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



    BrE BrE//led//
    ; NAmE NAmE//led//
    Materials and properties
    jump to other results
  1. 1 [uncountable] (symbol Pb) a chemical element. Lead is a heavy soft grey metal, used especially in the past for water pipes or to cover roofs. Lead exposure can be harmful to everyone, especially young children and babies. See related entries: Materials and properties
  2. 2[countable, uncountable] the thin black part of a pencil that marks paper
  3. Word OriginOld English lēad, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch lood ‘lead’ and German Lot ‘plummet, solder’.Idioms
    go down like a lead balloon
    jump to other results
    (informal) to be very unsuccessful; to not be accepted by people My suggestion went down like a lead balloon.
    (old-fashioned, British English, informal) (usually used in the progressive tenses) to pretend to be ill/sick when in fact you are not, especially to avoid work I don't think there's anything wrong with her—she's just swinging the lead. The lead was a weight at the bottom of a line that sailors used to measure how deep water was when the ship was near land. ‘Swinging the lead’ was thought to be an easy task, and came to mean avoiding hard work.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: lead