Meaning of LEAD in English



( leads, leading, led)

Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English.

Please look at category 21 to see if the expression you are looking for is shown under another headword.


If you lead a group of people, you walk or ride in front of them.

John Major and the Duke of Edinburgh led the mourners...

He walks with a stick but still leads his soldiers into battle...

Tom was leading, a rifle slung over his back.

VERB : V n , V n prep / adv , V


If you lead someone to a particular place or thing, you take them there.

He took Dickon by the hand to lead him into the house...

Leading the horse, Evandar walked to the door.

VERB : V n prep / adv , V n


If a road, gate, or door leads somewhere, you can get there by following the road or going through the gate or door.

...the doors that led to the yard.

...a short roadway leading to the car park...

VERB : V prep / adv , V prep / adv


If you are leading at a particular point in a race or competition, you are winning at that point.

He’s leading in the presidential race...

So far Fischer leads by five wins to two...

Aston Villa last led the League in March 1990.

VERB : V , V by amount , V n


If you have the lead or are in the lead in a race or competition, you are winning.

England took the lead after 31 minutes with a goal by Peter Nail...

Labour are still in the lead in the opinion polls.

N-SING : the N , oft in/into the N


Someone’s lead over a competitor at a particular point in a race or competition is the distance, amount of time, or number of points by which they are ahead of them.

...a commanding lead for the opposition is clearly emerging throughout the country...

His goal gave Forest a two-goal lead against Southampton...

Sainz now has a lead of 28 points.

N-SING : with supp , oft N over n


If one company or country leads others in a particular activity such as scientific research or business, it is more successful or advanced than they are in that activity.

When it comes to pop music we not only lead Europe, we lead the world.

...foodstores such as Marks & Spencer, which led the market in microwaveable meals.

VERB : V n , V n in n


If you lead a group of people, an organization, or an activity, you are in control or in charge of the people or the activity.

Mr Mendes was leading a campaign to save Brazil’s rainforest from exploitation.

VERB : V n


If you give a lead , you do something new or develop new ideas or methods that other people consider to be a good example or model to follow.

The American and Japanese navies took the lead in the development of naval aviation...

Over the next 150 years, many others followed his lead.

N-COUNT : usu supp N


You can use lead when you are saying what kind of life someone has. For example, if you lead a busy life, your life is busy.

She led a normal, happy life with her sister and brother...

VERB : V n


If something leads to a situation or event, usually an unpleasant one, it begins a process which causes that situation or event to happen.

Ethnic tensions among the republics could lead to civil war...

He warned yesterday that a pay rise for teachers would lead to job cuts.

VERB : V to n , V to n


If something leads you to do something, it influences or affects you in such a way that you do it.

His abhorrence of racism led him to write The Algiers Motel Incident...

What was it ultimately that led you to leave Sarajevo for Zagreb?

VERB : V n to-inf , V n to-inf


If you say that someone or something led you to think something, you mean that they caused you to think it, although it was not true or did not happen.

Mother had led me to believe the new baby was a kind of present for me...

It was not as straightforward as we were led to believe.

VERB : V n to-inf , V n to-inf


If you lead a conversation or discussion, you control the way that it develops so that you can introduce a particular subject.

After a while I led the conversation around to her job...

He planned to lead the conversation and keep Matt from changing the subject.

VERB : V n adv / prep , V n


You can say that one point or topic in a discussion or piece of writing leads you to another in order to introduce a new point or topic that is linked with the previous one.

Well, I think that leads me to the real point.

= bring

VERB : V n to n


A lead is a piece of information or an idea which may help people to discover the facts in a situation where many facts are not known, for example in the investigation of a crime or in a scientific experiment.

The inquiry team is also following up possible leads after receiving 400 calls from the public.



The lead in a play, film, or show is the most important part in it. The person who plays this part can also be called the lead .

Nina Ananiashvili and Alexei Fadeyechev from the Bolshoi Ballet dance the leads...

The leads are Jack Hawkins and Glynis Johns.



A dog’s lead is a long, thin chain or piece of leather which you attach to the dog’s collar so that you can control the dog. ( mainly BRIT; in AM, use leash )

An older man came out with a little dog on a lead.



A lead in a piece of equipment is a piece of wire covered in plastic which supplies electricity to the equipment or carries it from one part of the equipment to another.



The lead story or lead in a newspaper or on the television or radio news is the most important story.

The Turkish situation makes the lead in tomorrow’s Guardian...

Cossiga’s reaction is the lead story in the Italian press.

N-SING : oft N n


to lead someone astray: see astray

one thing led to another: see thing

to lead the way: see way

see also leading , -led



( leads)


Lead is a soft, grey, heavy metal.

...drinking water supplied by old-fashioned lead pipes.



The lead in a pencil is the centre part of it which makes a mark on paper.


Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Английский словарь Коллинз COBUILD для изучающих язык на продвинутом уровне.