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From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishleadlead1 /liːd/ ●●● S1 W1 verb (past tense and past participle led /led/)  1 take somebody somewhere [intransitive, transitive usually + adverb/preposition]FIRST to take someone somewhere by going in front of them while they follow, or by pulling them gentlylead somebody to/into etc something A nurse took her arm and led her to a chair. The horses were led to safety.lead somebody away/down etc She was led away from the courtroom in tears. The manager led the way through the office.see thesaurus at take2 go in front [intransitive, transitive] to go in front of a line of people or vehicles A firetruck was leading the parade.3 be in charge [intransitive, transitive]IN CHARGE OF to be in charge of an organization, country, or team, or a group of people who are trying to do something He has led the party for over twenty years. Some people say she is too old to lead the country (=be in charge of its government). Beckham led his team to victory.lead an investigation/inquiry/campaign The investigation will be led by Inspector Scarfe. They are leading a campaign to warn teenagers about the dangers of drug abuse.lead a revolt/rebellion/coup etc The rebellion was led by the King’s brother.lead an attack/assault Nelson preferred to lead the attack himself from the front. a man who was born to lead a communist-led strike4 cause something to happen [intransitive, transitive]CAUSE to cause something to happen or cause someone to do somethinglead to the events that led to the start of the First World War A degree in English could lead to a career in journalism.lead somebody into something Her trusting nature often led her into trouble.lead somebody to do something What led him to kill his wife?lead to somebody doing something His actions could lead to him losing his job.5 cause somebody to believe something [transitive] to make someone believe something, especially something that is not truelead somebody to believe/expect/understand something He had led everyone to believe that his family was very wealthy. The hotel was terrible, and not at all what we had been led to expect. Our research led us to the conclusion that the present system is unfair. 6 influence [transitive] to influence someone to make them do something that is wronglead somebody into something His brother led him into a life of crime. He’s not a bad boy. He’s just easily led (=it is easy for other people to persuade him to do things that he should not do).7 be more successful [transitive]BEST to be more successful than other people, companies, or countries in a particular activitylead the world/market/pack/field US companies lead the world in biotechnology.lead the way (=be the first to do something, and show other people how to do it) The Swedes have led the way in data protection. leading1(1)8 be winning [intransitive, transitive]WIN to be winning a game, competition etc opp lose At half-time, Brazil led 1–0. With 15 laps to go, Schumacher led the race. The polls showed Obama leading Romney by 3 percent.lead by ten points/two goals etc Nadal was leading by two sets.9 path/door etc [intransitive, transitive always + adverb/preposition]JOIN something TOGETHER used to say where a path, wire etc goes or what place is on the other side of a doorlead to/towards The path led down to a small lake.lead from/out of the major artery leading from the heartlead into the door leading into the hallwaylead somebody to/into something The riverside path leads visitors to a small chapel.10 lifeLIFE [transitive] if you lead a particular kind of life, that is what your life is likelead a normal/quiet/busy etc life If the operation succeeds, Carly will be able to lead a normal life. He has led a charmed life (=been very fortunate).lead a life of luxury/poverty etclead the life of a ... She now leads the life of a recluse.lead a double life (=deceive people by keeping different parts of your life separate and not letting anyone know the whole truth) Joe had been leading a double life, seeing an ex-model while his wife believed he was on business. They lead a nomadic existence.11 discussion etc [transitive always + adverb/preposition] to control the way a discussion, conversation etc develops I tried to lead the conversation back to the subject of money. 12 lead somebody up the garden path13 lead somebody astray14 lead nowhere/not lead anywhere15 lead by example16 lead somebody by the nose17 this/that leads (me) to something18 somebody has their own life to lead19 lead somebody a merry old dance/a right old dance20 market-led/export-led etc21 lead the eye22 card game [intransitive, transitive]DGC to play a particular card as your first card in one part of a card gameTHESAURUSlead to take a person or animal somewhere by going in front of them while they follow, or by pulling them gentlyRachel led Jo into the kitchen.She was leading a horse, which seemed to have a bad leg.take to take someone somewhere with you when you have the transport, know the way, are paying etcI took her to see a film.Matt’s taking me in his car.guide to take someone through or to a place you know, showing them the wayAli guided us through the streets to his house on the edge of the town.show to take someone to a place such as a table in a restaurant or a hotel room and leave them thereA waitress showed us to our table.We were shown to our seats near the front of the theatre.point to show someone which direction to go using your hand or a signThe sign back there pointed this way.escort to take someone somewhere, protecting them, guarding them, or showing them the wayHe was escorted from the court by police.The president’s car will be escorted by a military convoy.usher to show someone the way to a room or building nearby, usually as part of your jobHis housekeeper ushered us into the living room.shepherd to carefully take someone somewhere – used especially about a group of peopleThe police shepherded thousands of people to safety in the cathedral.direct formal to tell someone where to go or how to get somewhereHe directed us to a café a few blocks away.Can you direct me to the station? lead off lead somebody on lead on to something lead with something lead up to something→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpus
