lead1 - definition and synonyms


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  1. 1
    [singular] the first position at a particular time during a race or competition

    He regained his lead in the final lap of the race.

    in the lead (=winning):

    The latest polls show the Labour candidate in the lead.

    have/hold the lead (=be winning):

    We had the lead until the beginning of the second half.

    1. a.
      [singular] the distance, amount of time, number of points etc by which someone is winning a race or competition

      a narrow lead

      They’ve increased their lead to three points.

      have a lead of:

      The Spanish rider has a lead of 35 seconds over his nearest rival.

  2. 2
    [countable] the main part for an actor in a play, film, or television programme
    play the lead (in something):

    She’s playing the lead in her school play.

     Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      [countable] the main actor in a play, film, or television programme
      the male/female lead:

      Glenn Close was chosen as the female lead.

    2. b.
      [only before noun] a lead singer, dancer, guitar etc is the main singer, dancer, guitar player etc in a group
  3. 3
    [countable] a piece of information that may help someone to solve a problem or to find out the truth about something, especially a crime
  4. 4
    [countable] an action that is an example for someone to copy
    give a lead:

    The United States was criticized for not having given a lead.

    follow someone’s lead:

    North Korea is to follow China’s lead in attracting foreign capital and expertise.

  5. 5
    [countable] the most important story on the front page of a newspaper, or the first piece of news on a news broadcast

    the lead on all today’s front pages

    a lead story:

    It was the lead story on the evening news.

  6. 6
    [countable] a long narrow piece of leather, chain etc that you fasten to the collar around a dog’s neck in order to control the dog. The usual American word is leash
    on a lead:

    All dogs must be kept on a lead in the park.

  7. 8
    [singular] mainly American the management or leadership of an organization or company

    She took over the lead of the corporation after her father’s death.