Etymology: Middle English leden, from Old English lǣdan; akin to Old High German leiten to lead, Old English līthan to go
Date: before 12th century
a. to guide on a way especially by going in advance
b. to direct on a course or in a direction
c. to serve as a channel for <a pipe leads water to the house> 2. to go through ; live <lead a quiet life> 3. a. (1) to direct the operations, activity, or performance of <lead an orchestra> (2) to have charge of <lead a campaign> (3) to suggest to (a witness) the answer desired by asking leading questions b. (1) to go at the head of <lead a parade> (2) to be first in or among <lead the league> (3) to have a margin over <led his opponent> 4. to bring to some conclusion or condition <led to believe otherwise> 5. to begin play with <lead trumps> 6. a. to aim in front of (a moving object) <lead a duck> b. to pass a ball or puck just in front of (a moving teammate) intransitive verb 1. a. to guide someone or something along a way b. to lie, run, or open in a specified place or direction <path leads uphill> c. to guide a dance partner through the steps of a dance 2. a. to be first b. (1) begin, open (2) to play the first card of a trick, round, or game 3. to tend toward or have a result <study leading to a degree> 4. to direct the first of a series of blows at an opponent in boxing Synonyms: see guide II. noun Date: 15th century 1. a. (1) leadership (2) example, precedent b. (1) position at the front ; vanguard (2) initiative (3) the act or privilege of leading in cards; also the card or suit led c. a margin or measure of advantage or superiority or position in advance 2. one that leads: as a. lode 2 b. a channel of water especially through a field of ice c. indication, clue d. a principal role in a dramatic production; also one who plays such a role e. leash 1 f. (1) an introductory section of a news story (2) a news story of chief importance 3. an insulated electrical conductor connected to an electrical device 4. the course of a rope from end to end 5. the amount of axial advance of a point accompanying a complete turn of a thread (as of a screw or worm) 6. a position taken by a base runner off a base toward the next 7. the first punch of a series or an exchange of punches in boxing • leadless adjective III. adjective Date: 1828 acting or serving as a lead or leader <a lead article> IV. noun Usage: often attributive Etymology: Middle English leed, from Old English lēad; akin to Middle High German lōt lead Date: before 12th century 1. a bluish-white soft malleable ductile plastic but inelastic heavy metallic element found mostly in combination and used especially in pipes, cable sheaths, batteries, solder, and shields against radioactivity — see element table 2. a. a plummet for sounding at sea b. plural, British a usually flat lead roof c. plural lead framing for panes in windows d. a thin strip of metal used to separate lines of type in printing 3. a. a thin stick of marking substance (as graphite) in or for a pencil b. white lead 4. bullets, projectiles 5. tetraethyl lead • leadless adjective V. transitive verb Date: 14th century 1. to cover, line, or weight with lead 2. to fix (window glass) in position with leads 3. to put space between the lines of (typeset matter) 4. to treat or mix with lead or a lead compound <leaded gasoline>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.