leadUN-led hostage negotiationsWith two minutes to play, the Lakers are still leading.Dr Jenkins leads a team of researchers at the Plant Institute.The government, led by conservatives, has been unwilling to join the talks.A group of 80 planes, led by Lieutenant Commander Egusha, was on its way to attack.For many years, India's Congress Party was led by Mrs Indira Gandhi.The drug raid was led by top officers.Kato leads Cal in interceptions with three.The police officer took her arm and led her gently away.Juan led her slowly around the dance floor.He led Julia through the house to his study.Debbie always leads the conversation back around to herself.Jaruzelski led the country's Communist regime for nine years.67% of voters said they would not trust him to lead the country.Who is leading the investigation?The high school band is leading the parade.In silence, Roland led the way back to the car.He led the way, his slim hips in the tight fitting pants snaking gracefully between the tables.She opened the door, thinking it led to a bedroom.One unexcused absence can lead to a ninety-day suspension of benefits; four unexcused absences can cause expulsion from welfare entirely.This led to the second major set of issues, operation and maintenance at the local level.He was killed in the assault soon after, but the information he had gained as a scout led to victory.Our guide seemed to be leading us towards a wooded area in the distance.led to safetyFive people were rescued from their burning flat and 30 others were led to safety after thick smoke spread through the building.The school's world-famous Lippizaner horses were led to safety in a park.lead the countryRecent reports have shown the North leads the country in provision of nursery places.Mr. Shersby Is my hon. Friend aware that Hillingdon is leading the country in recognising parents' wishes?Will you be leading the country into the next election.Mr Dos Santos, an almost reclusive figure who has led the country since 1979, gave no reason for his decision.Nyamwisi Movingi had resigned from this post on March 22, accusing the government of leading the country to disaster.lead toThat led to a breakup with his sweetheart, who could not understand what he candidly admitted was a thirst for glory.Blaming often leads to complete breakdown in family communications.And have your interactions with these people led to greater professional and personal fulfillment for all parties?Between 1990 and 1992, there were more than 1,000 mergers in that industry-all of which led to job losses.The mountains also prove to be a tourist attraction as some of the mountains experience alpine conditions which leads to ski resorts.The proposal for a Severn barrage has also led to some public debate, chiefly on environment issues.Yet this interventionism has not led to the creation of anything approaching an Executive Office.The combination of all these factors led to the tragedy on pad 34.lead somebody to believe/expect/understand somethingHe'd stuck his neck out all right, but not as much as he'd led Holman to believe.If something or some one is deliberately hidden from us what does this lead us to expect?She did not appear from her expression as uncaring of this interruption as the maid would have led Lois to believe.She was older than first glance had led Christina to believe.The room was not as grand as the corridor had led them to expect, but it was of reasonable size.There is no tangible information that would lead anyone to believe, in my view, that Sen.Contrary to what some Democrats would lead you to believe, U. S. Sen.easily ledHe is resistant to change, gullible and easily led.Nervous, fidgety, changeable in mood, easily led.Poor Col. He wasn't a bad boy, just easily led.The talented people who make up Great Groups are not easily led.It may sometimes make them seem indecisive and easily led, but it also bestows qualities of sensitivity, sympathy and empathy.Often clients of licensed dealers who were genuinely interested in options would be easily led into warrants.We are so easily led to pernicious solutions.lead the world/market/pack/fieldBut it was our television which led the world and that was largely built on great writing on contemporary themes.The same computer and communications stocks that lead the market down all day, lead it back up in the 90 minutes.The commentator even remarked on the fact that the two loose horses leading the field had caused no hindrance.Commercial banks, including trusts, led the market lower.The satisfaction of leading the world's finest professionals was short-lived, but Jim Thorpe will never forget that 24 hours.Neither needed the United States leading the world to higher interest rates.His answer to this question led the world to the development of the free-enterprise sys-tem.lead to/towardsObjects ought to lead to investigations about the society that produced them and the people who used them.That accident led to speed restrictions and disruption throughout Britain's rail network during an emergency program of replacing cracked rails.And it is proven to lead to stronger, more solid bones, relieve tension, depression and insomnia.The road that led to the hospital sloped upwards through a forest of pine trees.And it is that competition that led to the invention of gender.These demanding situations lead to the notion that eating lunch is an indulgence.These stages are like the treads of a stairway leading to the truth.Or the research could go anywhere and lead to the unexpected!lead a normal/quiet/busy etc lifeI long to go back, but I must let them lead normal lives.It may be the only chance the ten year old child will have of leading a normal life.Mendl will give me a home, he wants children, he wants to lead a normal life.So long as the proper dose of insulin is administered on a regular basis, diabetics can generally lead normal lives.Some have since returned and lead quiet lives.He now leads a busy life as an honorary chaplain in York Minster.