heave the lead


2 [led]
Chemistry. a heavy, comparatively soft, malleable, bluish-gray metal, sometimes found in its natural state but usually combined as a sulfide, especially in galena. Symbol: Pb; atomic weight: 207.19; atomic number: 82; specific gravity: 11.34 at 20°C.
something made of this metal or of one of its alloys.
a plummet or mass of lead suspended by a line, as for taking soundings.
bullets collectively; shot.
black lead or graphite.
a small stick of graphite, as used in pencils.
Also, leading. Printing. a thin strip of type metal or brass less than type-high, used for increasing the space between lines of type.
a grooved bar of lead or came in which sections of glass are set, as in stained-glass windows.
leads, British. a roof, especially one that is shallow or flat, covered with lead.
verb (used with object)
to cover, line, weight, treat, or impregnate with lead or one of its compounds.
Printing. to insert leads between the lines of.
to fix (window glass) in position with leads.
made of or containing lead: a lead pipe; a lead compound.
get the lead out, Slang. to move or work faster; hurry up.
heave the lead, Nautical. to take a sounding with a lead.
go over like a lead balloon, Slang. to fail to arouse interest, enthusiasm, or support.

before 900; Middle English lede, Old English lēad; cognate with Dutch lood, Old Frisian lād lead, German Lot plummet

leadless, adjective

3. weight, plumb.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
lead1 (liːd)
vb (when intr, foll by to) (foll by with) (foll by to) , leads, leading, led
1.  to show the way to (an individual or a group) by going with or ahead: lead the party into the garden
2.  to guide or be guided by holding, pulling, etc: he led the horse by its reins
3.  (tr) to cause to act, feel, think, or behave in a certain way; induce; influence: he led me to believe that he would go
4.  (tr) to phrase a question to (a witness) that tends to suggest the desired answer
5.  (of a road, route, etc) to serve as the means of reaching a place
6.  (tr) to go ahead so as to indicate (esp in the phrase lead the way)
7.  to guide, control, or direct: to lead an army
8.  (tr) to direct the course of or conduct (water, a rope or wire, etc) along or as if along a channel
9.  to initiate the action of (something); have the principal part in (something): to lead a discussion
10.  to go at the head of or have the top position in (something): he leads his class in geography
11.  to have as the first or principal item: the newspaper led with the royal birth
12.  music
 a.  (Brit) to play first violin in (an orchestra)
 b.  (intr) (of an instrument or voice) to be assigned an important entry in a piece of music
13.  to direct and guide (one's partner) in a dance
14.  (tr)
 a.  to pass or spend: I lead a miserable life
 b.  to cause to pass a life of a particular kind: to lead a person a dog's life
15.  to tend (to) or result (in): this will only lead to misery
16.  to initiate a round of cards by putting down (the first card) or to have the right to do this: she led a diamond
17.  (tr) to aim at a point in front of (a moving target) in shooting, etc, in order to allow for the time of flight
18.  (intr) boxing to make an offensive blow, esp as one's habitual attacking punch: southpaws lead with their right
19.  lead astray to mislead so as to cause error or wrongdoing
20.  lead by the nose See nose
21.  a.  the first, foremost, or most prominent place
 b.  (as modifier): lead singer
22.  example, precedence, or leadership: the class followed the teacher's lead
23.  an advance or advantage held over others: the runner had a lead of twenty yards
24.  anything that guides or directs; indication; clue
25.  another name for leash
26.  the act or prerogative of playing the first card in a round of cards or the card so played
27.  the principal role in a play, film, etc, or the person playing such a role
28.  a.  the principal news story in a newspaper: the scandal was the lead in the papers
 b.  the opening paragraph of a news story
 c.  (as modifier): lead story
29.  music an important entry assigned to one part usually at the beginning of a movement or section
30.  a wire, cable, or other conductor for making an electrical connection
31.  boxing
 a.  one's habitual attacking punch
 b.  a blow made with this
32.  nautical the direction in which a rope runs
33.  a deposit of metal or ore; lode
34.  the firing of a gun, missile, etc, ahead of a moving target to correct for the time of flight of the projectile
[Old English lǣdan; related to līthan to travel, Old High German līdan to go]

