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lead - definition and synonyms

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verb     lead pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
present tense
present participleleading
past tenseled
past participleled
  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 real 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 pipe leads from the water heater to the bathroom upstairs.

      We followed a dirt track leading through the woods.

      The road leads west for three miles, then turns south.

      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 the Republicans leading with only 10 days left until the election.

    lead someone by something:

    The Giants led the Lions at the half by a score of 10 to 7.

    lead the field:

    Johnson led the field throughout the final day of the race.

    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:

      New York still leads the field as the top American vacation 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.

  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.

  7. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    lead somebody up/down the garden path to give somebody information that is incorrect or misleading in order to persuade them

    We should not be led down a garden path into believing that there is some enormous groundswell of support.

    I am sorry I rather led you up the garden path yesterday. My recollection was wrong.

    Submitted from United Kingdom on 28/10/2015
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to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

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Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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