lead Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Definition of “lead” - English Dictionary

Definition of "lead" - American English Dictionary

See all translations

leadverb

 us   /lid/ (past tense and past participle led  /led/ )

lead verb (CONTROL)

[T] to ​manage or ​control a ​group of ​people; to be the ​person who makes ​decisions that other ​peoplechoose to ​follow or ​obey: Her ​sister is leading an ​effort to ​change this ​law. I’ve ​asked George to lead the ​discussion.

lead verb (SHOW WAY)

[I/T] to show the way to someone or something, esp. by going first: [T] She led the ​children along the ​path out of the ​forest. [T] That ​researchgroup leads the way in the development of new ​software. [T] Just ​follow the ​signs and they will lead you to the ​exit. [I/T] If something such as a ​road or ​sign leads ​somewhere, it goes toward something ​else or ​shows you how to get to a ​particularplace: [I] A ​flight of ​narrowstairs leads to the ​kitchen.

lead verb (CAUSE)

[I/T] to ​prepare the way for something to ​happen; ​cause: [I] Ten ​years of ​scientificresearch led to the development of the new ​drug. [T] Discussions with ​lawyers led him to ​believe that the ​company would not ​sue him.

lead verb (BE FIRST)

[I/T] (esp. in ​sports or other competitions) to be in ​front, be first, or be ​winning: [I/T] With only three ​minutes to go in the ​footballgame, New Orleans led (Dallas), 24 to 21.

lead verb (LIVE)

[T] to ​live a ​particulartype of ​life: She ​retired to Florida and still leads a ​busylife.

leadnoun

 us   /lid/

lead noun (ANIMAL)

[C] a leash

lead noun (BE FIRST)

[U] A lead is also the ​amount or ​distance by which someone is in ​front: After five ​games, she was still ​ahead by a ​point in the ​chesstournament, but her lead was ​shrinking.

lead noun (SHOW WAY)

[C] a ​piece of ​information that ​allows a ​discovery to be made or a ​solution to be ​found: The lead the ​detectives were ​following led to several ​arrests.

leadnoun [U]

 us   /led/

lead noun [U] (METAL)

a ​dense, ​soft, ​darkgraymetal, used esp. in ​combination with other ​metals and in batteries (= ​devices that ​produceelectricity): Lead ​pipes in many ​olderhouses have been ​replaced by ​copperones. fig. The ​day after ​running a ​marathon, my ​legsfelt like lead (= ​heavy and ​tired).

lead noun [U] (PENCIL)

the ​black writing ​material made of graphite , used esp. in the ​center of a ​pencil
(Definition of lead from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

Definition of "lead" - British English Dictionary

See all translations

leadverb

uk   us   /liːd/ (led, led uk   /led/ us   )

lead verb (CONTROL)

B2 [I or T] to ​control a ​group of ​people, a ​country, or a ​situation: I ​think we've ​chosen the ​rightperson to lead the ​expedition. I've ​asked Gemma to lead the ​discussion. Who will be leading the ​inquiry into the ​accident?
More examples

lead verb (BE WINNING)

B2 [I or T] (​especially in ​sports or other competitions) to be in ​front, to be first, or to be ​winning: After 30 ​minutes the ​challengers were leading by two ​goals. With two ​laps to go Ngomo led by less than two ​seconds. The Lions are leading the Hawks 28–9.
More examples

lead verb (INFLUENCE)

C2 [T] to ​cause someone to do something, ​especially something ​bad: [+ to infinitive] The ​brochure led me to ​believe that the ​priceincludedhomedelivery. It's ​worrying that such a ​prominentpolitician is so easily led. He was a ​weak man, led astray by ​ambition.
More examples

lead verb (SHOW WAY)

B1 [I] to show the way to a ​group of ​people, ​animals, ​vehicles, etc. by going in ​front of them: I don't ​know the way, so you'd ​better lead. If you lead in the ​jeep, we'll ​follow behind on the ​horses. [T] To lead a ​group of ​movingpeople or ​vehicles is to ​walk or ​drive in ​front of them: The ​localyouthband will lead the ​parade this ​weekend. A ​largeblackhearse led the ​funeralprocession.B1 [T usually + adv/prep] to take someone ​somewhere, by going with them: She led them down the ​hall. The ​waiter led us to ​ourtable. Our ​guide led us through the ​mountains.B1 [T usually + adv/prep] to take ​hold of a ​person or ​animal and take him, her, or it ​somewhere: She took the ​child by the ​hand and led him ​upstairs to ​bed. He led the ​horse out of the ​stable.lead the way to show the way by going in ​front: You've been there before - why don't you lead the way? to make more ​progress than other ​people in the ​development of something: The ​company has been leading the way innetworkapplications for several ​years.
More examples

lead verb (DIRECTION)

B2 [I or T, usually + adv/prep] (​especially of ​roads, ​paths, ​doors, ​signs, ​information, etc.) to go in a ​particulardirection or have a ​particularresult, or to ​allow or ​cause this: There's a ​track that leads ​directly to the ​reservoir. The ​door leads out onto a ​wide, ​shadyterrace. A ​narrowtrail of ​blood led ​directly into the ​cave. This ​information led the ​police to a ​house near the ​harbour.
More examples

lead verb (LIVE)

lead a busy, normal, quiet, etc. life B2 to ​live a ​particulartype of ​life: He was ​able to lead a ​normallife, ​despite the ​illness. We ​certainly don't lead a ​life of ​luxury but we're not ​poor either.

leadnoun

uk   us   /liːd/

lead noun (WINNING POSITION)

B2 uk   /liːd/ us   [S] a ​winningposition during a ​race or other ​situation where ​people are ​competing: For the first ​time in the ​race Harrison is in the lead. With a ​finalburst of ​speed she went/​moved into the lead. After last night's ​win Johnson has taken (over) the lead in the ​championshiptable. By the end of the day's ​play Davies had a lead of three ​points.
More examples

lead noun (SHOWING WAY)

C2 [C usually singular] the ​act of ​showing a ​person or ​group of ​people what to do: We'll go through the ​danceroutine again - follow my lead (= do what I do).

lead noun (INFORMATION)

[C] a ​piece of ​information that ​allows a ​discovery to be made or a ​solution to be ​found: A lead from an ​informerenabled the ​police to make several ​arrests.

lead noun (ACTOR)

the lead C2 [C] the ​mainpart or ​actor in a ​film or ​play

lead noun (ELECTRICAL)

[C] (also wire, UK also flex, US also cord) a wire ​covered in ​plastic and used to ​connectelectricalequipment to the ​electricitysupply

lead noun (FOR ANIMAL)

[C] mainly UK (US usually leash) a ​piece of ​rope, ​chain, etc. ​tied to an ​animal, ​especially to a ​dog at ​itscollar when taking it for a ​walk: Please ​keepyourdog on a lead when on the ​beach.

leadadjective [before noun]

uk   us   /liːd/
B1 used to ​describe the ​mainperformer or ​part in a ​performance: Who ​played the lead role in the ​movie? The lead ​guitarist was good.

leadnoun [U]

uk   us   /led/

lead noun [U] (SUBSTANCE)

[U] (symbol Pb) a ​chemicalelement that is a very ​heavy, ​soft, ​darkgrey, ​poisonousmetal, used ​especially in the past on ​roofs and for ​pipes and also for ​protection against radiation: lead ​pipes [C or U] (the ​narrowstrip of) ​colouredmaterial, usually ​black and made of graphite , in the ​centre of a ​pencil
More examples
(Definition of lead from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

Definition of "lead" - Business English Dictionary

See all translations

leadverb

uk   us   /liːd/ (led /led/ , led /led/ )
[T] to be in ​charge of a ​group of ​people, an ​organization, or a ​situation: They led a ​management buy-out of the ​business, ​raising €10m in ​capital. She has been ​promoted to lead a ​team that ​focuses on ​productdevelopment. He leads the company's ​worldwidemarketing and ​salesdivision.
[I or T] to be in ​front, be first, or be ​winning in a particular ​situation or ​area of ​business: German, Swiss, and Scandinavian ​banks lead the internet-based ​financialservicesmarket in ​Europe.
[T] to ​happen before something else ​happens: The ​company has ​improvedoperatingperformance, led by ​costreductionefforts and ​productivitygains.
to ​influence someone to do sth: lead sb/sth to do sth Sharply ​lowerprofit has led the ​company to begin an ​aggressivecost-cuttingplan.
lead from the front to be actively involved in what you are encouraging others to do: The ​chairmanneeds to lead from the ​front and ​try to ​resolve the ​conflicts.
lead the field/pack/world to be better or more ​successful than other ​people or things: For ​ISAs, ​buildingsocieties again led the ​pack, with 16 of the 20 top-paying ​providers.
lead the way to make more ​progress than other ​people in the ​development of something: lead the way in/on sth The nation's largest ​state has led the way in ​highereducation and ​energyconservation. Experts said women tend to lead the way on ​issuesrelated to ​health.

leadnoun

uk     us   /liːd/ /led/
[S] a ​winningposition in a ​situation in which ​people are ​competing: give sb/sth a lead The ​brand will give the ​company a commanding lead in the important new ​sector.have/increase/maintain a lead (over sb/sth) The group's ​marketsharerose to 42.9%, ​increasing its lead over their arch-rival, which has 37.6%. Goldman ​maintained its lead as ​topmanager of ​negotiatedsales.
[C, usually singular] an ​action or ​example that ​shows a ​person or ​group what to do: Most ​competitors will in any ​case be only too happy to follow the company's lead inraisingprices.take a lead from sb/sth We could take a lead from Finland, where a ​governmentprogramme has dramatically ​raised the intake of fruit and vegetables.take a lead on sth The ​supermarketgroup took a lead on GM ​foodlabelling.
[C] MARKETING a ​piece of ​information that ​allows a discovery to be made, ​customers to be ​found, or a ​solution to be ​found: Our ​businessmeeting gave me ​lots of good leads.

leadadjective [before noun]

uk   us   /liːd/
most important among a ​group of ​people, ​products, etc.: a lead company/product The company's lead ​product for lung and ​certain blood cancers is in Phase II ​trials in ​humans. The lead ​negotiator for the teachers' ​union said he wasn't surprised by the ​vote.play a lead role in sth They have played a lead role in the fast and furious ​growth of ​e-commerce.
(Definition of lead from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of lead?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website
Word of the Day

chestnut

a large tree with leaves divided into five parts and large round nuts that can be eaten

Word of the Day