lead (one) on

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lead (one) on

1. To escort one somewhere. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "lead" and "on." Can you please lead this group of students on to the auditorium?
2. To (usually but not always intentionally) cause one to think (incorrectly) that one is the subject of favor, romantic feelings, or some form of interest. Don't lead Melissa on. If you don't have the same level of interest in her, you two should spend less time together. I hope the company isn't leading me on with talk of such a high salary.
See also: lead, on

lead someone on

 
1. to guide someone onward. We led him on so he could see more of the gardens. Please lead Mary on. There is lots more to see here.
2. and lead someone on to tease someone; to encourage someone's romantic or sexual interest without sincerity. You are just leading me on! It's not fair to continue leading him on. It's easy to lead on teenage boys.
See also: lead, on

lead on

to continue to lead onward. The guide led on and we followed. Lead on, my friend. We are right behind you!
See also: lead, on

lead on

Entice someone into proceeding, mislead; also, deceive someone, especially pretending romantic interest. For example, He's leading her on to reveal more of her family history, or She's just leading him on; she has a serious boyfriend at home. [Late 1500s]
See also: lead, on

lead on

v.
1. To guide someone forward: The general led the troops on to battle.
2. To mislead or deceive someone: It's not right to lead your date on when you're not really interested. I thought they would buy the house, but they were leading on the realtor.
3. To keep someone in a state of expectation or hope; entice someone: That recruiter led me on with promises of employment. The college counselor led on the students with anecdotes of successful applicants.
See also: lead, on