from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A soft, malleable, ductile, bluish-white, dense metallic element, extracted chiefly from galena and used in containers and pipes for corrosives, solder and type metal, bullets, radiation shielding, paints, glass, storage batteries, and antiknock compounds. Atomic number 82; atomic weight 207.2; melting point 327.5°C; boiling point 1,749°C; specific gravity 11.35; valence 2, 4. cross-reference: Periodic Table.
  • noun Any of various, often graphitic compositions used as the writing substance in pencils.
  • noun A thin stick of such material.
  • noun Bullets from or for firearms; shot.
  • noun A lead weight suspended by a line, used to make soundings.
  • noun Printing A thin strip of metal used to separate lines of type.
  • noun Strips of lead used to hold the panes of a window.
  • noun Chiefly British A flat roof covered with sheets of lead.
  • transitive verb To cover, line, weight, or fill with lead.
  • transitive verb Printing To provide space between (lines of type) with leads.
  • transitive verb To secure (window glass) with leads.
  • transitive verb To treat with lead or a lead compound.
  • idiom (get the lead out) To start moving or move more rapidly.
  • intransitive verb To show the way to by going in advance: synonym: guide.
  • intransitive verb To guide or direct in a course.
  • intransitive verb To serve as a route for; take.
  • intransitive verb To be a channel or conduit for (water or electricity, for example).
  • intransitive verb To guide the behavior or opinion of; induce.
  • intransitive verb To direct the performance or activities of.
  • intransitive verb To inspire the conduct of.
  • intransitive verb To play a principal or guiding role in.
  • intransitive verb To go or be at the head of.
  • intransitive verb To be ahead of.
  • intransitive verb To be foremost in or among.
  • intransitive verb To pass or go through; live.
  • intransitive verb To begin or open with, as in games.
  • intransitive verb To guide (a partner) in dancing.
  • intransitive verb To aim in front of (a moving target).
  • intransitive verb Sports To pass a ball or puck ahead of (a moving teammate) so that the player can receive the pass without changing direction or losing speed.
  • intransitive verb To be first; be ahead.
  • intransitive verb To go first as a guide.
  • intransitive verb To act as commander, director, or guide.
  • intransitive verb To afford a passage, course, or route.
  • intransitive verb To tend toward a certain goal or result.
  • intransitive verb To make the initial play, as in a game or contest.
  • intransitive verb To begin a presentation or account in a given way.
  • intransitive verb To guide a dance partner.
  • intransitive verb To start a dance step on a specified foot.
  • intransitive verb Baseball To advance or stand a few paces away from one's base toward the next while the pitcher prepares to deliver a pitch. Used of a base runner.
  • intransitive verb Sports To begin an attack in boxing with a specified hand or punch.
  • noun The first or foremost position.
  • noun One occupying such a position; a leader.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English led, from Old English lēad, probably of Celtic origin.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English leden, from Old English lǣdan; see leit- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English leed, from Old English lēad ("lead"), from Proto-Germanic *laudan (“lead”), from Proto-Indo-European *lAudh- (“lead”). Cognate with Scots leid, lede ("lead"), North Frisian lud, luad ("lead"), West Frisian lead ("lead"), Dutch lood ("lead"), German Lot ("solder, plummet, sounding line"), Swedish lod ("lead"), Icelandic lóð ("a plumb, weight"), Irish luaidhe ("lead"), Lithuanian liudē ("plumb, plummet, plumbline").


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  • "Mister Calamy, the lead if you please!" (Midshipman Hollom, "Master and Commander")

    February 21, 2007

  • rhymes with red - a heavy metal

    rhymes with reed - to go in front, or to command

    March 27, 2007

  • Pb; chemical element. Also, introductory piece (say, for a news story).

    November 22, 2007

  • "Edgington was awake, writing a 10,000-page love letter to Peg.

    'Still up?' I said.

    'No,' he said. 'It went down an hour ago.'


    I pulled myself wearily under the blankets. (Hadn't I better rephrase that?) I fell asleep leaving sexually frustrated Edgington trying to work it out in writing. He certainly had a lot of lead in his pencil."

    - Spike Milligan, 'Mussolini: My Part In His Downfall.'

    April 19, 2009

  • Homography!

    July 19, 2010

  • "lead" in Hungarian means: to pass on / to give away

    August 7, 2012