The past tense of lead is led, not lead. One reason for the confusion might be that the infinitive and past tense forms of a similar verb, read, are spelled the same way: read. But with lead, that’s not how things are.
- Led is the correct way to spell the past tense of lead.
- Lead is a common misspelling of the past tense of the verb lead.
Definition of led
Led is the past tense of the verb lead (pronounced leed), which means to guide, direct, be in charge, or to bring something about:
By the way, if you see the word led written in uppercase letters—LED—that’s an acronym that stands for “light emitting diode,” which is, as its name suggests, a diode that emits light.
Other meaning of lead
Lead is also the name of a certain type of metal. However, when it’s used for the metal, the word lead is pronounced just like led, which adds to the confusion:
The soft core of a pencil is also sometimes referred to as lead, even though it’s made out of graphite and doesn’t usually contain lead: