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To Lead

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Definition of the noun to lead

What does to lead mean as a name of something?

Specialised definition of the noun to lead

Glossary of sports / bowls

the first bowler in a team, who also bowls the jack (2005. Chambers Sports Factfinder. Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd)

Glossary of sports / curling

the member of the rink who plays first (2005. Chambers Sports Factfinder. Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd)

the player who delivers stones first in an end for his or her team

Glossary of sports / equestrian

the leg that leads during the canter. The inside foreleg reaches the farthest during a correct lead

Definition of the verb to lead

What does to lead mean as a doing phrase?

To lead is one of the top 100 most common verbs. It is used mostly in writing, being one of the top 50 most common verbs in written English.View more statistics!

verb - inflections:

simple pastpast participlepresent participlethird-person singular

  1. take somebody somewhere
    • examples: We lead him to our chief | The men lead the horses across the field
    • syntax:
      Syntactic formulaExample for the syntactic formula
      [Agent - being] [Verb] [Theme]Jackie accompanied Rose | Jackie chased the thief
      [Agent - being] [Verb] [Theme] [Spatial Preposition] [Destination]Jackie accompanied Rose to the store

      Verbs of Motion (with the same syntax): accompany, conduct, escort, guide, shepherd, steer.

    • lexical domain: Motions - verbs of walking, flying, swimming
    • synonyms of lead: conduct / direct / guide / take
    • more specific terms:
  2. produce as a result or residue
  3. tend to or result in
    • example: This remark lead to further arguments among the guests
    • lexical domain: Stative - verbs of being, having, spatial relations
    • more generic words: leave / result = produce as a result or residue
    • more specific words:
  4. travel in front of; go in advance of others
    • lexical domain: Motions - verbs of walking, flying, swimming
    • synonym of lead: head
    • more generic word: precede = move ahead (of others) in time or space
    • more specific term: draw away = move ahead of (one's competitors) in a race
  5. cause to undertake a certain action
  6. stretch out over a distance, space, time, or scope; run or extend between two points or beyond a certain point
    • lexical domain: Stative - verbs of being, having, spatial relations
    • synonyms of lead: extend / go / pass / run
    • more generic word: be = occupy a certain position or area
    • more specific terms:
      • come = extend or reach
      • radiate / ray = extend or spread outward from a center or focus or inward towards a center
      • go deep / go far = extend in importance or range
      • underrun = run or pass below
  7. be in charge of
    • example: They lead him to write the letter
    • lexical domain: Activities - verbs of political and social activities and events
    • synonym of lead: head
    • more generic word: direct = be in charge of
    • more specific terms:
  8. be ahead of others; be the first
    • lexical domain: Stative - verbs of being, having, spatial relations
    • synonym of lead: top
    • entailments: compete / contend / vie = compete for something; engage in a contest
  9. be conducive to
  10. lead, as in the performance of a composition
  11. lead, extend, or afford access
    • lexical domain: Stative - verbs of being, having, spatial relations
    • synonym of lead: go
    • more generic word: be = occupy a certain position or area
  12. move ahead (of others) in time or space
    • lexical domain: Motions - verbs of walking, flying, swimming
    • synonym of lead: precede
    • more generic words: go / locomote / move / travel = change location
    • more specific word: head = travel in front of
  13. cause something to pass or lead somewhere
    • lexical domain: Stative - verbs of being, having, spatial relations
    • synonym of lead: run
    • more generic terms: make pass / pass = cause to pass
  14. preside over

Alternative definition of the verb to lead


  1. [transitive] To cover, fill, or affect with lead; as, continuous firing leads the grooves of a rifle.
  2. [transitive, printing] To place leads between the lines of; as, to lead a page; leaded matter.
  3. [transitive] To guide or conduct with the hand, or by means of some physical contact connection; as, a father leads a child; a jockey leads a horse with a halter; a dog leads a blind man.
  4. [transitive] To guide or conduct in a certain course, or to a certain place or end, by making the way known; to show the way, especially by going with or going in advance of, to lead a pupil; to guide somebody somewhere or to bring somebody somewhere by means of instructions. Hence, figuratively: To direct; to counsel; to instruct; as, to lead a traveler.
  5. [transitive] To conduct or direct with authority; to have direction or charge of; as, to lead an army, an exploring party, or a search; to lead a political party; to command, especially a military or business unit
  6. [transitive] To go or to be in advance of; to precede; hence, to be foremost or chief among; as, the big sloop led the fleet of yachts; the Guards led the attack; Demosthenes leads the orators of all ages.
  7. [transitive] To draw or direct by influence, whether good or bad; to prevail on; to induce; to entice; to allure; as, to lead one to espouse a righteous cause.
  8. [transitive] To guide or conduct oneself in, through, or along (a certain course); hence, to proceed in the way of; to follow the path or course of; to pass; to spend. Also, to cause (one) to proceed or follow in (a certain course).
  9. [transitive, cards, dominoes] To begin a game, round, or trick, with; as, to lead trumps
  10. [intransitive] To guide or conduct, as by accompanying, going before, showing, influencing, directing with authority, etc.; to have precedence or preeminence; to be first or chief; — used in most of the senses of the transitive verb.
  11. [intransitive] To be ahead of others, e.g., in a race
  12. [intransitive] To have the highest interim score in a game
  13. [intransitive] To be more advanced in technology or business than others
  14. [intransitive] To tend or reach in a certain direction, or to a certain place; as, the path leads to the mill; gambling leads to other vices.
  15. [intransitive] To lead off or out, to go first; to begin.
  16. To produce.
  17. [baseball] To step off base and move towards the next base.
  18. [context: shooting] To aim in front of a moving target, in order that the shot may hit the target as it passes.

