Definitions

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

  • adj. Made of or containing lead.
  • adj. Heavy and inert.
  • adj. Listless; sluggish.
  • adj. Lacking liveliness or sparkle; dull: a leaden conversation.
  • adj. Downcast; depressed: leaden spirits.
  • adj. Dull, dark gray in color: drizzle from a leaden sky.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Made of lead.
  • adj. Pertaining to or resembling lead; heavy, grey, sluggish.
  • adj. Dull; darkened with overcast.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Made of lead; of the nature of lead.
  • adj. Like lead in color, etc..
  • adj. Heavy; dull; sluggish.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Made or consisting of lead: as, a leaden ball; a leaden coffin.
  • Like lead in any particular.
  • Of the color of lead; dull-colored; hence, gloomy: as, a leaden sky.
  • [Leaden is often compounded with participial adjectives: as, leaden- winged time; a leaden -paced messenger.
  • Synonyms Lead, Leaden. Lead as an adjective is not used figuratively: leaden is used both literally and figuratively: as, a lead or leaden image; a leaden sky. A similar distinction exists between wood and wooden, gold and golden, etc.: as, a wood partition; wooden walls; wooden immobility; a gold watch; golden clouds, or hopes, or prospects. The form in -en is generally preferable rhythmically; hence its retention and extension in poetic use.
  • To fasten or cover with lead.
  • To weigh down with or as with lead, as one's spirits.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. made of lead
  • adj. lacking lightness or liveliness
  • adj. darkened with overcast
  • adj. (of movement) slow and laborious
  • adj. made heavy or weighted down with weariness

Etymologies

From Middle English leden, leaden, from Old English lēaden ("leaden, of lead"), equivalent to lead +‎ -en. Cognate with West Frisian leaden ("leaden"), Dutch loden ("leaden"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Director Yelena Demikovsky attempts to a tell a story of innocence lost and the fleeting nature of youthful affection, but winds up getting bogged down in leaden dialogue and cheesy music, both of which conspire to drag her film even deeper into the depths of irredeemable melodrama.

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  • She reached the landing at the mid-point of the staircase and saw the twin leaden benches that sat on either side of the platform.

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  • 23 I have adopted the word leaden as expressive of the idea implied in the original word, viz. grey or greyish blue; hence, dulled, dimmed.

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  • “Increase speed to nine-point-nine,” Riker told him, every word leaden.

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  • By means of a strip of lead called a leaden tape, which he pressed around and into the fillets and hollows with his finger and thumb, he transferred the exact contour of each moulding to his drawing, that lay on a sketching-stool a few feet distant; where were also a sketching-block, a small T-square, a bow-pencil, and other mathematical instruments.

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  • His public utterances are more likely to be described as leaden than poetic.

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  • His lungs feel "leaden," he has trouble concentrating on his graphic designs that used to give him so much pleasure, his moods swing unpredictably, he is dizzy, and the fragrance in ordinary household products makes his eyes water and sinuses stuffy.

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  • There were few stones suitable, but she could conjure with no problems the kind of leaden shot that made a good slinger so effective-all she had to do was concentrate on making small bits of "lead" and the conjured metal appeared in rounded globules.

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  • Charity, her idle hands in her lap, was sunk in a kind of leaden dream, through which she was only half-conscious of Ally, who sat opposite her in a low rush-bottomed chair, her work pinned to her knee, and her thin lips pursed up as she bent above it.

    Summer; a novel

  • Petite Comtesse_, a very short novel and its author's first thing of great distinction, might by some be called pathetic rather than tragic; but the line between the two is a "leaden" barrier (if indeed it is a barrier at all) and "gives" freely.

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