lead2 (lɛd)
1.  a heavy toxic bluish-white metallic element that is highly malleable: occurs principally as galena and used in alloys, accumulators, cable sheaths, paints, and as a radiation shield. Symbol: Pb; atomic no: 82; atomic wt: 207.2; valency: 2 or 4; relative density: 11.35; melting pt: 327.502°C; boiling pt: 1750°CRelated: plumbic, plumbeous, plumbous
2.  a lead weight suspended on a line used to take soundings of the depth of water
3.  swing the lead to malinger or make up excuses
4.  lead weights or shot, as used in cartridges, fishing lines, etc
5.  a thin grooved strip of lead for holding small panes of glass or pieces of stained glass
6.  (plural)
 a.  thin sheets or strips of lead used as a roof covering
 b.  a flat or low-pitched roof covered with such sheets
7.  printing Compare reglet a thin strip of type metal used for spacing between lines of hot-metal type
8.  a.  graphite or a mixture containing graphite, clay, etc, used for drawing
 b.  a thin stick of this material, esp the core of a pencil
9.  (modifier) of, consisting of, relating to, or containing lead
10.  go down like a lead balloon See balloon
11.  to fill or treat with lead
12.  to surround, cover, or secure with lead or leads
13.  printing to space (type) by use of leads
Related: plumbic, plumbeous, plumbous
[Old English; related to Dutch lood, German Lot]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"to guide," O.E. lædan "cause to go with one, lead," causative of liðan "to travel," from W.Gmc. *laithjan (cf. O.S. lithan, O.N. liða "to go," O.H.G. ga-lidan "to travel," Goth. ga-leiþan "to go"). Meaning "to be in first place" is from late 14c. The noun is first recorded c.1300,
"action of leading." Meaning "the front or leading place" is from 1560s. Johnson stigmatized it as "a low, despicable word." Sense in card-playing is from 1742; in theater, from 1831; in journalism, from 1927; in jazz bands, from 1934.

heavy metal, O.E. lead, from W.Gmc. *loudhom (cf. O.Fris. lad, M.Du. loot "lead," Ger. Lot "weight, plummet"). The name and the skill in using the metal seem to have been borrowed from the Celts (cf. O.Ir. luaide, probably from PIE base *plou(d)- "to flow"). Black lead was an old name for "graphite,"
hence lead pencil (1680s) and the colloquial figurative phrase to have lead in one's pencil "be possessed of (esp. male sexual) vigor," first attested 1941 in Australian slang. Lead balloon "a failure" is from 1960, Amer.Eng. slang. Lead-footed "slow" is from 1896; opposite sense of "fast" emerged 1940s in trucker's jargon, from notion of a foot heavy on the gas pedal.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

lead 1 (lēd)

  1. Any of the conductors designed to detect changes in electrical potential when situated in or on the body and connected to an instrument that registers and records these changes, such as an electrocardiograph.

  2. A record made from the current supplied by one of these conductors.

lead 2 (lěd)
Symbol Pb
A soft ductile dense metallic element. Atomic number 82; atomic weight 207.19; melting point 327.5°C; boiling point 1,749deg;C; specific gravity 11.35; valence 2, 4.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
lead   (lěd)  Pronunciation Key 
Symbol Pb
A soft, ductile, heavy, bluish-gray metallic element that is extracted chiefly from galena. It is very durable and resistant to corrosion and is a poor conductor of electricity. Lead is used to make radiation shielding and containers for corrosive substances. It was once commonly used in pipes, solder, roofing, paint, and antiknock compounds in gasoline, but its use in these products has been curtailed because of its toxicity. Atomic number 82; atomic weight 207.2; melting point 327.5°C; boiling point 1,744°C; specific gravity 11.35; valence 2, 4. See Periodic Table. See Note at element.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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