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lead - definition and synonyms


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verb lead pronunciation in British English /liːd/
Word Forms
present tense
present participleleading
past tenseled
past participleled
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  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to walk, drive, fly, sail etc in front of a group of people, vehicles, planes, ships etc
    Leading the mourners were his widow and 14-year-old daughter.
    She led us down the hill.
    lead someone into something: He led his men into battle.
    1. a.
      [transitive] to show someone the way to a place by going there with them
      After showing us the dining room, the estate agent led us into the kitchen.
      lead the way (=show others the way to a place): Sheila turned and led the way downstairs.
    2. b.
      [transitive] to take or pull a person or animal somewhere by holding onto them or onto something fastened to them
      She took the boy by the hand and led him from the room.
      Dismounting, I led the horse by the reins back to the stable.
    3. c.
      [intransitive/transitive] if something such as a road, river, or door leads in a particular direction or to a particular place, or if it leads you there, it goes in that direction or to that place
      The road leads west for three miles then turns south.
      We followed a dirt track leading through the woods.
      The pipe leads from the water heater to the bathroom upstairs.
      a narrow alleyway leading off the High Street
      This door leads you to a large entrance hall.
  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] to be winning at a particular time during a race or competition
    The polls show Labour leading with only 10 days left until the election.
    lead someone by something: France was leading England at half time by 3 goals to 2.
    lead the field: Johnson led the field throughout the final day of the rally.
    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] to be the most successful, popular, or advanced of all the people, groups, organizations etc involved in a particular activity
      lead the world (in something): They lead the world in oil production.
      lead the field: Spain still leads the field as the top British holiday destination.
  3. 3
    [transitive] to be in control of an organization, group of people, or activity
    She led the software development team during the project.
    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] to be in control of the way in which a discussion or conversation develops
      I asked Ned to lead the discussion.
      lead something away from something: She kept trying to lead the conversation away from personal matters.
  4. 4
    [transitive] to cause someone to do something
    lead someone to do something: He said differences over foreign policy had led him to resign.
    I had been led to believe that the job was mine if I wanted it.
  5. 5
    [transitive] to live your life in a particular way
    lead a good/happy/busy/quiet etc life: He had always led a quiet life until he met Emma.
  6. 6
    [intransitive/transitive] to begin a part of a card game by playing a particular card
    lead with: She led with the eight of spades.



a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

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an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

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