English edit

Etymology 1 edit

From Middle English ledinge, ledynge, ledand, ledande, ledende, from Old English lǣdende, from Proto-West Germanic *laidijandī, from Proto-Germanic *laidijandz, present participle of Proto-Germanic *laidijaną (to lead), equivalent to lead +‎ -ing. Compare West Frisian liedend, Dutch leidend, German leitend, Swedish ledande, Icelandic leiðandi.

Pronunciation edit

Verb edit


  1. present participle and gerund of lead

Adjective edit

leading (not comparable)

  1. Providing guidance or direction.
    Avoid leading questions if you really want the truth.
  2. Ranking first.
    He is a leading supplier of plumbing supplies in the county.
  3. Occurring in advance; preceding.
    Antonyms: following, lagging, trailing
    The stock market can be a leading economic indicator.
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Etymology 2 edit

From Middle English leding, ledyng, ledinge, ledunge, equivalent to lead +‎ -ing. Cognate with Dutch leiding (conduit, leading, guidance, leadership), German Leitung (line, conduit, cable).

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

leading (plural leadings)

  1. An act by which one is led or guided.
    • 1792, William Carey, An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the[1]:
      It has been said that we ought not to force our way, but to wait for the openings, and leadings of Providence; but it might with equal propriety be answered in this case, neither ought we to neglect embracing those openings in providence which daily present themselves to us.
    • 1892, Walt Whitman, “A Song for Occupations”, in Leaves of Grass [], Philadelphia, Pa.: David McKay, publisher, [], →OCLC, stanza 5, page 175:
      I do not affirm that what you see beyond is futile, I do not advise you to stop, / I do not say leadings you thought great are not great, / But I say that none lead to greater than these lead to.
    • 1904, Edward Dowden, Robert Browning[2]:
      In his poetic method each writer followed the leadings of his own genius, without reference to common rules and standards; the individualism of the Revolutionary epoch asserted itself to the full.
  2. (archaic) Command of an army or military unit.
    • c. 1587–1588, [Christopher Marlowe], Tamburlaine the Great. [] The First Part [], 2nd edition, part 1, London: [] [R. Robinson for] Richard Iones, [], published 1592, →OCLC; reprinted as Tamburlaine the Great (A Scolar Press Facsimile), Menston, Yorkshire, London: Scolar Press, 1973, →ISBN, Act I, scene ii:
      Art thou but Captaine of a thouſand horſe,
      That by Characters grauen in thy browes,
      And by thy martiall face and ſtout aſpect,
      Deſeru’ſt to haue the leading of an hoſte?

Etymology 3 edit

From Middle English leedynge, equivalent to lead (chemical element) +‎ -ing.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

leading (uncountable)

  1. (typography) Vertical space added between lines; line spacing.
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