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lead nowhere

To ultimately yield or achieve no useful, beneficial, or successful result or outcome. This meeting is leading nowhere. We've been here for over two hours now and haven't even been able to come up with a name for our product! It appears that talks between Democrats and Republicans on a compromised spending bill have led nowhere.
See also: lead, nowhere

lead (one) (around) by the nose

To exert a high degree of control over someone else. I can't stand the way your mother leads you around by the nose like that and tells you what to do!
See also: lead, nose

lead a cat and dog life

Of spouses or romantic partners, to have a life together typified by arguments, fights, and disagreements. They were so happy when they first started dating, but after 10 years together, they've started leading a cat and dog life.
See also: and, cat, dog, lead, life

lead the line

To be the first person in a line of people. All right, kids, who wants to lead the line when we walk to lunch today?
See also: lead, line

lead (one) to the altar

To marry someone. I can't believe it's only a month until I lead her to the altar!
See also: altar, lead

lead the field

1. To be the most successful or talented person in a particular sport, hobby, field of study, business, etc. She's been leading the field with her groundbreaking research into cancer cell structures. He led the field for nearly two decades in the number of home runs hit in a single season.
2. Of an athlete, to be performing at a much higher standard than one's competitor(s), and having the best chance of winning. He has been leading the field since the moment the race began.
See also: field, lead

lead the pack

To be at the forefront of a particular group, either literally or figuratively. We had Bill lead the pack on our tour through Rome. The new video game console led the pack in sales for the fifth straight week.
See also: lead, pack

one thing leads to another

One action has triggered others, especially those that are unplanned or unforeseen. You know how it is: you try to make one small improvement to your house, but then one thing leads to another, and you end up repainting the entire first floor. We were just going to meet for coffee, but one thing led to another and we spent the whole night walking around the city and talking.
See also: another, lead, one, thing

lead a double life

To keep part of one's life hidden, especially a part that would not be approved of. For years, he led a double life, shacking up with another women while his family remained in the dark about everything. The movie is about a mother and father who lead a double life as secret agents.
See also: double, lead, life

lead (one) astray

1. To lead one in the wrong direction; to cause one to be lost or in the wrong place. I'm afraid the GPS led us astray. We should have turned right back there. It was only when we saw the waterfall again that we realized our guide had been leading us astray.
2. To misdirect one into error. A few false positives led me astray at first, but I think I have a good idea of the data trends now.
3. To negatively influence one; to influence one to make poor choices. I just hope this new group that my son is hanging out with doesn't lead him astray.
See also: astray, lead

lead the life of Riley

To live a life of great ease, comfort, or luxury. The phrase is likely of early 20th-century Irish-American origin, but to whom Riley refers is uncertain. Pampered from a young age after his father came into sudden wealth, Jonathan led the life of Riley compared to the hardships his older siblings faced.
See also: lead, life, of, riley

lead off

1. To take the first action in a particular situation. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "lead" and "off." I'll lead off with my concerns about the project, if you want.
2. To escort someone somewhere. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "lead" and "off." Can you please lead this group of students off to the auditorium?
3. In baseball, to bat first in a lineup. In this usage, "lead off" is a set phrase. Justin usually leads off for us. Who is leading off this inning?
See also: lead, off

lead the way

1. To guide or direct someone somewhere by walking ahead of them. I don't know where I'm going, so you should lead the way.
2. To be esteemed or celebrated in a particular area. That hospital always leads the way in cancer research.
See also: lead, way

lead from the front

To do the things or behave the way that one advises, dictates, or espouses. The country has such happy citizens because people in power lead from the front when they introduce new legislation, so everyone feels like they are on an equal playing field. You really ought to lead from the front if you're going to tell your employees not to incur excessive, unnecessary costs to the company.
See also: front, lead

lead (one) to believe

To cause someone to believe something, especially if it is untrue. The sales agent led me to believe I would continue paying the lower price if I signed up for the TV service, but when I got my first bill I learned that wasn't the case. He led us to believe he had a graduate degree in economics. Turns out he didn't even graduate from high school.
See also: believe, lead

lead (one) up the aisle

To marry someone. Usually, but not always, said of a man leading a woman. It was 50 years ago today that my dear Robert led me up the aisle.
See also: aisle, lead, up

lead off

to be the first one to go or leave. You lead off. I'll follow. Mary led off and the others followed closely behind.
See also: lead, off

lead off (with someone or something)

