Definition of lead someone on in US English:

lead someone on

phrasal verb

  • Mislead or deceive someone, especially into believing that one is in love with or attracted to them.

    • ‘How long would you wait around if the girl you loved kept leading you on and then ditching you to date other men?’
    • ‘Only half of me was in love with him, and I didn't want to lead him on.’
    • ‘Is he leading her on, or is this a love that will conquer the world?’
    • ‘I just couldn't believe I had lead you on and been so insensitive.’
    • ‘I was worried that maybe I had given him the wrong idea, led him on in some way, that maybe he was expecting me to have sex with him.’
    • ‘I thought it must be my fault, I must have done something, I must have led him on.’
    • ‘He said the girls had invited him to the bedroom and claimed they had led him on.’
    • ‘Without flirting or leading him on, act the same way you used to.’
    • ‘I think I should really go for the kiss tonight to see if we have any attraction as I don't want to lead him on if there isn't any chemistry.’
    • ‘She denied telling a hotel doorman that she was so drunk she couldn't remember what happened, or saying she was not sure if she led Mr Boone on.’
    • ‘You led me on, making me believe you actually cared!’
    • ‘She loathed Brent for leading her on, as she firmly believed he had.’
    • ‘He'd known for quite some time that she was in love with him, but he didn't want to lead her on.’
    • ‘It was unfair to Aaron for me to continue to lead him on like this when I was clearly still in love with Scott.’
    • ‘If she has never wanted something with me, then why has she led me on and told me that it will be different so many times?’
    • ‘Had she lead him on and made him believe something totally different?’
    • ‘So before you go any further leading her on, you better figure out if you love her back or not.’
    • ‘He claimed in the witness box that the woman had led him on.’
    • ‘She had been playing around with Christian, toying with his emotions, leading him on… and all along she'd had a boyfriend on the side.’
    • ‘It's never OK to force yourself on a woman, even if you think that she has been teasing and leading you on.’
    deceive, mislead, delude, hoodwink, dupe, trick, take in, fool, pull the wool over someone's eyes, gull
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