Specialised definition of the verb to lead

Glossary of sports

to be ahead in a race or competition (2006. Dictionary of Sport and Exercise Science. A&C Black Publishers Ltd)

to aim something such as a ball at a point in front of a moving player to allow for the time of flight (2006. Dictionary of Sport and Exercise Science. A&C Black Publishers Ltd)

Glossary of sports / baseball

to leave a base as a runner before a pitch (2006. Dictionary of Sport and Exercise Science. A&C Black Publishers Ltd)

Glossary of sports / boxing

if a boxer leads with a particular fist, he habitually opens attacks with it (2005. Chambers Sports Factfinder. Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd)

Phrases with To Lead

  1. to lead off
  2. to lead astray
  3. to lead by the nose

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for To Lead

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewLeadership and Ethics (2015)

by Jacqueline Boaks, Michael P. Levine

Reluctance to lead is a fairly reliable indicator of a lack of such motivation; perhaps it is the most reliable indicator we have to hand. Reluctant leadership requires an inducement to lead. Plato's suggestion is a plausible one. The fundamental ...

Google previewTogether in Mission and Ministry (1993)

The Porvoo Common Statement, With, Essays on Church and Ministry in Northern Europe : Conversations Between the British and Irish Anglican Churches and the Nordic and Baltic Lutheran Churches by C. J. Podmore

A bishop is called to lead in serving and caring for the people of God and to work with them ...

Google previewTransforming Church in Rural America (2010)

Breaking all the Rurals by Shannon O'Dell

A pastor is called to lead. It helps if you are also a good communicator, but you must be called and gifted to lead. A pastor is called to effectively cast vision. A pastor is called to shepherd.

Google previewIndigenous Leadership in Higher Education (2014)

by Robin Minthorn, Alicia Fedelina Chavez

To lead means to serve. Service may come in different forms, but ultimately it requires our actions to serve and benefit the larger group. In our tribes and our communities the people we value most as leaders are those who focus on the needs ...

Google previewAcross the Aisle (2012)

Being the Salt Seasoning and Light to Those Around You by Jerry Maxwell

According to Webster, to lead means to ...

Google previewSelect Documents on the Constitutional History of the British Empire and Commonwealth: "The Empire of the Bretaignes," 1175-1688 (1985)

by A. F. Madden

seem to lead is that all that part of the Ionian Charter which relates to Codes of Law and to Judicial authority or in other words the 6th Chapter of that Charter is both superfluous and inconvenient . 1 - that the abrogation of that Chapter is the ...

Google previewA Carver Policy Governance Guide, Adjacent Leadership Roles (2009)

CGO and CEO by John Carver, Miriam Mayhew Carver

Allowing the leader to lead is an obligation of the led. bring ...

Google previewBe in Charge: A Leadership Manual (2002)

How to Stay on Top by Alexander R. Margulis

The ability to lead is an innate quality that few people possess; those who wish to work for good causes hopefully will use this book. In general, leaders who leave the most memorable record are those who are highly ethical and do not practice ...

Google previewThe Champion and Weekly Herald (1838)

rejoice to see some measure passed by Parliament that would effectually relieve your petitioners, and avert the awful consequences to which the starvation your petitioners are enduring is certain to lead is a remedy be not speedily applied.

Google previewChambers's Encyclopaedia, Dictionary of Universal Knowledge, Volume VI, Humber to Malta (1901)

Owing to lead being to some extent volatile at a red heat, a eonsideraoie ouantity of the metal would, U mat prevented, pass from the smelting- furnaces into the atmosphere as smoke or fume, and cause a loss of, sometimes, 10 per cent, ...

Google previewFuldstaendigt Dansk og Engelsk haand-lexicon (1824)

udarbeidet efter de bedste og nyeste ordbøger by Christian Friderich Bay

to lead a Roos. Blyant, Leadstone, Blacklead. Blyantspen ...

Google previewEncyclopaedia Medica (1902)

by Chalmers Watson

Of all forms of metallic poisoning that caused by lead is far and away the commonest, owing to lead being so widely used in the ...

Google previewDictionary of Environmental Law (2000)

by Alan Gilpin

A national ambient air quality standard to protect the public health from exposure to lead particulates became effective in ...

Google previewEncyclopaedia Londinensis, Or, Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Literature (1817)


Google previewThe Mariner's Dictionary, Or American Seaman's Vocabulary of Technical Terms, and Sea Phrases ... Improved from an English Work [i.e. W. F.'s Marine Dictionary]. Illustrated, Etc (1805)

by William FALCONER (Poet.)

Pam is also applied to ropes as suffering the least friction in a pulley,' when they are'said to lead fair. F AIR-CURVE, in delineating ships, is a winding-line whose shape is varied according to the part ofthe ship it isintended to describe.

Google previewMongolian English Dictionary (2013)

by Bawden,

to bein the lead,to be first МАГНАЙЛАХ to lead, to head, to form the vanguard,to spearhead МАГНИ magnesium МАГНИТОФОН taperecorder, магнитофоны бичлэг tape recording( Russ.) ...

Google previewDictionary Of Social Work: The Definitive A To Z Of Social Work And Social Care (2010)

The Definitive A to Z of Social Work and Social Care by Thomas, Martin, Pierson, John

The theory was subsequently taken up by the New York Police Department in an aggressive 'zero tolerance' campaign against minor crime and incivility, which was widely claimed and believed to lead to a spectacular reduction in the overall ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for To Lead

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Usage statistics about to lead

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

Usage statistics for the verb to lead:

spoken English20.26%written English79.74% conversational speech15.43%task-oriented speech84.57% imaginative writing39.1%informational writing60.9%

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb to lead:


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Quotes about To Lead

lead to

which lead to

which lead to

afflictions (Michael Shepherd)
more quotes...

Anagrams of TO LEAD

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