Definition of lead verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//liːd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//liːd//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they lead
    BrE BrE//liːd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//liːd//
    he / she / it leads
    BrE BrE//liːdz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//liːdz//
    past simple led
    BrE BrE//led//
    ; NAmE NAmE//led//
    past participle led
    BrE BrE//led//
    ; NAmE NAmE//led//
    -ing form leading
    BrE BrE//ˈliːdɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈliːdɪŋ//
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    show the way
  1. 1  [intransitive, transitive] to go with or in front of a person or an animal to show the way or to make them go in the right direction synonym guide If you lead, I'll follow. lead somebody/something + adv./prep. He led us out into the grounds. The receptionist led the way to the boardroom. She led the horse back into the stable. (figurative) I tried to lead the discussion back to the main issue. Synonymstakelead escort drive show walk guide usher directThese words all mean to go with somebody from one place to another.take to go with somebody from one place to another, for example in order to show them something or to show them the way to a place:It’s too far to walk—I’ll take you by car.lead to go with or go in front of somebody in order to show them the way or to make them go in the right direction:Firefighters led the survivors to safety.escort to go with somebody in order to protect or guard them or to show them the way:The president arrived, escorted by twelve bodyguards.drive to take somebody somewhere in a car, taxi, etc:My mother drove us to the airport.show to take somebody to a particular place, in the right direction, or along the correct route:The attendant showed us to our seats.walk to go somewhere with somebody on foot, especially in order to make sure that they get there safely; to take an animal, especially a dog, for a walk or make an animal walk somewhere:He always walked her home. Have you walked the dog yet today?guide to show somebody the way to a place, often by going with them; to show somebody a place that you know well:She guided us through the busy streets. We were guided around the museums.usher (rather formal) to politely take or show somebody where they should go, especially within a building:She ushered her guests to their seats.direct (rather formal) to tell or show somebody how to get somewhere or where to go:A young woman directed them to the station.Patterns to take/​lead/​escort/​drive/​show/​walk/​guide/​usher/​direct somebody to/​out of/​into something to take/​lead/​escort/​drive/​show/​walk/​guide somebody around/​round to take/​lead/​escort/​drive/​walk somebody home to take/​lead/​escort/​guide somebody to safety to lead/​show the way
  2. connect two things
  3. 2  [intransitive] lead from/to something (to/from something) to connect one object or place to another the pipe leading from the top of the water tank The wire led to a speaker.
  4. of road/path/door
  5. 3  [intransitive, transitive] to go in a particular direction or to a particular place + adv./prep. A path led up the hill. Which door leads to the yard? lead somebody + adv./prep. The track led us through a wood.
  6. cause
  7. 4  [intransitive] lead to something to have something as a result synonym result in Eating too much sugar can lead to health problems. A reward was offered for information leading to an arrest. Language BankcauseX causes Y Childhood obesity can cause/lead to long-term health problems. Changes in lifestyle and diet over the last twenty years have caused/led to/resulted in a sharp increase in childhood obesity. Several factors, including changes in diet and lifestyle, have contributed to the increase in childhood obesity. Research suggests that fast food and soft drinks directly contribute to childhood obesity. Genetics, lifestyle and diet are all important factors in cases of childhood obesity. Even small changes in lifestyle and diet can bring about significant weight loss.
  8. 5  [transitive] to be the reason why somebody does or thinks something lead somebody (to something) What led you to this conclusion? He's too easily led (= easily persuaded to do or think something). lead somebody to do something This has led scientists to speculate on the existence of other galaxies. The situation is far worse than we had been led to believe.
  9. life
  10. 6  [transitive] lead something to have a particular type of life to lead a quiet life/a life of luxury/a miserable existence
  11. be best/first
  12. 7  [transitive, intransitive] to be the best at something; to be in first place lead (somebody/something) (in something) The department led the world in cancer research. We lead the way in space technology. lead (somebody/something) by something The champion is leading (her nearest rival) by 18 seconds.
  13. be in control
  14. 8  [transitive, intransitive] lead (something) to be in control of something; to be the leader of something to lead an expedition to lead a discussion Who will lead the party in the next election?
  15. in card games
  16. 9[intransitive, transitive] to play first; to play something as your first card It's your turn to lead. lead something to lead the ten of clubs
  17. Word OriginOld English lǣdan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch leiden and German leiten, also to load and lode.Extra examples ‘Lead on!’ said Arnold. An old track led back through the wood. Business success does not automatically lead to financial success. Discussion of a client’s tax affairs will lead naturally into consideration of investment options. Five people helping to lead a convoy of aid are feared dead. I tried to lead as normal a life as possible. Industrialization inevitably led to the expansion of the urban working class. Let me lead the way. Often there are discoveries which lead nowhere. She led them along a dark corridor to a small room. Some children are easily led. Such actions would most likely lead to the decline of rural communities. Sugar and fat can easily lead to obesity. Sugar and fat can more easily lead to obesity than some other foods. The carbon tax might well lead to a doubling of prices for fossil fuels. The gardens lead directly onto a beach. The glass doors lead out onto a rooftop garden. The use of soft drugs does not necessarily lead to a progression to hard drugs. These measures in turn led to an increased opportunity for independent music production. Worrying about your weight is more likely to lead to comforting yourself with a piece of chocolate. Worrying about your weight is more likely to lead to low self-esteem. You lead the way and we’ll follow. a path leading from the village to the old church the events that led eventually to war Detective Inspector Adrian Eakins, who is leading the hunt for the killer, has called a press conference. Disconnect the pipe leading from the top of the water tank. Firefighters led the survivors to safety. He led the first expedition to the North Pole. He led the race for eight laps until his engine blew. If you lead, I’ll follow. She is leading her nearest rival by 18 seconds. The campaign for the ban had been led by Greenpeace and the World Wide Fund for Nature. The firm’s solid construction standards still lead the field. The project is run by a team of experts led by Andrew Hall. The situation is far worse than we had been led to believe. This has led scientists to speculate on the existence life on other planets. Top management should be seen to lead by example. What we found leads us to suspect that more people may be involved. Who will lead the party into the next election?Idioms
    the blind leading the blind
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    a situation in which people with almost no experience or knowledge give advice to others who also have no experience or knowledge
    lead somebody by the nose
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    to make somebody do everything you want; to control somebody completely
    lead somebody a (merry) dance
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    (British English) to cause somebody a lot of trouble or worry
    to take an active part in what you are telling or persuading others to do
    lead/live the life of Riley
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    (old-fashioned, often disapproving) to live an enjoyable and comfortable life with no problems or responsibilities The two crooks had been living the life of Riley. He planned to retire early and then lead the life of Riley.
    lead (somebody) nowhere
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    to have no successful result for somebody This discussion is leading us nowhere.
    lead somebody up/down the garden path
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    to make somebody believe something which is not true
    one thing leads to another
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    used to suggest that the way one event or action leads to others is so obvious that it does not need to be stated He offered me a ride home one night, and, well, one thing led to another and now we're married!
    you can lead/take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink
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    (saying) you can give somebody the opportunity to do something, but you cannot force them to do it if they do not want to
    Phrasal Verbslead off (from) somethinglead offlead somebody onlead up to somethinglead with something
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: lead