induce; cause:

    Subsequent events led him to reconsider his position.

    Synonyms: convince, persuade

  4. to guide in direction, course, action, opinion, etc.; bring:

    You can lead her around to your point of view if you are persistent.

  5. to conduct or bring (water, wire, etc.) in a particular course.
  6. (of a road, passage, etc.) to serve to bring (a person) to a place:

    The first street on the left will lead you to Andrews Place.

  7. to take or bring:

    The prisoners were led into the warden's office.

  8. to command or direct (an army or other large organization):

    He led the Allied forces during the war.

  9. to go at the head of or in advance of (a procession, list, body, etc.); proceed first in:

    The mayor will lead the parade.

  10. to be superior to; have the advantage over:

    The first baseman leads his teammates in runs batted in.

    Synonyms: surpass, outstrip, excel

  11. to have top position or first place in:

    Iowa leads the nation in corn production.

  12. to have the directing or principal part in:

    The minister will now lead us in prayer. He led a peace movement.

  13. to act as leader of (an orchestra, band, etc.); conduct.
  14. to go through or pass (time, life, etc.):

    to lead a full life.

  15. Cards. to begin a round, game, etc., with (a card or suit specified).
  16. to aim and fire a firearm or cannon ahead of (a moving target) in order to allow for the travel of the target while the bullet or shell is reaching it.
  17. Football. to throw a lead pass to (an intended receiver):

    The quarterback led the left end.

verb (used without object)

, led, lead·ing.
  1. to act as a guide; show the way:

    You lead and we'll follow.

  2. to afford passage to a place:

    That path leads directly to the house.

  3. to go first; be in advance:

    The band will lead and the troops will follow.

  4. to result in; tend toward (usually followed by to ):

    The incident led to his resignation. One remark often leads to another.

  5. to take the directing or principal part.
  6. to take the offensive:

    The contender led with a right to the body.

  7. Cards. to make the first play.
  8. to be led or submit to being led, as a horse:

    A properly trained horse will lead easily.

  9. Baseball. (of a base runner) to leave a base before the delivery of a pitch in order to reach the next base more quickly (often followed by away ).
  10. lead back, to play (a card) from a suit that one's partner led.


  1. the first or foremost place; position in advance of others:

    He took the lead in the race.

    Synonyms: vanguard, head

  2. the extent of such an advance position:

    He had a lead of four lengths.

  3. a person or thing that leads.
  4. a leash.
  5. a suggestion or piece of information that helps to direct or guide; tip; clue:

    I got a lead on a new job. The phone list provided some great sales leads.

  6. a guide or indication of a road, course, method, etc., to follow.
  7. precedence; example; leadership:

    They followed the lead of the capital in their fashions.

  8. Theater.
    1. the principal part in a play.
    2. the person who plays it.
  9. Cards.
    1. the act or right of playing first, as in a round.
    2. the card, suit, etc., so played.
  10. Journalism. lede ( def ).
  11. Electricity. an often flexible and insulated single conductor, as a wire, used in connections between pieces of electric apparatus.
  12. the act of taking the offensive.
  13. Nautical.
    1. the direction of a rope, wire, or chain.
    2. Also called leader. any of various devices for guiding a running rope.
  14. Naval Architecture. the distance between the center of lateral resistance and the center of effort of a sailing ship, usually expressed decimally as a fraction of the water-line length.
  15. an open channel through a field of ice.
  16. Mining.
    1. a lode.
    2. an auriferous deposit in an old riverbed.
  17. the act of aiming a gun ahead of a moving target.
  18. the distance ahead of a moving target that a gun must be aimed in order to score a direct hit.
  19. Baseball. an act or instance of leading.
  20. Manège. (of a horse at a canter or gallop) the foreleg that consistently extends beyond and strikes the ground ahead of the other foreleg:

    The horse is cantering on the left lead.


  1. most important; principal; leading; first:

    lead editorial;

    lead elephant;

    lead designer.

  2. Football. (of a forward pass) thrown ahead of the intended receiver so as to allow him to catch it while running.
  3. Baseball. (of a base runner) nearest to scoring:

    They forced the lead runner at third base on an attempted sacrifice.

verb phrase

    1. to take the initiative; begin.
    2. Baseball. to be the first player in the batting order or the first batter in an inning.
    1. to make a beginning.
    2. to escort a partner to begin a dance:

      He led her out and they began a rumba.

    1. to induce to follow an unwise course of action; mislead.
    2. to cause or encourage to believe something that is not true.



[ led ]


  1. Chemistry. a heavy, comparatively soft, malleable, bluish-gray metal, sometimes found in its natural state but usually combined as a sulfide, especially in galena. : Pb; : 207.19; : 82; : 11.34 at 20°C.
  2. something made of this metal or of one of its alloys.
  3. a plummet or mass of lead suspended by a line, as for taking soundings.

    Synonyms: plumb, weight

  4. bullets collectively; shot.
  5. a small stick of graphite, as used in pencils.
  6. Also Printing. a thin strip of type metal or brass less than type-high, used for increasing the space between lines of type.
  7. a grooved bar of lead or came in which sections of glass are set, as in stained-glass windows.
  8. leads, British. a roof, especially one that is shallow or flat, covered with lead.

verb (used with object)

  1. to cover, line, weight, treat, or impregnate with lead or one of its compounds.
  2. Printing. to insert leads between the lines of.
  3. to fix (window glass) in position with leads.


