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"to guide," Old English lædan "cause to go with one, lead, guide, conduct, carry; sprout forth; bring forth, pass (one's life)," causative of liðan "to travel," from West Germanic *laidjan (cf. Old Saxon lithan, Old Norse liða "to go," Old High German ga-lidan "to travel," Gothic ga-leiþan "to go"), from PIE *leit- "to go forth."
Meaning "to be in first place" is from late 14c. Sense in card playing is from 1670s. Related: Led; leading. Lead-off "commencement, beginning" attested from 1879; lead-in "introduction, opening" is from 1928.
heavy metal, Old English lead, from West Germanic *loudhom (cf. Old Frisian lad, Middle Dutch loot, Dutch lood "lead," German Lot "weight, plummet"). The name and the skill in using the metal seem to have been borrowed from the Celts (cf. Old Irish luaide), probably from PIE root *plou(d)- "to flow."
Figurative of heaviness since at least early 14c. 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 (especially male sexual) vigor," attested by 1902. Lead balloon "a failure," American English slang, attested by 1957 (as a type of something heavy that can be kept up only with effort, from 1904). 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.
c.1300, "action of leading," from lead (v.1). 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 1912; in jazz bands, from 1934.
lead 1 (lēd)
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.
A record made from the current supplied by one of these conductors.
lead 2 (lěd)
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.
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.
city, Lawrence county, western South Dakota, U.S. It lies in the northern Black Hills, about 40 miles (65 km) northwest of Rapid City, at an elevation of 5,280 feet (1,609 metres). Situated just southwest of Deadwood, it is built on the steep inclines of the hills. It was established in 1876 following the discovery of gold by Fred and Moses Manuel, and its name was inspired by the lode mines in the area, an outcrop of ore being termed a "lead." Lead was South Dakota's largest city at the time of statehood in 1889. The city lost a major aspect of its economy with the closing of the Homestake Gold Mine (opened 1876), which was the world's oldest continuously operating gold mine until it closed in 2001; chemist Raymond Davis received the 2002 Nobel Prize for Physics for his work in detecting neutrinos in a laboratory in the mine. Tourism, based primarily on the more than 80 gambling halls in Deadwood (where gambling was legalized in 1989), is now an economic mainstay. Some ranching and lumbering also take place in the area. Lead is surrounded by Black Hills National Forest and has many outdoor recreational opportunities, including two ski areas. The Black Hills Mining Museum has a simulation of an underground gold mine. Inc. 1890. Pop. (1990) 3,632; (2000) 3,027.