lead up to

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lead up to

1. To serve as a route directly to a particular thing or place. This gravel path leads up to our grandfather's cabin. A trail of cairns led up the peak of the mountain.
2. To act as a preface or preparation for something else; to gradually result in something. Everything he began with in his speech led up to his announcement that the company would be closing at the end of the following month. We'll begin the show with a number of smaller acts, leading up to the sword eater as our grand finale.
See also: lead, up
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

lead up to something

 
1. Lit. to aim at or route movement to something. A narrow path led up to the door of the cottage. This road leads up to the house at the top of the hill.
2. Fig. to prepare to say something; to lay the groundwork for making a point. (Typically with the present participle.) I was just leading up to telling you what happened when you interrupted. I knew she was leading up to something, the way she was talking.
See also: lead, up
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

lead up to

Prepare gradually for, result in gradually, as in These events clearly led up to the coup, or His remarks led up to the main point of the speech, that he was going to resign next year . [Mid-1800s]
See also: lead, up
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

lead up to

1. To result in by a series of steps: events leading up to the coup.
2. To proceed toward (a main topic) with preliminary remarks.
See also: lead, up
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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Home deliveries spike in the weeks leading up to Christmas and UPS My Choice helps customers avoid missed deliveries by getting advance text or email messages from UPS that alert them the day before a package is scheduled to arrive.