[for a person, process, or performance] to begin with someone or something. The musical revue led off with a bassoon trio. Sharon, the singer, will lead off tonight.
See also: lead, off

lead someone or something off

to guide someone or something away. The guide led the hikers off on the adventure of their lives. The dog owners led off their animals and they awaited the decision of the judges.
See also: lead, off

lead the life of Riley

 and live the life of Riley
Fig. to live in luxury. (No one knows who Riley alludes to.) If I had a million dollars, I could live the life of Riley. The treasurer took our money to Mexico, where he lived the life of Riley until the police caught him.
See also: lead, life, of, riley

lead the way

to lead (someone) along the proper pathway. You lead the way, and we'll follow. I feel better when you're leading the way. I get lost easily.
See also: lead, way

One thing leads to another.

One event sets things up for another event, and so on. (As an explanation of how little things lead to big problems.) I kept spending more and more money until I was broke. You know how one thing leads to another. He bought a car, then a house, then a boat. One thing leads to another.
See also: another, lead, one, thing

lead a double life

Live as if one were two persons, usually one good and one bad. For example, They learned that his frequent travels were actually fictitious, and he was leading a double life, with a second home on the other side of town . This phrase is frequently used for a married person who establishes a second household with a lover. [Late 1800s] Also see Jekyll and Hyde.
See also: double, lead, life

lead off

Begin, start, go first. For example, We have a panel of three speakers, so will you lead off? [c. 1800]
See also: lead, off

lead the way

1. Act as a guide, go in advance of others. For example, We asked Tom to lead the way, since he'd hiked this mountain before. [c. 1200]
2. Be first or most prominent in some field or action, as in Our teacher led the way in finding new methods of teaching algebra. [Late 1600s]
See also: lead, way

lead the field

COMMON
1. If a person, company or organization leads the field in an activity, they are the best or most successful at it. The Americans continue to lead the field when it comes to child actors.
2. If you lead the field in a competition, you are in the best position and are likely to win. US and European cyclists usually lead the field. This could be due to their hi-tech equipment. Torrance led the field after two rounds of the Kronenbourg Open.
See also: field, lead

one thing leads to another

COMMON You say one thing leads to another when you are describing something that happens, to say that one event or activity causes another. I never thought I'd be a president, but after they closed down the university where I was a professor, I became a kind of spokesman. One thing led to another and so here I am today.
See also: another, lead, one, thing

lead from the front

take an active role in what you are urging and directing others to do.
See also: front, lead

lead from the ˈfront

take an active part in what you are telling or persuading others to do: If you want to succeed in this business, you need to lead from the front. We need people who can motivate their team to get the best possible results.
See also: front, lead

lead (somebody) ˈnowhere

have no successful result for somebody: This discussion is leading nowhere.
See also: lead, nowhere

lead the ˈway


1 go in front of somebody in order to show them the way: She led the way to the conference hall.
2 be the first to do or develop something: The United States was leading the way in space research. OPPOSITE: follow/go with the crowd
See also: lead, way

ˌone thing leads to aˈnother

(informal) 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 engaged!
See also: another, lead, one, thing

lead off

v.
1. To cause something to begin or start; inaugurate something: Do you want me to lead off the discussion with some comments? The secretary led the meeting off with some announcements.
2. To guide someone or something away: The counselor led the campers off to their bunks.
3. Baseball To be the first batter in an inning: The batter who led off in the first inning scored a home run.
See also: lead, off

lead the way

1. To show a course or route by going in advance.
2. To be foremost in an endeavor or trend: The firm led the way in the application of new technology.
See also: lead, way