verb (used with object), led, lead·ing.
verb (used without object), led, lead·ing.
- the principal part in a play.
- the person who plays it.
- the act or right of playing first, as in a round.
- the card, suit, etc., so played.
- a short summary serving as an introduction to a news story, article, or other copy.
- the main and often most important news story.
- the direction of a rope, wire, or chain.
- Also called leader. any of various devices for guiding a running rope.
- a lode.
- an auriferous deposit in an old riverbed.
- to take the initiative; begin.
- Baseball. to be the first player in the batting order or the first batter in an inning.
- to induce to follow an unwise course of action; mislead.
- to cause or encourage to believe something that is not true.
- to make a beginning.
- to escort a partner to begin a dance: He led her out and they began a rumba.
- leacock, stephen butler,
- lead a chase,
- lead a dog's life,
- lead a double life,
- lead acetate,
- lead arsenate
- to prepare the way for.
- to approach (a subject, disclosure, etc.) gradually or evasively: I could tell by her allusions that she was leading up to something.
Origin of lead1
verb leads, leading or led (lɛd)
- British to play first violin in (an orchestra)
- (intr) (of an instrument or voice) to be assigned an important entry in a piece of music
- to pass or spendI lead a miserable life
- to cause to pass a life of a particular kindto lead a person a dog's life
- the first, foremost, or most prominent place
- (as modifier)lead singer
- the principal news story in a newspaperthe scandal was the lead in the papers
- the opening paragraph of a news story
- (as modifier)lead story
- one's habitual attacking punch
- a blow made with this
Word Origin for lead
- thin sheets or strips of lead used as a roof covering
- a flat or low-pitched roof covered with such sheets
- graphite or a mixture containing graphite, clay, etc, used for drawing
- a thin stick of this material, esp the core of a pencil
Word Origin for lead
c.1300, "action of leading," from lead (v.1). Meaning "the front or leading place" is from 1560s. Johnson stigmatized it as "a low, despicable word." Sense in card-playing is from 1742; in theater, from 1831; in journalism, from 1912; in jazz bands, from 1934.
"to guide," Old English lædan "cause to go with one, lead, guide, conduct, carry; sprout forth; bring forth, pass (one's life)," causative of liðan "to travel," from West Germanic *laidjan (cf. Old Saxon lithan, Old Norse liða "to go," Old High German ga-lidan "to travel," Gothic ga-leiþan "to go"), from PIE *leit- "to go forth."
Meaning "to be in first place" is from late 14c. Sense in card playing is from 1670s. Related: Led; leading. Lead-off "commencement, beginning" attested from 1879; lead-in "introduction, opening" is from 1928.
heavy metal, Old English lead, from West Germanic *loudhom (cf. Old Frisian lad, Middle Dutch loot, Dutch lood "lead," German Lot "weight, plummet"). The name and the skill in using the metal seem to have been borrowed from the Celts (cf. Old Irish luaide), probably from PIE root *plou(d)- "to flow."
Figurative of heaviness since at least early 14c. Black lead was an old name for "graphite," hence lead pencil (1680s) and the colloquial figurative phrase to have lead in one's pencil "be possessed of (especially male sexual) vigor," attested by 1902. Lead balloon "a failure," American English slang, attested by 1957 (as a type of something heavy that can be kept up only with effort, from 1904). Lead-footed "slow" is from 1896; opposite sense of "fast" emerged 1940s in trucker's jargon, from notion of a foot heavy on the gas pedal.
Entice someone into proceeding, mislead; also, deceive someone, especially pretending romantic interest. For example, He's leading her on to reveal more of her family history, or She's just leading him on; she has a serious boyfriend at home. [Late 1500s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with lead
- lead a chase
- lead a dog's life
- lead a double life
- lead by the nose
- lead down the garden path
- leading light
- leading question
- lead off
- lead on
- lead one to
- lead the way
- lead up the garden path
- lead up to
- lead with one's chin
- 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