American English

Definition of lead verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    see also lead2Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they lead
    he / she / it leads
    past simple led
    -ing form leading
    jump to other results
    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 If you lead, I'll follow. lead somebody/something + adv./prep. He led us out onto 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. Thesaurustakelead escort drive show walk guide usher directThese words all mean to go with someone from one place to another.take to go with someone from one place to another, for example in order to show them something or to show them the way to a place:I'll take you to the party tomorrow.lead to go with or go in front of someone 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 someone in order to protect or guard them or to show them the way:The president was escorted by twelve to take someone somewhere in a car, taxi, etc:My mother drove us to the to take someone 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 someone 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 someone the way to a place, often by going with them; to show someone a place that you know well:She guided us through the busy streets. We were guided around the museums.usher (somewhat formal) to politely take or show someone where you want them to be, especially within a building:She ushered her guests to their (somewhat formal) to tell or show someone 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/usher somebody around to take/lead/escort/drive/walk somebody home to take/lead/escort/guide/usher 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 trail led us through the woods.
  6. cause
  7. 4[intransitive] lead to something to have something as a result synonym result in something 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 someone 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 list of candidates 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 (with) something to lead the ten of clubs/to lead with a club
  17. 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 someone do everything you want; to control someone completely
    lead somebody down the garden path
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    to make someone believe something that is not true synonym mislead
    lead from the front
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    to take an active part in what you are telling or persuading others to do
    lead/live the life of Riley (old-fashioned) (often disapproving)
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    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 someone This discussion is leading us nowhere.
    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 a horse to water, but you can't make it drink (saying)
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    you can give someone 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 Learner's Dictionary entry: lead