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[lee-der-ship] /ˈli dərˌʃɪp/
the position or function of a leader, a person who guides or directs a group:
He managed to maintain his leadership of the party despite heavy opposition.
ability to lead:
As early as sixth grade she displayed remarkable leadership potential.
an act or instance of leading; guidance; direction:
They prospered under his strong leadership.
the leaders of a group:
The union leadership agreed to arbitrate.
Origin of leadership
1815-25; leader + -ship Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for leadership
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is the leadership of orators; it is the ascendency of those who have a genius for talking.

    Congressional Government Woodrow Wilson
  • For not only leadership is passed from generation to generation, but so is stewardship.

  • Stone was out for the glee club, already planning to take singing lessons in the contest for the leadership, three years off.

    Stover at Yale Owen Johnson
  • There is no doubt about your leadership by sea: it is already secured.

    Hellenica Xenophon
  • Upon its re-establishment the Liga counted among its members several who aimed at the leadership.

    The Katipunan J. Brecknock Watson (AKA Francis St. Clair)
British Dictionary definitions for leadership


the position or function of a leader
the period during which a person occupies the position of leader: during her leadership very little was achieved
  1. the ability to lead
  2. (as modifier): leadership qualities
the leaders as a group of a party, union, etc: the union leadership is now very reactionary
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for leadership

1821, "position of a leader," from leader + -ship. Sense extended by late 19c. to "characteristics necessary to be a leader."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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