  1. made of or containing lead:

    a lead pipe; a lead compound.



/ liːd /


  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. tr to cause to act, feel, think, or behave in a certain way; induce; influence

    he led me to believe that he would go

  4. tr to phrase a question to (a witness) that tends to suggest the desired answer
  5. whenintr, foll by to (of a road, route, etc) to serve as the means of reaching a place
  6. tr 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. tr 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. intrfoll bywith to have as the first or principal item

    the newspaper led with the royal birth

  12. music
    1. to play first violin in (an orchestra)
    2. intr (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. tr
    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. intrfoll byto 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. tr to aim at a point in front of (a moving target) in shooting, etc, in order to allow for the time of flight
  18. intr boxing to make an offensive blow, esp as one's habitual attacking punch

    southpaws lead with their right

  19. lead astray
    to mislead so as to cause error or wrongdoing
  20. lead by the nose
    See nose
“Collins English Dictionary — Complete & Unabridged” 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012


    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
“Collins English Dictionary — Complete & Unabridged” 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012



/ 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 plumbicplumbeousplumbous
  2. a lead weight suspended on a line used to take soundings of the depth of water
  3. swing the lead
    to malinger or make up excuses
  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
    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. go down like a lead balloon
    See balloon
“Collins English Dictionary — Complete & Unabridged” 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012


  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
“Collins English Dictionary — Complete & Unabridged” 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012


/ lĕd /

  1. A soft, ductile, heavy, bluish-gray metallic element that is extracted chiefly from galena. It is very durable and resistant to corrosion and is a poor conductor of electricity. Lead is used to make radiation shielding and containers for corrosive substances. It was once commonly used in pipes, solder, roofing, paint, and antiknock compounds in gasoline, but its use in these products has been curtailed because of its toxicity. Atomic number 82; atomic weight 207.2; melting point 327.5°C; boiling point 1,744°C; specific gravity 11.35; valence 2, 4.
  2. See Periodic Table See Note at element

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Derived Forms

  • ˈleadless, adjective
  • ˈleady, adjective
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Other Words From

  • leadless adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of lead1

First recorded before 900; Middle English leden “to conduct, accompany; bring, take; guide,” Old English lǣdan (causative of līthan “to go by sea, sail, travel”); cognate with Dutch leiden, German leiten, Old Norse leitha

Origin of lead2

First recorded before 900; Middle English led(e), lead, leid, Old English lēad; cognate with Dutch lood, Old Frisian lād “lead,” German Lot “plumb bob, plummet”
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Word History and Origins

Origin of lead1

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

Origin of lead2

Old English; related to Dutch lood, German Lot
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Idioms and Phrases

  1. get the lead out, Slang. to move or work faster; hurry up.
  2. go over like a lead balloon, Slang. to fail to arouse interest, enthusiasm, or support.
  3. heave the lead, Nautical. to take a sounding with a lead.
  4. lead someone a chase / dance, to cause someone difficulty by forcing to do irksome or unnecessary things.
  5. lead up to,
    1. to prepare the way for.
    2. to approach (a subject, disclosure, etc.) gradually or evasively:

      I could tell by her allusions that she was leading up to something.

  6. lead the way. way 1( def 34 ).

More idioms and phrases containing lead

  • all roads lead to Rome
  • blind leading the blind
  • get the lead out of
  • go over (like a lead balloon)
  • put lead in one's pencil
  • you can lead a horse to water
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Example Sentences

Customer engagement, brand promotion, and lead generation are also the top activities of brands on social media.

The ad extension allows advertisers to opt in to having a lead form pop up directly in search results upon an ad click.

This has been a concern for a while on the SEO side, but lead form extensions expand this move into paid advertising.

Like Target Impression Share, Maximize Clicks campaigns should focus more on awareness and leads than actual sales.

Ensure consistency to dominate local search and increase the visitor-to-lead conversion rate.

Such is her burgeoning popularity Toomey is looking to employ more instructors to lead her highly personalized exercise classes.

There were a lot of little pieces, pieces of lead and stuff.

Big Perm worries that the lack of policing the “small fry” will lead to more crimes by “big fry.”

Few reports of his mental illness discuss lead poisoning as a possible reason for his mental deterioration.

Sting took over the lead role to try to draw an audience, but his thumpingly inspirational score was already the hero of the show.

These differences of interests will lead to disputes, ill blood, and finally to separation.

I looked round to see where our help was most wanted, and was about to lead them forward, when I heard the voice of the Alcalde.

He was mounted on a spirited horse and his manner showed he was ready for any kind of an adventure, no matter where it might lead.

The slightest yellowish-brown discoloration indicates the presence of lead.

Such a refusal would lead to quick enquiry—enquiry to information—information to want of confidence and speedy ruin.


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When To Use

What are other ways to say lead?

To lead is to go before or to show the way. How is lead different from the verbs conduct, direct, and guide? Find out on

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




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