v. 1 conduct, escort, usher, guide, show the way, pilot, steer If you lead, I'll follow 2 cause, influence, prompt, bring, incline, induce, persuade, move, dispose, convince What led you to suspect the butler? 3 head (up), direct, govern, command, supervise, superintend, preside (over), take the lead, take or assume command (of), manage, captain, Colloq skipper The orchestra would like you to lead Who is going to lead the men into battle? Nicole leads a weekly discussion group on alcoholism. 4 come or be or go first, excel, surpass, exceed, precede, be ahead (of), outstrip, distance, outrun, outdo They lead the world in the production of sugar 5 live, experience, spend, pass; while away He is leading a life of ease on the French Riviera 6 be conducive to, create, engender, cause, contribute to, result in, bring on or about, produce Your stubbornness can lead only to frustration 7 lead astray. lead on, mislead, misguide, misdirect, deceive; fool, decoy, hoodwink, Colloq bamboozle She might have been led astray by that wolf in sheep's clothing 8 lead off. start (off or in or out or up), begin, commence, get going or moving, get under way, initiate, inaugurate, Colloq kick off The proceedings will lead off with the national anthem Who is going to lead off the singing? 9 lead on. a See 7, above. b lure, entice, seduce, beguile, inveigle, tempt They led me on with offers of a huge salary 10 lead up to. a prepare or pave or clear (the way), do the groundwork or spadework, precede The events leading up to the overthrow of the government may never be known b approach, broach, bring up, present, introduce, work up or round or around to, get (up) to I should lead up to the subject delicately, if I were you
n. 11 front, vanguard, van, lead or leading position or place, advance or advanced position or place The horse that he had bet on was in the lead coming down the home straight 12 advantage, edge, advance, supremacy, margin, priority, primacy, pre-eminence She has the lead over all her competitors Our team had a two-point lead at half-time. 13 direction, guidance, leadership, precedent, example, model, exemplar, pattern, standard We decided to follow his lead 14 tip, clue, hint, suggestion, cue, intimation; prospect, possibility, potential; Colloq tip-off Barry is following up some leads for a new job The advertisement produced some new sales leads. 15 leash, tether, restraint, cord, chain The dog fetches his lead himself when he wants to go out 16 protagonist, hero or heroine, leading or starring role or part, leading or lead actor or actress, leading lady or man, male or female lead, principal; prima donna, diva, prima ballerina, première danseuse, premier danseur She has the lead in the new production of Giselle 17 wire, cable, Brit flex Connect this lead to the power source
adj. 18 leading, foremost, first; main, chief, principal, premier, paramount The lead climber fell when the rope broke The lead story in today's paper is about an American take-over bid for the longest-standing British car-manufacturing company.