lead up to - definition and synonyms

phrasal verb [transitive]
present tense
I/you/we/theylead up to
he/she/itleads up to
present participleleading up to
past tenseled up to
past participleled up to
  1. 1
    lead up to something if events, problems, actions etc lead up to an important event, they happen one after another in a way that makes it possible for the event to happen

    The negotiations leading up to the contract were very tough.

  2. 2
    lead up to something to happen or exist immediately before something

    In the weeks leading up to graduation I did very little.

  3. 3
    lead up to something to gradually direct a conversation towards a particular subject, especially one that is difficult or embarrassing

    I knew he was leading up to something, but I had no idea what.

See also main entry: lead