See more synonyms for leaden on Thesaurus.com
  1. inertly heavy like lead; hard to lift or move: a leaden weight; leaden feet.
  2. dull, spiritless, or gloomy, as in mood or thought: leaden prose; a leaden atmosphere.
  3. of a dull gray color: leaden skies.
  4. oppressive; heavy: a leaden silence.
  5. sluggish; listless: They moved at a leaden pace.
  6. of poor quality or little value.
  7. made or consisting of lead.
verb (used with object)
  1. 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. 2018

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


  1. heavy and inert
  2. laboured or sluggishleaden steps
  3. gloomy, spiritless, or lifeless
  4. made partly or wholly of lead
  5. 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