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From Middle English led, leed, from Old English l?ad (“lead”), from Proto-Germanic *laud? (“lead”), from Proto-Indo-European *lewd?- (“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”).
Alternative etymology suggests the possibility that Proto-Germanic *laud? may derive from Proto-Celtic *loudom, from Proto-Indo-European *plow(d)- (“to flow”). If so, then cognate with Latin plumbum (“lead”). Cognate with German leiten (“to lead, manage, conduct”). More at flow.
lead (countable and uncountable, plural leads)
- (uncountable) A heavy, pliable, inelastic metal element, having a bright, bluish color, but easily tarnished; both malleable and ductile, though with little tenacity. It is easily fusible, forms alloys with other metals, and is an ingredient of solder and type metal. Atomic number 82, symbol Pb (from Latin plumbum).
- (countable, nautical) A plummet or mass of lead attached to a line, used in sounding depth at sea or (dated) to estimate velocity in knots.
- A thin strip of type metal, used to separate lines of type in printing.
- (uncountable, typography) Vertical space in advance of a row or between rows of text. Also known as leading.
- Sheets or plates of lead used as a covering for roofs.
- (plural leads) A roof covered with lead sheets or terne plates.
- (countable) A thin cylinder of black lead or plumbago (graphite) used in pencils.
- (slang) Bullets; ammunition.
- (transitive) To cover, fill, or affect with lead
- (transitive, printing, historical) To place leads between the lines of.
lead (countable and uncountable, plural leads)
- (uncountable) The act of leading or conducting; guidance; direction, course
- (uncountable) Precedence; advance position; also, the measure of precedence; the state of being ahead in a race; the highest score in a game in an incomplete game.
- (Britain, countable) An insulated metallic wire for electrical devices and equipment.
- (baseball) The situation where a runner steps away from a base while waiting for the pitch to be thrown.
- (uncountable, card games, dominoes) The act or right of playing first in a game or round; the card suit, or piece, so played
- (acting) The main role in a play or film; the lead role.
- (acting) The actor who plays the main role; lead actor.
- (countable) A channel of open water in an ice field.
- (countable, mining) A lode.
- (nautical) The course of a rope from end to end.
- A rope, leather strap, or similar device with which to lead an animal; a leash
- In a steam engine, the width of port opening which is uncovered by the valve, for the admission or release of steam, at the instant when the piston is at end of its stroke.
- Charging lead. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
- (civil engineering) The distance of haul, as from a cutting to an embankment.
- (horology) The action of a tooth, such as a tooth of a wheel, in impelling another tooth or a pallet.
- Hypothesis that has not been pursued
- Information obtained by a detective or police officer that allows him or her to discover further details about a crime or incident.
- (marketing) Potential opportunity for a sale or transaction, a potential customer.
- Information obtained by a news reporter about an issue or subject that allows him or her to discover more details.
- (curling) The player who throws the first two rocks for a team.
- (newspapers) A teaser; a lead-in; the start of a newspaper column, telling who, what, when, where, why and how. (Sometimes spelled as lede for this usage to avoid ambiguity.)
- An important news story that appears on the front page of a newspaper or at the beginning of a news broadcast
- (engineering) The axial distance a screw thread travels in one revolution. It is equal to the pitch times the number of starts.
- (music) In a barbershop quartet, the person who sings the melody, usually the second tenor
- (music) The announcement by one voice part of a theme to be repeated by the other parts.
- (music) A mark or a short passage in one voice part, as of a canon, serving as a cue for the entrance of others.
- (engineering) The excess above a right angle in the angle between two consecutive cranks, as of a compound engine, on the same shaft.
- (electrical) The angle between the line joining the brushes of a continuous-current dynamo and the diameter symmetrical between the poles.
- (electrical) The advance of the current phase in an alternating circuit beyond that of the electromotive force producing it.
lead (not comparable)
- Misspelling of led.