verb (used with object)

to make leaden, sluggish, dull, etc.: Fatigue had leadened his brain and step.

Origin of leaden

before 1000; Middle English leden, Old English lēaden. See lead2, -en2
Related formslead·en·ly, adverblead·en·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for leaden

Contemporary Examples of leaden

Historical Examples of leaden

  • As they approached it, the dull hue that lay upon it resembled that of the leaden sky.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Now the minutes dragged with leaden feet until Dick should come.


    William J. Locke

  • The sky was dull and leaden, and cindery flakes of snow were thinly falling.

  • In the meantime the sun had retired behind thick, leaden clouds.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • God's wrath comes with leaden feet, but it strikes with iron hands.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

British Dictionary definitions for leaden



heavy and inert
laboured or sluggishleaden steps
gloomy, spiritless, or lifeless
made partly or wholly of lead
of a dull greyish coloura leaden sky
Derived Formsleadenly, adverbleadenness, noun
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

Word Origin and History for leaden

"made of lead," Old English leaden, from lead (n.1) + -en (2). The figurative sense of "heavy, oppressive, dull" is attested by 1570s. Related: Leadenly; leadenness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper