Meaning of LEAD in English

I. ˈlēd verb

( led ˈled ; led ˈled ; leading ˈlēdiŋ, -dēŋ ; leads ˈlēdz)

Etymology: Middle English leden, from Old English lǣdan; akin to Old High German leiten to lead, Old Norse leitha; causative from the root of Old English līthan to go, Old High German līdan to go, pass, Old Norse lītha, Gothic -leithan; akin to Avestan raēθ- to die, Tocharian A lit- to go away

transitive verb


a. : to cause to go with oneself : take or bring with use of duress

led the condemned man to the scaffold

led them captives to a distant land

b. dialect Britain

(1) : to convey (stone, coal, or other materials) in a vehicle

(2) : to convey (a crop) from the field (as to a place of storage)



(1) : to guide on a way : show the way to a place especially by going with or in advance of

led the officers to his hiding place

can a blind man lead a blind man — Lk 6: 39 (Revised Standard Version)

— often used in the phrase lead the way

he led the way and we followed

(2) : to serve as a passage for : conduct to some place or in some direction

a road leading the traveler to the heart of the city

(3) : to guide by indicating the way : mark out or show the way to

led through the fog by the distant lights of the city

(4) : to direct or draw the gaze or attention of

we are led on from page to page — R.S.Hillyer

a straight line … can lead the eye in two directions only — C.W.H.Johnson

b. : to guide or conduct with the hand or by means of some physical contact or connection

a third native … to lead your pony — James Stevenson-Hamilton


(1) : to guide or constrain in its passage or course

a rope is led around the curve

(2) : to conduct or serve as the way or channel for

pipes … led the water into canals — G.W.Murray


a. : to go through (life or some other period of time) : pass , live

there he led a very peaceful existence

led one of the most dramatic careers of criminal history — Anne Brooks

b. : to cause (another person) to pass a life of a particular kind

she led him a dog's life

such a life as that man led me



(1) : to go with usually at the head and direct the operations of (an armed force or other expedition)

led a cavalry group in a raid behind enemy lines

led a safari into little-known territory

(2) : to march in front of : go at the head of

a tall drum major led the band

— often used in the phrases lead the way

led the way in the adoption of social legislation

and lead the van

led the van in solving problems susceptible of certain knowledge — G.C.Sellery

(3) : to have the first place in

leads the world in the production of steel

led the league for the most double plays — Current Biography

(4) : to have a margin of advantage or superiority over

led his closest opponent by 200 votes


(1) : to take a principal or directing part in : have charge or direction of

led a successful campaign to suspend import duties — Current Biography

led the minority party in the senate

(2) : to guide by performance of one's own part

led the congregation in prayers

led the audience in singing the national anthem

(3) : direct , conduct

led the orchestra in a poor performance of the overture

(4) : to guide or direct in a course of study, discussion, or similar group activity

lead a Sunday-school class

lead a discussion group in foreign affairs

c. : to suggest to (a witness) the answer desired by putting leading questions

counsel is leading this witness, putting the words in her mouth — Erle Stanley Gardner



(1) : to bring by reasoning, cogency, or other influence to some conclusion or condition

a heart-shaped Venetian map … led him to the happy belief that the land he discovered was in eastern Asia — Tad Szulc

reflection led him to a better understanding of the problem

(2) : to prevail upon : cause , induce

situations which can lead an inquiring mind to engage in aesthetic thought — Hunter Mead

this reasoning leads him to propose the creation of a new profession — Journal of Accountancy

b. : entice , allure

led him into evil courses

led him astray

6. : to play as the first card or suit of a game, round or trick

going to lead trumps


a. : to aim a weapon in front of (a moving object)

lead a duck

lead an airplane

b. : to pass a ball ahead of (an intended receiver) so that it can be received on the run

c. : to be in advance of in phase

in a capacitative circuit the current may lead the voltage

8. : to direct (a blow) at an opponent in boxing

intransitive verb



(1) : to guide or conduct someone or something along a way

you lead and we'll follow

(2) : to guide or direct someone in reference to action or opinion

follow the truth of scholarship wherever it may lead — New School for Social Research Bulletin

that sort of project … leads on to new fields of endeavor — B.G.Gallagher


(1) : to serve as a passage

flagstone walks lead to the gateway — American Guide Series: Louisiana

a narrow covered bridge leads across the … river — American Guide Series: Vermont

short lanes that lead to the water — C.R.Sumner

(2) : to have a specified terminus, course, or direction : run

a long valley leading up into the heart of the main range — E.E.Shipton

swampy canals lead on either side to vast bayous — Tom Marvel

does the road lead uphill all the way — O.W.Holmes †1935

rang by means of a thick yellow rope which led down from the belfry — Grace Metalious

the line leads as if the whale were ahead of the boat when in reality he is right under it — M.A.Chippendale

(3) : to serve as an entrance, channel, or connection

ran to the door that led to the kitchen — Kenneth Roberts

his eyes on the glass window leading into the reception room — Jane Woodfin


a. : to be first or foremost in some respect

this state leads in wealth and population

the incumbents were leading in all races


(1) : to begin or open a passage or course of action

led with “What a superb literal translation” — Bennett Cerf

— usually used with off

led off for the southern opponents of the measure — Current Biography

will lead off with a Christmas story — Richard Bissell

led off at bat for the home team

(2) : to play the first card of a trick, round, or game

(3) : to direct the first of a series of blows at an opponent in boxing

3. : to tend toward a definite result : eventuate — used with to

his plan need not lead to fresh delays — Kenneth Fairfax

leads to overgrazing and the destruction of vegetation — W.B.Fisher

study leading to a bachelor of arts degree

Synonyms: see guide

- lead by the nose

- lead into

- lead one a dance

- lead one a merry chase

- lead one up the garden path

- lead through

- lead toward

II. ˈlēd noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English lede action of leading, guidance, from leden, v. — more at lead I



(1) : position at the front : van

the bowmen were in the lead

took the lead on the dark winding road

(2) : initiative

took the lead in fighting the measure

(3) : the act or privilege of playing first in a card game, round, or trick

your partner has the lead

also : the card, suit, or piece so played

his lead was the ace

(4) : the condition of being first to bet voluntarily in a round of a poker game


(1) : an act of directing or guiding : leadership

look to the president for a unifying lead — D.W.Brogan

(2) : example , precedent

followed the lead of the majority leader in voting


(1) : the condition or position of having a margin of advantage or superiority : the condition of being ahead

this country has the lead over all rivals in steel production

took the lead in the race from the first

(2) : the measure or margin of such advantage or superiority

enjoys a good lead over all competitors

a lead of a boat's length

2. : one that leads or acts as a guide: as

a. : an artificial waterway (as to a mill)


(1) : the announcement by one voice part of a musical theme to be repeated by the other parts

(2) : a mark in a canon serving as a cue for the entrance of other parts

(3) : the first place in change ringing

c. : the player who throws the jack and bowls first in lawn bowling or who throws the first stone in curling


(1) : lode

(2) : an auriferous gravel deposit in an old river bed ; especially : one buried under lava

e. : a channel of water through a field or floe of ice ; especially : one that is wider than a lane

f. : something serving as an indication, tip, or clue

may turn up a lead — Hamilton Basso

provides leads for further research in Africa — W.R.Bascom

g. : a role for a leading man or leading woman ; also : one who plays such a role

h. : leash

i. : a length of net, supported on stakes, placed to guide fish into the pot of a pound net

j. forestry : a block or series of blocks or rollers attached to a stationary object to guide the cable by which logs are dragged


(1) : the first summary or introductory section of a news story varying in length from a sentence to several paragraphs

reporters would spend hours … polishing up leads — C.B.Jones

(2) : a news story that is of chief importance in an edition of a newspaper and that is usually given the most prominent display

(3) : the first and presumably most significant item in a news broadcast

l. : the first of a series of blows delivered by one or both boxers

m. : leader 1a(1)

n. : a pattern of movement of a horse at a canter or gallop in which one or the other of the front feet consistently strikes the ground first

o. Britain : leader 1m

p. : the leading or top part in a section of a jazz band

one man who blew almost all the lead — Metronome

also : the man who plays that part



(1) : the distance measured along a straight railroad track from the point of switch to the point of frog in a turnout

(2) : a piece of track leading from a switch to a frog

(3) : an extended track connecting either end of a yard with the main track

(4) : the distance from the point where material is excavated to that where it is deposited in roadbed construction

b. : the distance of haul


(1) : a flexible or solid insulated conductor connected to or leading out from an electrical device

(2) : the angle between the line joining the brushes of a continuous-current dynamo and the plane perpendicular to the undisturbed magnetic field between the poles

(3) : the advance of the current phase in an alternating circuit beyond that of the electromotive force producing it


(1) : the width of port opening at the end of the stroke of a steam engine

(2) : the distance measured in length of piston stroke or the corresponding angular displacement of the crank of the piston from the end of the compression stroke when ignition takes place in an internal-combustion engine


(1) : the course of a rope from end to end

(2) : a line of fire hose extended toward a fire


(1) : the amount of axial advance of any point in the thread for a complete turn (as of a screw or worm)

(2) usually leed : such rate of advance in the helical rifling of a gun barrel

g. : the distance one leads a moving target

h. : the distance from the start of one climb to the next belay point in mountaineering

i. : a position taken by a base runner off the base in the direction of the next base

III. ˈlēd adjective

1. : acting as a leader : going in front : leading , lead-off

the lead mule

now it was the lead cruiser's turn to leave the formation — J.A.Michener

the lead article in this month's issue

2. : given prominent display as of first importance

a lead headline

a lead editorial

IV. ˈled noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English leed, from Old English lēad; akin to Middle Dutch lood lead, Middle High German lōt, Middle Irish luaide


a. : a heavy soft malleable ductile plastic but inelastic bivalent or tetravalent metallic element that is bluish white when freshly cut but tarnishes readily in moist air to dull gray, that occurs mostly in combination (as in galena and cerussite) and usually is extracted from its ores by smelting and refined by removal especially of copper, silver, zinc, and bismuth, and that is used often in the form of alloys chiefly in pipes, sheaths for cables, acid-resistant linings, plates for lead-lead acid cells, solder, type metal, and shields against radioactivity and in making pigments and chemicals — symbol Pb ; see actinium series , element table, lead poisoning , thorium series , uranium series

b. : a trait or quality suggestive of some attribute of lead ; specifically : sluggishness

perk up and get the lead out of their heels — Frederick Way


a. dialect England : a milk pan made of or lined with lead

b. : a plummet or mass of lead (as used in sounding at sea) — see sounding lead

c. leads plural , Britain : a lead roof usually flat

d. leads plural : lead framing for a pane (as in a window of latticework or stained glass)

e. : a thin strip of metal usually lead but sometimes brass ranging from 1/2 to 3 points in thickness, less than type high, and used to separate lines of type ; often : a 2-point lead — compare thick lead , thin lead , reglet , slug

f. : a lead or tin socket to hold one or more needles in a knitting machine by the shanks


a. : graphite 1

b. : a thin cylinder or stick of marking substance (as graphite) in or for a pencil

c. : white lead

4. : bullets, projectiles

let fall half a ton of lead over our lines — P.C.Mitchell

moved out to Oklahoma when lead was still law — Whitney Balliett

5. : a nearly neutral, slightly reddish dark gray that is lighter and slightly bluer than grebe — called also squirrel

6. : tetraethyl lead

V. ˈled verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English leden, leeden, from leed, n. — more at lead IV

transitive verb


a. : to cover or line the inside of with lead : clog with lead (as the grooves of a rifle with continuous firing)

b. : to weight with a piece of lead : attach lead to


a. : to fix (window glass) in position with leads

b. : to secure with melted lead (as a bolt or railing into stonework) — often used with in

3. : to smooth (as the bore of a gun) with a lead lap

4. : to place leads or other spacing material between the lines of (type matter) ; also : to add spacing between the lines of (as printed or photocomposed matter) — often used with out

5. : to treat or mix with lead or a lead compound

leaded zinc

leaded gasoline

intransitive verb

1. : to take soundings with the lead

2. : to become coated or clogged with lead

a gun barrel may lead

VI. ˈled adjective

Etymology: lead (IV)

1. : relating to or made of lead : containing lead

lead bullets

lead pipes

a lead mine

2. : containing lead oxide

a lead glaze

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.