I . *lead
/ liːd; NAmE / verb , noun
—see also lead (II)
( led , led / led; NAmE /)
SHOW THE WAY
to go with or in front of a person or an animal to show the way or to make them go in the right direction
SYN guide :
[ vn + adv. / prep. ]
He led us out into the grounds.
The receptionist led the way to the boardroom.
She led the horse back into the stable.
( figurative )
I tried to lead the discussion back to the main issue.
[ v ]
If you lead, I'll follow.
➡ note at take
CONNECT TWO THINGS
[ v ] lead from / to sth (to / from sth) to connect one object or place to another :
the pipe leading from the top of the water tank
The wire led to a speaker.
OF ROAD / PATH / DOOR
[+ adv. / prep. ] to go in a particular direction or to a particular place :
[ v ]
A path led up the hill.
Which door leads to the yard?
[ vn ]
The track led us through a wood.
[ v ] lead to sth to have sth as a result
SYN result in :
Eating too much sugar can lead to health problems.
lead sb (to sth) to be the reason why sb does or thinks sth :
[ vn ]
What led you to this conclusion?
He's too easily led (= easily persuaded to do or think sth) .
[ vn to inf ]
This has led scientists to speculate on the existence of other galaxies.
The situation is far worse than we had been led to believe .
[ vn ] to have a particular type of life :
to lead a quiet life / a life of luxury / a miserable existence
BE BEST / FIRST
lead (sb/sth) (in sth) to be the best at sth; to be in first place :
[ vn ]
The department led the world in cancer research.
We lead the way in space technology.
[ v , vn ]
The champion is leading (her nearest rival) by 18 seconds.
BE IN CONTROL
to be in control of sth; to be the leader of sth :
[ vn ]
to lead an expedition
to lead a discussion
Who will lead the party in the next election?
[also v ]
IN CARD GAMES
to play first; to play sth as your first card :
[ v ]
It's your turn to lead.
[ vn ]
to lead the ten of clubs
- lead sb by the nose
- lead (sb) nowhere
- lead sb a (merry) dance
- lead from the front
- lead sb up / down the garden path
see blind adjective , horse noun , thing
- lead off (from) sth
- lead off | lead sth off
- lead sb on
- lead up to sth
- lead with sth
the lead [ sing. ] the position ahead of everyone else in a race or competition :
She took the lead in the second lap.
He has gone into the lead .
The Democrats now appear to be in the lead .
to hold / lose the lead
The lead car is now three minutes ahead of the rest of the field.
[ sing. ] lead (over sb/sth) the amount or distance that sb/sth is in front of sb/sth else
SYN advantage :
He managed to hold a lead of two seconds over his closest rival.
The polls have given Labour a five-point lead.
a commanding / comfortable lead
to increase / widen your lead
Manchester lost their early two-goal lead.
[ sing. ] an example or action for people to copy :
If one bank raises interest rates, all the others will follow their lead .
If we take the lead in this (= start to act) , others may follow.
You go first, I'll take my lead from you.
[ C ] a piece of information that may help to find out the truth or facts about a situation, especially a crime
SYN clue :
The police will follow up all possible leads .
ACTOR / MUSICIAN
[ C ] the main part in a play, film / movie, etc.; the person who plays this part :
Who is playing the lead ?
the male / female lead
a lead role
the lead singer in a band
( BrE ) (also leash NAmE , BrE ) [ C ] a long piece of leather, chain or rope used for holding and controlling a dog :
Dogs must be kept on a lead in the park.
[ C ] ( BrE ) a long piece of wire, usually covered in plastic, that is used to connect a piece of electrical equipment to a source of electricity
—see also extension lead , jump lead
II . lead
/ led; NAmE / noun
—see also lead (I)
[ U ] ( symb Pb ) a chemical element. Lead is a heavy soft grey metal, used especially in the past for water pipes or to cover roofs.
[ C , U ] the thin black part of a pencil that marks paper
—picture at pencil
- go down like a lead balloon
—more at swing verb
I . Old English lǣdan , of Germanic origin; related to Dutch leiden and German leiten , also to load and lode .
II . Old English lēad , of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch lood lead and German Lot plummet, solder.