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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.
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!
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.
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?
lead (one) to the altar
To marry someone. I can't believe it's only a month until I lead her to the altar!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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? A: "Where's Adam?" B: "He just led off the first tour group."
3. In baseball or softball, to bat first in a lineup. Justin usually leads off for us. Who is leading off this inning?
lead the way
1. To guide or direct someone somewhere by proceeding ahead of them. I don't know where I'm going, so you should lead the way.
2. To be the most innovative or excellent in a particular area; to be at the forefront of a field or pursuit. That hospital always leads the way in cancer research.
3. To currently be at the top of a contest or ranked activity; to be in the lead. LeBron James leads the way for the all-star voting so far. Jeff is leading the way in fundraising, but Kathy is a close second.
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.
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.
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.
lead (one) to (do something)
To cause or compel force one to do something. 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. These sales lead us to think that there is not much of a market for this kind of product. His continued misuse of the internet led his parents to ban him from using it altogether.
See also: lead
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.
lead the life of Reilly
To live a life of great ease, comfort, or luxury. The phrase is likely of early 20th-century Irish-American origin, but to whom Reilly refers is uncertain. Pampered from a young age after his father came into sudden wealth, Jonathan led the life of Reilly compared to the hardships his older siblings faced.
to be the first one to go or leave. You lead off. I'll follow. Mary led off and the others followed closely behind.
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.
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.
lead the life of Rileyand 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Begin, start, go first. For example, We have a panel of three speakers, so will you lead off? [c. 1800]
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]
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]
lead the field
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.
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.
lead from the fronttake an active role in what you are urging and directing others to do.
lead from the ˈfronttake 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.
lead (somebody) ˈnowherehave no successful result for somebody: This discussion is leading 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
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!
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.
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.
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.